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High tension in Tempelhof

03/01/2022

High tension in Tempelhof posted: 03/01/2022

by Bernhard Herrmann

A total of three Grass Valley cameras were operated remotely.

The finale of the seventh season of Formula E, the FIA racing series for electric racing cars, took place at the former Berlin-Tempelhof airport in mid-August 2021. Aurora Media Worldwide from London was responsible for the live TV production. Bernhard Herrmann observed for us how more than 30 cameras captured what was happening.

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The conditions were ideal for the season finale of the FIA Formula E at the former Berlin-Tempelhof airport, where a 2,300 meter long circuit had been marked out. From Friday to Sunday best summer weather prevailed, bringing sunshine and temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius. The event took place under strict pandemic security measures. Therefore, employees who wanted to go through the old airport building to the concrete runway had to go to a control center and undergo a PCR test after receiving their personal accreditation, even if they were fully vaccinated against Covid-19. If the result was negative, a text message was sent and the accreditation card was activated at the same time. On the way to the media center at the racetrack, miles of thick power cables were laid out everywhere and well as panels with solar cells. Nowhere did it smell of high-octane gasoline like the car races with combustion engines, just pleasantly of fresh air.

Also acoustically there were more peaceful conditions. Anyone who had previously watched the Formula E races on Eurosport and Sat.1 had permanently been exposed to an unpleasant whistling sound from the racing cars electric motors. In reality, however, the racetrack is much quieter. The whistle can only be heard directly on the racetrack at certain high speeds of the racing car and briefly until they brake before the next bend. But since you rarely wish to transmit silence on television, it apparently had been decided to grant the television audience a more permanent sound experience through appropriate miking and mixing.

Lee Flay, Technical Director of Formula E TV Production at Aurora Media Worldwide, kindly found the time to accompany us on a tour of the broadcast center and the racetrack and explain the technical setup to us. The British company has been producing the live broadcast of Formula E since the first race, with Timeline Television Ltd. provides the technical equipment. Formula E Operations Ltd. organizes the TV production for the FIA. All three companies are based in London. The setup of the entire broadcast system, including the technology used, has existed in this form for four years.

Marshall mini cameras were used at selected positions.

CAMERAS

Eighteen Grass Valley LDX-86 cameras were used at the racetrack, three of them in a remote version. Several cameras were installed on specially made aluminum brackets on the concrete elements of the track boundaries. The chain link fences mounted on top had recesses for the lenses. In addition, one camera each was mounted on four telescopic working platforms at a height of 43 meters. A Camcat rope camera system was hoisted between two cranes over a length of about 750 meters above the racetrack. This enabled the camera which was attached to a gimbal to record the racing cars from above at speeds of up to around 130 kilometers per hour and send the images wirelessly to the TV compound. A special feature of Formula E is a camera in the middle of the start and finish straight. Each camera can be used for 3-fold super slow motion images.

Eight Marshall mini cameras supplied additional views at specially selected points on the racetrack. As is already known from Formula 1, eight potential camera positions were also provided in the racing cars themselves. These were located in the front, the rear, the two rear-view mirrors, on the front of the Halo system with a view of the driver and in the helmet. This tiny camera sensor is positioned directly next to one of the drivers eyes, depicts the drivers exact field of vision and allows fans to take part in the racing action at close quarters on the television and video walls on the racetrack.

All eight camera positions are pre-wired in the Formula E racing cars. But not all cameras are always installed, explains Technical Director Lee FlayIN order for nobody to get an unfair weight advantage, dummies of the same size and weight are attached. Depending on the racing situation, cameras can also be swapped on the race weekend. For example, a driver who has a chance of winning or who has achieved a better position in qualifying can get the complete camera setup at short notice. Almost every camera is recorded separately. An employee coordinates the 48 inputs with the moving images for the live replays and the re-live scenes. Four EVS operators are responsible for eight EVS remote controllers.

14 containers were available for image technology, director's workplaces and communication.

PRODUCTION OF THE WORLD FEED

The World Feed is currently still being produced in high definition and in stereo for approximately 186 countries. According to Lee Flay, setting up the 14 containers in the TV compound takes around four and a half days. The dismantling after the race on Sunday is much faster and only takes about six hours. A total of 105 employees in this TV production have to deal with a peculiarity in Berlin: On the second day, the racing cars drive the route in the opposite direction! This is why the lines of the approximately 42 kilometers of fiber optic cables have to be laid twice, because in the opposite direction some camera positions have to be changed overnight after the first race on Saturday.

Before the race, several cameramen walked through the pit lane equipped with wireless Vislink transmitters on the cameras to produc
LINK: https://www.live-production.tv/news/products/high-tension-tempelhof.ht...
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