Sony Digital Rapids Pixel Power calrec Sony

South African-based company to revolutionise sports filming for the local market

19/07/2018

Photo credit: Laeticia Nel Photography

-- --

Facebook

Twitter

Google

Pinterest

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: Alard H fner and Graham Terrell, of Johannesburg-based rigging company Film Riggers, have developed a unique computer-controlled cable-suspended camera system, called TopShot, that allows for the world-class filming of sports events, and is affordable and uses locally developed technology.

Film Riggers invited the Screen Africa team to the first live demonstration of their system at Ellis Park Stadium in April of this year, where we had the opportunity to chat with H fner and Terrell about what went into developing this outstanding system.

-- --

PLAYING WITH THE POSSIBILITIES

The filming of sports events is notoriously challenging as the action is live, the stakes are high, and options about where to place cameras are often limited. Using a cable-suspended camera system over a sports ground to achieve those first-person action shots that have become so much a part of watching a live game is not a new idea. The first computer-controlled, stabilised cable-suspended camera systems were released in the mid-90s, and the technology has gained enormous popularity with viewers across the world. However, this technology has remained in the hands of a select few in the international market. The enormous cost of importing all of the necessary equipment and flying the international crew to South Africa, in conjunction with unfavourable exchange rates, has hindered the use of these systems for local sports broadcasting, with a few exceptions such as at the Football World Cup in 2010.

Terrell and H fner are among the country's most experienced film rigging specialists, and their company has specialised in the rigging of cameras and live loads for more than ten years. Collectively, they have more than 25 years of experience flying cameras and performers for the local film industry, and have worked on some of the country's highest-profile productions, including Fear Factor, Survivor and The Amazing Race, as well as on films such as District 9 and The Avengers, among others.

Having both the technical know-how and the experience behind them, it is not surprising that Terrell and H fner have been playing with the idea of developing a computer-controlled cable-suspended camera system for the local market since the international company that assisted with the filming of the World Cup left our shores eight years ago. Graham, in particular, has been conceptualising what would be needed to produce a computer-controlled cable-suspended camera system for many years. The actual design phase of the project started in about March 2017, when we began investing our own money and actively investigating the type of motors, drums and cables that we would need, H fner explains. He goes further to add that some local broadcasters have been interested in their efforts from the onset.

THE GAME PLAN

To turn a great idea into a workable product, the Film Riggers team have employed all of their skill and expertise and have consulted widely with engineers, product designers and software developers to put together a computer-controlled cable-suspended camera system that will rival any in the world but will remain affordable for the local market.

The TopShot.Africa system comprises of four motorised winches, positioned at four points in a venue. A 5mm diameter specialised high strength rope runs from each winch up to a high point in the venue where it is deviated through an anchored pulley and returns downwards to the centre of the venue where all four ropes meet. The four ropes are then connected to a gyro-stabilised camera platform. This camera platform is suspended in the air by the four ropes and the position thereof is controlled by the system of winches. By controlling the synchronised winding and unwinding of the four ropes, the system allows the camera platform to travel both vertically and horizontally in a predetermined space.

According to Terrell, the system is capable of taking a payload of up to 100kg, depending on the geometry of the configuration, and can achieve speeds of up to nine metres per second. The system is designed to withstand the elements - particularly important as TopShot will be used in outdoor settings most of the time.

In designing TopShot, the team started with the motors for their winches and turned to SEW-EURODRIVE, a world-leading manufacturer of electric motors for advice. Following extensive consultation, the appropriate motors were identified. Terrell then worked with a local design and engineering team to custom design and produce the drum and housing required for the four winches. The team then needed to decide on a supplier for the gyro-stabilised camera carrier, the rope and construction thereof and the software needed to operate the system, all of which has been achieved.

Control of the winch system is achieved through a hard link carried on fibre optic cables that run directly from the control desk to the winches. Control of the 3-axis stabilised camera gimbal, as well as the camera control and picture itself, travels inside the ropes by means of fibre optics. A camera operator is then able to send commands directly to the camera and remote head without the need for a wireless link, and bring the camera's HD signal back up the rope to the control station. According to H fner, the a challenging part of the project was designing a rope that would carry the payload, wind up and down on the motorised winches at high speeds, and still safely house the very fragile fibre optic cable so critical to the system. It has taken many months and countless tests to come up with the design of the fibre optic carrying rope. We are enormously proud to say that, despite the challenges, our highly specialised rope is locally produced and has proven effective - desp
LINK: http://www.screenafrica.com/2018/07/19/technology/film-tv-video-produc...
See more stories from screenafrica

Africa Stories

23/01/2019

Lotto results: Mega roll-over jackpot up for grabs on Wednesday

Always gamble responsibly and play only within your means. Pick your numbers right and you could walk away with a whopping R19 million on Wednesday night's...

23/01/2019

Lotto and Lotto Plus results for Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Are you ready for the Lotto and Lotto Plus draw on Wednesday, 23 January? It's yet another chance to find out whether or not you're South Africa's l...

23/01/2019

Uzalo latest episodes and teasers for 23 25 January 2019 watch it here

In November 2018, Uzalo celebrated a milestone. After wrapping up the filming of season four, the show celebrated clocking over 10 million viewers. It's no...

23/01/2019

Watch: Uzalo latest episode, Wednesday 23 January 2019 [video]

In today's episode of Uzalo: Mastermind and Mxolisi confront each other about the status of their brotherhood. Nonka pushes for her family to do better. MaN...

23/01/2019

Watch: Generations The Legacy latest episode Wednesday, 23 January [video]

Tonight on Generations The Legacy: There is yet another hiccup in the jewellery heist. Young love leads to a first kiss Sphe knows there's a problem and de...

23/01/2019

Sunday movie: A Quiet Place what you need to know

Sunday evenings are perfect for horror movies. Get the popcorn ready, turn the lights down - perhaps even make a blanket fort, we're not here to judge - and...

23/01/2019

Invitation to submit proposals for the Fiction Slate

The National Film and Video Foundations invitation to submit proposals for the Fiction Slate The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) is an agency of the...

23/01/2019

Invitation to submit Documentary Proposals for The Next 25 Years of Democracy 2019

The National Film and Video Foundation Invitation to submit Documentary Proposal...

23/01/2019

After a blockbuster year, SA cinema sees bright outlook for 2019

23 January, 2019 - 08:02 After a year of mixed fortunes in 2017, South Africas cinema industry recorded a prosperous 2018 with audience attendance numbers a...

22/01/2019

Powerball and Powerball Plus results for Tuesday, 22 January 2019

It's Tuesday night and that can only mean one thing; cash dollar bills (not really) are ready to be won in the Powerball draw. Powerball and Powerball Plus...

22/01/2019

Former Western Cape Premier Peter Marais joins FF Plus to fight for Afrikaans'

The leader of the FF Plus, Dr Groenewald announced on 22 January that Peter Mara...

22/01/2019

Things to consider when buying your childhood home

The trend towards multigenerational living is gaining momentum, young adults are now not only moving back in with their parents but increasingly, buying the hom...

22/01/2019

District Six remembered in local film

22 January, 2019 - 07:12 Cape Towns deeply historical District Six is one of the most interesting, and emotionally charged areas in the city. From paintings...

21/01/2019

Bluff shooting update: Soldiers who shot civilians were Ramaphosa's guards

This article is an amended version of the original, which was published on Tuesday 15 January. It features updated information regarding developments with the D...

21/01/2019

Jacob Zuma record deal: Suspicions raised over album inconsistencies

You can't see Barack Obama releasing a rap mixtape. You can't envisage David Cameron putting out a swing LP. Hell, even Vladimir Putin isn't weird e...

21/01/2019

Five reasons to book into 'Room 104'

21 January, 2019 - 06:03 Theres no reason to binge season two of HBOs cult anthology series Room 104, now streaming first and only on Showmax in South Afric...

20/01/2019

Pep Guardiola fuming with Man City display, despite 3-0 win vs Huddersfield

by Chris BRERETON Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was far from satisfied despite a 3-0 win away to Huddersfield Town on Sunday that saw his side cut Live...

20/01/2019

How cricket helped Ashleigh Barty beat Maria Sharapova

Rising Australian tennis star Ashleigh Barty feels that her time in the Women's Big Bash League for the Brisbane helped improve her as a person and a player...

20/01/2019

RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 4 Sneak peek: The Eliminated Queens Rise from the Dead [video]

You can't have a Sneak peek without a few spoilers, beware and don't com...

19/01/2019

Lotto and Lotto Plus results for Saturday, 19 January 2019

Are you ready for the Lotto and Lotto Plus draw on Saturday, 19 January? It's yet another chance to find out whether or not you're South Africa's la...

19/01/2019

Queen Elizabeth spotted in Norfolk driving without a seatbelt

Photographers snapped her less than a mile from where Prince Philip, 97, crashed into another vehicle and overturned his Range Rover. As reported by Daily Mai...

19/01/2019

Weather forecast, alerts and UVB index for all South African provinces, 20 January 2019

Weather data provided by the South African Weather Service. For a detailed forec...

19/01/2019

RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 4: Episode 5 Rucap

Before you read this RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 4 Rucap please note this article contains heavy spoilers! Fresh off of a gut-wrenching elimination that s...

18/01/2019

Powerball and Powerball Plus results Friday, 18 January 2019

It's Friday night and that can only mean one thing; cash dollar bills (not really) are ready to be won in the Powerball draw. Powerball and Powerball Plus ...

18/01/2019

Caf Champions League: Orlando Pirates top group after thumping Horoya

Orlando Pirates jumped to the top of Group B in the Caf Champions League after a convincing 3-0 win over AC Horoya of Guinea at Orlando Stadium on Friday. The ...

18/01/2019

Watch: The best fitness innovations showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show 2019 [videos]

It's that one time of the year when industry leaders all get together to sho...

18/01/2019

Sunday movie: The Commuter what you need to know

The Commuter flew under the radar when it was first released, and features none other than Liam Neeson doing what Neeson does best: fight the bad guys and save ...

18/01/2019

South African film secures American distribution deal

18 January, 2019 - 08:03 After a successful run at the local box office, Marche Media has closed a deal with film distribution company, Breaking Glass Pictu...

17/01/2019

State capture inquiry: Take a look inside the Bosasa bribe vault [video]

It's day two of Angelo Agrizzi's testimony to the state capture inquiry. His first appearance on Wednesday has been heralded as one of the most explosiv...

17/01/2019

South Africa vs Pakistan 1st ODI: Preview, starting time, teams and live stream

Date: 20 January Time: 13:00 Venue: St George's Park, Port Elizabeth TV and live stream: SABC 3, Supersport 3 Overview South Africa and Pakistan trade t...

17/01/2019

New movies at the cinema this week Friday, 11 January

The school holidays are now officially over so parents can sneak away for a quick film every now and then, no? This week's lineup has it all: from action ...

17/01/2019

John Boyega to produce Cape Flats gangster film

17 January, 2019 - 08:01 John Boyega will executive produce a film, God is Good, set on the Cape Flats in Cape Town and written and directed by first-time f...

17/01/2019

Lotto and Lotto Plus results for Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Are you ready for the Lotto and Lotto Plus draw on Wednesday, 16 January? It's yet another chance to find out whether or not you're South Africa's l...

17/01/2019

Watch: Google G Suite rolling out Material Design Theme overhaul [video]

The project was tested during 2018 and will affect the interface fonts. It will also include new iconography, as well as fresh new colours. The update, however,...

17/01/2019

Weather forecast, alerts and UVB index for all South African provinces, 17 January 2019

Weather data provided by the South African Weather Service. For a detailed forec...

16/01/2019

Watch: Dark trailer drops for Showmax's first original drama

16 January, 2019 - 13:04 Showmax has released the trailer for The Girl From St Agnes, their first original drama. At St Agnes, a prestigious all-girls board...

15/01/2019

Powerball and Powerball Plus results for Tuesday, 15 January 2019

It's Tuesday night and that can only mean one thing; cash dollar bills (not really) are ready to be won in the Powerball draw. Powerball and Powerball Plus...

15/01/2019

#Brexit: A timeline of it went from bad to worse to a bit better for Britain

From the shock Brexit referendum result to Tuesday's landmark vote to reject the divorce deal struck between London and the European Union, here are the mil...

15/01/2019

#NotYetBrexit: Three things that might happen next

by James PHEBY What next? After British MPs rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal on Tuesday, triggering a no-confidence vote in the government...

15/01/2019

Five reasons to binge 'The Bold Type' now

15 January, 2019 - 08:02 Season two of The Bold Type, the hit series inspired by the life of former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles, is now stream...

15/01/2019

You're probably brushing your teeth wrong - here are four tips for better dental health

We all know the advice for healthy teeth - brush twice daily and don't eat t...

15/01/2019

Weather forecast, alerts and UVB index for all South African provinces, 15 January 2019

Weather data provided by the South African Weather Service. For a detailed forec...

15/01/2019

Forest Whitaker more scared of playing Desmond Tutu than Idi Amin

Hollywood star Forest Whitaker has played hitmen, gangsters, and bloodthirsty dictator Idi Amin. But nothing scared him more than portraying South African Nobe...

14/01/2019

South African Liesl Tommy to direct Aretha Franklin Biopic Respect'

14 January, 2019 - 06:03 MGM announced on Thursday that it has tapped stage and television director Liesl Tommy to helm Respect, the studios Aretha Franklin...

13/01/2019

EPL result: Tottenham 0-1 Manchester United as it happened

Mobile users might experience a slight delay in seeing the live blog appear. Please allow a few seconds for scores to load....

13/01/2019

This is the real Manchester United: De Gea

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea had trouble remembering all of his saves in Sunday's 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley but who could blame...

12/01/2019

Lotto and Lotto Plus results for Saturday, 12 January 2019

Are you ready for the Lotto and Lotto Plus draw on Saturday, 12 January? It's yet another chance to find out whether or not you're South Africa's la...

12/01/2019

Brits reveals how the Stormers botched his signing and sent him to Loftus

Springbok hooker Schalk Brits has revealed that an administrative blunder saw his proposed move to the Stormers fall through. Brits, now 37, would secure a pla...

12/01/2019

PSL results and latest log standings on 12 January 2019

A second-half brace from Black Leopards' Zambian forward, Mwape Musonda condemned Supersport United to a second consecutive defeat, as they were beaten 2-0 ...

12/01/2019

RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 4: Episode 4 Rucap

Before you read this RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 4 Rucap please note this piece contains heavy spoilers! We learned from this week's sneak peak of RuP...