Robovision All Over the Track on Memorial Day Weekend
Memorial Day weekend has never been much of a vacation for Robovision. It’s among the busiest of the year for the robotic-camera-system provider, which has delivered an arsenal of systems to the Indianapolis 500 since 1992 and to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, NC, since 2001.
“Lucky for us, we are busy doing a lot of racing during the summer, so we can handle that kind of [weekend],” says Richard Glandorf, director of field operations for Robovision. “We are certainly operating at near full capacity and using most of our equipment and [crew], but it is nothing we can’t handle.”
Robovision was on hand at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with 11 remote pan-bar robotic camera systems for ESPN and deployed 13 systems at Charlotte Motor Speedway for NASCAR and Fox Sports.
On the Track
Robovision’s remote pan-bar system allows a camera operator to remotely control the wall-mounted robotic camera via a traditional pan-bar system and monitor located in the OB compound. The company relies heavily on Ikegami cameras with Canon 40x lenses to capture race action up close without endangering camera operators. In addition, the system is capable of performing hard pans that would be far more difficult with a traditional hard camera.
“Auto racing and robotics go hand-in-hand, primarily because of the safety issue,” says Glandorf. “But the pan-bar system we use also lends itself to making that fast pan that is required when you’re positioned right on the wall. These systems allow you to adjust your settings to dial in the pan that is required. Our systems are able to make the hardest pans lap after lap, race after race.”
Robovision has become ubiquitous at NASCAR Sprint Cup event, having deployed 12-13 systems at nearly every race since 2001. Most of these POV cameras are mounted directly to the walls of the track, usually going into and coming out of turns, where accidents tend to occur. Various robotic cameras are positioned to cover the pits, flag stand, and straightaways.
Robovision at Indy
ESPN deployed 11 Robovision systems for its coverage at the 100th running of the Indy 500, a far cry from the four on hand in 1992 at the company’s first 500. This year, Robovision positions included two cameras in the pits and two in no-man’s land (the forbidden area between the pits and the track).
“Indy is a very big track, so you tend to get really spread out along the front stretch,” says Glandorf. “The two cameras in the no-man’s-land area are a challenge because it is an area that you don’t get access to during the race. But it also provides a great angle.”