BSI Captures Speedboat Sequence for Olympics Opening Ceremonies

Broadcast Sports, Inc. (BSI), a provider of wireless audio, video, and communication services, played a critical role in the broadcast of the London 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies. Outside broadcast and studio facilities company, NEP Cymru, hired BSI to provide four wireless cameras to shoot the sequence where a speedboat, driven by David Beckham, carried the Olympic flame down the River Thames.

Secrecy surrounding the Opening Ceremony meant that camera crews were called on short notice. Despite the timing, BSI was able to position wireless cameras on the HMS Belfast, the Tower Bridge, Butler’s Wharf, and on the 87th (top) floor of the Shard. In addition to the cameras, BSI also supplied the receive infrastructure needed for signal reception and transmission and remote camera control.

BSI’s Technical Director, Tony Valentino, explains, “We were very excited when NEPC contacted us 10 days before the Opening Ceremony to provide four RF Cameras and an HD receive point for a helicopter, for what we understood to be a critical part of the ceremony.”

Tony Cahalane, Managing Director of NEPC, describes the challenge both companies faced,  “We had little run-up time to plan this ambitious broadcast which lasted only a few minutes but formed such an important part of the Opening Ceremony. We just couldn’t afford to get it wrong. Technically it was risky and, due to the secrecy surrounding the late commission, it also proved to be an operational challenge. Working alongside the excellent BSI team, we pulled out all the stops and I think our images of Beckham driving a speedboat towards the Olympic Stadium were among the most memorable of the night for viewers around the world.”

Tony Valentino, who has been with BSI since the company opened its European office one year ago, led BSI’s engineering team who set up the RF equipment and operated the camera systems on the banks of the Thames.

“Working around the river was logistically interesting,” says Valentino. “There was not much time to arrange frequencies and permits for the camera positions and the RF conditions were not ideal, however we have a great team at BSI, with exactly the right experience with outdoor productions. They had a superb night on the Thames, and delivered the solution for that stunning part of the ceremony.”

NEPC has delivered the successful broadcast of numerous high profile events across the UK and abroad, with a fleet of OB and studio facilities for HD, SD or 3D. The company’s credits range from high end arts performances, rock concerts and festivals to international sporting and major live events. Last year NEPC was technically responsible for the award winning live Frankenstein’s Wedding for BBC 3 which scooped awards at Broadcast, Broadcast Digital, and the Banff World Media Festival.  NEPC is part of the North American-based NEP Broadcasting, one of the biggest international providers of outsourced broadcasting services.

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