World Alpine Ski Championships get Practice Run in Courtesy of Game Creek Video, Bexel
The 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships will descend on Vail and Beaver Creek, CO in about 13 months but in early December a number of the parties that will be involved with producing that event had a chance to get in a practice run during a World Cup event held at Beaver Creek.
Game Creek Video provided the production trailers (Dynasty handled the world feed and Gemini handled the NBC feed) CP Communications was on site for RF transmission, Eurovision provided Antelope high-speed and Pico cameras, VER provided most additional rental gear, and Bexel handled the massive fiber needs.
“Dynasty will be back in November as well as in 2015 for the World Championships that will require up to an additional 48 cameras so that we can meet whatever the host broadcaster, Eurovision’s, needs,” says Martins Gaujenieks, Game Creek Video, engineer in charge and project manager.
Gaujenieks says the production began to come together in the September and October when Bexel ESS VP and GM Scott Nardelli, the Bexel ESS team, and the Vail Valley Foundation laid down upwards of 128 strands of fiber on the mountain. The 7,000 ft. stretch of fiber included nine broadcast nodes with 48 single-mode fibers (24 primary with 24 redundant paths) to get camera signals down to the production area at the base of the mountain. Miranda HDX boxes played an important role as well as they provided power for the cameras.
“Working on a skiing event is like working on a hockey rink that is tilted at 30 degrees as you are working on sheets of ice and trying to get equipment up and down the mountain,” says Gaujenieks. “I have to tip my hat to all the people who were up there after dusk to get this production done. It was a gigantic effort.”
The 2013 event only had 28 cameras, a mix of handhelds, hard cameras, two Inertia Unlimited xMos, and a regular Sony super slo-motion cameras. By having enough cameras on site the team only needed to reposition 10 handheld cameras from one event to the next as the hard cameras were positioned in pre-built towers.
The women’s events were held during the weekend after Thanksgiving and with average temperatures it went off without a hitch. But between that event and the men’s the following weekend 16 inches of snow hit and temps dipped to -15 degrees.
“In those temperatures a roll of cable becomes a slinky and we had a dark day and then had to reset for the men’s courses and we got the course ready for the men’s downhill the day before the event,” explains Gaujenieks.
The weather challenges also led to a men’s downhill training session being canceled and the men’s downhill being held on Friday, Dec. 6. The remaining events, the Super G and Slalom, were then held over the weekend with those events a progression down the mountain as each subsequent event was shorter than the previous one.
The big difference between the regular events and next year’s World Championships will be the addition of an 8,000 sq. ft. building at the top of the mountain that will serve as a production base for broadcasters from around the world as well as the US Ski team.
“By 2015 everything should be perfect and working,” adds Gaujenieks.