BigVoice Media Leverages BirdDog PTZ Cameras to Overcome the Elements at Australian Swimming Championships

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Despite heavy rain, the weatherproof PTZs allowed the production to proceed
Last month, BigVoice Media Group was contracted by Swimming Australia as the host production for the 2021 Australian Swimming Championships & 2021 Australian Age Swimming Championships streamed live to Amazon Prime Video. Held at Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, in Queensland, Australia, the entire event.

was held outside – forcing BigVoice Media Group to confront challenging weather conditions throughout.

“Swimming is one of those interesting sports where rain doesn’t come into it – the athletes are going to get wet regardless,” says BigVoice Media Group co-founder Kristian Shepherd. “So as a production we needed to have cameras that could work no matter the conditions – rain or no rain.”

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The event ran for 13 days – both day and night sessions – and there was constant rain day and night across the opening three days of the Australian Age event. The event would only be suspended if there was severe lighting or dangerous weather in the vicinity of the pool. With that in mind, Shepherd and company enlisted BirdDog A200 weatherproof PTZ and P200 PTZ cameras, which allowed the production to go on without any stoppages.

“With the Image quality plus the rain wiper, anti-fog, and water resistance, the A200’s ticked all the boxes we were looking for when approaching this type of outdoor production,” says Shepherd.

Shepherd and co-founder Daniel Kumnick primarily deploy SDI-based productions but have begun a migration to a hybrid NDI/SDI environment over the next few years. As part of this evolution, BigVoice started to incorporate BirdDog cameras into its production complement last year.

“As a production company this was our first interaction with Amazon Prime Video,” says Shepherd. “So there was an expectation that the product that was delivered would meet a certain level of quality, across sound, graphics and picture quality.”

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The 1080p50 show in Queensland was an NDI/SDI hybrid production featuring 10 cameras. Six of these were BirdDog systems – three A200’s used in fixed place positions over the main competition pool and three P200’s used as beauty shots, results backgrounds and additional coverage. The A200’s were rigged to temporary truss uprights placed at either end of the pool, while the p200’s were rigged on tripods and magic arms for additional coverage.

PTZ cameras, which were deployed for the entire event despite the weather, were controlled via a combination of the BirdDog PTZ controller & VISCA IP commands sent by bit focus companion.

Two of the A200’s and one of the P200’s were SDI direct via single mode fiber back to the switcher, while the Remaining three cameras were NDI signals back to ops and then converted to SDI.