Timeline Television Creates Watertight System To Capture The America's Cup

May 9th, 2016

America's Cup

Timeline Television, a major provider of outside broadcast, post-production, and studio services for all major UK networks, has collaborated with Marine Camera Solutions to develop a bespoke system to capture the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series, the first stage of the competition in the 35th America’s Cup.

The America’s Cup features the best sailors in the world competing on foiling, wing-sailed 45ft catamarans. To capture first class viewing of the action live from the competing yachts, Timeline Television and Marine Camera Solutions developed bespoke robotic, three axis, waterproof camera systems and a live feed linked to the shore by an RF network.  These images of the action on the water form the core of the coverage that is watched by a global TV audience and on the big screen at the events.

Specialists in the design and build of cameras operating in extreme environments, Marine Camera Solutions incorporated a number of unique features in the new cameras to allow the highest possible performance in this marine environment. These new features include the waterproofing components, the wiper blade system and the outer glass.  The cameras are very susceptible to spray and water droplets on the screen.  Rather than having one wiper blade externally on the camera, the camera itself drives through a static blade cleaning the screen of any water droplets. A further innovative feature involves the sapphire crystal lenses. These have been treated with a revolutionary Nano-ceramic coating across the surface, which provides a super hydrophobic barrier to repel water away from the lens.

Timeline’s system architecture means that the cameras can be operated remotely from inside the TV production truck and controlled over an IP network. Timeline’s technical team has written control software to optimise the weight and feel of the camera controls to give a responsive but smooth movement in pan, tilt, zoom and roll.  Two cameras from each boat are RF linked from the yacht’s masthead to an antenna array on shore.  Timeline’s RF Control point manages the link performance from each yacht along with signals from helicopter cameras and a chase boat.   Almost all of the event’s video content depends upon the Timeline technical team, so the pre-event planning is highly detailed with resilient systems and networks all thoroughly tested. 

“We are privileged to be providing this vital element to the TV coverage of the 35th Americas Cup.  The best in class on-board cameras ensure that viewers get the best possible image and experience of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series racing as if they were part of the crew. We are delighted to be working with America’s Cup Television (ACTV) and Marine Camera Solutions using our strengths in RF, data and camera technology to provide thrilling, live on-board pictures from the racing yachts,“ said Dan McDonnell, MD of Timeline Television Ltd.

“This is a very exciting time for Marine Camera Solutions and Timeline Television. We are using our capabilities to bring the world’s oldest sporting trophy to TV screens across the globe,” commented Tony Reid, managing director of Marine Camera Solutions. 

The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series commenced in 2015 with racing taking place in Portsmouth, UK, Gothenburg, Sweden and Bermuda. In 2016, racing has taken place in Muscat, Oman (27-28 February), New York, USA (7-8 May), before shifting to Chicago, USA in June, Portsmouth, UK in July and Toulon, France in September. The America’s Cup competition will be hosted in Bermuda in May/June 2017.