One guy was going around IBC on a segway that was modified for steadycam work. Rising from the platform was a rest where you could put your legs to keep upright whilst to the side the steadycam mount was free to move for steady shots.
That’s just one of the contraptions. Simple automated camera heads could be found at Sony’s stand, JVC and other companies. Each one had a remote control which would allow you to select between up to 18 cameras depending on the cofiguration. One system in particular allowed you to preset shots before a shoot whilst providing a touch screen. Press the thumbnail and the camera head will go to that shot automatically. Press another shot and it reframes to that one. Adjust the speed and everything is automated.
There were some jibs automated of which the most impressive was a noiseless machine that could be programmed to within a millimeter of where you wanted the camera to be at different times. What made that one most impressive is that it’s plugged into a virtual studio. As the camera moves around it moves in accordance with the virtual elements so the presenter can use screens, props and more to illustrate the story. That’s not all though. If the camera turns beyond a certain point then you see nothing. The camera points right at the crowd but you see the virtual studio. It’s fun.
Pedestals are also remotely operated so there’s no need for more than one camera operator per studio. It’s all about reducing costs and making broadcast of a high quality more affordable. The positive side is that for less interesting and creative shoots you don’t need to tie up a camera operator as he stands around waiting for things to happen. Once it’s programmed the machine runs.
The question is what this means for the future. How will the remotes be improved to make controlling the cameras easier? Most of the remotes are not as easy to control as standing at the pedestal and operating the camera yourself. They require a level of experience and speed that is not there quite yet but it will come. Will this mean that camera men will have more fun assignments like documentary shoots, festivals and other types of events to cover? There’s the vision mixing to take into consideration but that’s another post topic.