Home Production team America’s Cup production team upgrades data, augmented reality and camera coverage in New Zealand

America’s Cup production team upgrades data, augmented reality and camera coverage in New Zealand


Handcrafted tracking up to 2cm, good sound quality, wide social distribution will help attract hardcore and casual fans

The 36th America’s Cup final begins on March 6 and the battle over who will face New Zealand begins this weekend with the first Prada Cup round robin race in Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. -Zeeland. For the America’s Cup production team, the race ushers in a new era of technological innovation, new partnerships and a production with a beautiful Kiwi feel. At the heart of production is a new regatta management system.

“All the production is new for this America’s Cup”, says Stephen Nuttall, Managing Director, Media Rights and Production, America’s Cup.

The system was built by Igtimi, a sailing research and development company in Dunedin, New Zealand, and Riedel (who along with WEST4MEDIA has formed a joint venture named Circle-O which is the broadcast organizing entity). The system and other new developments will give producer Léon Safton, director Wayne Leonard, and a team of 75 people, half of them from New Zealand, new tools to create new looks.

“We have a lot of people who have a lot of America’s Cup experience,” says Nuttall. “Then we mixed it with innovations and people who don’t know the Cup. “

A media hub at the back of the America’s Cup yachts will transmit video, audio and data to the production team ashore.

One of these new companies is Riedel, who will take care of the operation of all on-board cameras, communication systems via Bolero and broadband microphones.

“They built the mesh network that crosses the port and allows us to connect with the boats and come back to the broadcast center,” says Nuttall.

The new regatta system improves America’s Cup production in several ways. First, it will allow the racing craft to be followed to within 2cm, allowing a virtual diamond to be drawn around the yacht to make it easier for the equivalent of a video referee to determine infractions and penalties.

“We can track how fast they are moving, how high they are above the water, how much they are tilted forward and backward,” says Nuttall. “This is going to be an essential part of the show.”

The system also allows security personnel to ensure that spectator boats are where they are supposed to be, that the course location is correct, etc.

The boats are the stars of the show, and this year’s yachts are arguably the fastest America’s Cup ever. Known as the AC75 (or America’s Cup 75), the 75 ft. Monohull hydrofoil sailboats have an eight-story mast. They can reach speeds of up to 50 knots (or around 60 mph). Says Nuttall, boats this big that move so fast are a sight to behold.

“Each AC75 has 10 cameras,” he explains, “one on the bowsprit, one on a media post aft used for powering yachts, two cameras on either side of the mast and the rest in the areas where the crews are. Three of them are nimble and the rest are PTZ cameras. We also have two helicopters, and the plan is for a drone later, then we have the camera boat. the body will be added later in the Prada Cup. “

It really is a New Zealand affair when it comes to some of the key technologies. Animation Research Ltd (or ARL, as it is more commonly known for its work in augmented reality graphics) will be at the center of AR graphics.

“ARL has an entirely new system for graphics,” explains Nuttall. “In the past, he used to draw borders using sensors on the water. Now it uses image processing and AI to set the borders and markers and draw the graphics accordingly. They don’t need data and don’t even need to be on site, but they are: with a crew of just 75, it makes sense to have everyone here.

As for the new look, Nuttall says it’s time for a refresh. Liveline technology had been around for some time and ARL has a long standing relationship with the Cup and had new ideas on how to derive charts based on some of the work the company has done in different sports.

“The data platform is new,” adds Nuttall. “Normally these would be done in separate silos, which made things a bit complicated, disconnected and therefore less good. So putting it in one system is a good thing.

Sea and air coverage

The America’s Cup camera boat is the fastest ever, capable of reaching 38 knots, and has a Shotover gyro-stabilized camera up front.

Shotover Systems, based in Queenstown, provides a gyro-stabilized camera system, which is located on the camera boat. Made from a recycled AC45 yacht, the boat can reach speeds of 38 knots and is the fastest camera boat in the world. Amis Productions, based in London, will handle the aerial and camera-boat shooting.

“It’s really impressive,” says Nuttall. “The camera boat is bouncing like crazy, and the cameraman can sit there and focus half a mile away and clearly see the faces on the boat. It’s incredible.”

On the audio side, the production will have wideband microphones from Sennheiser and systems from Riedel on the boats for signal management, allowing viewers to hear what the crew are saying to each other.

“We’ll get good sound on the boats and then the trick is to tell the stories of the races and not get overwhelmed by the details,” says Nuttall. “We’ve got enough details for dedicated fans to be happy with the coverage and then the global mainstream stream. “

The race is scheduled for this weekend and for the next three weekends to eliminate a team from the Challenger’s Selection series. The top two challengers will face off for the Prada Cup and have the chance to face the Kiwis in the America’s Cup final from March 6 for a best-of-13.

“We will add new features like more biometrics, body worn cameras will come and we will use the drone more,” Nuttall said. “We are holding back some things for the latter part of the event when the audience is most important.”

Major rights holders around the world include NBC Sports in the United States; TSN in Canada; the BBC and Sky UK in the United Kingdom; Canal + in France, Switzerland and French territories; TVNZ in New Zealand; TV12 and C More in Sweden; Servus TV in Germany, Austria and Switzerland; ESPN in Latin America and the Caribbean; and DAZN in Japan. Members of the European Broadcasting Union also have access to live, long and short highlights through the Eurovision News Exchange.

“We are looking to break viewing records with public broadcasters complemented by major pay-TV channels like Sky in Italy and the UK and Fox in Australia,” said Nuttall. “We have retained the digital rights throughout with live streaming to Americascup.com, YouTube and Facebook almost anywhere in the world. It is important to make the coverage open and accessible to everyone.

Streaming coverage includes three channels that will primarily appeal to sailing fans, he adds. “We have a data channel where they can consume whatever data they want, and then an onboard channel so you can sit in the back of the boat and see an entire race.”

The global feed, says Nuttall, will contain live race coverage as well as plenty of features about the tech, people and teams.

“We try to heat up the story as much as possible to engage as large an audience as possible. We also use digital and social media to tell these stories more calmly. “