Ready for London 2012: A robotic camera with a human touch… and more

June 7, 2012 | By Gerard McGovern | News, Olympics, Sport, Technology

For those who don’t know, the Olympics is not simply about two weeks of sport in the Summer. To ensure that everyone is ready come July 27th, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) runs numerous dry runs, testing everything from crowd control to restaurants, transport to toilets.

For us, these events serve a slightly different purpose. They allow us early access to key venues and provide a great opportunity for photographers to start thinking about how they will create those iconic shots.

But the test events are also where we can roll out new technologies.



General view of the Olympic Stadium during day two of the BUCS VISA Athletics Championships 2012 LOCOG Test Event for London 2012 at the Olympic Stadium on May 5, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)


London 2012 will be the first time that we’ve used fully robotic cameras at a major sporting event. This is something TV cameras have done for quite a while — but using them photographically really is a breakthrough.

Getting a robotic camera we are happy with has taken a lot of work. Photographic cameras are inherently designed to be operated by hand, and, without giving away all our secrets, it’s been quite a challenge to provide that human touch for a camera resting 60m above the Olympic Stadium.

With all that work, it’s hard to put in to words the feeling when you see for the first time a live feed from a camera that is dangling over the stadium; it really is great to be involved in pushing the boundaries of how we cover the Olympics.


Olympics-London 2012-Robotic Camera-Ian Walton-Getty Images

Getting a robotic camera we were happy with has taken a lot of work. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)


Want to see what else we’re working on? Watch this video so see all the innovative technology we’re using to capture iconic imagery, including 3D and 360. See you in 50 days!


Editor’s note: Gerard McGovern is a Senior Manager, Events for Getty Images, and very much looking forward to having the Games in his backyard.

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