AP Turns To Telemetrics Robotic Camera Systems For Underwater Sports Photos At Olympics

A unique underwater camera system designed and built by Telemetrics, a provider of robotic camera control systems, will be deployed by the Associated Press at this year’s major sporting event in Tokyo to capture still images of the swimmers and divers as they hit the water and swim up from the bottom of the pool during the swimming, diving and synchronized swimming events. The AP successfully used the same Telemetrics system at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The global news agency will use the robotic camera control system — which includes Sony’s Alpha 9 II or Alpha 1 mirrorless cameras and a Telemetrics PT-CP-S5 remotely controlled Pan/Tilt Head operated with a Telemetrics robotics panel — to remotely capture high-quality stills of the action. Other systems in Tokyo are using a new Telemetrics PL-HOUL-S5 “Pool Housing” under the water to cover the events.

The underwater robotics camera system was designed and built specially for Olympic-sized pools and water sports events. The robotics and camera integration are simple to deploy and use, employing just one Ethernet cable to interface to the robotics systems. This will allow The AP to fully control the camera system remotely (including shutter, focus, zoom, and more) as well as monitor camera feeds live from RCCP-M remote camera control panel.

The single Cat7 also carries power for the entire underwater rig, including the camera, as the system features full support of PoE connectivity.

The underwater robotics features a high range of motion on pan and tilt, allowing photographer/camera operators to have full coverage of the pool. The lens zoom control also allows operators to capture extreme close-up shots of the action.

Images captured with both setups will be transferred immediately to a pool side technician operating a Telemetrics RCCP-M Robotic Camera Control Panel. From there, the high-quality still images will be edited, toned and captioned before being sent to AP members and clients around the world in real time (via FTP features on Sony’s mirrorless cameras). This new Telemetrics camera robotics system, including a weatherproof housing, will also be used to capture the highly imaginative opening and closing ceremonies from high atop Olympic Stadium, in Tokyo.


The AP will bring six PT-CP-S5 compact robotic Pan/Tilt camera systems supporting Sony’s full-frame mirrorless cameras mounted on the Telemetrics PT-CP-S5 Pan/Tilt Head inside a Telemetrics WP-HOU-A9 Weatherproof Camera Housing. The remotely controlled PT-CP-S5 α9 Weather-resistant P/T Head Bundle system has been developed for professional photographers looking to capture high-quality (24 MP) still photos for news outlets and sports events.

“The system is easy to setup and allows unique photos to be captured that would not be possible without this solution,” said Michael Cuomo, vice president of Telemetrics, adding that a single operator will use the RCCP-M panel to control multiple cameras simultaneously and have full live preview of all the cameras. “These games are history and there is only one opportunity to capture the action. Our robotics are designed to deliver in even these most demanding applications. We’re excited to see the images generated from this collaboration with the Associated Press.”

The new system was also used by the AP at this year’s largest annual football game in Tampa Bay Florida and performed to the photo agency’s exacting standards. They have embraced the remotely controlled mirrorless camera system as a great way to place cameras in hard-to-reach environments, like high atop a stadium, for unique and creative, high-quality still shots.

The Tampa Bay football game application was the first such use of this system in a live sports setting, providing proof of its reliability, robustness, and ability to acquire unique images remotely using a Telemetrics RCCP-M Robotic Camera Control Panel. A network interface allows users to control the camera and access the images online, and on the control panel, the operator had live video streamed from the camera.

The new PT-CP-S5 A9 Weather-resistant P/T Head Bundle is a fully integrated, aesthetically pleasing robotic camera package that includes a compact pan/tilt head and weatherproof camera housing to fully protect and control the user’s choice of camera and zoom lens. The system’s robotic servo controls use motors of ultra-high position and velocity accuracy, which makes it the perfect choice for live sports and security applications where there’s no room for failure, while the compact, tightly sealed design satisfies a variety of demanding commercial and industrial applications where high reliability and smooth, accurate camera performance are critical.

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