Ladies German Open Tees Off With Super Slo-Mo, Improved Audio

By Kevin Hilton

The men’s game in golf gets the big money and the bulk of TV coverage, but its female counterpart is catching up, as indicated by an increased prize pot and two major technical innovations at the Ladies German Open. This year’s competition at the Golfpark Gut Häusern course in southern Germany was broadcast in HD and featured the debut of the AntelopeHD Air wireless super–slo-mo camera and the first European use of radio mics for the caddies.

The production was coordinated by broadcast service provider Plazamedia, which was contracted by the Van Bergen Golf Academy, representing German Golf Sport Marketing. LMC (Live Motion Concept) supplied the AntelopeHD Air, and its chief executive, Felix Marggraff, directed the coverage.

“We try to shoot very emotional images, plus document the event using lots of player profiles, graphics, and scoreboards,” says Marggraff. The world feed was also shown in the hospitality rooms and VIP and players’ lounges at the clubhouse.

Facilities included the SIVision double-expando-side truck and 10 Sony HDC1500 cameras and Canon lenses positioned around the course. The AntelopeHD Air was fitted with a 22x lens and shoots at up to 1,500 frames a second. Its 1080i output was sent over a Link HD wireless connection to the OB vehicle, via a repeater station on a camera crane, and was recorded on an EVS XT[2] HD for instant replay. An operator in the truck remotely triggered playback and was also able to control frame rates, exposure, and the colour matrix.

A Sony 3300 triple-speed super-slow-motion camera, also with a Canon J86x lens, was positioned on the terrace of the clubhouse, overlooking holes 1, 9, and 18.

Viewers were also treated to more audio coverage. European viewers are used to hearing the decisions of referees in rugby and conversations between drivers and pit crews in Formula 1, and now they can hear what a player and her caddy are discussing. As many as three caddies wore clip-on radio mics, with the output sent to the OB truck and mixed into the main programme audio feed through its Lawo digital console.

“Plazamedia is setting TV production standards with this sporting event,” comments Plazamedia Chief Executive Florian Nowosad. “Viewers of the Hypovereinsbank Ladies German Open 2009 can take part personally in the golf rounds and instantly follow dialogue between player and caddy.”

Other equipment included EVS XT[2] HD slo-mo servers and GTG sports-graphics software running on native HD engines. The servers were used to assemble replays as well as the 30-min. highlights programme delivered to Premiere on HDCAM tape.