Winter X Games Live: Fletcher Chicago Keeps ESPN in Cameras

Whether it’s the summer or winter flavor, specialty-camera–rental house Fletcher Chicago has become a mainstay at ESPN’s X Games. Having served ESPN at every single X Games since its inception, Fletcher is back in full force this week at the 17th edition of Winter X in Aspen, CO.

“It’s amazing how much the [Winter X Games production] has changed over the years,” says Ed Andrzejewski, manager, Fletcher Chicago. “One of the things we’ve learned for both Summer and Winter X is, you have to be able to adapt. We always try to keep things in our back pocket just in case [ESPN] asks for it at the last minute.”

This year, Fletcher is supplying ESPN with a total of 11 camera systems: six 3D robotic rigs (outfitted with Sony HDCP1 cameras and integrated into CAMERON PACE Group [CPG] 3D rigs), three 2D robotics, and two Phantom-powered I-MOVIX SprintCam Vvs HD ultra-slow-motion systems.

ESPN has assigned two 3D robotic systems to SlopeStyle events, one to Snowmobile events, two to Big Air competitions, and one split between Snowmobile and Snowboard Street. Last year, Fletcher supplied 10 3D systems, but that number was cut to six this year with the elimination of the X Course event.

“There has been a little less 2D since they moved to the 5D model,” says Andrzejewski. “Instead of thinking of things in terms of 2D and 3D, all the venues are 5D. And we have a great working relationship with CPG, which is huge for that part of it.”

As for the 2D robotics, two are booth cameras, and the third is a Panasonic system outfitted with a 42X lens mounted on the bottom of a Musco lighting system that captures wide shots of the complex.

Venue A (SlopeStyle and SuperPipe) and Venue B (all other events) each have an I-MOVIX  ultra-slo-mo system (branded MegaMo during ESPN telecasts), as has become the standard for both Summer and Winter X Games in recent years.

As Fletcher approaches the two-decade mark at X Games, ESPN has doubled its action-sports slate by upping the number of annual X events from three to six in 2013. The question is, will Fletcher be along for the ride to Foz du Iguacu (Brazil), Barcelona, and Munich?

“We sure hope so,” says Andrzejewski, who has been working X Games for Fletcher since 1996. “Everything is up for bid, so, of course, we would love to be a part of that.”