Behind the glass: The secret of the remote camera

October 7, 2010

Often people I know are impressed by amazing pictures of basketball players fighting for a rebound or trying to score a basket, taken from behind the glass. They always ask me from where are these pictures shot because they didn’t see a photographer in the area. The answer is always the same: a remote camera!

Turkey's Ersan Ilyasova (behind) battles Slovenia's Gasper Vidmar during their FIBA Basketball World Championship game in Istanbul September 8, 2010.          REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Probably everybody in the business knows how to set up this type of camera, but for people outside the industry, it can be a mystery. The first thing to know is the equipment required: aside from a camera and a wide lens, other items needed are two magic arms, a piece of black paper to avoid reflections, a pair of radio transmitters and steel cable to secure the elements.

To get the best pictures, the most important thing is to choose the right place to set up the camera which is usually the lowest and closest area next to the rim. After choosing the camera position, you have to strongly secure both magic arms: one of them holding the camera and the other holding the first magic arm. This is a key step in order to avoid the camera falling during the game as a result of the vibrations produced when the players or the ball touch the glass. After that you can set up the camera at the correct angle while looking through the viewfinder and imagine where the players and the ball will be during the game.

A combination picture shows the set-up of remotes during their FIBA Basketball World Championship game in Istanbul September 8, 2010.          REUTERS/Sergio Perez

The second thing to do is to fix the focus, which must be done without any players on court as this job is done while from atop a stepladder. The help of a colleague is often needed as they must hold something (a chair, broom, etc.) up high, around a meter under the rim as the players’ heads will be at that level, in theory, when they fight for a rebound or try to block a shot.

A combination picture shows the remote camera set-up at the FIBA Basketball World Championship game in Istanbul September 8, 2010.          REUTERS/Sergio Perez

When you have done all this work, the only thing remaining is to secure the sheet of black paper around the lens, normally we used a 16/35, to avoid reflection from the glass and to make viewing objects from behind the basket possible. The final step is to link the radio receiver to the camera which has to be set up in the same channel as your transmitter and, obviously, different from your colleagues.

And, voila!! You’re ready to start work.

A cheerleader performs during a timeout during the FIBA Basketball World Championship game between China and Lithuania in Istanbul September 7, 2010. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

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Some photos of preparations for shooting from Istanbul :)
http://kor05rus.livejournal.com/126669.h tml?format=light

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