Associated Press photographer Lefteris Pitarakis films setup of Robotic cameras at the Olympics

Guest post by Lefteris Pitarakis:

I‘m part of the strong Associated Press (AP) team that will cover the 2012 London Olympic Games. I have been with AP since 1998, working with video for a long time and the last two years I had been organizing and conducting DSLR video workshops for AP photographers in Europe and Asia.
Associated Press is sending 85 photographers and photo editors to cover the 2012 London Olympic Games. AP photographers will be supplemented by a series of remote-controlled robotic cameras to cover the swimming, weightlifting and diving competitions, and to offer alternative angles, including under water. These are Canon EOS-1D X cameras on servo controlled heads that are installed in inaccessible places ahead of the games and then controlled by remote operators.

I was asked recently to shoot and create a video of this new technology and of course the people behind it. With only a day to prepare, the shooting and editing had to be arranged on a single half-day amidst the heavily busy schedule of the Olympic preparations. I conducted the interviews at our offices in the Main Press Center at the Olympic Park with our Deputy Director of Photography Denis Paquin and our Houston photographer David Phillip. Our team of David, our Milwaukee photographer Morry Gash and our AP Operations manager Tim Donnelly had been in London for weeks in advance installing the systems. I had no chance to follow them as I was busy covering the city’s preparations so Tim provided me with some footage from the team’s installations plus a very nice time-lapse piece of setting up a system.

AP photographer Lefteris Pitarakis, right, shoots an interview of AP photographer David Phillip, left, at the AP office in Olympic Park's Main Press Center at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 13, 2012, in London. (AP Photo)

The video was straightforward, was made with a Canon 7D, the sound was recorded on camera, lighting was mostly available, supplemented at times with a LED light, and the whole shooting lasted a few hours as we all had to keep up with our busy schedule. Later back home I edited the piece combining the interviews with the provided footage and still images made by David during swimming Olympic trials in Omaha earlier this year.

A huge amount of work had been done by the whole team that designed, compiled and installed the systems – so I tried to show in a short piece as much information I could along with their passion and knowledge.
Images from the Olympics will be distributed via AP’s traditional channels. However, the news agency has also created a white-label, customisable Summer Games microsite that can be embedded on AP members’ sites – see an example at http://summergames.ap.org/citizentribune.

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