Monday, Mar 27

What Does It Take to Broadcast a Formula 1 Race?

Friday, Jan 20 778

Formula 1 is one of the fastest sports in the world that is not easy to capture and broadcast. As digital technologies evolve, we can benefit from high-quality cameras, drones, and even helicopters that help broadcast the action. The audience can see what is going on inside the car, how it rides, and looks from the sky. People feel like they participate in a race thanks to cutting-edge broadcasting technologies. In this article, you will find the ins and outs of F1 filming.

Broadcasting a motor race is quite challenging as millions of viewers worldwide wait to see their favorite track and race venue. A lot of technologies and staff are engaged in F1 broadcasting. High-quality cameras, microphones, and drones capture every movement and sound to convey the vibe of the race. Professional broadcasters use the latest technologies to add music to video, captions, and other details for a better viewer experience.

The Process of F1 Filming and Broadcasting

In order to film a single F1 race, over 120 trackside cameras, onboard cameras, a helmet camera, and a camera in a helicopter is used. Every car is equipped with small cameras and sensors to capture everything in the cockpit and broadcast live. The television production teams are responsible for monitoring the filming equipment and seamless broadcasting. The TV director chooses either the replay or the track feed will go onto the world feed. We should understand that it’s impossible to capture all 20 cars, so broadcasters focus on impressive shots and figures. Let’s find out more about what they use to send action to viewers.

Onboard Cameras

Firstly, we shall speak about onboard cameras that show the action from the driver’s perspective. They help to show people how speedy cars are and what a driver feels when driving. Five onboard cameras are usually used in Formula 1 cars. The “T-cam” in F1 is found on top of the car and has two cameras pointing forwards and backward. The other three cameras are located at different places on the chassis. Small and lightweight 360-degree cameras capture incredible footage. Helmet cameras give the audience a driver’s view of the race.

Helicopter Cameras

Helicopter cameras are expensive, but they are really worth it for professional Formula 1 broadcasting. You know that flying a helicopter isn’t cheap, but filming equipment is even more expensive. The helicopter flies over the circuit and takes dynamic shots. It produces a steady image thanks to an advanced camera stabilizer. Viewers enjoy great footage as the helicopter moves smoothly. The pilot and the operator collaborate to generate incredible Formula 1 footage.

Experiments With Drones

Formula 1 experimented with drones to broadcast the race. They used drones with cameras for the first time in Spain and called it a “testing on air” approach. Producers believed that viewers get a closer aerial view from different corners. However, drone shots cannot replace traditional helicopter footage. Drones pose a safety risk if they were to malfunction. Additionally, they’re not fast enough to follow the cars. As a solution, Formula 1 uses a cable camera that’s hooked up to a cable system. It can move at up to 80 miles per hour and perfectly tracks the cars giving viewers a dynamic angle.

Other Types of Cameras

Formula 1 uses Grass Valley cameras and Canon broadcast lenses. They are mounted on a Vinten tripod for stable footage. Slow-motion cameras are used for replays. It also benefits from different specialty cameras to capture the cars from more angles. They make the footage more versatile and engaging. These are small cameras built into the curbs, roaming cameras in the pit lane, camera crews, cameras in the grandstands, and pit stop cameras. Besides, they may send up an operator with a scissor lift to film from an aerial perspective.

Final Thoughts

As you see, filming and broadcasting Formula 1 is a time-consuming, difficult and expensive process. More than 120 cameras, a helicopter camera, onboard cameras, and microphones help to convey the spirit of the race and give viewers unforgettable emotions as they drive a car. So the next time you watch a race, remember the efforts of a dedicated production team.


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