Hitting Racetracks | Across The USA
When tasked with capturing the fast paced and enthralling world of live horse racing, David Scott, director of engineering at Sport View Technologies (SVT), knew he was accepting a high stakes challenge. Over the last three years, Scott has chosen to use Miller Tripods, to help successfully film and capture the finish line shot. Utilising his skill and keen eye, Scott travels to various thoroughbred horse racetracks throughout America, designing the ideal camera setup to ensure every race is picture perfect.
Scott is credited with designing, building and managing the camera production rig throughout numerous major racetracks within the United States including Tampa Bay Downs in Florida, Remington Park in Oklahoma City, OK and the Lone Star in Dallas, TX. Each location has a detailed camera setup supported by Miller’s Skyline 70 Fluid Head and Arrow 40. “When I first started, I needed a fluid head that could handle the weight, 4.5kg (9.92lbs), of the Fujinon Box 55,” recalls Scott. “When I realized Miller offered support equipment like the Skyline 70 that could handle the camera weight while providing superior balance and a smoother head, I knew it was a perfect fit.”
In total, Scott used 13 Skyline 70 fluid heads and six Arrow 40s throughout the three rigs, which range from one mile on the main racetracks to 7/8 of a mile on the turf tracks. “With such extensive set-ups, it was reassuring to be able to set up Miller tripods quickly and efficiently. I’ve tested and worked with other tripod heads that have malfunctioned during a pivotal moment of filming, but I have always achieved reliable results when working with Miller equipment.”
Scott also emphasizes the importance of maintaining a steady camera pan throughout the entirety of a race broadcast, whether it be in-house or worldwide. “The race is shot live in-house, then uplinked to multiple cable companies that simulcast the footage to various networks, which can be syndicated over with commentary,” says Scott. “When shooting any race, it's vital that each camera is able to smoothly pan and balance across the track to follow the race or an individual horse. Using Miller for this type of racing environment has made a world of a difference in this area.”
For Scott, the Skyline 70 and Arrow 40 have been an ideal solution from start to finish. While filming, each manned camera system is spread out throughout each racing facility, shooting continuously until the horses reach the finish line. “When called for, the team is even able to utilize the strength and fluidity of the tripod to secure accurate finish line shots.”
The Skyline 70 includes 7+0 positions of fluid drag, eight positions of selectable counterbalance, +90 degree tilt, a 120mm sliding quick release camera platform, mounting block/adaptors for accessories and a safety tilt lock. It can support payloads from 4.5kg (9.9lbs) to 37.5kg (82.5lbs). The easy-to-operate rear facing illuminated controls contribute to an overall design that reflects the shooting needs of outside broadcast operations.
Although the Arrow 40 is now discontinued, it is still supported and in use in many production applications worldwide. Miller has since expanded on the Arrow 40’s success with the arrowx 5. The arrowx 5 is ideal for larger ENG and EFP applications, including documentaries, drama and television commercials, and has a wide payload range from 2 - 21kg (4.4 - 46.2lbs), 16 positions of counterbalance and 7+0 pan-and-tilt drag positions