Raising the Game: Sports Broadcasting with Access Platforms

Posted on: February 17th, 2014

Elevated platforms have played an essential role in the way we film sporting events. Not only have the increased the quality of pitch-based sports like rugby and football, they have helped increase the profile of less popular sports by providing great camera angles. From small cherry pickers to spider platforms, there are a whole range of access platforms available to film all kinds of events. From the smallest circuit events like speed skating, to open air events like a triathlon. Mobile access platforms have played a key role in the way we see events on our screens.

Sports such as snowboarding and other outdoor events can often suffer with poor camera angles, meaning they don’t get the kind of exposure and airtime so common with football. This is because these events can be difficult to film at ground level, so there will only be a limited time when a good shot can be filmed. By utilising an elevated platform, the camera is able to view more of the arena and so get higher quality shots for a longer period to allow them to be televised. A perfect example is an event such as the high jump, where a raised camera angle creates amazing shots of the athletes in action and is something that wouldn’t be possible without an elevated platform.


In track and field events like this, raised camera angles have also helped the officials make decisions by giving them greater scope to review different angles and speeds, making sure that errors aren’t made. Without raised access platforms for camera angles, the angles available to film events would be much more sedentary and a lot less exciting.


Big sports clubs with big stadiums often have rigging set up in the ground to film on match days, you wouldn’t find a cherry picker hired for an Arsenal game when it’s guaranteed there will be film crews there every week to film the game. But smaller grounds that don’t always have televised coverage really benefit from access platforms to film their games. It’s not always necessary, but if a lower league club faces a Premier League team at home in the FA Cup, the world will want to watch and small stadiums don’t have camera facilities inbuilt because they don’t film every match. 


Using access platforms to get around this issue has meant that great games can be filmed with the same style at clubs across the country. Although they have played a vital role in bringing great sporting events to our screens, access platforms have begun to make way for more modern techniques. The introduction of the Spidercam has allowed for overhead angles and amazing pictures from all sports.


Typically used for team games like football, rugby and cricket, the camera hovers overhead on a series of wires, which allow it to be moved into any location in a 3D space. Perfect for looking down on the top of scrums, checking if a ball has crossed a line or analysing field positions, this camera has revolutionised the way we watch sport


But this technology is available to only the highest profile arenas, the humble access platform will still serve for a long time in bringing sports to our screens for many years to come. 

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