Getty use underwater robots to photograph Olympic swimming events

Aug 11, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Getty use underwater robots to photograph Olympic swimming events

Aug 11, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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The technological advancements that can be made in just four short years are amazing. 11 time Olympic photographer Al Bello is taking advantage of that fact this year. He’s covering the swimming events using underwater robot cameras.

Robotic underwater cameras at the Olympics aren’t a new idea. Reuters used similar robots during London 2012. But this is the first time Getty will be giving them a try. With an extra four years of research and development, though, these cameras should get some fantastic and unique shots.

YouTube video

In an interview with CNN. Bello spoke about some of the challenges of underwater Olympic photography.

In the past, with a traditional submerged static remote camera, you’d have to visualize the photos you wanted ahead of time and think about what race and stroke you want to capture,

It was limiting; you could only guess where the swimmer was going to be when they came into the frame.

– Al Bello

If positioning is a little off, you can miss your swimmer by a mile, so not get the shot at all. With so many events each day, being able to tweak and adjust between them isn’t so easy. Each organisation is also only allowed a single camera in the pool at once, so you couldn’t even cover your bases with multiple cameras.

The robotic unit houses a Canon 1DX Mark II and sits in a fixed place at the bottom of the pool. Although Bello told CNN that they do allow you you “zoom in, tilt, spin or get multiple angles”.

I can now execute many ideas in one session; before, I had the chance to make one happen.

With a remote liveview from a monitor, it sure must take a lot of the guesswork out of the equations. It will be interesting to see how this develops in the future, and what other events robotics can help with.

Do you use any robotic camera tools with your work? Let us know and tell us what you think in the comments.

[via digitalrev]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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3 responses to “Getty use underwater robots to photograph Olympic swimming events”

  1. Brian Papke Avatar
    Brian Papke

    Wonder if they’re using the robots without permission too ?

  2. praxis_62 Avatar
    praxis_62

    Can’t wait to see them drag the robot into court for copyrite violation.

  3. JP Danko Avatar
    JP Danko

    If a robot can track a subject, frame and trigger the shutter on its own – which presumably is the logical next step – who owns the copyright (re monkey selfie)…?