In former times the spectator had to get on the water - or at least to the coast to have a live experience of a sailing event. Today digital, web-based transmission possibilities deliver the images from the race courses of the Kiel Week live to the spectators ashore. Drones, balloons and on-board cameras are being used to make this possible.
Like no other sport, the sailing sport can profit from the combination of active sportsmen and women, the technology and the element water with its own special set of images. So one of the major tasks for the marketing agency of the Kiel Week Point of Sailing GmbH (POS) is to gain the sponsors interest via a huge media presence and thus ensure the financing of this regatta in a long term.
A central topic of the media work is to make moving pictures available free of charge as footage material for TV channels and internet providers. The technical effort to make it possible to broadcast pictures live from the specially selected TV race course at Kiel Week is remarkable. More than 70 people are working during Kiel Week in the media centre to cut and edit the images and provide them as ready to be delivered bundles. “We have invested a lot, to gain especially huge media presence with our regattas on TV and the internet. The contents are generously offered free of charge in our footage pool”, explains Nikolaus Rickers, managing director of POS. Meanwhile the Kiel Week media team produces the short video sequences in German and English. In the last year, people from around 30 countries did access the content from Kiel, around one million spectators watched the live broadcasts from the event and around 43 million spectators the recordings.
To make that possible, Kiel is presenting Kiel Week live on TV four hours a day, not just broadcasted on the big screen in Schilksee, but you can also follow it via the internet on the website of Kiel Week on your PC at home. The people in Kiel now profit from their years of experience. “In the countries, where Olympic games are being hosted, the broadcast into all countries has to work”, states Rickers. “But we have this Olympic challenge with more than 4,500 sailors and around 1,800 boats every year.”
Meanwhile the whole area of the Olympic centre in Kiel Schilksee has been equipped with modern glas fibre cables, that ensure a fast transfer of large data. The traditional, very cost-intensive directional radio has been replaced by W-LAN transfer possibilities. With the participation of the German software experts from SAP as sponsors of the Kiel Week, the digital and technical transfer technologies have been improved even more. “We created a TV course with the former race course Hotel right in front of the shore, where a different class will be racing each day, from the Olympic Laser to the spectacular 49er up to the fast, ultramodern Musto Performance Skiff”, explains Nikolaus Rickers. “We are using up to ten cameras to film, what is happening on this race course.” Apart from the camera teams, that are chasing the sailors on fast motor boats and try to present the best pictures from different angles, there will be also a remote-controlled drone flying above the race course this year. The flying object, that costs around 10,000 Euro and is controlled from the shore can stay up in the air up to 15 minutes. Then the drone needs to get back to its base to get its batteries replaced.
To get images from board of the dinghies and get really close to the active sailors, four sailors will always be equipped with portable Go Pro cameras, attached to the mast or the boom filming the action without interruption. The two times Kiel Week winner Philipp Buhl did attach the Go Pro camera for the starting day on his Laser and transferred live pictures.
“This year we will be also testing a new Chinese technology for the first time. Under the brand Huawei a function has been established that is supposed to enable the sailor to transfer moving pictures directly from their mobile. The LTE network, that was setup for this purpose as well as the technology are from the Innovation Park from Vodafone”, says Rickers about the next step about the mediasation of the Kiel Week.
Photo © Kieler Woche / www.segel-bilder.de