Camera Corps Q-Ball and MiniZoom Generate Fright Night Excitement

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Q-Ball and MiniZoom remotely controlled equipment from Camera Corps, a Vitec Group company with long experience in designing speciality camera systems, were used with great success in a new one-hour-format television show broadcast by UK TV on Halloween. It is also now viewable on YouTube. 'Release the Hounds' combines horror and humour with scream-out-loud moments. The UK version is hosted by television and radio presenter Reggie Yates.

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"Shooting took place in Hertfordshire," explains Fran Peters, Head of Production at Gogglebox. "The location is surrounded by forest which provided an ideal venue for the required atmosphere. Our challenge was to conceal robotic cameras which would capture the excitement from a wide range of positions, including close-ups, follow-shots and wide-angle views, without cameras or camera operators intruding into view."

stills from 'Release the Hounds' including a Camera Corps Q-Ball head concealed in the scarecrow head at lower left

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"The Camera Corps Q-Ball heads proved the perfect solution. The spherical shape allowed us to place individual Q-Ball cameras inside scarecrow heads which could rotate horizontally and vertically to track the action. Others were concealed to capture images from unusual angles. The Q-Balls are very easy to mount and allow simple plug-and-play connection to our production system. This saved a lot of time in rigging for multiple locations."

"The Q-Balls also have the huge advantage that they can be used at night under infra-red illumination which enables the viewing audience to see much more clearly than the contestants. The MiniZooms were used as stationary cameras, hidden in various parts of the forest."

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The Q-Ball and MiniZoom systems were installed by Camera Corps riggers Joe Haigh, Steve Lundy, James Prentice and Doug Young. All 18 cameras were connected to the control room by a combination of long-range optical and 'Simply SMPTE' opto-electric hybrid links.

Developed and produced by Camera Corps both for rental and for sale, the Q-Ball has delivered close-up video from many very high-profile broadcast events in recent years, including the BBC Proms, Summer and Winter Olympics, international football, motor racing, water sports, tennis, football and rugby.

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The Q-Ball is a robust and weatherproof cast-aluminum sphere of similar diameter to a standard Compact Disc or DVD. Inside is a 1080i camera with 10:1 zoom optics plus a fully rotatable pan and tilt head. High-precision motors allow the operator to adjust the camera angle from practically any location, including smooth adjustment of vertical and lateral tracking speeds.

Produced by Gogglebox Entertainment, 'Release the Hounds' sees three unsuspecting contestants enter a forest at dusk, in a quest to unlock chests full of prize money. The not-so-fearless friends responded to an advert for the chance to win.

Little do they know, in order to win big, they have to face the scariest challenges ever endured on TV. To locate the keys, the friends must enter a field of crucified scarecrows, descend beneath the floorboards in a deserted cabin, and read bedtime stories in the nursery from hell.

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But the ultimate challenge for them all is to out-run a pack of hounds trained to guard the cash. If they manage to escape, the money belongs to them. The show’s presenter is in communication from outside the forest, following the contestants’ progress throughout their fright night ordeal.

'Release the Hounds' is currently viewable on https://www.itv.com/itvplayer/release-the-hounds

About Gogglebox Entertainment
Based in London, Gogglebox Entertainment was founded by its Managing Directors, Adam Wood and Mat Steiner.
Adam Wood has devised and/or executive produced formats including the four time Emmy Award winning Cash Cab (over 5,000 episodes worldwide), Release the Hounds (ITV2), The Exit List (ITV), Breakaway (BBC2), Plain Jane (MTV), Impossible (Channel 5), Move Like Michael Jackson (BBC3), Gerry’s Big Decision (Channel 4), Trust Me I’m A Dealer (BBC2), Bangers & Cash (Vox), Playing It Straight (Channel 4), To Catch A Thief (BBC1) and Let Me Entertain You (BBC2).

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Mat Steiner has devised/co-devised and executive produced a wide range of shows which have included: Release the Hounds (ITV2), The Unseen Frankie Howerd (C4), The Ideas Exchange (BBC/Bloomberg), Gerry’s Big Decision (C4), Breakaway (BBC2), The Exit List (ITV), Plain Jane (MTV), The Untold Tommy Cooper (C4), Move Like Michael Jackson (BBC3), Trust Me I’m A Dealer (BBC2), Impossible (Channel 5), Bangers & Cash (Vox), Unseen Eric Morecambe (C4), Cash Cab (ITV1), Mums On Strike (ITV1), Dealing with Dickinson (BBC1), The Golden Lot (ITV1), The Big Day (BBC1), The Box (TV3) and Let Me Entertain You (BBC2).

About Camera Corps
A Vitec Group company, Camera Corps specializes in providing high-volume support services for reality television programs as well as very large-scale sports and stage events worldwide. Based on the site of the former Brooklands motor-racing circuit near London’s Heathrow airport, Camera Corps has achieved a pre-eminent reputation for its ability to acquire exciting and unusual television content from exceptionally challenging environments.

The Camera Corps equipment fleet encompasses HotShots, MiniShots and array of remote specialist cameras and lenses, remote underwater systems, cranes, platforms and dollies. Equipment of Camera Corps' own design includes the iconic Q-Ball, Q-Ball Preset and RF Q-Ball, as well as bespoke builds such as Pop-Up Ice-Cam. Baseball Base Cam, Archery Cam, Underwater Remote Cam, Slalom Pole Cam, Helmet Cam and Body Cam.

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