Eye in the Sky
Following its success at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, the aerial camera has returned four years later to provide coverage from above for each of the 64 matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ – weather permitting, of course.
An 18-month project has culminated with seven helicopters, each with two sets of pilots who work on a 14-day shift pattern, taking to the skies of Brazil. Beginning 165 minutes before kick-off at each of the venues hosting matches on that particular day, the aerial cameras focus on team bus movements from their Venue Specific Team Hotels (VSTH) and their arrival at the stadium, as well as producing stunning aerial views of the 12 host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ during the pre-match coverage.
With Brazil being the fifth largest country in the world, in terms of geographical area, David Rashleigh, the Aerial Project Manager, had plenty to consider in the planning process. “It took three days to fly the helicopter to Manaus,” he said. “So while the other six helicopters will rotate between the venues, that one stays put for as long as Manaus is involved in the tournament. Going from Rio to Sao Paulo is also difficult because of all the mountains, but some of the shots from the transit routes have been stunning. They add a lot to the story features.”
One thing which cannot be planned for, however, is the weather. “Heavy rain and poor visibility prevented a flight in Natal ahead of the game between Mexico and Cameroon,” added David. “Then, the game between Iran and Nigeria in Curitiba had no aerial coverage due to the fog in Porto Alegre, where the helicopter was set to take off from. Even those clouds have a silver lining, though. We save flying hours and are able use them for special features, whatever our producers have in their mind. The pilots have input, too, because they know the areas so well.”