Camera Corps' Q-Ball and SIMPLY SMPTE track Derren Brown for Channel 4


London-based Neon Broadcast Services chose Camera Corps (part of Vitec Videocom, a Vitec Group company) to provide remote camera facilities for the latest Derren Brown production, 'Apocalypse', which was broadcast by Channel 4 UK on 26 October and 2 November 2012. Nearly 50 Camera Corps Q-Ball robotic pan/tilt/zoom heads with integral 1080-line high-definition cameras were provided for the programme which was created by Objective Productions.

"Camera Corps worked with us very successfully last year on Derren Brown's 'The Guilt Trip' which used 22 robotic cameras mounted in various parts of a stately home," comments Neon Broadcast's managing director Colin Vinten. "The latest production was on a much bigger scale, requiring 47 Q-Ball heads positioned in multiple locations across a former United States Air Force base in East Anglia.

"The Q-Ball heads are much more compact than traditional robotic cameras and deliver excellent high-definition images over a wide range of lighting conditions. Their pan, tilt and zoom drives are extremely quiet and allow very precise control so can be used for in-vision tracking shots without risk of distracting the participants.


"All of the Q-Ball cameras were operated by a four-strong Camera Corps team, each using a joystick steering unit and a remote control panel  to ensure accurate colour matching. This allowed us to follow the subjects over widely dispersed locations without a correspondingly huge production staff. Setup, recording and dismantling were all completed on schedule within an eight-day time frame. The Q-Ball performance, appropriately, was magic!"

"Working across a production area of more than 400 hectares presented interesting challenges in terms of cable runs, some of which were well beyond the safe limits for HD-SDI over copper," adds Camera Corps' Equipment Manager Neil Ashworth." We installed 11 of our new SIMPLY SMPTE hybrid electro-optical links which can operate over 5 kilometres or more, allowing us to run feeds from aircraft hangers, bunkers, barracks and other former military buildings into the main control room."


The camera of choice for many reality-show, sports broadcasting and televised stage events, Camera Corps’ Q-Ball is an ultra-compact remotely-controlled camera with integral 10x zoom optical lens and smooth-accelerating pan/tilt motors. Housed in a robust and fully-weatherproof 115 mm diameter aluminium sphere, it is fully compatible with all existing Camera Corps robotic control systems and CCU panels.

First used for the Euro 2012 football tournaments, 2012 Wimbledon tennis and the Summer Games in London, Camera Corps' SIMPLY SMPTE compact remote link consists of a base unit and remote unit. Powered by 110 or 240 volts AC, the 303 x 165 x 65 millimetre 3.63 kilogramme base unit has an optical input for incoming video data. Electrical inputs allow direct connection of analog genlock video and audio-frequency control data. A loop-through connector is provided for the control data channel. Incoming video from the remote camera is accessible via two HD-SDI outputs.


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