Up, Up and Away. Dream Chip’s ATOM Cameras Take Viewers on David Blaine’s Death-Defying Balloon Stunt with Him
With nothing holding Blaine afloat other than an out-sized bouquet of 50 helium filled balloons, he ascended 24,900’ above the Arizona desert floor with six of Dream Chip’s ATOM cameras capturing the entire event exclusively from the air. Working in partnership with 3g Wireless, the primary RF provider for the broadcast; and RF Film, a worldwide wireless solutions and design company, AVBB provided four ATOM 4k mini 16 cameras installed on arms extending from the balloon cluster and focused on Blaine, and a single ATOM One positioned downward from the balloon cluster.
A sixth ATOM camera, an ATOM One Mini Air, was affixed to Blaine’s custom flight vest designed and manufactured by RF Film. Built into Blaine’s vest was the video transmitter, audio system, custom antennas and RF switching unit, and GPS Tracking system. On the receive end, RF Film provided a custom auto-tracking receive dish that 3g Wireless used to receive the video directly from the vest on the ground.
“During our first engineering discussions, Greg Robinson from 3g Wireless, asked me to take a look at the Dream Chip cameras,” said Greg Johnson, President and Owner, RF Film. “After getting the system into our shop and turning it on, we were sold right away, it was the perfect size and the resolution was fantastic, the exact tool for this project.”
The cameras needed to perform flawlessly in extreme conditions with temperatures ranging from near 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the ground (and 130-140 degrees inside the payload balloon) to approximately 1 degree at the maximum altitude of 24,900’ with oxygen levels roughly half of those at sea level. Camera size and weight were also primary factors as every gram mattered in the overall project.
“These incredibly small and light cameras were ideal for this project, with a high resolution and dynamic range providing crystal clear images not normally seen from cameras of this size,” explained Nathan Spencer, EIC – 3g Wireless. “We used them under the most challenging of conditions and they performed exceptionally well in the heat of the Arizona desert all the way up to the freezing temperatures at high altitude. Combined with 3g’s remote telemetry and video transmission systems, we maintained full control of them throughout the flight and watched the live images of David’s flight in awe - along with the rest of the World!”
3g designed, manufactured and integrated the bespoke solutions to meet the unique requirements of the project. Since this was a one-time only event with no “re-do’s” possible, the RF design plan had to include multiple redundant transmission systems. It was key to have two video outputs from each camera allowing transmission of the images concurrently to the ground and up to the specially equipped plane which then retransmitted the video down to the ground. In addition, 3g provided the RF links for the helicopter camera ship, the Steadicam used at the launch site and remote cameras at the landing area and also designed and provided the communications system that was used to speak with Blaine during flight.
“This project was the culmination of six months of design, manufacturing, integration and preparation,” explained Tommy Goodson, AVBB president. “Everything had to be perfect because the helicopter wasn’t able to fly to the altitude David achieved so the Dream Chip cameras were the primary broadcast source once he left the ground.”
About Audio Video BrandBuilder
AudioVideo BrandBuilder Corporation (AVBB) consists of a highly technical and market-focused group of video professionals and innovators with experience in every aspect of the Production/Acquisition, Post-Production and Broadcast/Distribution process. Our goal is to facilitate the entry of YOUR BRAND into the US market and the rest of the Americas and be your official representative in this continent. AVBB is the manufacture rep and exclusive MASTER DISTRIBUTOR of important brands in the broadcast industry, such as Teracue®, Dream Chip, Aaronia AG, BR Remote. AVBB distributes Kowa Lenses, and Computar® Lenses.
About Dream Chip
Dream Chip Technologies GmbH (DCT) is among the largest German design service company, with more than 100 engineers in Germany and the Netherlands. DCT is part of the Goodix Technology family. Goodix Technology (SH: 603160) is an integrated solution provider for applications based on IC design and software development offering industry-leading software and hardware semiconductor solutions for smart devices, IoT applications and automotive electronics. DCT specialise in the development of large ASICs, FPGAs, embedded software and systems, with a strong application focus on automotive vision systems. The innovative company provides vision technologies and solutions to its clients. DCT develops and manufactures the world’s smallest fully integrated professional 2K and 4K SDI cameras: the ATOM one 2k and ATOM one 4k. Both are almost as small as action cams, but with all the professional features broadcasters expect. DCT also delivers to the broadcast market high-speed cameras, real-time flicker removal and 4G/LTE video streaming solutions.
About 3g Wireless
3g is an award-winning broadcast engineering services company that specializes in providing RF products and services for live remote productions, primarily to sports, entertainment and news companies. While we are a technology and engineering company, we are deep down a people company. 3g is focused on our relationships with the people that are our customers. We are also all about our people and their unrivaled talents. Our people combine an insatiable technical curiosity and well over 100 years of broadcast engineering experience. For our customers this is a powerful combination that allows us to achieve one of our favorite sayings: “It’s sorted”. It’s an expression that we feel perfectly describes the experience we provide for our customers. Through preparation, knowledge and caring we get it right for you so you don’t have to worry about it. We pride ourselves on providing a seamless experience so you can focus on the broadcast.
About RF Film, Inc.
RF Film, Inc. grew from an observed necessity to streamline action filmmaking using state of the art wireless technology and designing custom applications. Our mojo is to provide reliable, real time, wireless video from any camera to anywhere.
At the heart of it all, RF Film is here to optimize efficiency and make your job easier. To support onset collaboration and foster creativity, we take a holistic approach to the RF game. We attribute our success to not only having state of the art wireless technology but in our team of technicians dedicated, to working the gear, to bring you the 'Big Picture.' President of RF Film, Greg "Noodles" Johnson, is the go-to man for wireless solutions worldwide. Working among a group of elite professionals at the forefront of technology in various industries, he's always looking for new opportunities to bring people together and design solutions for technological advances. With over twenty years of engineering and consulting experience, no one is as well connected to like-minded visionaries who can make the impossible possible.