The 2012 Grand National took place on Saturday April 14 in a race that will be both remembered for the deaths of two horses – one of which was the favourite – and as the last time the event will be shown on BBC television. The steeplechase was broadcast live in HD, with OB company SIS Live supplying two high motion cameras to supplement the standard set-up.
An ARRI Hi-Motion has been used on the National in recent years and this year was at three positions, with its primary coverage coming from The Chair jump. This was joined by an I-Movix fitted with a x86 lens stationed on the Golden Miller balcony to give a high shot overlooking the Aintree course.
Two SIS scanners were on site; OB1, equipped with a Sony MVS8000G vision mixer and 80-fader Calrec Alpha audio console, was the main production unit, with Unit 12, featuring a Sony MVS-8000A vision mixer and a 48-fader Calrec Sigma desk, working on the “re-run” show screened after the live race.
Another important vehicle was Link 21, which coordinated signals for the 14 radio cameras used on the day, including from the two cars that follow the action round the course. SIS Live’s senior engineering manager, Dave Chapman, comments that an innovation for this year was to have cameras following horses into their stables after the race.
There was a total of 50 camera sources on the main scanner mixer, with some cameras used in more than one position. A Vortex hoist-mounted camera was on site to give panoramic views of Aintree.
In March this year Channel 4 won the rights to broadcast the Grand National, Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby, giving it exclusive terrestrial TV coverage of British racing. The BBC is said to have given up its involvement in covering horseracing in the UK due to budget reductions.
The tendering process for production and facilities companies is underway and is said to be at a “sensitive” point. A spokeswoman for C4 told SVGE that the broadcaster was relishing the challenges in adding big events like the National and the Derby to its existing racing coverage.