The voice of the director that is heard through a walkie talkie at the top of the Alfonso Pérez Coliseum, the Getafe CF stadium, in the south of Madrid. While 17,000 fans enjoy the victory of the Azulón team against RCD Mallorca, in one of the press booths, above the last amphitheater of the gallery, three technicians are responsible for controlling all the maneuvers of the camera that flies over the pitch at high speed.
Paco Rodríguez, Víctor Ferrándiz and Daniel Zanón make up one of the six teams of Mediapro experts who ride the skycam(aerial cameras) already installed in 11 fields of LaLiga Santander. It is the only competition in the world that has such an amount. They are alert, because the next plane that millions of viewers will see around the world will come out of the lens they handle.
“They are going out now. Let’s go with you, Paco! ”, The director instructs, again on the wireless device. Rodriguez is the pilot of the camera, in charge of “positioning it in the field, across the length, length and height”. Ferrándiz is the one who operates it frames, focuses and moves the lens. Zanón, technical assistant, ensures that the tool works perfectly start the four motors that move the pulleys on which the structure is attached, place the camera in each game, change the batteries and confirm that the signal reaches the mobile unit of realization, where it is decided when and for what the plans that his other two companions make up are used.
Rodríguez, camera operator for almost 20 years, leads the team that depends on the Department of Special Cameras that Mediapro set up in Valencia to train and develop this type of equipment. “To install this structure in a stadium you only need to have four lighting towers or a roof that can support the weight,” he explains.
The system, provided by the company Omnicam4sky, is composed of four pulleys with cables moved by four 160 kilogram motors, fiber optic connection cables to send the signal to the producer and a control station that has two consoles and their respective software to pilot the camera.
Each of the cables that cross the sky of the stadium can support a load of 980 kilograms although an aerial camera does not exceed 40 (less than five between the device and its optics and the rest is of the structure that supports it and takes it to fly). They fly at a maximum speed of 10 meters per second (36 km / h). No player goes faster. Last year, Portu (then in Girona FC) and Postigo (which is still in Levante UD) reached 35 km / h.
Rodriguez and Ferrándiz look like children playing video games. From the top they watch the game and move the camera each with its console to change the planes. The work must be meticulously coordinated. Rodriguez has to position himself in a place that allows his partner to get the image he is looking for.
“Now zenith, okay, sky ?” , Says the director. Then the pilot puts the camera above the center of the field and the operator points down to show from the top the kick-off after the initial beep. The same is repeated after each goal. “Ok, there is change,” says someone on the walkie talkie.
“Cucurella leaves, looks for the one with the mane,” Rodríguez tells Ferrándiz. Between them they find behind the wheel of Getafe. And they follow him as a drone to accompany him to the bench. “But this camera is not a drone because it is subject to a structure. By legislation, you cannot fly over a large number of people, ”says Rodríguez.
Goal repetitions, preparation of missing or corner kicks, changes, kicks from the center of the field are usually the times when this camera is most used that allows, for example, to show the same image that the pitcher is seeing lack. It is also used a lot during the warm-up of the teams, before the start of the matches.