Published on 16 November, 2006
Dedicated Micros - part of AD Group - has been able to put a sophisticated NetVu Connected wireless CCTV solution to the test for the RML sports car team which emerged victorious - for the second time in two years - in the LMP2 prototype class at the Le Mans 24 Hours, the endurance race held at what is the most famous sports car venue in the world.
The CCTV equipment provided for the Le Mans 24 Hours was configured to cover the large articulated race truck used to transport the team's MG Lola EX264 race car and associated equipment to and from circuit, providing all important security when the vehicle was parked-up, and crucially allowing the capture of dramatic views of the pit area so the latter could be displayed in the hospitality area giving the team's guests a unique inside view of the race action.
Commented Pauline Norstrom, Worldwide Head of Marketing at Dedicated Micros: "Motorsport is a frenetic fast-paced environment. This makes it both an ideal testing ground for CCTV and a high profile way of showcasing the capabilities of our latest NetVu Connected systems ranging from the new DS2 to the IP version of the 2060 Dennard outdoor dome camera."
Given the distances involved and the fact that the solution for the Le Mans 24 Hours was to be applied at other circuits - including Donington for the six-round Le Mans Series of 1,000 km races in which the MG Lola would also be competing - it was imperative when looking at the connectivity of the solution it could be set-up quickly and economically. Consequently it was felt that the best way forward would be to connect all of the elements across the race truck, pit area, the paddock and hospitality suite via a wireless network.
Race Truck Focus
When planning the solution it was realised that - due to its ideal location when parked-up - the race truck would be the logical choice as the central hub of the Wireless Distribution System (WDS), with the pits, hospitality suite and paddock all connected together through this central wireless access point. So what did this mean in practice? Essentially, when guests wanted to view video from the pit area in the hospitality suite a connection was first made to the race truck; the race truck then forwarded that command to the pit area and vice-versa for the returning video.
Looking in more detail at the equipment installed, the NetVu Connected solution was able to readily accommodate a mix of analogue and IP cameras installed throughout the system. In terms of specific locations, a powerful DV-IP Server networkable DVR formed the heart of the solution in the race truck. The DV-IP Server was linked in the race truck to two static analogue cameras, two Dennard 2060 outdoor dome cameras and a wireless access point. Video from the race truck cameras could then be viewed in the race truck locally using the NetVu ObserVer viewing software on the DV-IP itself or video could be streamed from the DV-IP Server to a DS2 situated in the hospitality suite and, crucially, recorded as an IP source.
For the pit garage, where much of the behind the scenes drama of an endurance race was played out, the key pieces of equipment installed were the very latest rapidly deployable 2060 IP dome and an IP mega pixel camera - both connected to a wireless access point. With the Dennard 2060 IP dome all the features of the standard 2060 were available but with the added advantage of connection, control and viewing across the network without the need for extensive Cat 5 cabling, a benefit, which was also, realised with the mega pixel IP camera. By utilizing a mega pixel camera in the pits, based on the latest chip technology, it was possible to deliver a crisp high quality images across the network directly to systems including the DV-IP Server and DS2 using NetVu ObserVer software and NetVu Connected products such as NetVu Console, with the facility to digitally zoom in for greater depth without the loss of quality and detail.
In the hospitality area both a DS2 - with MultiMode Recording capability - and the latest NetVu Console were installed. The NetVu Console was ideal for this environment because it provides an easy to set-up remote viewing point, in this case being combined with a standard monitor and linked to a wireless access point.
On the Move at Le Mans
In addition to the static elements of the CCTV solution, the award-winning TransVu mobile digital CCTV system was able to prove its award-winning capabilities out on the track. Fitted to the powerful EX264 race car, this was an ideal challenge for TransVu, with the harder suspension of the race cars transmitting every bump and groove of the track through the sophisticated electronics, coupled to high G forces and temperatures, which can soar to 50 degrees Centigrade. Ultimately the ruggedness of TransVu really stood out- so essential for transport applications - with its capacity to keep on recording images during qualification and from the start to the finish of the endurance race despite the battering it received in such as harsh environment, even when the image quality fell towards the end it wasn't due to the TransVu but because the bullet cameras - front and rear - had literally been pebble-dashed by debris thrown-up from the track.
The RML sports car team at Le Mans were able to benefit from TransVu's ability to integrate video footage with telemetry from the MG Lola racecar, enabling them to keep a close eye on driver performance throughout the endurance race.
Much in evidence at Le Mans was the TransVu unit's impressive MultiMode Recording capability which allowed it to switch between high-quality MJPEG recording during qualifying and space efficient MPEG-4 for the race proper. The event also saw Dedicated Micros using compact flash memory cards with TransVu as a convenient and economical method of image storage.