Television coverage of Olympic rowing and canoeing will be revolutionised over the next fortnight following the development of the world’s longest cable-camera.
The £250,000 (€205,000) US military camera is suspended on three wires stretched between two 92-metre high towers, which have been erected at each end of the 2.5kilometre lake at Eton Dorney.
The system has been used in Formula One and at four previous Olympics – Salt Lake City, Athens, Beijing and Vancouver – but never before on this scale.
“The overhead wire camera is going to put rowing into a completely different realm for showing our sport,” said GB Rowing performance director David Tanner.
“I am sure the BBC are going to be showing some outstanding pictures of our outstanding crews and others.”
The wire system can propel the birds-eye camera at speeds of up to 130 kilometres per hour, although it will be limited to 70km per hour during the Olympic Games.
The camera can rotate 360 degrees and drops to just eight metres above the boats, offering television viewers a new perspective on the racing.
The footage will supplement the more standard race coverage from cameras fixed to vehicles which follow the crews along the side of the lake.
Stefan Boisjoly, the broadcast venue manager for the Olympic Broadcasting Service, said: “We always try to bring the most dramatic and best quality images to the world.
“We want to honour the work and the efforts of the athletes by showing the sport in the most beautiful, high-tech fashion possible.”