Drones to Beam Snowboarding Action Live from Mountain Top on Red Bull TV
Custom-built racing drones meet mountain-top, live, wireless production to broadcast the YETI Natural Selection at Jackson Hole live, exclusively on Red Bull TV this week. The Natural Selection Tour, a first of its kind championship series where riders compete in fresh powder conditions on vast areas of terrain, initially presented nearly insurmountable production hurdles, but through new technology, innovation, and help from the world’s top racing drone pilots, the stage is set to beam the event live from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to the world. Riders will drop in on the two most prime days within the opening contest’s February 3-9 weather window.
To keep the snow as untracked as possible and allow riders to freely pick their lines through the features, follow, cable and stationary cameras aren’t functional for the primary angle. This new drone was developed, for first-use at this week’s YETI Natural Selection Tour, by world-champion racing drone pilot and physicist Gabriel “Gab707” Kocher, Ph.D and the team at Uncle Toad’s Media Group, the Tour’s production company. The result is a video game-like, third person angle of the riders descending the course in real-time. Operating these gimbal-equipped drones requires a very high level of skill. The contest’s primary drone angle will feature two world champion drone racing pilots “Gab707”and Jordan “Jet” Temkin at the sticks.
“This really puts the spectator at the front seat of the action,” said Kocher. “While general camera drones are known for delivering smooth stabilized footage, racing drones are known more for their agility, power and speed. This drone is a merger of those two worlds, delivering broadcast grade footage, while being able to follow the riders in close proximity down the course at speed. We spent months looking for solutions out there, but had to revert to building things up from scratch to achieve the vision without compromises.”
The same production team that won an Emmy for Outstanding Digital Innovation on Red Bull Rampage, will use a fully wireless live system to carry the live action from the mountainside, to a full live production studio at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The feed then travels to Red Bull Media House in Santa Monica, where it will air exclusively, free and in its entirety, on the web at www.redbull.tv and as an app across mobile phones, tablets, consoles, OTT devices and Smart TVs.
“What makes the Natural Selection Tour so unique is that its venues are so vast and spread out. This is also what makes it nearly impossible to cover as a seamless live event,” said Chris Steblay, Creative Director and Senior Producer at Uncle Toad’s Media Group. “Luckily for us, this tour is coming at just the right moment in the evolution of technology. Over the course of the last year we set out to develop and build the first-ever stabilized racing drone with a live full HD video feed. From the size and power of modern race drones to the quality and reliability of wireless video feeds, this event is pushing the limits of what exists for live broadcasting.”
Throughout the tour, riders will be competing on the planet’s most exciting terrain, heading north from Jackson to the Natural Selection Baldface Lodgein interior B.C., Canada, and then onto Alaska’s daunting peaks at the HempFusion Natural Selection at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, where the men’s and women’s all-mountain, freestyle riding champions will be crowned in late March.
A manifestation of Travis Rice’s wildest dreams, the Tour’s innovative format will reveal the world’s top riders’ full creative expression and require a deep knowledge of backcountry conditions to reign supreme. All events will run within seven-day windows to ensure that the terrain is in peak season conditions.
Like-minded partners have come together to help develop and support the Tour. YETI will entitle the Jackson Hole event and lead the Tour’s sustainability strategy alongside Conservation International. HempFusion will entitle the Alaska event. Additional partners include Backcountry, Red Bull, GoPro, Fuel Off-Road, Polaris, Fat Tire, Visit Jackson Hole, Toyo Tires, Thule, along with host venues Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Baldface Lodge and Tordrillo Mountain Lodge.
Through the Industry Alliance marketing platform, endemic brands are able to directly support the events and their team riders competing on the Natural Selection Tour. Alliance members receive brand presence on streaming, broadcast and at the events, along with access to content and social assets from the Tour for marketing their team riders. The Natural Selection Tour thanks BOA, Burton, Mervin Manufacturing, Oakley, Quiksilver, Union Binding Company, VANS, Salomon, K2, The North Face, Jones Snowboards, Picture, Smith Optics, Dakine and SPOT Insurance for being the founding members of this industry-unifying effort.
About the Natural Selection Tour
Debuting in February 2021 with stops at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming; Baldface Lodge, British Columbia; and Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, Alaska; the Natural Selection Tour will showcase the world’s top riders from Olympians to big mountain film icons all competing on the planet’s most exciting natural and naturally enhanced terrain. The best all-mountain freestyle riders in the world will move through the tour culminating with the crowning of a men’s and women’s champion at the Alaskan final. The Natural Selection Tour’s mission is to inspire people to forge a deeper relationship with Mother Nature.
About Travis Rice
Travis Rice has established himself over the last twenty years as one of the most influential snowboarders in the world. Rice’s achievements have spanned from freestyle competitions such as the X Games and the Air & Style to monumental film productions such as The Art of
Flight, The Fourth Phase, and most recently, Dark Matter. Rice has impacted the world of snowboarding by constantly exploring new frontiers in freeriding, content production, product design and social media. Rice is represented by Circe Wallace at Wasserman Media Group.
About Red Bull TV
Red Bull TV allows you to enjoy unrivaled access to sports events, esports, music festivals, films, videos, documentaries and shows from locations that span the globe. Now supporting AR, Red Bull TV takes you beyond the ordinary with high quality on-demand movies and live streams. Discover music from trend setting artists, watch live events with top athletes and follow globetrotting daredevils to the most exciting corners of the planet. Browse channels at your leisure such as Music, Snow, GoPro, Bike, Water, Esports, Motorsports and many more. Whether you have five minutes or five hours, Red Bull TV is ready to entertain you. Anytime. Anywhere.
About Uncle Toad’s Media Group
Uncle Toad’s Media Group has been on the forefront of action sports and cutting edge media for over 15 years. From surfing events on a remote island in Fiji to concerts, Uncle Toad’s produces culturally relevant project that helps its clients with their audiences. Based in Southern California they produce notable global events for Red Bull TV, The World Surf League and the Vans Park Series. With one eye on cutting edge technology and the other on creative, they are a one-stop shop for innovative live broadcasting and creative content.