The ability of the racecourse Stewards to be able to analyse in detail any incident at any stage of a race is a fundamental requirement of today's racing, and RaceTech provides video coverage for post-race scrutiny by the Stewards - and often by television viewers: the headon film of a finish shown in a television transmission is the official head-on view provided by RaceTech.
The camera patrol was introduced to the UK in 1960, having been a
familiar part of the American racing scene for many years before that. 'Scout' cameras, which offer coverage around the track and the additional evidence of filming the field from the rear, first came into use in 1965.
Today cameras are sited around the racecourse so that they can pick up every part of the race and crucial stages - such as the finishing straight - from various angles: the ability to view an incident from different angles can often be vital in the Stewards' unravelling of exactly what happened.
The various cameras around the course are directed from a mobile control unit (sometimes referred to as the 'scanner') in which the director can see, on the bank of television monitors, exactly what each camera is filming. The upgrading of this part of the RaceTech operation, including the use of state-of-the-art new mobile control room technology, has been one of the company's major initiatives, and enabled the significant expansion of contracts with television companies.
May 2002 saw the start of two major contracts for RaceTech to support the sale of picture rights by the the 59 racecourses in Great Britain. The new satellite racing channel attheraces went on air on Sky Television and cable using RaceTech for coverage of all races from its partner courses. Satellite Information Services (SIS), who provide coverage of racing and other betting opportunities for all UK and Irish betting shops, awarded a five-year contract to provide all their coverage of UK racing.
In May 2006 RaceTech contracted with Arena Leisure Plc, to provide broadcast services at the seven courses it manages, and in April the following year RaceTech signed an agreement with the 31 racecourses aligned to satellite television channel Racing UK and betting shop pictures supplier Turf TV, to provide coverage at their 650 plus fixtures.
Today RaceTech provides coverage to the BBC, Channel 4 and the two specialist horse racing channels, At The Races and Racing UK, and to racing fans around the world through the international racing and betting channels.
To complement its broadcast services RaceTech also provides closed circuit television facilities on most British racecourses. This coverage typically integrates the race itself with paddock commentary, betting shows, interviews, results and so on: programmes can be tailored to meet the requirements of particular courses.
Outside Broadcast units - customarily comprising five or six cameras plus scanner van and related technology - can be made available for hire to other sports and events.