App for iPhone and iPad compresses video and audio files for remote filming and transmission
Action from seven of the 336 yachts competing in the Rolex FastNet, the world's largest offshore race, was made available to fans and the media this year by a new iPhone and iPad app used by crews to send in real time photos, sequences of stills and video directly to the race command centre.
NetCaster, which was developed in partnership with the European Space Agency, enabled competitors to contribute H.264AVC encoded motion video, live sequences of still images, to store and forward H.264AVC video, photographs, conversational textual 'chat' and geo-tagging information, using satellite and mobile networks.
Richard Aylmer-Hall, business development and product manager at Livewire, developer of the app, stated: 'Newscaster takes your file and compresses it for sending across low bandwidth networks. To make sure audio is rock solid and doesn't fail to get through, it is separated from the audio and sent over a mobile network, which broadcasters really like.'
A number of other yachts were equipped with Livewire's M-Link professional newsgathering software for the delivery of live and file-based media.
Commenting on the race, Artemis Open 60 yachtsman, Will Ayliffe, said: 'We used NetCaster to conduct an interview with the race organiser's media centre as we rounded the Fastnet rock. It worked perfectly, I was transmitting imagery of the action whilst talking on the iPhone – it could not have been better. Being able to have that kind of communication over satellite was really, really, impressive.'
'It was highly intuitive and I was able to master its functionality really quickly. The fact that it's available on an iPhone or iPad means that it's as portable as you are.'
For the first time its 88-year history, the 608-nautical mile race along the English coast from the Isle of Wight to Plymouth, Devon, via the Fastnet Rock off Ireland, was won by a double-handed crew. French father and son team – Pascal and Alexis Loison – won the race on their yacht Night and Day setting a new milestone for the event.
Inmarsat was selected as satellite communications partner for the race by The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC).