Multi Camera Project: The Challenge
In 2012, we started work with a major energy project: The West Of Duddon Sands Offshore Wind Farm. The wind farm opened in late 2014, a collaboration between DONG Energy and Scottish Power Renewables: with a staggering 108, 3.6MW turbines - generating up to 389MW - enough clean renewable energy for 270,000 homes.
The project approached us at an early stage - prior to the construction of an onshore substation at Heysham, Lancashire. The project required time lapse cameras and site monitoring to allow site stakeholders across Europe to view progress, but they weren’t 100% sure time lapse was for them, so we initially supplied the site with two Lobster pots. After installation it didn’t take long for the benefits of the pots and monitoring capabilities to become apparent and the doubts fully quashed. They were so well received we were commissioned to install a further ten cameras across the project. This included four cameras at the specialist Offshore Wind Terminal in Belfast Harbour on 40m lighting masts, these required a specialist rope access and rescue plan to install safely. We also installed three at the Operations & Maintenance facility in Barrow.
Specialist offshore training
Our engineering staff are trained for offshore work - with a rigorous set of courses including helicopter escape, boat transfer and more. We now have three staff members with offshore certifications, and we use them regularly for clients in this sector.
Lobster Pots at Sea
The next installation was a mix of challenging and incredibly exciting; three cameras on vessels Sea Installer and Pacific Orca in Belfast, and the Vetag 8 cable-laying vessel in Rotterdam. We designed a vibration-resistant mount to cope with the sometimes extreme weather these cameras would face. As the Lobster Pot is now IP66 rated - the only UK system with such a high certification - we were confident the camera would work throughout. After eight months at sea and not a shot missed, although the system was out of 3G range for some of the time, we were able to constantly monitor the system via the patented crab on board every Lobster Pot.
From Offshore Cameras to Onshore Media Production
These twelve Lobster Pots were only a part of what we did on the project. We sent shooting teams to the Heysham substation site to film many operations, from the delivery and installation of transformers to the cabling from the substation and across Morecambe Bay. Working to a very fluid timetable, we had to deploy multiple camera teams safely at very short notice.
Our footage was far more than a record of the work carried out. It was used for training technicians and engineers - demonstrating complex procedures, many of which had never been filmed before. Of course, using time-stamped HD images gave far more detail and resolution than standard video cameras could capture. Lobster Vision provided monitoring across the whole project, and the films we created were used for PR and publicity to help communicate the large, complex scheme online and on broadcast TV - including BBC and ITV current affairs programmes.
Digging Deeper into Offshore Time Lapse
The Pacific Orca - Fork Study
One element the engineers on the projects wanted to document was the 'fork' between the transition piece and the monopile. Never filmed before, the challenge was to install a camera and lighting system inside the completely dark, 30 metre section. With no access during lifting, this had to be triggered remotely and retrieved once in place. We built a specialist, fully submersible camera rig - triggered by magnets - and successfully filmed the connection at sea:
Sea Installer - shooting from shore to shore
The client wanted to film an entire installation cycle - from the facility in Belfast, out to sea, at height on the turbines. Working on our experience on Pacific Orca, we were able to design and build several specialist time lapse and video cameras - enabling us to film 6K time lapse from the top of the huge cranes on the vessel, and intricate manoeuvres such as the massive blades being fitted - from inside the nacelle, 120m up, in the middle of the night!
Unique skills and experience - for your project
This is one of the many renewables projects we've been happy to work on - and it shows the extra lengths we'll take to make sure we're producing high-value, relevant and amazing video - not just time lapse. Get in touch today to see how we can help bring your project to life.
"wow - unbelievable footage!"
-Bryan Lynch, Project Manager, DONG Energy