Through its International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, the United Nations (UN) support continuation of the fight against impunity for war crimes committed in the 1990s in Rwanda and the countries of the former Yugoslavia. In this way, it provides the citizens of these regions with a fair and transparent legal process in coming to terms with their recent, violent past. The UN’s “Mechanism” as it is often referred to, has two branches: one in The Hague and another in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, a major international diplomatic hub.
This transparency includes access to court proceedings as they occur via live (and on-demand) online streaming of the trials. This effort would be a logistical and financial burden if not handled with the latest and most cost-effective technology to bring those cases into universities, homes and places of business.
As Supervisor of the UN’s Information Technology Services Section (ITSS), Guido Heijblok is responsible for evaluating and overseeing installation of the video production equipment and systems required to capture these court proceedings. He’s installed robotically controlled camera systems in The Hague for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (regarding, among other, the cases of Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić, as well as up to 100 others over the past 25 years). He’s also recently finished an installation in Arusha, Tanzania for the Review of the appeal judgment in the case of Augustin Ngirabatware, which is expected to begin in the coming months.
Like Telemetrics’ current line of motorized PTZ heads, sophisticated servomotors built into the PT-RM-1 enable the operator to perform slow and smooth camera-operator-like moves with a joystick controller and camera preferences (presets) can be stored in the control panel for later recall.
Telemetrics’ camera robotic systems were chosen for practical reasons. Camera operators in a courtroom are very intrusive and you can’t expect a human operator to stand behind a camera in a courtroom for six to 8 hours a day every day. Robotic systems give a very accurate and reliable way to cover a courtroom without any problems. There are no chances for a second take when covering court proceedings. You have to get it all the first time or it’s gone forever.
At the UN Mechanism, an important part of their mandate is to make these cases public to ensure that people know what the courts are doing. All proceedings are archived for later viewing and for future generations to study and learn from. Basically, there are a lot of different reasons why people need to see these proceedings. The Mechanism has to make sure to provide them in the most cost-effective way possible.
In Arusha, Heijblok’s team has ensured coverage of the entire courtroom—the judge’s bench, the witness stand and the participating lawyers—with a system of six Telemetrics PT-RM-1 robotically controlled PTZ camera heads (with Hitachi HD cameras). A Telemetrics RCCP-1 Remote Camera Control Panel brings all of the camera feeds together and makes the entire production work. A single operator controls each of the cameras’ CCU units (for shading) and moves the cameras with a joystick and a few button pushes… all from a central location. They can do this in fully automated mode or manually if needed.
The Arusha system went fully live at the beginning of September and has worked flawlessly ever since.
The media attention to what Tribunals are doing has increased significantly over the years, so improvements to technology systems were made to meet the demand for high quality production values. The Telemetrics technology gives the visual improvements needed to be properly seen and viewed by a wide audience. There are a lot of different reasons why people need to see these proceedings, so the Mechanism has to make sure they can.
Those reasons include, among others, educational purposes at universities around the world and journalists looking for past or present courtroom material.
Like Telemetrics’ current line of motorized PTZ heads, sophisticated servomotors built into the PT-RM-1 enable the operator to perform slow and smooth camera-operator-like moves with a joystick controller and camera preferences (presets) can be stored in the control panel for later recall. The system also features access to various lens controls via serial control via the commonly used RS232, RS422, or 10/100 Base-T Ethernet protocols.
Offering maximum production value at minimum cost, the RCCP-1 control panel offers full robotic control and shading of all cameras in a single, integrated control surface. Users can access the deep menu controls of broadcast cameras without purchasing dedicated camera control units or paint boxes.
Camera robotics give a nice, clean and an integrated solution to a whole lot of production challenges, always remember that technology is working in support of the courtroom and can’t get in the way. It’s just there to capture and record the proceedings.
Telemetrics’ robotic camera systems have been in use at UN headquarters in New York City since September 2016 and at the UN Special Tribunal for the Lebanon in Holland.
About Telemetrics, Inc.
Telemetrics, founded in 1973, revolutionized the robotic camera control industry with the introduction of robotic camera control over Triax. Today, Telemetrics is a pioneer of innovative solutions used in Studio, Legislative, Military, and Education. Telemetrics offers the S5 line of Pan/Tilt heads, motorized columns with the Televator, ceiling or floor mounted TeleGlide track systems and expansive software control packages with the RCCP-1 platform. Telemetrics is committed to making the most reliable, durable, and dependable broadcast ecosystem in the world…products that can be built on for decades not just years.
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