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On the 14th of November Far North Queensland was treated to a once in a lifetime spectacle: a Total Solar Eclipse. Visual Obsession, Empire Entertainment, Dentsu Japan and Panasonic Japan set up two locations; 4 Mile Beach at Port Douglas and Fitzroy Island to live stream the Eclipse using astrophotography equipment. The project’s motto was “Filming the Sun – Using the Sun”, as all of our equipment was completely solar powered. Months of research, preparation, management and troubleshooting paid off – as the project succeeded with no major issues. In the lead up to the event, several test broadcasts were undertaken: The team performed reconnaissance trips early in the project to Port Douglas (Site A) as well as possible Site B locations at Mount Carbine and Fitzroy Island.
Fitzroy Island was chosen as Site B as it had a better line of site to where the eclipse would happen and a stronger 3G connection. Serious concerns about weather and visibility conditions kept the team anxious and on their toes. A specialised stage was designed which was stable enough to ensure it wouldn't be washed away by the incredibly high tide on the event! A hole in the middle of the stage was cut so a separate platform for the Telescope Mount could sit to ensure the telescopes and cameras weren't shaken by the team moving around on stage. The stage was set up the day before on 4 Mile Beach at the Sheraton Mirage’s Crystal Chapel. At one point the wind was gusting so furiously that our stage’s roof integrity was compromised, forcing our team to remove the cover off of our shelter.
Fortunately on broadcast day, there was almost literally no wind or rain! An estimated 30,000 spectators lined 4 Mile beach from various hotels that back onto the popular tourist strip of beach. The second location, Fitzroy Island, was set up – to ensure maximum visibility, and also to provide a fallback for any weather conditions that may plague the visibility of the sun. The project was an enormous success – with miraculous weather conditions and a fantastic team. Over 800,000 people tuned into the live stream which was broadcast on the Panasonic Ustream Channel. The stream was also broadcasted as part of Channel 7’s “Sunrise” & the WIN network’s “The Today Show” resulting in what is sure to be millions of viewers!
Read our blog post here: Great Success! Panasonic Eclipse Live by Solar Power