The Bassmaster Classic, referred to by many as the “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing” came to Knoxville for the first time. It is a three-day tournament in which 52 of the top anglers in the world face off to see who can catch the five biggest fish each day for a grand prize of $300,000. The event drew a record-breaking 153,809 attendants, according to Bassmaster.com, and generated a $26 million economic impact on Knoxville and the surrounding areas.
Initially, the amazing team at Visit Knoxville connected us with Bassmaster as their preferred supplier of Knoxville stock footage and professional aerial drone operation. We put together a content package of high quality b-roll for use on ESPN and Bassmaster.com to promote the event and the landscape of the “playing field”, the Tennessee River. It was absolutely amazing to see our footage used in this capacity!
In the weeks leading up to the tournament, we decided to pitch the idea of going where no drone had gone before.
Bassmaster had requested two aerial operators on chase boats to film the top 10 anglers over the course of the tournament. This meant taking the drone up from a bass boat, landing it, then running 60mph to the next one! In terms of conditions for drone operation, this is about as extreme as it gets.
Our footage would later be cut together with their live production for broadcast on ESPN when the Classic airs in April. We decided to up the ante and throw out the idea of live streaming the Inspire 1 Pro X5 to the broadcast truck as part of the live switching production. This idea would give viewers, for the first time ever, a live look at the geography of the area, structure being fished, and scope of spectators watching these anglers.
They loved it! Over the course of the weekend, using an advanced transmitter, LTE signal and an encoder, we were able to – for the first time in the history of Bassmaster and ESPN – deliver a live HD signal from the drone to the broadcast truck.
This was truly an incredible experience and one we are proud to have been a part of. The folks at JM Associates, Visit Knoxville, Bassmaster and ESPN put together an incredible event and we were proud to tell the story from the air!