In the 2011 Red Bull X-Alps adventure race, 30 athletes raced through the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea with just a paraglider and a pair of hiking boots to help them.
The race organizers were interested in covering the race in every possible way. This included official live tracking features available on the website and countless cameramen and photographers following the athletes. There was only one more possible method of covering this adventure race left: The athletes themselves.
The race was on to find a camera that would be suitably durable to sustain the harsh conditions of the race and yet still compact enough for an athlete to carry without hindrance. The camera would be exposed to extreme temperatures, rough handling and loads of potential knocks. The most reliable, high performance equipment was an absolute necessity.
Finally the Leica V-Lux 30 and Sandisk SDHC 4GB memory cards were chosen for the project. The Leica V-Lux 30’s high-performance lens and enormous zoom range of 24 to 384 millimetres was an important factor as well as being able to record in 1920 × 1080i AVCHD Full HD video which includes GPS positioning data. Accompanied by Sandisk SDHC 4GB memory cards, which would be collected daily by a team of runners and delivered to mobile cutting teams, the Red Bull X-Alps required reliability and durability. The pressure was on, would the Leica V-Lux 30 and the Sandisk SDHC cards go the distance?
As the race confirmed its reputation of being one of the toughest in the world, this new photographic team was put to the test over the 864-kilometre course from Salzburg to Monaco. The result?
The project was definitely a success and allowed Red Bull X-Alps fans an opportunity to glance behind the scenes. The personal footage gave exposure to the pain, humour and realities of the race: Athletes sleeping in their paragliding equipment, sitting completely exhausted next to a busy road or a close-up of a bandaged foot. This unique perspective added value to the race, revealing the human element behind the iron-men athletes and certainly made their achievements all the more impressive. Great results from an interesting experiment!
See more of the results here.