HD RF Helicopter Downlink systems were provided for four individual AS355 helicopters for the Helikopter-Streichquartett at Birmingham’s Argyle Works as part of the London 2012 Festival.
Broadcast RF were responsible for installing a mini cameras into each machine and linking them down to the ground from each helicopter for this very unique event staged by Birmingham Opera. The RF links involved transmitting live video and audio feeds from each helicopter whilst the musicians played the third scene of the opera Mittwoch aus Licht. The making of this spectacular performance can be found here: https://vimeo.com/48626063
The Helikopter-Streichquartett, otherwise known as The Helicopter String Quartet, is the fourth part of the Mittwoch aus Licht (Wednesday from Light) Opera, whereby four musicians play to a live audience from helicopters. The music created comes as a reaction to the noise of the rotor blades and the movement created by the helicopter pilots, as originally intended by Karlheinz Stockhausen.
Stockhausen, who originally composed the String Quartet in 1996, did not initially warm to the idea of composing such a piece. It was only after a series of strange dreams that Stockhausen was influenced to put something together. With dreams of transparent aircrafts and swarms of bees, he started to appreciate the sound of buzzing and the way it complements the string instruments.
The first performance took place after the Austrian army agreed to load four of their helicopters. Despite protests by the Austrian Green Party who argued that such an idea would cause air pollution, the live performance went ahead, and was aired on several TV channels. This year the production was streamed live to The Space for the first time ever, and footage of the display can be found here: http://thespace.org/items/e0000smj
Karlheinz Stockhausen’s best known piece is considered by many as the most complex and difficult to perform, and Broadcast RF were on hand to ensure that everything going on inside the helicopter was captured and transmitted to the ground perfectly.