RTÉ is releasing extended aerial coverage of the State Commemoration ceremonies in Dublin that marked the centenary of the 1916 Rising. The special footage is now being made available on RTE.ie for audiences at home and abroad.
On Easter Sunday, the centenary of the 1916 Rising was commemorated with a State ceremony at the GPO and a parade through the centre of Dublin by over 3,500 members of the Defence Forces and State Emergency Services. RTÉ had extensive live outside broadcast coverage across Dublin city centre, with additional live TV units at Kilmainham Gaol and at Áras an Uachtarain. This was the biggest broadcast deployment for a State event since the visits of Queen Elizabeth and President Obama in 2011.
RTÉ’s production team worked with the Air Corps, the Department of Defence and TVM Outside Broadcast to deliver live aerial coverage of the ceremonies and parade. RTÉ made a separate recording of the helicopter camera from beginning to end, whenever it was in flight over Dublin. RTÉ is now making available a 40 minute edit of the footage, showing the parade and well-known Dublin landmarks including St Stephen’s Green, Dublin Castle, the Four Courts and the GPO.
RTÉ One’s live coverage of the State Commemoration ceremonies and parade in Dublin on Easter Sunday was watched by an average of 337,000 viewers, equating to 50% of those watching television in Ireland during that time. Over 1.1 million people tuned in to the live transmission at some point during the five hour broadcast which was presented by Bryan Dobson, Eileen Dunne, Aine Lawlor, Cathal Mac Coille, John Bowman and Mary Kennedy. As Ireland’s public service media organisation, RTÉ was host broadcaster, providing live feeds to both international and Irish media outlets including CNN, BBC, SKY News, CCTV China, TV3 and UTV Ireland. RTÉ’s online feed was provided free to the Irish Independent, The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Post, Journal.ie and Newstalk to carry live on their own websites.
“When we were planning the live broadcast, we looked to add new elements to the TV presentation”, said RTÉ executive producer John O’Regan. “One of those was to get aerial coverage of the parade and of Dublin – not recorded, but live as the event was happening. RTÉ Sport has occasionally done this for sports events in the past – and obviously other broadcasters do this type of News coverage in other countries – but there is substantial investment involved, as well as security and operational issues about working in the airspace during a large public event that includes flypasts by military aircraft. We figured that the best option might be if the aerial coverage could form part of the overall event plan.
Last year we discussed the idea with Defence Forces Ceremonial and with the Air Corps, and they provided tremendous co-operation in making it happen. RTÉ and TVM, the Outside Broadcast TV company, organised a specialist camera, camera operator and technical links system from the UK: the Air Corps provided a helicopter and pilot. We did some initial tests in the months leading up to Easter: Air Corps engineers even modified the undercarriage of the helicopter so the camera could be mounted in the optimum position. Then in the days before the event, we worked out a detailed schedule with the Air Corps for aerial coverage from the beginning of the parade at 10am to the end at 1.45pm, so the key events could be covered live and the helicopter could also reposition in the airspace as necessary for operational reasons.”
The extended 40-minute footage is available to view in full at rte.ie/news and will be available on the RTÉ Player.