Formula 1 TV Broadcasting In 1:87 Scale

[Gerrit Braun], co-founder of the [Miniatur Wunderland] model railway and miniature airport attraction in Hamburg, takes his model building seriously. For more than five years, he and his team have been meticulously planning, testing, and building a 1:87 scale of Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix. Models at the Wunderland are crafted to the Nth detail and all reasonable efforts, and some unreasonable ones, are taken to achieve true-to-life results. In the video down below, part of Gerrit’s diary of the project, he discusses the issues and solutions to simulating realistic television broadcasts (the video is in German, but it has English language subtitles).

The goal is to model the large billboard-sized monitor screens set up at viewing stands. In real life, these displays are fed with images coming in from cameras located all over the circuit, the majority of which are operated by a cameraman. The miniaturization of cameras has come a long way in recent years — the ESP32-CAM module or the Raspberry Pi cameras, for example. But miniaturizing the pan-and-tilt actions of a cameraman, while perhaps possible, would not be reliable over the long time (these exhibits at Wunderland are permanent and operate almost daily). Instead, the team is able to use software to extract a cropped window from high-resolution video, and moving the position of this cropped window simulates the pointing of the camera. More details are in the video.

The skill and creativity of [Gerrit] and his team is incredible. Other videos on this project cover topics like the sound system, PCB techniques used for the roads, and the eye-popping use of an electric standing desk to lift an entire city block so workers can gain access to the area. Fair warning — these are addictive, and the video below is #76 of an unfinished series. We wrote about Wunderland back in 2016 when [Gerrit] and his twin brother [Frank] teamed with Google Maps to make a street view of their replica cities. Thanks to [Conductiveinsulation] who sent us the tip, saying that the discussion about interconnected triangular PCB tiles on this week’s Podcast #122 reminded him of this for some reason. Have any of our readers visited Miniatur Wunderland before? Let us know in the comments below.


11 thoughts on “Formula 1 TV Broadcasting In 1:87 Scale

  1. The Miniatur Wunderland is amazing. I’ve been there multiple times and everytime you will find new stuff even on the “old” sections. Those dairy videos show the endless effort they put into the display.
    If you go ever to Hamburg, this is a must see!

    1. “Fair warning — these are addictive”

      That’s true, my favourites are their Explainations how they solved some problems, they are pretty good in thinking out of the box. Can’t wait to see more of the new building, looks promising so far.

  2. MiWuLa is not just a model railway, it is by far the largest and most extensive model railway in the world. And not just railways… thousands of cars moving under software control, a complete simulated airport with take-offs and landings, hundreds of special effects. And everything was built and developed in house by a large team of very creative craftsmen and women.

    The custom PCB’s for the Monaco grand prix are a good example. they have have been working on this idea for over five years! Sinking an awful lot of effort and money in a project without any guarantees for a positive result. That’s dedication! In most companies, the money counters would soon put a stop to that in particular when there is little or no money coming in during (partial) lockdowns.

  3. Living in Hamburg, Germany where the Miniaturwunderland is located I can promise that a visit is definitely worth it – even if you are not a ferrosexual. This place is magic, massive and has a wonderful vibe.

  4. Miniatur Wunderland is one of those places where people with no interest in modelbuilding and trains still finds it well worth the money and time to visit. It takes a lot of time to take most of it in, and find a lot of the funny details. If I pass through and have time to visit, I do.

  5. Wow! What a fantastic layout where the attention to detail is staggering, and a great choice as Monaco has to be the best F1 street circuit in the world. And even though I learned all my German from watching Hogan’s Heroes I really picked up on the amount of enthusiasm Gerrit has – I couldn’t help smiling and nodding as he and Daniel explained the challenges, how they’ve done it, and what they dream of doing.

    As for the larger cameras hidden in buildings, could they be placed facing upwards and have a small mirror at 45 degrees above the lens, with it servo controlled? Then there would not be need to have panning space for the whole camera plus it would be panning around a much shorter distance from the axis.

    I’ve mentally pencilled in a trip to their Wunderland If I ever get around to visiting the northern hemisphere someday. Thanks for the article, Chris.

  6. Gerrits twin brother is named Frederik Not Frank.
    I visited the MiWuLa many times before Corona. And i’m addikted to there YouTube channel since first corona lockdown in Germany.

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