Behind the scenes at Italy’s first outdoor sports-oriented broadcaster

Sportoutdoor TV is the first broadcast television and web platform in Italy to be entirely dedicated to outdoor sports. Floriano Omoboni, founder of the channel and a sports journalist for more than 20 years, creates and produces TV formats dedicated purely to sports undertaken outdoors – ranging from sailing to boating, to mountain biking and winter sports.

Sportoutdoor TV programmes deal with sports from the perspective of those who practice them with a variety of fresh, original and incisive content. It is broadcast on a syndicated network of more than 100 local TV stations throughout Italy, on Odeon Circuit (177 DTT), Dinamica (249 DTT) and on the web platform Streamit.

“Sportoutdoor TV’s objective is to offer high quality content to an audience of fans,” says Omoboni. “TV formats are all original, written, created and produced by our team of professional videographers, and are broadcast free-to-air on primetime on different platforms of digital terrestrial television and the web. Our programmes achieve national coverage thanks to the agreements signed with more than one hundred [high profile] local stations.”

Blue Sport is the title of the programme dedicated to the most important sporting events of the year and encompasses disciplines such as powerboating, sailing, water skiing, mountain biking and many more.

Production workflows

Many programmes are aired live and these complex multicamera productions are executed via OB vans leased from well-known service providers.

The technical reference for many of the other, recorded programmes is the facility Colpo Di Tosse, which receives all the shots and edits most programmes on editing suites based on Grass Valley Edius 6.5 for PC. It is considered very agile for typical news-style production.

Saul Carassale, the tech engineer responsible, comments: “The management of such sports events is quite traditional for us with TV cameras and sensors 2/3” and mainly model 500 by Panasonic P2 or 2/3″ XDCAM. When images reach us on files uploaded to a dedicated server via FTP, the material is mainly in HD, even if SD is still widespread for local TV here.”

The complete, edited content is available on the same server for delivery to conventional broadcasters as well as the web services. Of course, it is sometimes necessary to make different formats and bit-rates available to suit contrasting requirements.

“All the work we carry out is in HD and, in fact, many times we get pre-assembled material with timecode on which we do not have to change much; merely rearrange sequences, apply graphics, captions and audio commentary,” says Carassale. “For graphics we are using Vis Title to create three-dimensional captions with key frame movements. We work at 1080p 2-HD, interlaced 50i and also in PAL standard where it is needed.”

Carassale also highlights the broadcaster’s filming techniques for water skiing, which revolve around two cameras – one of which is placed on the boat that pulls the athlete. “This camera is connected in SD via radio to the ground so that the judges can see all the action, and at the same time the camera records an output in HD on a P2,” he notes. “A second camera placed on the shore follows the skier from the side. The camera on the boat uses a medium wide angle lens Canon 13X, while the ground one sports a short telephoto lens Fuji HD 17×8.5. Recording takes place on P2 cards and post-production generally requires eight hours of work.”

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