Behind the scenes of Mediaset La 5’s waterpolo coverage

Mediaset S.p.A. is a private Italian company active in the field of media and communication. It specialises primarily in television production and distribution in FTA free to air TV, pay TV and pay per view, on multiple platforms, as well as in film production and distribution, media and advertising.

Among the many Mediaset TV networks are Canale5, Italia1, Rete4, La 5, Mediaset Italia2, Iris, Top Crime, Mediaset Extra, Boing and Cartoonito channels.

Over the summer, one of the networks, La 5, has been broadcasting an unusual sports programme entitled Vite in Apnea. It deals with the days of training, the difficulties in reconciling sports with other aspects of life, the sacrifices and the struggles associated with being part of a leading Italian waterpolo team based in the city of Savona, Liguria.

The camera is in continual close contact with the members of the team, following the workouts that last from six to ten hours per day, as well as other key moments in their daily lives. A variety of footage is interspersed by short interviews in which the individual athletes or coaches discuss the latest developments. Voiceover is limited and primarily serves to highlight the most important events in each programme.

Produced by Zodiak Active (De Agostini), Vite in Apnea is filmed in a variety of locations. The interiors were captured mainly where the athletes train, the pool Zanelli and the Swimming Hall of Savona, apartments or hotel rooms where they are hosted, in moments of leisure or relaxation caught in the outside in various parts of Liguria.

One important aspect of the production is that scenes are often shot in the water – integral to the show, but bringing with them a number of technical challenges. All told, approximately a dozen people work on the show, including a director, two producers and two production workers based on-site in Savona.

The technical configuration for the show included a Data Manager to download all shot materials and to execute the back-up on external hard drives. Two editing lines were involved on iMac computers, with Final Cut 7 editing software for conversion and synchronising the material.

For filming a variety of equipment was used: three Panasonic AG-HPX250 P2 HD, a Canon Eos 7D, a Canon Eos 5D Mark 3, an underwater housing Nimar for the 5D, Go Pro Black Edition cameras (able to be deployed even under water) and, for the lights, two 80 Led Panel Light and two Kino Flo 60 cm.

The post-production process involved seven lines of editing on Mac Pro machines with Final Cut Pro 7 on a shared EditShare server with eight editors working in rotation.

Two lines of editing on Mac machines loaded with Final Cut Pro 7 software were specifically reserved for use by the two producers/editors to view and clean up raw sequences.

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