Behind the workflows for RAI’s multilateral delivery of Italian Serie A matches
An ongoing arrangement sees Italian broadcaster RAI enlisted by UEFA to film and deliver on an international basis the multilateral TV coverage of all Serie A qualifying matches taking place on Italian soil. It is down to RAI to implement the video programme – which is supplied with no audio commentary but with custom UEFA graphics – for all international TV stations that have purchased the relevant broadcast rights.
RAI technical manager Massimo Tomirotti is currently preparing for two such events: Italy vs Azerbaijan, to take place on 10 October in Palermo; and Italy vs Croatia, scheduled for 16 November in Milan. The two matches follow the typical format requested by UEFA, but there are some differences – mainly resulting from the customisation added by the Italian TV channels that broadcast the live events, namely RAI Sport, RAI1 and RAI 501HD.
Coverage must provide for a minimum of 13 cameras during the qualifying play-offs. Many cameras are engaged in filming ‘standard’ frames, i.e. some are positioned to catch long shots from the stands and others describe a narrow field. There are also images from the back of the goal and a number of other cameras in the field for the further ‘personalisation’ of the ‘event. Cameras employed by RAI are LDK8000s by Grass Valley equipped with Canon 72x HD and 82X lenses; some 21x wide-angle Canon cameras are also involved.
In addition, a steadicam is being used on the field, equipped with a high frequency link by Thomson (2.5 GHz); specifically, it is located at the left of the soccer field with respect to the classic front camera position on the left corner. This camera delivers images at the beginning of matches for the presentation of the teams during the national anthems and then moves towards the left to shoot the required images during the match itself.
Tomirotti comments: “The RAI has several other HD radio camera transmission [items], but we decided to use devices by Thomson at 2.5 GHz as I consider them for this occasion more [suitable] from the point of view of the video quality settings, and because in the case of shooting a ‘super-flash’ at the end of the match there would be no audio delay.”
Super slo-mo capability
In the placing of the cameras RAI is also providing four super slo-mo opportunities from Grass Valley LDK 8000, 6200 and 8300 systems. These video signals are discretely fed to each input of an EVS server. The vehicle engaged by RAI for the multilateral is a 14 metre truck called Milan1 HD, with control room expansion, based on a double video and audio control zone, and capable of implementing sound in 5.1 channels as well as stereo simulcast for a total of eight audio channels.
Milan 1 HD is capable of handling 18 cameras plus two radio cameras, and onboard we also find a Sony video mixer MWS Series 8000A, a Stagetech Aurus 40-fader mixer, loudness control and multi-effects from a TC Electronic 6000, and two sets of wireless microphones by Wisicom (8 channels each), among other equipment.
The crew is also able to make the most of a Grass Valley Trinix NXT 128×128 digital video routing switcher, an RTS ADAM intercom, WDCAM recording devices, Panasonic displays, a second Sony video mixer and a Soundcraft Si Compact 24 audio mixer, which is connected via MADI to the main Aurus desk to ensure highly flexible management of audio resources.
A different vehicle is engaged for RVM and replay, featuring two six-channel EVS XT2s and two BLT Tricam HDs. The TV compound is flanked by two RAI power generating vehicles, with a bi-generator group of 90KV/a and a further support vehicle to collect luggage and camera tripods, cables, brackets, optical fibers and so on.