Euroscena discusses workflows for Italian soccer coverage
A company totally dedicated to television production with its own vehicles, studios and more, Euroscena delivers a variety of live television shows, and operates headquarters in Rome and branch offices near Milan in Sesto San Giovanni. Since 2006, the company has channelled considerable energy into sports, in particular sports.
“Our customers are the majority of Italian broadcasters (SKY, Mediaset , La7, RAI), and we have followed the Serie A soccer with two tournaments a week, the motorcycle CIV, boxing matches, and a lot more,” says Riccardo Petrucci technical director of Euroscena.
This year Euroscena is a protagonist for INFRONT, Sky and Mediaset in the Italian Serie A soccer championship. For the first day of the season, Unit 20HD was in Parma for PARMA – CHIEVO and Unit 22HD at the Olimpico Stadium in Rome for Lazio – Udinese.
On Sundays Euroscena often deploys some 13 cameras in one match and many others for other matches, so that a total number of around 20/22 are on set
The director’s shooting plan includes: camera one and camera two, placed at mid field on the main seated area at the top, one shooting close ups and the other taking wide angle shots; two cameras placed at the 6m line called “hi-low”, one shooting the back goal from high-low points of view; a jimmy-jib; a steadicam placed around the 13m line; and a ‘beauty’ camera shooting from a high position in the stadium. This follows the production plan prepared by Infront (the rights owner) along with customisations requested by individual directors.
All cameras employed are Grass Valley LDK 8000 and 6200; for high-speed image shooting the LDK 6300s are used, while the beauty camera is sometimes a LDK 6000 model.
All shots are in high definition and the typical OB van engaged is equipped with EVS servers, precisely eight on a network, which are to handle all the input signals and outputs, recording all continuous feeds from all cameras simultaneously and sending them to air as necessary. All cameras feeds are recorded for instant replay and slow-motion. The main video signal is fed to Infront’s control room, to the main producer (from Sky or Mediaset), and to the recording section.
Inside the vehicle a video matrix distributes all signals to two different video mixers which, in turn, output signals that are simultaneously recorded and distributed as necessary, while audio signals are encoded in Dolby multichannel 5.1. A video line is always sent to Infront and another generally is for Sky, so the OB van produces two different video and audio feeds. During the pre-match segments two different TV directors (for Infront and Sky) take care of their programme so the images and comments are very different, while during the match itself if no further additional requirements are requested, the feed is the same – although it may vary when personalisations are requested by the broadcasters.
All graphics inserts are usually handled directly on the mobile unit due to the presence of a specific graphics computer, but every video main control room centre usually has its own dedicated computer that receives commands from the live broadcasts and triggers the airing of appropriate high-res graphics. This choice is due to the fact that the graphics are increasingly dynamic and animated, and therefore it often becomes too complex to manage them directly on the satellite uplink without losing signal quality. The commands of which graphic insert are to be inserted and when are all triggered by the mobile vehicle on the spot, on the soccer field. In practice the two computers involved in the graphics inserts are linked and operate in parallel: one triggered by the live events using a preview, the second (physically placed in the control unit, generally several hundred miles away) receives commands via a network as needed. These commands travel via ISDN on six/seven dedicated lines and reach the video centre carrying both audio signals and intercom between the director, the study and commentator journalist on field.
Satellite signal transport use is always decreasing; in fact, all Italian football fields are wired by fiber optic. Generally speaking, two or three OB vans are involved in the coverage of each event.