Flexibility is the watchword for RAI’s Milan graphics team
From classical operas to newscasts, from sports to bulletins, documentaries and thousands of other productions, the work of the RAI Graphics department encompasses numerous channels, including RAI 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, RAI Movies, and – most pertinently for SVG Europe – RAI Sports 1 and 2.
Marco Denna, who is responsible for post production and graphics at RAI Milan, comments: “To give an idea of our commitment – citing just one example per person – Adriano Longo conceives and creates the 3D maps for the cycling tours, Giro d’Italia 2003-2012. Carlo Bonacossa designs and coordinates live graphics for great events, like the Olympics in Beijing and London. Corrado Traverso signed the graphics for the Giro d’Italia 2010-2012 and customised themes for the Giro d’Italia 2013 and F1. Silvano Isola formulates Raitunes, Quelli Che and graphics for many grand operas. Maddalena Galliani creates and develops graphics for RAI Sport. Francesca Campagnoli undersigned programmes like the 2013 Nordic Ski Championships, while Tatiana Saggioro [worked on] Glob from 2010 to 2012. The list for each one could still be very, very long.”
Denna continues: “For our kind of work, everyone has a standalone workstation and appropriate software. Among these, Avid DS Nitris, on HP workstation, is implemented for compositing and exporting files on IMX tapes or on XDcam HD discs. After Effect is used for compositing with effects and plug-ins, and Photoshop is considered essential for retouching and creating parts implemented on the final inserts. Adobe Illustrator is used on vectorial elements for the creation and layout of logos. Adobe Premiere is often used for video editing and again Corel Xara, along with Photoshop and Illustrator, supplies important tools for compositing images and logos. Softimage is also used for 3D modelling. The latest version of the ClassX package (CastaliaCG, MoreCG, CoralCG) and the entire sports suite is used as an open graphics package which we can always customise together with the headquarters.”
SVG Europe invited each member of the RAI graphics team to identify which characteristics are indispensable in the graphics software used today.
Carlo Bonacossa: “The user must not be forced to learn new operating procedures but must have a guarantee of maximum execution speed, maximum reliability and stability. We are graphics professionals specialised in the television field, therefore we must be able to create very attractive effects without wasting time. Programming [puts the breaks on] inspiration.”
Corrado Traverso: “The software we use (like ClassX), by personal experience, is more intuitive. I also used other graphics packages but they were very ‘technical’ in style and required greater experience at a programming level. It is essential to be able to count on an editor (like CastaliaCG) that really allows [the creation of] a complex graphics project from zero.”
Adriano Longo: “The advantages of the graphic solutions that we have already more than tested are evident in the excellent flexibility and ease of operation. The approach is very intuitive and ‘friendly’ even in more complex projects. The data is dynamic and this is the fundamental concept that characterises an advanced solution. It must be managed properly.”
Tatiana Saggioro: “Good graphics production software must always be modular and provide a unit (module) which handles broadcasting. The graphics project and typical play-and-stop functions reside here, including the possibility of carrying out small modifications of project segments even at the last moment and while going on-air. Flexibility is vital.”
Massimo Bergonti takes care of the CPMI Technical Services and is focused on hardware for RAI graphics: “In recent years the major problem was updating to production in HD with suitable hard disks and powerful processing cards. Usually, we rely on a machine that is quite standard overall with an i7 processor, an Asus motherboard, 8 GB RAM and an Nvidia graphics card of latest generation with a Blackmagic HD video card. All of our broadcasting machines depend on ClassX software.”
Francesca Campagnoli: “Our workstations (Bonacossa’s and mine) are physically installed in specific racks located in mobile control consoles, in containers, or in the IBC at events. In terms of software, we really have very strict demands, the graphics packages must be open and customisable to our needs. Sometimes the software house even interfaces directly in remote with the machine in action on the field, at the other end of the world, to implement the necessary adjustments requested.”
Maddalena Galliani: “The software must be intuitive; it is enough to use just a few different types to immediately understand which one best responds to demands for speed. Graphics for sports must be very flexible to be able to change the order of the content [quickly and easily].”
Silvano Isola: “It is essential to be able to exchange roles quickly, to go from creation to broadcasting without lengthy learning times when necessary. The software has to facilitate team workflow.”