France Télévisions rolls out the resources at Roland Garros

During a period of 15 days, a team of 600 people (journalists and technicians) took turns to work in Boulogne, just outside Paris, in order to see through both production and broadcasting of the French Open tennis tournament for France Télévisions as well as providing the international feed.

Seventy cameras were deployed on-site and spread among the tennis courts, but most of them were, of course, dedicated to the Philippe Chatrier and Suzanne Lenglen courts, where the major matches and the finals of the tournament take place.

France Télévisions’ comprehensive technical facilities

As host producer, the public audio-visual group is naturally the one with the largest technical means. For the occasion France Télévisions assembled four HD OB trucks from its regional production locations of subsidiaries situated in Lille, Marseille, Rennes and Lyon.

“The facilities are adapted as the tournament proceeds. When one of the courts is no longer in use, some of the technical equipment, especially cameras, are moved towards the centre courts,” points out Nicolas Kirszenzaft, who coordinates the production for France Télévisions.

Seven Avid editing suites and an audio mixing studio were also used for covering stories and news magazines for the various channels belonging to the group.

Camera movement and aerial views by ACS

For the special camera movement effects, two cameras mounted on a speed rack from ACS can travel along 70 metres of rails in the Philippe Chatrier and Suzanne Lenglen courts.

For the beauty shots and aerial views, two ACS CableCams once again ‘flew’ over the two centre courts this year. The cameras installed in the CableCam system with a 5-axis gyro stabilising mount were Sony HDC-P1 compact cameras delivering full-HD pictures, with three 2/3” Power HAD FX CCD sensors and HD-SDI output. They were equipped with wide-angle lenses.

The CableCams were suspended along three cables 370m long and connected to a dismountable 58M high tower and the top of the Suzanne Lenglen court. The entire set-up operated on a wireless HF system (focus, zoom, rotating movements, calibration…). There were no electric cables as battery packs (changed every 2.5 hours) were used to provide power.

Two people were required to operate the CableCam. The camera operator was installed in a commentator’s booth. He controlled the zoom and focus as well as the tilt/rotating movements of the camera. However, for security reasons, a ‘pilot’ with a full view of the cables was positioned outside and he controlled the machine’s forward and backward movements. The two technicians used a talkback system to communicate between themselves. Maximum speed allowed for the CableCam is 30Km/h.

“Every year for the Roland Garros tournament, our products evolve in order to adapt to the producers’ needs. We started off our collaboration with vertical positions on cranes, then dollying in 2002. Our first CableCam arrived in 2005. We work a lot in the area of sports broadcasting; in fact we will be present for the first time with a CableCam at the finish line of the next Tour de France,” explains Luc Poullain, chief executive officer, CableCam.

A 2m 80 scale model of an Emirates airplane was installed over a CableCam in the Philippe Chatrier court and therefore served as a marketing tool.

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