French fencing aims to raise profile

In order to provide better fencing sports coverage, the French Fencing Federation has signed an agreement with VNProd, a Parisian company that specializes in the production of sports programmes. With the London Olympic Games just a few months away, fencing is trying to increase media awareness of the sport, so its actions are being mirrored across the continent by federations governing the so-called minority sports.

Over the weekend of January 28 and 29, VNProd handled the direct web broadcast of all the games on the four pistes set up at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris. Coverage of this Foil World Cup event was a first. VNProd also produces a dozen or so 26-minute highlight reports annually for Sport+, the dedicated sports channel of Canal+. They will also be made available to international channels interested in this sport, which is a large source of medals in certain countries.

For the Parisian leg, four streams were sent to the streaming servers for the webcast. Four dedicated DSL lines were used exclusively for video. “The system was set up very rapidly in order to meet the very tight deadlines. Fortunately we are used to this type of production. To cut costs even further we chose to install a DSL box on-site instead of using other broadcasting methods,” explained Cyril Delorme, technical director at VNProd.

Also, to reduce overall costs it was decided that an OB unit would not be used and instead four JVC HM790 broadcast cameras would be set up as a studio camera system inside the stadium.

During the elimination matches each camera filmed one of the strips. For the semi-finals and the finals the four video cameras were grouped around the central strip for the multi-camera production. A Grass Valley Kayenne switcher met the production needs and for the sound a Yamaha mixing console was used to mix the live audio output from the Sennheiser speakers placed around the stadium.

The next event will take place March 17 and 18 at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium once again but it will be the Epée World Cup Championship, the last qualifying event before the Olympic games.

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