Geolocation boosts Paris-Tours broadcast coverage

Geolocation technology is growing at a fast pace, and its rapid development was recently discussed by SVG Europe with regard to the Rallye de France, which involved Trimaran adapting its sailing-oriented 3D georacing tracking solution to motorsport. In the same vein, Ad Valem and the Italian group Telespazio have lately joined forces to propose Earth Lab and Sport Lab – geolocation and second screen applications that are said to be highly promising.

On 13 October, during the famous French Paris-Tours cycling race, broadcast by France Télévisions, organiser A.S.O. (owner of the Equipe newspaper and organiser of the Dakar Rally) continued with its tradition of innovation. In 2006 the race was one of the first to be filmed in HD. In 2009 it was filmed in 3D. This year, it broke new ground with regard to the use of a rider-positioning system.

The 200 riders who started the race in Authon-du-Perche were equipped with special sensors, enabling Euro Media France’s wireless crews to pinpoint the exact position of every rider, both in the peloton and in breakaway groups, and feed the information to France Télévisions and A.S.O.

Thierry Drilhon, CEO of Euro Media Group and president of Euro Media France, remarked that “innovation lies at the heart of our strategy for Euro Media France. By investing in research and developing outstanding new tools, with increasingly enhanced functionalities, we are bridging the gap between the images of today and those of the future.”

Euro Media, for its part, is keeping technical details top secret for the moment, but we can already confirm that the potential applications of the system are considerable. It is, of course, possible to provide an accurate ranking in real-time, but it is also possible to determine the potential yellow jersey winner and, most of all, identify and instantly name the riders in a breakaway group. It also seems likely that it will be possible to use the system to obtain speed and acceleration readings.

For Daniel Bilalian, France Télévisions’ VP of Sports Coverage, “this experiment confirms France Télévisions and A.S.O.’s long tradition in innovation when it comes to cycle racing coverage. It opens up a fabulous perspective for the development of media coverage of races both for television and other digital media.”

The value of this system surely depends on the scope it gives Euro Media to carry out simultaneous wireless transmission for a large amount of metadata. The set-up for Paris-Tours, it should be noted, also included three motorcycles (one equipped with a Cineflex) and a pressurised relay airplay to receive all the signals.

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