Inside France’s newest football broadcaster

The French Professional Football League (LFP)’s new TV channel, Cfoot, which focuses on the French second division championship, has been based at AMP’s Les Studios 107 on the outskirts of Paris since its launch at the end of July.

The former president of the Olympique de Marseille Club, Jean-Michel Roussier, was named Director of the channel, which is broadcast by TNT (a French pay service) as well as cable, ADSL and satellite. The annual operating budget is €30m million.

Black Dynamite Production is in charge of the editorial content whereas AMP handles the technical aspects. This service provider is in fact the owner of Les Studios 107, which it bought from TF1 a while ago.

Even though AMP manages and hosts the channel, the service provider did not hesitate to consult experts for specific applications. For example, Preview tackled the engineering, wiring installation, furnishings and systems integration problems.

The Cfoot set measures 350sqm. Removable image screens enable the set to be divided into 2 sections, providing a more intimate space for one to one interviews. The wall sections are made up of 27 Utram screens that can be moved along an in-built rail as required.

The video recording equipment consists of 5x Sony HSC-300 cameras of which three are mounted on Fujinon robotic camera heads and one on a camera crane.

“The channel broadcasts content in SD but all the production and post production is carried out in HD. Our carefully considered choice of a XDCAM HD 35Mbps is based on the need to combine Full HD format with a fair connection and workflow compatibility,” explains Cyril Marçot creative consultant for Cfoot.

Production is centered around a Grass Valley Kayenne XL switcher and a Trinix board. There is also a Chyron Duet Lex graphics system. As for the monitors, 2x Sony screens are used for previewing and transmission. For the rest (camera returns, subjects, stories…) about fifteen Eizo panels are spread across the control room.

Journalists use hired XDCAM Sony EX3 camcorders. As soon as they have finished filming they head towards a dedicated ingest station, a Mog Speed Rail system, which then decants content into Avid Interplay.

Next to the Avid Media Composer editing rooms (5 use a Nitrix card and 5 others Aja devices), we can find the graphics design room with three After Effect workstations for the graphics and a Protools mixing room.

The Isis server (consisting of two 27TB capacity chassis) may be considered the centerpiece of the primary node. However, there are many other interesting features as well. Three Airspeeds with 4 channels each carry out on-air recording and also record all the Champions League games, of which 30-second legal excerpts will be used for TV news stories.

As internal processing at Cfoot is in HD, a Snell HD/SD converter is used for the up-conversion of SD content and the downconversion for output.

Two fibreoptic links transmit content from the node to the Cognac-Jay premises in Paris’ 7th arrondissement. In fact Cfoot selected this well-known broadcast services provider for its broadcast playouts. The channel shares a pooled broadcast play-out facility with other distributors.

“However, for all live transmissions we do work with a dedicated Cfoot operator,” reassures Cyril Marçot.

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