Italy’s VideoB discusses OB innovation and service provision for Sky and more

As its work on the Euro 2016 championships drew to a close, SVG Europe caught up with Ettore Cortesi of Parma-based VideoB to discuss the OB and broadcast service company’s recent projects – which included the supply of OB facilities and technical staff for Sky’s boat-bound studio on the Seine that was used during the aforementioned football championships.

“Dedicated to events that require medium levels of production, we try to keep our high standards even if the [time constraints are] not that favourable. Besides working for Serie A and Serie B, we are now working on behalf of Sky [among others]…

“In general we own three OB vehicles which are equipped for filming in HD and constantly up-to-date with the latest technologies onboard. That means we are ready for 4K production, even if it still seems distant to us in a way. All our HD cameras can operate in 4K [too if required]. So in terms of technology, things are quite simplified nowadays. The mixer follows the same path and facilitates production in HD, or even 4K with the simple purchase of licences (weekly or monthly); therefore we are ready for the qualitative leap when necessary.”

Euro 2016 projects

Cortesi continues: “On the occasion of UEFA EURO 2016 Sky created a TV studio in Paris onboard a boat [dubbed ‘Sky Bateau’] anchored on the Seine near the Eiffel Tower. The studio here was equipped with six cameras by Grass Valley [LDK 8000 Elite IIs] and a Jimmy Jib, whilst a radio camera travelled in Paris to create images and stories near Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower.

“All Sky broadcasts, pre- and post-match, and even those by night (Guida al Campionato), were shot here. The only real complexity was the need to get all three EBU feeds on-site, so we had to install three parabolic antennas for reception, and also receive the feeds of three radio backpacks and cameras travelling around France [in order] to decode them with an IP system and then reuse the images for the links and the studio contribution.

“We also had to handle the great 3D graphics, which are [applied in] Milan Santa Giulia Sky studio. In fact, we are equipped with transmission and reception facilities that allow the live insertion of graphics.

“In practice, the whole project was [instigated with a] certain simplicity and ultimately involved some complexity. But both our customer and us feel very satisfied with the results.”

OB infrastructure

“One of our OB vans, VideoB Esterna Unit 4, was parked along the banks of the Seine some 50 meters (linked by fibre) away from the floating Sky studio on the Sky Bateau. Here several guests were interviewed every day by presenters. All broadcasts were live and onboard the truck, which [features] six TV cameras, an Avid editing system, an EVS system, and signal equipment. All feeds received were downloaded, disembedded and edited in order to supply various contributions after the game. We also had clips available live from the Milan Sky archive. The Esterna 4 is also equipped with Kahuna by SAM and a variety of other technology from Imagine Communications.

“The TV compound incorporates a power generator and satellite uplink mobile station with dual reception aerials from Globecast, as well as [supporting infrastructure for] three IP backpacks and all IP links.

“I also want to highlight the way that radio frequency issues are [handled] in France with flawless organisation. In two days [we had confirmation of the details of] all radio licences for radio cameras, radio microphones, returns, walkie talkie, and all for free. The process of managing the radio frequency licences is also exceptional: two requests via email, one confirmation, and we were operating in 2 days! And what’s more, we decided the frequencies, of course proposing five or six alternatives, but we were given the requested.”

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