Leading from the front: RaceTech expands coverage of the Epsom Derby Festival 2023

As the primary technical and broadcast service provider for British horse racing, RaceTech covers the crown jewels of the racing calendar including the Epsom Derby, the most prestigious flat race in the world.

RaceTech’s planning for coverage of the Derby Festival (2-3 June 2023), which is watched by more than 150 countries, is a year-on-year process, working with the racecourse teams, The Jockey Club, The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and additional rights holders to produce full live output over the two days.

Changes for this year included the timing of The Derby, which has been bought forward to 1.30 pm (UK time) to avoid clashing with the FA Cup Final, and the extensive security operation in place to deal with any potential disruption.

RaceTech used four OB Units in total with additional support vehicles to cover multiple productions at this year’s event.

The main race production took place in a dedicated OB unit with its own director focusing purely on race coverage.  This unit managed many of the cameras and audio sources and supplied the integrity coverage with replays to the BHA Stewards and officials as required.

Racing TV’s live broadcast covered a multitude of areas as well as its main focus on the racing.  RaceTech used a combination of RF cameras and fixed position presentation cameras managed from one of its smaller footprint OB units.  Two presentation outputs covered racing interviews alongside crowd interaction looking at fashion and on-course entertainment, simultaneously produced by technical and production staff on-site.

The Racecourse TV output (RCTV) at this year’s renewal took place with two productions and newly designed Derby graphics.  The main site-wide RCTV production was complemented by a second production exclusive to the Family Festival Enclosure with its own large screens.

RaceTech’s OB10 provided the ideal solution with its dual production rooms. A total of six cameras (both fixed and RF) were used across both productions.  Also proving popular and used at Epsom for the first time, was the FanCam, a live fan engagement tool allowing racegoers to been seen live on screens via their mobile phone cameras.

John Bozza, RaceTech CEO, discussing the Derby said: “I was particularly impressed with our dual outputs for the RCTV zoned productions. We had a mixture of 30 technical OB and production crew working on this, all using RaceTech facilities.  The result was hugely successful with racegoers and their families enjoying dedicated content specifically designed for each area”.

Using a second smaller RaceTech OB unit (OB6) RaceTech provided dedicated OB space for the Hong Kong Jockey Club production on Saturday.  This production pulls together racing and presentation feeds to make a world feed distributed to HKJC.  This space included an Evertz Dreamcatcher production server for replays and a graphics platform to display in-running data.

In addition, RaceTech used LiveU connectivity to provide dedicated presentation camera facilities for an on-site reporter/presenter for Sky Australia. Fandual (formerly TVG) were provided with a similar facility on-course plus RaceTech provided various UK bookmakers with presentation slots allocated for their own talent to appear on-course utilising the RaceTech OB facilities and RMG connectivity.

RaceTech’s Derby Festival provision also included full Public Address management, covering commentary, announcements, music, audio of marching bands, national anthem, and presentations. Our PA team set up a remote audio desk linked to the broadcast room enabling them to synchronise the 38 piece Brigade of Gurkhas Band on the track with the opera singer in the Winner’s Enclosure for the national anthem to be played out across all areas.

The PA and OB teams worked closely to provide sound for the full live RCTV production coverage of presenters on-course and the family zone across the Downs.  RaceTech integrity services for the BHA also covered the official photo finish using latest camera technology plus the Starting Stalls operation.

James Gray, the commercial director at RaceTech summed up by saying ‘The RaceTech crew and our associates have worked tremendously to bring such an elaborate multi-production outside broadcast together. It is fantastic to see the full complement of RaceTech OBs simultaneously at use for this festival, from the agile and very versatile OB5 and OB6 through to our dual output, flagship unit.  It’s also great to see new innovation on display with the FanCam on the RCTV outputs.’

The Epsom Derby Festival 2023 took place on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 June 2023



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