Livesat discusses sports production workflow

In the second of a two-part interview with Dario Colombini’s Livesat, SVG Europe addresses the Italian company’s customisation of sporting events for customers including Sky, RAI and Mediaset. For example, in the case of football, Infront handles the international rights of the football matches and contracts out filming to companies capable of operating through large mobile vehicles, ie. trucks with 10/12 cameras that produce the programme aired internationally (the so-called ‘clean feed’). At the same time, smaller companies such as Livesat are called on to the field for all the necessary integration, for example by Sky Italia.

The international signal provided by the host broadcaster is received and recorded to the systems onboard the vehicle involved in the integration, but it cannot be used during the match.

Instead, during the pre-game, you can hear the opinion of the referee, or connect with a player on the field, in a special slot called ‘mini flash’ or at the end of the game where these interventions are called ‘super flash’.

A quick interview is recordable or can be sent on air between the two halves of the match. A player is often involved when he leaves the football ground and goes into the locker room; this interview is called ‘mini flash’. The same interview conducted at the end of the second round and at the end of the match is called ‘super flash’.

The interview with the footballer after a shower, just a few minutes after he enters the locker room, is shot in the ‘flash zone’, while the one made after the player has already changed and is about to return to the bus is called ‘in mix’.

These interviews are often aired live and there is often interaction with the reporter in the studio of the main headquarters of the broadcaster involved, for example Sky, asking live questions.

Usually in a set-up of this type a camera is positioned on the opposite side of the bench, in reverse, to capture the coaches and the camera makes use of very long lenses (78x or 80x), while the other two cameras are placed after the goal.

One of the cameras is often used by the journalist on the sideline to present the event before the game starts, creating the right expectations.

The other camera is often placed in the back of the goal but is always ready to document the entry of players up to 20 minutes before the game. It also records valuable phases during training, even before the host broadcaster sends his images to air.

Once over, the so-called ‘pit presentation’ (a sort of initial establishing shot of the camera on the sideline), the second camera goes to the opposite side, so during the game we have two cameras in diametrical position that can record any intervention for the client who wanted the personalisation.

As for the graphics, usually a specific company representative from the broadcaster is housed aboard the Livesat OB van and creates the graphics for the specific event, thanks to equipment is assembled and disassembled on the bus from time to time in line with the nature of each event.

“Given that the entire production is carried out only in high definition, recently we were forced to change all the equipment, including the video mixer as well as the cameras,” says Dario Colombini. The mixers are from FOR-A, while the cameras are by Panasonic, Sony and Grass Valley.

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