On the ball: RTBF and VRT covering top-ranked Red Devils for EURO 2016

RTBF: Marc Wilmots (left) the Belgian team coach with RTBF commentator Rodrigo Beenkens

RTBF: Marc Wilmots (left) the Belgian team coach with RTBF commentator Rodrigo Beenkens

Belgium’s national team Les Diables rouges has achieved the number one spot in the latest FIFA World Rankings. So great things will be expected of the squad in the upcoming EURO Finals this summer. Coverage of the EURO 2016 tournament in Belgium is split between RTBF in the French language and VRT for the Flemish-speaking audience.

“We will have commentators at all 51 matches in France and the games will be broadcast live,” said Bart De Lathouwers, producer VRT Sport. “Our main studio presenters will be Maarten Vangramberen and Karl Vannieuwkerke, while our match commentators are Frank Raes, Filip Joos, Eddy Demarez, Stef Wijnants, Peter Vandenbempt and Geert Heremans. The presenter in France at the Belgian matches and the Team Base Camp will be Ruben Van Gucht. These are all VRT staff, and we will also be using former and present players and coach as experts and guests in our studio programme.”

De Lathouwers reveals that VRT will share an office within the IBC with RTBF and NOS, the Dutch National Broadcaster. “VRT and RTBF will each employ two full edit rooms, while NOS with have one suite. In addition, we all have some extra desktop edit places for our journalists. We have the Dutch company, United, supplying the technical infrastructure and operational support in this office. This will be a shared Avid production network and storage system. And there will be two additional EVS-operators. So there is fairly sizeable presence in the IBC.”

VRT will receive both a dirty and clean feed from the host broadcaster – although only the former will be seen on the live transmission. However, graphics, such as the match clock and VRT’s unilateral pre and post-match statistics will be added in Brussels. “As well as the data from Uefa, we have our own statistics to add for our analysis with the experts,” explained De Lathouwers.

Although UEFA’s ISO cameras are offered to all rights holders, VRT has decided to only subscribe to that service for games that involve the Belgian national team and the tactical camera (high behind goal) for their studio analysis. “On top, we know that there is access to all images through the UEFA LIVEX storage system at the IBC,” said De Lathouwers.

He continued, “At the Belgian matches we will have an OB van with additional cameras and full crew for a combined production for VRT and RTBF. That will include two close cameras on the pitch, plus others for presentation, flash interviews, mixed zone and so on. There will be a director from RTBF, Thierry Delrue — who will carry out his own vision mixing — and me as the producer in the OB van.”

How does the crew in the truck deal with the dual language scenario? “The language in the truck is as good Belgians, a mixture of Flemish and French, a bilingual crew.”

Out and about

There are no plans for Stand-up positions at each ground, but VRT will go live from the team’s training camp in and around the city of Bordeaux as well as in the other host cities around the Belgian Matches.

VRT will employ two ENG crews at the Bordeaux camp utilising an SNG vehicle that will be shared with RTBF. These crews will also travel to the match cities. “There will be one additional ENG crew that will travel around France, covering Belgium’s opponents at their training camps and bringing some other reports on matches.”

Alongside match coverage, VRT will end each evening with a programme that will act at post match analysis, highlights programme and talk show. “The main presentation studio is located in Brussels at our main facility. We will work with a studio audience and create special events for up to 300 spectators when the Belgian matches are being played.”

This show will also be aired on ‘rest days’. Two EVS operators will be used in the Brussels studio for this show, with one also taking care of VRT’s Red Bee Media Piero Analysis system.

As far as apps are concerned, De Lathouwers says that all matches can be viewed via Sporza.be and the mobile site m.sporza.be. “And we are extending our specific Sporza Soccer App to include live streaming and clips, too.”

He concluded, “This setup is an extension of our successful production we had for the 2014 FIFA World Cup; without that cooperation with RTBF, this wouldn’t have been possible for us financially and on top it also proved its success with the extended sharing of content we had between both broadcasters. But for UEFA EURO 2016 we have extended our IBC-crew with an extra journalist and EVS-operator to get more out of the UEFA LIVEX. In addition, we have added an extra ENG crew to cover the opponents and to provide extra local flavour.”

French connection

Damien Detry, RTBF’s project manager, Sport, reveals that French language broadcasts will be live on several outlets; its channels, La Une and La Deux, and on the web as a live stream. “There will, of course, be special focus on our Belgian team, Les Diables rouges – The Red Devils.”

As a warm up to the tournament, during the 20 days before the kick-off, RTBF plans to broadcast a sport news programme around the Belgian team and its last practice sessions before going to France.

For the Belgium games, RTBF will have stand-up positions at the venues, while the main presentation studio will be in Brussels.

“We will receive both a dirty and clean feed from the host broadcaster, but we will add our own graphics back at the Brussels studio centre,” explained Detry.

The main commentators for all the Belgium games, the semi final and final will be Rodrigo Beenkens and Philippe Albert. There will be six other commentators in France, Pierre Deprez, Hervé Gilbert, Frank Peterkenne, Grégory Bayet, Laurent Bruwier and Emmanuel Debiève.

He continued, “Around the games, we are also going to air a sport magazine dedicated to the competition. This will be broadcast live every day between 8pm and 9pm. This programme will focus on the results, the analysis, on how our ‘Diables Rouges’ are doing in the tournament and also give the viewers a chance to feel the atmosphere around the stadiums and in several French cities. In addition, every night after the RTBF main evening news programme, we will have an eight minute summary of the day.”

Again, there will be cooperation between the two Belgian broadcasters. “We will work with VRT at the Belgium team’s training camp. The crew will comprise a producer from VRT, an RTBF director, a team of eight journalists and four cameramen.”

In addition, there will be an ENG crew in France covering various events between venues and two journalists based at the IBC. Editing will be carried out at the IBC, at the Belgium base camp and in Brussels.

At present, RTBF has no plans for any second screen activity associated with the tournament.

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