Sky Italia’s personal touch for MotoGP broadcasts
For the fifth year in a row, Sky Italia has rights to broadcast the MotoGP World Championship, coverage of which is masterminded by Dorna. As with other sports events, Sky doesn’t simply repeat the feed delivered by the official host broadcaster, but adds a wealth of customised material created by its own personnel.
In the case of MotoGP, a technical and editorial team is sent by Sky to every circuit. According to the layout at each location, the distribution of the radio cameras is determined, with shots taken directly from the paddocks and pit lanes. Footage is produced with the assistance of Grass Valley cameras and GigaWave links, which operate in accordance with the local frequencies provided, tested and assigned by Dorna.
Extensive material is also shot after the race and includes a wealth of analysis. Spoken commentary is recorded on-site in a special booth, with journalists voicing their opinions with reference to a database created in collaboration with Dorna.
All of the above work is undertaken as a way of personalising the main broadcast feed. The signal arrives at the control room and it is here that customisation of the graphics is achieved; also added are the commentary, integrated with the pit interviews, and some replays where necessary.
Sky’s 20-stong team does not use an OB van; rather, it operates out of a small series of mobile flightcases placed in a special compound. Brands utilised by the team include Evertz (Xenon), RTS (Adam-M), Glensound (commentator systems), Stagetec (Crescendo console), Grass Valley (Dino), Vizrt (graphics), and Samsung and JVC (monitors).
Coordinating operations on-site is One Television, with Andrea Gianolli and team personally overseeing the shipments and assembly in each location. Overall control for Sky is maintained from its Milan HQ.
To circumvent radio frequency isues, in all production phases three radio cameras are used with radio frequencies allocated in advance. They integrate with the official signals that are incoming from the host broadcaster. Everything is broadcast live and each camera feed is recorded continuously. All news reports are live and no post-production is used.
In terms of quantity, the total coverage amounts to around 35 hours per weekend and feeds into a variety of outlets, ranging from the event broadcast itself to news reports on Sky Sport 24, Sky News 24 and motoring channels.