Sportscast delivers picturesque sports coverage from locations throughout Italy
Volleyball in Florence (Nazionale Italiana Femminile), fencing in Turin (Italia-Resto Del Mondo), and water polo in Capri (Pallanuoto Maschile) are among the recent sports production commitments for Rome-based company Sportscast. The programmes have been produced on behalf of Italian broadcasters such as RAI Sport and Gazzetta TV.
Production manager Alfredo Nardoni gives an impression of the scale of preparation involved in such events: “Preparation is important in these cases and preliminary specifications decisive because we have to respect the different [objectives] of the events. In these moments the sporting and tourist dimensions [come into play]. As an example, in Florence a Jimmy Jib dolly was placed so we could take the best images of Santa Croce, and in Capri a camera was inside a restaurant about 50m from the action with a long lens to capture [very striking] images. Set construction and rehearsals [took place the day before but] in Taormina, due to a concert scheduled for the night before [in the location of the sports event]. A dozen people were deployed while in Florence there were 14 in total and all cameras were manned.
“We chose to bring in a TV director [who could also serve as video mixer] in Capri and Florence [because decisions need to be made very quickly]. In Taormina the cameras were greater in number and the realisation a bit more complex. Therefore, we involved a separate director and video mixer for this project. Graphics for all three events were entrusted to an external company, Multimedia & Grafica of Luca Definis (Calcinaia Pi), which specialises in sports production.”
Nardoni then moved on to outline the camera configurations, explaining: “In Florence, for the National Women’s Volleyball in Piazza Santa Croce, we used six Sony HD cameras and a single OB mobile unit. Two cameras, the 1 and 2, were positioned on the long side of the volleyball court; a back goal with long lens was on the short side; and in the field we deployed an 8m jimmy jib, a radio-held camera, a shoulder camera on the benches, and a fixed small camera close to the net. Everything was connected via triax. EVS stations were situated on the OB van and a commentary position was established on one side of the field.”
Meanwhile, in Capri, the water polo was a bit “more complicated to film because [the site was] reachable only by very small vehicles, not more than 7m long. The broadcast compound was located at Marina Piccola.
“For this project we used five cameras, including units on the long sides of the pool and another fitted with standard lens and positioned near the goals. We also had a drone, which allowed us to generate some very striking images [but was somewhat limited operationally] due to the presence of the public on the beaches and in boats. It was equipped with a GoPro action camera and a radio link that sent the images to the ground, while the receiver was connected via optical fiber to the control room. Two cameras were equipped with two 70x long lenses and two with standard lenses.”
‘En garde’ for fencing challenges
Rounding out his discussion with SVG Europe, Nardoni describes the fencing event in Taormina as being the cause of the greatest production complexity. The shooting took place in the Antico Teatro, which can be reached by a very narrow road, necessitating the use of highly compact vehicles.
“One van included audio section and the camera controls, while the second OB truck featured video mixer and the RVM,” he explains. The staging of a light show before and after the fencing also added to the challenges involved in setting up the broadcast production.