On 22nd July 2012 Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour de France in its 109 year history, overcoming competition from 197 other riders, and earning the famous yellow jersey. Working for the third year running with Vsquared, SIS LIVE delivered coverage of this dramatic event using its specially designed TdF production trailer.
Broadcasting a cycle race that takes place over 21 stages, covering 3497km of road comes with its own unique challenges, the main one being that the entire production compound has to uproot and relocate no less than 20 times in just 22 days in order to be in position to capture the finish of each stage.
Part of this travelling circus was a bespoke Tour De France trailer which was designed and integrated by SIS LIVE specifically for clients VSquared (V2:TV), programme producers for ITV. This versatile 13m articulated trailer contains office and production spaces, a VT area and technical sound, vision and uplink facilities. These all combine to produce the exclusive unilateral parts of the ITV4 show.
"Working for the third year running with Vsquared, SIS LIVE delivered coverage of this dramatic event using its specially designed TdF production trailer.”
The equipment and layout is such that the crew are often able to undertake multiple roles, keeping the operation as efficient as possible. For example, one SIS LIVE staff member is able to act as vision control, uplink engineer and guarantee engineer, while taking on various rigging and studio set up duties and managing the loading and unloading of the kit. The layout also allows the director to operate the VT area directly.
Another key feature of this mobile production unit is that it is selfcontained - just add power and host feeds and you can create an entire show. The TdF trailer takes in the EBU international and reserve FR2 (French TV) feeds, plus a transmission from the new ‘team in car’ camera used in the final stage. The trailer also features a three camera studio which is used for live show opening and closing segments, as well as the recording of highlight show links.
This set is built under a marquee next to the vehicle at each location. Additionally, an ENG camera is cabled in for live interviews from the race finish line and mixed zone. Four HD XDcam machines are used to record and replay interviews and feeds, and a VT viewing position and a tape-to-disc dubbing facilities are also provided. At the rear of the vehicle is a dedicated storage area, meaning that the TdF trailer can carry it’s own load, which includes all cameras, monitors, a studio set and pop up marquee, as well as a Segway which is used by a cameraman for on-bicycle presentation pieces and various cable truck support items.
Mounted on the trailer’s roof is an award-winning SIS LIVE designed and built uPod antenna system, used to transmit the outgoing HD video path as well as supplying the internal office space with satellite internet connectivity through its iDirect system. The uPod has delivered an impeccable service over the last three years, and the mobile internet provision has allowed the space to be used as an office, as well as an upload area for large files to be transferred. Comrex 4 wire communications and two Mitel telephones complete the satellite facilities. The uPod system can be set to automatic operation but in this case the operator usually elects to undertake operations manually.
This simple working preference can be easily accommodated by this versatile piece of equipment.
The only non satellite facility is an ISDN used for a Production four wire and clean feed. Unilateral and multilateral satellite feeds are routed to a third party supplier, with SIS LIVE’s London teleport receiving reserve back up signals and relaying them into BT Tower.
"The uPod has delivered an impeccable service over the last three years.”
The shows are made primarily for ITV4, however, for the final weekend of racing ITV1 cleared its schedules to allow the live programmes to be simulcast on ITV4 and ITV1, a challenge that the trailer was more than capable of. The broadcast drew a peak viewing audience of 3.6m viewers, and formed the high point of ITV4’s most successful year of Tour De France coverage.
SIS LIVE Limited
Registered office: Whitehall Avenue, Kingston, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire MK10 0AX, UK
Registered number: 5075598