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Giro d'Italia with director Nazareno Balani

The great circus, RAI Grandi Eventi production, serious and substantial (May 2015)

Nazareno Balani, RAI director with 40 years experience talks to us of the latest news concerning one of the greatest Italian Sports events, Giro d'Italia 2015.
He boasts 15 years at Tg1 news, 3 World Championships in football, six Olympic Games, and 17 Giri d'Italia and special projects for RAI, including the World Swimming Championships.
The "Grandi Eventi RAI" working group is based on a well-established team.


Any project starts here with technical feasibility and costs, examining everything and meeting the needs of the publisher, Rai Sport.
"Over the years -says Balani- we have grown up from a coverage of about 40 km from the arrival in the first editions to today's where we cover more than three times this figure."
Then we moved from the use of a shooting helicopter to two, from three to five motorbikes, from 8 to 15 cameras at the arrival and a plane which guarantees the radio link signal even in bad weather.
We have, therefore, structured an important production.
Cycling takes place on a very wide area and an average length of 150-160 kilometers per day which present higher geographical and technical complexity than any other sport.
The roads are not always covered by the GPS in an optimal way.
Every day, RAI sets up a complete production center with a main and a secondary control room, plus one for the news, editing rooms, and newsrooms.
At each stage a tv compound based on 24 vehicles is arranged.
At 9 in the evening they leave and move to the next stage and at 6 in the morning the compound is set up again, and on.
Nazareno Balani on the finishing line sets the direction on board a three-axis 12m ob-van, covering the arrival with nine cameras.
Balani says: "Three cameras are for the interviews, plus a "beauty", used before the cyclists arrive to portray the "background" for graphic charts.
Two are radio cameras, all the others are wired in triax and fiber optics.
The mixer on RAI's main production vehicle is a Grass Valley, while the cameras are by Sony and all shots are in high definition.
The only images shot in 4K are those of UltraMotion on board of a motorcycle.
Upon arrival the Tour relies on two Super Slow Motion and in the last week of the race a Super Slow Motion and a Ultra Motion.
4 to 5 cameras are used for pre-arrival, depending on the curves of the last kilometer and a radio camera is useful for shooting the winner.
A radio camera completes hot interviews, than moves and goes to shoot the race, and images for the program "Il processo alla Tappa".
In fact the number of the shooting locations is indeed greater than that of the cameras, since each camera covers more roles and moves where needed; actually the technical team has wired multiple locations.
Balani tells us: "Tv program schedule starts in the morning at around 10, 10:30 and ends at nine in the evening for a really huge amount of broadcast hours. About 120 people rotate in a continuous loop to make this possible.
Two latest generation micro-cameras tilt to neutralize motion on the bike frame. The operator may switch between the shoulder and the microscopic camera.
Another important novelty is that the entire system of the filming of this edition is signed by RAI; whereas, in the past, some segments were outsourced.
Last to be mentioned is a new car that is called Ka-Sat, a Fiat Florin having its own antenna that is placed from time to time in anticipation of the race, on a particular pass or a particularly spectacular touristic point.
Another car equipped within the race has a camera, a radio link, and recorder and acts as a bridge so that can send images on the air as well as record them simultaneously.
Nazareno Balani jokes: "My work for the Giro d'Italia is not to ruin other people's work! Because really great people are working here and it is a passion for work resulting in a great team, really pride and international prestige for RAI."

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