MotoGPTM is the oldest championship of the motoring world with a history dating as far back as 1949. Dorna Sports has had the television and exclusive marketing rights since 1992, and the burden of keeping up excellence in their broadcasts has also fallen in their hands. The company has recently taken another step forward by replacing SDI baseband signals for a new structure on an IP network manufactured by the German company, Lawo. The MotoGPTM championship travels through 15 countries on 4 different continents over the 9 months of the competition.
In the preparation for this season, technicians at Dorna Sports and Lawo have worked hand-in-hand to incorporate an IP set-up, the same as that used by unilateral broadcasters, such as Eurosport (France, Germany, Holland) and Servus TV, as well as the production of up to 8 live signals for occasional broadcasters, such as Mediaset España. The result of this alliance is a set-up that integrates absolutely everything, from KVM Intercom and audio codec operations to Internet browsing. Dorna establishes a TV Compound on each circuit. They are enclosures that house all the production infrastructures, except for those that clearly need to be in other places like the cameras, vocal booths or the ENG that move around the Paddock and the Pit Lane. The international signal is produced between the two mobile units. The first, the Track Feed, controls 25 cameras deployed all over the circuit and the team that work inside are those in charge of following the race. This unit delivers a programme signal without audio to the nerve centre of MotoGPTM: IPF (International Track Feed). The second unit is where they decide what goes live at each moment of the international signal. Besides the Track Feed signal, they also integrate replays and control slow motion images, computer graphics and wireless cameras. A fully produced signal is emitted from the IPF and delivered to the broadcasters for dissemination.We have not yet spoken about what happens with the audio. This is produced separately and is embedded at the end of the process. Audio is not mixed in the mobile units. The norm would be to have one mixing console in the Track Feed so as to deliver IPF a fully produced signal with the corresponding audio already mixed, and another, to produce the final mixing incorporating all the elements. Dorna Sports has another manner of working. The several different audio tracks enter a Nova 73 HD matrix attached to a Lawo mc56 console and supervised by the VSM system. What happens is that the two video mixers send their tally signal to the VSM in such a way that we can know exactly what is being broadcasted at any time and what is still to be broadcasted, that is, it reads what is happening in real time. With all this information, the mc56 mixes the audio automatically through the audio follow video function. No matter what the nature of the signal is, whether it is MADI, Ravenna, etc., the system supports them all. This is why audio control is located in a separate booth.
The follow-up carried out by the mixer of what is happening in the international signal can be adjusted in all its parameters. It works with a mapping in such a way that the system knows that when it focuses on one camera on a bend, for example, it has to increase one fader and lower others, following the action ordered by the video mixers. A sound technician supervises everything and is ready to act at any time, fine-tuning things or applying certain shades if need be. The large amounts of audio with which they work, no longer integrate through multipair audio cables, they are distributed in Dallis (Audio I/O systems) connected to the matrix through fibre optics, which can also be redundant. This simplifies audio cabling enormously.
Executives at Dorna say that they implemented Lawo because it was much more than a simple piece of equipment, it was a work philosophy. The core is a matrix capable of working with more than 5,000 audios. A Stage Box stems from the matrix through fibre optic cables that accept up to 128 bi-directional channels with several different connections. They also provide information as to which audio it is, where it comes from, the situation of the power source, the state of the fibre, temperature, etc. This simplifies the installation quite a bit. The main advantage offered by the VSM system was its capacity to read video mixer tallies, which enables working as if there was an automated operator.
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