Capturing the spills & thrills of FIA rallies live

WRC Promoter, the company responsible for the television production of FIA World Rally Championship, has partnered with LiveU to leverage the latter’s HEVC/H.265 technology to coverage of 10 automobile tournaments this year.

Most action sports TV production involves positioning of personnel, equipment and stages across the vast rally route or space. Often, they relied on motorbikes to courier the recorded footage from the field to the studio. Thus, WRC Promoter, has been on the hunt for a more dynamic coverage method yet low in cost.

Following a successful test of LiveU’s technology at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland in Germany last August, WRC Promoter has decided to expand the use of LiveU’s technology across 10 rallies this year.

LiveU has already supported coverage of Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden to viewers in 2019. Under the new partnership, another eight events are also set to leverage on LiveU configuration, including Tour de Corse, Rally de Portugal, Rally Italia Sardegna, Rally Finland, ADAC Rallye Deutschland, Rally Turkey, Wales Rally GB and Rally RACC Catalunya – Rally de España.

Florian Ruth, director of content and production, WRC Promoter, explained that the team utilised three LU600 HEVC/H.265-equipped units alongside LiveU server technology and LiveU Central for overall management.

“HEVC/H.265 is very important for us to significantly reduce bandwidth and LiveU has fitted smoothly into our production workflows,” he added.

During the test, signals were sent — both live and files using store and forward — to the WRC TV production unit where the LiveU servers are situated, normally in the event Service Park, with the content then pulled into an edit suite as required. Rally stages are spread up to 250km around the Service Park at each event.

Ruth added: “We are using LiveU in conjunction with our RF and satellite workflow, allowing us to significantly expand our coverage without having to worry about access to certain parts of events or rely on motorcycles to deliver the additional captured footage to us. In order to continue to fully engage existing viewers and to attract new audiences, we constantly need to innovate.

“Using LiveU is allowing us to think differently, and to bring a fresh level of dynamism to our content as we can use locations at each event that simply weren’t possible previously. LiveU will also be able to deliver content directly to our production hub as we begin to move to remote production.”

LiveU’s HEVC/H.265 set-up allows mobility as well as signal robustness for captivating the actions during the competitions.

Ruth added: “With our ‘All Live’ approach, we try to give the viewer the maximum possible variety on shots and the best of the action.

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