Founded in 1952, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour is Australia’s and indeed one of the world’s oldest cycling stage races. TL Sports, who organise and promote the event on behalf of the Herald Sun, have significantly grown the event in recent years to be one of the most prestigious cycling events in the Southern Hemisphere, attracting many of the world’s best professional cycling teams. As part of this growth, there was a need to bring the television production component of the event to a new level.
For the most recent Jayco Herald Sun Tour Videocraft provided a full production solution for the daily programming that included Sony PDW 530P XD Cam cameras, three Avid Media Composer edit suites and Avid Unity shared storage system built into a customised OB van.
Executive Producer on the event was Ian Gates of Editrix who said, “We have a long successful relationship with Videocraft. MD James Taylor and his team really come into their own in this type of mobile race environment. For the Jayco Herald Sun Tour they built an Avid Unity system with three edit suites into a converted OB van and drove it around for each stage. We produced a half hour daily highlights programme which included features, vignettes and results graphics and also compiled a comprehensive news highlights package each day.”
Due to the nature of the shooting schedule time was very much of the essence. Gates continued, “Videocraft built the entire system in record time. This included Sony PDW 1500 ingest decks which allowed us to ingest much faster than real time – an excellent plus on a race shoot. Traditionally people shoot on Digi Beta Cam where only one editor can look at and edit footage. Due to the flexibility of XDCAM and Avid Unity ingest system Videocraft designed and installed we were able to have 3 cameramen shooting each day and 3 editors all sharing the same media. This was an incredibly efficient setup with the editors working simultaneously on news, highlights and feature stories.”
Over the six days of the race the pace of production was almost as fast as that of the riders. Gates added, “The production and editing system meant that once ingested and edited we could assemble a completed finished programme from one console. The segment was played out directly from the truck (live to air if required) through the SNG facility to Network TEN as a finished product. Another big plus for the broadcaster as they didn’t have to do anything.”
For the next race the Editrix and Videocraft teams will be producing half hour packages and 2 hours of live footage that will go out on Network TEN’s recently launched 24-hour sports channel, One HD, each day.
Gates concluded, “The production on the last race was the best yet. Videocraft’s expertise, service and support were excellent. It’s a real labour of love for them and we even had James Taylor there to personally oversee the installation and act as onsite technical manager. The shared media capability is the real jewel in the crown saving us time, money and producing better quality packages. We are very much looking forward to working with Videocraft on the next Jayco Herald Sun Tour.”