Review: FIS Alpine Ski World Championships 2013

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ORF is the world’s number one when it comes to covering alpine winter sport events – a number of international awards prove this, also the fact that ORF employees are regularly invited to cooperate with foreign broadcasters when they have to cover alpine ski events. And in Schladming 2013 ORF wanted to top everything done so far. HBORF was able to fulfill this ambitious goal and delivered the best broadcasting of a world ski championship so far. Millions of people got more than an impression of the exciting medal competitions, but also of the magnificent scenery and the unique atmosphere during all the events in Schladming.

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The Highlight of the Sporting Year 2013

The host broadcaster ORF delivered top-quality, unbiased international coverage of all eleven events in close cooperation with FIS, EBU and the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) to a word wide audience. ORF’s highly awarded directors Fritz Melchert and Michael Kögler brought the essentials of the competition to the audience. They produced a definitive storyline for all broadcasts, while capturing the action using innovative camera angles and the latest acquisition technology in combination with dynamic and emotional replay sequences. In addition the distinct atmosphere and the colorful crowds were an integral part of their story telling. ORF’s host broadcaster operation in Schladming (HBORF) consisted of around 300 persons who were working on the 50 hours of live productions and transmissions, the production of the various additional contents (World Feed Plus), the administration, organization and logistics during the 14 official days of the World Championships.

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The World Looks Forward to the „Ski Festival with Heart“

In addition to the impressive ski stadium the second highlight is the newly constructed Schladming Convention Center. It will serve as a media center and the International Broadcast Center (IBC) and offers seating for up to 2200 people. The Schladming Convention Center reflects modern Austrian architecture and with regard to environmentally friendly technology, multi-functional usage and gastronomical offerings, it surpasses perfection. Rooms perfectly equipped with the latest in media technology, available for the international press, will enable them to offer excellent press coverage of the Alpine Ski World Championships. Munich based company sono Studiotechnik GmbH has received the order to provide the IBC operations for the production of the 2013 FIS Alpine Worldcup in Schladming. As part of the system sono will provide a production gallery for the live transmission of the daily press conference and take care of all fiber connections between the IBC and remote production sites “Planai” and “Medal Plaza”. Riedel Communications has been won as a sub-contractor for fiber links and intercom.

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Schladming is Ready for the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships

The Austrian production company Euro-TV was commissioned by ORF to produce the international TV signal. Euro TV partnered with TVN Mobile Production from Hanover and tpc – technology and production center from Zurich. TVN is present with its Ü2HD and tpc with its HD-1 at the Planai TV compound. For the realization of the project Euro-TV has 143 employees on location including 40 cameramen. 94 cameras are installed on the various slopes including two Cam Cat rope systems, Steadicams, Polecams, five SuperSloMo and two UltraSloMo cameras. "The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2013 is one of the biggest TV broadcasts of all times and we will try to cope with this high expectation", Euro- TV Manager Günther Polder emphasizes.

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Schladming: All set for “Ski Festival with Heart”

609 athletes (356 men and 253 ladies) representing 72 nations have been entered to participate in the second FIS Alpine World Ski Championships staged in Schladming after 1982. 33 FIS World Championship medals will be awarded for the five ladies' and men's individual events as well as the nations' team event. The competitions will begin with the ladies super-G on Tuesday, 5th February, followed by the super-G for the men on Wednesday, 6th February 2013. The qualification races for the men's slalom and giant slalom events are in the program for the fourth time since 2007 in Are (SWE), due to the extremely high number of entries in these events.

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Grand Opening Show of the "Ski Festival with Heart"

The opening ceremony was covered with 22 cameras for a world-wide TV audience. The setup included five wireless cameras in the arena and a wireless transmission of the Wescam signal from the Helicopter at the very beginning of the show. Faber Audiovisual event production with Yamaha audio mixer Folsom Encore vision mixer and grandMA lighting control    copyrighted by liveProduction.tv Faber Audiovisual event production with Yamaha audio mixer Folsom Encore vision mixer and grandMA lighting control During the show a special camera feed was displayed on two screens for the spectators in the Planai arena: one 45m² AOTO screen with SMD technology and one 30m² Mitsubishi screen with LED technology. Both screens were delivered by Faber Audiovisual and performed perfectly. The 3.500sqm video projection onto the snow covered finish area in the Planai Arena consistedof twelve Video projectors Christie Roadster 20K and the 3.200 sqm onto the spectatorsarea consisted of six large image projectors with image scrollers, with 60.000 lumen each. The etire projection equipment was installed by theAustrian company Rezac High Power Projection.

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Skiing, Snow and Show: grandMA2 at the Ski World Championships

With a huge opening ceremony the 2013 Skiing World Championships recently started in Schladming, Austria. Associate LD Jeffrey Goes and associate LD Daan Oomen relied for the show on an MA Lighting system, consisting of 2 x grandMA2 light, 1 x grandMA2 fader wing  and 2 x MA NPU (Network Processing Unit). Jeffrey Goes commented: “The grandMA2 offered the best solution in networking and stability for this outdoor event. Especially in bad weather conditions it proofed to be a solid, stable control system. This was essential. Furthermore it offered us a perfect back-up solution as well as great network possibilities.”

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W-DMX™on the FIS Alpine Ski World Championship 2013 Opening Ceremony

Wireless Solution Sweden AB, manufacturer of the award-winning W-DMX™wireless DMX technology, worked with Ampco Flashlight Rental, based in Utrecht the Netherlands, to use the new Wireless Solution W-DMX G4 system to control dozens of moving lights, LED fixtures and conventional lighting fixtures at the FIS Alpine Ski World Championship 2013 Opening Ceremony in Schladming Austria on Feb 4th 2013. Lighting designers Frank Lischka, Daan Oomen and Jeffrey Goes from The Unit Showcontrol placed lighting fixtures over a very widespread area along the ski slope and the finish area.

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Riedel RiCam Goggles Camera to Provide Live-POV Shots at Alpine Ski World Championship

At the Alpine Skiing World Championship in Schladming, the host broadcaster ORF once again plays a pivotal role in alpine skiing by broadcasting live POV camera images from the skier’s perspective for the first time. The wireless camera solution was developed by Riedel Communications, a leading provider of video, audio and communications solutions, in collaboration with the International Ski Federation FIS, the Ski Austria ÖSV and Austrian public broadcaster ORF. The development of the camera took about one and a half years. The RiCam solution consisting of camera, transmitter, battery and strap weighs only 64 grams and is incorporated aerodynamically into the strap of the ski goggles. Special carbon fiber wings protect the components from the slalom gates. For the development Riedel cooperated closely with the International Ski Federation FIS, the Austrian Ski Federation ÖSV, the Race Directors Günter Hujara and Atle Skårdal as well as with several manufacturers of ski goggles and helmets.

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LMC at the FIS Alpine Skiing World Championships 2013 in Schladming

LMC LiveMotionConcept GmbH - manufacturer of UltraSlowMotion cameras and specialist in providing professional production services for sports TV - supplied multiple Antelope systems as well as a variety of analysis tools at the Alpine Skiing WC in Schladming Austria. For hostbroadcaster ORF two mobile production vehicles were supplied by LMC of which one had two Antelope MkIIs UltraSlowMotion systems and one PICO POV UltraSlowMotion camera on board. The MkIIs systems were moved between the men and ladies slopes every day with the help of helicopters. During the event they recorded the athletes during their performance with up to 2.500 frames/second. The enhanced detail function which is implemented in the latest version of the MkIIs CCU guaranteed to make visible every little detail when showing the extreme action of  the best alpine skiing athletes of the world.

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sono Studiotechnik Places Harris at Heart of New Mobile Production Facility

Leading German broadcast systems integrator and international rental company, Munich-based sono Studiotechnik, has put Harris Broadcast routing, core signal processing and media convergence technology at the heart of a new fly-away production facility it has created to provide broadcast services at major sporting and cultural events.  Within weeks of its completion, the facility was used to provide Austrian public broadcaster ORF with the international broadcast centre (IBC) facility at the FIS 2013 Alpine Ski World Championships in Schladming. At Schladming, sono Studiotechnik facilitated all IBC operations for the Championships including a production gallery capable of controlling daily live transmissions from the tournament and also coverage of the daily press conference which was broadcast by multiple international TV stations.

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Riedel Provides Comprehensive Signal Distribution to 2013 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup

Working with Munich-based sono Studiotechnik GmbH, which oversaw set up of the International Broadcast Center for host broadcaster ORF, Riedel installed a comprehensive fiber network comprising 42 MediorNet mainframes and 60 RockNet digital audio interfaces. In addition to the signal distribution responsibilities, Riedel also introduced their new lightweight and compact wireless RiCam POV camera system that was integrated into the racers' goggle straps to capture spectacular live images from their perspective. During the FIS alpine event in Schladming, the Riedel fiber backbone accommodated 92 cameras ,160 HD video signals, 200 audio signals, and Ethernet and intercom in a single flexible infrastructure that reduced both the time and cost of installation.

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600 Square Meters of LED Displays at the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships 2013

To enhance the experience of the up to 40.000 spectators in the Planai Arena and along the slopes, the Local Oorganizing Committee had ordered about 600 sqm of video walls from Faber Audiovisual including the necessary support. Faber had installed five screens at the Arena including a 135 sqm AOTO sports video wall. But also for the spectators at the middle station of the Planai Bahn close to Kessler Alm an LED Truck had been moved up with the help of a RatCat. The LED Screens along the slopes and in the arena showed the international TV signal which was produced in the two HD OBVans. Additional timing information was added on some of the screens. The sound was a special mix for the spectators and a whole batterie of L-Acoustic loudspeakers and line arrays were installed in the arena. Faber Audiovisual also had the possibility to include advertisment clips of the FIS sponsors. For all this various taskes the Faber team had an Encore vision switcher and a Soundcraft audio mixer available.

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Live from the Slopes with Blackmagic Design

To keep fans on the slopes entertained between races, organizers turned to Vienna based event management company K-Zwei Kommunikation, who have been responsible for the entire entertainment program at the championship for the past four years. That includes everything from presenting through to creation of editorial content and even music programming. Technical provider 4YOUREYE built an HD SDI workflow around Blackmagic Design’s ATEM 2 M/E Production Switcher and 1 M/E Broadcast Panel for K-Zwei. Fan-TV footage was mixed with the official live feed from ORF [the Austrian Broadcast Company] and displayed on eight jumbo LED screens placed around the venue, and also distributed to Planai TV, a local television station.

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ORF with Ardis DDP at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2013

For the production of the national feed ORF used a DDP with 144 TB of storage in hot failover configuration. The DDP system consisted of two heads and four expansion chassis with Raid6 sets and 2 x 10GbE uplinks, that were connected through a Cisco 4000 series switch with the clients. By connecting four EVS IP Director systems via UNC path to the DDP volume a very stable and high-performance workflow with the EVS used XT2/XT3-Servers could be guaranteed. Parallel to that, the DDP server managed effortlessly six streams ProRes422 via EVS ingest server, four streams ProRes422 via Tools on Air Just:In and four XDCAM transfers via Sony PDWU1/U2. At the same time five editor-viewing and six cutting workstations with Apple FinalCutPro7 were available. Configuration and local system support was again realized by partner ETAS, Vienna.

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Yamaha CL3 Enjoys A Piste Of The Action At Alpine World Ski Championships

The technical challenges of the production were considerable, with microphone signals needing to be relayed from the top of the ski runs and from ambient camera mics all the way down, with further ambient and presenter mics at the bottom of the hill. Adding to the broadcast complexity was that, as soon as one competitor finished the next started, meaning that the reaction of the skier who had just finished could have been missed as coverage switched to the next. To ensure that both were enjoyed by the Television audience, David and the CL3 handled the top half of the course, the audio signals being transmitted from two Yamaha Rio1608-D units by fibre optic, via 13 Riedel Mediornet units and MADI to the OB van, where it was recorded on to hard disk. To accommodate footage of the just-finished skier, the broadcast directors showed a slightly shortened recording of the next competitor’s start, switching to live action as they progressed down the hill.

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