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Zigzagging across South Africa – reports and live broadcasts from the top locations of the World Cup

Sunrise at Hotel Velmore - Public Viewing in Rustenburg

On 4th June the broadcast transmission specialist Josef Rade and his production team, consisting of a cutter and a cameraman, picked up their SNG at the port of Durban. They made a few minor changes to the production technology in the SNG and also had to configure the parts that were flown out from Germany at the last minute. Then finally it was off to the North-East of South Africa, where the SNG North team underwent its final test in Johannesburg on 7th June and was given the all clear for “unrestricted transmission readiness”.

With the live transmission from Orlando stadium of the official Kick-Off show, presented by Thomas Gottschalk and Jo-Ann Strauss, the World Cup started for this team one day before the whistle blew to begin the opening game. Since then the team has been commuting between Johannesburg, Rustenburg, Bloemfontein, Pretoria and Durban. On their travels to the top locations of the country to bring the best reports and live broadcasts about the World Cup they have already covered 4,000 kilometres.

Dust and bumps versus high tech on four wheels

The uneven and dusty roads in South Africa make it virtually impossible to make rapid progress and hold a few surprises in store. It is hardly surprising, then, that on the way to Bloemfontain the windscreen of the SNG was cracked when it was hit by a stone. Since we have to provide a constant stream of new reports and replacement parts are hard to find – you never quite know where the next report is going to take you – the windscreen won’t be replaced until we return to Germany. A simple repair using a length of tape from our on-board supplies had to be enough to get our SNG ready to move again. With a touch of black humour we came to the conclusion that it was actually a bit of luck that the windscreen washing unit wasn’t working. Water pouring in through the crack in the windscreen would just have added insult to injury.


Even if our team has had to battle against technical defects in the vehicle, there have been no such problems with the production and broadcasting technology on board. The MEDIA BROADCAST SNG vehicle is fully equipped with everything needed to provide production and transmission in high quality HD, from four cameras (HD/SD), a Panasonic AV-HS400 vision mixer (with 8 input channels) and a Yamaha MY 16-AE sound mixer (with 16 input channels) through to a VTR, an editing suite (Avid Media Composer Adrenaline HD) and a 19 m diagonal Diamond antenna.

Given that our mobile high tech studio needs a 7.7 by 2 m parking space, it can get a bit tight in the narrow streets around the city centres. On the other hand, our SNG team has the entire production technology constantly available for use on board.

A career as a travel guide? On the road from one highlight to another

What with reports from the German quarter in Velmore, the general coverage for the DFB club in Pretoria, an interview with team manager Oliver Bierhoff at training in Bloemfontain and numerous live broadcasts from Public Viewing areas – Josef Rade and his team have got to know South Africa in depth, including the history and culture of the country.

Their filming schedule included a report on the Houses of Parliament in Kapstadt. The impressive seat of the South African government was built in 1884 and it has been the summer seat of the South African parliament ever since. Traditionally the government and parliament have moved to Pretoria in the winter and then returned to Kapstadt in the summer. Did you know that?

Also planned in the schedule were a live broadcast from Soweto and another from a hairdressing salon in the Ghanaian district of Pretoria. No wonder some of our colleagues in the SNG team tell you with a wink of the eye that once the World Cup is over they would be perfectly happy to take up a second career as a travel guide in South Africa.