Gravity Media (as Gearhouse Broadcast), a supplier of technical facilities, crew and services used to capture the world’s most watched content, has delivered enhanced coverage from the outer tennis courts at the 2017 French Open to the Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT). The end-to-end service was implemented not only to deliver more content but better live programming with the FFT increasing the amount of editorial content including replays and player reactions, so it could better tell the story of this year’s Roland Garros.
To do this, Gravity Media supplied all technical facilities and an operational crew of around 35 production specialists per day. This provided the FFT with a high level of consistency throughout the tournament in terms of equipment, crew and, most importantly, output across all courts.
Over the first week of qualification and two-week tournament, Gravity Media’s production solution was used to capture up to eight matches simultaneously across 12 courts, resulting in over 580 hours of live programming.
To deliver both quality and efficiency, Gravity Media utilised its new Simplylive Vibox systems, which were purchased shortly before 2017 NAB Show. Being used as core production workstations, the systems allowed each court to have its own dedicated TV director who performed vision mixing, replay creation, graphics and clip management.
Working alongside each director were two dedicated camera operators using the new Sony RM-IP500 PTZ camera remote controllers to operate Sony BRC-H800 HD pan tilt zoom cameras. Each court had three fully-controllable match cameras and a fixed site wide beauty camera. The later stages of the tournament saw a fourth camera added to the courts to further enhance the quality of the final programming of the junior and wheelchair competitions.
[Name, title] at the Fédération Française de Tennis said: “We were keen to improve the overall value we could deliver not just to our broadcast partners, but also our many fans around the world. A lot of great action at the French Open happens on the outer courts and we felt it was important to bring the same level of quality to these stories that we see in the coverage from our show courts. This project is a great example of doing more for less, and in Gravity Media we found a partner with the vision, expertise and technical understanding to meet our objectives. The complete turnkey nature of the service meant we were free to focus on other, more creative aspects of making the tournament one of our best yet.”
Jonathan Endley, business development at Gearhouse Broadcast added “the success of this project was down to being able to deliver a solution that was both efficient in terms of budget and footprint. We also achieved the FFT’s goal of delivering consistent technical facilities for better editorial programming at the tournament. With so many matches to cover on multiple courts, we worked closely with the FFT Media team ahead of the event to develop the production concept so we could better deliver the infrastructure onsite. This ensured a smooth roll out and higher production values.”
At the tournament Gravity Media also provided complete production facilities for Eurosport and WOWOW, as well as delivering all radio camera facilities for the France Télévisions and Eurosport. Its sister company Input Media, which was recently acquired by Gravity Media Group, was also at the 2017 French Open producing international feeds and logging the tournament’s content.
Gravity Media is no stranger to grand slam tennis. It provides host broadcast technical facilities for the Australian Open, broadcast services for multiple rights holders at Wimbledon and all technical facilities for host and domestic broadcasts at the US Open. It has also overseen all broadcast facilities and production crew for the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 ten-tournament series since 2000, and end-of-season ATP World Tour Finals since 2009.