Santos Festival of Cycling

Gravity Media Australia is the production company engaged by the South Australian Tourism Commission to deliver the broadcast of the Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide, South Australia. 

The Santos Tour Down Under is a cycling race that takes part in Adelaide with a one-day circuit race and road racing throughout South Australian regions.  It is traditionally the opening event of the UCI WorldTour calendar and features all 19 UCI WorldTeams along with the UCI Women’s ProSeries event. In 2021 due to the many COVID-19 challenges and international travel restrictions, the event was re-imagined to the Santos Festival of Cycling which included a National Road Series, Track event with BMX racing, Paracycling, Cyclo-Cross and Mountain Biking.

The South Australia Tourism Commission and Government were steadfast in their drive to deliver an event to South Australia and the professional cycling community and passionate fans in bringing cycling to South Australia in January.

Professional cyclists who had not been in a competitive high-profile event for many months lauded the approach. 

Gravity Media was tasked to tailor a solution in and around the COVID-19 challenges such as deploying crew and facilities in amongst state border rules and restrictions. A mammoth logistical broadcast effort that required a remote production plan. 

The plan was designed around utilising Gravity’s Production Centre in Sydney (PCS) as the production base with control rooms and edit suites. The challenge was how to deliver the many individual camera and audio feeds to the PCS from on the ground in Adelaide, South Australia. 

4G-bonded technology with extenders was deployed for the helicopter, motorbikes and ground cameras positioned throughout the four stages in the Barossa, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and CBD locations. The commentary studio was based in Adelaide‘s CBD with audio and camera feeds delivered via encoders to the PCS. There were no outside broadcast trucks on-site, a minimal site footprint allowing for less rig/de-rig time and more efficient crew hours between the stages. 

The Production Centre in Sydney then produced and directed the broadcast cutting cameras, applying graphics and EVS replays. Two edit suites provided support with content for both the program and social media. Using in-house DVN fibre the program was delivered to the 7 Network for live broadcast on 7Plus. 

The Santos Festival of Cycling is a successful Gravity Media benchmark for true remote production delivering a solid broadcast quality product along with a very cost-effective project.