Gravity Media were contracted by Whisper TV to provide the technical facilities for each of the race circuits for their 2020 coverage of Formula 1 for Channel 4.
Coverage of the racing itself was produced by Formula One Management (FOM), and then combined with Whisper’s live presentation elements and graphics for Channel 4. As part of the production for Channel 4, Whisper TV would cover the races in the format of two weekly highlights show; the qualifiers on Saturday and race highlights on Sunday – apart from the British Grand Prix, which was broadcast live.
Technical provisions for the racing included:
• A custom-built, bespoke, lightweight flypack to facilitate the production galleries and vision and audio control areas.
• Onsite presenters, pundits and guests were equipped with radio mics: each monitored, sub-mixed and sent back to the onsite OB. From there, the audio stems were sent back to the production facility in London.
• Onsite commentary microphone feeds were passed via fibre to the studio in London to be mixed with on-track sound and the London-based commentary.
• We delivered two 1920x1080i HDI-SDI video signals to the studio via an always-on fibre connection, and four levels of embedded audio including full stereo mix, clean FX, and international sound.
• We facilitated pre-recorded material using Sony PM W-F5 cameras, which offer a more filmic look than the PXW-X500s used for track-side interviews.
Elsewhere, the team were in force to support the FOM team establish a robust remote production solution for their coverage of the 2020 season. As a result, we installed a bespoke flyaway rack at FOM headquarters in Biggin Hill, so we could collect all 24 video feeds, including on-board cameras, timing pages and the World Feed. Remote control of this rack gave us the ability to select feeds, as required, to switch down four program lines via fibre to both London and to the onsite facility at the circuit.
Through careful planning, intelligent use of technology a deep experience of motorsport, Gravity Media delivered a powerful portable solution that punches well above the mark. Working alongside Whisper TV, we immersed fans in a novel ‘on location’ offering, using a clever and slickly packaged remote production solution alongside Whisper’s impressive presentation crew and engaging features.
The 2020 package allowed all teams to work efficiently, effectively, and safely, delivering a quality output that kept Formula One available for British fans to watch on free-to-air television for another year.