Case Study: Red Hook Crit (Milano) presented by Rockstar Games

Known to many as the 'Formula One of Cycling', the Red Hook Crit series of road races not only brings fans the thrill of racers speeding through major cities across the globe, but also adds to the drama by having all riders on track bikes with fixed gears and no brakes. Given this level of difficulty, it's not surprising that the series has become an institution amongst cyclists, keen to see how many brave racers make the finish line.

Start Line at the Red Hook Crit Milano Start Line at the Red Hook Crit Milano

Announcers were able to see the full track and every corner Announcers were able to see the full track and every corner

UK live production specialist WilkieTV was tasked with delivering a comprehensive multi-camera live mix to screens for the latest in the Red Hook Crit series, which took place against the urban backdrop of vibrant Milan. WilkieTV's team of five engineers delivered an eight-camera live broadcast of the hair-raising 1.8km circuit in Bovisa, Milan

Working for specialist cycling production company Cyclevox, WilkieTV provided full vision, sound and communication infrastructure, including the deployment of over 8km of tactical fiber around the event footprint. Operating an outdoor broadcast always brings its own challenges, but even before the content production started, we had a huge amount of logistics to contend with, because of the public access to the race circuit during the rig. The Red Hook Crit races are 24 laps around city centres and we had to be able to track the riders round every corner and all parts of the circuit, as well as capture the thrills and spills of riders crashing, which could happen at any point during the race.

In order to follow the riders through a complete loop, an plan was devised around using 8 operated cameras. However, of course, there were road closures, vehicle ramping and barrier installation to protect the spectators, and so we had to work extremely closely with the event team to make sure our tactical fiber infrastructure was safely installed without hazards. All components had to be thoroughly tested before the production team started to direct the cameras, so that we were sure it would deliver all of the shots we would need, as changes could not be made once spectators started to arrive.

The production unit had to be a flyaway kit, because we had limited set up and de-rig time on either side of the race, not to mention the small amount of space to operate within, given the urban setting of the race. However this did give us the advantage of staging our control location right alongside the announcers and commentary team, which really gave the production an extra element of excitement. The live program mix was produced using our Blackmagic ATEM based video equipment, and this was then routed around to TV screens throughout the paddock and race control tents. We also provided an ISO record of all cameras and the program output using a bank of HyperDeck HD SSD recorders.

The team had to work fast, only arriving on site 24-hours before the race, and quickly cabling the circuit safetly and effectively, ensuring camera tests and rehearsals with the director could take place on schedule.

"Our Blackmagic fly-away kit handled the intensity and the complexity fantastically well, and meant that we were really able to convey the excitement as the riders sped past the crowds."

Claire Wilkie, Managing Director, WilkieTV Ltd

The race featured impressive twists and turns on the 1.8km track The race featured impressive twists and turns on the 1.8km track

The Finish line being covered by a jib The Finish line being covered by a jib

You might also be interested in reading about: