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A very Grand Tour for pro-audio

Australian Cadel Evans emerged victorious at this year’s Tour de France cycling championship, on-site and broadcast coverage of which involved audio technology from companies including Riedel and RCF.

Australian Cadel Evans emerged victorious at this year’s Tour de France, on-site and broadcast coverage of which involved audio technology from companies including Riedel and RCF.

Covering more than 3,600 kilometres over a three-week time-frame, the Tour de France is the most prestigious of cycling’s three ‘Grand Tours’. Just two years of its shy 110th anniversary, the TdeF retains a global appeal: in 2011, broadcast coverage was delivered to no fewer than 170 countries.

German public broadcaster ZDF was among the 78 TV companies covering the event. At the heart of ZDF’s tech spec was a fiber-based MediorNet system from Riedel Communications that connected its DSNG and the main OB truck.

A Riedel Artist digital matrix intercom system enabled communications between the various OB vehicles that were used for broadcast. In addition, a number of racing teams, such as Team RadioShack, used Riedel brand NanoTalk for communications between riders, technicians and team captains.

A total of eight vehicles from the national public broadcasting networks ZDF and ARD worked together for the three weeks of ‘Le Tour’. ZDF provided a MediorNet solution that enabled the integration of an EVS operator in the SNG with the EVS SDTI network in the OB truck. This link connected the broadcast feed between the principle OB truck and the ZDF DSNG.

A Riedel Artist digital matrix intercom provided the communications infrastructure interconnecting nearly all trucks and SNGs in ZDF/ARD’s OB truck fleet deployed for Le Tour. A total of three Artist mainframes (one Artist 128 and two Artist 32s) were installed together with 32 Riedel Artist control panels.

“Riedel MediorNet simplifies our work at the Tour significantly,” commented Matthias Kampen, technical director at ZDF. “The amount of effort needed to set up the cabling infrastructure is drastically reduced. Previously there needed to be an extra system for the EVS integration; now all signals run on just one link. In addition, MediorNet handles the distribution of the ZDF Ethernet network, which also made the whole setup a lot faster and easier.”

In addition to the MediorNet and Artist digital matrix intercom installation, approximately 50 NanoTalk ultra-compact radios were utilised by various teams during the event. Thor Hushovd, Andreas Klöden and Tyler Farrar were among the riders to make use of the 43 gram (1.5 oz) radios.

RCF was another supplier to get in on the TdeF action. The advertising caravans are a familiar fixture of the event: festooned in sponsors’ imagery, the vehicles proceeds along each daily route, dispensing gifts to bystanders.

This year, Rennes-based La Cite Du Son-Sonowest was responsible for the audio installation on the vehicles, equipping a number of them with RCF speakers. In total, the company fitted 40 RCF Art 310 and C5212 speakers, selecting the units on the grounds of their quality, reliability and ease of integration.

RCF’s Kenneth Bremer told PSN-e: “Tour de of France is one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events. It attracts the attention of many people and has become a symbol of endurance and the will to win. Great performance and strength are the key to success, as with RCF’s own philosophy. So it has been a great experience to have played an important role in the Tour de France caravan, helping to deliver the best audio performance on the road all day long.”

Image: Copyright ZDF