This year was the third year of the ATP 500 Rio open at Jockey Club Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro. The biggest tennis-tournament in South America and the 18th biggest tournament around the world.
As in previous years, Globosat again did the world feed and it was my third time at the transmission as well. I saw it starting of with twelve cameras, the year after there were twelve cameras as well but two of them were high-speed cameras for the superslomos. At this years edition there were again twelve cameras and three high-speed cameras. This is a pretty rich coverage for an ATP 500 tournament. Around the world this setup is used for a masters 1000 tournament, which is way bigger than an ATP 500. I was one of the three EVS-operators at this event and was responsible for the superslomos, winners package after each set and some highlight edits.
Globosat owns a lot of channels. SporTV is among those channels and was the channel we worked for in Brazil. When working on the world feed you have to keep in mind that you are not only working for the local channel but also for the rest of the world. The ATP did the countdowns for the world feed, this means that they tell you when you go to the commercial break and when you are back on air. This is all scheduled and is a fixed pattern during the whole tournament. This way all TV channels around the world know exactly when they can go the commercial break and when they have to back before the match continuous.
This year we had a new director without any experience in tennis, and without experience working on a world feed. I noticed that he made some mistakes regarding this, taking the SporTV countdown as leading. Normally he works that way so the first day, you can imagine, he needed to get used to that. But all week long he forgot that he was working for ATP instead of SporTV. Sometimes this lead to some mistakes. For example, ATP requires a wide shot coming back from break to air some graphics about the game score, when SporTV got shorter commercial breaks he had already cut to a close shot. It weren’t big mistakes, and maybe people at home haven’t even noticed it as a mistake. But in these details you can see that Brazilian networks aren’t used to transmit the world feed. With more and more international events coming up in Brazil in preparation to this year’s Olympic games this is an important lesson to be learned.
When I worked in the Netherlands 4,5 years ago I heard some directors there saying that Dutch broadcasting is leading and following. They mean to say by that, that they copy things from other countries, things they like, and that they try new things every now and then.
For example, last year there was a brilliant shot during the Dutch classic of soccer between Ajax and Feyenoord in Rotterdam. The director sent the camera inside the players tunnel and when the hatch opened he followed the goalkeeper, who just transferred to “the enemy”, for more than two minutes continuous. It was a shot like in a computer game and it went all over the world.
Feyenoord - Ajax opening by Ben de Graaf for Fox Sports NL:
The director didn’t take any risk for the million dollar shot. When you have twelve cameras, you can afford to miss one camera to get that shot people will talk about. Like I said, the director was inexperienced with tennis so I wouldn’t consider this his fault or lack of creativity. But this is something production crews should think about. Let’s not forget the tournament was broadcasted in over a 100 countries around the world. That’s a great stage to show your skills internationally.
The transmission was pretty nice and ATP was a happy client. In this case my point isn’t about mistakes but about missed chances. I have to say there were very little mistakes for the amount of hours we broadcasted. So, congrats to the direct, producer, camera guys and the whole production crew. And, in my previous columns I sometimes wrote about the poor quality of care and catering but this time everything was lovely arranged!