Since 2014, the WRC+ subscription OTT service was providing a number of live stages in every WRC round, including the Power Stage at the end of each rally. With the introduction of WRC+ ALL Live in 2018, Thanks to WRC+ for the first time in the championship’s history, every special stage from each round is shown in real-time as it happens, allowing the fans to follow the World Rally Championship all over the world.
By Baba Ferdinand
The first rally that streamed all stages live was Rally Monte Carlo on January 25, 2018. Mid that year during Rally turkey 2018 Máté Petrány of Roadtrack interview the team bosses, mechanics, promoters, TV crews and representatives of the FIA to give the world rally championship fans the picture of what it takes to bring the live coverage to the fans all over the world.
Compare to circuit racing, where you have set camera locations and a few hours of action, WRC All live broadcasting is one of the most sophisticated productions In the world.
To make the new live feed happen, WRC now works with over 100-strong TV crew, creating 15 terabytes of data at each event. And their setup is quite sophisticated. It starts with a Relay Helicopters, flying six to 7 hours a day with two pilots and a technician onboard. “At every stage on the championship we have a relay plane flying circling above the stages, and we link all signals – from the cars, from our helicopter, from our action crew – directly to the plane above. From the plane, we link it back to our production hub in the service park from where we produce the world feed. Tata Communications’ next-generation fibre network instantly distributes the digital feed to TV broadcaster” explains WRC Director of Content & Production, Florian Ruth during Rally GB last year.
While the plane is doing its rounds, Other 65 cameras are rolling on the ground. There’s one at both the start and finish lines, more than ten along the stage, and three on-board per car. When you want to watch the onboard coverage. There’s always that option to choose from. (POV) camera), which stand for point of view Camera, (Face camera) the camera facing the driver or the Co-driver and sensor FX camera. Those small closed-circuit television units are tuned and upgraded by the crews for this application. There’s also the one on the helicopter, flying 45 to 60 minutes for every stage.
The plane lands mid-day for refueling, but there’s no time to waste. If it’s not up in the air to collect every signal within a 6.5 mile radius, the rally continues without the feed, and the TV guys are in trouble. You will start seeing tweets all over the world with complains.