Tour de France is one of the most watched sports on TV. This cycling event has a reputation for high quality images provided from a variety of sources: motorbikes, cars, helicopters and fixed locations. The finish route circle on Champs-Élysées in Paris is so overcrowded by supporting cars and motorbikes that cable mounted, motorised cameras must be used to get clear images and close up shots.
ACS France, a leading company in providing TV broadcasting of sporting events for more than 17 years, was responsible for providing images from Tour de France in 2016.
Each stage of the Tour is accompanied by a squadron of helicopter and large numbers of police, international TV and radio stations, creating huge radio communication smog. Lots of equipment was tested in this harsh environment by ACS but only RipEX was able to provide fast and reliable communication.
During real-time broadcasting, one RipEX unit was connected to the joystick and the other to the motorized, gyro stabilised camera, for control management. It was essential to have a continuous fast data stream with minimum jitter, otherwise the pictures would be discontinuous. Despite the noise created by outside factors, the RipEX radios performed perfectly.
Robust, interference tolerant π/4DQPSK modulation with ‘only’ 69 kbps being used; 16DEQAM would have provided 166 kbps but with lower noise and interference resistance.
You can see unique images of the end of Tour de France captured with the help of RipEX here (sec. 27-45):
RipEX radios have now become an essential piece of equipment for ACS and are likely to help bring unique action shots to your TV screens from global sporting events in the future, such as the French Open tennis championship at Roland Garros and of course, next year’s Tour de France.