Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Audio-Technica stereo shotguns handle live, mobile Tour de France coverage
Viewers of the 2009 Tour de France saw hundreds of racers cover more than 2200mi between vying for the finish line on Avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris. Broadcast coverage created an amazing soundscape of determined cyclists and the crowds cheering them along thanks to Audio-Technica AT835ST M-S stereo shotgun microphones mounted to the cameras on five motorcycles that provided live audio.
The AT835ST microphones were provided by the Societé Française de Production (SFP), a division of the Euro Media Group, a longtime supplier of broadcast technology and services to the Tour de France and other major sporting events. Recently, Audio-Technica announced a name change for this model, now called the BP4029.
Throughout the race, the motorbike crews covered the action from top to bottom, pacing the riders and collecting crowd reaction effects. The audio, embedded with the video signal, was sent via low-power broadcast to a pair of helicopters and two circling airplanes. They, in turn, relayed the signals to three ground relays in trucks, which sent it via satellite or terrestrial links to OB vans located near each leg’s finish line.
"We chose Audio-Technica stereo shotgun mics because they are good-quality microphone solutions for this application," said Luc Geoffroy, CTO of the Euro Media Group. "The mics are robust with excellent sonic characteristics to pick up sound in a mobile situation, and they can do it with exceptional directivity, providing good rejection of unexpected wind and other noise. They're lightweight and small, making them a good fit for how we use them on the motorbikes, and they also give us a good stereo image with excellent separation. And they're very easy to use and highly reliable."