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Serie A football restarts in Italy with "new normal" and NVP Spa

The Weekend 20/21 June 2020 marks the restart of Italian soccer Serie A after the long pause due to the pandemic COVID-19, since March 8th. 

The Turin-Parma, Verona-Cagliari matches are scheduled on Saturday 20th June, while Atlanta-Sassuolo and Inter-Sampdoria are on 21st.

The tv service responsible for the television production of one of these important historical events, namely the Atalanta Sassuolo match at 7.30 pm, is NVP Spa, a well known tv service with offices in Milan, Rome and San Piero Patti, Sicily.

"We had a very careful approach since the beginning," says Ivan Pintabona CTO of NVP, "also in consideration of the fact that we were the last tv service to work on both Serie A football and the Cups, since we worked on the last matches on the fields of Bergamo and Sassuolo.

From the beginning we have adopted social distancing measures and others as required by the various PPE and fortunately we have not had even a case of infection by Coronavirus among our operatives and freelancers.

Then we extremized all the prevention procedures also following the guidelines of the various scientific committees.

So, in addition to distancing, we immediately applied pre and post sanitations which became standard procedures.

Among these we used ozonizers before and after the events and UV lamps to sterilize the place.

In addition, we immediately applied the new layout of the vehicles required by the Football League which, compared to the previous guidelines in standards A and B (now abolished), today requires standards C and D providing for a meter and a half of distance between the different operating areas.

This suggested to cover the events with our larger twin vehicles, triple expansion OB6 and OB4, which usually manage up to 28 LDX86 4K HDR WCG cameras, Dolby E audio, 12 replay stations, and 6 Producer stations ”.

New layout

These powerful trucks retouched in the layout of the personnel on board, given the great availability of space, also provide for the use of bulkheads that isolate laterally and further, thanks to a transparent plastic material that is more malleable than plexiglass.

Obviously, operators wear masks all the time and use gels and gloves.

The "new normal" wanted by the Lega Calcio refers to guidelines on operations involving people engaged in operating simultaneously in the various areas on board and in the TV compound.

It also involves playing times and marks many general precautionary guidelines that should be taken.

The reduced production Format foresees a smaller number of cameras, only ten, as used in the past in the smaller matches.

The NVP deploys large mobile vehicles, with double gallery, equipped with separate entrances, therefore very suitable for these very peculiar needs.

In this case, the well-known OB4 is hired on June 20 with the reduced number of cameras shooting in HD.

Around thirty people including cameramen will be engaged.

The consequent inferior spectacularity of the match, also linked to the absence of fans in the stadium stands, suggests that the Lega Calcio will try to field something new and alternative to enrich the television product, even if at the time of writing there is still no official announcement.

This without increasing the number of people engaged, given that everyone's idea is to protect the health of the workforce.

Another change due to the "new normal" is that the integrations on board the vehicle will not be hosted, despite the double gallery availability, as normally happened, but it is carried out by an independent external vehicle.

Ivan Pintabona specifies: “We could deploy a smaller mobile vehicle with similar technical capabilities, always enabled to shoot Serie A, however we prefer to rely on one of our larger vehicles because the availability of space on board allows an optimal spacing among working areas.

In practice, today the trends have reversed compared to the past: the bigger the vehicle, the more suitable it is, that is, no one is going in the direction of using smaller vehicles."

The OB Van is also expected to work with the doors of the control rooms open, despite air conditioning, pre-ozonization and sanitation of the areas involved.

Three feeds will be produced: a national one, an international second and a third one with different graphics to allow the inclusion of different sponsors depending on the geographical areas.

All the graphics will be applied downstream, in the operations center.

Pintabona resumes: “Until today (June 8th) we have witnessed several proposals that seek to increase the level of spectacularity in the stadiums.

Among these a mini action camera, aimed at the referee, virtual screens instead of spectators, new graphic additions and statistics, all in search of greater involvement of the spectator from home. 

But nothing is confirmed yet.

The official document issued by the Football League indicates the process of television production step by step in this “new normal” and even the access routes to the stadiums are specified in order to let the players enter by different routes from those used by the workers.

Everything is differentiated with a precise protocol.

For example, in the evening games the previous day of preparation is no longer scheduled: for the games that are played at 20.30 the television crew does not arrive the day before, as happened in the past, but on the morning of the match itself.

Then all the shots that would require an excessive closeness between players and interviewers and crew, or co-presence in a closed place, like in the changing rooms, are canceled.

This is equivalent to having eliminated all possible direct interactions between players and TV operators, as seen in the pre and post game."

The few certainties

Among the confirmed official news we can mention the presence of a health official in charge of evaluating the answers given to specific questionnaires.

All collaborators arriving at the event must complete this questionnaire which tends to identify any contacts with people who have or have had fever or obvious symptoms.

Depending on the answers, the official assesses whether or not this person can receive the entry pass and therefore enter the production process.

Certainly the health of people was and is priority, and not the television product itself.

The main idea was the search for the right compromise to restart as fast as possible the stopped soccer championship, with the least possible risk.

###

roberto landini for SVG all rights reserved

 

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