Italian production company Vandone Film has acquired three Blackmagic Studio 4K cameras to help it get under the bonnet of Formula One and Moto GP.

Vandone Film’s clients include Sky Italia. It also produces specialist media content for Sky Sports F1 HD and Sky Sports Moto GP HD, plus GP Confidential, an English-language magazine format about the world of motor racing, which is distributed to more than 75 countries.

To recreate technically accurate 3D models of bikes and cars, and then introduce and film those animations in a green-screen studio alongside the on-screen talent, Vandone has developed a specialised production workflow.

Vandone Film founder Fabiano Vandone, a racing driver-turned technical commentator, who has worked for broadcasters including Telepiu, RAI and Sky, said: “Our teams start the process by recreating highly accurate 3D models of the racing cars for Sky Sports F1.

“We even create motorcycle models for Sky Sports MotoGP. Once those have been modelled and textured, we then look to create technical animations, which help to illustrate for the audiences at home the technologies that make up today’s motor racing cars.”

Virtual tracks

Vandone also recreates virtual racing tracks, which are used to provide viewers at home with a detailed walk-through of the circuit around which the drivers will be racing.

The tracks are then analysed and approved by journalists at Sky Italia, BSkyB and Sky Deutschland to ensure they are accurate.

Vandone uses a green-screen studio environment to combine the 3D animations with commentary and allow the talent to interact with the animations.

These sequences are recorded as VT packages and then supplied to Sky as XDCAM 422 MXF files.

Vandone says: “The Studio 4K cameras and ATEM Production Studio 4K switcher give the facility complete control over all of our incoming live camera feeds, and at a fraction of the cost of traditional hardware-based camera control solutions.”

He adds: “They offer much better colorimetry control when using Blackmagic’s studio cameras, and the 4K sensor is better defined than any system we’ve used in the past.

“The 4K sensor has eliminated any problems we had with noise, which had been a real handicap for us, given the amount of green screen we shoot.

“Not only that, but the process of chroma keying is now a great deal simpler. It is now much easier for us to control, assuming the director of photography has done their work well.”

The live camera feeds are routed through a Smart VideoHub matrix, which then distributes the incoming signals out to preview monitors, a multiviewer, and the facility’s primary production switcher.

“With the 8 ME channels in the Tricaster 8000 CS, we can also control the chroma keying, and the insertion of virtual studios created within our other departments,” said Vandone.