SMT Debuts Real-time Speed, Gradient Graphics for NBC’s Tour de France Coverage
SMT (SportsMEDIA Technology) has announced the debut of real-time speed and gradient graphics for NBC Sports’ broadcast of the 103rd Tour de France. SMT is in its seventh year providing real- time broadcast graphics and production support for the Tour de France.
This year marks the first time SMT has provided on-screen graphics depicting real-time speeds for both individual riders and the peloton for all 21 stages of the race. The graphics display the ever-changing road gradients and the speeds of multiple riders at one time or a single rider.
SMT continues to provide its ISO Track System that allows broadcasters to identify and track key riders with an on- screen pointer graphic that interfaces and displays names, rankings and headshots, allowing viewers to easily follow the cyclists in the tightly packed peloton. For this year’s race, ISO Track now features real-time speeds and gradients alongside riders’ information.
SMT’s live race crawl provides a wide range of information and statistics, including live data tracking and the position of the leaders, peloton and other groups during each stage. Competitors’ bios and quotes also scroll across the ticker, as well as social media that is interfaced via SMT’s social media publisher. The crawl also showcases stage winners, the standings of top American cyclists and other notable riders, and jersey standings.
Other broadcast features from SMT include full-screen data-rich graphics with race stage profiles showing the layout of the current stage and rider progression; lower-thirds with riders’ names, headshots, team logos and other race statistics; leaderboard graphics; a production telestrator; and onscreen clocks and time trial graphics.
For the NBC talent commentating the 23-day event, SMT created a secondary prompter to complement the primary prompter that displays the leaderboard. This new prompter displays climb winners, sprint winners, and tracks riders for each group based on the stage profile of that given day in the race.
“The Tour de France is a unique event for SMT from a production standpoint as well as logistically. Production-wise, our team is responsible for interfacing to three different data providers, then seamlessly incorporating that data into NBC’s production to give viewers and commentators the insight they need to follow cycling’s most grueling race,” says Lee Brinson, Director of Special Events for SMT. ”Along with relatively straight-forward information such as race results, we are now interfacing complex feeds of real-time speed and gradient, something fans have been hungry for for years. Combine this with the fact that our on-site operators move with the compound every day to a different finishing city, and it’s a challenging and fast-paced event that puts a premium on efficiency and time management.”