Posted by: Goran Razic
There are three biggest single sport events in Croatia: FIS Ski World Championships in Zagreb, ATP tennis tour in Umag and UCI cycling race Tour of Croatia. I am very proud that I have a chance to work in photo/video segment in two out of three. Tour of Croatia is a very young project, that had it's premier edition in 2015. It immediately showed that it has great organization, high TV viewer ratings (more than 50 million people watched the event over HRT and Eurosport TV channels) but the most valuable thing is that it discovered to everybody how beautiful country we have. Usually we are not aware of that, so stunning everyday helicopter shots had reminded us how beautiful the country we live in is. After all, that was the segment of my work those days. I had to gather the team of three photographers, one drone pilot/cinematographer and editor (that was me in the end) and we had to show this event not only as a sport, but also as tourism, nature wonders and atmosphere moment as well. When Ozren Müller called just a few months prior to race, he said: “'Razoli', are you interested in this project? A great team is being assembled by Vladimir Miholjević and everyone is so exited! Let's do a fantastic job like we do with Snow Queen Trophy!". I didn't think for a second there. From the first meeting Ivan Črnjarić and Vladimir Miholjević were full of energy and they thought of Tour Of Croatia as a small child that needs a safe growing-up surroundings. After initial phone conversations we did first concrete live meetings and although budget was not yet clear and PR for race was late, we started with technical preparations.
My team had to cover photo and video materials from the race, but in a way that cannot be seen by official TV cameras. Emphasis should be on nature beauty and all events on start/finish line. Sandro Rubinić, on a motorcycle, was in charge of sports photography of peloton group and leading cyclists. Kristijan Komarica and Ivan Lacković from KL-Photo did photos on chosen sections, ambushing the cyclists. Damir Jevtić and Ranko Frka did areal filming on the same locations, and I filmed as much as I could get for daily highlights video clips. Clips had to be 1-2 minutes long, prepared for Youtube channel, social networks and video wall on start/finish of each stage. After event finished there was also a need for 5-10 minutes overview report that could be used on national TV station and social networks. Although I have many experience in big sport events, this was for me something completely new. In 5 race days we made more than 2.000 km (cars went straight to service afterwards), we changed 6 hotels, 5 start and 5 finish lines, we traveled Croatia from Makarska in south to Sv. Martin na Muri on north, but most important - we made a lot of great multimedia content for organizers. Main problem here was the dynamics of event itself. The day started with breakfast at 6-7am, then photo/video gear was grouped, checkout from the hotel done and we had to be at start line. Approximately 45 minutes was available to film everything regarding stage start (audience, speeches, landscapes, cycle teams, banners and start itself). After that we took cars and at first available chance we overtook peloton and then rushed to the first position to "ambush" the racers. All positions were daily planned with Vladimir Miholjević who had the most experience since he passed race course several times and knew the most attractive parts. These information were valuable and saved us a lot of time. After a drive, sometimes with speed more than 200 km/h, we prepared, made shots and in only couple of minutes headed off to the next positions. We had 3 to 4 positions per stage, plus start and finish. It was also important to be in time, with all equipment unpacked before first cyclist arrive to the finish line. Late afternoon race was finished, however job was not even close to the end. After victory ceremony and a few BTS shots we had to rush to the next hotel in next destination where, after checking in, we had to do postproduction of entire archive from that day. Kris and Lac were delivering photos for media and social networks and after dinner I dig into editing which was finished around 22pm - 2am.
Choosing of right gear for this kind of event was very important. All had to be top quality, but for practical reasons some compromises had to me made, regarding amount of equipment since we had to be really fast and light because of constant moving. Video material was made with Sony FS700R camera set up as usual with custom made Gearbox shoulder rig, Kinotehnik viewfinder and Rode NTG2 shotgun mic. Daily I used two to three big Sony NP batteries, and in 6 days almost 300GB was collected. FS-700 camera with this setup showed as an excellent choice since it functions in full ENG style. On the other hand it delivered nice "film look" that stand out from TV production cameras. That gave extra charm to all those natural wonders and was really the essence of what it was all about. We used DJI Phantom 2 dron with GoPro 3+ camera. Phantom advantage is incredible portability. It's indispensable when you need to rush out of the car, take a shot and in 5 minutes be back in car and on a road again. We had 6 batteries available (for each position one) and basically we always made sure that take-off is done with full battery. Sometimes we encountered problems with GoPro which from time to time (of course) just didn't listen, and sometimes there was a problem with low signal (canyons of Rječina, Cetina etc.). There was also a problem with the wind, since this type of dron cannot endure even moderate winds. At the end we did shoot some great sequences that were excellent in combination with helicopter and land footage . Editing was done on i7 Macbook Pro laptop with SSD. Final Cut Pro X gave needed editing speed because of easy and fast way of footage selection, great sorting options and ability to mark content by keywords and favorites.