Viewers of the 2009 Tour de France saw hundreds of racers cover over 2,200 miles in July, each vying for the finish line on Paris’ Avenue des Champs-Elysées, and they also heard an amazing soundscape thanks to Audio-Technica AT835ST M-S stereo shotgun microphones mounted to the cameras on five motorcycles that cover the miles-long pack of racers.
The AT835ST microphones were provided by the Societé Française de Production (SFP), a division of the Euro Media Group, which has been a longtime supplier of broadcast technology and services to the Tour de France and other major sporting events.
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 outside broadcasting (OB) vans located near the finish line.
“We chose Audio-Technica stereo shotgun mics because they are good-quality microphone solutions for this application,” explains 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.”