Rafa vs The World was Live show, created by PokerStars in which Spanish Tennis legend Rafa Nadal would be Joined by British comedian Nick Walthall for a live broadcast. Rafa would play a series of heads-up (slang for one-on-one) poker games against online fans.

Volcano City, my employers at the time, were asked to provide the technical production for the show.  This time the entire team was flown to Mallorca to take on the challenge. 

I was asked to create a graphics package, Intro, outro, countdown, failsafe slates, end slates and lower thirds for the occasion. And coordinate the project.

Volcano City are experts in complex live streaming and broadcast operations, and this being a very important operation for our client we spared no expense in making sure we would stay online.

Having tested the internet connections at the location, and we weren’t satisfied with the results. We then decided to hire a satellite truck from Overon (MediaPro’s satellite truck division). The tests went very well, and then it was up to our tech team to decide what kit to use. 

And once more even though the output was relatively simple, we went with a robust solution with redundancy at every level Redundant Tricasters, Redundant Grass Valley Recorders, Redundant audio desks and 3 Sony FS-700s.

The fact that Rafa would be playing live added another level of complexity to the operation. His opponents would be able to see his hands. To keep that from happening a delay system was introduced and the feed went out with a delay of a few minutes.

The signal would be sent to MediaPro’s MCR station in Barcelona to be transcoded and sent to the web. Finally, we would use our own ISO recordings to create VNR packages, with the highlights of the event for worldwide media distribution.

A week well spent.