Starting with 2018’s Tour de France, Agence France-Presse will be generalizing live transmission of its photo production through the Aviwest transmitter.
For the past two years, AFP and Aviwest, a leading global provider of video transmission systems for live on-the-go applications, have been working together to adapt the technology to photographic transmission. The first large-scale test was successfully conducted during the Tour de France in 2017, with this technological innovation now allowing AFP photographers to use 3G/4G mobile networks to send real-time images of the race directly from their motorcycles, even on the move.
The Aviwest system, which fits in a backpack or press motorcycle saddlebag, uses up to eight 3G/4G modems simultaneously to allow automated transmission of photos three to four times quicker than before, when network coverage is present. The technology, which is particularly relevant for cycle race photo coverage, will soon be expanded by AFP to cover other types of events.
Sport is a strategic priority for the Agency’s development going forward, as it continues to deploy significant resources to cover key events. More than 100 staffers will be in Russia for the upcoming football World Cup tournament, and 75 for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Photography is a key pillar in this strategy of excellence, with sports accounting for 40% of the Agency's photographic output. In 2016, the end of the Men’s 100m final in Rio was sent to AFP customers a mere 40 seconds after the race ended.
During the Tour de France, more than 3,000 photos are transmitted on average (+16% in 2017), with a team of three photographers, two motorcyclists and an editor following the Big Loop. During the 2017 Tour, a team of French-language special envoys, along with an English-language team, followed every stage of the race, as did several German-language journalists from German news agency SID, an AFP subsidiary.
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