Interview with Peter Löfås ahead of this year’s Tiomila

Since Tiomila 2016 at Lugnet in Falun, Peter Löfås has been responsible for the media production of Tiomila. Six different broadcasts have been produced since the premiere, and it’s becoming a habit that the same group produces what is shown in the arena and online. Below, Peter answers some questions about what has been and what is to come.

This year’s broadcast will be the seventh since Tiomila at Lugnet in 2016. Why have there been so many years of Tiomila?
It actually started with my personal belief that the full potential of a broadcast from 10Mila wasn’t being realized, and when my club became the organizer in 2016, I chose to take on the role of responsible for the arena production (as it was called at the time). The broadcast we did in 2016 became something entirely new that changed much of what had been done before, with a much clearer focus on producing a good stream. The organizers in 2017 wanted to build on that, and that’s how it continued.

In my view, it’s not obvious that the same team should continue producing a production like this indefinitely; there’s too much risk of stagnating in development. But so far, I think we’ve managed to introduce something new every year. Sometimes maybe not everything new is noticeable outwardly, but internally, it can bring about significant changes that make us feel like we’re evolving.

A Tiomila broadcast lasts for about a day, and it requires many different functions to put it all together. How many people are involved in a broadcast like this?
From me as the supplier, there are about 30 people involved in such a production. A few more now that the day has become longer with the new setup. In addition to that, we need about 15-20 volunteers working on the production from the organizer’s side.

When you and your team are planning a Tiomila broadcast, where do you start? What is most important to achieve in order for the broadcast to be good?
I’m quite careful about not wanting to influence the work of the course setters. They should set the best courses possible, then it becomes, of course, a cost consideration of how to cover a 10MILA without using an immense number of cameras. Often in discussions with course setters, a situation arises where I want to divide the courses more than they themselves thought, to get a “clean” view in the forest at new TV controls. Besides better TV, this also results in, in my opinion, better course setting where it becomes difficult to predict forking in the same way.

If possible, we also want to, as far as possible, have a section on each leg where we can show live GPS without revealing too much about upcoming legs. Unfortunately, this always becomes a bit of a problem in terms of how much we reveal about upcoming legs, as long as we broadcast on the big screen at the arena.

During the six years you’ve been responsible for the broadcast, when have you felt “This didn’t turn out so well”?
Of course, there are always things that don’t turn out great; by challenging what can be done, we will always be on the edge and sometimes over it. In the first years, GPS and running cameramen were used even in the youth relay, something we completely removed until Nynäshamn in 2018. After Gothenburg in 2017, we felt that there was too much pressure on the youths to handle this aspect in the forest.

We’ve had years when our running cameramen have been a bit aggressive in their positioning in the packs and ended up in the middle of them, which could affect the competition. We’ve clarified this much more now, that we should never disturb or influence the competition with these moments. If we risk that, our cameraman should step aside and stop.

Until 2022, we also made a major change where we “reintroduced” the arena speaker. From 2016-2019, we used the production’s sound in the arena, but as a step to improve for those who are present, there’s now an arena speaker who can communicate to those present in a different way, conveying the competition as a speaker does rather than as a TV commentator.

One of last year’s points from the evaluation was to have only one type of broadcast during the year, an ad-free one. What other conclusions did you draw from the previous year’s broadcast?
Actually, the decision to have only one broadcast was made by the Tiomilaföreningen, but for us as producers, it’s quite challenging administratively to produce both with and without ads. Additionally, we also need to find enough interesting content to cover the ad breaks for those who “pay” extra.

This year’s Tiomila will have a new format compared to the recent years’ competitions. How will this be reflected in this year’s production?
Actually, the only difference for us is that our day is pushed forward. Speakers and commentators will get a few bonus hours on Sunday morning when they have to commentate, lively and alert after almost a day of being awake already. It will be challenging.

Does the new format make it harder or easier to produce a good broadcast?
As the format stands now, we won’t have any overlaps in classes to any significant extent, so production-wise, it doesn’t change much. But I think the challenge with the new format will be to get those individuals who can’t be substituted, especially speakers and commentators, to manage to be alert on Sunday morning. Their day will consist of 21 hours of commentary in a row. It’s not unthinkable that in the future, we might work with separate commentators for the women’s and men’s classes, but that will be determined by the evaluation of this setup.

With the same arena and competition area as Tiomila 2018, most people probably know what to expect in the forest. Will it be the same type of broadcast as in recent years, or will there be any news? It’s not news, but just like last year in Skellefteå, everyone who buys the broadcast will also have access to a separate stream from the forest, where one control per leg that all teams pass through is shown. The finish line will also be available as a separate stream with all the teams that have passed.

How is the area and the arena for producing a broadcast?
Compared to 2018, the area has received a significant expansion of the mobile network, which of course makes things easier for us visually but, most importantly, communication-wise. Otherwise, it’s very nice orienteering, and with a few adjustments in the terrain, you can access the entire competition area quite well.

Who will we hear in this year’s broadcast?
In the Swedish web broadcast, Per Forsberg will be commentating throughout the day. As expert commentators, Sara Hagström, Lena Eliasson, Sara Eskilsson, and Johan Runesson will be heard at different times during the day.

At the arena, Kjell-Erik Kristiansen will handle the commentary as the arena speaker. Mårten Frendelius will conduct interviews at the arena, so it’s an experienced team, both online and at the arena, taking care of this year’s broadcast.

Do you want to follow this year’s broadcast from home? Then you can buy it now via IOF TV!

Do you want to see how it looked six years ago, when Tiomila took place in the same competition area as this year? The broadcast is available on Youtube(with Swedish language), and you can find it here.