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From pitch to publication: how Rugby World Cup™ shots get to market

Two Wales players tackle an Australian player in the Walves v Australia match at Rugby World Cup 2019™. Taken by sports photographer Warren Little on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.
As soon as photographer Warren Little captured Rugby World Cup 2019™ shots like this one – of David Pocock of Australia being tackled by Rhys Patchell and Aaron Wainwright of Wales – they were sent straight to Getty Images to process and share with publications worldwide. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 1/2000 sec, f/2.8 and ISO2000. © Warren Little/World Rugby™ via Getty Images

Today we take it for granted that professional pictures of sports events are published instantly on websites around the world, and in newspapers and magazines the next morning. During Rugby World Cup 2019™, for example, every angle of a try being scored was sent to publications before the conversion kick was even taken. But what's the process by which these images actually get from pitch to publication?

Getty Images sports photographer Warren Little, who covered Rugby World Cup 2019™, has been shooting sports since the 1990s. He says that since he began working in the industry, technology has completely transformed the way his images get to publication.

"When I started working for Getty in 1996, we solely used film negative for events or moments that were time-sensitive," he says. "We would process and dry the negative film on-site, ready for image selection. Then the selected images would be scanned, captioned and finally sent, using a modem, to the London picture desk for global distribution via FTP systems to all clients for publication."

RG Snyman of South Africa dives for the try line in the South Africa v Italy match at Rugby World Cup 2019™. Taken by sports photographer Warren Little on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.
For speed, Warren shoots JPEGs rather than RAW images. Here, RG Snyman of South Africa dives for the try line in the South Africa v Italy Rugby World Cup 2019™ match. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 120mm, 1/1600 sec, f/2.8 and ISO2500. © Warren Little/World Rugby™ via Getty Images
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From pitch to picture desk mid-match

Times have changed. While covering Rugby World Cup 2019™ matches in Japan, Warren was connected to a high-tech image distribution network from the moment he arrived at his shooting position. An Ethernet network cable at his assigned position plugged directly into his Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. Sending images via the cable takes as little as one to three seconds, depending on the speed of the network.

"If photographers are running the line or roaming to different positions around the ground," says Warren, "they can use the WFT [Wireless File Transmitter] plugged into their camera to send images." He uses a Canon WFT-E8B, which enables data to be transmitted quickly and securely, in connection with a personal MiFi (mobile Wi-Fi hotspot) device. Speed of connection varies according to signal strength and how many people are using the service at the stadium; using the Ethernet cable, Warren says, is quickest.

It's also the most reliable method, which is important in a situation where connectivity is crucial for Warren to do his job. "Unfortunately at major events we sometimes have situations where the signal can drop or the camera can't connect to a network," he says. "However, at Rugby World Cup 2019™ we had no real issues, as the network was fast and reliable."

Warren shoots JPEGs rather than RAW files because they're quicker to process. As soon as they're shot, images are delivered to his personal Dropbox account, from which Getty Images' team of editors in the agency's London office can access images. They can then move images into the Getty editing software to make small adjustments such as cropping, then add the captions and complete sending images around the world to clients via FTP.

Wales player George North tries to stride through an Australian tackle in the Wales v Australia match at Rugby World Cup 2019™, photographed by Warren Little on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.
Warren shot around 1,250-1,500 images at each Rugby World Cup 2019™ match he covered. Here, George North of Wales tries to fight off a tackle by two Australian players. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 200mm, 1/2000 sec, f/2.8 and ISO1250. © Warren Little/World Rugby™ via Getty Images
In the Rugby World Cup 2019™ Aouth Africa v New Zealand match, players grapple for possession of the ball. Taken by sports photographer Warren Little on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.
Picture editors at Getty Images chose which photos to publish on the site – typically 120-150 per match. In this shot from the South Africa v New Zealand Rugby World Cup 2019™ group stage match, Eben Etzebeth of South Africa tries to charge past the New Zealand defence. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 1/1600 sec, f/2.8 and ISO2500. © Warren Little/World Rugby™ via Getty Images
Gaël Fickou of France scores a try against Argentina, captured by Getty Images sports photographer Cameron Spencer.

Rugby World Cup 2019™ shot of the day – and the kit that captured it

Getty Images sports photographer Cameron Spencer talks about his favourite shot from a day's shooting at Rugby World Cup 2019™ and why the Canon kit he used was crucial.

To ensure the images are correctly captioned with details including players' names, Warren uses the Voice Memo feature on his Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, which enables a voice tag to be added to a still image as a WAV sound file. It has the same file number as the image, and can be played back on the camera or a computer. (The feature can be added to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV as well through an optional Voice Tag upgrade.)

Warren personally shot around 1,250-1,500 images at each Rugby World Cup™ match he covered, depending on what happened during the match. "I really only shoot action which is important and close enough to me," he says.

Getty's picture editors take the decisions on which images are made available for use. As Rugby World Cup 2019™ was held in Japan, which is eight hours ahead of London, editors worked late nights and early mornings to get images selected, processed, captioned and posted on the Getty Images site.

In the England v Argentina match at Rugby World Cup 2019™, England player George Ford is tackled at the try line. Taken by sports photographer Warren Little on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.
"There's nothing like living the moment and executing the process from pitch to publication," says Warren. In this England v Argentina Rugby World Cup 2019™ match shot, England player George Ford is tackled at the try line. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 140mm, 1/1600 sec, f/2.8 and ISO2000. © Warren Little/World Rugby™ via Getty Images

Around 120-150 images from each match are ultimately posted on the Getty Images site. The main clients for Rugby World Cup™ images are World Rugby™, the sport's governing body, along with established clients around the world, including newspapers, websites and major sponsors linked with the sports personalities pictured.

Although the pressure is really on for Warren to deliver images of the key moments during a Rugby World Cup™ match, it's a job he loves doing. "The work is stressful, but it's a good stress," he says. "There's nothing like living the moment and executing the process from pitch to publication.

"Afterwards, it's a great feeling to see a moment I captured reproduced in print or online, such as when I'm sitting on a London Tube train the day after a match and I see people reading a newspaper that has used my picture."

Написано от David Clark


• Canon is an official sponsor of Rugby World Cup 2019™, taking place in Japan from 20 September to 2 November. Getty Images sports photographer Warren Little is an official photographer at the event.

• TM © Rugby World Cup Limited 2015. All rights reserved.

Warren Little's kitbag

The key kit pros use to take their photographs

Getty Images sports photographer Warren Little standing in a stadium with his Canon camera and a long lens. © Getty Images

Camera

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

Canon's flagship pro DSLR. 20.2-megapixel full-frame sensor. 61-point AF system, up to 14fps and ISO to 409,600. "Its button placement makes the camera so functional… I can easily adjust the ISO or the AF sensor, keep my eye on the action and not lose a shot," says Warren.

Lenses

Accessories

Canon WFT-E8B Wireless File Transmitter

Featuring fast 802.11ac wireless LAN transmission, enhanced FTP transfer options and remote shooting, it provides a host of additional functions to get more from the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. Warren says, "The Canon WFT-E8B transmitters are an absolute game-changer for sports photography."

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