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Live from FIFA World Cup, Winter Olympics, Six Nations, Wimbledon 2018, British Open, European Championships Next Gen Audio: Dolby Atmos for EPL • FutureSport: All change at the AELTC Football Summit: UEFA uncompressed • SportTech 2018: Friends with Facebook

PLUS: SVG Europe Sponsor Update for 2018


SHAPING THE FUTURE TOGETHER This year the IBC Conference programme features a series of new tracks including NextGen: Interactive & Immersive Experiences. Set against a constantly evolving landscape, we will give a unique insight into developments within the worlds of eSports, live production, immersive and sport.

Register today 2


Take your live entertainment experiences to the next level with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Learn how at Dolby, Stand 2.A11 in Hall 2


Dolby and the double-D symbol are registered trademarks of Dolby Laboratories. © 2018 Dolby Laboratories, Inc. All rights reserved. EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


40 Sky Sport Summit Munich

48 SportTech 2018



A year of consolidation, alliances and advances in the sports production community

06 Opening Comment

In the thick of the action at the heart of the SVG Europe community

10 Next Generation Audio


How Sky Sports implemented Dolby Atmos for its coverage of the English Premier League

14 FutureSport 2017

Why Facebook wants to be more than just friends with sports fans, by Heather McLean

52 Sports Summit Milan

04 From the Chairman

eSports business booms as tech giants look to get into the game, reports Birgit Heidsiek

Examining workflow and 4K/HDR production at the Sky Italia event, by Roberto Landini

56 Women in Sports

Women dominate new Production Executive roles at Sky Sports following major restructure

62 FIFA World Cup Russia

FIFA TV delivers wealth of content to rights holders and fans, reports Ken Kerschbaumer

72 FIFA World Cup Russia

Amazing AR studio leads ITV Sport’s production at the tournament, writes Fergal Ringrose

78 Wimbledon Championships

Live from Wimbledon: Host broadcast coverage goes in-house for the first time, writes Will Strauss

82 The Open Championships

New balls please: All change for the Wimbledon 2018 Championship, in the company of the broadcast team

Live from The Open: Sky Sports gets in the Zone to enhance its coverage

18 Nordic Summit 2018

New directions for graphics, AR and AI from SVG Europe’s first Nordic Summit in Bergen

22 Sports Venue Summit

The future of fan engagement examined: expert panel debates the issues, reported by Heather McLean

26 Natwest 6 Nations Rugby


Live from Dublin: Six Nations host rolls out for Ireland versus Wales clash

30 Live from PyeongChang

OBS Chief Technology Officer Sotiris Salamouris on the challenges of the Games

34 Eurosport legacy

The rights holder is a massive UN of sports production, delivering the Games to 48 countries in 21 languages

38 Football Production Summit

UEFA and partners learn from remote uncompressed 4K trial, writes Heather McLean

SportTech Journal is produced & published by the Sports Video Group Europe SportTech Journal © 2018 Sports Video Group

86 European Championships

Live from Glasgow: Eurovision delivers for inaugural European Championships in Berlin and Glasgow

88 SVG Europe Sponsor Update

SVGE sponsors discuss developments in the marketplace during 2018, as well as plans for the IBC2018 show. Compiled by Ian McMurray

140 Sponsor Index and Sponsor Thank You 144 Closing Comment

Making the right moves for the future in sports content, writes Director of Editorial Services Ken Kerschbaumer





A year of consolidation, alliances and advances BY DAVID SHIELD

SVG Europe, Chairman; IMG, SVP Global Director of Engineering & Technology


think we can all agree that SVG Europe has gone from strength to strength over the last 12 months. Attendances at our events are up and the quality of attendees is consistently very high. Our sponsorship base also continues to grow, which allows us to provide better quality events in bigger venues. Our editorial team provides the very best reporting of not just the marquee events, but also the day in, day out business of sports production. So, what has been happening in the wider SVG Europe universe? There are new pay TV players emerging in Europe. DAZN has Champions League rights in Germany, whilst Amazon has some ATP tennis and Premier League rights in the UK. Eleven Sports has acquired UK rights to La Liga. It is too early to tell what that might mean for established pay TV operators in Europe, but for certain there is some pain experienced because of the cost of sporting rights. Many argue that there will be a correction and perhaps the last round of Premier League domestic rights supports this view, but generally increased competition will lead to higher values. The outside broadcast industry in Europe and worldwide has seen further consolidation and new alliances formed. Much progress has been made with the move to IP, which is now seen as the norm for large truck builds. UHD is likewise taken for granted, at least as a 4K SDR offering, but HDR is no longer simply talk; real examples exist and lessons are being learned. The telcos have their part to play in this revolution as satellite begins to look less useful for UHD contribution and distribution. Meanwhile, the use of remote production continues to increase. Whilst it might be argued that there has always been an element of remote unilateral production at major events, this is happening more often and with more of the technology at the home studio. For example, the ATP is now in its second year of producing the World Feed of ATP500 4

events remotely and is looking at the possibility of actually providing the court feeds remotely. Reducing cost is often seen as the motive for remote production, but there can be other reasons. Amazon has decided to remotely produce its UK presentation of the US Open Tennis because of the lack of space at Flushing Meadows. As a result its talent will be at the venue but production will be based in London. At the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang earlier this year, Discovery and Eurosport mounted a huge operation relying heavily on elements of remote and cloud production, in particular to support a requirement for 21 languages in 48 markets. Embracing all the elements of remote production they also solved the problems of massive shared storage available across all their markets. HBS on behalf of FIFA TV has just completed a hugely successful World Cup in Russia. The competition has broken all records in terms of fan engagement and the variety of innovations from broadcasters has been impressive. Let’s not forget the challenges for the host broadcaster operating across such a large country, providing uniformly high quality output that caters for the smallest to the most sophisticated broadcasters. Particularly worthy of note was the ability to offer 37-camera coverage in three output formats: 1080i SDR, 1080p SDR and UHD HDR. Congratulations also go to the team at WBS for coverage of the Wimbledon Championships this year. They undertook a massive challenge to take the host operation in-house together with an all-IP workflow solution from NEP. They threw in UHD coverage of Centre Court and HD coverage of all outside courts for good measure, and achieved a fantastic result. Likewise there is acclaim for ETP and CTV, who have recently completed a very exciting Open Championship as host broadcaster and are preparing for the Ryder Cup, something we can say is truly European. We all enjoyed France’s performance at the World Cup — let’s hope Europe prevails in Paris!


David Shield IMG, SVG Global Director of Engineering & Technology


Ken Kerschbaumer


Tim Achberger

Duncan Humphreys

Jennifer Angell

Steve Jenkins

Sportcast GmbH, Head of Innovation & Technology Management ITN Productions, Head of Broadcast Operations

Peter Angell

Lagardère Sports, Senior VP Media Production

Manuela Baraschi

Sky Italia, Head of Sport Production & Operation

Stream TV Networks, Head of Production

President, NEP UK & Ireland

Barry Johnstone

CTV Outside Broadcasts, Chairman

Hanna Källman

Bonnier Broadcasting Sport Sweden, Head of Sports Production

Robert Kis

Konrad Bartelski

TV Skyline, Chief Executive Officer

Daragh Bass

TV 2 Norway, VP Production News and Sports

OTL, Consultant

NEP Broadcast Services UK, Technical Project Manager

Jens Cornelius Knudsen Timo Koch

Andy Beale

3K Media, Director

Julia Boettger

ORF, Head of Directors Sport

BT Sport, Chief Engineer Sky Deutschland, Head of Operations, Sky Sports

Riccardo Botta

Sky Italia, Director — Production & Creative Hub

Jonny Bramley

BBC Sport, Executive Producer

Bridget Bremner

Sky Sports, Production Executive

Robin Broomfield

Sky UK, Technical Manager

Alan Burns

OBS TV, NEP Broadcasting Services UK, Managing Director

Brian Clark

NEP Group, Director of Sales

James Clement

Sky Sports, Head of Operations

Charlie Cope

BBC Sport, Technical Executive

Lise Cosimi

Host Broadcast Services, Chief External Relations

Malcolm Cowan Timeline Television, Head of Technology

Tony Coxon

European Tour Productions, Head of Production

David Crawford

Ravensbourne, Education Initiative

Michael Crimp

IBC, Chief Executive Officer

Paul Davies

All England Lawn Tennis Club, Head of Broadcast & Production

Nicolas Deal

UEFA, TV Transmission Manager

James Dean

ESL UK, Managing Director

John Dollin

Arsenal Football Club, Senior Systems & Operations Manager

Ronan Donagher

World Rugby, IT & Broadcast Technology Manager

Simon Farnsworth

Discovery Communications, EVP Sports & European Technology

Angela Gibbons

CTV Outside Broadcasts, Commercial Manager

Michael Koegler Dean Locke

Formula One Management, Executive Director, TV Production

Ronald Meyvisch

Euro Media Group, Chief Technology Officer

Dan Miodownik

Host Broadcast Services, Deputy CEO & Chief Content Officer

Florin Mitu

FIFA, Head of Host Broadcast Production

Nick Moody

IMG Media, Head of Premier League Productions

Nick Morgan

Premier League Productions, Managing Director

Roger Pearce

ITV Sport, Technical Director

Emili Planas

Mediapro, CTO and Operations Manager

Alessandro Reitano

Sky Deutschland, Director Sports Production

Inga Ruehl

Sky Production Services, Head of Studios/Account Director – Sport & News

Sotiris Salamouris

Olympic Broadcasting Services, Chief Technical Officer

Marcin Serafin

Ekstraklasa Live Park, Head of Operations

GP Slee

Broadcast Rental, Owner

David Tippett

Sunset + Vine, Head of Development

Henk van Meerkerk

Fox Sports NL, Head of Production

Anna Ward

IMG Media, Head of Production

Shane Warden

ATP Media, Director of Broadcast & Technology

Dom Wedgwood

Perform Group, Director of Broadcast and Technology Services

Joachim Wildt

Sports Media in Transition, Director

Hamish Greig

John Williams

Jamie Hindhaugh

Tom Woods

CTV Outside Broadcasts, Chief Executive Officer BT Sport, Chief Operating Officer

Input Media, Director of Technical Operations Woods Communications, President



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svgeuropeupdate OPENING COMMENT

In the thick of the action at the heart of the community


elcome to the 2018 edition of SportTech Journal — bigger (up by eight pages on 2017) and hopefully better than ever before! Sports Video Group Europe has continued to grow in strength and reach in the past year, in what has been a pretty hectic year for the sports content production business across Europe. To help tell the story of our activities over the last year, I thought I might share some personal highlights with you — highlights that demonstrate to me that we are continuing to make solid progress as an association for the sports broadcast community across news, events, networking and initiatives. • Our first Sport Production Summit at the DeLaMar Theater in Amsterdam in September 2017 was certainly a highlight; our biggest ever crowd to date at an SVG Europe event with over 400 people in attendance. What struck me was not the actual Summit or our Awards presentation in the theatre. Having thanked speakers and chatted to colleagues at the end of proceedings, I was pretty much last one out of the theatre. When I walked into the bar area, what hit me was the size and noise of the chatting crowd — that buzz of conversation on such a large scale. It reminded me of giant cocktail receptions held by vendors like Ampex and Sony at NAB back in the day, in one of those cavernous Las Vegas ballrooms — where as you looked around you felt as if everyone who mattered in the broadcast business was actually right there in the room. • Another highlight: the ‘Wimbledon Preview: All Change in London SW19’ panel session with Paul Davies, Bethan Evans and Tom Giles of the All England Lawn Tennis Club at The Kia Oval in late November, previewing the AELTC’s planned transition to host broadcaster for 2018. In Paul’s opening remarks he explained why the AELTC had taken the momentous decision to become its own host, and name-checked a range of sports bodies, leagues, broadcasters, OB providers, vendors and media clients as he spoke — nodding at various people in the audience as he went. I realised as I looked on that all of these key players in the Wimbledon journey were in the room, and Paul was actually making eye-contact to reinforce his remarks and make quiet acknowledgement to partners WBS was going to rely on to deliver a successful Wimbledon Championship in its new iteration. Everyone was in the room! • Jet lag is the simple inescapable imposition that unites Europeans flying over to Las Vegas for the NAB show each year. This shared stupefaction means many senior European players in the business 6

BY FERGAL RINGROSE Executive Editor, Sports Video Group Europe

— even direct competitors — tend to huddle together for comfort at the SVG USA Chairman’s Forum at the Red Rock Resort immediately before the show. 2018 was my first experience of moderating a session at the Chairman’s Forum, entitled ‘Global Perspectives in Sports Production: Europe’, featuring Robin Bloomfield from Sky Sports, NEP’s Brian Clark, Paul Francis from CTV OBs, TV2 Norway’s Jens Cornelius Knudsen and our Chairman Dave Shield from IMG. As I looked out at the late-afternoon audience on what was the final session of the day, I was very pleasantly surprised to see that a good half of the crowd was from Europe. Most of them were probably thinking I was the only thing standing between them and a cold beer. Nevertheless, having flown across the Atlantic Ocean the day before or maybe even that same day, to see them present at our European panel meant a lot to me and I was grateful for their support, unintended or not… • It was a thrill for me to attend my first FIFA World Cup in Russia in late June and early July. The group stage (with two or sometimes three matches per day) had just come to an end, so there was a little breathing room for the broadcast teams when the SVG reporting team arrived at the IBC in northwest Moscow. Even so, with VAR being far and away the most controversial element of World Cup coverage around the globe, I was acutely aware of the privilege we were afforded in being given a guided tour of the VAR ‘situation room’ by FIFA Head of Host Broadcast Production Florin Mitu and Football Innovation Group Leader Sebastien Runge. VAR was the most compelling talking point for pundits on every broadcast at practically every match during the group stage, and Sports Video Group was being given this opportunity to look and learn and report on how VAR worked, with all 12 stadiums across Russia connected via fibre to the IBC and the VAR control room — in order to share this experience and insight with the sports content production community. A memorable day in Moscow. • A major highlight of the year was our first Women in Sports Media (WISM) summer event held at Langan’s Brasserie with over 60 professionals in attendance — a highlight even though I wasn’t actually there in person as I was in Moscow! But I really want to mention it as there have been a number of discussions over a couple of years about how best to get our fledgling Women’s Initiative off the ground so that it would really fly in Europe. And clearly, just looking at the pictures from the evening (pages 57-61), you could see what a successful event it was for everyone who was there. There’s much more to come in the months and years ahead from the WISM — and from SVGE. EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018

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How Sky Sports implemented Dolby Atmos for EPL coverage BY DAVID DAVIES


n early August Sky announced that it would be implementing Dolby Atmos in time for the 2017/18 English Premier League season, allowing customers of its premium Sky Q service to enjoy all matches in 4K UHD with Dolby Atmos. It was an ambitious project that heralded significant challenges both for Sky’s own team and that of OB service provider partner NEP, and many of these were explored in a special case study devised for SVG Europe and Dolby’s Next Generation Audio summit on 9 November. For this session, Dolby Senior Product Marketing Manager Rob France interviewed Martin Black, Sky — Broadcast Services, Senior Systems Engineer and Sound Consultant, Robin Broomfield, Sky Sports, Technical Manager, and — from his seat in the audience! — NEP UK Head of Sound Paul Fournier. During a fascinating session, they discussed all of the key steps taken ahead of the first match featuring the new production — Arsenal 10

Next Generation Audio Summit

vs Leicester on 11 August — as well as the opportunities for further refinement in the months ahead. As Broomfield recalled, one of the keys to unlocking the Dolby Atmos workflow was recognising that the existing 5.1 mix “had to stay at least as good as it was, or be even better, when undertaken concurrently [with the Dolby Atmos mix].” The engineers involved in the production needed to be “confident to do the Atmos mix knowing the 5.1 was good, and that requires constant monitoring.” In terms of audio capture at EPL venues the specification continues to revolve around the SoundField mics that Sky has long used for 5.1. “We chose the SoundField two-dimensional mics as the core 5.1 immersive element largely because of the fact that using B-Format configuration results in a very phase-coherent signal, so your downsides are more likely to be [related to ensuring] a sustainable and safe balance,” said Black. “Therefore we looked at what we could do with the same technology to create the immersive side as well, and ultimately we were able to use the B-Format signals to create two [additional] outputs.” These were taken from the SoundField decoders “to create the immersive height elements with that phase coherence”. Hence in terms of “on the ground activity we didn’t do anything dramatic. We already had potential for interactivity in terms of microphones over goals and so on; they were all part of the microphone plan before this.” EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018

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Next Generation Audio Summit

But as might be expected, rather more work was required “to integrate [Dolby Atmos] into the truck in terms of the extra channels and mixing requirement, and the experience of people to be able to add this [element into the production].” And as Black noted, at such a formative stage in the general adoption of Dolby Atmos for sports broadcasting, it is definitely a question of “experience more than training as no one knows more than anyone else really!” Integral to the delivery of the Dolby Atmos production is Dolby’s ED2 technology, which enables object-based audio to be carried along within the audio. The ED2 stream can then be converted into a number of different audio outputs — as defined by the original creator of the content — and carried through the metadata. In the case of the Sky workflow, the Atmos mix is transcoded to Dolby Digital Plus before being delivered to the set top box. Meanwhile, the Sky audio team continues to provide separate stereo and 5.1 mixes out of the truck which are embedded with the ED2 streams back to Sky MCR. “A lot of pieces of technology as well as our engineering skills were being tested right through the signal chain,” remarked Black of the intense preparatory period that preceded the first PL match of the season. But ultimately

everything proceeded as smoothly as could reasonably be expected, and Black confirmed that he was“very pleasantly surprised by how effective” the end-result turned out to be. At this point in the conversation NEP’s Paul Fournier was invited to offer his observations from the audience. As he recalled, “it happened quite quickly. When Sky went ahead with UHD we knew in the background that Atmos was on the horizon, but we did not expect it [to be added after year one of UHD].” So the team soon found itself testing equipped loaned from Dolby, and given that there was only a limited amount available “there was a lot of moving around from truck to truck, [then when that process was concluded] we started ordering kit.” The need to feed the Dolby DP590 Professional Reference Decoders with MADI streams called for the quick turnaround of some bespoke MADI cards for the mixing desks. And it is the console component of the workflow that Fournier highlights as a target for future improvement. “On the console side what we have now is not a bodge, but neither is 100% what we would like,” admitted Fournier. “So for example we have faders for 5.1, but we don’t have an Atmos fader.” The reality is that “we will need to talk to manufacturers and work out what we really need” long-term.

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FutureSport 2017

Wimbledon tennis panel at FutureSport: (L/R) Tom Giles, Bethan Evans and Paul Davies

New balls please: All change for Wimbledon 2018 Championship BY FERGAL RINGROSE


he opening session for FutureSport 2017 at The Kia Oval in London, attended by over 300 sports TV professionals, provided an exclusive first-look at the TV coverage approach to next year’s Wimbledon Championship as the All-England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) transitions from its decades-long relationship with BBC Sport as Host Broadcaster to a brand new era led by its own in-house Wimbledon Broadcast Services (WBS) team. The session, ‘Wimbledon 2018 Preview: All Change in SW19’ was moderated by SVG Europe’s David Davies and presented by Paul Davies, AELTC — WBS Head of Broadcast & Production; Bethan Evans, AELTC — WBS Broadcast Manager; and Tom Giles, AELTC — WBS Broadcast Technical Manager. Together they provided numerous insights into the evolving relationship with the BBC as well as 200 other relationships with broadcast and media clients around the world. Although the BBC will retain exclusive live broadcast rights in the UK, the financial burden and final decisions on content and access to that content will now reside with WBS. The panellists discussed the current redevelopment of Wimbledon’s broadcasting facilities and the impact of the changes for viewers worldwide, including 4K and HDR coverage in the future. David Davies began by asking a very simple question: why do it at all? “I think for many governing bodies and rights holders it’s no new thing to see host broadcasting being taken on board,” said Paul Davies by way of explanation.“We’ve seen it happen very successfully at Formula 1, which is a fantastic example. European Tour Productions is another one that works incredibly well. “We’re now investing our own ambition, our own time and most importantly our own money,” said Davies.“It’s important to service our 14

international clients as well as the domestic broadcaster, the BBC. We have 200 clients, all with different requirements, and we can service them better as an in-house operation.” What was the timeline, asked David Davies: when was the decision taken and where are we now in terms of planning and construction? “We made the decision early in 2016 and so have two Championships to prepare and put everything in place,” said Paul Davies. “We had to look at what we would need in-house and what process we would have to go through to deliver it. “Then we engaged in tender processes, [in which] we engaged a main outside broadcast supplier [NEP]. We wanted to raise the ambitions of the host broadcast operation in terms of full 18-court coverage. [We previously had nine manned courts and another six automated]. We could decide whether we wanted to do 4K or High Dynamic Range — that was under our control. “We felt 2018 was the right year to do it: I would have been a bit nervous if we had to do it for 2017, just really in terms of the tender process and all the things within that — whether designing graphics set-up, engaging with the freelance market, hiring the best directors and so on,” said Davies. “But now that we’re in-house we don’t have to play politics: we can engage the best tennis directors from ATP Media; we can work with our second major broadcaster ESPN and take their cameras out of Centre Court — they’ve always done their own cut in the past. “One of the requirements of bringing it in-house was to be able to bring IMG up from the basement and have the BBC and All-England Club requirements all at the same level. That required a construction period, which is underway at the moment,” said Davies. EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


FutureSport 2017

“Basic construction is due to finish at the end of March — two galleries, a feeds-in feeds-out transmission space, a load of edit suites, and our digital offering,” said Giles. “That should all be completed for the overlay from NEP to begin somewhere around May.”

Fletcher and NEP for outside court coverage

WBS is planning to provide more flexibility in its offering to other clients from next year, including a brand new relationship to provide automated coverage of outside courts at the Championship. “We did do six automated courts in the past with robotic cameras based on Hawkeye ball-tracking — which was a very efficient way of delivering those outside courts with decent quality and commentary,” said Davies. “NEP will have 11 courts with manned cameras, effectively, and then we [put out to tender a new] contract for seven automated courts.We had some fantastic pitches, and we’ve chosen to go with an NEP combined solution with Fletcher. “This is a departure from the Hawkeye set-up.We’ve had an amazing relationship with Paul Hawkins and his team from the early days. This doesn’t change the live-calling side of the Hawkeye relationship and in fact we’re expanding on that to take us forward for future years. But we were very taken with Fletcher’s vision in this area of automated

coverage, and they’re doing some exciting work. Their passion and vision won the day for them,” said Davies. Moderator David Davies asked the team to expand on how 4K and HDR might be added into the mix for 2018 and future years. Tom Giles confirmed,“Yes, Centre Court will be produced in some form of ultra high definition. We’ll definitely do it in 4K. The replay side of it will still probably be uprezzed 1080p; but we’ve also got an ambition to try to go into the high dynamic range world. We’re exploring opportunities, with would then possibly lead us into doing our replays in HDR as well. “We’re going to do it in a simulcast operation, so there will be two outputs — one in 4K and one in traditional 1080/50i,” he said. “And then, hopefully, one vision mixer controlling two suites and one controller of a replay device operating two types. It’s very early days.”

“Yes, Centre Court will be produced in some form of ultra high definition. We’ll definitely do it in 4K” TOM GILES

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BBC Sports Personality

Gabby Logan, Gary Lineker and Clare Balding — © BBC Sport

Live from Liverpool: Preparing for BBC Sports Personality of the Year BY WILL STRAUSS


ow in its 64th year, BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) is a key date in the sporting calendar, even if it’s not actually a sports event. A celebration of sporting achievements from the past year, it fuses award show and light entertainment programme, juxtaposing inspirational films and interviews with live music performances and, of course, the handing out of awards. This year’s SPOTY takes place at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Sunday 17 December. Presented by Gary Lineker,Clare Balding and Gabby Logan,it will include turns by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Rag‘n’ Bone Man. The main Sports Personality Of The Year award will be decided by a public vote on the night while awards will also be handed out in the Team, Coach, Unsung Hero, Young Sports Personality and Overseas categories. The winners of the Helen Rollason and Lifetime Achievement awards will also be announced. 16

As potential winners of the main award, it is likely that boxer Anthony Joshua and motor racing driver Lewis Hamilton will be the stars of the show, but one of the key protagonists behind-the-scenes will be the show’s director John L Spencer. A hugely experienced multi-camera director, with credits that include The National TV Awards, Children in Need, The British Comedy Awards and The Last Leg, Spencer has been prepping for SPOTY since the spring. Having relocated (temporarily) from London to Salford ahead of the show, he is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to being ready for the big night. Which is no surprise when you consider that the main coverage will include 17 cameras, a 50 piece orchestra, potentially three live outside broadcasts and performances from some of the biggest names in pop music. “SPOTY is a huge event with a lot of history so you feel incredibly protective towards it,” Spencer tells EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


BBC Sports Personality

SPOTY: The nitty gritty SVG Europe. “Every year the hope and expectation is to make it bigger and more exciting than before. So, no matter how well the previous year went, the hope isn’t to match that, it’s to beat it and to continue to make it a must-see show. The person in charge of ensuring that the technology and facilities work is technical manager Jon Sweeney. He will be working with outside broadcast services provider CTV and RF camera company Broadcast RF on what is a fairly sizable HD production (see right). With a string of major live TV events under his belt, and currently working on the huge set-up for the Winter Olympics, Sweeney has no major worries about SPOTY, although bad weather would cause problems, he admits, as it did in 2010 when snow prevented both sports stars and the audience from getting to the venue. And the last thing that Spencer will tell the crew before they go live? “Enjoy it! It’s a huge show so if you don’t enjoy this one, we are in the wrong job.”

The list of cameras being made available to the production team is extensive and includes a Technocrane, a Furio dolly with a 9m track, a front-of-stage hot head, a 44ft Moviebird crane, two Steadicams and three handhelds (all using Vislink L1700 transmitters) and a 24 ft Jimmy Jib. For good measure, there will also be two Aerial Camera Systems Rail Cams, an inverted tower cam and four pedestal cameras. • CTV’s OB11 will provide the main TV output with OB10 tasked with covering the red carpet and post-show goings on and handling the satellite feeds. Sound Alliance will handle the music mix for the live performances. SIS will supply uplink facilities for the live OBs while BT will send signals to BT Tower via fibre. • As well as the main BBC1 show, there will also be output across online, local radio and local TV and other parts of the BBC. BBC News will have access to an uplink truck and an edit van while Blue Peter and BBC North West Tonight will have their own ENG cameras available for unilateral coverage. BBC News will do live hits throughout Sunday with BBC Entertainment and BBC Breakfast producing post-show interviews. Also present in the arena will be BBC local radio and BBC Radio 5 Live. • Timeline North is responsible for post-production on the live show VTs and the 60-minute presenter-led preview show, Sports Personality of the Year 2017 — The Contenders. • Using a specifically set up Media Shuttle connection between the BBC Sport archive system and Timeline in MediaCityUK, clips are pushed via EVS at the Farm North into a drop folder on Timeline’s Avid Nexus. Across the four-week stint, the team will have pushed 20 terabytes of media, all at AVC Intra 100. • Avid Media Composer version 8.5.1 and Avid Pro Tools version 11 are being used for the picture and sound editing. Having delivered AS-11 files, the final VTs will be played out live via EVS. — Will Strauss


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Nordic Summit 2018

Left to right: Sixty CEO Kjetil Horneland; Vizrt CTO Petter Ole Jakobsen; NBA EVP Operations & Technology Steve Hellmuth; and Doug Clark, IBM Global Cloud & Cognitive Solutions Leader

New directions for graphics, AR and AI SVG Europe’s first Nordic Summit was held in partnership with Media City Bergen and NCE Media Norway


lever creation tools, graphics augmentation and increasingly sophisticated analysis tools are very much at the centre of new developments in sports broadcasting, not least to engage and retain those less-than-dedicated millennial media consumers. At SVG Europe’s first Nordic Summit, held in partnership with Media City Bergen and NCE Media, Sixty CEO Kjetil Horneland led a panel featuring Doug Clark, IBM Global Cloud & Cognitive Solutions Leader; Vizrt CTO Petter Ole Jakobsen; and Steve Hellmuth, EVP Operations & Technology at the NBA in a discussion about the present and future of this important market segment. Horneland began by asking Vizrt’s Jakobsen how he sees the broadcast industry changing in the area of sports. What are the biggest challenges ahead? “There are some super-simple trends,” Jakobsen replied. “One is mobile, obviously. Another one is screens, and increased 18

resolution. A third one is AR. And a fourth might be physical things: all this sport has to be a package of entertainment, with something for everybody. “And whether you end up using visual techniques or other techniques to achieve that, you’re doing it for the same reason. We are so blessed that as long as I’ve been in this industry we’ve been able to continuously produce more advanced and realistic graphics, plus cheaper and and screens — and that trend is just continuing. “There was a recent study into media companies by Columbia University,” said Jakobsen, “and it showed that some of those organisations are now publishing to 20 different platforms. So if you have some content, and you know that your viewers are fragmented in terms of consumption, you really have an issue there. One of the challenges is to find methods to ensure that enriched content — with graphics I mean — can reach all these devices in an efficient way.” The NBA’s Steve Hellmuth told us how the NBA engages with basketball fans across mobile and social media.“We have an engine where we are rapidly logging, tagging and capturing the video and it goes to editors who sit on top of different social media channels,” said Hellmuth.“They do what’s then appropriate for that channel — you don’t want to kill someone with 30 clips. “There’s a level of appropriateness with Instagram that’s different to WhatsApp and different to Facebook. And EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


“The All-England Club love technology — but it has to be hidden. It’s still etiquette and blazers and strawberries and cream” DOUG CLARK, IBM

on top of that we actually use a Viz tool, Liberovision, to provide a layer of graphics. Any time people see video that includes graphics, analytics, includes some insight along with a great story and a great series of plays — that’s what attracts them. That’s what takes it from 200,000 hits to 2 million, right out of the box,” he said. “They are learning more, in less time. The difficulty for us really is in retaining people at the NBA who have this kind of training, and really know basketball — people who can make the subtler aspects of the game apparent immediately. “What we’re doing is working with Petter Ole and his team to have the player tracking data interfaced to the Libero so we can produce things rapidly, and get stuff into the first replay in the telecast,” said Hellmuth.

How Artificial Intelligence is boosting the impact of tennis Grand Slams

Turning to IBM’s Doug Clark, moderator Kjetil Horneland said,“We’re moving into an abundance of data. Everything can be logged and everything is becoming more and more available. It leads to a point where we will still be telling some stories manually: but when we come to data and AI, there’s a lot of talk about what’s going on but we don’t have many examples of good case studies out there. Doug, do

Nordic Summit 2018

you have some good examples of what IBM has been doing in AI in sports?” “Sure,” said Clark. “From an IBM point of view we’ve been marrying three separate components. First of all we’ve investing in cloud for quite a long time. We have also acquired over the last few years some cloud video assets, live streaming and OTT.And we’ve been working for a long time not just in analytics but moving that on to machine learning — basically what we’re all now calling AI. “Marrying those three things together, the acceleration of the innovation has just been astonishing,” said Clark. “One of the best examples I’ve got is tennis. IBM has been blessed to work with most of the Grand Slams over a good number of years: I think last year was our 27th with Wimbledon. “I remember the first time I was there, we had guys running film from the on-court still cameramen to motorbikes to be transported to central London to get to the newspapers. Then it became digital; and now it’s all totally wifi and totally interactive live. That whole evolution has gone really fast. “And with Wimbledon it’s a really historic, sensitive environment,” he said. “The All-England Club love technology — but it has to be hidden. It’s still etiquette and blazers and strawberries and cream.”

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Sports Venue Technology Summit

Discussing fan engagement (left to right): Hassan Peymani, director and co-founder at Volcano City; Steven Kelly, senior user experience manager at Ostmodern; Ryan Jespersen, regional manager for EMEA at Wowza Media Systems
; Nik Selman, managing director at Formidable; David Patton, vice president of product at Supponor; and moderator Roland Hemming, RH Consulting

The future of fan engagement for venues BY HEATHER MCLEAN


key panel session at the Sports Venue and Fan Engagement Summit in Amsterdam on 8 February was entitled‘Even Closer to the Action: the Future of Fan Engagement’and was chaired by Roland Hemming, founder of RH Consulting. The session commenced with panellists commenting on the current landscape for venue connectivity. Hassan Peymani, director and co-founder at Volcano City, stated that while connectivity to stadiums is still a contentious issue, it is necessary: “From our point of view, connectivity is a serious issue, but connectivity begets a smart stadium. For our company the element of connectivity is important from the perspective of fan engagement.” 22

Ryan Jespersen, regional manager for EMEA at Wowza Media Systems, added: “Most consumer devices, if not all, cannot consume multicast content so we work with technical partners within stadiums, such as Cisco, to scale unicast content in an intelligent way.” Meanwhile for Steven Kelly, senior user experience manager at Ostmodern, his company has worked with Arsenal Football Club extensively on the issue of fan engagement. He noted: “We’ve worked with Arsenal for some time on this. For us it’s about engaging and mapping the whole fan experience at home during the week, as well as in the stadium.” He continued: “At the moment we’re thinking too far past the fans; we’re saying we can deliver this tech and this tech, but we’re not looking at what the fans actually want.”

Finding the content opportunities

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“Fans have found a new voice. Now they can talk directly to other fans on YouTube” NIK SELMAN, FORMIDABLE

Sports Venue Technology Summit

“Content that feels very behind the scenes and personal [works best],” Nik Selman, managing director at Formidable, said. “It offers a viewpoint you cannot see from your seat in the stadium or at home. England Rugby do it very well. It’s all about a constant conversation that goes on throughout the week, not just in the stadium on a Saturday, and that’s what you need to remember.” Jespersen agreed, stating that content had several uses, including tempting fans to stadiums to engage with a ‘VIP’ experience of content, as well as engaging them when they were outside the stadium. This led the panel to the question of how do you know where fans are consuming content, and how do you discover what they actually want to consume? The panel discussed Bristol City Football club, which had been a topic of conversation in the previous panel for the fact it has said it is not prioritising Millennials (people aged 18 to around 28) as it does not believe they consume its content, and instead is concentrating on children aged seven years and up for content engagement. On the sense of this strategy and whether milennials are being ignored generally, Peymani said: “I don’t see millennials as a lost generation.” He pointed out that you need to know where people of different ages have their

eyeballs: “You can get the attention of 12 year olds if you communicate on Snapchat, but if you’re trying to attract eight year old girls to play netball, you don’t use Twitter because they won’t be there.” Jespersen agreed: “You choose your loyalty to your [football] club early in your life. Perhaps Bristol City just wasn’t a big enough club at the time those millennials were choosing their clubs; maybe they are consuming content, but just not Bristol City’s.” Selman noted: “If you’re a [football] team in the lower leagues, you have to work very hard to generate content for the first few months or even years [of a content strategy] to attract fans.” Referring to virtual reality (VR) as one of the culprits of tech use gone wild, Jespersen said: “It’s very important to look at technology and say ‘is this right for our content strategy and content ad strategy?’.” Selman added: “Fans have found a new voice. Now they can talk directly to other fans on YouTube. A lot of that started as single-camera Vlogs where they would rant and rave, and some have grown hugely popular and expanded to other sports or to [friendly sports panels] like Goggle Box, so you feel like you’re watching the game with your most well-informed, favourite friends.”

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Natwest 6 Nations Rugby

Half-time at the Aviva Stadium, February 24: Ireland 15 Wales 13

Live from Dublin: Six Nations host rolls for Ireland v Wales BY FERGAL RINGROSE


for this Ireland v Wales clash through a sub-licensing deal. NEP Ireland is also producing the S4C coverage, while Irish OB firm TVM is supplying TV3’s unilateral presentation and providing its stadium-studio facilities. The 2018 season with new sponsor NatWest has also seen a look-and-feel on-screen refresh, with Alston Elliot supplying graphics under contract with Six Nations Rugby. Another first for this season is the introduction of the EVS Xeebra multi-camera review system as part of the replay arsenal available to the TMO (Television Match he 2018 NatWest 6 Nations tournament is well Official) for in-match decisions. underway with Six Nations Rugby producing host coverage in Dublin for the first time and TV3 TV3 feels its way into four-year deal settling in as new Irish broadcaster, having taken Coverage of NatWest 6 Nations is huge for TV3 Ireland, over rights from RTÉ. which has taken over rights for the senior Men’s Six Nations Rugby has produced its own world feed tournament from public service broadcaster RTÉ after a 50 in Rome for Italian home games for five years, and 2018 year run. RTÉ retains the rights to the Men’s Under 20s and marks the first time the rights owner takes this step in Women’s 6 Nations tournaments — and the broadcaster Dublin for Ireland’s home games, with coverage supplied also has highlights rights for its flagship Against the Head by NEP Ireland from its HD1 truck. rugby show on Monday evenings. 2018 also marks the first of three new four-year rights TV3 won the rights from RTÉ for 2018-2021 in a deal deals, with TV3 for Ireland, France Télévisions in France with Six Nations Council announced in November 2015, and DMAX for Italy to show all 15 live games. Another in what is TV3’s single biggest investment in sport. TV3 first is NBC Sports coming on board to take the world is owned by Virgin Media Ireland, which is in turn owned feed for the United States market (through third-party- by Liberty Global, controlled by billionaire John Malone. nation rights holder Pitch International). There is an At the Aviva Stadium TV3 Television Network Head of existing rights-sharing deal in place for the UK, between Sport Kieran Holden told SVG Europe, “it’s very big for ITV and BBC. us, to change from 50 years of public service broadcaster ITV Sport is here in Dublin with its own stadium studio, RTE to TV3 which is commercial. We’re playing in the big as is a BBC Wales (S4C) team covering in Welsh-language leagues now. Six Nations is probably the biggest sports



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Natwest 6 Nations Rugby

was built by 53 degrees. The graphic design was done in-house. This is quite a big studio and we wanted to do a little bit more than just having a glass box looking over the pitch. We’ve another area here which is a demonstration area with a screen, which works well. “It’s unusual now to have this type of studio in a stadium. We can have a jib in here, and a lot more cameras. TVM provide the facilities — they do our add-on broadcast to the NEP world feed. For our away games we use a company called Vitel to supply facilities. “TV3 were not looking to revolutionise the coverage,” said Holden.“It is just about evolving things, with a tweak here and there. RTÉ did a fantastic job, over 50 years; they brought rugby to the masses.We’re thankful for that: we’re trying to just come in off the back of that and carry it on. “Some of our panellists are guys who used to work with RTE, and I would say our production is very similar: we’re based at the stadium for Ireland games and have a smaller presence at the away games as RTE would have done.We’ve looked at their coverage and just tried to see if At the stadium: (L/R) Kieran Holden, TV3 Head of Sport and Alan Burns, NEP Ireland Managing Director there areas where we could improve it. All the things they property. This is the big national event. It sets the mood did well, could we do any better? Or in a different way? of the nation. “We’ve tried to bring some of the look from our home “Anita Barrett, an external agency, was brought in to do studio at Ballymount, such as the screen below the desk. the design of the TV3 studio here in the stadium, which Our studio is quite light, compared to a lot of other

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Natwest 6 Nations Rugby

broadcast studios. We looked at best practice. “We’re doing unilateral bits on pitch-side and in the tunnel and a couple of extras, like a Piero system for analysis.We know this is a four-year deal and we’re feeling our way into it. We’re not trying to reinvent things where we don’t need to,” said Holden.

Rights holders get ‘best of both worlds’

We are seeing a trend all across live sports — whether golf, or tennis, or motor racing — for rights owners to take more control of their own output, rather than relying on third party broadcaster partners to produce coverage. This is evident here in Dublin, with Six Nations Rugby now producing its own world feed through a contractual relationship with NEP Ireland. Alan Burns, Managing Director of NEP Ireland told SVG Europe in the Aviva Stadium on Friday afternoon, “Julian Maddock, Executive Producer for Six Nations, looks after the games in Rome and Dublin as well as across the Women’s competition. Julian was previously Executive Producer for rugby at Sky Sports. The match director is Rhys Edwards, who is Welsh, has directed Rugby World Cup, really knows his rugby. “So from my point of view it’s very much a ‘multicultural’ crew — it’s a rugby crew from England, Ireland,

Scotland and Wales. Most of this crew moves between Rome and Dublin for the Six Nations,” said Burns. “The BBC Wales guys are doing the Ireland v Wales Under 20s match in Donnybrook Stadium tonight; Ireland v Wales here at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow; and back to Donnybrook for the Women’s Ireland v Wales on Sunday. “And of course, Irish broadcaster RTE still has the Women’s and Under 20s 6 Nations rights as well. NEP Ireland is doing both those games, with our brand new Emerald truck. Emerald is a rigid truck which was finished on January 30th and will be based here in Ireland,” he said. Executive Producer Julian Maddock commented,“This is my first time on the Six Nations, so it’s all new to me. The key is getting to know everyone. Pre-match we do identify the editorial stories and do our best to give everyone those stories — for example tomorrow, with the three British & Irish Lions coming back into the Welsh team. “They [the rights holders] should get everything they need, without asking for extra. Once the teams are in the tunnel and the match commentary starts, that is the world feed. We can’t do any extra for the broadcasters. We tell the story as it happens, from a totally unbiased point of view.”

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Winter Olympics 2018

Live From PyeongChang: OBS CTO Sotiris Salamouris on the challenges of the Games BY KEN KERSCHBAUMER the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) continues to expand in size and scope. Data powers everything, from graphics creation to archiving and then for broadcasters to more easily find the most relevant content for their needs both at the Games and in the years to come. “The BDF is more prominent in our operations,” Salamouris says. “It’s not just audio and video but data and metadata that are part of the product delivered to the broadcasters. It has all of the details about the sports: the results, the start lists, the logs, bios, and everything we know about the Games.”

A prefab IBC OBS Chief Technology Officer Sotiris Salamouris

“We see 5G becoming the foundation for wide-area camera needs like marathons, cycling or helicopters”



he Winter Olympics are in the midst of Week 1, and it has already been a challenging one: two consecutive days of alpine events had to be rescheduled because of high winds. And, for the team at Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) and the dozens of rightsholders onsite, the change in plans has required juggling of schedules, personnel, and technical facilities. But, for Sotiris Salamouris, chief technology officer (CTO), OBS, preparing for such occurrences is in the Winter Games’ DNA. “While the Winter Games are smaller than the Summer, the possibility of cancellations and delays are much higher, and it can wreak havoc with the schedule,” he says. “The only way to deal with these sorts of changes is to have the resources available to be able to adapt and to use technology to help.” The challenge of handling cancellations and delays is not only about coming up with another production plan. It’s also about making sure that all the downstream processes, like the apps and other ways in which content is distributed, are instantly aware of the new reality. “Digital platforms have to be accurate as to when things start and stop,” Salamouris explains. “We use that information to drive not only the apps but encoders, switchers, and more, so, when we make changes, they have to propagate to all of those different applications.” What happened this week with the alpine events exemplifies the powerful role that data and metadata feeds play within Olympic operations. And it is one of the reasons the Broadcast Data Feed (BDF) technical area in

It is from the IBC that OBS will deliver more than 5,000 total hours of coverage, including 850 hours of live coverage from PyeongChang. It will take a team of more than 4,000 to create that content and deliver it to rightsholders via 20 HD multilateral feeds (all with discrete surround-sound and stereo audio), seven UHD multilateral feeds, and nine multiclip feeds that feature highlights, press conferences, and more. In addition, more than 7,000 accredited rightsholder personnel from 67 countries are onsite in PyeongChang. 45 of the rightsholder organisations have a presence in the IBC, the largest of which are NBC and, new this year, Eurosport.

New technology for the Games

Each Olympics offers a hint of future production technologies, and this year’s big advance is the use of 5G cellular technology to deliver wireless video and audio from bobsleighs as they roar down the course at the Olympic Sliding Centre. OBS partnered with Korea Telecom to install small cameras that use 5G modems to uplink high-quality video with very little latency. “The use of 5G is not evolutionary but revolutionary,” says Salamouris. “When you use 4G networks, there is inherent latency that you have to accept. But, with 5G, there is low latency, and it isn’t because of broadcasters but because of the Internet of Things and self-driving cars.” He sees the 5G efforts as an interesting harbinger of things to come. He believes it could be the backbone technology for wireless broadcast contribution. “It is a challenge to satisfy all the demands, but we are in intensive discussions to learn our rightsholders’ expectations and how to fulfil them. “RF for broadcast needs [are] bespoke and proprietary EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018

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Winter Olympics 2018

At the centre of the Olympics production efforts is an IBC that measures 36,000 square metres

systems that are developed over years but have no unifying technologies so the market is fragmented,” he explains.“5G capabilities are open, widespread, and offer huge bandwidth with little latency. What we see in the future is 5G becoming the foundation for wide-area camera needs like marathons, cycling, or helicopters.” More 4K and 8K production is being done than at previous Games, with 8K coupled with HDR at the top of the quality chain. An 8K theater at the IBC has a 350-in. projection screen to hammer home the potential of 8K as a way to build a new experience around theater experiences. “With 8K and HDR coverage,” says Salamouris, “you can really see the quality, and it’s amazing because it’s like being there. “NHK has two full-blown video-production trucks and two audio trucks producing live 8K HDR content with 22.2 surround sound.And then we are downconverting it to 4K HDR, where we have a number of takers. On top of that, we are doing 4K SDR coverage.” The role OBS plays in creating host feeds that meet the diverse needs of Olympic rightsholders puts it at the centre of the global debate about the role of 4K, 8K, and HDR in the future of broadcasting. “The world is divided and will remain so for a while. 4K is progressing in Asia, but that also means a base of consumer TV sets that are SDR-capable. So 4K with SDR is more interesting to them,” Salamouri explains.“But then, in the rest of the world, 4K is a challenge, and, in those places, HDR is equally or more important. It is a challenge to satisfy all the demands, but we are in intensive discussions to learn our rightsholders’ expectations and how to fulfil them.” 32

Five types of production

For example, in PyeongChang, OBS is providing five types of productions: 8K HDR, 4K HDR, 4K SDR, 1080i SDR, and side-by-side productions that use smaller OB vans to produce 4K SDR. “We have a unified master control that is format-agnostic, and we receive and switch everything there,” says Salamouri. “We also downmix everything to 5.1 surround sound.” The addition of 22.2 surround sound gives an outlet for an audioproduction plan that has become increasingly sophisticated as the team looks to deliver more of the atmosphere of the events. “On average, we have more than 100 mics on an event,” notes Salamouris. “We place them to capture the venue ambience for our own mixing and then cluster mics for broadcasters who want moreimmersive mixing. So we will provide submixes to the rightsholders.” The next Olympics is more than two years away, and, historically, the Summer Games is where OBS and the rights holders take the next step with respect to new technologies, workflows, and innovations. The 2018 Games provide a glimpse of that future as the role of IP connectivity continues to expand, the use of data grows, and nextgeneration digital services (plus UHD and 8K) are more present. “Live content is king and will remain king,” says Salamouris. “But there is so much interesting content being consumed in a nonlive manner, and things like social media grow more and more in importance. And things like AR and VR will have more impact in nonlive delivery, and cloud-based content will become very important. There are new things to come.” EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018

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05/07/2018 15:55



Live from PyeongChang: Eurosport legacy about more than the Games BY KEN KERSCHBAUMER

The new rights holder is a massive UN of sports production, delivering the Winter Games to 48 countries in 21 languages


David Schafer says the Eurosport efforts for the 2018 Olympics will create a legacy that extends beyond the Olympics


urosport’s ambitious plans for the 2018 Winter Olympics are in full operation, and Discovery Communications CTO John Honeycutt says that the team has been fantastic and, for the first week of the Olympics, things couldn’t have gone better. “My biggest concern was, we would have some issues in the first couple of days and then we would never emotionally get out of that hole,” he says. “But we had a really strong opening weekend. and the viewer numbers coming back from the regions have been spectacular. So I feel really good about the performance and the team.” David Schafer, SVP, Olympics Operations and Planning, Discovery Communications, concurs, adding that the team expected some bumps because Eurosport and the team had never taken on such an ambitious project or really worked together so closely. “We were prepared for any angle and for anything that could go wrong,” says Schafer. “So, we prepared for those and I think the teams have reacted accordingly. And you can see it on air.” The Eurosport team is a massive United Nations of

Winter Olympics 2018

sports production that ultimately is responsible for delivering the Olympics to 48 countries in 21 languages. Schafer equates it to a US national network having production teams across every state and then each state’s team requiring different feeds with different languages. “If you think of it in that regard it is quite complex,” he says. There is a multi-national team in PyeongChang at the IBC and at the venues; another large team in Paris, where Eurosport is headquartered; a team at NEP’s Mediabank facility in Oslo that logs and stores all assets and, in turn, makes them available to editors and other production teams across Europe; and then there are Eurosport operations across Europe giving content a more local flair. “We have 50 Gbps of circuits in Korea, 50 Gbps of circuits back to Europe where signals go through Frankfurt to Paris and then to London where it goes out over the Discovery WAN which is a whole other set of circuits,” says Honeycutt. “All told we have about 150 to 200 Gbps of circuits so it’s fairly complicated.” Eurosport’s facility within the IBC has seven production control rooms, including one each dedicated to Sweden and Norway, busy pulling in content from 28 OBS feeds, unilateral feeds from venues and beyond. Eurosport also is embracing remote production as the production control room in the Hockey 1 venue also produces the games held in the Hockey 2 venue. That feed is then sent to the IBC via a 10 Gbps circuit. “There has been a lot of rapid decision making and load balancing across the team, but we have a great group of people who raised the production up really quickly,” says Honeycutt. “It’s a complete and total host feed operation with unilateral wraparounds and it is all flypacks from NEP.” EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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Some of the key tools keeping everything connected and moving include Lawo V_remote 4 for moving IP signals, EVS replay servers, ScheduALL as the brain of the operations, and Vizrt for the Cube AR studio. Then there are production teams focused on specific nations, like Germany, Italy, England, Norway, and Sweden. “When you look at our model we are across various platforms: freeto-air, pay, and digital,” says Schafer.“And the free-to-air markets where we own those rights and have not sublicensed any of them are where we have invested significantly in the infrastructure. And Norway and Sweden were those two countries.” In those markets Eurosport was taking over for commercial broadcasters in both countries that were known for high levels of production. That meant the Eurosport teams had a lot to prove with viewers in those markets. “We really went all-in to give them all the resources they needed to deliver on that promise,” he says.“And that is why you will see control rooms from Norway and Sweden, significant sized studios, and the most people on site.” Schafer says that when he first tackled the project the first step was to make sure every stakeholder and market was part of the journey. “At the first World Broadcaster Meeting every market was there, and we also had workshops along the way,” he says.“And that bond has just grown since that first World Broadcaster Meeting because they didn’t have someone telling them what to do. They know how to produce

Winter Olympics 2018

things because they know their audience and they know how best to reach that audience.” Ultimately, he says, the Olympics effort is about raising the production value of what Discovery and Eurosport. “I think that bar is going to get higher and higher and we’re ready for it,” he says.

Building a legacy for 2020 Tokyo Games

The legacy the 2018 Winter Games will have on Eurosport is still being defined and Schafer believes it will be about more than the 2020 Tokyo Games.“I think we’ll see a lot more sharing because we’re building the technology behind that with Mediabank and other things,” he says. “Another legacy will be the overall production value. At our other events we send out different crews and studios but at this one we are doing unilateral coverage like we haven’t done before at some of the venues. When you look at hockey, with Sweden and Finland, we’re actually enhancing the feeds to feel more localized by adding our own unilateral cameras for covering the field of play. “Our promise to the IOC and to our audience was innovation, so there were a lot of teams working together, whether it was the digital or linear teams,” says Schafer. “And everyone was eager to deliver on that promise.” One way the team did that was the construction of The Cube, a studio with augmented reality that was the vision of Stefano Bernabino,VP of Olympic Production at Eurosport.

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Football Production Summit 2018

Sports Video Group Executive Director Paul Gallo opens the Paris event at Stade De France

UEFA and partners learn from remote uncompressed 4K trial BY HEATHER MCLEAN


peaking at SVG Europe’s Football Production Summit at Stade De France,UEFA reviewed its trial last year for remote uncompressed 4K during the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Final in Poland. The trial ran from the Krakow match between Germany and Spain, and BT Sport in Stratford, UK. It won the SVG Europe Technical Achievement Award 2017, announced at IBC, thanks to the success of the remote production, carried out by BT Sport and a plethora of technical partners, in preparation for Euro 2020. The panellists, from UEFA, BT Sport, Gearhouse Broadcast, and Grass Valley (formally known as SAM), discussed the project during the session titled ‘Uncompressed 4K Remote Production: Past and Future’, chaired by SVG Europe’s Fergal Ringrose. Phil Williams, Senior Additional Programming 38

Manager at UEFA, commented: “With Euro 2020 on the horizon we felt it was expedient of us to look into the possibilities of remote production,” he said, referring to the issues in covering so many matches in locations stretched across the continent. “Managing production of the game in Krakow from BT Sport in Stratford was pretty much putting it to the test.” Explaining how multiple networks were utilised to create the connection from Poland back to the UK, Nicolas Deal, TV Transmission Manager at UEFA, said: “We had to connect the stadium and London with different providers, but we had to take advantage of the way these networks are built in order to do this. Language is always an issue, especially technical language, but we made it work and had a lot of help from the other vendors.” Partners in the trial included Grass Valley, Gearhouse, Telegenic, Level3 (which is now CenturyLink), Orange, Tektronix and Cisco. Speaking of the lack of latency, which ran at 33 milliseconds, and the quality of the resultant feeds, Williams said: “I can’t believe the game was that far away. It was like we were outside the stadium in a truck. To say there was no latency, well, there hardly was,” stated Williams. “From an end user point of view, it was a great success.” Talking of the tech set up, Deborah Maria, Key Account Manager at Grass Valley, noted: “The consensus was that EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


Football Production Summit 2018

most of the equipment would be at BT Sport in Stratford. We used a PTP switch in Krakow and one in London; we had lots of meetings about this. We also used AES67 as audio needed a dedicated feed.” Kit implemented at BT Sport in Stratford included: Grass Valley Kahuna Production Switches; Grass Valley LiveTouch; Grass Valley MV-820 MultiViewer; Tektronix PTP GM, Grass Valley Orbit IP routing controller, Sony PCP and Riedel intercom. Andy Beale, Chief Engineer at BT Sport, said there was very little for BT Sport’s production UEFA with partners: (L/R) Phil Williams, UEFA; Deborah Maria, Grass Valley; Nicolas Deal, UEFA; Andy Beale, BT Sport; and Ed Tischler, Gearhouse Broadcast team to do once the feeds hit the UK end of the system: “If I remember correctly we just handed the where we wouldn’t have a week to prepare.” feeds over to UEFA with no major changes. None of the production Concluding, Williams commented: “One of the major objectives we team arrived until their call time, midday on the day of the game, just have at UEFA in terms of TV production is to make the broadcaster like a normal game.” shine, to make it work in terms of budget and logistics.” For Euro 2020, Williams added: “We didn’t want to push the boat out too much [on UEFA will look to “offer our broadcasters a complete suite of unilateral production].We wanted it to be as similar as possible to a normal game services, with both traditional and remote production options.”

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Sky Sport Summit Munich

eSports panel: Presenter Gert Zimmermann with (from left to right) Olaf Schröder, Constantin Media; Christian Ruf, VFB Stuttgart; Robert Kis, TV Skyline; and Joakim Sandberg, Dreamhack

eSports business booms as tech giants look to get into the new game BY BIRGIT HEIDSIEK


n the next couple of years, eSports is expected to grow at a rapid pace. In Germany, Sport1 is presenting eSports news and matches on TV as well as on its streaming platform. Meanwhile soccer clubs such as VfB Stuttgart and VfL Wolflsburg have created eSports teams. “eSports is wellreceived since five, six years but now there is some media hype,” said Olaf Schröder, CEO Constantin Medien whose portfolio includes Sport1, at Sky Sport Summit held in cooperation with SVG Europe.“In terms of marketing we can cope with the Handball Bundesliga because we are reaching up to 50,000 young men.” 40

The German soccer club VfB Stuttgart even created its own eSports team. “It was received very well by the fans from early on,” underlined Christian Ruf, Head of Digital Distribution at VfB Stuttgart.“As a soccer club it is our task to sell emotions. That is entertainment. The young target groups are enjoying in it. They have a lot of professional expertise in soccer because they are playing it live.” VfB Stuttgart also plans to create an ESports team for its second league. Besides the virtual Bundesliga, eSports fans are also playing ‘League of Legends’ which was acquired for €80m by Twitch. While the production of the Champions League semi-final has a set-up with 25 cameras, various studio situations, many graphics and LED lights, ‘League of Legends’ is even topping that. “There were almost 45 cameras at the world final in the Olympics stadium in Seoul,” said Robert Kis, General Manager of TV Skyline. “70,000 people were watching the event in the stadium. Another 30,000 to 40,000 did public viewing because the tickets were sold out. Imagine Dragons wrote a song for it, ESPN2 was live transmitting and about 50 m people followed the live event via internet.” EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018





“All huge global stakeholders are stepping in, even if the structure isn’t there” JOAKIM SANDBERG

Sky Sport Summit Munich

An eSports event at the venue is a real experience.“The fans are wearing costumes like in ‘StarCraft’”, Joakim Sandberg, COO Dreamhack AB, pointed out. Based in Stockholm, the company attracts about 40m viewers with huge eSports events.“When you look at the overall picture in eSports it is media rights which is going to grow and sponsorship with an increase of 30% every year. All huge global stakeholders are stepping in, even if the structure isn’t there.” Among them are companies such as Warner, Disney, and Alibaba. “This is perhaps the first time in a couple of years that a new entertainment form in sports will actually arrive on a global scale. It is about being there and trying to see what’s going to happen. There is truly no structure yet.” Due to the lack of organisation, the market is still messy, according to Olaf Schröder. “There are plenty of ideas to create an international league but the structure is still in the early stages of development.” Nevertheless he sees a great potential in eSports as well as a benefit for the media. Mercedes is becoming involved in event sponsoring, and Visa and Vodafone have their own teams. Everybody wants to be part of it. Paris has a team and so does Manchester.” Sport1 will also sign on a player.


“The top players are obliged to train several hours each day and also to play with the community,” explained Robert Kis. “The teams have a tactics coach, general manager, a physiotherapist as well as a media manager.” Sport1 makes a real commitment to eSports and presents it live in prime time — even with the play-off. “You rather get yourself into it as Stuttgart and Wolfsburg or you don’t,” stressed Olaf Schröder.“We have to build up a personality. Therefore we need a magazine that tells the background story because nobody wants to watch some person just playing. Sports is always about who is behind that.” Therefore, the VfB Stuttgart has chosen two players below 30 who also have an entertainment quality. “Promoting of young talents is a huge issue for eSports. Advancement is not only about the qualification but also about the mental attitude”, said Christian Ruf who got Motorola as sponsor on board. As Robert Kis reported, the ‘League of Legends’ events are always sold out. “eSports is a global product,” stated Joakim Sandberg. “You won’t see any ads, you won’t see anything in any papers. That is the generation that doesn’t watch TV. They live their life in social media. We are waiting for Facebook, Amazon and Apple to step into this world.”










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World Snooker Championships

Coverage of the tournament is produced by IMG and broadcast live on the BBC and Eurosport

Right on Cue: How IMG is framing World Snooker 2018

he World Snooker Championships is the richest and most prestigious tournament in snooker. First played in 1927, and part of the sport’s Triple Crown, it is worth £425,000 to the winner. But it’s not just about the money. It is about making history. You don’t need SVG to remind you, for example, about Dennis Taylor beating Steve Davis 18-17 in the 1985 final with the last black of the last frame. It is one of the UK’s most famous sporting moments ever, watched by a British TV audience of 18.5 million people. This year’s tournament might not get those sorts of ratings figures but the World Championships is still as important as ever. And, from the TV production perspective, there will be new innovations on show.

features the 32 best players in the world. Coverage of the tournament is produced by IMG and broadcast live on the BBC and Eurosport. For the early rounds, when two matches take place at the same time, there are nine cameras on each table plus a shared beauty shot. An overhead hothead is also used on Table 1 and a jimmy jib is brought in for the last three days, including the final. The number of cameras then increases to 12 for the final itself. Among the additions is a hi-motion camera, a Sony 4300 operating in its six-speed mode for replays. This particular camera is being utilised for the first time at this year’s World Championships. The coverage also makes good use of Augmented Reality (AR), as IMG Executive Producer Alison Witkover explains. “AR offers a variety of statistics and the ability for the table to be viewed from multiple angles, as well as showing other shots that could have been played. A feed of the main camera is also provided to the match referee so that balls can be re-spotted precisely following a foul stroke. “The AR team works all-year round on snooker events, so are continuously developing their product to offer more statistics,” she adds. Of course, statistics play a big part in snooker and this is reflected in the coverage. The on-screen graphics provide all scoring data including average shot time, safety success, long pot percentages and high breaks, to name but a few.

Frame by frame

Plenty of side


Executive producer Alison Witkover outlines the production background and details some innovations being introduced


Taking place at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, which has Along with the high motion camera, 2018 also sees the been its home since 1977, the two-week tournament introduction of a new editing set-up through IMG’s OB 44


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“AR offers a variety of statistics and the ability for the table to be viewed from multiple angles” ALISON WITKOVER


provider for the tournament NEP. “After observing and reviewing our edit practices at the first two events of the season, NEP is introducing a new state of the art 10 Gbps editing system,” says Witkover.“This includes sophisticated media management and ingest tools and will start the process of integrated logging and browsing tools.” One thing we won’t be seeing this year, however, is a referee camera, she adds. “We did some trials at the UK Championship in York, but we, and the governing body, are keen to do further testing outside of a major event before consider its value to the coverage.” While technology can solve some production problems, time and space are among the biggest challenges faced by the production team during the World Championship. Matches are long so, for the director and technical crew, in particular, maintaining concentration for hours at a time is vital. Similarly, keeping quality levels high throughout the 17 days of competition, and the circa 150 hours of terrestrial television, is another challenge. Coverage starts at 10 am most mornings, transmits on and off throughout the day, and the team can be working until well past midnight. “Having produced the snooker for BBC for 20 years, we have fine-tuned the number of production and OB personnel required for the various programmes to

World Snooker Championships

produce the best possible programmes within budget,” says Witkover.

Rack ’em up

Another key consideration for IMG is the need to bring variety to the presentation, adding light and shade to the 17 days of green baize action. To achieve this, each programme has a different style. The morning shows are presented from the practice room with a focus on the live sport. The afternoons of days one to 12 are then presented from the Winter Gardens studio which is built specially for the World Championship. “Here, we can intersperse the snooker with live demos, features and guests to really bring the event to life” explains Witkover. Early evening programmes have a small studio set within the practice room, enabling viewers to see what goes on behind the scenes and, often, what the players work on in their mid-session intervals. For the last five days, the main studio moves to within the Crucible Theatre, with a view over the table. This space is only available once Table 2 has been dismantled and the venue re-rigged for the semis and final. And it is here that snooker, and sporting history, can be made.













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Facebook’s Melissa Lawton speaking at SportTech 2018

Why Facebook wants to be more than just friends with sports fans BY FERGAL RINGROSE


s social media platforms up their game in the pursuit of live-streamed sporting events, broadcasters and sports rights-owners and holders are just as keen to extend their viewer and fan base, as well as their marketing reach. But how exactly does it manifest itself in the real world?

SVG Europe Contributing Editor Heather McLean on stage at SportTech 48

SportTech: Where OTT Meets Broadcast

At SVG Europe’s SportTech event on 30 May at Chelsea Football Club in London, Melissa Lawton, Head of Live Sports Production Strategy at Facebook, provided a unique insight into the relationship between the sports industry and Facebook, exploring editorial considerations, fan engagement and production techniques, including the merging of social and traditional production teams. Speaking on stage alongside Heather McLean, SVG Europe Contributing Editor, Lawton first looked at Facebook Watch, the new platform for video that will be the central place for broadcasters, rights holders and creators to distribute their sports content. Watch is where Facebook’s partners can build predictable, loyal audiences and cultivate community and conversation around the content they are creating, as well as where people can come back to time and again to discover video content and build a habit of watching long form video, Lawton noted, although she added it is currently only available in the US. With regard to live sports, Lawton stated that it is important to break down barriers between the viewer and the event by thinking about community first, building and connecting with fans, making sure content is optimised visually for an audience on the go or wherever they may be, as well as being localised. The focus for Facebook is, she said, on three key areas: clear and readable graphics that are optimised for mobile; coordinated commentary; and community management. Graphics is a real issue for sports broadcasters to get their heads around, Lawton said. Rethinking screen real estate is important due to the number of devices that people view sport on, from laptops to tablets and smartphones. This means the real estate of the screen goes from large to very small, so graphics in the top left hand corner, as per TV, do not work well as they block images. Also, with Facebook Watch, viewers are able to talk to each other as the action goes on, which can cause problems by blocking action at the bottom of the screen, for instance, the hole being aimed at in a golf tournament. As a result of these issues, Facebook recommends that the top right corner is the cleanest area for score bugs and the like. Meanwhile, for vertical video, bottom right is best, for graphics and viewer chat. Lawton commented: “We know more and more people are watching content on mobile devices. Really, as broadcasters, producers and content makers, you need to think of that on-screen real estate.” Data graphics are still important for Facebook Watch, because as well as providing a helpful role, guiding the EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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action, on a small screen, they are something that younger viewers have been bought up with and actively expect to see on live content. Wide screen shots work on TV, but as the screen sport is being viewed on gets smaller, close-up shots of athletes faces, showing the emotion of the event, actually work better, Lawton said. “You need to look at reframing this for the small screen.” She noted that while wise shots have their place on the small screen to set up location and 04/07/2018 21:01 layout, tight shots keep viewers inside the live action.”

SportTech: Where OTT Meets Broadcast

On coordinated commentary, co-ordination between host, chat and graphics is key. What is needed, Lawton said, is the need to change end to end production workflows: to open communication channels with social teams; use a social producer to surface chat comments; consider whether you need to use third party tools; and use a commentary team who understand social tools. On another note, Lawton said what is key on Facebook is allowing fans to have their say in a meaningful way. This can include putting an athlete, analyst or similar person into the chat live to answer fans questions on Facebook as the live match goes on, providing great interaction opportunities. You can also interview stars and key players using fan questions, while using a split screen to keep the live action as well as the interview action going for the fans concurrently. She added: “The engagement and excitement you get from that really drives participation.” In terms of managing this kind of process, Lawton recommended getting all ducks lined up in a row beforehand, so getting photos and videos prepped before a live game as well as a plan of how to roll those out within the live event, for maximum impact. She added that social voting and hashtag campaigns are also useful ways of engaging viewers during a live event.











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Sports Innovation Summit Milan

Un mare de salvare presentation by Cristina Fenzi, Sky Italia

Examining workflow innovation and 4K/HDR production in Milan BY ROBERTO LANDINI


n June 19 Sky Italia and SVG Europe hosted the second Sport Innovation Summit at the Sky Italia production centre in Milan. Around 80 representatives of major Italian TV production service providers, broadcasters, consultants and other key groups attended the event, which included a series of illuminating panel sessions on current trends and technologies. Sessions and presenters included: the new SkyQ and Multi Platform by Sky, delivered by Massimo Bertolotti (Head of Engineering and Innovation); a look at the 52

Ocean Rescue project by Cristina Fenzi; a presentation on Deltatre by Roberto Sciaretta; and an analysis of the Agile Software Lab by Carlo Romagnoli. There were also sessions on Sky TG 24 Milan and Rome by Broadcast Production and Creative Director Riccardo Botta, remote production and its use in Formula 1 by ead of Sport Production & Operations Manuela Baraschi, and 4K in sport by Massimo Bertolotti. After an introductory presentation by Manuela Baraschi, SVG Europe General Manager Joe Hosken thanked Sky hosts Baraschi and Botta, and all other the participants, before giving a brief presentation on SVG Europe and its current activities and projects. Riccardo Botta explained how in just 18 months the Operation Migration project and the Sky TG 24 Milan and Rome technologies were implemented. As a result the production centre becomes “the official liaison� between editorial needs across different areas of output (news, sport, entertainment), providing the means to tell the story in the possible way. The coordinated management of news 600 km away EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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Sports Innovation Summit Milan

(Milan-Rome) is a serious challenge. The traditional way of telling news has changed and now we all receive information from various media, even before the traditional TV bulletin, confirmed Botta. Today it is essential to explain, through the support of innovative technologies, the reason for a certain event, with each broadcaster seeking to differentiate the offer further by adding opinion, context, analysis and storytelling.

‘4K but only with HDR’

In 2013 Sky Italia was already addressing the topic of 4K in order to plan ahead comprehensively and ensure that all the technologies and personnel would be in place in good time. Five years on the talk about 4K has moved on significantly and is focused on the latest generation of STBs, including Sky Q. Bertolotti traced the development of the service, which included initial tests in 2013 and 2015, with Sky Italia and Sky Germany collaborating on the analysis of different formats to support HDR for live production. Unlike some other countries, where the competition on 4K was already ‘on’, in Italy Sky took its time to fully understand every aspect of production and the consumer experience, including the size of TV screen needed to make the most of 4K/HDR. After the high quality HD

experience, the launch of 4K had to provide the public with a real and tangible difference in quality and, above all, colour reproduction. As Bertolotti explained, HDR was integral to Sky’s production plans because it enables a range of colours that is perceptible to the viewer, while the overall effect is truly superior. The choice of “what HDR” to deliver to homes was problematic and HLG, even in view of a backward compatibility required, was chosen after extensive analysis. It was also necessary to identify the best possible way to upconvert the content already available in 4K but not in HDR. Numerous tests were conducted over an appropriate time frame regarding the required HDR technology, signal chain, metadata management and on the logo — and the new brand — intended to provide a marker between HD and 4K. The new visuals were designed to avoid confusing viewers in a rather congested market of abbreviations around 4K. In practice, Sky Italia took some time before launching 4K HDR to ensure it fully satisfied the broadcaster’s reputation for quality and to ensure the best possible result for all segments. Simultaneously the viewer interest in the new formats was continuing to grow, underlining the validity of introducing a 4K HDR offering.

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Women in Sports Media Summer Event

Sky Sports Production Executives Bridget Bremner (right) and Jennie Blackmore (centre), in conversation with Inga Ruehl (left), Head of Studios for Sky Production Services at Sky UK, at SVG Europe’s women’s event on 3 July at Langan’s Brasserie

Women dominate Production Executive roles at Sky Sports following major restructure BY HEATHER MCLEAN


t SVG Europe’s Women in Sports Media Initiative summer networking event in London early July, Inga Ruehl, Head of Studios for Sky Production Services at Sky UK interviewed her colleagues at Sky Sports, Bridget Bremner and Jennie Blackmore, who are two of three new female Production Executives in freshly-created roles. SVG Europe’s event was sponsored by CTV Outside Broadcasts and supported by Sky UK. The trio discussed Bremner and Blackmore’s career journeys, how they got to their current roles within Sky, and how the new roles of production executive have disrupted as well as helped streamline the structure at Sky Sports. Ruehl began with an introduction to the major changes that have occurred within the broadcaster over the past 56

few years, which has resulted in a complete restructure of the Sky division and the creation of the role of production executive. Blackmore, who covers cricket, golf and boxing under her Production Executive title, started in television around 16 years ago as production secretary on Channel 4 cricket while working at Sunset+Vine. “I worked more of the logistics route up through the business at Sunset+Vine; I was Production Secretary, Production Coordinator, then I joined the short-lived Setanta Sports as a Production Manager, and then I was lucky enough to go straight into Sky Sports as a Production Manager. We’ve just had a big restructure in our department, and these Production Executive jobs came up and I was lucky enough to get one,” she said. EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


Women in Sports Media Summer Event

Meanwhile, South African Bridget Bremner started her career in her home country, with the SABC. She started in television training, as a training assistant, and did all the training of every aspect of television that they were doing back then, she explained. “At the time I thought I wanted to produce, but I thought if I’m going to produce I want to be able to know what happens behind the scenes, so took an opportunity that came up on outside broadcast working as an Event Manager, which is equivalent to a sort of Unit Manager role. I went into that OB environment where there were not a lot of women, but when the opportunity came up I became the first woman in South Africa in that position.” After that Bremner moved to another OB company, then eventually to the UK.“I was freelance for the first five years or so here and then became a Production Manager at Sky. With that I worked on a lot of the football, and a lot of the football, and a lot of the football! “In the restructure last year there were opportunities for the Production Executive role and I think I was very lucky to get one. In that role currently my portfolio is looking after Formula 1, Rugby League, Rugby Union and multisports, which is everything else which is not football, cricket, golf and boxing.”


Changing face of Sky Sports

On how Sky Sports has changed recently, Bremner said modifications were overdue; for around 25 years there had not been any changes in its structure or how Sky Sports operated. She commented: “Sky Sports hadn’t been through any of these changes, while a lot of the rest of Sky had. But I think that with the whole broadcast environment changing, the industry has changed, rights have changed, the way we broadcast — not just linear but non-linear — has changed, and I think there was really a need within Sky Sports specifically to change with that.” Sky Sports’ evolution was driven by the way content needed to be produced, Bremner went on: “Our content teams, who everyone normally refers to as production teams at Sky, their remit was changing so our department, which provides delivery and support to them, really needed to change and adapt to that as well. “Before, our Production Coordinators were based in the office and our Production Managers were on the road, so you didn’t see them very often, but [our content production] was very OB-based and one of the big changes is it’s not just OBs [anymore that are responsible for producing content]; it’s the non-linear, it’s the studio elements, it’s all of that encompassing all our teams to get them all to work across content — not just the OBs as we’ve



Women in Sports Media Summer Event

Audience in Langan’s Brasserie listens to the Sky Sports production conversation


e Bo us ot at I h BC 1. 2 C3 0 1 18

traditionally been doing for many years,” said Bremner. Ruehl asked how the traditional content teams had reacted to the changes. She added that nearly all the heads of content, bar one, are male. Blackmore answered: “We were the last department in Sky to go through some big

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changes, so they were aware things were changing.” She added that as part of the changes at Sky Sports, now the digital teams sit within the original content teams. “The content teams were very OB-based, but now digital and social media is a really big part of the content teams.

06/07/2018 19:40



Women in Sports Media Summer Event

As production managers and a production team, we are now really involved with that side as well. It’s a big change; we were very OB-based and now that is just not the way Sky’s business is any more.” The volume of content produced by Sky Sports is phenomenal, said Ruehl. Blackmore commented that the new production executive roles would, in other companies, most likely be called Head of Production. However because of the size of Sky’s Sports’ rights deals, the sports need to be divided amongst three executives in order for them to be managed smoothly. As an example of the volume of sport being covered, in 2017 Sky Sports had 1,100 outside broadcasts for which it was host broadcaster. Blackmore said: “With that goes the entire planning of the event, not just turning up on site and taking someone else’s pictures. We had a situation on the Easter Bank Holiday where we had 26 live OBs in one weekend; the scale of what we do is huge. “I’ve worked at independent production companies where the focus is different and the volume isn’t the same, and it’s quite a big thing to get your head round just how much live content we do, and that’s just OBs I’m talking about; I’m not talking about the studios, the galleries, the live blogs, or anything on social media; it’s a huge amount of volume that we look after,” said Blackmore.

Under the previous structure at Sky Sports, Head of Operations James Clement used to run 20 Production Managers. The department restructure means Philip Marshall is the Head of Production, then the three Production Executives, then six Senior Production Managers, followed by 11 Production Managers and 22 Production Coordinators. “You can see why there was a need for this restructuring process, to give people — coordinators and production managers — a lot more focus on developing them, on working closely with the content teams, which they honestly hadn’t had time for before,” said Blackmore. Now, there is a lot more presence in the office and content teams work tightly together with production staff, she noted.“It’s a new way of working, but it’s the right way,” she added.

“We were very OB-based and now that is just not the way Sky’s business is any more” JENNIE BLACKMORE

Is it a man’s world?

“So Sky Sports; is it a man’s world?” Ruehl asked Blackmore and Bremner. Blackmore commented: “Bridget had done freelance work for Sky before I started, but we both roughly came on as staff at around the same time; I was nine years ago, Bridget was 10. When we started there was actually only three women production managers; us two and one of our colleagues,Amanda. That has changed dramatically in the nine years I’ve been there.

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Smile! Group shot at SVG Europe’s Women in Sports Media event, July 3

“I would say for me, Production Managers in Sky Sports did used to be a man’s world,” continued Blackmore.“The role was very technical back then, which for me bought a lot of insecurities, coming into that world and having not just the male production managers, but coming on site at an OB and nearly the entire OB crew would be male as well. Again that has changed quite dramatically. Sky Sports I think is certainly a lot more 50/50 in terms of Production Managers and Production Coordinators. With the size of our department, we’ve got a big range.” Ruehl asked Blackmore about how she dealt with the feelings of insecurity she initially felt when working at Sky Sports. “When I look back on it, nobody ever


Women in Sports Media Summer Event

made me feel like I didn’t belong or wasn’t good enough to be a production manager. It was very much my own insecurities about not coming from a technical background that I think were the only things that ever held me back in the first place. “Once I managed to get over that and focus on actually what I was good at, and asking questions about the things I didn’t understand and be completely honest if I didn’t understand how something worked on an OB, once I got past that, I really just focused on what I was good at as a production manager.” Bremner added:“At the time I came into Sky Sports I was on football, and football was particularly male dominated. Maybe not many women ventured into football; I think we had one female AP in football at the time who is now one of our very accomplished football directors. “I think for myself, coming from an industry in South Africa where it’s definitely a man’s world, I didn’t feel threatened or intimidated by it; I was used to it so I probably didn’t even notice,” Bremner reminisced.“When I went into the OB world [in South Africa] I replaced a lady who was a secretary in the OB department. One of the things she did, as they were quite [geographically] removed from the main building and canteen, was she made sandwiches on the side and she sold them. When



Women in Sports Media Summer Event

I arrived, [the OB team, which was all-male] said, ‘so where’s the sandwiches?’. I never made any sandwiches, but it was hardcore I think. “Like Jennie, I think the key thing was making sure people knew you didn’t know everything — I didn’t know all the technical information but I wanted to learn. So I tapped into that from the people around me. There’s so much to learn, whether it’s from an engineer, a camera person or a VT operator, and making sure you’re open to that changes people’s attitudes towards you. So for me then coming into Sky Sports, the only time you do notice ladies is when you’re looking for the toilet and you’re on an OB, and there’s just one!”

Balancing work with family

Finally, the question of balancing a high-flying career with family came up. The new production executive roles involve a significant amount of travel, and Ruehl asked Bremner and Blackmore how they balanced that travel with a family life. Blackmore commented: “You just make it work. If I didn’t have a three year old, the length of day and the amount I work probably would be the same, but you just have different priorities and timescales, and you perhaps get things done a little quicker as you know you have to

leave to go and do the nursery run. “If I know I’ve got to do the nursery run, bath her, put her to bed, and then sit and do a couple of hours of emails or catching up with work, then that’s just what I need to do because I want to have a family and I want to have the job that I have, and I want to still see friends and I just manage somehow to work a way around it and fit it all in. “I won’t lie; it’s brutal and it’s hard, and a nice glass of wine plays a great role at the end of the day!,” Blackmore added. “If I didn’t have to leave to do the nursery run I probably wouldn’t be in the office at 7.30am to make up for that, but it’s about choices and you can make it work.” Sky helps provide the flexibility that parents need, added both Ruehl and Blackmore, who noted: “[Sky is great at allowing] the kind of flexible working in terms of being able to just fit into your day what you need to do, speak to the people you need to speak to, have the meetings you need to have, but you work it around your timescale, and I have to say Phil and James have always been amazing at that. “There is no ‘you need to be sat at your desk from 9 till 5’; you do a good job, you get the work done: if your child is sick and you have to work from home for the day so be it. As long as you get the work done and people aren’t having to chase you for things, it works.”

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FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

Inside the Master Control Room at the IBC in the Crocus Expo International Exhibition Centre in Moscow

Live from FIFA World Cup: FIFA TV delivers wealth of content to rights holders and fans BY KEN KERSCHBAUMER


s the 2018 FIFA World Cup enters the quarterfinals stage the FIFA TV production team continues to refine its workflows not only from 2014 but also from the group stage. Like the athletes themselves, the goal is to continually build off the previous match and to continue to make the team stronger and more capable. “The overwhelmingly positive feedback we are receiving from our media rights licensees as well as the impressive take-up of the new offerings, make us believe we had made the right technical and editorial choices,” says Florin Mitu, FIFA, Head of Host Broadcast Production. “We now look forward to the last eight matches of the tournament with a passionate commitment to continue offer off-site viewers the best possible seat in the house.” The IBC itself is located in the Crocus Expo International Exhibition Centre northwest of Red Square which is another primary location given the presence of rights holder studios. The IBC is once again a massive place, with 54,000 sq. metres of raw indoor space, 8,613 62

sq. metres of multilateral areas, and 9,054 sq. metres for the unilateral production teams. The production centre measures 3,329 sq. metres and houses seven studios, the largest of which is the Televisa studio which measures 300 square metres. The seven studios are for Fox US, Fox Brazil, Telemundo, Televisa, Caracol TV, TYC Sports Argentina and CCTV. The production team in Moscow at the IBC is complemented by 40 ENG crews (comprising 120 people) covering each team and gathering footage from practices, interviews, location beauty shots and more. And, of course, there are the Host Broadcast Services (HBS) technical and production teams at each of the 12 venues, a number of which are no longer active as matches will no longer be played there. Once again, they will operate out of Equipment Room Containers instead of traditional remote-production trucks. The advantages of the ERCs are clear: they provide more room for the production team and obviate numerous onsite trucks. EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018

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FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

Exterior view of the International Broadcast Centre in northwest Moscow

The core plan

The core production plan for FIFA World Cup match coverage calls for 37 cameras to be used for each match, with the addition of two behind goals pole-cams for the knock-out rounds. New this year at the IBC is the first use sporttech-journal-v2.pdf 1 05/07/2018 11:20 of Video Assistant Referees, centrally located at the IBC

in Moscow. The VAR team has access to all relevant host-broadcast cameras plus two dedicated offside cameras and supports the match officials during all 64 matches. Also new at the IBC are two Infotainment galleries, removing the need to have dedicated in-venue video board operations at each stadium. The teams in the galleries have access to all feeds and dedicated ISO feeds (including to RF handhelds) and lowlatency transmission to the giant screens in the venues ensure fans in the stands get a robust and timely experience. One challenge? Communication and coordination between the people on the ground and the gallery. The UHD/HDR efforts at the FIFA World Cup have two layers of production formats in use: a core layer comprised of cameras operating in 1080p 50 fps SDR mode (REC.709) with HD graphics and then an enhanced UHD layer which is 2160p 50 fps HDR (BT2020) without graphics. The HDR production format is OETF Slog3/Live while the UHD feed (available only at the International Broadcast Centre) relies on quad 1080p/50 at 3Gbps to create the 4K resolution image.












FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

A dual-layer workflow

The vision mixer is working with eight cameras operating in dual mode UHD/HDR and 1080p/SDR; 11 cameras dual output 1080p/HDR and 1080p/SDR; 21 cameras single output 1080p/SDR; and then all replays which are 1080p/SDR. The UHD/HDR output will take advantage of a dedicated camera at the camera one position as well as seven additional UHD camera positions. The remaining 11 single-speed 1080p/HDR cameras will all be upconverted to UHD’s 2160p resolution (with HDR). The key to all of the production efforts is a dual-layer workflow allowing a single vision mixer and single production team to create three deliverables to rights holders: 1080i SDR; 1080p SDR; and UHD HDR. The vision mixer is outputting two of those three signals directly to rights holders: a 1080i/SDR version; 1080p SDR version. The UHD version will simultaneously be created within that same vision mixer, relying on upscaling and colour mapping to create a UHD 2160p HDR BT2020 signal. That UHD signal is sent back to the IBC via fibre and then processed and made available to rights holders as UHD with HDR in three flavours: S-Log3; HDR10; and HLG.A “dirty” feed of each of those three formats includes

English graphics whilst a “dirty dirty” feed also includes clock and score.

The World Cup production control room

One of the big challenges for any single production that is designed for both SDR and HDR output is figuring out the best method to shade the cameras. For example, shading in HDR can potentially cause issues with the SDR output as the shader may not be aware of how the expanded imaging capabilities for HDR might exceed the capabilities of the SDR output and cause issues like blowing out light areas or dark areas that lack detail. As a result, the FIFA World Cup production team is shading in 1080p/SDR. The FIFA World Cup coverage may seem straightforward, but the FIFA TV production team is providing a wealth of feeds around each match, including a dedicated production at each stadium on the days prior to matches. One gallery at the venue is used for the production of all the multi-feeds. One goal this year is to provide faster access to team content, more warm up and fan coverage, and to make use of a cine-style camera at each match to lend more visual quality to packages. The core feed is the Extended Stadium Feed (ESF, also available in UHD) and its clean version (CSF). Those two feeds are available beginning 70 minutes prior to kick off

“There is a dedicated FIFA TV crew for each of the 32 teams at the World Cup” FLORIN MITU

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FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

Making it all available

One of the key service offerings from FIFA is the FIFA MAX Server, with its revolutionarily designed FIFA Content Interface. The goal was to provide media rights licensees easy on-site and off-site access to a server with all of the content that has been created. Pre-defined content categories make it easy for users to find what they need, and filters can even be tied to alerts and email notifications so that if clips for a specific player or team are available the user can find out immediately. In addition, a support team offers daily contact to rights holders to let them know about the best content. With the 2018 World Cup heading into its final week attention will focus on the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Paris and even the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup Teams line up for the anthems ahead of England v Colombia Round of 16 match at Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Tuesday 3 July in Qatar. Refinements, enhancements, and new features are surely in the offing as and end 10 minutes after the match. A third feed is the FIFA’s production team looks to continue to enhance EBIF Show which is the same as the ESF as of kickoff but the storytelling and presentation of one of the world’s before the match offers bespoke content to rights holders. top sports.



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FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

Sebastian Runge, Group Leader, Football Innovation for FIFA

Inside FIFA’s VAR control room in Moscow BY BRANDON COSTA


leaps and bounds and has even had the benefit of learning from similar implementations by domestic leagues in Germany (Bundesliga), Italy (Serie A), and the U.S. (Major League Soccer). “We had the big advantage of being able to learn from all of these experiences,” says Sebastian Runge, Group Leader, Football Innovation, FIFA. “We were in close contact with all of these different leagues to try to pull all he FIFA World Cup is an event that breeds video- of that learning together to come up with this setup. So far, technology innovation; but no innovation has had we are very happy.” a more profound effect on this tournament than the debut of Video Assistant Referee. How does VAR work? It has been the talk of the tournament, and reviews There are two VAR control rooms at the International from across the football world have been overwhelmingly Broadcast Centre (IBC) in Moscow, with two full VAR positive, especially as the tournament has progressed. The stations in each. Each station has numerous monitors, system has been largely effective and helped bring clarity to including the live match feed, various isolated feeds, and many plays, especially those in the box that lead to penalty playback. kicks, that may have bogged down previous tournaments. A VAR team comprises the lead VAR and three VAR, which FIFA began testing more than a year ago assistants: AVAR1, AVAR2, and AVAR3. All are licensed at the FIFA Club World Cup 2016 in Japan, has grown by FIFA match officials.



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FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

Inside the VAR room at the IBC in Moscow, July 1

The lead VAR’s job is to watch the main-game-camera feed and, on a quad-split touchscreen monitor that he controls, review incidents when action calls for it. The lead VAR is the only member of the team in the control

room who can recommend that the lead official make an official review, but it’s ultimately the on-field officials’ call whether to head to the sidelines to use a monitor stationed at each venue.

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FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

As for the AVARs, AVAR1’s job is to also monitor the main game feed, particularly when the VAR needs to look away from live action to review a replay. AVAR2 is positioned at a station dedicated to covering offsides (a new feature described in more depth below). AVAR3 watches the live match feed of the Host Broadcast Services (HBS) production while also providing support on communications between the VAR and the on-field official.

To what video feeds does the VAR have access?

All 12 stadiums across Russia are connected via fibre to the IBC and the VAR control room. Inside the control room, the VAR team has access to all the individual camera feeds generated by HBS to produce the live match. That includes eight super-slow-motion feeds, four of which are ultraslow-motion. There are also two locked-off cameras to monitor offsides (more on that a little later). The camera complement expanded as the tournament moved into the Knockout Stage. An ultra-slow-motion pole camera has been added behind each net. The various slow-motion cameras are, naturally, very helpful in certain VAR-worthy situations, such as establishing point of contact between players on a possible foul. The only feeds that the VAR control room does not

receive are those deemed unnecessary, such as the aerial camera from the overhead helicopter, the beauty-shot camera, and any interview cameras onsite.

Improving the monitoring of offside

Two VAR control rooms, each featuring two VAR setups, are located at the IBC in Moscow and connected via fibre to all 12 venues across the country. Two additional static cameras have been installed at all 12 stadiums, positioned between the top of the 18-yard box and midfield to give what are intended to be clear views of any offsides call. The raw feeds of these cameras are exclusive to VAR (HBS does not have direct access to them and can broadcast only replays provided by the VAR room), and a member of the VAR team is dedicated solely to reviewing offsides video. “Even with 37 host-broadcast cameras on the production already, we identified this area [as] not covered well enough to make [an offsides] decision because of the viewing angle,” says Runge. “We’ve been very happy with it. It’s been a big plus for VAR.” The offsides-monitoring solution is integrated with goal-line technology. A computer-generated offsides line is created and can be used to help the VAR and the on-field official make a judgment on offsides.

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FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

St Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, with temporary World Cup broadcast studios visible at bottom right

Amazing AR studio leads ITV Sport’s production BY FERGAL RINGROSE

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he undoubted star of the Russia World Cup presentation from ITV Sport has been the dramatic ‘cathedral’studio in Red Square, with a backdrop of St Basil’s ahead and the Kremlin on the left. ITV Sport’s studio uses various elements of AR to enable a small studio space with restricted height to look much larger and see the full height of St Basil’s Cathedral. It also incorporates a UHD 180 camera feed from host broadcaster HBS to transport the viewer into the venue. An intensive work effort in a tight timescale with partners Deltatre (AR system), Gearhouse (studio build), Stype (Red Spy optical camera tracking), Telegenic (OB facilities), White Light (LED screens and lighting) and disguise (formerly known as D3 Technologies) server

went into the intricacies of the design, especially for a temporary setup. A trucking system for the LED screens was built to enable screens to be moved in, across the window, in a short space of time. BAFTA Award-winner Paul McNamara, Senior Director/Executive Producer Major Events for ITV Sport, held overall creative responsibility for the ambitious and challenging set, with design by Paul Sudlow and set construction by Scott Fleary. Alex Dinnin was graphics/ AR designer and lighting directors are Chris Hollier and Andy Cottey. Vision supervision is provided by Mark Dunning and Adrian Turpin, with Nicos Christodoulou as studio project manager. ITV Sport Technical Consultant Paul Bateman, who played a central role in planning its World Cup operations across Red Square and the IBC, told SVG Europe “The set receives a virtual extension in the shape of an augmented reality ceiling designed by Alex Dinnin to be like the inside of a chapel, complete with a virtual window fed by two HD cameras. Two side LED screens have a further two HD cameras to provide views to the left and right of the real window, providing an unrivalled panoramic view of Red Square. EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018

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FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

window, with the stadium feed mapped across the five LED screens and virtual ceiling. “deltatre’s delivery uses eight Vizrt Engines with Stype Red Spy providing the tracking. A further two Engines provide the onscreen graphics and match clock, and the IBC is set up for post-production NLE rendering,” said Bateman. Leading the team in the Telegenic truck at Red Square are Senior Unit Engineer Jason Langford and Deputy Head of Vision Tom Read. Langford told SVG Europe, “there are four HD Screen view of ITV Red Square studio, with anchor Mark Pougatch and pundits Slaven Bilic and Henrik Larsson preparing for Brazil v Mexico match, July 2 cameras, two centre cameras and two side cameras, and they give “To complete the effect, the AR ceiling and two us our ‘AR paintbox’. And then we move around within side screens use the tracking to provide perspective that vista, with data from the track camera — all working movement, giving the impression the windows are real. in real time. The same system is then applied to the incoming UHD “The disguise (formerly D3) server is handling all the stadium feed, but with one significant difference: three content going to the screens.And we’ve got another screen further LED screens are placed in front of the actual that comes in the back wall to do the perspective tracking,




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when in Red Square tracking mode. The data from the jib camera is sent to deltatre, and they send us track data to match the Red Square perspective,” said Langford. “We also do a stadium tracking mode with data from the Stype camera, and when we’re in full stadium mode it looks like we’re faking a perspective through the window. We build up the entire set in a 3D world and then manipulate around that. And that’s it in a nutshell!” he said. “The studio has been very tough,” ITV Sport Technical Director Roger Pearce told SVG ITV football anchor Mark Pougatch is miked up before Brazil v Japan game Europe.“We’ve been through the depths and come out of it with something I think we can re-energised me.’ All the contractors had to work really be proud of. It’s been the biggest technical challenge and closely together. the biggest technical achievement. “Part of the challenge was joining the real world with “And it’s been about the people: the Telegenic the AR world, and everything has got to be extremely engineers, the White Light guys, deltatre. Tom Reed from accurate and precise as to how it joins up, with perspective Telegenic, whom I’ve known for a long time, said ‘this has tracking between virtual cameras and static cameras.And

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FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

ITV Sport Technical Director Roger Pearce (left) and Technical Consultant Paul Bateman at the IBC in Moscow

then you add on the AR of the ceiling, which is absolutely virtual and has to match in with all the screens below, with colour balancing. “The vision engineers and shaders have done a fantastic job,” said Pearce.“We’ve really been through the depths where everyone has thought, ‘oh my God this will never work’ to ‘my God we’ve done it!’. You had a load of people who have never worked together before, and you’re trying to do something new and on the edge. People were saying, ‘I don’t think this can be done’ — and that was two weeks out! From a technical point of view, we’re very proud of the studio.” In total ITV Sport has around 150 people in Russia, plus some ancillary staff for security and translation. Within the IBC, which is located at Moscow’s Crocus Expo International Exhibition Centre, Gearhouse has provided ITV with facilities including production offices, a master control room and a transmission gallery. This is then linked to ITV’s studio in Red Square. Work on the studio took over a year, with a mock-up built in London before everything Telegenic Deputy Head of Vision Tom Read (left) and Senior Unit Engineer Jason Langford in the truck gallery at Red Square studios was shipped to Russia to ensure there would be no delays once it arrived on site. There is also a full talkback producing the simultaneous games and an MCR which deals with capability between the studio and ITV’s production team at the IBC. the routing of all signals to and from the studio, offices in London and At the IBC, ITV Sport has five Avid edit suites linked to shared from the host broadcaster. storage and a media management operation. All match feeds are Reliability and resilience of circuits is critical. Globecast is managing recorded on a local EVS system which is integrated via fibre with connectivity from the IBC in Moscow back to London via diverse the EVS servers at the Red Square Studio. Facilities supplied and routes, and providing feeds to and from the studio in Red Square. This supported by Gearhouse Broadcast include a separate gallery for includes a data pipe for linking EVS systems together. 76


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WBS team: (L/R) Bethan Evans, Broadcast Manager; Paul Davies, Head of Broadcast and Production; and Tom Giles, Broadcast Technical Manager

Live from Wimbledon: Host broadcast coverage goes in-house for first time BY WILL STRAUSS


t 11:30 on Monday 2 July 2018, coverage of the Wimbledon tennis Championships went live from the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), produced for the first time by a new host broadcaster. After more than 80 years under the BBC’s expert guidance, the host baton was passed to Wimbledon Broadcast Services (WBS), bringing production of the Championships in-house. Going live on that Monday was the culmination of two years planning, preparation and testing: a process that has allowed the AELTC to “take control” of the event coverage and provide international rights holders with a better service as well as add some new twists such as Ultra High Definition (UHD), a Net-cam on both Centre Court and No.1 Court and multi-camera coverage of all 18 courts. A huge undertaking, both logistically and financially, bringing the host broadcast operation in-house also required the construction and installation of a multimillion-pound facility within the Broadcast Centre that is IP-based and includes a UHD and High Dynamic Range (HDR) layer. Aided by technical partner NEP, it was no mean feat. So how did the team behind the move feel on that sunny Monday morning in London SW19 as they waited 78

Wimbledon Championships 2018

for the first pictures to go to air? Head of Broadcast and Production Paul Davies was calm, collected and more concerned with how the International Broadcasters Meeting would go on the Wednesday morning. For Tom Giles, the Broadcast Technical Manager, however, things were a little less serene. “I was absolutely bricking it,” he tells SVG Europe in what feels like a very therapeutic admission.“I felt sick. I didn’t sleep [the night before]. I was pacing the room like an expectant father. I was thinking ‘why did we change everything’?” It was the “fear of the unknown” that was creating the tension, he says. As it turns out, he needn’t have worried. “We decided to do SMPTE ST 2110, we decided to move towards the Fletcher model [for automated coverage of the outside courts], we decided to do UHD-HDR. And all I could think was: why didn’t we keep just one thing consistent? But, by 11:35 on Monday, everything around me was calm: it all worked. Now, if there is a fault, I know that the concept works and it will be simply a case of fixing things when they crop up.” That sense of relief was reinforced, and supplemented, by the response from the rights holders, adds Davies. “The most satisfying day was Wednesday morning at our International Broadcasters Meeting when we invited very honest feedback. And that feedback was unanimously positive. Almost gushing in fact. “There is always a suspicion that it is done for PR and political reasons but from around the world, the feedback was positive. The pride came at 11:30 on the Monday when we saw our bespoke new Wimbledon titles running across all the feeds, in-sync. That was a special moment.” Seeing that the kit all worked and then getting the thumbs up from the overseas rights holders will have gone a long way to justifying the decision to bring things in-house. “It’s definitely been about taking control,” says Davies. “We have effectively got 18 different outside broadcasts across 18 courts and, for us, the coverage on Court 4 with four cameras is just as important as the coverage on Centre Court with 38 cameras. Why? Because somebody around the world is taking that feed from Court 4. It is their player, and they have paid a rights fee for it, so they need that feed and they need high-quality pictures and high-quality commentary.”

Quality on-screen

The emphasis on quality has been a non-negotiable requirement for everything that Davies and his team have done. Making this happen has required incredible attention to detail, from the design of the graphics to the desire to incorporate UHD and HDR. It has also extended beyond the technical and creative elements and permeated the whole process, right down to matching the colour of flowers in the reception with the EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018

Wimbledon Championships 2018

Wimbledon brand palette and ensuring that no one pins hand-written lists to control room windows. “We have literally spent two years as a team lifting the lid on every aspect of the broadcast and media operation, working closely across the whole field,” explains Davies. “This has been a massive project. It’s not just been a broadcast project. It started with a vision and how we would deliver that vision with our estates’ team. We looked at how the facility had to work ergonomically as a space and then we started to think in an exciting way about the aesthetics of it and how we wanted it to set the tone in a Wimbledon way. “We wanted the facility to be an inspirational place to work and operate but it had to be functional too, therefore the technology that Tom and his team were going to put in place with NEP had to be state-of-the-art. We had to get the bogs and drains right. But we wanted to also think about the look of the place.” While it is the international broadcasters that have been the focus for many of the changes, AELTC has been very careful not to alienate or adversely impact on the BBC, the UK rights holder for Wimbledon since 1927 — when it was just available on the radio — and the host broadcaster for TV since 1937. The BBC has been able to add UHD-HDR Centre Court coverage to its iPlayer output and it is also streaming


Broadcast RF is providing the wireless camera systems for Wimbledon Broadcast Services

coverage from all 18 courts online. The only major change behind-the-camera has been the necessity for the corporation to have two OB providers: NEP and Arena Television. “It was important that the BBC didn’t suffer in any way,” acknowledges Broadcast Manager Bethan Evans. “Having two different OB providers — which has never happened before — yet making sure they still had a bespoke service was key. We want their coverage to be as brilliant, if not more brilliant than it has ever been before. That has really taken a lot of communication, talking through workflows.

“I felt sick. I didn’t sleep. I was pacing the room like an expectant father” TOM GILES


Inside the new production gallery for the 2018 Wimbledon Championships

“There are some considerable challenges to work through when you have two different providers, one in HD, one in 4K. On Monday morning, when it was all syncing up, I was very proud of that.” Managing that mix of signals and resolutions was one of the major challenges for WBS and not just for the BBC’s output, as Giles explains. “We had to do a simulcast layer. We’ve got the 1080 50i level, which is the bread and butter and is also how the BBC gets its feeds. The BBC are able to sit across certain parts of our EVS architecture too but, because of the relationships we have with other broadcasters, the feeds

Wimbledon Championships 2018

also have to be put into the Central Content Store for our archive. “So, the whole thing has to be done in 1080 50i. But, obviously, we also want to push the boundaries with UHD-HDR on Centre Court. At the same time, there are certain cameras, like Net-cam for example, which are only available in 1080 50i.When you start to put all this together it makes you wonder what it will look like at the end.” With replays for Wimbledon done in 1080p, coverage available in UHD-HDR and the need to have the regular 1080 50i feeds too, money had to be spent. “We needed to get three outputs together from the Sony HDC-4300 camera channels,” he continues. “The investment from NEP to get the right baseband processor units to allow this to happen required a lot of work and money.” The facility is IP-based, using SMPTE ST 2110-compliant technology. Although the standards weren’t even ratified when AELTC sent out its Request For Proposal (RFP) document in 2017, the benefits are clear. “Getting broadcast cables down the corridors of the broadcast centre takes up a lot of space and requires a lot of effort,” says Giles. “It makes it very messy. De-centralising the routers so that broadcasters can come in, pick up their feeds and just get on with it, has made it so much easier and calmer. The place has been quite serene considering all the chaos that has been going on. That was a big benefit.”


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The Open Championships Carnoustie

S Live from The Open: Sky Sports gets in the Zone to enhance its coverage BY FERGAL RINGROSE

ky Sports is using its Open Zone in new ways to get closer to both players and the public in its role as the UK live broadcaster from Carnoustie. Sky Sports has a team of 186 people on-site in Carnoustie for The Open, which includes Sky production and technical staff and the team from its OB provider Telegenic. Everything for the live broadcast is on-site, with another team back at Sky Centre in Osterley producing highlights packages. In the Sky Sports production cabin at the TV compound, lead production manager David Culmer and golf pundit Butch Harmon told SVG Europe how The Open Zone is taking a more central role for its unilateral production, alongside the regular glasswalled presentation studio by the 18th fairway and the now-established Smart Cart behind the 18th for instant player reaction as they come off the course. “This year we’re trying to get the public closer,” said Culmer.“As you can see at the Open Zone the barriers are very close now, and with the R&A we’ve now introduced a raised section so we can get more people in there, and more people can see what’s going on. That I think is crucial to our operation: getting out there and getting people involved. “We’ve refined what we’re doing: the emphasis has

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The Open Championships Carnoustie

moved away from the big glass studio — which we still have, of course — but more of it is coming down to the Zone now,� he said. “For instance, we don’t have a touchscreen in the studio; that’s all done in the Zone. The VR is done in the Zone now, rather than in the big studio — the walkthroughs and the animations with players standing there looking at virtual holes. The jib has moved down there for that. “In fact the studio was a more challenging environment for the jib, as we were having to put graffiti above the studio window so that the Ncam tracking system could find edges,� said Culmer. “The studio window has soft edges: down at the Zone there’s all the scaffold trussing and the edges of the touchscreen and all the other devices, that actually make it much easier for the Ncam to work out what it is doing. “And we’re trialing some new lighting panels in the Zone. We’ve got some big flat LED panels there now, helping to keep the lighting consistent,� he said. “We’ve got the bunker there as well, with the Bunker Cam; personally I think the Bunker Cam shot looks superb this year, with the background of all the players practicing on the range. I’ve got to commend Aerial Camera Systems for putting the Wire Cam in — it’s the longest Wire Cam I’ve seen!�

Sky Sports Golf presenter Nick Dougherty rehearses a piece to camera in The Open Zone

Butch Harmon added: “The Open Zone is good, very popular. My son Claude does most of it. Where we have a difference to most people is that, because we’ve coached all the big names, we don’t have to ask them — we just tell‘em, ‘hey I need you to come over here!’ If that was a production person approaching them, the answer would be No. “The players like going in there. It’s a relaxed atmosphere: we just try and ask the question and let them talk,� Harmon told SVG Europe. “For instance we had Bubba Watson in yesterday: now Bubba’s not a person anybody really gets close to. But he had a ball in there: he

A.86;4 0<;A2;A A< 0<;@B:2? .;FD52?2 .;FA6:2 0ĆŤ+))1*%0%+*/ĆŤ%/ĆŤĆŤ(! %*#ĆŤ#(+(ĆŤ %#%0(ĆŤ%*"./0.101.!ĆŤ,.+2% !.ĆŤ0$0ĆŤ $.*!//!/ĆŤ%0/ĆŤ#(+(ĆŤ*!03+.'Ä&#x152;ĆŤ/0!((%0!Ä&#x152;ĆŤ(+1 ĆŤ* ĆŤ/!1.%05ĆŤ,%(%0%!/ĆŤ0+ĆŤ  .!//ĆŤ0$!ĆŤ.,% (5ĆŤ!2+(2%*#ĆŤ.!-1%.!)!*0/ĆŤ+"ĆŤ)! %ĆŤ* ĆŤ!*0!.0%*)!*0ĆŤ 1/%*!//!/ĆŤ3+.( 3% !Ä&#x2039;ĆŤ$!ĆŤ+),*5Ä&#x161;/ĆŤ(+1 ÄĄ/! ĆŤ ! %ĆŤ+/5/0!)ĆŤÄĄĆŤ %*(1 %*#ĆŤ%0/ĆŤÄ&#x152;ĆŤ+*0!*0ĆŤ+*0.%10%+*ĆŤ* ĆŤ %/0.%10%+*Ä&#x152;ĆŤ//!0ĆŤ)*#!)!*0ĆŤ* ĆŤ (%2!ĆŤ/0.!)%*#ĆŤ/!.2%!/ĆŤÄĄĆŤ.!ĆŤ1* !.,%**! ĆŤ5ĆŤ0$!ĆŤ3+.( Ä&#x161;/ĆŤ(.#!/0ĆŤ* ĆŤ)+/0ĆŤ  2*! ĆŤ/1/!ĆŤ*!03+.'Ä&#x2039;ĆŤ$%/ĆŤ/00!ÄĄ+"ÄĄ0$!ÄĄ.0ĆŤ%*"./0.101.!ĆŤ..%!/ĆŤ+2!.ĆŤÄ&#x201A;Ä&#x160;Ĺ&#x152;ĆŤ +"ĆŤ0$!ĆŤ3+.( Ä&#x161;/ĆŤ *0!.*!0ĆŤ.+10!/ĆŤ* ĆŤ!*(!/ĆŤ/,+.0/ĆŤ* ĆŤ#)%*#ĆŤ1/%*!//!/Ä&#x152;ĆŤ .+ /0!./ĆŤ* ĆŤ+*0!*0ĆŤ+3*!./Ä&#x152;ĆŤ/1$ĆŤ/ĆŤ+.)1(ĆŤÄ Ä˛Ä&#x152;ĆŤ ĆŤ ! %ĆŤ* ĆŤ'5Ä&#x152;ĆŤ0+ĆŤ .!$ĆŤ1 %!*!/ĆŤ/!)(!//(5ĆŤ%*ĆŤÄ&#x201A;Ä&#x2026;Ä&#x20AC;ĆŤ+1*0.%!/ĆŤ* ĆŤ0!..%0+.%!/Ä&#x2039;ĆŤ $00,/Ä?ÄĽÄĽ333Ä&#x2039;00+))1*%0%+*/Ä&#x2039;+)ÄĽ/!.2%!/ÄĽ*!03+.'ÄĽ)! %ÄĄ!*0!.0%*)!*0

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The Open Championships Carnoustie

was so relaxed and had fun. “It is fun — for presenters, the players and for the public who take part. We have an extra tier now so it’s like a little amphitheatre. We’ve turned the TV screens around so people can see what’s going on. And it’s good to get the interaction with the people there,” he said. “The guys [players] have gotten used to it now, they don’t mind coming. They know we’re not going to throw them under the bus. We tell them in advance what we’d like to do, and if they want to do something else they can just tell us. “We let them have the stage. The people at home never have the opportunity to get that close to them — so it works out pretty good,” said Harmon. “You still need the studio presentation,” said Culmer. “You need it for continuity, and people are used to it. You still need to be able to sit down and analyse what players have been doing; the players are not always available, and we can still take those clips and float them into the discussion. There are some things that warrant seeing again and talking about again. People like Butch can analyse in the studio in a different way to the professionals down in the Zone. “And of course the players will go to the Sky Cart when they come in: they do like to spend time there,” said Culmer. “Once upon a time we were lucky to get 30 seconds — now they’ll stay there all day! Some of them like operating the Cart themselves, looking at their shots. It’s a useful tool for them, for us and for the people watching at home. “We have three production managers here. I’m doing the early shift,

Sky Sports Production Managers in the TV Compound: (L/R) Chris Sandeman, Katie Harrison and David Culmer

Chris Sandeman is doing the late shift and Katie Harrison has just joined the team as a manager — she was a coordinator before,” said Culmer. “We need an extra person to keep an eye on OB6 and The Zone, because when The Zone is not being used with our main truck T18 when it’s on golf, it is doing pieces for the internet. They’re keeping that activity going in The Zone so people on their phones and iPads can still be taking part in things there and people can watch The Zone on their phone while they’re watching the golf on TV.”

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Glasgow Technical Operations Manager Patrick Johanny (left) and Glasgow Executive Producer Marc Stanislas

Live from Glasgow: Eurovision delivers for first European Championships BY FERGAL RINGROSE


he term ‘one stop shop’ is often misused but not when applied to the EBU’s operational arm, Eurovision Media Services, in relation to the ongoing 2018 European Championships in Berlin and Glasgow. The EBU is the broadcast partner (representing European public service media) to the more than 40 European broadcasters taking coverage from the Championships, across 12 venues in Scotland and the Olympiastadion in Berlin over 11 days of competition. Eurovision Media Services (EMS) and its subsidiary Eurovision Production Coordination (EPC) are serving as both the host broadcaster (overseeing the overall production of the event), and provider of the international distribution of all signals, not to mention other broadcast services. The European Championships is a new multisport event taking place every four years, which aggregates the existing senior continental championships of athletics (European Athletics), aquatics (LEN), cycling (UEC), gymnastics (UEG), rowing (FISA), triathlon (ETU), with a new golf team championships (ET & LET) — all unified under a common brand. Athletics is taking place in Berlin 86

European Championships 2018

from 7-12 August, while athletes from the other sports are competing around Glasgow 2-12 August. The major-event production involves 220 cameras on the ground in Scotland and 80 in Berlin, with NEP supplying OB services including 11 trucks to the host in Scotland and Videohouse from Belgium with six OB vans in Germany. On top of that, the EBU — through its EBU Technology & Innovation Team — and EMS have been conducting trials in UHD HDR with High Frame Rate, and there’s also a European Championship Lounge virtual reality app which is being supplied to rights holders in cooperation with LiveLike. One of the main challenges for EMS, as the host broadcaster, was to ensure consistency across all competitions and negotiate with two local organising committees and seven sporting bodies — plus a plethora of further partners and supporters across the inaugural event.

Production bedrock ensures editorial standards

At the Broadcast Operations Centre located on the premises of BBC Scotland at Pacific Quay in Glasgow, Eurovision’s Glasgow Events Executive Producer, Marc Stanislas, told SVG Europe, “A number of pre-existing relationships, some of them contractual, provided the production bedrock to ensure editorial standards across what could otherwise have been a quite a disparate group of sports and presentation — streamlining in terms of look-and-feel, graphics, replay, wipes etc. In addition, having two local organising committees was a major challenge for everyone involved in the broadcast. “Since we started we have had some feedback from various rights holders and broadcasters, including the BBC and ZDF, saying they were really happy with the ratings. Of course it’s the first event of its kind and needs to be assessed, but so far people are very happy about the level of coverage. It seems everything has glued together well, from the feedback we have had so far. “This approach helps to bring smaller sports into the limelight, and provides a great platform for them,” said Stanislas. “It helps the smaller federations to be associated with the bigger sports. It’s the first multisport host broadcast production for Eurovision. We have done European and World Championships for specific sports before, but to bring them all together and to produce all of this coverage is a first,” he said. Patrick Johanny, Eurovision’s Glasgow Technical Operations Manager added,“This is an all-in-one package. We may have different names and appellations, but it is all the same team. The fact that EMS manages one of the largest fibre and satellite networks in Europe really helps in terms of building the infrastructure, especially around contribution from our 12 venues and also the complexity of connectivity with Berlin. It’s a very complex network EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


European Championships 2018

infrastructure: but because we manage that all year long we can handle the full event, endto-end,” he said. The European Championships put in place two temporary media hubs for media organisations covering the event: the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) in Berlin and the Broadcast Operation Centre (BOC) in Glasgow. “Here in Glasgow we are in a very special position as we have created this Broadcast Operations Centre within the BBC. It’s unique. Usually we are building this from scratch with an organising committee. It was a fantastic opportunity to build the BOC within BBC Scotland. They have offered us very good hospitality and welcomed us. They have been really open to working with us, helping with connectivity and with space. “At the BOC we also have a presence from ARD/ZDF, Swiss TV, RAI from Italy, France Televisions, SVT Sweden and NRK Norway. There are around 30 broadcasters working in Glasgow, not all of them present at BOC,” said Johanny.

Inside the temporary MCR set up at BBC Scotland, with incoming feeds from 11 venues around Glasgow

Reaction to date from broadcasters, federations and the paying public has been very positive so it’s looking like a win-win for everyone. Eurovision gets to showcase its full deck of services to the broadcast community in Europe and individual public service broadcasters — many of whom are losing access to high profile live sports as they struggle to compete in this rarefied world with pay TV operators, emerging deep-pocketed OTT players and dabbling tech giants — are able to show 8-10 hours of beautifully produced live coverage daily across aquatics, athletics, cycling, golf, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon.

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Sponsor Update

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With railcams at the speed skating, cross countr y, bobsleigh and biathlon; aerial filming using Shotover F1s; the EyeFlyer blimp; and SMARTheads at the figure skating, ski jumping, alpine downhill and ceremonies, you could say that ACS was well represented at the Winter Olympics.

“And no sooner was the kit back at base [than] it was turned around and sent out for the Commonwealth Games in Australia,” smiles Matt Coyde.“ACS was primary specialist camera provider to host broadcaster NEP. Fortyfour crew rigged and operated over 60 cameras across the Games including SMARThead remote heads covering a range of sports including gymnastics, shooting, squash, table tennis, basketball and boxing. ACS railcams were also successfully deployed for coverage of the aquatics and the gymnastics.” ACS has also been actively involved in coverage of UK football with its recentlydeveloped SMARTgrip, which consists of a SMARThead system fitted with a balanced carbon fibre arm and mini-robotic head with Antelope PICO HFR mini camera to provide a smooth, jib-like fully remote controlled camera movement within a small footprint. Wimbledon, The Open at Carnoustie and the World Cup (not to mention the Royal Wedding) have all also featured on ACS’s hectic schedule. “Wimbledon saw the first use of ACS’s new GSS B516 UHD stabilised mount which is fitted with a Grass Valley LDX-C86N compact camera 88

and Canon CJ45ex9.7B 4K broadcast lens. It can also be fitted with the Canon CJ12,” notes Coyde. “It’s the first lens of its kind in the UK. This new kit allows simultaneous live output and super slo mo live output.” With UHD, HDR, IP and HEVC RF all rapidly up and coming, Coyde sees an opportunity — and a challenge. “We’re ever-mindful of production budget pressures,” he explains, “so we have to consider carefully how new technology can bring added value to our client offerings.”

content for broadcast. “It’s a big deal for sports,” he says, “For example, Neilsen Sports forecast that virtual replacement technology will have a €60 million impact on Bundesliga club revenue.” Virtual Hybrid digiBOARD is also capturing not only installations, but also awards — including Sports Tech of the Year (two years running), Best Technology for Sports Commerce, and Best Use of Technology in Football. And the future? Well, it won’t be just about targeting territories. “With more live sport ADI being delivered on OTT platforms, rights JAMES ROBINSON holders will be able to target viewers by device,” COO says Robinson. “Those watching a live football 2018 has, according to James match on a tablet, for example, could be Robinson, been a breakthrough served different content to those watching on year for Virtual Hybrid traditional TV.” digiBOARD technology. “The platform, AE Graphics developed by ADI and Supponor, enables STUART COLES brands and rights holders to digitally replace CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER the content seen on a perimeter LED system during a live sports broadcast,” he explains. For AE Graphics, IPL 2018 was, “It means rights holders can deliver individual according to Stuart Coles, sponsor messages into different viewing the largest project in terms of territories — all live. It does so without personnel and hardware that his company has impacting on the ‘visible’ LED seen in stadia.” ever undertaken. Following multiple rounds of live testing with “The sheer intensity and geographical spread Bundesliga, the DFL has approved the system of this event is always challenging — but the for deployment in live broadcast. Virtual Hybrid bar was raised this year as, in addition to our digiBOARD was also deployed for the English world feed commitments, we also provided FA during England’s World Cup warm-up downstream multilanguage graphics for rights match against Costa Rica. holder Star India,” he explains.“Generated at its “That allowed the FA to deliver two modified production hub in Mumbai, the graphics feeds, feeds of the match — one featuring virtually in six different languages, were distributed to overlaid content targeting the Americas, Star’s regional customers throughout India.” and another for RoW,” says Robinson. “The This year also saw AE Graphics involved with unmodified feed, featuring ‘visible’ LED, was BBC Sport’s studio presentation at Red Square delivered to the domestic market.” in Moscow. “In addition to the usual match Further supporting the fact that 2018 and presentation graphics commitments, we is a breakthrough year for Virtual Hybrid used four tracked cameras — the system used technology, Robinson points out that ADI was Stype’s Red Spy solution — to augment has installed 10 perimeter LED systems in the physical set with virtual content to create UK football which are either fully ready for a 360-feel to the studio space,” says Coles. deployment, or have the ability to be easily “Complementing the incredible view from the upgraded to deliver virtual replacement ‘real’ window with the iconic backdrop of Red EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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clearly an area that continues to develop and we feel this will happen quickly as rights holders’ focus broadens from traditional delivery. Our aim is to offer solutions that are complementary to the linear production and can be delivered in a cost-effective way.”


Square we fed two virtual ‘window’ LED walls with graphics content that was tracked and appeared in perspective throughout all camera cuts and moves. “It’s great to be working on projects of this magnitude and 2019 is set to also be a massive year with two World Cups — cricket in the UK and rugby union in Japan — on the horizon,” he adds. Coles notes that AE Graphics’ partnership with SIXTY continues to evolve, and that the companies are close to finalising a number of exciting projects globally. “We’re also exploring options for generating cost-effective, automated, optimised OTT feeds for our clients to use across their digital delivery,” he says. “It’s


Many in the industry believe that HDR has a more significant impact on perceived image quality than UltraHD resolution — and that belief seems to be turning into real deployments. “Live sports production and broadcast professionals have increasingly turned to HDR over the last year in an effort to heighten the fan experience, both on-site and for live broadcasts,” notes Bryce Button. “As a result, HDR tools have quickly become a staple in many stadiums and sports broadcast trucks around the world. This year alone, we’ve already seen several applications of AJA’s FS-HDR HDR/

WCG converter/frame synchroniser in the field.” Mobile production company Mobile TV Group tapped the device to convert between SDR and HDR, and HD and 4K sources for live 4K/UltraHD sports broadcasts in Europe, while Italian mobile production group BetaMedia used FS-HDR to broadcast several sporting events in HDR. FS-HDR is also being used on-site at the Colorado Rockies stadium to convert an HLG HDR control room feed to PQ for delivery to an in-stadium HD HDR-capable LED videoboard. “With HDR a huge focus for live sports production pros, we’ve been collaborating with our technology partner Colorfront, as well as customers, to deliver regular FS-HDR updates that answer emerging needs in the field,” continues Button. “Our most recent release, FS-HDR v2.5 firmware, introduces key feature enhancements like access to new Colorfront

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Engine controls for enhanced HDR image management; the ability to simultaneously deliver HDR/SDR 4K/UltraHD on FS-HDR’s main SDI outputs and 2K/HD/SD with unique SDR/HDR settings on the SDI monitor output; important new BBC HLG LUTs; Tangent Element Kb panel support for remote parameter control; new HDR test patterns; and more.” IBC will see AJA focusing on not only HDR, but also eSports, fibre and 12G-SDI — and the company says it has some exciting new product announcements in the pipeline.

Akamai Technologies IAN MUNFORD


If you needed evidence that consumption of video is increasing exponentially, Akamai has it. For its coverage of the Winter Olympics, Ian Munford says his company transmitted 2.5x more than it did from Sochi in 2014. The company also supported more than 50 broadcasters to stream the action from Russia. Ten days after the first kick-off, Akamai says it had already streamed more video from the event than it had for the whole of the tournament four years previously in Rio. In the same timeframe, 79% of all matches had a higher bandwidth peak than the biggest peak witnessed in any match in the 2014 contest. “In terms of total traffic,” says Munford, “this was the largest live sporting event that Akamai has ever delivered.” Akamai also supported HotStar, part of 21st Century Fox, in streaming every match of the Indian Premier League cricket season. “Record audiences tuned in to break record after record for the number of simultaneous online viewers — not just for a sporting event, but for a live event of any kind,” smiles Munford. “This culminated in over 10.3 million concurrent streams for the final match.” And it’s only going to become more difficult. “We’ve seen record-breaking figures for all major on-line sports events in 2018, whether that’s audience numbers, viewtime or fans turning to their connected TVs in order to access HDR or 4K footage,” says Munford. “2018 has shown that online delivery is almost certainly the future for sport. The reach and experience potential is enormous — but there are still challenges to address. Those include the need to deliver near-instantaneous stream changes with HDR content, the ability to deal with high 90

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peak demand, and the ability to deliver a lowlatency buffer-free experience and ubiquity of service. As such, the industry is now rapidly investing in new technologies to deal with these challenges.”



One of the many challenges faced by broadcasters with any World Cup-type event is its unpredictability. That was only exacerbated at the recent tournament in Russia with the early exit of a number of the favourites to win. “Agility, and a high degree of responsiveness, are important since the shooting locations cannot be known in advance,” points out François Valadoux. “For TF1, everything was dependent on the French team’s results. We needed to plan for 19 possible scenarios.” In such an environment, remote production comes into its own — and TF1 elected to produce its special programs via remote control. TF1 and AMP Visual TV joined forces with the aim of reducing the scale of the technical resources sent to Russia while meeting the channel’s editorial specifications.

“The decision was taken to opt for a light vehicle which, broadcast by broadcast, was able to travel quickly between the stadiums hosting the French team’s matches,” explains Valadoux. “An iCar AMP Visual TV remote van was therefore specially fitted out to accommodate all shooting equipment and materials in a

fully autonomous fashion. Equipped with four cameras, it was able to quickly set up in any stadium and allow TF1 to perform remote production from Paris.” AMP Visual’s iCar range is made up of HD plug & play multi-camera production facilities that include SDSL, 4G, or satellite IP broadcasting solutions. Via a fibre network, AMP Visual TV sent all the feeds to the channel, which produced the programme in Boulogne as if the production team were on site. “We’re very proud to have delivered this service with TF1, demonstrating that remote production is very viable for the future and will allow us to offer an even wider range of services to our customers in this rapidly evolving field,” concludes Valadoux.

arkona technologies RAINER STURM


arkona technologies is the inventor and designer of V_ matrix, a software-defined IP core routing and processing platform based on data centre principles of flexibility, fabric computing and COTS (commercial off-theshelf) economics. arkona provides product based on V-matrix technology to Lawo. Designed to provide a completely virtualised real-time production infrastructure, V__matrix leverages multiple cores connected to a highcapacity COTS switch with redundant 10GE and 40GE (and 25GE/100GE blades on the roadmap) connections to form a distributed IP routing and processing matrix with frameaccurate, clean switching just like a legacy baseband matrix. “Software-defined Virtual Modules can be loaded to create any required functionality, enabling entire workflows to be remapped in minutes as requirements change from production to production,” explains Rainer Sturm. “Core processing blades are housed in 1, 2 or 3 RU frames, with physical connectivity to legacy SDI equipment provided through optional V__matrix I/O cards with Lawo’s VSM Broadcast Control and Monitoring system serves as the control layer. The system enables the switching and routing of signals both in the IP and SDI domains and includes the Lawo SDN Control for video routing with frame-accurate clean switching in the IP domain, as well as control and monitoring for existing legacy SDI infrastructure and 3rd party IP equipment.” EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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As a completely IP-based platform, V__ matrix can be deployed anywhere — in an OB truck, a TV studio or a broadcast operation centre to create a virtualised core infrastructure for live production. Since the capabilities of the system and the functionality of the signal chains are not defined by physical connectivity of hardware modules, routing and processing can either be decentralised and spread over one or more facilities or centralised in a fixed facility or OB truck. V__matrix is fully based on open standards in-line with the AIMS roadmap: SMPTE 20226/-7, VSF TR-03/04, AES67 plus SMPTE VC-2 and Ember+ and ensures the customer’s transition to a total IP-based broadcast environment.



Among the most significant of communications infrastructure and international satellite and media services provider Arqiva’s sports broadcast achievements over the past 12


months was when the company partnered with FOX Networks Group (FNG) Asia to deliver a 4K content stream of the FIA Formula One World Championship — the first time FNG Asia had streamed 4K content to viewers across the region. The partnership saw Arqiva deliver streaming services for the Singapore, Malaysian, Japanese, US, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix. “We used our fibre infrastructure to pick up live 4K content from BSkyB, and took responsibility for transcoding and delivery into FNG Asia’s channel delivery network via a combination of traditional and cloud-based services,” explains Grant Parkinson. This was the latest project in a four-year relationship between Arqiva and FNG Asia, which has seen them working together on the delivery of content for channels in Singapore. “We were thrilled to be working with a broadcaster like FNG Asia on a spectacle as prestigious as Formula One, and it is a fantastic reflection of Arqiva’s growing presence in the Asian market,” Parkinson continues. “FNG Asia shares our values in terms of providing the

most efficient, stimulating viewing experiences to its customers, and we are looking forward to developing this relationship.” Arqiva’s managed IP streaming service leverages a combination of traditional services and cloud delivery mechanisms to provide what the company says is the very best occupational and commercial proposition to its customers. “It’s for this reason that tier 1 global broadcasters and content owners, such as FNG Asia, are leveraging our media hub to deliver services to their audiences around the world,” adds Parkinson.



For the 2018 FIFA World Cup, FOX Sports wanted to leverage its existing facilities in Los Angeles for remote production. The company needed to ingest 20 HD-SDI feeds and two UHD-HDR feeds per match, generating over 700 TB of match content over the 30 days of the tournament. For all of these they needed



to create a cloud-based HLS proxy, as well as high-res AVC Intra in Los Angeles, all of which needed to be made available to their content management system. FOX Sports turned to IBM Aspera and Telestream to test and ultimately deploy their joint solution that tightly integrates Aspera’s FASPStream technology into Telestream’s Vantage and Lightspeed Live software. “This API-level integration provides a truly innovative approach to delivering live, broadcast-quality video streams from the venue to the remote production facility,” says Todd Kelly, “enabling workflows never before possible. Aspera FASPStream greatly reduced delivery overhead and costs, enabling high performance, security and reliability paired with the flexibility and global reach of the internet.” According to Kelly, FOX Sports’ production workflow proved to be highly cost-effective for robust media handling capabilities and adaptable both to remote locations around the world and to the needs of production staff at home. “It was a truly revolutionary achievement for a major event of this scale,” Kelly enthuses. “It enabled the producers at FOX Sports’ Los Angeles facility to support live coverage on two channels and create over 150 World Cup feature pieces.” Aspera sees a big future for AI in sports broadcasting, notably with IBM Watson. By using sentiment and tone analysis to create or extract enriched metadata, IBM Watson is said to be able to glean actionable insights from video content. “With a deeper understanding of video content, content owners can improve their search capabilities to pull more specific clips from their content libraries and in turn make more granular and targeted content recommendations,” says Kelly.



According to Ray Thompson, sports broadcasters today need to accelerate their workflows and maximise efficiency across every aspect of the media value chain — particularly for complex, largescale events like the Winter Olympics. “NBC Olympics’ MediaCentral-powered 92

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workflow allowed team members in multiple locations, across several continents, to collaborate in real-time and create high-quality content quickly and easily,” notes Thompson. “MediaCentral | Production Management facilitated content creation, workflow automation, and collaboration between the venues and the IBC, while MediaCentral | Asset Management helped locate media assets, streamline production operations, and maximise content creation capabilities. Avid NEXIS, the world’s first software-defined storage platform specifically designed for media, was the linchpin of its production pipeline, connected to dozens of Media Composer editing suites.” April 2018 saw the fifth annual gathering of the 20,000-strong Avid Customer Association at Avid Connect. The company took the opportunity to announce new workflow innovations that enable sports broadcasters to streamline the creation and airing of live UHD programmes. “Broadcasters can accelerate their UHD production with Avid’s end-to-end sports workflows, which now include easy-to-use, cloud-enabled apps, integrated graphics production, and live content tagging and logging,” Thompson continues. “By gaining production efficiency with workflows driven by MediaCentral, production teams can allocate more time to content capture, creative processes, and serving their UHD shows to every consumer device. “Sports broadcasters can now ingest, edit and play back more channels at UHD resolutions, with SDI or IP I/O connectivity options, using Avid’s FastServe family of video servers,” he adds. “Providing a turnkey solution for ultra-fast turnaround of incoming feeds, Avid FastServe | Live Edit incorporates ingest, editing and playout all within a compact 3U chassis, making it the most robust fast-turnaround tool for live environments.”



to bring Australians nearly 140 million minutes of live streamed content. Using AWS Media Services and Amazon CloudFront, free-to-air TV provider TVNZ brought official coverage of the XXI Commonwealth Games to more than two million New Zealanders in April. Amazon CloudWatch enabled detailed monitoring, reporting, and streaming analytics, while AWS Elemental MediaLive helped TVNZ to live stream channels in multiple bit-rates and resolutions to a range of connected devices. At IBC2018 Amazon Web Services will feature cloud-based media services and on-premises AWS Elemental solutions for ingest, production, processing, delivery and networking. “Machine learning services for building innovative AI applications are among multiple new functionalities for increasing the value and usability of content that will be highlighted by AWS on its stand,” says Aslam Khader. “Powered by Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Transcribe and Amazon Translate as well as AWS Media Services, demonstration highlights include content-aware advertising insertion, automated metadata extraction and analysis, automated transcription and translation, and advanced sports graphics creation.” To improve quality, minimize bandwidth storage capacity and optimise viewing experiences, AWS will also feature demonstrations of Quality-Defined Variable Bitrate control (QVBR), Common Media Application Format (CMAF), and High Dynamic Range (HDR). Additionally, AWS will highlight how to optimise rendering workflows with AWS Thinkbox Deadline, including leveraging economical Amazon EC2 Spot instances for affordable, elastic compute, as well as M&E virtual workstation advancements. AWS Elemental is also hosting the fourth annual 4K 4Charity Fun Run, which gives professionals an opportunity to network and contribute to an important cause. This year’s event will benefit nonprofit organisations Stitching NewTechKids and Iridescent.


GEERT-JAN GUSSEN Earlier this year Seven Network MARKETING MANAGER leveraged AWS Elemental to support its OlympicsOn7 “It’s been a phenomenal and 7plus app. AWS Elemental Live encoders year for Axon and our clients, packaged live streams into HLS content for delivering prestigious live sports delivery to Amazon CloudFront via Amazon production worldwide as well as technological DirectConnect, allowing the Seven Network firsts,” says Geert-Jan Gussen. “Cerebrum, EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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our control and monitoring platform, is fast becoming the de facto production control system and has successfully delivered live sporting action including F1, the FIFA World Cup, the Open golf, the Dubai Cup, Wimbledon and the PDC World Darts Championship.”

He goes on to note that one specific highlight has been to see Cerebrum at the heart of NEP UK’s fully-IP production of the AELTC Wimbledon championships. Deployed in their two new IP OBs and fly-pack, Cerebrum delivered a unified IP workflow, integrating third party technologies and, says Gussen, minimising engineering bottlenecks as well as providing a seamless operator user-experience. Like many others, Gussen sees the move to IP as the trend that has most shaped sports

production workflows over the past year. “IP solutions have been a huge focus for us, and we’re working closely with clients to overcome the challenges of working in this new environment,” he says. “We’ve seen great progress, particularly through our relationship with EMG as its Strategy IP technology partner, delivering a ground-breaking IP proof-ofconcept for a major live sports event in Asia and, through collaboration with Arena TV in the rollout of their multi-cast OB fleet, we have launched Axon’s NIO440, a new 4-channel bi-directional Ethernet/SDI bridge, and two new Synapse cards — the NUG220 and NGU220 — that resolve conversion within IP and 4K and TICO compression.” Axon has also continued to develop its range of Synapse processing solutions to address the challenges of UHD and HDR-WCG. These have enabled the technical upgrade of three of CTV’s large flagship OB units to Ultra HD. IBC will see Axon introduce Neuron, the company’s Network Attached Processor (NAP), which is geared at fully-IP production workflows

Blackmagic Design STUART ASHTON


Earlier this year it was reported that Manchester United have an astonishing 107 million followers in China, and that Lionel Messi accumulated a million new Chinese followers in 2017. Blackmagic Design has benefited from this globalisation phenomenon. “We’ve seen ‘traditional’ stadium studio installations being developed to support a club’s desire to reach fans across the world through live streams or social platforms,” notes Stuart Ashton. “In the English Football League, several clubs are going even further, and are stepping away from the league’s Digital iFollow product, in order to provide fans with an even richer experience. “Derby County Football Club has pioneered this,” he continues, “and took the unprecedented decision to broadcast its own extensive coverage of its fixtures, as well as a wide range of pre- and post match content via its own streaming platform, RamsTV. In order

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to deliver content for this, the club has invested The primary coverage for the three in a Blackmagic Design broadcast solution for simultaneous races that took place as part high quality, multicam content within a modest of the London Marathon came from camera budget.” operators sitting on the back of motorbikes, all using Broadcast RF kit. Earlier in the year, Broadcast RF was at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Apeldoorn — a competition that provided the first opportunity in 2018 for the VeloVue Track, Broadcast RF’s own live onboard HD RF camera system, to be used on the world stage. Another first — this time, said to be a world first — was achieved at the British Masters golf tournament, where Hole Cam, which was According to Ashton, a huge range of OB jointly developed by Broadcast RF and Sky systems are now using Blackmagic Design Sports, was deployed. infrastructure to deliver high quality sporting “Hole Cam is a miniature camera system coverage to broadcasters across the world. that provided a live feed via RF from inside a “Austrian live production specialist golf hole,” explains Brandrick. “The innovation Mediahaus has deployed a full Blackmagic made use of a specially-extended cup featuring Design OB system to cover events including a modified Domo Tactical Nano transmitter the inaugural Snow Volleyball Championships, and a Marshall Electronics camera. When used which took place at the top of an Alpine during coverage of short putts, it was capable of mountain range. In Germany, the 2. Basketball capturing action of the player taking the shot as Liga installed a series of 16 portable production well as the ball as it entered the hole.” units to live stream matches, and selected And speaking of unique cameras… The Blackmagic kit so that clubs could quickly get past 12 months has seen Broadcast RF further to grips with producing their own content to develop its POV RF cameras with BeltpackRF, a help fans get closer to the action.” belt-worn transmitter with full remote access to The past year has also seen the company the power (remote on/off commands), camera launch the URSA Broadcast, a professional 4K control and all the transmitter settings. broadcast camera with B4 mount that can be “Once set up, we have full remote control used for field and ENG work, as well as a high from the OB,” notes Brandrick. “It’s essential quality studio camera. when working with athletes and officials and allows us to rig the kit hours/days in advance Broadcast RF of the actual shoot without interfering with the CHRIS BRANDRICK body-worn equipment.” COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR

Broadcast Solutions GmbH It ‘only’ took Kenyan Eliud PETER JAKOBSSON Kipchoge a little over two BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR hours to complete the London Marathon 2018 — but at Broadcast RF, the One of the many attractions of planning for the event had taken a year. “It is,” IBC has always been the new says Chris Brandrick,“one of Broadcast RF’s product announcements, and biggest and most demanding projects.” this year Broadcast Solutions GmbH will be dedicating its entire stand to what it describes as a new human interface to handle broadcast workflows and environments. “The new solution will revolutionise how people interact with broadcast technology,” asserts Peter Jakobsson.“We will provide a tool that automatically delivers graphical interfaces for operating and monitoring broadcast systems. Using modern auto-discovery and zero-config technologies, the control 94

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system reduces setup and configuration time dramatically. Based on industry-grade opensource software, the new system works in almost every environment; [you can] use it on a PC, on a Mac, on tablets — or even from a smartphone.” The latter part of 2017 saw Broadcast Solutions, together with NEP Switzerland, successfully implement a new studio facility for Swiss broadcaster MySports. The MySports studio and playout centre is located in Erlenbach, near Zurich, with a satellite studio located 200kms away in Rossens. In Erlenbach the companies constructed a 4K/UHD studio and playout complex, capable of delivering 20 live channels, including two 4K/UHD channels. The production process in Rossens, including camera operation, video wall and lighting, is remotely controlled from Erlenbach. For the MySports production, 40 HD-SDI and four UHD streams are sent between Zurich and Rossens via a multicast network. Each studio has its own EVS servers, located in Erlenbach, which are synchronised via a central storage unit. For audio signal transport, both sites are linked by a Ravenna/ AES67 audio network. A second highlight was the use of Broadcast Solutions’ Robycam cable camera system by ZDF for the Germany vs. Brazil football friendly. It enabled ZDF to create new possibilities for image composition, together with augmented reality elements, and meant that new graphic elements could be inserted during the camera’s movement in the stadium.



BroaMan can attest to the fact that IBC is a great place to do business. “At IBC 2017 Spanish OB provider Telefonica was searching for a simple yet powerful solution to transport multiple HD-SDI feeds over fibre — ideally, as little fibre as possible,” recalls Maciek Janiszewski. “Once they learned about our Repeat48WDM series and its flexibility, they immediately asked for a demo, which they EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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used for national Spanish basketball league. After making sure that the system did exactly what they needed, they bought a couple of point-to-point systems.”

which was announced a little under a year ago, has also been finding favour with customers due to its small size combined with a powerful feature set. “You can do one 4K stream — 4 x 3G-SDI — over fibre using just one small box which can be mounted on screen or inside the truck on the wall,” he explains. Regarding current developments in demand, Janiszewski says “we’re seeing more demand for point-to-point multi-channel transport over fibre. We continue to grow our family of Repeat48 and Repeat48WDM units; we’ve added a 2Fiber module which allows the user to choose any available SFP as an I/O to the transport system.” The 2Fiber module for the Repeat48 Series will be on show on BroaMan’s IBC stand. “Our part in the workflow is mainly transport and routing,” Janiszewski notes. “For sure: for many applications, remote production is something very tempting. However, we can Multiple Repeat48WDMs have also been clearly see that our sport customers value deployed at Eurosport HQ. According to simplicity and time, and are still trying to get Janiszewski, BroaMan’s Repeat8-NANO, the most out of each production in terms of

resolution and the number of captured signals. Everybody is moving to fibre, as it’s the only medium that allows very high bandwidths and the best transmission speed.”



They don’t come around very often — but when they do, they capture a worldwide audience running into the hundreds of millions. On this occasion we are not talking about World Cup finals, but a Royal Wedding. It seems safe to assume that the logistics of covering either are not dissimilar.


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For the coverage of the event in May — which saw 100+ cameras present, along with more than 8,000 representatives of the media — BSI provided three BSI UHD Real Freedom RF Camera systems with integrated UHF camera control. The setup included data transmitters at every receive point to enable camera control and remote control of the link path, so that the RF transmission could be adjusted as the conditions changed. One of BSI’s Real Freedom systems was mounted overhead on a 44-metre crane and was used to get the iconic wide views of the Windsor Long Walk as the procession made its way to Windsor Castle, while the other two Real Freedom camera systems were used on a tripod and on a Jimmy Jib. “The sheer amount of ENG and RF equipment in the area, with crowds of onlookers and security created some challenges,” says Tony Valentino, managing director. “Once the cameras were in position, we had limited access to adjust them, so our ability to control the link path remotely was invaluable. Thanks to our R&D teams, the BSI Real Freedom proved itself once again and performed faultlessly.” BSI’s HD wireless camera back system, Real Freedom, is already well-established, and is a complete working solution for live productions. It features integrated Ethernet camera control including control of audio and other key parameters. “Our R&D teams in Watford and Baltimore have been working flat out on the new UHD version this year,” says Valentino, “and we’re very proud of our development, which now offers HDR support and ultra high bit rates up to 64Mbits/s.”

BT Media and Broadcast DOMINIK WRONA


Was VAR a success or a failure at the World Cup? Opinion is divided. But here’s a thought: without the broadcast industry, its technology, expertise and services, it probably wouldn’t be possible. “When it comes to the technology trends that are most influential in sports production workflows, it’s all about the content,” believes Dominik Wrona. “The high-capacity networks we have in place at stadiums are supporting high quality services and broader and richer productions. We’re enabling more content and 96

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information to come back from the venues. This is allowing broadcasters the opportunity to adopt elements of remote production. But, it’s not just changing the production process, in the case of technologies such as VAR, our network is also contributing towards the evolution of the sport itself.” Wrona goes on to note that BT’s fibre TV outside broadcast network continues to be the backbone for the majority of live UK sport contributions. “We do it week in, week out for Premier League football, delivering over 4,000 hours of live vision services from stadiums to production hubs during the 2017/18 season,” he remarks. “With over 80Gbps of capacity available in many venues, we’re delivering an increasing number of events in UHD. We’re also seeing increasing demand for UHD delivery via our visually lossless TICO-based service.” BT also provided live UHD/HDR coverage of Wimbledon this year — the first time the tournament has been shown in this format. Meanwhile, Wrona describes UHD TICO delivery as being now “business as usual”, and notes that his company has successfully tested Dolby Atmos over TICO-based UHD. BT has also productised HEVC UHD contribution, and enabled the majority of its links trucks for UHD. IBC will see BT demonstrating its new Media Workflow Connect proposition, which Wona describes as a fast, powerful and private network for the production community that enables workflows to be completed more quickly and easily.


affordable compact audio mixers. “Crucially,” he continues, “these are live broadcast-specific products offering capabilities under the hood that rival much larger traditional consoles.”

Those capabilities, he notes, include powerful surround DSP, monitoring and metering at a price point not normally associated with a broadcast-specific mixer. When it comes to ‘affordable’, IP is, of course, a key enabler — and the Type R modular, expandable, IP-based radio system that is making its European debut at IBC 2018, is a case in point. Type R’s physical control system consists of three slimline panels: a fader panel, a large soft panel and a small soft panel. “Panels can be added or removed as simply as plugging or unplugging an Ethernet cable,” Walker explains, “creating an infrastructure that is easily expandable. With a native IP backbone, Type R provides an infrastructure for future expansion. “Users are moving towards an open, shared network infrastructure, allowing them to freely connect devices to local switches that can pass all forms of media and data,” he adds. “This is what Type R offers, and this is where the industry is headed.”



Sometimes, it seems as if, if you know where to look, you can find any kind of sport to watch or listen to at any hour of the day or night. That, points out Pete Walker, is something of which traditional broadcasters are well aware. “They’re seeing huge competition from on-demand web streaming services,” he says. “To counter this, they’re looking to cover more live events, and are increasingly moving into niche sports to create a broader choice and a more tailored viewing experience. However, lower advertising revenue from individual events demands a more cost-effective approach to live production.” Walker sees this scenario translating into what he describes as “huge demand” for



Identifying a gap in the market for a needed solution is how successful products get developed — and that’s what CAMCAT Systems did when it noticed that Grass Valley didn’t offer a ‘flight OCP’. The company launched one at NAB. “Since then, a number of companies who are using stabilised camera platforms — such as GSS and Cineflex — have requested this product from us,” says Alexander Brozek, who is co-CEO along with Thomas Schindler. “It’s built in a full aluminium housing, and offers all the functionality needed.” CAMCAT Systems is currently focused on the development of a new, very small cable camera system. “The goal,” explains Brozek, “is that EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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we’ll offer a small, very cost-effective solution that can be used for smaller events with smaller budgets, but it will be based on our high quality CAMCAT experience. It will be fully stabilised, and all data transmission from the camera to the operations stand will be via fibre connection. It will mean that only one technician will need to be sent out for a job.” The Winter Olympics saw the company deploy another new product — the CAMCAT linear. A cable camera system, a user can move the camera parallel to the ground without any rope sag. “This means the camera can move as if it were on a track system — but without any tracks on the floor,” explains Brozek.“This offers new great views: you can follow an athlete, and it doesn´t matter if there’s a bridge, a ditch or water — you can pan and tilt the camera without any tracks in the picture.” Over the past 12 months CAMCAT Systems has seen its products deployed at a wide range of other events, including Formula One and Formula E, Royal Ascot and the Grand National, and downhill ski racing at Kitzbühel.



According to Barry Parker, the recent past has seen remotely controlled pan/tilt/zoom/focus systems become more readily available and easier to set up. “Twenty years ago,” he explains, “very few systems were available with the integrated camera and zoom lens offered in the Q-Ball. They required a lot of additional equipment to make them work. A key strength of the Q-Ball series is its very smooth pan and tilt mechanism, including high-precision acceleration and deceleration. These features are especially useful in live environments because they allow accurate on-air follow shoots.” Parker has also seen control systems that work over IP make an impact. “Data routing is now an off-the-shelf product,” he adds. “We’re already starting to see systems on the market that use IP for UHD video, power and data, allowing a single cable to connect into a A recent addition to the Camera Corps rental customer’s existing IP network.” fleet, Clarity is a miniature camera delivering

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In response to these trends, Camera Corps has been active on the new product development front. The new Qx, for example, is a compact weatherproof head with integral pan/tilt/ zoom/focus drives. “Delivering high video quality, it offers producers the freedom to cut and mix with video feeds from full-size studio and outside-broadcast cameras,” says Parker. “It’s unobtrusive enough to be operated within view of other cameras, both for studio productions and in OB coverage of live events.”


real-time live output and high-frame-rate SDI for use with slow motion replay servers. A UHD version operating at four times real-time is also available. A third new product, available for rental, is the DMR (Dual Mini Remote) Head. “It’s primarily devised to carry a high motion camera for behind-the-goal football replays,” says Parker, “but it’s equally suitable across other genres where more than one movement and flowing live camera shots might be required.”



It’s too easy to overlook the fact that not only must broadcast equipment be technologically advanced and high performance — it must also be rugged, capable of operating in the most difficult of environments. “The Winter Olympics was a tremendous success for us,” says Blazej Klacansky, “as all our lenses performed reliably in harsh and challenging weather conditions. Thanks to the Canon Broadcast Support team, which is present at various global sporting events, Canon offers live production broadcasters peace of mind with on-site support service and back up units.” Delivering reliability is only one of the demands placed on manufacturers. Another is the constant quest for innovation. “Canon’s innovations are continuously shifting to meet the fluctuating needs of broadcasters,” says Klacansky. “At NAB, Canon announced a completely new category of lenses, the UHDgc. This new class of lenses combines 4K optical performance with the same practicality and operability found in HD lenses — high specifications, compact size, light weight — at a more affordable price point.” He goes on to note the progressive adoption of HDR technology, and that lenses have to outperform the MTF of sensors to be able to precisely capture all information from the centre to the edge of the lens, and across the whole zoom range. “Canon has improved the management of light within the barrels of lenses, as well as the coating of lenses to meet HDR production needs,” explains Klacansky. “Furthermore, from the broadcast lens perspective, sports content producers have been demanding high optical zoom ratios with minimal distortion, 98

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and I’m proud to say that Canon was the first to bring a three-digit optical zoom lens in the HD category, the Digisuper 100, to the market. In the 4K category, we’ve introduced the longest ENG type zoom lenses, the CJ45ex13.6B and CJ45ex9.7B which sit in the UHDxs range.”



Working with major networks in the U.S. and Latin America, including FOX, CenturyLink used its Vyvx end-to-end digital video transmission solution to manage the transmission of international distribution and unilateral feeds from the World Cup. “We provided diverse routes in the transmission of the tournament and content feeds from Moscow, Russia, to each programmer’s master control facilities,” says Rory McVicar. “This year marked the first time in our delivery for the tournament that we offered 4K encoding, as many broadcasters and distributors now have the capability to deliver 4K and other high-resolution content.” According to McVicar, CenturyLink has been putting a lot of focus on how the company combines its Vyvx services with its content distribution network, to provide a flexible platform supporting end-to-end workflows for internet video and OTT. “We’ve also revamped our video packaging solutions,” he goes on, “adding enhanced support for MPEG-DASH and additional functionality around extended DVR. Finally, we’re working on integrations with some of the major cloud vendors to directly connect our services for a more seamless broadcast delivery ecosystem.” There are several consumer market trends that McVicar believes have had a significant impact in reshaping the sports production industry. Firstly, he believes, the idea of consuming broadcast services over the internet has been normalised by younger audiences who grew up with online streaming — so, for example, watching football online has become almost second nature. “Secondly,” he continues, “the proliferation of mobile as a viewing platform is significant, not only for its flaunting of the ‘bigger is better’ idea, which has defined the home viewing experience for so long, but also for its QoS and

network path considerations. Added to that increased bitrates through HDR, HFR and 4K, with a touch of AR thrown in for good measure, and you can see we as technologists will have enough to keep us busy for some time!”



According to ChyronHego, a world first was demonstrated at the Bundesliga’s Sports Innovation Days in Dusseldorf, Germany, where the company successfully demonstrated Perimeter Tracking. Built around its TRACAB and Click Effects PRIME solutions, it camera-tracks a player in parallel to the football perimeter or pitch-side LED display. Perimeter Tracking presents a player’s speed, total distance covered, and other stats live in-stadium. Consequently, believes ChyronHego, it opens up new opportunities for advertiser-supported fan engagement.

Meanwhile, NBC’s broadcast coverage from PyeongChang benefited from ChyronHego’s Lyric graphics creation and playout solution, operated across a mix of 30 Mosaic XL2 and Mosaic HX systems, both on the trucks and in the rack room. A new addition to the broadcast was ChyronHego’s PRIME Graphics universal graphics platform, which provided content to three large Leyard-provided monitor arrays on NBC’s studio set. The largest of these was a 43-foot wide by 13-foot tall video wall comprising 196 displays. “We also partnered with EVS on its recently introduced Unified Stadium environment,” notes Niall Hendry, product manager. “This new initiative, which includes ChyronHego’s Click Effects PRIME and EVS’ DYVI Switcher, goes beyond simple CG and clip server control and applies real-time, broadcast-style graphic elements to any screen, board or other digital display throughout the arena. The New Jersey Devils’ home at the Prudential Center is among a growing list of venues and teams to benefit from the Unified Stadium.” EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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According to Hendy, ChyronHego believes that one of the more important technology trends shaping sports production is automated production based on data-driven workflows. In this area, he explains that the company is focusing on a number of aspects. Among these is automated production using robotic camera tracking systems with ChyronHego’s optical sports tracking system TRACAB, which identifies and follows players on the field and provides instant live game-play metrics, and the MRMC Polycam System, which enables real-time synchronised movement of multiple robotic cameras.

simple IP-based connections from on-site in the IBC control room to its headquarters. In addition to the LQ components, utilised as analogue-to-IP converters, ZDF also used V series IP intercom panels connected to the Eclipse-Hx platform located back in Mainz.



A key sports production highlight for Clear-Com this year was the PyeongChang Winter Games in South Korea. The company worked with ZDF, the German public service broadcaster, whixh made extensive use of Clear-Com’s LQ series to facilitate clear and

“This ensured outstanding audio quality and long distance coverage with low latency, even in the most extreme weather conditions,” says Nicki Fisher. Clear-Com’s wireless FreeSpeakII equipment was also used at the World Cup in Russia. Working with channel partner WNM, who are based in Belgium and who had the responsibility for wireless and infotainment,

FreespeakII basestations, antennas and beltpacks were deployed across 12 stadia. “The coverage was extensive: throughout the tunnels, at player arrival, via fibre with a splitter to the broadcast compound and on pitch-side, ensuring durability, coverage and uncompromised audio clarity and bandwidth,” Fisher notes. One of Clear-Com’s most important product developments in relation to sports events introduced this year is the new FreeSpeak II IP Transceiver (IPT). This solution is based on C l e a r - C o m ’s new IP Platform solution and features AES67 connectivity, low latency signal distribution, and high performance audio routing with high audio bandwidth. “It ensures that any FreeSpeak II Wireless beltpacks can now be addressed across a user’s LAN, forming an entire wireless communication network


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with a reach is only limited by the user’s LAN effective disk-based Cloudian as the archive, all itself,” she explains. “Together with the new with automated storage management.” E-IPA high density audio-intercom card for the Cobalt Digital Eclipse HX system and an AES67 switch, the IPT JESSE FOSTER ensures the most outstanding coverage and VP OF MARKETING AND STRATEGIC lowest latency distribution.” ACCOUNTS

Cloudian JON TOOR


In the good old days, databases were highly structured entities. It was the only way to make information easily accessible. Today, however, not only are we seeing an explosion in the growth of data: that data is also highly unstructured. That creates challenges in terms of complexity and storage costs — challenges that Cloudian is addressing. “Media search is a huge and growing problem,” says Jon Toor. “73 percent of media professionals report search — finding that clip you need it when you need it — as a primary storage challenge. 55 percent say it has become significantly worse in the last three years. “Cloudian systems are now in evaluation at multiple professional sports franchises, sports broadcast networks and sports departments at major universities,” he adds. According to Toor, new storage and AI technologies promise to help with tools that revolutionise search by analysing media using video and audio recognition, then enriching metadata with information such as player names or audio transcripts. Media producers can then locate the exact clip they need using search tools, thus creating a far more dynamic archive that actually increases in value as the tool sophistication grows. “Cloudian is innovating with embedded metadata, integrated search tools,” explains Toor,“and partnerships with AI companies who bring rich experience in clip analysis.” In December, Cloudian released HyperFile, which is designed to make Cloudian-based media archives accessible via standard Windows and Linux applications such as Adobe Premiere. Limitilessly scalable media storage is said to now accessible to all at 70% less cost than traditional NAS systems. “Also, Cloudian is now certified with Quantum StorNext, enabling a tiered media storage environment,” he notes. “Sports media producers get options such as an all-flash frontend for blazing media performance and cost100

IBC this year represents a special birthday for Cobalt Digital: the show marks the one year anniversary of Cobalt announcing that Technicolor had selected the company as its professional hardware solutions partner for Technicolor’s ITM roll out. To mark the occasion, IBC 2018 will see Cobalt showing the complete Advanced HDR by Technicolor multistep processing capability, all integrated into the 9904-UDX-4K.

The past 12 months has seen the Technicolor HDR-enabled Cobalt 9904-UDX-4K 12G/3G/ HD Frame Syncing Processor deployed by the MLB Network’s live satellite broadcasts on DIRECTV. “The positive market impact of 4K and 1080p 60 HDR broadcasts will give production companies and service providers new opportunities to compete and differentiate their offerings as HDR rolls out,” continues Foster. “Along with High Frame Rate advancements, I see HDR as having a strong influence on production system designs.”

CTV Outside Broadcasts PAUL FRANCIS


CTV’s assertion that its portfolio of clients is one of the largest is supported by the events it has supported over the past year: Premiership football for the BBC; Sky cricket, both domestic and international; European Tour golf; The Open; and darts for Sky.

“This will make the 9904-UDX-4K a single card solution for repurposing SDR content as HDR while also allowing for providers to transmit only the SDR feed with metadata that downstream TVs and STBs use to reconstruct the Technicolor-produced HDR results,” explains Jesse Foster. According to Foster, the 9904-UDX-4K is becoming Cobalt’s next-generation all-in-one production tool, integrating Technicolor HDR ITM along with Cobalt’s +COLOR-4K colour correction feature. Existing OGCP-9000/CC control panels work with 9904-UDX-4K which can support 1080p 60 or 2160p 60 via quad link 3G-SDI or 12G-SDI. The Intelligent Tone Management (ITM) process from Technicolor automatically up-converts SDR feeds into HDR and exposes what Foster describes as powerful professional controls. The 9904-UDX-4K is also a UHD/HD frame synchronizer, AES embedder/de-embedder, and full up/down/cross converter with quad 3G-SDI and 12G-SDI I/O and HDMI 2.0 output. “It’s ideal for cutting edge for live production,” adds James, “and with its 3D-LUT processing capability, it is a helpful tool for 4K/HDR episodic television and digital film production.”

“We’ve also been widening our global reach,” says Paul Francis. “As well as other events around the world over the past few months, we’re in Jakarta for IGBS at the Asian Games covering athletics, aquatics, gymnastics and the road racing.” The broadcast industry has always been a somewhat complex infrastructure — and CTV sees further developments in that direction. “We see one of the biggest trends being the beginning of new relationships between telco operators, production companies and outside broadcast providers,” says Francis. “Truly affordable end-to-end wide bandwidth networks will make remote and remote-control production a viable possibility for those outside the very biggest broadcasters. As such, CTV is actively including the ability to deploy different parts of the traditional OB unit infrastructure to different locations in the design of near- and far-future trucks, in an effort to model technical facilities closely around our clients’ financial EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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and creative wishes.” Francis also notes that Al technology demos have shown that the current make-up of crew and production personnel will change in the future. “And then there’s the AI automation of vision switching and replay,” he adds. “It will be exciting to see the cost of these developments when they reach the product delivery stage. Hopefully, productions from the biggest to the smallest will be able to afford the benefit of this innovation.” IBC will see CTV looking to visit as many of its technology partners as possible, particularly focusing on IP network control and conversion. “We’ll be trying to gain as much information as possible before we embark on our first full SMPTE 2110 facility build,” says Francis.

the company’s new line of solutions targeted at fan engagement and graphics solutions for stadiums and arenas — being utilised for the final of the UEFA Europa League at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon in France. Since its official release, DELTA-stadium has already been used in newly created ‘connected stadiums’ such as the Stade de France in Paris, LOSC in Lille, and Monaco. DELTA-stadium allows the generation and playout of graphics on giant screens, LED perimeter walls around the pitch, and any screens around the venue.



For Deltacast the past year has seen two particularly memorable highlights. The first saw its new product DELTA-stadium — part of

“Another highlight would be our World Cup-dedicated package that was used by RTBF in Belgium this summer with great success, especially as it was tailored to be output in augmented reality in their studio,” enthuses

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Erik Kampmann. “The audience could see advanced statistics updated in real-time by our long-time partner OPTA Sports. Combined with our analysis tool DELTA-highlight it allowed very advanced analysis sequences with virtual views, graphics, and camera ‘fly’ effects that gave great added value to their World Cup show.” The last 12 months have also seen Deltacast officially enter the VAR (Video Assisted Referee) sphere. “We now provide our world-renowned AI-assisted virtual offside line to a VAR supplier certified by FIFA, with live demos and joint announcements with Evertz and Simplylive at this year’s NAB, for example,” says Kampmann. “We’re actually working hard right now with all the stakeholders to define a clear development roadmap of new features that will help referees even further in their decisions, in line with current and future IFAB requirements. “Additionally,” he continues, “DELTAhighlight for virtual graphics analysis is still running hot with great traction, some nice projects behind us, and new key partnerships to be announced at IBC.”

• Bundesliga approved - commercial deployment throughout every week of the 18/19 season • English FA approved - commercially deployed by the FA for England, providing three modified broadcast feeds • Complete end-to-end broadcast solution, developed with global leaders Supponor • Minimum disruption to acquisition workflow; maximum value to sponsorship and broadcast rights Learn more at






The global OTT market is on course to register significant growth, notes Carlo de Marchis, with total sector revenues projected to reach $65bn by 2021. Paid OTT subscriptions are projected to increase to 428m households in the same timeframe, with many of those households likely to have multiple subscriptions. “At Deltatre we embraced the OTT revolution in its early stages, helping some of the major sport federations, broadcasters and telcos reach fans on different digital platforms,” says de Marchis. For the NFL Deltatre delivered a full OTT solution that offers live and on-demand access to NFL games, NFL RedZone, NFL Network and NFL Films programming across 61 European countries and territories. NFL Game Pass is now available on desktop, Android and iOS tablets and smartphones. “We managed the whole end-to-end technology delivery, streaming, user-facing applications, back-end support, payments and customer service,” explains de Marchis. Working with ATP Tennis TV Deltatre redesigned and relaunched Tennis TV, ATP Media’s direct-to-consumer live streaming service which streams more than 2,000 ATP World Tour matches per year. Available on web, mobile and platforms such as Roku, AppleTV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire, PlayStation, Xbox and others, Tennis TV combines HD streaming, integrated stats and data, multi-court coverage and a wide-ranging classic match archive on all platforms. Thanks to Deltatre, all Champions League and Europa League matches are available through the BT Sport app on iOS and Android, as well as via the BT Sport desktop player. Fans access all key moments of both live and on-demand matches using timeline navigation via Deltatre’s Diva video player. “Building on our know-how in digital sport and recent OTT developments,” concludes de Marchis, “we know how to support our clients in reaching sport fans and increasing the customer equity by providing a full-service offering at the various stages of the OTT experience.” 102

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When Poland’s public broadcaster TVP broadcast the first ever Polish live football match in Dolby Atmos, on June 12 — a pre-World Cup friendly between Poland and Lithuania — it became the first national broadcaster worldwide to put on a Dolby Atmos live transmission for countrywide distribution which was available free to everyone, without any limitation. The match was delivered free-to-air to all Polish households with Dolby Atmos’ immersive sound encoded as Dolby Digital Plus. The transmission was made possible by a dedicated audio OB Van upgraded with a 5.1.4 monitoring system to produce immersive sound live. Embedded 10-channel (5.1.4) audio on an HD-SDI signal was contributed from the stadium to TVP headquarters via a fibre optic link, then encoded at TVP’s Woronicza headquarters using a Dolby Atmos encoder. For standard 5.1 transmission, the immersive sound capture was achieved by changing only a single microphone within the stadium: the 5.1 surround microphone was replaced by a 3D capture microphone. “The results were phenomenal for the national broadcaster, with record-breaking viewership during the match of 8.2 million people and an average viewing figure of 6.3 million,” notes Rob France. “TVP achieved a market share of 46.5% during the live transmission.” According to France, there has been substantial growth in live sports events produced and delivered in Dolby’s formats. “In the UK, the growth of live events delivered in Dolby Atmos has been a highlight of the year,” he notes. “Over 150 EPL matches have been delivered by BT Sport and Sky, with a range of other events including boxing from BT Sport. To support this, additional OB trucks have been equipped to mix Dolby Atmos, including trucks from NEP, Telegenic, Timeline, CTV and Arena. “Another highlight,” France continues, “was at a major tennis tournament in France, where multiple days of the event were produced in HDR and encoded as Dolby Vision. Again, Dolby Atmos was included, but in this case it was delivered via Dolby AC-4 to mobile.” Dolby has also achieved a number of product developments since last IBC, with the key ones

in terms of sport being the growing number of mobile devices supporting Dolby technologies. Apple has included Dolby Vision in the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, and Samsung has provided support for Dolby Atmos in the Galaxy S9 and S9+. “We’re seeing audio and visual quality as being a key differentiator among mobile devices,” adds France, “and we’re supporting the manufacturers in their desire to deliver the best audio and visual experiences.” France sees two main trends that he believes are continuing to drive changes in sports production workflows — the highest possible quality, and the growth in OTT platforms. “Higher resolution, HDR and immersive audio are key to giving consumers the experience they expect,” he says. “What’s needed is a master format that can be converted for the many different platforms and devices — and Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos are enabling these experiences to get to consumers across a wide range of devices as OTT enables access to more content than ever before and greater personalisation of the user experience.”



Like, it seems, the entire broadcast industr y, ES Broadcast was at the Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in Russia, with the large majority of the company’s 4K hire fleet — said to be one of the largest in Europe — enlisted.

Unlike the rest of the broadcast industry, however, ES Broadcast was at a lesser-known championship too — the European Men’s Handball Championships. The company’s new fleet of Fujinon UA107 lenses, as well as EVS XT4K replay servers, were used on the tournament production. Handball may not mean much to UK audiences, but the tournament was broadcast to viewers in 125 countries around the world. Back at the ranch, however, ES Broadcast’s systems integration division began work this EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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summer on designing and building three 16-camera HD OB trucks for horse racing broadcast and services provider RaceTech. Over the past year the company has also been investing extensively in its 4K inventory. Underlining its commitment to being the foremost provider of 4K broadcast equipment, says Ben Murphy, particularly for the live sports sector, ES Broadcast has substantially expanded its 4K camera channel fleet with the addition of 100 Sony HDC-4300 channels, bringing the fleet up to 140 channels in total. “This is the largest fleet of Sony HDC-4300s — which has rapidly become the industry standard 4K camera channel — in Europe,” notes Murphy. “A significant number of Grass Valley LDX 86N and LDX C86N channels have also been added in the last year — and two Sony HDC-4800 ultra high frame rate channels were acquired.” ES Broadcast has also acquired no fewer than 83 lenses of various types from Fujinon and Canon. “And in May 2018, in the latest in a long line of firsts, the company became the first hire


company in Europe to take delivery of Canon’s new CJ45 lenses,” smiles Murphy, “ which were immediately put into action on the Monaco F1 Grand Prix.”



our first aim was to secure the needed wireless spectrum for the Israeli Ministry of Communication as well as securing a basic flight plan,” recalls François-Charles Bideaux. “All the races were covered flag-to-flag, so refuel points were coordinated with local authorities and special open fly zones were created by the Israeli Air Force to free up airspace — even above and around sensitive areas such as the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Western Wall and the Wailing Wall.”

Six trucks. Four helicopters. Two airplanes. 100 people. Twenty RF-dedicated motorcycles. 200 SMACS geo-positioning sensors. That’s what it took three Euro Media Group (EMG) companies to support ASO, France Télévisions and Discovery Eurosport in coverage of the Giro start in Israel and the Tour de France. Those numbers generated some impressive numbers: 113 hours of live coverage over 21 days brought to more than 60 channels in 190 countries. Videohouse and Eurolinx covered the start of the three-week cycling event in Israel. Four trailers loaded with equipment were shipped He goes on to note that most of the Aerial to Israel, together with a team of 45 engineers. Camera Systems’ footage will be used in future “Preparations started in mid-2017, and tourist-related content.



NETCO Sports Italy — another member of the Euro Media Group — inserted a 4-channel on-screen graphics package with live virtual renderings generated by the EuroLinX TV motors to create virtual overlays, distance and speed measurements. Velon live rider data was inserted and integrated into the total broadcast workflow. EMG also enabled remote production of the European Beach Volleyball Championships 2018, with United supplying the technical facilities. Divided over four different locations, United deployed 32 cameras, with the locations all directed via a remote solution from a single OB with two production galleries in The Hague. The past year has also seen Euro Media Group undertake an interesting new initiative. “With OBjective 2020, our goal was to design production facilities using more generic hardware — such as FPGA and GPU — on which we could deploy software to give it the functionality needed,” explains Bideaux. “This changes the business model. First, it drives us to become a software-based business. Second, in the past, an OB truck was monetised ‘as is’ — and often over-dimensioned for the majority of jobs it was doing. Rather than offering hardware and crew, the focus now is on offering a service and functionality tailored to the needs of the production. Software-based platforms combine the right applications, appropriate for the workflow and the tools needed for the sports event to be covered. “For our clients, this will result in a more dynamic and tailored pricing model, while on the service provider side it will create a shift from a CAPEX model to a mixed CAPEX/OPEX model,” he continues.“Additionally, a softwaredefined distributed network architecture is needed to allow scalability as well as to enable us to use the same design for any type of production, whether remote, on-site, as a build-out, as a truck or as a mixture of all those. The concept is to move away from a traditional central spine and towards a mesh network.”

Eurovision Media Services MICHELE GOSETTI


A new event for the sporting calendar is the European Championships, a multi-sport event which will bring together the existing European Championships of some of the 104

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continent’s leading sports every four years. The inaugural edition in 2018 was staged by the host cities of Glasgow and Berlin. “As the host broadcaster for this landmark event we took the opportunity to enhance our existing product portfolio to help event rights holders around the world engage with their audiences,” says Michele Gosetti. “Working closely with sports federations and media organisations in the lead-up to the event, we identified the most intuitive and convenient digital tools and combined them with our existing services to create a digital ecosystem that integrated content enrichment and distribution. It includes an online video library, tools for curating near-live clips and publishing online, as well as specific functionalities for social media and OTT. The entire environment is web-based, making it easy for users to access the services from anywhere in the world.” Gosetti believes that, to maximise the reach and exposure of their events, sports federations need to personalise the audience experience. One of the main challenges for major events with international broadcast coverage, he says, has been working out how to adapt the language of TV graphics to improve fan engagement and make the content more accessible to audiences in any region of the world. “Until recently,” he continues, “the only way to achieve some level of TV graphics personalisation was to produce several signal versions at the origin and transport them separately to rights holders — a costly and complex operation.” At this year’s IBC, Eurovision will showcase its new remote graphics solution that was developed to allow sports federations to adapt TV graphical overlays for different geographies to get closer to key audiences and maximise the event value for sponsors and partners.



This year’s World Cup was fascinating for many reasons — not least the introduction of VAR (Video Assistant Referee). Over the past year Evertz has provided VAR services to Belgium’s Jupiler Pro League (JPL). “We worked with our partner Studiotech Belgium to provide VAR services for 110 on-line

games during the season and all 30 playoff matches,” says Mo Goyal. “Our DreamCatcher VAR solution leverages the rich features of our DreamCatcher Production Suite to provide fast, accurate and highly reliable services for JPL. These key features allow JPL to use VAR as transparently as possible and to comply with the IFAB Laws of the Game.”

One of the key reasons JPL selected DreamCatcher VAR was its intuitive user interface that removed the need for specialised — and potentially costly — replay operators to operate the system, explains Goyal. JPL and Evertz collaborated together to design an interface that was tailored for JPL and its referees, allowing JPL to train their own operators with football experience — typically other referees. “The interface turned the most sceptical referees into confident operators in a couple of hours,” says Goyal. The JPL has selected DreamCatcher VAR to be used for the entire season — equating to 335 matches — for the next few years.

For the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan, Evertz deployed its Software Defined Video Networking (SDVN) solution for the IBC which, according to Goyal, was an industry-first use of a pure IP core for this scale and scope of event. Evertz has also been busy on the product development front, with the company’s DreamCatcher Production Suite further enhanced with tools such as DC-LIVE-EDIT while leveraging the benefits of patented IP-based DreamCatcher architecture. “It’s about getting live content out onto the platforms quicker as consumer viewing habits shift,” notes Goyal. EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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Among the more intriguing and original projects EVS has been part of over the past year is the Invictus Games in Canada, where the company worked with Dome Productions.

“Our solutions allowed the host broadcast service provider to create daily hour-long shows on the fly throughout the Games as well as output more than 200 additional hours of replay highlights,” says Sébastien Verlaine. As video refereeing becomes an increasingly

important function in many sports, EVS has seen its Xeebra system installed by the UCI into a dedicated officiating van. The cycling governing body then deployed it at the Giro d’Italia, its first grand tour of the year. “We’ve also been working closely with ESL to put in place new production workflows, so it can create highest-quality live e-sports programming as engagement expands to wider audiences,” adds Verlaine. “Our DYVI switcher has been used at ESL’s Intel Extreme Masters tournaments, including the one held in PyeongChang, to create and output the most engaging live programming.” Launching the new XT-VIA live production server was, says Verlaine, a key development for the company because it represents the most significant update yet to the XT range of servers. “It gives our customers the flexibility to create the highest quality content both in terms of resolution — six channels of UHD-4K and 12+ channels of Full HD 1080p with support for HDR — and connectivity, with 12G SDI or full IP workflows using SMPTE 2110,” he explains. “The XT-VIA has been designed to give users

everything they need to cover any sporting event.” The introduction of EVS’s X-ONE unified live production system has also been important, according to Verlaine, because it allows for the easy production of, and access to, niche sports, enabling users to create programming from up to six live camera feeds as well as control audio, create replays and add graphics — all, he says, in the highest broadcast quality.

“Development and adoption of our live DYVI switcher and of our Xeebra video refereeing tool have also continued this last year,” Verlaine continues. “DYVI is now being used by sports arenas and broadcast centres all over the world, and Xeebra’s deployment for cycling and horse


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racing, and as a TMO in Rugby and a VAR system in football, shows the importance of the product.” Like many in the industry, Verlaine sees artificial intelligence as potentially a key technology for the future. “It’s already a huge talking point, and it’s got the potential to shape sports workflows in a way we’ve not seen before,” he believes. “With production architectures that can make decisions for themselves, operators will be empowered to work more creatively, leaving the workflow to look after the more resource-draining operational tasks. We’re already seeing it being used in some live production tools, and there’ll be plenty more to come.” At IBC this year, EVS is set to introduce a new studio production server and will be demonstrating to visitors how its new VIA technology platform is shaping the latest product developments from the company.

Finepoint Broadcast GILES BENDIG


Rapid technology change is, of course, to be welcomed — but there is a downside. Keeping up can be expensive. “Our investment plan for the 2018-19 financial year alone anticipates a £2 million spend on new equipment which will equip the hire fleet to the latest technical standards, including 4K/ UHD and HDR,” says Giles Bendig. “We have already taken delivery of Sony HDC-4300 and HDC-4800 cameras and associated 4K Canon lenses. Other recent additions include EVS XT3 ChannelMax and XFile3 production servers. We’re also investing in remotely controllable pan/tilt/zoom camera heads that can be steered by an operator from a distance of a few metres, half a kilometre or (via IP) half-way around the world.” Bendig says he has seen demand for highspeed cameras to deliver slow-motion coverage of sports accelerate significantly over the past couple of years. The Sony HDC-4800, he notes, can shoot full-resolution progressive UHD at up to 8x or HD at up to 16x, going on to point out that the EVS XT3 slow-motion server supports every super motion camera on the market and provides native options for up to 12 record channels with proxy encoding in SD and HD, eight channels of 1080p, or three channels of UHD-4K in any in/out combination. 106

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Since IBC 2017, Bendig says that a lot of his company’s HD and UHD broadcast equipment has been used at a variety of sport events, notably for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. “Sport events can be extremely demanding so our customers require reliable equipment of high grade,” he says. “Our aim at Finepoint is to supply our customers with the very best technology for their sport production needs. We continually invest in the latest cameras, lenses and related equipment to meet the evolving needs of our customers.”



At Wimbledon 2018 Fletcher introduced Tr-ACE, a semiautomatic robotic camera system that has been designed specifically for tennis. Designed by the in-house team at Fletcher, Tr-ACE utilises off-the-shelf broadcast cameras (Sony Ps and Sony P43s), with a new Fletcher robotic head to auto-follow tennis players on the court.

“It does this by the use of a custom sensor array, positioned at the side of the court in line with the net,” explains Richard Hingley. “Utilising Lidar and micro camera technology, the sensor array sends this acquired data back to the Tr-ACE software to interpolate the movement of the players. This in turn drives the robotic head to follow the player.” Lidar distances of the players are also gathered to allow for auto-zooming and focusing of the lens in relation to the players movement. “With the addition of a Fletcher digital robotic controller, a camera operator can instantly take over the automatic follow into a manual mode operation to allow for tight emotion framing to enhance the production,” adds Hingley. “Once used in manual mode, the de-selection of this camera will return it to the auto-follow mode.”

At Wimbledon, the Tr-ACE system was used across seven of the outside courts, with four cameras per court. Meanwhile, the beginning of this year saw a large production presence from Fletcher in South Korea with the equipment utilised including many different robotic systems and cameras situated across numerous venues. “Together with the robotic camera presence, a high quantity of hi-motion cameras were used, most notably the latest Sony 4800,” says Hingley. “Moving on in the year, another notable production was the World Cup. Cameras deployed in Russia ranged from the ultra-compact PICO slow motion camera system, the compact 4K Sony P43 and, most notably, the Sony 4800. “Fletcher continues to push the boundaries with the latest equipment available to help satisfy both of these very big international productions,” he concludes.



The Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang saw a broad range of FOR-A solutions deployed by broadcasters from a number of countries, including the United States, Japan and Korea. These included frame converters, video switchers, routing switchers, multi viewers, test signal generators and 4K up/down/cross/ converters. FOR-A has also been expanding its 12G-SDI supporting products line-up, and introduced a 12G-supporting vision mixer, the HVS-6000, at NAB 2018. The company’s 12G-capable routing matrix switcher series has been extended, with the MFR-6000 supporting a maximum of 144 inputs/144 outputs, and the MFR-1000 supporting up to 16 inputs/16 outputs. FOR-A also grew its modular product portfolio with further 12G offerings. The company’s most recent introduction was the FT-ONE-SS4K, a 2/3” lens compatible 4K high speed camera. FOR-A has also developed an 8K high frame rate camera, the FT-ONESS8K, that was announced at NAB. FOR-A’s Kazuya Eguchi sees IP for remote production as being a key technology development with real workflow benefits for sports production. “We also strongly believe that 12G EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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technology is currently the right choice for sports and other 4K productions, because of its reliability, ease of operation and industry standard interfacing,” he says. “12G and IP each have their own advantages, so it’s important that we should offer production solutions that are appropriate to the user’s situation, purpose and requirements.” IBC will see FOR-A showcase its 12G product line up including video mixers, matrix switchers, video/audio processors, multi viewers, and the company’s modular series. The IP/SDI hybrid system with orchestration software will be introduced at the show, along with an introduction to FOR-A’s remote production solution.



“Glass to glass” is the industry term for the movement of a captured image to the viewer’s screen — and Fujifilm, inevitably, plays a key role in the transition.

“4K and HDR continue to grow and become more popular and that obviously has a large effect on workflows,” notes Marc Horner. “Our lenses are the first part of that workflow — transmitting the original image onto the camera’s sensor. Crystal clear and crisp 4K image quality is achieved by using optical simulation technologies to reduce every kind of aberration to unprecedented low levels. Highfidelity transmittance of ‘blacks’ to the camera is essential to the HDR workflow, and we achieve this with advanced optical material and the latest in lens coating technology, resulting in rich in colour gamut reproduction.” In support of this, Fujifilm has developed two new UA46x 4K HDR-optimised ENG lenses, which Horner believes are perfect for use in small stadia and helicopter shooting. This follows the launch of eight other 4K HDR optimised lenses that Horner reports are all prevalent in the sports world. FUJINON lenses have found themselves in top sporting events around the world, he points out, including the Champions League final, many FIFA World Cup games including the

final, the Winter Olympics, the Tour de France, Roland Garros and 24 Heures du Mans. “As the previous FUJINON HA42x lens was very popular with helicopter shooting, the requirements of the 4K version were very strict,” Horner explains.“We wanted the lens to remain as close to the same size and weight as possible. Therefore, the lens and drive unit were all re-designed from the ground-up to produce a lens that is the same size and only marginally heavier than our previous HD version, but with a longer range of zoom. The drive unit is also faster and more accurate, and the image stabiliser is better than the previous model.”

Gearhouse Broadcast ED TISCHLER


With five separate projects running for 2018 that included studio builds, intercontinental remote productions, IBC solutions and the installation of hundreds of kilometres of SMPTE fibre cabling within the host stadiums, it’s hardly

Wireless Cameras, it’s what we do! Broadcast RF concentrate solely on the hire of RF equipment and the integration of RF technology in the making of television programmes and special events.

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surprising that Gearhouse Broadcast describes the World Cup as a “big event” for the company. “For ITV we worked on building their brilliant studio in Red Square as well as facilitating the IBC for them,” says Ed Tischler. “For Globo, we delivered two studios in central Moscow as well as additional audio/video signal routing, standards conversion, distribution and QC monitoring facilities within the IBC.” Argentinian Broadcaster Torneos y Competancias (TyC) was another regular Gearhouse client at the World Cup, and this time the company provided TyC with facilities inside the IBC including two production control rooms and two Avid edit suites. “Logistics was something that we had to be especially careful about at this tournament,” adds Tischler, “as there was a lot of sensitivity about the security of equipment from the Russian border into Moscow. We hired an escort and started shipping a lot earlier, factoring in ten days for what would normally take three, in case anything got held up, to help ensure it arrived in time.” Other than the World Cup, Gearhouse carried out a live 4K v 1080p HDR test at the Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 in London late last year with ATP Media. The test was designed to see the two production formats side-by-side in a live tennis environment. “The Sapphire HEVC system combined seamlessly with the main production, with all the outputs coming from one desk and one director’s cut, enabling us to compare the existing 1080i output with 4K SDR, 4K HDR and 1080p HDR,” notes Tischler. “We also tested Dolby Atmos to compare it to Dolby Digital 5.1 to understand the challenges of producing in Atmos and to experiment with what a tennis Atmos soundscape could sound like.” Tischler sees broadcasters looking for solutions to help deliver their content in a higher quality and at a much lower cost. “There has been a growing appetite for higher resolution content such as 4K, UHD, HDR and Dolby Atmos,” he says.“This demand is no longer only from live sports. Broadcasters and content creators such as BT Sport, Sony and Netflix now also offer content in Dolby Atmos, and for the first time all 64 matches in 2018’s World Cup were produced in UHD with HDR.” The past year has also seen Gearhouse Broadcast reshape the Sky Sports OBPod into a more remote model. According to Tischler, Sky UK and Sky Italia wanted to further reduce 108

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heavy freight costs and improve the crew’s work/life balance by not flying so many people around the world and reinvest the savings into a higher quality of experience for viewers. “Remote working itself isn’t a revolutionary concept,” he says. “However, the large-scale of the workflow involved in the F1 broadcast was the element that was both challenging and exciting. As it was such a high-profile event, Sky Sports wanted to be confident in what it was rolling out.”



Anyone who’s ever worked in the confined spaces of an OB truck will testify that space is at a premium. Genelec has addressed the challenge with the launch of a range of three monitors it calls The Ones, with the 8331A particularly suited to the environment. “The Ones are filled with beneficial features for the broadcaster,” notes Lars-Olof Janflod. “The first benefit is, of course, our SAM [Smart Active Monitoring] technology that allows the user to acoustically adapt the monitor to its environment. The second is that, that due to its coaxial design, it can be located close to the listener — a big advantage in small spaces. Despite their very small form factor, all three monitors maintain appropriate characteristics in terms of both SPL capacity and low-end performance.” He goes on to explain how the Genelec design team managed to achieve this. “They made several important developments,” he says, “one being the point source coaxial midand high frequency drive unit. The other is the acoustically concealed woofer technology. This has enabled us to keep the sizes down to correspond to normal 5”, 6.5” and 8” standard two-way systems.” SAM technology was first launched in 2006 and today features in more than 20 Genelec products. An outcome of the Genelec Loudspeaker Manager (GLM) program, its auto-calibration function includes frequency response, level, distance and phase calibration. The latter, says Jonflod, is important for the inclusion of a subwoofer into systems. GLM can handle systems with up to 25 monitors and five subwoofers; that also makes it ready for developments in immersive applications, on which the company will be focusing at IBC,

when it will also be announcing a new product. “We’re present at most big sports events whenever there is an OB truck present, due to our high presence in the truck market,” explains Janflod.



One of the key challenges facing rights holders is monetising sports rights across as many platforms, and therefore viewers, as possible. “That’s why we’ve been developing our Digital Media Hub ecosystem, which will be revealed in more detail at IBC 2018,” says Liz McParland. “It’s a suite of modular — yet integrated — virtualised services for live sports production. By aggregating multiple technologies into a single ecosystem, our Digital Media Hub allows live feeds to be repurposed to create multiple content forms. We can deliver linear channels, live streaming, and with our Livespotter services, the fast turnaround of highlights for social media, as well as edited, file-based content for any OTT requirements. With Livespotter, a goal being scored in a football match can be clipped, metadata applied and shared immediately on social media to engage/attract viewers. “This can be achieved automatically using editorial rules defined with the customer or can be done remotely by the customer themselves,” she continues.“It’s not only about creating highlights for use during a match. We can also create short or long-form file-based content that can be used by rights holders for promotion between events to keep audiences engaged; or to form the basis of highlights packages for OTT services, perhaps. We are enabling rights holders to create a 360-degree viewing experience around sports events.” As well as revealing more details about its new Digital Media Hub ecosystem, Globecast will be highlighting its recently launched cloud playout services at IBC. “These bring a whole new level of flexibility to playout, with very fast times to launch,” says McParland. “We’re offering multiple service levels, depending on the customer/ channel segment and the duration of the contract. These also take into account the specific purpose of the playout — whether it’s for primary or for business continuity/disaster recovery purposes.” EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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in the right formats on the right platforms instantly. Grabyo Producer has also been enhanced. “The updates to our live product have enabled teams to utilise our flexible and collaborative tools to create digital-first live broadcasts,” says Capon. “With an emphasis on delivering content that creates meaningful social interactions, we’ve added enhanced functionality to moderate and display live fan comments and reactions, create votes and polls in real-time, and partnered with Singular. Live to enable live graphics authoring and data visualisations from within the platform.”

It’s only partially true to say that the way we consume media is changed. The whole truth is that it changes continuously — and it’s incumbent upon manufacturers to stay abreast of those changes. “Grabyo has continued to enhance our capabilities for immediate clip sharing to social and digital platforms, but also our browserbased live production services,” notes Gareth Capon. “This has been driven in part by the needs of our customers, and by understanding the shift in audience behaviour for video viewing. Mobile is up, social is up, and multiplatform consumption is the new norm for TV.” He goes on to explain that Grabyo has simplified the way digital teams can optimise content for each platform through Grabyo Studio, adding the ability to create clips, GIFs and images in multiple aspect ratios from the Ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Grabyo same workspace. This workflow enhancement, and Singular.Live entered into a partnership he says, allows sports content to be distributed with the English Football Association to live


broadcast a daily 30-minute chat show called Lions’ Den throughout the entirety of the tournament. The youth-oriented show was streamed to YouTube, using Grabyo Producer. “By creating a social-first broadcast, the FA enhanced fan engagement and encouraged positive sentiment around the brand,” believes Capon. “Each episode featured interviews with England players, live viewer polls, multiple prerecorded VTs and FaceTime Q&As between England players and fans.”



The XXIII Winter Games in PyeongChang marked the eighth consecutive time that NBC Sports Group has chosen Grass Valley for its coverage of the Olympics. “With hundreds of incoming and outgoing feeds in multiple locations that all required extensive routing, control and monitoring, NBC was looking for integrated solutions that enabled proactive management of all



these complex workflows, especially in such a highly-charged live environment,” recalls Neil Maycock. “This was a substantial deployment that greatly enhanced NBC’s production efficiency within its studios, located inside the on-the-ground International Broadcast Centre.” More recently, Grass Valley was selected by Formula E to be the main solutions provider to future-proof its live production infrastructure to support 4K and HDR. “Formula E was keen to advance the quality and creativity of the event’s broadcast production,” says Maycock. “Following the sports giant’s decision to triple its TV investment, satisfying both current requirements and possible future needs was a huge priority — and this included 4K and HDR. Grass Valley had been Formula E’s primary solutions provider since 2014, so it was a natural progression to have our solutions chosen to evolve the infrastructure to cope with existing and future demands.” Grass Valley provided an upgraded infrastructure that included cameras, switchers, multiviewers, servers, replay systems and processing frames to meet the event’s demanding turnarounds. Turning to his company’s developments on the product side, Maycock notes that one of Grass Valley’s main strategic areas of focus is IP. “As our customers look to evolve and futureproof their businesses, IP has a central role to play,” he believes. “Grass Valley is committed to helping our customers make the transition to IP at a pace that suits their business and operational needs, whether that’s getting them IP-ready or going all-IP. All of our IP solutions are based on open standards, enabling our customers to benefit from the flexibility and scalability of IP, without compromising their ability to tell powerful stories with stunning pictures. Thanks to the work done by SMPTE and other industry bodies, the market is now more confident about investment in IP-based solutions.” According to Maycock, higher bandwidth Ethernet interfaces — 25G, 50G and 100G — make the transition to 4K in IP easier, addressing the problem of trying to get a 4K signal down legacy 10G IP technology. Initiatives such as SMPTE ST 2110 have, he thinks, also made a big difference by ensuring greater bandwidth efficiency, among other benefits. “We’re already beginning to see this translate into real-world investments,” he observes. “NEP UK recently invested in SMPTE 110

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ST 2110-compliant infrastructures for two of its new OB trucks, and other service providers will follow as demand from broadcasters increases.” IP is central to making remote production workflows and infrastructures a reality, says Maycock. “The trial undertaken by UEFA for the European Under-21 Championship Final in 2017 is an excellent example of this, during which Grass Valley delivered a proof-ofconcept remote IP production deployment. Uncompressed UHD signals were sent from multiple cameras back to a production control room in London, 1,600 kilometers away from its originating site in Krakow.”

ICT infrastructure services that are essential for UEFA to plan and manage its football competitions, websites, events and business operations.” According to Pope, his company has seen notable success securing video transport feeds for key sporting events since IBC 2017, continuing to expand its support of ATP tennis tournament events and IMG sporting events.



The path from camera lens to television screen is complex and varied. For a live broadcast, it GTT will be different every time. It may be necessary DAN POPE to separate sound and pictures at various DIRECTOR OF SALES points as they travel through the process. This There was much talk during is where they can encounter different delays the World Cup regarding the and arrive at the destination at different times, enormous distances between producing a lip-sync error. the 12 venues. Over 1,500 miles, for example, separated Kaliningrad from Yekaterinburg. Yet those were far being the most furthest apart locations a World Cup has ever known. The 1994 event, for example, hosted in the USA, involved venues situated more than 2,500 miles apart. Dan Pope identifies the importance that What is needed is a precise measurement tool. remote production is likely to play in meeting such challenges in the future.“We see the trend Hitomi’s MatchBox is designed to accurately towards remote production as one that will measure audio and video alignment so that create production efficiencies through greater the exact amount of correction can be applied. centralisation,” he says.“As more championship It was for these capabilities that Eurosport, tournaments are hosted at geographically the pan-European sports broadcaster owned dispersed venues across Europe, remote by Discovery, chose MatchBox for their live production has the potential to be a more delivery of Olympic Winter Games coverage cost-effective model for video production. We from PyeongChang. “The challenge was that transmission of also believe that the cloud is having an impact on sports production workflows, with the content from South Korea presented issues in opportunity to drive greater efficiencies such ensuring lip-sync matched video, measuring as with transcoding applications. GTT is well- circuit delays, and providing identification of positioned to support these trends as a market audio feeds,” explains Russell Johnson. leader in cloud networking services.” MatchBox is a hardware and software That strength has been reinforced over the solution housed in a 1RU frame, and is a past year by GTT’s acquisition of Interoute, described as a comprehensive measurement which it says contributes one of the largest system for audio and video alignment. A independent fibre networks in Europe, and generator unit produces a time marked test provides GTT with additional connectivity pattern and tone sequence which is sent to an facilities into venue locations. analyser sitting at the far end of the signal path. “Interoute also contributes new customers “One feature Eurosport found valuable in the sports world,” notes Pope. “For example, during the Games was its text-to-speech Interoute has been UEFA’s ICT partner for synthesis,” adds Johnson. “With commentaries the past seven years, providing 98% of the available in so many languages, sound engineers EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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needed a solid method of checking their configuration. MatchBox’s spoken identing system made that simple and efficient.” According to Johnson, Hitomi’s most significant product announcement of the past year has been the introduction of a 2SI mode for 4K, with full support for systems using 2SI with ‘at a glance’ identification of wiring errors. At IBC, the company will introduce IdentBox, a new product that will be a 4K TPG with compressive identing solution. It will feature up to 16 individually idented SD/HD/3G test patterns per 1RU chassis.



“Content is king” is a well-worn mantra — but no less true for that. Increasingly, the challenge is to maximise the value of that content — in other words, to monetise it. That means not only capturing or creating content, but securing it and making it readily accessible. Imagen offers a solution for managing

and distributing broadcast quality sports content, a solution that has received several enhancements over the past year. “Live streams can be ingested to manage media in real-time through the Imagen platform, giving real-time access to feeds from sports tournaments, TV station broadcasts, conferences, keynote speeches and much more,” explains Ian Mottashed. “Once the live stream has ended, the finished file is added to the Imagen archive to be accessed and re-used in the future.” A recent update to the platform allows users to connect their content with a new audience, integrating directly with leading social media platforms such as Twitter and YouTube, and can be used alongside Imagen’s new live clipping tools for rapid content editing and automated syndication to social media platforms via preconfigured workflows. Users can navigate to highlights using time shift controls — pause, rewind and fast forward — and send the edit to an on-click publishing workflow. “We’ve also implemented real time media logging in the user’s browser,” adds Mottashed.

“Applying time based metadata to video allows end-users to navigate and find specific moments in the user’s content more easily. Imagen’s media logger synchronises with the live stream to add time-based logs to media. While watching the live feed, power users are able to click/touch a matrix of predefined key words and names to describe events.” For Mottashed, the future will be all about full cloud production workflows with increased automation, and content aggregation, with AI playing an increasing role in cost-effective indexing. “That’s good news for the consumer,” he smiles. “More choice, and faster access to the latest sports action.”

Imagine Communications MATHIAS ECKERT


Back in the day, when computing hardware was significantly less capable than it is today, implementing functionality in software

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inevitably meant compromised performance. No more. That’s allowing all the advantages of software-based systems — simple and cost-effective flexibility, upgradability and scalability — to be realised. “The transition to IP and hybrid IP production workflows based on the SMPTE ST 2110 standard continues to shape the future of sports production,” believes Mathias Eckert. “IP connectivity opens up software-defined systems, which in turn create the agility that sports production requires.” For Eckert, the most important aspect of his company’s product development over the past year has been the rollout of products that support IP connectivity using the SMPTE ST 2110 family of standards, as part of a softwaredefined network solution. “At IBC2017,” he recalls, “we introduced the Selenio Network Processor, an FPGA-based 1RU solution which functions as both an SDIto-IP gateway and an ST 2110-compliant, all-IPcapable signal processing platform. “Eliminating the need to move between SDI and IP ensures seamless connectivity, as well as minimal latency, which is critical in sports production,” Eckert continues. “We were the first major vendor to support 100 Gigabit Ethernet in ST 2110, which optimises switch performance, as well as network capacity.” An example of Imagine Communications’ commitment to ST 2110 can be found in the USA, where the company is working on a new basketball arena, which is based around a SMPTE ST 2110 infrastructure using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. “Perhaps the most important part of this project is that it is the first NBA/Collegiate sports venue to incorporate IP-to-IP networkbased processing, in support of uncompressed HD signals based on the SMPTE ST 2110 standard,” Eckert explains. “This is surely the way of the future: all-IP connectivity and network-based processing, using cost-effective COTS hardware and sophisticated, standardsbased software.” Imagine Communications also recently commissioned a new production unit for Italian outside broadcast specialist Cinevideo, where it built an infrastructure around Imagine’s core Platinum IP3 router to put major event capacity — including two audio and two video control rooms — into a fixed-axle, go-anywhere truck. “Designed for maximum flexibility,” says Eckert, “it can deliver both HD and 4K Ultra 112

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HD, and the IP3 router handles both SDI and IP signals.” As the industry embraces IP, Eckert believes that the element in the transition to IP connectivity and software-defined networks that perhaps gets overlooked is the need to orchestrate the workflows, and in particular to impose broadcast standards onto standard COTS hardware. “Through a number of proofs of concept, we have learned, for example, that our Magellan software-defined network orchestration tool provides the best integration with IT switches from market leaders like Arista and Cisco,” he says. “We talk a lot about IP connectivity, virtualisation and microservices, and softwaredefined architectures, but in truth these are just the engineering underpinnings,” Eckert concludes. “They make practical and commercially viable the real drivers in sport — Ultra HD acquisition and real-time, low-latency delivery to multiple devices from phones to 4K projection.”



Those of us who watch sport primarily via our TV aerials are, it would appear, something of a declining breed. “The transition to the OTT distribution of sports has the widest reaching effects on our business and the sports production sector in general,” says Richard Craig-McFeely. “Fans want to consume all manner of content related to their favourite sport, team or athlete anytime, anyplace, any way. OTT supports this demand and gives a huge range of monetisation opportunities. The experts in OTT are coming to our market in the form of the large content companies who form the FANG group. These companies have high levels of expertise in building OTT distribution networks and there is much the rest of the industry can learn from them.” He goes on to cite an example of the role Interxion has played in delivering personalised experiences to sports fans via the company’s involvement in the Winter Olympics. “Our customer BAMtech — now Disney Streaming Services — provided the OTT distribution services to deliver Discovery/ Eurosport’s Olympic digital coverage across Europe,” he explains. “This marked lots of

firsts for Discovery/Eurosport in respect of the scale and complexity of the distribution challenge. Discovery wanted to localise their fan experience across almost 50 European countries. The content creation and user experience they pulled off was a major achievement. We can expect this to evolve in time for the 2020 Olympics in Japan.” The other key trend that Craig-McFeely sees is the move towards virtualised production, which he believes builds on the concept of remote — or at-home — production. “Remote production is gaining traction due to a number of reasons such as cost control, content production improvements, reducing environmental impact and so on,” he says.“The next step for remote production is virtualised production where all the legacy equipment is virtualised in a highly connected datacentre. Effectively this provides sports production teams with production technology as a service which provides flexibility and scalability. “Watch this space!” he laughs.



IP is rapidly becoming pervasive throughout the broadcast industry — so it’s no surprise when Andreas Hilmer that since last IBC, the adoption of Lawo’s IP-based video, audio, control and monitoring solutions has increased significantly.

“We now have sports-related IP installations pretty much on every continent now, with the exception of Antarctica,” laughs Hilmer. “For example: Belgian production company SiA expanded its existing Lawo-based IP remote production installation for the Proximus League with V__matrix and other gear, and is now also covering the Jupiler League as a remote at-home production. Lawo’s IP technology, including V__matrix, VSM and mc2 consoles, is EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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providing the building blocks of NEP Australia’s Andrews Hubs, which is considered the world’s most advanced and inspiring broadcast infrastructure project today, covering the four most-watched sports series in the country.” According to Hilmer, IP technology will remain the driving factor for shaping future workflows in sports production. Remote at-home productions are, he says, becoming more and more the standard in sports production — and this wouldn’t be possible without IP. “This development is especially relevant for the way OB trucks are designed and built,” he believes.“It’s here that the change in workflows is becoming most evident.” On the audio side of Lawo’s portfolio, Hilmer says that the most significant addition to Lawo’s line-up is the third generation of mc256 consoles. “As well as many other advances in technology, its revolutionary LiveView feature enables thumbnail previews of video streams directly in the fader labelling displays, which is super-handy in sports production with all


its replay machines,” he explains. “Of course, the new mc256 is also prepared for the KICK automated close-ball mixing engine, which contributed to the superb sound experience at the World Cup.” And IBC? “We’ll launch a spectacular new audio product that will push the limits of current console designs to a complete new level,” smiles Hilmer.



For the second year running T VN Mobile Production chose Leader LV5490 test instruments as its master reference during coverage of the UEFA Champions League Final. “We’re very pleased to see TVN achieving ongoing success with its LV5490 instruments which are equally suitable for OB and studio operation,” says Kevin Salvidge. “A crucial feature of the LV5490 is the ease with which it can be configured to match the wide choice of

production standards now being implemented across the broadcast business. These can be selected either at the time of purchase or added as optional upgrades during the proven very long lifetime of Leader products.” Leader introduced four new test and measurement products at NAB 2018, all capable of supporting HDR production in 1080i/1080p HD or 4K UHD. The LV5600 is a true hybrid IP and SDI waveform monitor; the LV7600 is its rasterizer equivalent. The LV5300 is a portable 12G/3G/HD/SD-SDI waveform monitor, while its rasterizer counterpart is the LV7300. The latter are designed for use in 12G-SDI, 3G-SDI, HD-SDI and SD-SDI studios, trucks, postproduction facilities and playout suites. Each continues what Leader says is its long heritage of providing products that support operational and engineering test and measurement requirements within a single instrument. CINEZONE and CINELITE come as standard on both products, as well as new optioned features including eye pattern and jitter measurement, closed-caption monitoring, CIE colour chart, high dynamic range



measurement, built-in test pattern generation, focus assist, customisable layout, tally interface, 4K/UHD operation and 12G-SDI interface. European customers will get their first opportunity to see the new products at IBC where, according to Salvidge, they will see that HDR is no longer the preserve of high end facility companies. “Leader products allow all genres of sports production to benefit from HDR,” he says.



In the last 12 months Limelight has joined forces with DAZN, a live and on-demand sports streaming service and, according to Limelight’s Jonathan Smith, the digital leader in global sports media. “DAZN provides the world’s first pure sport streaming service, providing millions of fans with unlimited access to watch the widest array of live and on-demand sports on virtually any internet-connected device,” explains Smith. “Limelight’s CDN provides the global reach necessary to support DAZN’s expansion. The technical ability of Limelight’s CDN consistently delivers high quality viewing experiences on any device and now enables sports fans to score with DAZN’s streaming service live in five markets across three continents.” Limelight has focused on two important areas since IBC 2017. “Because sports viewers are watching on a wide variety of devices, and are connected to the internet by such a diversity of connection types, Limelight has improved our TCP stack to adapt to connectivity conditions to significantly reduce video re-buffering,” notes Smith. “The other action we’ve taken is that we’ve upgraded our global network capacity to over 32Tbps, enabling the delivery of more live sports streams at higher bitrates. “Viewers who choose your content expect to be able to tune in on almost any device. And when your content starts to become popular, demand may come from all over the globe,” he goes on. “Operationally, you need to be able to convert files into multiple video formats and store multiple versions of all your content. Once you go online, preventing unauthorised access is critical. Finally, regardless of device, when your viewers press ‘Play’, they expect a broadcastquality experience–fast. A global CDN will solve all of these customer challenges.” 114

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Limelight Video Services tackles the challenges using connected-device detection with automatic conversion, which offloads complex transcoding and transmuxing functionality to the cloud, says Smith. “Our densely architected global network, with dozens of global POPs and direct connections to hundreds of access networks at the edge, provides local caching of content for optimum delivery,” he notes “Integrated security services, like DDoS Attack Interceptor and Web Application Firewall, keep your video website protected and available, while SSL and URL tokenisation secures content and prohibits unauthorised access.” Smith believes that the most impactful technologies are those enabling live sports streaming at sub-second latency. Limelight’s Realtime Streaming, using WebRTC technology, will, he says, address a major barrier to greater adoption of online streaming by providing the ability to stream in real-time. “Online viewers will experience the event at the same time, eliminating the significant time delay between traditional game broadcasts and online streams,” he believes. “For markets where in-game wagering is available, real-time streaming will solve a major issue of delay in viewing.” The Limelight solution for media and broadcasters provides the capabilities needed for the next generation of video content delivery and consumption, explains Smith. Video management services incorporate workflow components for live and on-demand video, such as format conversion, device detection, media file replication, content security, and playback with analytics. Limelight’s Orchestrate Platform is designed to provide high capacity and global delivery with no infrastructure buildouts.



There is probably not a sports broadcaster in the world that isn’t actively evaluating the transformative potential of VR — and it’s that potential to which LiveLike is paying great heed. The company partnered with FranceTV Sport and the French Open to create what Miheer Walavalkar describes as a unique and immersive VR experience for the French Open

tennis tournament straight from the ground at Roland Garros. “With multiple setups on several courts, the integration of broadcaster feeds and much more, tennis fans had the ability to see the sport from new exciting vantage points,” he says. “This gave viewers an even greater appreciation for the athletes and an even more immersive viewing experience, including real-time stats and archival highlights.” In addition, LiveLike teamed with a number of global partners to create experiences bringing live and immersive coverage of the World Cup 2018. One example was DirecTV for its Latin America viewers, which allowed soccer fans to watch all 64 matches of the global event in VR from multiple vantage points and access up-to-date stats right at their fingertips. LiveLike also worked with Fox Sports in the US, where it implemented its social connectivity features so those viewers could watch with friends. “We’ve been primarily focused on pushing the envelope in VR,” continues Walavalkar.“For instance, last September was the launch of the social aspect of our application. We’ve refined it a lot in a year, so now, in certain circumstances, you can invite friends into your viewing suite directly from VR. We’ve also experimented with a version that offers 6DOF. “That’s in addition to scaling up to meet the challenge of delivering world class events such as the World Cup, which was was a huge undertaking, but an incredibly rewarding one.”


In a year dominated by the World Cup and the Winter Olympics, it’s easy to overlook the many other fascinating sports events that have taken place. The Absa Cape Epic in South Africa, for example, where LiveU’s LU600 HEVC was chosen to stream live the unique 8-day annual race. LU600 HEVC units were used on electric bikes, an on/off-road motorbike and a helicopter, together with LiveU’s Xtender remote transmission device, providing live HD video coverage from the air. “Feedback was excellent with the Absa Cape Epic organisers delighted with the ‘flawless’ live streams delivered by LiveU to TV and audiences worldwide,” smiles Ronen Artman. “The organisers recorded the highest viewing figures — three times those of last year — in the race’s history.” EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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Or how about the Wings for Life World Run, a global charity event supporting lifechanging spinal cord research projects and said to be one of the most challenging live sports productions? There, LiveU was the key live streaming provider, deploying almost 100 transmitters including LU600 HEVC portable transmission units and LU-Smart mobile apps to live stream the 7-hour annual race taking place simultaneously in 34 locations around the globe. “Undoubtedly, the LU600 4K HEVC solution has been our most important product development of the past year,” says Artman. “The market response has been tremendous, with customers telling us that the quality of their HEVC live video coverage is exceptional, enabling them to replace traditional transmission methods for live sports and news coverage completely. “The emergence of 4K HEVC has had enormous impact, taking live sports and news coverage to a new level,” he adds. At NAB in Las Vegas, Live-U rolled out its professional HEVC 4K-SDI card as an

additional 4K product offering within the reducing turnaround times and providing an LU600 suite, offering what the company improved offering to viewers.” says is the ultimate video performance in live streaming. The LU600 4K-SDI solution facilitates professional 4Kp50/60 streaming for top-quality production, supporting VR and 360 applications.

Marquis Broadcast PAUL GLASGOW


Looking to streamline its sports production and facilitate fast turnaround coverage of the World Cup, Kwesé South Africa has deployed a Marquis Broadcast Medway system. Medway offers integration between incompatible systems in media production workflows and is cloud-enabled, allowing edit while ingest for faster workflow from live feeds. “Medway has dramatically reduced turnaround times of sport content, without the need to update any of Kwesé’s existing editing systems or storage,” says Paul Glasgow. “Kwesé’s new workflow is now used daily,

Following an unrecoverable ISIS outage, Jyske Bank in Denmark have deployed Marquis Workspace Backup to protect their Avid ISIS work-in-progress. is an all-internet TV and social media channel, providing high quality news, financial, lifestyle and locals sports news via a ‘championship channel’. “An ISIS RAID disk failed, and a replacement disk was installed,” notes Glasgow. “Unfortunately — and erroneously — an existing good RAID drive was replaced instead of the bad drive, making a RAID rebuild impossible, and resulting in an unrecoverable loss of data and all media.” With Avid users in mind, Marquis Broadcast has introduced Delta Parking. “Delta Parking

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is a neat way of protecting and versioning Avid projects in Tier 2 or cloud storage,” explains Glasgow. “It’s aimed at productions requiring remote editors and freelancers who need to securely share projects originating from production centres. The clever part is that, once the first full version of the project is uploaded to storage using advanced analytics, we only ever send project changes. So work can easily be shared over slower networks, which is often the case in on-location sports production.” Marquis Broadcast says that it has customers who are implementing hybrid ground and cloud workflows and realising very concrete benefits, including reduction in production times, reduction in cost of equipment, and flexibility in the use of resources.

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feeds and 11 UHD 4K feeds from each of the 12 partnered with CP Communications to come stadiums back to the IBC in Moscow. up with a 4K solution for both bonded-cellular and traditional COFDM coverage of the New York Half Marathon. CP Communications leveraged Mobile Viewpoint’s Agile UltraLink 12G 4K-enabled encoder and Wave Central’s 4K transmitter/encoder/decoder, taking four 3G streams off a 4K camera to create a 12G stream that would transmit over bonded cellular. The company also ran a 4K COFDM at 8 Mb and took a traditional (non-4K) transmit from the cameras.

“From initial test and turn-up through live operations, network management, monitoring, and diagnostics were performed using our ProMD Enhanced Management System,” Media Links notes Payne. “The MDP3020s in each stadium GILL PAYNE featured dual hitless 10Gbps data connections MARKETING MANAGER and were used to control critical slow-motion In June, Mobile Viewpoint was instrumental Many broadcast organisations replays from EVS equipment to football officials in helping live coverage by VRT — the understand the need to and referees in both the stadiums and at the national broadcaster of Flanders — of the transition to IP. They’re often IBC.” Elfstedenronde in Belgium as part of the UCI daunted, however, by how to make the change Europetour Category 1.1. Mobile Viewpoint from SDI. Media Links believes it can help. IBC 2018 sees the company offering MICHEL BAIS “ We’re guiding service providers, broadcasters, streaming companies and MANAGING DIRECTOR broadcasters and studios with our ‘soft-step brands a complete end-to-end online platform SDI to IP migration’,” explains Gill Payne. AI is becoming a central part to create their own web channel, from live to “What this means is that our customers don’t of our lives, and it’s no surprise distribution. have to do a heavy ‘fork lift’ upgrade to migrate to find it being applied in the MOOV their transport and switching infrastructure world of sports production. The products in NEV APPLETON from SDI to IP. They can keep their existing question are IP contribution solutions company DIRECTOR SDI infrastructure and move mission critical or Mobile Viewpoint’s IQ Sports Producer and bandwidth starved feeds onto an IP backbone NewsPilot, which use AI to automate the lowThere are, in effect, two ways one feed, studio, or region at a time.” cost delivery of content from remote locations. of growing your business — “We did this recently at Tokai TV’s Network NewsPilot and IQ Sports Producer enable doing even more of the same, Operations Center in Japan,” he continues, smaller broadcasters and brand owners to or expanding into new areas. MOOV has done “giving them the ability to support higher reduce the cost and complexity of live content both. resolution UHD 4K formats using more production and delivery. “The last 12 months has seen a lot of steady efficient IP workflows. We can also transport “Consistent with Mobile Viewpoint’s full growth at MOOV, not just in numbers but in the full gamut of video formats along with solution portfolio, NewsPilot and IQ Sports new areas of broadcast graphics,” explains Nev legacy TDM-like encoded video signals over Producer meet broadcasters’ requirements Appleton. “One aim was to forge relationships our IP network.” for fast, simple and cost-efficient content with new suppliers, which we have done with Media Links 4K IP Transport Solutions were contribution as they adapt their strategies some exciting results — and in turn, this has used for on-site and remote production of the to meet the rapid rise in online content also enabled us to bring new solutions and 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang. Multiple consumption,” says Michel Bais.“AI capabilities creative ideas to our existing clients.” paths of media transport over an IP backbone help meet these goals more quickly, allowing Since the 2017 UEFA Champions League were accomplished by Media Links’ MD8000 broadcasters to automate production and save Final, MOOV’s 360 VR operations with BT Sport transport systems installed at Olympic venues investment in costly camera crews, production have continued to grow, with live boxing now and flypacks at the PyeongChang IBC and at facilities and distribution platforms.” Targeted becoming a regular feature. studios in the USA. at smaller and lower league sports clubs and “We have a full range of graphics and The MD8000 as well as the MDP3020 also teams, both new products began shipping in workflow solutions that enable fast and played a role in the IP video transport network May. efficient 4K IP operations, streamed direct to for the World Cup, supplying 85 3G/1080i Meanwhile, in March, Mobile Viewpoint any end point,” explains Appleton. “For boxing, 116



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curated 360 works really well with live round “A partnership with ChyronHego and BT infrastructure,” explains Victor Pakhomov. clocks, tale of the tape, channel promos and also Sport proved a great success,” smiles Appleton. “They are available separately, or in ready-to— above the ring — a virtual Fight Night jumbo “HDR will no doubt be playing a big part in the run or ready-to-integrate systems.” screen which shows the main transmission and future, so we will be ready for that.” commentary throughout the fight.”




Over the past year MOOV has also grown its relationship with Avid and has enhanced its team’s skills to work with products other than Avid TD Control. This development has seen the company win a large-scale international news contract using Maestro Live for on-screen, in-screen and multi-studio augmented graphics. MOOV has also secured contracts with other clients for live football and rugby. In May this year, MOOV also provided the graphics for the world’s first live UHD HDR sports broadcast at the FA Cup Final.


Recently-signed SVG Europe sponsor Movicom — its name comes from MOtion, VIsion and COMmunity — develops and manufactures a range of specialty cameras used in live/outside broadcasting as well as in studio production. It is perhaps best known for its Robycam cable camera system, but the company’s portfolio also includes carbon fibre gyro-stabilised and standard Robyhead remote heads, telescopic columns, motion control systems, and a range of electronics useful for building a special camera production infrastructure. “All our products are developed with the larger system in mind and can easily be integrated into an existing or new production system or, for example, as part of a stadium

The Robycam cable camera system provided bird’s eye view images at the UEFA Champions League semi-final between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid at the Allianz Arena in Munich. Meanwhile, at the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon 9 in Tyumen, Russia, Robycam was integrated with CyanView’s solution, which included a Robyhead XS behind-the-goal camera system. In addition to its Products and Solutions business — which has developed the Robycam



aerial camera system, POV/refcams, remote heads, cranes/jibs, wireless cameras, railcams and others — Movicom has a Production Services business, which provides specialty camera services, augmented reality, and a full range of technical, management and creative services for outside broadcast production. “Our key focus is on big international events, host broadcasting and format development, acting as a local partner for international broadcasters and as a partner for local broadcasters abroad,” notes Pakhomov. The past year has seen Robycam Germany established in addition to the company’s Italian office. Movicom is also represented in Japan by Robycam Japan and in China by Lynex Technology. IBC2018 will see the first major European showing of Movicom’s newly-developed Robycam Compact.

MRMC (Mark Roberts Motion Control) STEVE BOLAND


You may not have thought that the Internet of Things (IoT) has much to do with sports broadcasting. Well, you might want to think again. “The functions of media capture devices such as cameras and microphones are evolving to encompass the functions of data capture sensors on a network of interconnected data processing devices,” believes Steve Boland. He could be describing the IoT. Increasingly, the IoT relies on AI and associated technologies such as machine vision. At NAB, MRMC released two new products — Polycam Chat and Polycam Player. Both products use computer vision to drive robotic cameras, with algorithms determining the areas of interest for the camera to follow. In conjunction with ChyronHego’s TRACAB player tracking system, Polycam Player is a stadium solution allowing automated camera angles ideal for analysts at clubs and leagues. Polycam Chat is a standalone system using integrated limb tracking to automate cameras for interview or studio applications. Both systems allow fully manual operation via a joystick), fully automated using tracking data or a mix of simultaneous manual and auto tracking for a higher level of augmented human operation. 118

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MRMC’s robotic cameras have featured extensively in a broad range of sports events over the past 12 months. The William Hill World Championship Darts at Alexandra Palace was the culmination of a year of Sky Sports darts events using them, with the three-week event producing around 80 hours of live television and MRMC providing robotics for five camera positions. Other projects have included extreme remote control of its robotic Pod solutions for events such as the Winter Games, where the operators were based over 80km away from the camera — but still able to catch a speeding bullet on the rifle range. MRMC solutions were also deployed at the Australian Open, Fina World Swimming, FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon.



The Israeli Public Broadcasting Company was among the many clients worldwide to whom MX1 delivered the World Cup in UHD HDR, while the company was also instrumental in ensuring that live coverage of the Giro d’Italia’s three-day visit to Israel was distributed to a global audience. “Moreover,” according to Dana Dar, “MX1 has helped customers such as Amazon Prime Video unlock new revenue streams with innovative live sports coverage.” The past 12 months has seen the company launch its MX1 360 online booking tool, which is designed to help customers manage, deliver and monitor their sports content, whether it’s delivered by satellite, fibre or IP. “With MX1 360,” says Dar,“rights holders can be more efficient and transparent in all of their delivery needs thanks to a cloud-based UI that is easily accessible from anywhere.” MX1 is also launching a new live sports media asset management system that it believes will streamline how its clients manage and repurpose live content for increased monetisation, publishing opportunities, and fan engagement. “In addition,” continues Dar, “MX1 is continuously improving our existing products, and the latest version of the MX1 360 live edit tool includes multitrack editing and live clipping, which allows editors to combine clips from different matches and swiftly create highlights, on the fly, in a live environment.”

Dar says that her company is seeing more and more remote productions taking place, especially in sports, together with more distribution over IP. “As infrastructure and technology improves, and content owners feel increasingly confident with distribution over IP, it is becoming more important to manage and monitor feeds remotely,” she says. “We can fully support this with our MX1 360 cloud-based management service, which enables content owners to have full transparency of their feeds and deliver live sports content in a cost-efficient manner.”



When Univision Deportes hosted its fourth annual Sports Awards show ‘Premios Univision Deportes’, which celebrates the accomplishments of great athletes, footballer was unable to attend the ceremony to receive his award as Mexican National Top Team Goal Scorer. No problem. Ncam and Vizrt worked with Univision Deportes on a groundbreaking effect to ‘teleport’ him from Europe onto the stage during the show — in front of a live audience — using the Ncam Reality camera tracking system, an HD camera on a TechnoCrane, and Vizrt graphics production systems.

“The result was a chorus of “Wows!” from the audience in the studio who were watching on monitors,” smiles Mike Grieve. “and lots of positive social media feedback from viewers at home while the AR shot was taking place during the live broadcast.” The teleportation effect was apparently so successful that Univision Deportes is now using it for a number of other sports shows. “This AR effect not only enhances the production values of sports shows with visually astonishing effects,” says Grieve, “but also increases fan engagement with the shows.” EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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Grieve alludes to his belief that sports broadcasters are in a constant ‘battle for eyeballs’ — but that the virtual sets used to capture viewers don’t look entirely realistic. “We launched some new products at NAB 2018 that make great strides to bring a far more naturalistic look to AR in sports studios,” he notes. “Real Light is designed to solve the common challenge of making virtual graphics look like they are integrated into the real-world scene, capturing important elements of realworld lighting — direction, colour, intensity and so on — and rendering those elements onto the virtual graphics in real-time. It creates the right shadows and allows objects to react ‘naturally’, adapting to every lighting change.”

Resourcing broadcast coverage of major sporting events is a huge challenge — but how huge is it? Well, for the Winter Olympics alone, NEP provided no fewer than 400 employees — 300 on the ground in South Korea and 100 throughout Europe — to custom-build the International Broadcast Centre, broadcast from 17 venues, and support on-site video displays at 27 locations. NEP also provided 50 unique remote commentary feeds and live and augmented studio support so the broadcasts could be seen and heard in multiple languages as the action unfolded. Discovery used NEP’s cloud-based Mediabank workflow solution to ingest, tag, edit and distribute content from 50 live feeds to a dozen European viewing markets, through their social media channels and on their websites. Also during the past year, NEP and Tata

Communications successfully completed the remote production and broadcast of VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL) for Star Sports. The 2018 VIVO IPL season was Star Sports’ first since it acquired the global media rights for US$2.55 billion for the next five years. This marks the first time, it is said, that a sports series of IPL’s scale has been produced remotely in India by harnessing superfast connectivity. NEP has also supported a broad range of premier annual events like the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia and the FIFA World Cup in Russia. The company was also at Wimbledon; having only just covered the royal wedding in UHD/HDR, two trucks headed off to SW19 in London for Centre Court and Court Number 1 coverage of Wimbledon. The four newly built scalable IP flypack systems were brought together to form the core of the system supporting WBS host coverage as well. According to Paul Henriksen, IP has been a big enabler of greater flexibility for NEP’s latest OBs and flypacks in the UK market. (June saw his company unveil Venus and Ceres, NEP UK’s latest outside broadcast vehicles and its

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first to be SMPTE ST 2110-compliant. NEP says they form the core of what will be the world’s biggest IP-based broadcast system.) “For a system as large as Wimbledon, IP has helped to reduce the setup/rig time of the system over SDI,” he says. “Additionally, we see the need to help content producers ingest, synthesise and manage their content so they can distribute it almost immediately, anywhere, on any digital platform. That’s where NEP’s Mediabank comes in.

“We’ve seen growing demand for our Mediabank media asset management cloud-based workflow solution and remote commentary services,” continues Henriksen. “In addition, we launched the innovative Andrews Hub for centralised production; new Swedish 4K UHD OB; two UHD/HDR OB trucks in the UK; four flypack systems and RF Supermo camera, among other innovations throughout our global network. “Our recent investments in the RF department have resulted in numerous new systems, which include an RF triple speed camera with low latency link for use on live events being deployed at racing events and football in the UK and similar tests in the US and Europe,” he adds.



Are you familiar with the term ‘industrialised TV production’? Well, you are now. It’s how Net Insight describes the change it sees in the TV industry, in which optimising workflows and streamlining operations for better resource utilisation and a consistent product is key in a distributed environment. “To fully exploit the promise of ST2110, production workflows need to implement solutions over WAN,” believes Kristian Mets. “Net Insight enables plug-and-play ST2110 services over WAN.” Developing the theme, Mets describes how, in what he describes as a unique collaboration 120

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with Grass Valley, Calrec and Riedel, Net Insight is showing yet another level of centralisation in IP ST2110 remote production. “You can make your remote site a plug-andplay implementation to minimise the need for people on-site,” he says.“You can put your CCU centrally, mix the audio centrally and create an intercom solution — all based on ST2110 to save even more on gear and people.” An intercom solution was part of Net Insight deploying its media transport platform Nimbra, connecting 19 football stadiums to a main central location for a centralised VAR system integrated with an intercom service. VAR networks, notes Mets, is a trend that is taking off globally and fits the Nimbra platform very well. In another example of remote production, Gearhouse Broadcast chose Net Insight’s Remote production 2.0 solution for its Australian remote broadcast centre located in Melbourne from early January 2018, facilitating remote production for rights holder Seven Network, during the Australian Open tennis tournament. “Net Insight’s Remote production 2.0 enables a best-in-class and end-to-end controlled solution over any network and bandwidth, introducing efficient workflows resulting in significant resource savings for both large and small live events,” says Mets. “During the Australian Open, more than 80 feeds, including live camera, video audio, intercom and data feeds, were transported between venues, Gearhouse Broadcast’s remote broadcast centre, and client premises in Melbourne.”


it profitable to cover what is a small-audience sport in Denmark with a minimum crew onsite and back in the production facilities,” explains Olivier Suard. A Nevion IP contribution solution was also chosen by Synterra Media, the Russian provider of telecom services for TV production, broadcasting and entertainment media businesses, to deliver all broadcast signals from the 2018 FIFA World Cup IBC to the Russian rights holders, as well as a number of media and broadcast organisations from other countries. The SDN solution, under the control of Nevion’s VideoIPath software, used Nevion’s Virtuoso Software-Defined Media Node platform for securing transport of HD and 4K Ultra HD with JPEG2000 encoding. VideoIPath, Nevion’s orchestration and SDN software, and Virtuoso, its software-defined media node, have been the focus of product development over the past 12 months. “Both are designed to take advantage of the convergence of LAN and WAN, which makes remote or distributed production much easier,” says Suard. “Recent VideoIPath developments include a continued enhancement to its workflow planning and control capabilities, as well as the ability to control data transport over media networks — for example, for large media file exchange, without disrupting live streams.” Recent Virtuoso developments include audio enhancements, such as any-to-any conversion, and routing and processing of individual audio channels, and support for BISS-CA encryption for strengthened security for live content transport.



A growing challenge in the industry is how to cover minority interest sporting events profitably. That’s a challenge that Nevion rose to when, after what the company says was an in-depth bidding process, Nevion was chosen by STV Denmark to provide an SDN-based remote production solution with its VideoIPath software in control of the network, and Nevion’s software-defined media node Virtuoso providing JPEG 2000 IP WAN transport with FEC protection. “The solution allows STV Denmark and technology provider HDR Denmark to optimise the workflows in a way that makes



The eSports industry has rapidly grown into a multibillion-euro global phenomenon and continues to capture viewers in this fast-growing market, notes Liam Hayter. The basis of viewing for eSports fans will be different to a traditional television experience, he believes, as they demand a greater level of interaction, from player stats to replays, to audience tweets, to comprehensive levels of engagement. Another distinctive aspect of eSport events, he continues, is the potential for massive numbers of input sources required for the event — which is where IP comes in to alleviate difficulties such as scan EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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conversion, cabling, poor video resolution and frame rates. “Recently,” says Hayter, “NewTek has been supporting the e-gaming industry with NDI. NDI technology allows video sharing across standard networks by identifying and communicating with all devices on the network, and then encodes, transmits and receives high quality video and audio in real-time. NDI is also bidirectional, and the result delivers entirely new workflow possibilities that are not available on traditional broadcast video equipment.” NewTek sees a future in which NDI will continue to shape sports production workflows. “The integration of IP technology in broadcasting was moving slowly until the ratification of ST 2110 at IBC last year,” adds Hayter. “Since then, we’ve seen more interest not only in 2110 products, but also in NDI products and workflow.” IBC will see NewTek showcasing what Hayter describes as “an unprecedented array” of IP video products, technology, virtualised control room software and 4K workflows to Movicom for two.pdfall-1 guide customers to aSportTech completefinal end-to-end,

IP video production solution. “NewTek’s recently launched LiveGraphics Connect Spark Pro, NC1 Studio I/O IP Module and Remote Storage — Powered by SNS will all be on display,” he concludes. “There will also be demonstrations of the Viz Mosart, Vizrt’s studio automation solution, with TriCaster TC1 and NewTek IP Series live production systems.”



It is, of course, a matter of speculation as to when UltraHD/4K will be considered ‘mainstream’. While UltraHD/4K TVs have been flying off dealers’ shelves, available content could be said not to have caught up. For the broadcast industry, however, there is little doubt: UltraHD/4K resolution is the future, and now is the time to prepare for it. That’s certainly the case for NTT, whose single chip HEVC HC11000E/HC10000D encoder and decoder support 4K/UltraHD 60p 4:2:2. 13/07/2018 “It’s been 12:25 a good year for us, because

we’ve taken products that were already very strong — and made them even stronger,” says Marco Fabi. “We continuously improve our product offering with superior picture quality and high performance using super low delay functionality.” NTT’s encoders and decoders proved themselves at the World Cup in Russia, where they provided video contribution in UltraHD HDR. Fabi sees the migration from HD to UltraHD as “obviously” important, and also notes the work that NTT is doing to support IP-based workflows — support that he says will include enhancements. The HC11000E and HC10000D will, inevitably, be a key focus for NTT at IBC, where the company is planning to demonstrate new ‘multi-channel encoding’ functionality for the units. Fabi adds: “We’ll also be showing a totally new mid-range HEVC 420 encoder — the MVE7000 — and decoder, the MVD7000. Beyond that, we have some exciting new cutting edge technology that our colleagues in NTT R&D will be showing off.”

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See us at IBC 2018, booth 12.G67 121



assets to partners across the globe. The Ooyala BELSASAR LEPE Flex Media Platform was used to increase FOUNDER AND CHIEF productivity and reduce manual effort, TECHNOLOGY OFFICER providing a scalable foundation for future “Live sports is not the Olympic events.” impenetrable moat it used to Ostmodern be, as far as protecting the traditional pay TV TOM WILLIAMS bundle,” believes Belsasar Lepe. “More and CEO more of these precious rights are jumping to different formats to find audiences that have Differentiation is the basis no interest in sitting down for a live, 2-3-hour of competitive advantage. sporting event. This has specific implications Having great content is only on sports production workflows.” the beginning; increasingly, it’s how you create Ooyala Flex Media Platform, unveiled in multi-dimensional storytelling that can prove April, is designed to respond to this change. to be decisive. “The ability to create a variety of renditions of a “Broadcasters and rights holders need to single sporting event and to track engagement define and differentiate their digital offerings across each format requires more flexibility in clearly to an increasingly tech-savvy audience the underlying production platform, as well who demand services that curate rich media to as a stronger focus on analytics to understand tell a story, whether that be the live stream of a what’s working and what’s not working,” race, an audio feed, or a podcast,” believes Tom he continues. “Ooyala Flex Media Platform Williams. “Audiences and fans want a narrative — which is an open and extensible video to follow that goes beyond video, drawing production and delivery platform that simplifies together storytelling with data, audio, text and and streamlines the process of managing, images.” curating, orchestrating, publishing, analysing, Ostmodern’s own Skylark headless CMS and monetising video content — provides was created to enable the design and curation the tool-kit to do this at scale, and to then of rich media products, and Williams is excited leverage these insights to further automate by how it has grown over the past year. the workflows which bring sports content to “It enables content owners to focus on engaged audiences, regardless of the format or delivering their content through a powerful time of day.” API, allowing that content to be brought to their audiences, wherever they are, in ways that suit the audiences themselves,” he says. “Skylark was designed to solve the challenges that broadcasters and rights holders now face when delivering content directly to audiences. “We’ve also been working on a service that can take live data in a single connection and relay it to a significant number of users who are viewing that data at a unique point in At the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in time,” adds Williams. “The service is designed PyeongChang, Ooyala helped Intel as the to scale horizontally as the number of users company continued to revolutionise and increases. We plan to be talking about this more reinvent the way fans interact with sports. At extensively soon.” the event, Intel supplied True VR and True View Williams notes that AR and VR are still young, footage live and on-demand from across all the and are perhaps not yet ready for prime time in venues and sports to Olympic Broadcasting sports viewing. AI and machine learning, he Services’ host broadcaster operations, as well believes, also show promise. as for the Olympic Channel, and for the rights “Examples of this may include understanding holding broadcasters from across the globe. more closely what viewers want to watch from “The challenges were massive, and the analytics or even generating clips and other timelines were short,” says Lepe. “Ooyala digital content for social and OTT consumption. technology was integral to the entire process, The key issue will be about how AI is used from managing metadata to publishing the alongside human editorial work,” he says. 122

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“This year Panasonic celebrated its 30th anniversary as a TOP sponsor for the Olympic Games and official worldwide Paralympic Partner,” says Oliver Newland. “As a technology provider, we delivered a wide range of solutions and equipment for staging the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.” “Multi-video distribution systems and 360-degree cameras were adopted in the competition venue on a trial basis as part of the company’s new initiatives towards 2020, hosted in Tokyo,” he continues. “Panasonic’s P2HD broadcast camera system was also chosen as the recording equipment for Olympic Games.” The past year has seen the introduction of the AK-UC4000 studio camera system, which Newland says has become Panasonic’s flagship studio camera. Capable of capturing a 4K image with high sensitivity and low noise, the UC4000 can handle simultaneous SDR and HDR outputs, a functionality that Newland says was particularly requested from the sports production market. It will also have the capability to output a 4K signal from its 12G-SDI outputs, and this will soon also be complemented by a future SMPTE 2110 Media over IP upgrade path from the same CCU. Panasonic has also recently developed a partnership with IMT Vislink to offer ‘FocalPoint’ camera control compatibility. “It is this tie-up with Vislink that creates an end-toend video capture, transmission and receiving workflow for various broadcast applications,” explains Newland. “It also means that 4K wireless transmissions become a reality for both ENG and sports broadcasting.” For Newland, 12G is a trend that he believes is definitely helping shape sports production workflows. “Even if the switch to IP workflows has started,” he says,“SDI remains the standard, and 12G is the way to go to carry uncompressed 4K signals at the moment — and this is supported via both our 4K studio cameras and box cameras in order to allow them to be easily integrated into current workflows.” EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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Pebble Beach Systems MIROSLAV JERAS


As the broadcast industry is rapidly recognising, one of the key benefits of IP is interoperability — and it’s that benefit that Pebble will be focusing on at IBC. Under the banner ‘IP in Action’, the company will demonstrate straightforward connectivity across multiple IP standards with what it describes as best of breed solutions. Showcasing SMPTE 2022-6/7, SMPTE 2110 and NDI standards in a playout chain architected especially for IBC, and featuring vendors including Arista, Embrionix, AJA, Viz, Tektronix and Newtek, Pebble’s IP Playout Pod is the latest initiative from the automation, workflow and playout specialist in this space. “Pebble has long been regarded the expert in playout automation, with solutions encompassing ingest and playout automation as well as complex file-based workflows,” says Miroslav Jeras. “As broadcasters seek to transition to IP architectures, they are


understandably seeking to work with those vendors who can demonstrate working solutions and who have experience in this space. With a number of high profile installations and a proven managed migration path, Pebble is ideally placed to share our expertise with media companies who are investigating this path. To this end, we’ve drawn together a high profile group of vendors and are proud to showcase them on our stand.” The company will also be present with playout and channel delivery demos on the Arista stand, and at Cisco, where Pebble will be receiving ST2110 signals, processing them, adding graphics, and putting them back into the network. In addition, Pebble will also be showing what it says are some exciting new enhancements for Dolphin, its integrated playout solution, that delivers highly automated integrated audio, video and graphics functionality for ingest, channel branding and frame-accurate multichannel playout. The new functionality will include simplified graphics workflow tools and new shared storage options.



There can be little doubt that PLAZAMEDIA’s biggest success of the past year has been its announcement that it is creating a new broadcasting centre that will open in time for the new Bundesliga season. “It will make PLAZAMEDIA the first playout provider in Europe to have a fully IP-based solution, which is unique in this form,” says Jens Friedrichs. “We are leaving behind the world of conventional broadcasting centre technology altogether, consciously opting against a hybrid solution and creating the most modern and future-proof system conceivable. This is a logical choice that provides us, and our customers especially, with the greatest possible flexibility and scalability. Our broadcasting centre has up to 17 multi-purpose operating rooms which effortlessly bring whatever service is required directly to any workstation at the touch of a button — simply select a task profile. Our customers can book a service at



any given time and we can provide it without complications or added effort.” Friedrichs is a firm believer in IP-based systems, with their scalability and flexibility, noting how the technology transcends any physically defined infrastructure. “Once an IP-based infrastructure like our new broadcasting centre is up and running, features and components can be added and extended as required,” he explains. “For instance, a new IP-based production management function can be directly and seamlessly integrated into the existing infrastructure. “That is one of the main reasons why we opted against a hybrid solution,” he adds. “Their scalability makes IP-based systems especially future-proof.” Freedom from the constraints of proprietary architectures is something that Friedrichs especially relishes. “We worked with Nevion and Lawo,” he says. “That let us explore new territory while developing our system. We no longer had to compromise and choose between options; we could use the best products of both providers and integrate them into one solution.”

Qvest Media DANIEL URL


Anyone doubting the reality of IP may want to tour the Sky Sport HQ in Munich. There, international systems architect Qvest Media has installed an extensive IP-based routing infrastructure, providing almost 1,600 video and more than 15,000 audio connections. “We created one of Europe’s most advanced broadcast infrastructures with unparalleled production scope which we accompanied through the entire on-air process,” notes Daniel Url. Qvest Media also provided a large live centralised production platform for German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF before and during the Football World Cup in Russia. “Most of the equipment had already served well at the Winter Games in PyeongChang, which was another major sports highlight earlier this year,” says Url. “A special challenge with the Winter Games was the extremely short planning and lead time. Following the award of the project, we had less than four weeks in which to agree technical details with ARD and ZDF, plan deployment and make the 124

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logistical arrangements for the delivery of the system components.” For Url, centralised production as represented by his company’s involvement in Russia and South Korea, is one of the technology trends that’s doing the most to shape sports production workflows. What else does he see as potentially influential? “AI technology certainly has the capacity to make the future of live sports broadcasting become less dependent on human operators,” he believes, “relying nearly entirely on autonomous machine learning systems that provide the analytical base for sports commentary.” “In addition,” he adds, “cloud-based production, OTT and IP-based technology will also do a great deal to shape sports production, making it more flexible and cost-effective or allowing entirely new business models — as well as many other benefits.” And what are Url’s plans for IBC? “We’re planning a big surprise,” he laughs. “Stay tuned!”



2018 was a record year for Royal Ascot in terms of global distribution, with viewing available in over 200 countries plus the extensive terrestrial coverage by ITV in the UK. RaceTech provided full OB coverage for the dedicated racing channel Racing UK and several international media platforms. RaceTech’s pictures were also available to ITV Racing, who aired the entire meeting on the main terrestrial ITV channel. “With over 75 personnel on-site, RaceTech delivered a wide range of services to our customers including race coverage, Racing UK and other international presenter coverage, full integrity services and pool radio camera,” says Kate Hills. “We also provided racecourse TV production and facilities, zoning, live streaming and press conference facilities. Other technical services we provided included photofinish and starting stalls.” RaceTech was similarly present at the other two key events of the horse racing calendar — the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Grand National. Over the past 12 months, RaceTech has continued to refine and augment the solutions

it offers. Examples include touch screen replay systems to enable races to be replayed by racing guests and officials on bespoke touch screen panels, and the development of drone camera coverage in live horse racing. The company has also integrated and developed fixed unmanned mini-cameras to enhance racing, with positions around the course and behind scenes areas. RaceTech, who, in the 1940s, developed photofinish technology, supplies pictures from its OB units for terrestrial and satellite broadcast, and provides coverage of every horse race run in Britain for the sport’s integrity service. The company provides a range of technical and broadcast services to the horse racing industry, as well as to the wider public and private sectors — from cameras and full broadcast services to building and maintaining the complete digital library of every horse race in the UK.

Reality Check Systems MIKE WARD


Few would dispute that change is not only a factor of life in sports broadcast — it also seems that the pace of that change is accelerating. Mike Ward has a perfect example. “Cloud and IP production is not only changing workflows, but it is enabling people who would otherwise be unable to afford to create a quality production to not only create but also distribute their content to a global audience,” he believes. “There is a big increase in demand for live sport and content among the various digital platforms including the likes of YouTube, Facebook and Twitch. With our partners Grabyo and their amazing cloudbased video editing and distribution platform, we are now operating at the cutting edge of what modern technology in sport production allows. For example: using Grabyo and Singular, a single operator can sit in front of their laptop, cut and mix video signals from multiple sources and add live animating broadcast quality graphics in real time, distributing a produced feed to multiple platforms. That simply would not have been possible a year ago.” The partnership with Singular.Live — a cloudbased graphics authoring platform that allows users to create, control and playout broadcast quality graphics from a web browser with no hardware, software or downloads — has, says Ward, been the major development of the past year. “We envision Singular becoming the EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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industry standard for adding overlay graphics to live streams,” he remarks. The past year has also seen the BBC going live with RCS’s LaunchPad football interactive analysis tool. LaunchPad not only updates with Opta data in realtime, it also contains several sections, including Twitter integration and Headlines, that allow the editorial team to create graphics and discuss things other than football. The BBC were able to use LaunchPad for their Commonwealth Games and World Cup coverage.



Over the past year Red Bee Media has provided Dutch national broadcasters NPO and NOS with full Ultra High Definition and High Dynamic Range footage of the FIFA 2018 World Cup. The company also managed the broadcast of the 2018 World Championships in Hockey for MTV Finland, including studio facilities, sports production system platform and live channel operations.


Red Bee Media also provided access services in the UK for the C4 transmissions of the Paralympics, delivering live sign language translation, audio description and live captioning — making C4 the first in the world to deliver a completely accessible Paralympic Games, says Eriksson. “Red Bee Media has a proud history of providing media services in sports including, broadcasting services for live sports events and providing state of the art visual effects with Piero Sports Graphics,” says Reine Eriksson. “That history [includes], for example, launching Europe’s first UHDTV channel in cooperation with BT Sport in 2015. The solution included media management, playout and MCR for five linear channels, compliance with VOD channels, dynamic advertising, live and pre-recorded captioning, audio descriptions and graphics.” Also thanks to Red Bee Media, McDonald’s restaurants throughout Sweden showed all the 2018 FIFA World Cup games. The games were streamed in HD quality, enabled by Red Bee Media’s Managed OTT Services. The feeds

were up and running only a few hours after McDonald’s greenlit the project. “Remote production, along with automation in all parts of the workflow, will most likely be very influential in sports production the coming years,” believes Eriksson.“Another major trend, as seen in the World Cup, is Video Assisted Referee, which will be deployed in more and more sports. Red Bee Media has provided these services for soccer and ice hockey for years and we now can see these services expanding into additional sports that rely on referees for fair play.”



When AMP Visual was designing its two new stateof-the-art 4K and HDR OB vans, the company turned to Riedel. “AMP Visual needed a flexible and reliable broadcast infrastructure that would remain future-proof, especially as the company’s broadcast clients continue to migrate toward fully IP-based



operations,” says Christian Bockskopf. “To meet these requirements, AMP Visual partnered with Riedel to design and deploy a communications and signal transport backbone based on Riedel’s MediorNet realtime media network.” Following on the successful deployment of MS12, AMP Visual launched its newest van early in 2018. “Millenium 6 is an all-new 4K HDR OB van that boasts an unprecedented combination of technology, aesthetics, and ergonomic features designed to give production teams maximum power in minimum space,” adds Bockskopf. “Designed to handle most major productions, Millenium 6 features a modular design and mobile partition system adapted from MS12 to enable flexible workspaces.” Projects realised with these OB vans include the winter games in South Korea, Le Mans 24 Hours, the Europa League finale in Lyon, and the Tour de France. Introduced at NAB, and receiving its European premiere at IBC, the new 1200 series SmartPanel redefines how a keypanel should look and feel, according to Bockskopf. “It adapts easily to the various workflows in use today,” he says. “This new panel represents a quantum leap forward in workflow flexibility, power, and connectivity, and is poised to allow users to work the way they always have while opening up entirely new possibilities.” Software-enabled hardware is still a key part of the many changes that are happening today in the broadcast business, Bockskopf believes. “The big advantage of softwareenabled hardware, besides cost-effectiveness, is that clients can get a license for exactly the functionality that they need,” he notes. “Riedel has been supporting this approach for several years, both with the SmartPanel user interface and the MediorNet MicroN device.”



It’s widely reported that millennials value experiences over possessions, so it’s no wonder that, in order to deliver those desired experiences, venues are having to up their game. “The whole issue of workflow control has really come to the fore over the last 12 months,” says Simon Hawkings. “We’re seeing sports stadia becoming increasingly ambitious with 126

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their match day productions and we, in turn, are being asked to control an ever-larger number of third party devices — such as pyrotechnics, water features and lighting — in addition to the usual graphics and display boards. We’ve also seen stadia installing larger and ever-more unusually shaped displays, which obviously poses a challenge in terms of graphics rendering and image processing. In fact, we actually developed a product to deal with this issue. Couple all of that with increasingly dynamic graphics content, and it’s been keeping our engineers busy.” In Ross Video’s case,‘busy’ certainly describes the past 12 months. Among many other projects the company has undertaken installations at the Mercedes Benz stadium in Atlanta, LA FC and the San Antonio Alamodome in Texas. “Elsewhere in the world,” continues Hawkings, “a notable highlight was the work we did at the Adelaide Oval stadium in Australia, helping KOJO — the content producers — to run their ribbon boards and all digital signage with our XPression Tessera product. We also did a lot of work this year with FC Basel in Switzerland helping them to revamp their match-day content and refurb their control room.” Hawkings believes that prospective customers aren’t always aware of the breadth of his company’s capabilities — making IBC “a great showcase”, he says. “Having bucked what seemed to be the trend at NAB by us actually announcing new products at the show, you can expect us to be launching some more significant developments in the realm of production switchers, robotics, graphics and infrastructure at IBC,” he concludes.



If you’re a sports broadcaster it’s one thing having almost unlimited data available from providers such as OPTA, points out Luke Harrison. The challenge is how to get this data on to the screen in a dynamic and informative way that adds value to viewers. “We’ve made it easy to allow customers to integrate real-time data into graphics from whatever format, whether XML, RSS or others, at the design level so that graphics always go to

air displaying the latest data with a minimum of user intervention,” he says.“This could be either as standard overlays in game, or as augmented reality (AR) tables or team sheets in the studio, or heat and pass maps. That gives producers a raft of options to keep viewers engaged during breaks in the sporting action.

“Augmented reality graphics during the action such as virtual advertising or distance markers are also becoming more common,” he adds. “As well as the Dubai World Cup, we’ve had other successes in horse racing with events such as the Grand National and the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe — as well as in other sports such as virtual place markers and flags for swimming races, meeting the challenge of keying graphics onto water.” In Dubai, RT Software products were used to generate virtual distance and finish lines as well as jockey silks on the track. Meanwhile, beIN Sports Thailand became one of the first users of RT Software’s new tOG-Sports AR for its coverage of the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga football coverage at the start of last season. “They love the ability to add in match telestration graphics and, from the same system, insert augmented reality graphics such as league tables, head-to-heads and virtual video walls into the studio show — without the need for expensive camera tracking technology,” says Harrison.



Over the past year, Signiant says it has made significant advances with all of the company’s three products — Manager+Agents (for system-to-system file movement), Flight (for file movement into and out of the cloud) and Media Shuttle (for person-initiated file movement) — that are designed to move large files with speed, reliability and security. EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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Manager+Agents now offers improved Flight and Media Shuttle integrations, enabling Manager+Agents to better connect with Signiant’s SaaS products for automating cloud workflows as well as system-to-person workflows. Now faster, with extreme multi-Gbps transfer rates, Flight also offers more flexibility, making it much easier and seamless to integrate with existing tools and workflows. The 200,000+ Media Shuttle users worldwide now benefit from new capabilities including expanded foreign language support to Japanese; content protection to create ‘for your eyes only’ encrypted transfers; and system-to-person Automation API which allows the automation of deliveries to and from Media Shuttle end-users via third party systems including MAMs/DAMs. “Signiant technology works behind the scenes at most of the world’s major sporting events, powering the content supply chain that enables broadcasters to bring video content to the billions,” notes Greg Hoskin. “Signiant technology is sought out when sending large


files over IP networks, especially over distance. Our secure, accelerated file transfer solutions come into play as soon as recording begins and are used throughout the life of media files.” Hoskin sees the continued move to 4k/8k, the evolution of VR/AR and the growth of OTT as interesting trends, while he believes that cloud initiatives and security remain on everyone’s mind. Given the nature of the company’s business, it’s easy to understand his enthusiasm about the future. “Of course,” he says, “much of that means bigger files and more complex workflows — making Signiant’s technology an even more critical part of operations.”



The past year has seen SIS LIVE achieve what the company believes may be a first… The event in question was the muchanticipated ‘heavyweight unification’ boxing match between the UK’s Anthony Joshua

and New Zealander Joseph Parker, which saw Joshua beat Parker via a unanimous points decision — the first time in 21 paid bouts that Joshua had been taken the distance. The fight also represented another first: it was the first world heavyweight title fight in the UK country between two unbeaten champions. But neither of those are the ‘first’ in question. For the broadcast from Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in March, SIS LIVE provided the services for Sky Sports, the UK host broadcaster; Matchroom Sport, the world feed distributor; and PSSI Global Services, which oversees transmission services for Showtime Championship Boxing. “What’s interesting is that the connectivity services for this fight helped to enable Sky Sports to become what is generally considered to be the first broadcaster to air a pay-per-view boxing match in Ultra HD for Sky Sports Box Office,” explains Dave Meynell. Ultra HD, he believes, is firmly established as a mainstream production format and rapidly gathering pace in terms of home viewership. “Arguably — to some — HDR looks set to have



an even greater impact on end-users,” he notes. “Fortunately, SIS LIVE is perfectly placed as a provider of services and support for either.” For Meynell, the most important product development of the last year has been the continued expansion of SIS LIVE’s fibre-based Anylive network. “Anylive has proven to be extremely popular and, as a result, our already extensive network continues to grow apace,” he says. “Through Anylive SIS LIVE now provides permanent low-latency video, audio and data transfer connectivity for more than 130 sport and entertainment venues throughout the UK and Ireland, ranging from Premier League football stadiums to TV studios. That offers exciting new options for creative production. And,” he concludes, “we’re still growing.”



According to Henriette Sæther, traditional broadcasts have always relied upon expensive and cumbersome operator tools and graphics engines, alongside skilled operators, to provide live production graphics. This represents a challenge, she says, when broadcasters are looking to scale their productions, especially for multiple outputs in different languages and regions. “Over the last 12 months we have been continuing to develop and enhance Ease Live Cockpit — a web-based tool that works seamlessly with existing workflows as it utilises cloud-based rendering and is not dependent on specific hardware or SDI video connections,” explains Sæther. “Cockpit controls and triggers Ease Live features within a programme, instantly taking graphics on-air, with preview and live on-air monitoring. Varying sports logic and rules can also be configured in Cockpit to prepare automated graphics generation for multiple games across a number of different sports. Cockpit includes the ability to configure pre-built design components in the Ease Live library for different types of programmes. The flexibility of Cockpit means that it can be used standalone for OTT, or in collaboration with other graphic control systems.” Ease Live is designed to enable viewers to personalise their TV experience and provide them with new ways to engage with their screen of choice. In the past 12 months, Sixty launched Ease Live alongside a major sports 128

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league based in the United States, with the objective of enabling broadcasters to respond to an increasingly mobile-first world. “We started the project by developing a number of design alternatives and creating a roadmap of compelling user-triggered interactive on-air graphics,” says Sæther.“Some of the features that we deployed included interactive score bug, play-by-play highlights during the game and offering the ability for fans to dig deep into team and player stats — as well as getting the latest scores from other games.”

GbE interface, allowing networking with other servers in an NLE environment. “It also has built-in networking transfer and game analyser options,” adds Vitiorets, “with a separate multiviewer, support for Super Motion cameras and DMR for direct recording of native NLE files with Prores 422, DNxHD, XDCAM50, or AVC Intra 100 codecs. It can also be used as an 8-channel VAR system.” IBC will see showcase both new and upgraded products, such as the Dominator AT/12G server, which the company says is the first 4K server to allow simultaneous recording of six channels, search on all channels and IGOR VITIORETS playback of two channels with transition CTO effects. Also on show will be videoReferee-V, For the Final Four stage of the updated in accordance with new football VAR CEV Volleyball Champions requirements. League 2018 in Kazan, a SmartCart SVX combination of’s Simple R servers GIL COWIE and Panasonic AK-HC5000 4X Super Motion CEO cameras was chosen for the broadcaster’s OB on the basis of functionality and affordability, Described as the world’s first according to Igor Vitiorets. The company’s mobile daylight touchscreen videoReferee VAR system was also chosen for broadcast system, SmartCart a friendly football match between Russia and SVX is developing in two directions, according Turkey. to Gil Cowie. The first sees its functionality continue to be enhanced. “There’s also the uptake in a variety of production applications that change as conservative production models are challenged or augmented by more adventurous producers responding to the new more demanding audiences,” he says. “What it provides to sports producers is a safe, secure and proven route to introduce innovative elements into their coverage. The past year has seen introduce “Importantly, what we offer is the prime a number of new products. “We made replays product alongside all our operational and truly affordable by introducing the most production experience — including training powerful and cost-effective 4K server, the SSD- and assistance, and guidance with developing based Fulcrum AT/12G,” notes Vitiorets. “It’s suitable content to take advantage of the equipped with universal 12G/3G/HD/SD SDI medium for any given scenario. The technology video interfaces and allows recording of four on its own will not win fans on to a channel.” channels, simultaneous search on all channels In the current rapidly changing broadcast and playback of two channels with transition sports environment, with lower budgets effects: 4 Record +4 Search +2 Play + FX. It also per event and cutbacks, Cowie believes that records 4K ProRes QuickTime files for editing.” producers are demanding more production The company also announced the Arrow-II value for less. 662, which it describes as a broadcast grade “That’s exactly what we strive to deliver SD/HD/3G server that supports simultaneous for our clients, and to provide that rolled recording of seven channels, search on all into seamless turnkey provision and support channels, and two playback channels with throughout,” he says. “SmartCart SVX and transition effects. The 2U server also features SmartPad Pro are primarily production tools a redundant power supply option and has a 10 without the usual integration, technical EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


Sponsor Update

set-up, and trouble-shooting and logistics headaches. We’re essentially a ‘one stop shop’ for aspiring sports producers, whether they be in the conventional broadcast sports or in the OTT space. We open up new opportunities for increased fan engagement and understanding of the game.” Feedback from fans has, says Cowie, been very positive — and, he notes, SmartCart SVX and SmartPad are also powerful sponsorship tools. “The opportunities are currently opening up for OTT clients to raise the bar and deliver production quality differentiators and on the spot live interaction from the venue at attractive cost levels while keeping costs and resources well under control,” he concludes.



Getting repeat business is a sure sign of a job well done — which is why, having used sonoVTS to provide Equipment Room Containers (ERCs)


for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, HBS decided to use the company again for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. “We actually started getting the containers ready just after IBC 2017 by, among other advancements, upgrading them to produce simultaneous 1080p, UHD and 4K HDR video signals,” says Toby Kronenwett. The Winter Olympics also kept sonoVTS busy. The company provided the entire operational facilities for ORF, the Austrian broadcasting company, including production links to at least 10 venues. sonoVTS provided mixed-zone connections; the studio connection to Austria House; interview zones; plus all IBC operational facilities including the monitor wall, voice-over technologies, edit suites linked to the venues, and master control room. It’s also been a year in which Kronenwett’s company has developed a heightened awareness of a key factor in IP-based networking. “In talking about our products and displays, we found that, in the emerging IP production environment, multiviewer latency is crucial,” he explains. “Of course, we knew

that — but we perhaps weren‘t fully aware of just how much a deal breaker it is in IP. Latency — or should I say too much of it? — in an IP-based production workflow is a deal-breaker. Fortunately, it also brightly illustrated that we have incredibly fast, low latency displays, which explains why they‘re so popular.” For sonoVTS, IBC will not be so much about new products — although it will be announcing some enhancements — as the company’s focus on modern workflows. “We’ll be concentrating more how we do things and why it’s important,” notes Kronenwett. “It makes more sense to get our message across by focusing on the workflows that our displays enhance in contexts that everyone can readily identify with.”



Following on from a successful deployment last summer at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia, Sony was



selected to provide Venue Production Services to Host Broadcast Services at this year’s FIFA World Cup. Sony delivered both the HD and 4K HDR production at all 64 matches. “Ensuring the smooth technical delivery of some of the biggest sports events this summer was a huge and exciting task,” says Nicolas Moreau. Earlier in the year Sony was at Roland Garros where France Télévisions deployed Sony’s HDC-4300 system cameras to deliver simultaneous production in 4K, HDR and HD from the central court. The PWS-4500, Sony’s 4K live production server, was also utilised in the infrastructure for 4K ISO recording. Another deployment that excited Sony was the IP Project with France Galop, the governing body of French horse racing, who chose Sony’s IP Live production system for a complete renovation of its prestigious Longchamps Racecourse, allowing for greater flexibility and sustainability. Notes Moreau: “Nowadays, most projects feature a strong IP element or have IP at their core.” Beyond IP, Sony says virtualisation and cloud services constitute another big direction for the company and will, it believes, change the game in live production. Sony’s claims its Virtual Production Service, a cloud-based production service that it says negates the need for expensive on-site infrastructure, means that live production will never be the same again. Virtual Production is designed to give content creators on-demand access to a wide range of best-in-breed studio tools — helping them to produce, edit and deliver better-looking content across all platforms at any time, and from any location.



For many of us, events like the FIFA World Cup or the Winter Olympic Games happen over a brief period — to be experienced and then filed in the memory banks until the next one. That’s not the case, however, if you’ve been entrusted with the logistics of these and other high profile events — as SOS Global have been for many, many years. Michael Tenenbaum, picks up the story. “PyeongChang was an interesting challenge, since it was really a project that lasted two years and started immediately after the Rio Olympics 130

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finished,” he explains. “The entire IBC was dismantled and prepared for the sea freight transfer from Brazil to Korea — around 300 x 40 foot containers. We also had the express part of the project — air freight. That saw us flying some 160 tons into Incheon; most of the cargo originated in Europe and the USA.” Not all logistics exercises are created equal, however. According to Tenenbaum, Russia was challenging in a different way. World Cups differ from the Olympics, he says, by being a decentralised event — which has an organisational impact. That’s especially the case in countries like Russia, where distances between venues are somewhat long and complicated by an enclave like Kaliningrad between Poland and Lithuania. “For that reason, we started to design our logistics two years before the actual event by building geographical cluster management hubs that would coordinate and control our SOS Global VLMs (Venue Logistics Managers) stationed in every stadium and, of course, the IBC,” he explains. “However, the implementation of the SPSE (Special Procedure for Sport Events) by the Russian government did facilitate a smooth customs clearance process. During the preparation period, the SOS Global team soaked up the knowledge to handle the process perfectly. That resulted in a huge and successful advantage during the World Cup. SOS Global moved around 1 million kilos between international and domestic transfers for the event.” It’s not just been the Winter Olympics and FIFA World Cup that have kept SOS Global busy over the past 12 months, however. The company has also provided its freight forwarding service to broadcasting companies around the globe for a wide range of events, including the Women’s Tennis Association Tour 2018 — for the second year in a row — which saw no fewer than 58 events in four continents. For the Giro d’Italia, SOS Global provided logistics services for the high profile start, which was held for the first time in Israel this year. It might seem that there are no clouds on the horizon — but that’s not entirely the case. Specifically, Tenenbaum is concerned at the scarcity of freight space — a major challenge where time-sensitive shipments are concerned. “Demand far exceeds supply,” he notes.“Not only has that seen freight rates rise dramatically, but it’s also getting increasingly difficult to get air- and sea carriers to respect firm bookings.

No less difficult has been explaining to our clients why we’re having to raise our prices. Hopefully the coming year will see us return to a better balance between supply and demand.”



Achieving one first in a year is special — but achieving two is remarkable. From the coming season, virtual advertising by Supponor can be used regularly in live international broadcasts of Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 matches. Spectators and TV viewers in German-speaking countries will not notice any changes, but existing physical advertising boards will be able to be altered individually through a digital overlay of the transmission signal. In cooperation with Lagardère Sports, Supponor has, it says, become the first and only company to pass the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga quality check. The aim of the assessments is to test whether the image quality and technical integration of the overlaid images into the base signal are guaranteed under live conditions. Then, in June, the Football Association (FA) marked a world first by deploying Supponor Virtual Replacement Technology on the LED perimeter signage to target different worldwide broadcast audiences in England’s match against Costa Rica — the first time anywhere that an international federation has deployed Supponor’s virtual LED technology in full live, commercial use. The advertising seen on the LED perimeter boards in the broadcast coverage was completely different in America, Europe and Asia to the messaging on show to fans in the stadium and across ITV’s domestic UK coverage, and enabled the FA to sell more ad inventory on the same spots.

“We recently introduced Supponor NSA (Natural Scene Augmentation), for when the requirement is to virtually overlay or augment naturally occurring elements at an event such as the pitch, court or track itself or areas surrounding the field of play,” says David EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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Patton. “It can be used to place or replace authentic virtual paint on playing surfaces or virtual 3D boards or 2D artwork within the broadcast visible programme, without the need for specially modified surfaces or camera optics.” NSA requires less physical hardware and is simpler than Supponor’s premium DBRLive (Digital Billboard Replacement) technology.

attract and engage younger fans,” says Morris. “The project is indicative of how broadcast is evolving because the brand wants to build on its incredibly loyal existing fan base through technology and content experiences that help it pivot to become an entertainment brand.”

Tata Communications BRIAN MORRIS


Fan-centred, sticky and datadriven. Those are the kind of experiences that sports organisations are looking to leverage from their content assets, according to Brian Morris — and that’s what Tata Communications is looking to help its customers achieve. “Recent highlights include our partnership with the European Tour to help it make the most of its golfing talent and content assets to

He notes another key development as being the growing interest in remote and cloudbased production and asset management to remove production siloes and streamline asset management. “We recently partnered with Star Sports on remote production for the VIVO Indian

Premier League 2018,” adds Morris, “and are also working with Primestream to deliver enterprise-grade Media Asset Management in the cloud.” According to Morris, the industry is focused on extending emerging content platforms like virtual reality through live experiences. “Tata Communications and Formula 1 tested truly live 360° video at the 2017 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix to explore how the technology could bring fans into the trackside action and feel as though they are there,” he says. “Ultracast also uses Tata Communications’ Ultra Live Video Delivery Network to bring its live 360° video and VR content from sports events globally to fans’ smartphones, tablets and VR devices in complete sync with live TV broadcasts. “The digital transformation drive means a focus on end-to-end efficiency to deliver complex, data-heavy and latency-sensitive experiences,” Morris concludes. “Given that every millisecond counts, the focus is squarely on making production and workflows fast and efficient.”

Your mobile studio at the game. EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018




and Whitelight,” he notes. “It gave the full view of Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral in the COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR background, which couldn’t be seen from any Name a sporting final and the other broadcaster’s studio at the same venue.” chances are that Telegenic were Telestream there. The UEFA Champions CHRIS OSIKA League Final, the FA Cup Final, the Super CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER League Final, the Champions Cup Rugby Bilbao, the Challenge Cup Rugby League Final The World Cup saw Telestream and the FIFA World Cup Final have been some and Aspera help FOX Sports of the events the company has helped facilitate achieve live@home/REMI over the past 12 months. And that’s not to production over unmanaged internet. “It was,” mention Six Nations Rugby for the BBC and says Chris Osika, “a game changer for FOX ITV, European Football for BT Sport and all the Sports’ production operations and highlighted PPV Joshua fights for Sky… the strengths of a partner solution that we For the FA Cup Final Telegenic participated introduced last IBC. Telestream technology in an industry first by providing the feed for was used in World Cup production operations the first-ever live broadcast to mobile in HD by numerous broadcasters worldwide. Our HDR for BT Sport and UK mobile operator EE. workflow automation, UHD/HDR encoding Like many others in the industry, Telegenic has and distribution for OTT delivery, stream been covering an increasing number of events monitoring and analytics and cloud offerings in UltraHD. were all put through their paces by the demands of this event and helped our customers deliver more of the highest quality content to their audiences.” The solution Osika refers to enabled FOX Sports to achieve near live production at home in an incredibly cost-efficient way, he claims. Downstream workflows were able to start immediately, shortening the production cycle and giving content increased value. “The FOX Sports production team told us that they were editing growing files in Los “That saw us introduce our fourth UHD Angeles about 14 seconds behind live in Russia, truck into our fleet,” says Eamonn Curtin. editing in place in Adobe Premiere,” adds Osika. “We’ll continue with our trusted and reliable He says that his company is seeing a real technical solution and equip it with a quad need for comprehensive ABR monitoring and SDI layer, GVG SAM Kahuna Mixer, 3G HDI- analytics. SDI router complemented with Sony 4300 “Again and again,” he says, “sport media cameras. We’ll also develop and enhance our has experienced the pain of offering live sports remote production capability, as demand for coverage OTT, only to have network issues this will undoubtedly increase.” compromise the viewer experience. In live Meanwhile, Curtin is looking forward to IBC sports especially, viewers demand real- or nearwith anticipation. “It will be great to see the real-time delivery and want the highest quality next generation of UHD/4K/HDR cameras to possible. Telestream has technology that is see what’s available — and any kit that will helping content and service providers ensure make connectivity for remote more affordable,” that their operations are functioning optimally he says. “There are also exciting new products and, if not, pinpoint issues and address them to enhance productions such as virtual reality quickly. This is proving to have tremendous and 4D systems.” value for our customers.” He sees augmented reality as holding At IBC, Telestream plans to showcase significant potential for the future. “A great the intersection of new technologies and example of this was ITV’s studio coverage deployments with real-world impacts. from Moscow for the FIFA World Cup, which “As media companies seek to create new we facilitated along with Gearhouse, Deltatre business models and operational efficiencies,



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integrating multiple vendors in environments from on-premise to cloud-based and virtualised, they’re finding ways to control their quality of service that were previously unimaginable,” concludes Osika.



Proud of being Australian, Telstra has a strong global presence, particularly in the rapidly-growing markets of the Asia Pacific region, where the company has over the past year worked on major sporting events in Australia and Asia, bringing high value live sports content into and out of Europe from the Asia Pacific region. “We also completed our first full year of providing content contribution services to Perform Group for the Women’s Tennis Association global tour, covering over 50 WTA tournaments around the world,” says Trevor Boal. “We launched the Telstra Distributed Production Network to enable remote production workflows for our sports customers, and also launched Netcam, our miniature live camera for tennis, at the Australian Open, followed by Netcam appearances at the French Open and Wimbledon.” Our Telstra team has grown in Europe over the last 12 months, with the opening of a new Paris office, investments in the Telstra Global Media Network points of presence in Europe, and the addition of broadcast solutions architects and sales team members in London, Amsterdam and Paris.” Boal explains that Telstra’s Distributed Production Network is designed to help broadcast customers meet the rapidly growing demand for live content by offering access to its high capacity, low latency, multi-tenant network of scale.

“The Telstra DPN enables sports customers to produce live broadcasts at a distance from the actual event by sending multiple raw EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018

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camera feeds, audio and equipment control signals at the lowest possible latency over the Telstra DPN network back to centralised production hubs,” he notes. “In Australia, the DPN network connects 29 sports venues across metro and regional Australia, and supports multiple channels of uncompressed linear contributions traversing our network from sporting venues up to 3,500 kilometres away from remote production hubs in Melbourne and Sydney. Internationally, Telstra and NEP have run successful trials between Sydney and Los Angeles, and a further trial is planned between Sydney and Tokyo.”

that’s certainly something that Chris Sarson identifies. “People want to work in different ways,” he notes. “The result is that we’re constantly reviewing the equipment we own, and maybe looking to purchase — but purchasing those large investment items is getting more difficult as we seem to be moving away from the onesize-fits-all large building block that we have had for the last few years. “We’ve been part of productions in a traditional OB environment for a number of years, who recently have made the push to go remote,” he continues.“They’ve needed a push to make them reality and to get everyone’s buy The Collectv in, but some of the leading sports broadcasters CHRIS SARSON have some exceptional in-house talent. This MANAGING DIRECTOR talent has been driving manufacturers to As broadcast technology develop their products in a way in which they develops, it’s inevitable that it work for them. We’re also seeing technology enables new ways of working needing to be triggered by production input. — and substantially increased opportunity for This could be anything from viewing rushes, the flexibility to do things differently. Perhaps to ingesting PSC/ENG camera files, to Tricaster one of the most significant emerging trends systems capable of numerous processes all in Telegenic_Sports Journal_Autumn_2018 copy.pdf is the desire for remote Tech production — and one box.” 1 13/07/2018 17:01


The last 12 months has seen The Collectv working on its first Winter Paralympic Games with Whisper Films, producing Channel 4’s coverage, and working with NBC for the second time on the Winter Games themselves. “The scale of this project is the largest we have undertaken as part of NBC’s team,” says Sarson. “We had to deliver to NBC their numerous strands and deliverables while working alongside many different vendors and suppliers. Technically, this was one of our most successful games, with the general feeling that the technology and integration worked more successfully for production than ever before.”














Although the company was founded in 1991 — and has since grown to 51 locations worldwide, with its solution built in to more than 140 sports and entertainment venues across the United States — 2018 marks video solutions service provider The Switch’s IBC debut. There, the company plans to highlight its international network reach, value added services The Switch At-Home, The Switch Studios and The Switch OTT, and will be demonstrating its customer control software, SwitchIT. The Switch currently provides video switching and local fibre circuit services, satellite services, scalable Ethernet, and ‘HomeRuns’ remote production via its FiveNines service across North America, the UK, France, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Earlier this year, The Switch introduced The Switch Access, a service that allows customers to connect to The Switch network from anywhere

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in the world utilising a broadband internet connection. Once connected, customers can access The Switch’s 800+ community of content producers as well as services such as The Switch At-Home, The Switch Studios and The Switch OTT. “From a sports perspective, if you have a very remote sports production, and/or a onetime event, but you want to have access to The Switch and have access to all of the customers that are tied to The Switch community, you can do it,” explains Nicholas Castaneda. “The Switch can set you up on a moment’s notice and provide you with the ability to still leverage the community. The Switch Access is going to really propel international growth for The Switch.”

In March, The Switch supported the PGA Tour’s World Championship in Mexico City, providing a full complement of video and data services via The Switch Mobile, The Switch’s fleet of remote production trailers. In June, the company installed a 200Mbps Ethernet circuit for customer Univision, from Moscow to Univision’s Miami headquarters in support of World Cup 2018 coverage.

Timeline Television DANIEL MCDONNELL


For high profile, prestige events — like the World Cup, for example — it’s often as well to do a practice run ahead of time. That thinking saw Timeline partner with BBC R&D, prior to working with BBC Sport to deliver the competition live in UHD HDR , to run various trials including York City Rugby Club and The Royal Wedding, using the Sony 4300 HDR camera and PXW-Z450 HDR camcorder. March saw RMG and Timeline delivering what the latter describes as “the most


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innovative Dubai World Cup broadcast yet” with the help of more than 50 production and support staff at Meydan and 20 camera operators. The company launched two 4K UHD RF uplink trucks in May 2018 to support clients’ growing 4K requirements. “Timeline’s first 4K uplink truck completed over 80 outside broadcasts in its first year, including three months in Mallorca for ITV’s Love Island,” says Daniel McDonnell. “RF2 and RF3 have been designed and built by Timeline Television and incorporate the very best 4K technology from manufacturers across the industry. “We’ve also worked with suppliers to developed 4G mobile solutions to enable our clients to deploy low cost remote OBs,” he continues. “This enables complex OBs to be delivered without the need for an OB truck onsite. Timeline can also deliver remote IP talkback and reverse vision.” McDonnell believes that Sony adopting the ST-2110 standard and dropping their own NMI standard was a key factor in the industry rallying around SMPTE-2110.


“Sony, EVS and other large noteworthy blue- environments during fast-paced, high-pressure chip companies now supporting ST-2110 means television productions,” says Mark Davies. we will be able to implement their products easily into our IP system in UHD2,” he says. “It has allowed us to buy products that will interop together and also buy with the confidence that our products will be future-proof.”



More outside broadcasts means more outside broadcast trucks and facilities — and more opportunities to equip them. Space, though, is always at a premium. That’s been the experience of TSL Products, whose MPA1 1RU audio monitoring solutions are lightweight and compact, with a depth of only 100mm. “The MPA1 range is used by NEP UK and All Mobile Group in the US to cover live sporting events, providing monitoring and mixing solutions for effectively managing both IP infrastructures and traditional broadcast

Additionally, the PAM2-IP unit — which is SMPTE 2022-6 and 2110 ready — was deployed by China Central Television Network (CCTV) to assist with its coverage of the Winter Games held in PyeongChang, South Korea. CCTV installed the PAM2-IP at its Beijing headquarters to better monitor the facility’s IP and 4K-based master control and live production infrastructure, as well as for use by the field team, who used the unit to support remote IP transmission. Timeline UK has also been using TSL’s



flagship PAM2 MK2 in its RF1 uplink trucks for many years, and has purchased another unit for the company’s latest truck, which was at the Champions League Final in Kiev where the unit provided critical Dolby Atmos decoding. In terms of new product announcements over the past year, Davies is most excited by his company’s PAM-IP audio monitor. “The PAMIP is receiving a massive amount of interest from Sports broadcasters, OB suppliers and facility houses alike,” he says. “It was used in major sporting events over the summer, including Wimbledon and the FIFA World Cup, where sonoVTS supplied several units to clients covering the tournament. The PAMIP is suitable for use in both IP and non-IP infrastructures. We’ve now added Ember+ to the control protocols it supports, allowing the units to become IP system edge devices.”



The industry is racing to embrace remote production, it seems, but some observers have highlighted potential drawbacks. “We see increasing demand for remote productions at big events,” confirms Wolfgang Reeh. “But remote production depends on the availability of stable fibre connections and their price — so in our opinion, it’s not always sensible to undertake a production remotely just because it’s technically possible. “Another trend in technology development is IP-based production equipment,” he continues. “Working with SDI or HD-SDI on a BNC cable was quite simple compared to working with an IP signal on an RJ45 cable. With IP technology, the broadcast market will experience the biggest change in its technical history. For the first time, a cable connection between equipment will become really complex, and there is a need for education and training for almost all broadcast engineers. Because all of this, IP needs more time to play a major role in outside broadcasting.” The past year has seen TV Skyline introduce a new production vehicle, the G10 — also known as The Gallery. “Whenever there is the need for a lot of space for large and complex tasks, the G10 will complement any OB van,” says Reeh. “With a completely new space concept The Gallery offers ideal conditions for creative crews. With its three control rooms — two of 136

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them are combinable — two entrance areas and an additional meeting room in 65 square metres of creative space, the G10 offers a perfect working environment. It represents a new era in outdoor production.” In addition, the G10 can host 22 48”- 65” UHD displays; a 128 x 128 3G monitoring router; and 4K multiviewing. Completely UPS-protected, it also features underfloor heating and six air conditioning units.

Among the year’s highlights for TV Skyline was the deployment of its UHD-capable OB8 in Köln for the EHF Handball Final Four.



It seems as if almost everyone in sports broadcasting faces the same challenge: how do we cover more live events for less? It was trying to respond to that somewhat universal requirement that led TVU Networks to introduce three new products. The first is TVU Producer, a cloud-based remote production solution that does not need expensive hardware, software or training, and that allows the very rapid production of multicamera live events for social media and web streaming platforms. TVU RPS (Remote Production System) is designed to allow broadcasters to l e ve r a g e t h e ir existing TV studio infrastructure and a public internet connection from any venue to deliver frame accurate switching and stable streaming for up to six synchronised HD SDI video signals with a latency down to 0.3 seconds. It was used to

cover a live football game in partnership with betevé, a local TV station in Barcelona, and the production company Lavinia. The objective was to replace the use of mobile units with the TVU RPS encoder, allowing the production to be remotely controlled from betevé’s studio, where the RPS decoder was located.

“TVU RPS is a cost-effective alternative for remote live video production, as it not only removes the need for an OB van, it also requires a simple public internet connection to deliver frame-accurate switching and stable streaming for up to six synchronised HD SDI video signals, with a latency down to 0.3 seconds,” explains David Jorba. “As a result, the football game was successfully streamed live online both on the betevé website and FC Martinenc’s website with major production cost savings.” The third new product, TVU Timelock, was developed for customers already using TVU One, a small, lightweight, IP-based HD video field transmitter. Timelock allows synchronisation of multiple TVU One feeds at a set latency, allowing mobile and wireless at-home productions without being tethered.



V-Nova has made what it describes as a number of major enhancements to its nextgeneration PERSEUS compression technology over the past year that the company says further optimise the delivery of live sport all the way from remote production and contribution through to distribution to consumers.

“At NAB our P.Link contribution encoder received a best-of-show award for the efficiency gains it made thanks to the introduction of AI and machine learning at the heart of the PERSEUS Pro codec on which it is built,” says Guido Meardi.“This means we can now deliver EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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visually lossless, intra-only, 4kp60 sports contribution feeds at as little as 140 Mbps — which many broadcasters still require just to deliver HD with legacy JPEG-2000 solutions.” With its PERSEUS Plus distribution codec, Meardi notes that his company has ‘onboarded’ more encoder and player partners and further productised its SDKs, making it easier than ever to deploy to any device today. “For sports,” he continues, “our ability to encode live high frame rate (50/60fps) HD at under 3 Mbps and UHD at under 10 Mbps enables sports broadcasters and operators to launch economically feasible streaming services today. Furthermore, even with the significant increase in video quality, the efficiency of PERSEUS Plus also reduces headend CAPEX and OPEX.” According to Meardi, the steadily falling costs of UHD production and the rapid increase in market penetration of 4K TVs in the home is driving increased demand across the ecosystem for 4K delivery. “However,” he concludes, “with the substantial increases in bandwidth

requirements that change incurs, the video compression used becomes a major barrier to the rollout of the services consumers want to see. From V-Nova’s perspective, these trends are what have driven a tremendous increase in demand for our technology this year, both from traditional sports and the emerging hyper-scale eSports platforms.”



There are those who are uncomfortable with the progressive encroachment of technology into sport, especially where it disturbs the flow of the game — as with VAR in football, for example. There can be little doubt, though, that technology is capable of greatly enriching the fan experience, bringing new dimensions, understanding and, critically, engagement. Augmented reality is a classic example. “In today’s tech-rich society we understand that sports fans are eager to interact and share

their experiences at the stadium,” says Vincent Loré. “By pairing augmented reality (AR) with ultra-high definition, we are working with La Maison du Handball in Créteil to develop opportunities for fans to not only be a spectator, but also a teammate — to be a part of the action.” Loré is passionate about the transformative potential of AR for sport, and how it can deliver an enriched and highly personalised experience. He notes how sports organisations are on a constant quest to get closer to their fan bases, strengthening the bond between the two — and how AR can allow that to happen. “When connected to the stadium’s network, fans can use their smartphones to view certain angles and areas of the playing field to see the player’s viewpoint first-hand,” he continues. “Fans can also customise how information — player statistics, profiles and so on — is superimposed in real-time, as well as tour behind-the-scene areas of the stadium they otherwise would not have the chance to. The fan experience can be extended far beyond what happens during the match.”


“From the biggest, hardcore fan to an occasional visitor,” adds Loré, “we feel that our work with AR allows stadiums to strengthen the bond between players and clubs/federations with their spectators.”

Flex 4K high speed cameras, and a Spydercam system. “We also supplied flyaway systems for the Caribbean Premier League Cricket,” adds La Motte, “which involved flying two sets of equipment — each weighing 10 tonnes — Video Europe around the islands.” RICHARD LA MOTTE Providing OB facilities for Cricket Ireland’s TECHNICAL DIRECTOR first ever test match against Pakistan in Dublin, There are few companies out and for Scotland’s match against Pakistan in there who don’t like to be Edinburgh, were almost certainly easier. able to claim a ‘first’ — and VIDI Video Europe is no exception. With its newlyROBERT OSZVALD launched OB7, Video Europe says it has the DIRECTOR, EVENT SERVICE first UHD HDR OB facility to fully support Arri Amira cameras, offering a cinematic experience This year’s FIFA World Cup was to a live production. among the most geographically dispersed ever — from Moscow to Sochi all the way to the south, Yekaterinburg in the east, Saint Petersburg to the north, or Kaliningrad in the west. “To ensure that it all worked, the VIDI team installed and thoroughly tested the adaption technology in advance in all 12 match venues,” says Robert Oszvald, “as well as in the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) in Moscow.” “Video Europe are one of the largest suppliers After more than two years of intensive of Arri cameras and PL mount lenses in the planning and meticulous preparations, the VIDI world, so when it was decided to build a new advance party made its way to Moscow in early OB vehicle it made sense to bring digital cinema May to begin the construction and operation into live OBs,” explains Richard La Motte. of the contribution network for live broadcasts OB7 is designed to work in both HD-SDI starting in June. and UHD-SDI. In order to route UHD-SDI the “Engineers reported the enormous network 2 Sample Interleave (2SI), outputs from the was ‘ready for service’ only two weeks later,” camera CCU (ARRI or Sony) are gear-boxed Oszvald smiles. “The installation and set-up of using a Ross Ultrix, converting the 2SI signal to the network was once again a mammoth task. UHD-SDI and then routed as UHD-SDI using a A complex network topology with the provision second Ultrix. of double signal paths was set up as a fail-safe. “The main problem then is to find enough This meant that, in the event of problems, it was equipment manufacturers who support UHD- possible to switch to the backup channels using SDI,” remarks La Motte. hitless switching technology without viewers Video Europe chose a SAM Kahuna 2ME noticing anything.” vision mixer as this comes with HD-SDI As Oszvald notes: every goal, every pass and and UHD-SDI inputs and can carry out any every save went through the IBC, together with necessary up/down conversions within the extensive file services. unit. With the Fusion4 option, it can also “This is a challenging task for the VIDI process HDR formats. engineers,” he says, “who are tasked with Bringing a new OB truck onstream is only one handling the signal transmissions sent from the of many achievements over the past 12 months, individual stadiums to the IBC and forwarding though. For example, the company supplied a them around the globe to the many rights cricket flyaway system for the Nidahas Trophy holders.” held in Colombo between Sri Lanka, India and The video and data adaption technology set Bangladesh. The production consisted of 20 up in the IBC consisted of 20 MD8000 and 12 Sony HDC-4300 system cameras, Phantom MDP3020 Media Links devices with a total of 138

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804 video ports and 128 1G data ports. Video signals were broadcast in 1080p and UHD and, occasionally, even in Super Hi-Vision (8K). The network was integrated via 104 redundant 10G connections.



The large majority of companies well understand that their aim is to support their customers’ success — and it seems Vizrt has been achieving that. “Both the Olympics and the World Cup were major events for us this year,” says Richard Einstein, “and both events allow our customers to shine using our tools, especially when it comes to using AR. Discovery took AR a step forward with their Cube studio that utilised AR mixed with surrounding video walls — all using Vizrt graphics tools.” Just before the World Cup, Vizrt launched Viz Libero AR which Einstein says combines the analysis power of Viz Libero with AR graphics, facilitating a new way for sports presenters to tell the story and engage sports fans. This, he notes, has been adopted very quickly by sports broadcasters such as Sky Sports Germany and Televisa. Vizrt was also part of the IIHF Hockey World Cup, producing virtual ads rink-side during the games.

Meanwhile, on the product development front, the company claims Viz Libero AR was a major leap for sports analysis and storytelling. Vizrt is also undertaking continuous add-ons to Viz Eclipse, with a major new version coming out this year. Viz Eclipse is Vizrt’s field-side board virtual replacement tool that allows sports rights holders to virtually replace and regionalise ads during a live match. Einstein believes that both AR and VR are now in the mainstream, with broadcasters and rights owners employing the technology for live sports coverage and analysis shows. As AR tools become easier to use and more sophisticated in the presentation capabilities, he thinks we’ll only see the trend increase. EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


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“Right owners moving to digital is also having an impact with sports production workflows,” adds Einstein, “with more rights owners needing to move to IP and cloud-based workflows, plus the necessity to be able to manage vast archives of footage.”



Few doubt the growing importance of social media in sports coverage, so it comes as little surprise that one of Wowza’s highlights of the past year was to see Turner Sports using Wowza ClearCaster and Wowza Streaming Cloud simulcast for the pre and post-game NBA coverage to social media, streaming on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Much of the company’s focus is on Wowza Streaming Cloud, with the recent launch of

an Ultra Low Latency capability. “The Wowza Streaming Cloud service with Ultra Low Latency is a live video streaming platform and API for creating tomorrow’s streaming experiences, delivering high-quality, ultra low latency capabilities at massive scale,” explains Brad Wright. “This revolutionary service combines a powerful developer toolkit; enterprise-level stability and uptime; and interactive capabilities, with sub-two-second latency.” He goes on to note that one of the new capability’s goals is to minimise the end-to-end video latency between broadcaster and viewer and reduce the frequency of buffering, allowing users to reach any desktop or mobile device with lightning-fast video through a service that dynamically scales without additional configuration. “Users can also leverage robust APIs and SDKs to quickly build and deploy live video applications with real-time interactivity and ultra-low latency video delivery,” Wright continues, “enabling them to deliver consistent user experiences across a wide

range of devices and apps around the world to audiences of any size.” Intelligent monitoring and optimisation identifies potential issues and proactively adjusts to maximise quality and reliability, while self-healing and auto-scaling are designed to deliver reliable playback service using Wowza Player and Wowza GoCoder.

“What we provide is unprecedented visibility, insight and control throughout the entire streaming workflow, from ingest to playback, allowing users to anticipate, tune and optimise their workflow,” concludes Wright. “Built and managed by the streaming experts at Wowza, we deliver world class performance, enterprise-level redundancy, and maximum stability and uptime.”

THE OUTSIDE BROADCAST AND FLYPACK EXPERTS From state-of-the-art OB trucks to scalable flypacks for deployment anywhere in the world, VE Live can provide the complete solution for your production.





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ADI TV 101 Aerial Camera Systems 12 AJA Video Systems/Phosphor 14 Alston Elliot 103 Akami Technologies 17 AMP Visual TV 105 Arkona Technologies 20 Arqiva 23 Aspera (an IBM company) 23 Avid Europe 24 AWS Elemental Technologies 27 Axon Digital design 27 Blackmagic Design 29 Broadcast RF 107 Broadcast Solutions 31 Broaman 33 BSI 31 BT Media and Broadcast 33 Calrec Audio 35 Camcat 35 Camera Corps 109 Canon Europe OBC CenturyLink 36 ChyronHego 37 Clear-Com 37 Cloudian 39 Cobalt 41 Comcast TechnologySolutions 41 CTV Outside Broadcasts 111 Deltacast Developer Solutions 42 Deltatre 43 DigitArena SA â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Dolby Laboratories 1 ES Broadcast 43 Euro Media Group 2 Eurovision 45 Evertz 45 EVS Broadcast Equipment 5 FinePoint Broadcast 113 Fletcher 115 FOR A 46 Fujifilm 47 Gearhouse Broadcast 7 Genelec OY 47 Globecast 50 Grabyo 51 Grass Valley 11 GTT 51 Hitomi Broadcast 117 Imagen 53 Imagine Communications 15 Interxion 53 Lawo 54 Leader Europe 55 Limelight Networks 19 140


OB/SI/Other Gold Gold OB/SI/Other Gold OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Gold Platinum Gold Platinum Gold Gold Platinum OB/SI/Other OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Platinum Gold Gold Gold Platinum Gold OB/SI/Other Gold Platinum Gold Gold Gold Platinum



Daniel Gray +44 1772 708 200 Matt Coyde +44 1483 426767 Gina Georgallis +44 7984 143 056 Neale Connell + 44 1442 234531 Paul Bushell +44 1784 225518 Jerome Dugast +33 6800 77904 Rainer Sturm +49 1728640605 Matthew Neale +44 330 303 6707 Lisa Borga +44 203 651 2846 Keri Middelton +44 1753 658628 Simon Frost Geert Jan Gusson +31 161 850 452 Mel Atherton +39 6824770 Chris Brandrick +44 1322 520202 Peter Jakobson +49 6721 40080 Tine Helmle +49 89 899 964 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 60 Tony Valentino + 44 1923 233406 Felicity Webster +44 1977 598694 Kevin Emmott +44 1422 842159 Alexander Brozek +43 6606677501 Barry Parker + 44 1932 336052 Blazej Klacansky +44 7969 343 752 Claire Taylor + 44 330 608039 Mark Gederman +1 401 7870120 Bob Boster +1 510 735 1847 Jennifer Lynn Bob McAlpine +1 631 9888033 Josef Fleischmann +44747045831 Barry Johnstone +44 208 453 8989 Erik Kampann +32 474 542 374 Marco Fama +39 011 384 18344 Veronique Haluska +41 2772 35355 Miriam Wright Terry Murphy +44 1923 650 074 Sophie Joduin-Lund +33 684819588 Agnieszka Czerska +41 22717 2111 Mo Goyal +1 905 335 3700 Sebastien Verlaine +32 4 97434244 Giles Bendig +44 1737 370033 Richard Hingley +44 1753 576 861 Peter Hattan + 44 7860 958955 Marc Homer +447825982586 Siobhan Murtagh +44 845 820 0000 Howard Jones +44 7825 570085 Bazeli Mbo +33 (1) 5595 2604 Aaron Duckmanton + 44 203 745 6566 Jan Pieter Van Welsem +1 530 265 1000 Randy Slack +1 908 988 1909 Russell Johnson + 44 797 0716261 Ian Mottashed +44 1954 262004 Sharon Kuhl +44 7771 518 626 Richard Craig-McFeely +44 20 7375 7000 Andreas Hilmer +49 72221002 Kevin Salvidge +44 7286 178 752 Andrew Gray +44 7931 841534


IBC BOOTH 11D12 7C25 1D35 1B61 7B25 7B55/1C27 5C80 10.A21 3A27, 7B45 11.D12 0E02, 8D74 8.C60 0.D02 8.C61, 8 C62 12.D60 7.C21 10 D29 7A43 10.B44 14A49, 14A54,14A56 7.C01 2.A11 8.A46 1.D31, 1.F29 8.A96, 8.B90 2A51 12.B20 10.B39 8D61 1.A29 14 D22 9 A01 2C11 14.H05 4.A01 8.B50 11 B27 5 B52 EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2018


Sponsor Update


LiveLike LiveU M2aMedia Mark Roberts Motion Control Marquis Broadcast Media Links Mobile Viewpoint MOOV Movicom MX1 NCAM Tech NEP Group Net Insight Nevion NewTek NTT Electronics Europe Ooyala Ostmodern Panasonic Marketing Europe Pebblebeach PlazaMedia QvestMedia GmbH Racetech RCS Redbee Riedel Communications Ross Video RT Software Signiant SIS Live Sixty Skyline Communications SlomoTV SmartCart SOS Global Express sonovts Sony Supponor Tata Communications TEAM Technology Advantage Telegenic Telestream Telstra TheCollecTV The Switch Timeline Television TSL Products TVU Networks V-Nova Vidi Videlio Video Europe VideoSys Broadcast Vizrt Wowza



119 55 – 61 57 58 59 60 121 63 64 21 75 65 66 67 67 69 69 70 123 – 125 71 73 73 74 75 77 79 80 129 127 131 25 81 81 82 83 – – 131 84 84 135 85 87 89 91 93 95 137 139 – 97 99

OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Platinum Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other Gold OB/SI/ Other OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other OB/SI/ Other OB/SI/Other Platinum Gold Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other OB/SI/Other OB/SI/Other Gold Gold OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other OB/SI/Other OB/SI/Other Gold Gold



Fabrice Lorenceau Ronen Artman +972 9 763 2414 Elizabeth Lawrence +44 7949 904 168 Assaff Rawner +44 1342 838000 Emily Bunting Gill Payne +44 1252 622605 Charlotte van Hertum +31 7270 00502 Duncan Foot +44 7891 599904 Kseniya Shablinskaya + 79671150877 Merav Cunningham + 972 39280715 Christina Williams Brian Clark +44 7824 563146 Mari Fogelberg +46 735148503 Oliver Suard +44 7799 903130 Jane Johnston +44 1582 469555 Marco Fabi +39 249 537430 Elliot York Stuart Ferreira-Cole + 44 203 215 0041 Nela Pertl +49 611-235-149 Alison Pavitt Andrea Schulz +49 89 99633 7316 Bjoern Korb + 49 221 9156597 Kate Hills + 44 781 3947201 Mike Ward +44 7799 660792 Melinda Boza + 44 208 495 5000 Christian Bockskopf +49 (202) 292 9516 Stuart Russell +44 7827019494 Mike Fredriksen +44 207 1688820 Jon Finegold +1 781 3126786 Mishi Watts +44 1908 865518 Henriette Saether +47 (926) 25 945 Robert Kis +49 1703733777 Kate Krivitskaya +1 3102858190 Gil Cowie +44 7734 138 545 Michael Tenenbaum +49 40 611 6407 11 Ariana luna +49 89 419 671 0 Barbara Rosseel +34 626282729 Charlie Marshall + 44 20 8992 1550 Shakti Shivam +91 9892 765721 Hannah Aitchinson + 41 413681818 Patrick Roache Eamonn Curtin +44 1494 557406 Rose Sponder +1 5302631644 Ana Lockwood +612 2986 63643 Chris Sarson +44 20 3375 8532 Jessica Mintz +1 310 339 4017 Charlotte Wearden +44 8450 944 445 Chris Exelby +44 1628 564610 Yoni Tayar +34 936317566 Sam Orton-Jay +44 7980 557617 Robert Oszvald +44 6151 9385 25 Melanie Fourquez +33 1 46882828 Matt Marrner + 44 2076225550 Colin Tomlin + 44 1293 541200 Andre Torsvik +47 5523 0025 Laurie Wherley + 888 7787997


EMAIL mforquez’


3.B62 14 H04 10 D26, 12.F11 7D39 1.C31 14.F24 12 G67

14 C48,14 H02 1.B40 1B71 1A49 2.C58,8 F44 14E13,14G02 15 MS6 11.C45

OB05 8D16 5B27 10.A31, 0B05,10 A38 11.B08, 11.C10, 11.C23 6 C16 14.B23 1.C55 14.E11,14 H21 1.B24 8B40

8.B44 13A10,15MS44 15 MS25

7.C16 14.F18 1 F10 10B41 2B28 14C36 2.C25

7.B01 1C27 141


BT Media & Broadcast




Mark Roberts Motion Control



svgeuropeupdate CLOSING COMMENT


Making the right moves for future in sports content


he annual IBC in Amsterdam always provides a good chance for the sports production industry to reflect as well as look forward. Looking back on 2018, and many of the events that were produced around the world, it is pretty clear that the industry is in a massive transition. Whether it is industry consolidation in the OB and manufacturer community, the erosion of traditional TV viewing (but the growth of digital), and technology formats like UHD and HDR, the question facing everyone is where are we headed? When looking at major trends in sports production the standout in 2018 was the growing interest in 1080p with HDR as a production format. The 4K format was the first ‘next-generation’ format introduced by TV set manufacturers and clearly they are not turning back (and 8K is expected to be more prevalent at CES in January). From the beginning of 4K there has been clear reticence from both broadcasters and the production community as, overall, there was a concern that the amount of changes to the production and distribution workflows simply were not worth the increase in picture quality which many also saw as negligible at best — especially with most homes having TV sets smaller than 50 inches. But this year, clearly, has seen solid support for 1080p production with HDR. FIFA TV’s World Cup efforts, for example, relied heavily on 1080p HDR sources with only limited true 4K HDR cameras. The result was a production that had a less complex workflow and also served 4K viewers with a product that was more engaging than the traditional HD product. Along with the growing interest in 1080p HDR was the role that SMPTE ST-2110 will play in the industry as it makes the transition to IP-based signal transport and production. NEP’s Andrews Production Hub in Sydney and Wimbledon’s next-generation broadcast 144

BY KEN KERSCHBAUMER Executive Editor, Editorial Services Sports Video Group Europe

centre are both proof positive that SMPTE ST-2110 is ready for business. The move to IP is still very much in its infancy and many of the workflows at this point are simply replicating SDI workflows. But it won’t be long before the true power of IP — most notably the ability to separate audio, video and metadata essences with the use of ST-2110 — will transform the way content is created and distributed. This year’s IBC is the first where ST-2110 will be on full display and SVG Europe is a partner with the IP Showcase, an important initiative that allows manufacturers to show how their products fit into, and take advantage of, developing IP standards. We encourage you to stop by the IP Showcase and get a better understanding of how IP will help transform your business. The combination of IP signal transport and 1080p HDR (with some true native 4K acquisition sprinkled in) will lay the foundation for a sports production landscape that will continue to move forward with more robust productions and more engaging content. And the industry will need it as consumers are deluged with dramas and comedies that are binge worthy and can leave a sports fan on a Sunday afternoon debating whether to watch five straight episodes of a TV show or tuning into the big game. The good news is that the live aspect of sports, and the tribalism and sense of community that it creates, continues to give sports like football, rugby, tennis, and more the stickiness required to be a force in the future. And that tribalism and sense of community is something SVG Europe looks to bring to the industry professionals whose livelihood depends on making the right moves for the future. Thanks for being a part of the SVG Europe community and part of that tribe. We look forward to expanding our efforts in 2019 to ensure we do a better job meeting your information, career and business needs.


260 Fifth Ave., Ste. 600 New York, NY 10001 USA Tel: +1 212.481.8140 | Fax: +1 212.696.1783

Ken Kerschbaumer, Executive Director, Editorial | Tel: +1 212.481.8140 Fergal Ringrose, SVG Europe Executive Editor | Tel: +353 872 348 311 David Davies, SVG Europe Contributing Editor | Tel: +44 7989 139816 Heather McLean, SVG Europe Contributing Editor | Tel: +44 7986 473520 Will Strauss, SVG Europe Contributing Editor | Tel: +44 7789 711611 Clare Sturzaker, European Sponsorship Sales Manager | Tel: +44 7710 991595 Nicky Lane, European Sponsorship Consultant | Tel: +44 7956 107882 Rob Payne, Managing Director, Worldwide Sponsor Development | Tel: +1 212.481.8131 Andrew Gabel, Manager, Sponsor Development | Tel: +1 646.998.4554 Dawn Boultwood, Content Production | Tel: +44 7967 197803 Livvy Maule Ffinch, Audience Development | Tel: +44 7867 800191 Susan Schoepe, Sales Support/Credit Control | Tel: +44 7711 168858 Joe Hosken, General Manager, Europe | Tel: +44 7429 090134 Martin Porter, Executive Director | Tel: +1 516.767.6720 Paul Gallo, Executive Director | Tel: +1 212.696.1799 Magazine Production Dean Cook, The Magazine Production Company | Tel: +44 1273 467579 Magazine Printing Gemini Print Southern Ltd, Unit A1, Dolphin Way, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43 6NZ. UK | Tel: +44 1273 464884 ABOUT SVG EUROPE Sports Video Group Europe supports the professional community in Europe that uses video, audio, and broadband technologies to produce and distribute sports content. Through SVG Europe, leagues, owners, teams, broadcasters, webcasters, OB companies, and technology providers learn from each other, turn vision into reality, and implement innovations. Sharing these experiences leads to advances both in the sports-production/distribution process and in the overall consumer sports experience. MISSION To advance the creation, production, and distribution of sports content. To provide a knowledge resource for the growing community of sports video professionals working for broadcast/broadband organizations, professional teams and leagues, collegiate and secondary schools, and facilities. To facilitate a dialogue with manufacturers, suppliers, and technology developers that will improve the quality and profitability of sports programming.




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Profile for The Magazine Production Company

SVG Europe, Sport Tech Journal 2018  

Advancing the creation, production & distribution of sports content An SVG Europe Publication

SVG Europe, Sport Tech Journal 2018  

Advancing the creation, production & distribution of sports content An SVG Europe Publication