SVG Europe, SportTech Journal 2022

Page 136

European Championships brings extensive production efforts to Munich Also inside: FIFA World Cup Qatar • Winter Olympics Beijing • UEFA Women’s Euros Rugby League World Cup • Wimbledon • MotoGP AUTUMN 2022 ADVANCING THE CREATION, PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION OF SPORTS CONTENT AN PUBLICATION PLUS: SVG Europe Sponsor Update for 2022
SPORTS REMOTE PRODUCTION • OB TRUCKS • TV-STUDIOS • RF WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY & SERVICES • CONNECTIVITY • SPECIALIST & AERIAL CAMERAS • DIGITAL SOLUTIONS • SLOW-MOTION & ULTRA-MOTION • ENG • SNG • PLAY-OUT • POST PRODUCTION • MEDIA FACILITY DESIGN & ENGINEERING • BOOST GRAPHICS • OTT • IP-SOLUTIONS EMGLIVE.COM CONNECTS
4 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update Contents IN THIS ISSUE CONTENTS 08 From the Chairman The demand for content remains unbroken but challenges remain, and the industry must continue to innovate to succeed 10 Opening Comment In a busy year of sport, resilience, planning and teamwork prove key qualities 14 Football Summit Industry leaders gathered to discuss how the beautiful game can be augmented, both on and off the pitch 16 SVG Europe Women Multiple meetups in 2022 have brought this community back together Fan engagement, personalisation and the metaverse were all up for discussion at the Parc des Princes 20 Sport Production Summit The future of sports production was under the microscope at this flagship conference and networking event 22 Sports TV Awards The winners were revealed at a glittering event at the DeLaMer Theater in Amsterdam 24 2023 Events calendar Key dates and events for your 2023 diary 26 FIFA World Cup Qatar Coverage to focus on the fan journey 18 BEIJING 2022 30 8K VR, 5G and virtualised OBs The technical highlights of the Winter Games 32 OBS extends fan engagement efforts Bringing the atmosphere of Beijing to life 34 Sustainability in focus IBC facilities in Beijing go greener and become more efficient 36 Toby Spiller, Calrec Supporting the audio for NBC’s remote production of Beijing 2022 38 ZDF and ARD Broadcasting the Games in tandem across Germany 40 Discovery brings back The Cube Workflow innovations exceed what was seen in Tokyo 44 BBC Sport in Beijing COVID challenges and remote production setups to Paris 50 UEFA European Women’s Football Championship Facts and figures for the host broadcast match coverage 48 SportTech Journal is produced & published by Sports Video Group Europe SportTech Journal © 2022 Sports Video Group • Cover image credit: Ben Houdijk

2022

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SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 5 svgeurope updateContents AUTUMN
52 Commonwealth Games Inside the host broadcast set-up for the Commonwealth Games with Sunset+Vine 58 Rugby League World Cup BBC Sport brings Rugby League World Cup viewers closer to the action 62 Rugby League World Cup Whisper focuses on social impact of this unique World Cup 64 The Open Championship EMG UK makes 150th Open shine with UHD and HDR coverage, specialty cameras and more 68 The Wimbledon Championships AELTC’s Paul Davies on balancing innovation and tradition 72 The Wimbledon Championships ESPN on the future of The Championships 76 LIV Golf Inside the new tournament’s broadcast plans with chief media officer Will Staeger 80 MotoGP Live from Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto with Dorna Sports 84 MotoGP Audio-Technica shares the latest audio innovations at MotoGP 88 European Championships 2022 Live from the Munich multisport extravaganza 92 Giro d’Italia EMG combines European forces to bring cycling race to life 98 Formula 1 Live from Silverstone for the British Grand Prix 102 Goodwood Festival
Speed Behind the scenes with host broadcaster Gravity Media 106 CONCACAF W Championship How a UK-based team is providing ‘gold standard’ coverage 110 Royal
NEP reveals the drama and excitement behind the production for ITV Racing 116 Roland-Garros HBS highlights interesting technology changes in its second year working with the Fédération Française de Tennis 118 EHF European League Studio Berlin enjoys the benefits as it deploys a remote production concept for the handball league 120 eSerieA 2022 Championship EMG Italy enters the esports arena 122 Milan Marathon EMG Italy produces 20th edition of Milan Marathon for RCS Sport 124 World Snooker Championship IMG returns to onsite production as crowds fill The Crucible once more 126 eSkootr Championship The inside track on this exciting new concept 128 Tour de France Femmes Discovery Sports’ Guy Voisin discusses the emergence of women’s cycling 132 SVG EUROPE SPONSOR UPDATE SVG Europe sponsors share their recent developments, plans for the future and discuss key trends impacting the industry. Compiled by Michael Burns 198 Sponsor index and sponsor thank you 202 SVG Europe’s 2023 editorial calendar 58
Join SVGE today www.svgeurope.org SVG Europe would like to thank its Platinum Sponsors www.emglive.com www.grassvalley.com www.gravitymedia.com www.nepworldwide.nl www.rossvideo.com www.theswitch.tv www.vislink.com
grassvalley.com Copyright © 2022 Grass Valley Canada. All rights reserved. PRODUCE ANYWHERE DELIVER EVERYWHERE LOCALIZE CONTENT FOR YOUR AUDIENCE WITH AMPP

FROM THE

The ability to innovate is more important than ever before

SVG Europe chairman, Sky Deutschland, senior vice president of sports production

An exciting, innovative and, as always, busy year is slowly coming to an end.

Although much of the world is starting to emerge from restrictions resulting from the pandemic, COVID was still present this year, and continued to provide an additional challenge in the implementation of major events.

Despite these challenges — or perhaps because of them — we were able to follow exciting technology developments not only at the major events such as the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, the Women’s Euros and the European Championships. And we will certainly all be following the FIFA World Cup in Qatar with excitement as the conclusion of an eventful year.

We continue to be part of one of the most exciting industries. However, the economic environment has changed dramatically in the past few months. These conditions will certainly have a big impact on what we do and how we do it in 2023.

The good thing is that the appetite for content remains unbroken, as does consumer demand. However, we will continue to experience significant changes in the value chain. Be it through the advancing transformation towards IP and cloud, through the continuing change in consumer behaviour and the need to fill the corresponding content pipelines, or simply through the continuing shortage of talents and the attractiveness of our industry to retain young people.

For manufacturers, it will be essential to build confidence in the reliability of IP and cloud-based tools to facilitate the transformation process for broadcasters and platforms; for content creators, it will be a matter of finding the right balance of offerings for interactive but also passive customer needs and ensuring the right tools are available for those involved in the production process.

Strategic questions about the extent to which the metaverse has already become

a reality, how in-person entertainment or personalised content needs to be pushed further, the simplification of tools to be able to produce results for content creators more quickly, the further development of AI in this context and how much further consolidation is needed, show that the decision-making process will become more complex and there will probably no longer be simple answers.

The volume of production in 2023 will not get smaller, but the changing and ongoing macro-economic environment will certainly make people rethink the decision-making process, which in turn will have an impact on the entire media landscape.

It’s a fact: The ability to innovate is more important than ever, but also harder than ever to achieve.

In this context, we will certainly see more mergers in 2023 and probably also unusual partnerships that will lead to further technological developments and business models.

It remains to be said that complete tier 1 productions will continue to be important and that many ‘is good enough’ production approaches will continue to find their place in the complex sports ecosystem.

2023 will be a very exciting year in many ways, although it’s true to say that we remark on that every year. However, I am very sure that we as an industry will find the right answers to the many questions and challenges, and we can look forward to 2023 with hope.

On behalf of the entire SVG Europe Advisory Board, I would like to thank all our SVG Europe colleagues for their commitment this year. The variety of in-person and virtual events, newsletters and stories form the basis of the so important networking and exchange among each other and create the necessary space and visibility for sponsors and members.

Stay healthy, and I look forward to many personal exchanges with you all in the New Year.

ADVISORY BOARD

CHAIRMAN

Alessandro Reitano Sky Deutschland, Senior Vice President of Sports Production

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EDITORIAL Ken Kerschbaumer

ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS

Tim Achberger Sportcast, Head of Innovation & Technology Management

Jennifer Angell

Ten City Media, Consultant

Peter Angell

Ten City Media, Principal Manuela Baraschi

Sky Italia, Head of Business Partners & Program Mgmt

Konrad Bartelski OTL, Consultant

Daragh Bass

NEP Media Solutions UK, Head of Sales

Andy Beale

BT Sport, Chief Engineer

Julia Boettger

Sky Deutschland, Head of Operations, Sky Sports

Riccardo Botta

Sky Italia, Director – Production & Creative Hub

Jonny Bramley

BBC Sport, Executive Producer Major Events

Bridget Bremner

Sky Sports, Production Executive Robin Broomfield Consultant

Alan Burns

OBS TV, NEP Broadcasting Services UK, Managing Director

Gordon Castle Eurosport, Senior Vice President Technology

Brian Clark

NEP Group, Director of Sales

James Clement Sky Sports, Director of Operations

Charlie Cope

BBC Sport, Head of Operations

Lise Cosimi Consultant

Malcolm Cowan

NEP Media Solutions UK, Head of Technology

Tony Coxon

Independent

David Crawford Ravensbourne, Education Initiative

Michael Crimp

IBC, Chief Executive Officer

Claire Da Silva

DAZN, VP Production Operations

Paul Davies

All England Lawn Tennis Club, Head of Broadcast & Production

Nicolas Déal

Orange Sports & Media, Chief Technology Officer

James Dean

ESL UK, Managing Director

John Dollin

Arsenal Football Club, Senior Product and Engineering Manager

Ronan Donagher

World Rugby, IT & Broadcast Technology Manager

Angela Gibbons

EMG UK, Sales Director

Bevan Gibson

EMG, Chief Technology Officer

Hamish Greig

CTV Outside Broadcasts, Chief Executive Officer

Jamie Hindhaugh

BT Sport, Chief Operating Officer

Steve Jenkins President, NEP UK & Ireland

Robert Kis

TV Skyline, Chief Executive Officer

Jens Cornelius Knudsen

TV 2 Norway, VP Production News and Sports

Timo Koch

EMG, Consultant

Michael Koegler

ORF Sport, Head of Directors Dean Locke

Formula One Management, Executive Director, TV Production

Róisín McKeniry

Timeline Television, Head of Production Technology

Bevan Gibson

EMG, Chief Operating Officer Dan Miodownik

Host Broadcast Services, Chief Executive Officer

Florin Mitu

FIFA, Head of Host Broadcast Production

Nick Morgan

Premier League Productions, Managing Director

Eric Orengo

UEFA, Broadcast Engineer Manager Christer Pålsson

NEP Europe, VP Sales

James Pearce

DAZN, Head of Global Engineering

Roger Pearce

ITV Sport, Technical Director

Emili Planas

Mediapro, CTO and Operations Manager

Inga Ruehl

Sky Sports, Exec Director of Production & Operations

Sotiris Salamouris

Olympic Broadcasting Services, Chief Technology Officer

Marcin Serafin

Ekstraklasa Live Park, Head of Operations

David Shield

IMG Media, SVP, Global Director of Engineering & Technology

Geert-Paul Slee

Broadcast Rental, Owner

David Tippett

Sunset+Vine, Managing Director Henk van Meerkerk

Director, Producer, Consultant Anna Ward

Premier League Productions, Head of Production

Shane Warden

AWS, Principle Consultant, Sport

Dom Wedgwood

Perform Group, Director of Broadcast and Technology Services

Joachim Wildt

Red Bull Media House, Global Head of Content Distribution

John Williams

Gravity Media, Head of Projects Tom Woods

Woods Communications, President

svgeurope update
CHAIRMAN
8 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022
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Resilience, planning and teamwork in evidence as sports broadcasting navigates a changing world

move the final from St Petersburg to the Stade de France in Paris. Such a last-minute relocation again highlighted the flexibility of the production community that was so evident during the past couple of years.

A rapid response was also required following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September. With outside broadcast, production services and technology suppliers from across Europe an essential part of the well-established State Funeral broadcast plans, it was further evidence of the industry’s resilience, planning and teamwork as swathes of the production community joined forces at short notice for the mammoth live broadcast.

2022 is likely to be seen as a watershed year for women’s sport, in particular football; a record crowd watched the women’s Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou, while tickets for the final of Women’s Euro 2022 sold out well in advance, and TV audiences for the final between England and Germany were similarly impressive with a peak UK audience of 17 million and an average of nearly 18 million viewers in Germany tuning in.

number of major sporting events taking place towards the end of 2022. The Journal provides a great opportunity to highlight the work of this industry and so we wanted to make sure we were able to pack in as many projects as possible.

2022 has been bookended by two of the largest quadrennial sporting events, with the year beginning with the Beijing Winter Olympics and set to conclude with the FIFA World Cup Qatar. And, of course, there has been a plethora of productions in between, including some rescheduled from 2021 such as the Rugby League World Cup which is taking place as the Journal goes to press.

So, amid this surfeit of sports, what will 2022 be remembered for? For many, the year has marked something of a return to normal. The COVID-inspired acceleration in adoption of all types of remote production remains, but for many there is now choice as to which production path to pursue. That said, the staging of delayed events, plus the Winter Olympics’ lack of spectators and strict COVID-19 protocols serve as a reminder of the impact of the pandemic.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine just a few days after the conclusion of the Beijing Games continues to cast a dark cloud over the continent. It also meant that, after two years of changes to the location of the Champion’s League final due to the pandemic, the showpiece of the competition once again shifted to a new venue as UEFA decided to

With the 2023 Women’s World Cup taking place in Australia and New Zealand the challenge for European broadcasters will be to build on the growing interest and engagement despite the difference in time zones. That subject of fan engagement was always high up the agenda during SVG Europe’s own events, which returned in force this year. And that’s something that is particularly notable about 2022 — the return of in-person events. SVG Europe welcomed the European sports production community to events in London, Glasgow, Munich and Paris where, as you would expect, a wide range of subjects were discussed and dissected. But the factor common to all our in-person events was the energy, appetite and keenness to gather again in person.

For an industry that is built on ingenuity and teamwork, and that can at times be as demanding as it is rewarding, the ability to gather, compare notes, talk to peers, catch up with old friends and celebrate success is essential. And providing a setting for those exchanges is at the heart of what SVG Europe does.

If you weren’t able to make it to one of our events this year, then over the next few pages you’ll see some highlights of our in-person gatherings. Another of the benefits of publishing the Journal at this stage of the year is that it gives us the opportunity to share with you our 2023 calendar which you can see listed on page 24. So, if we didn’t see you this year, we hope to see you in 2023.

svgeurope update OPENING COMMENT 10 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022
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Leading sports television executives from across Europe are at the vanguard of Sports Video Group Europe. An independent affiliate organisation formed by the successful Sports Video Group in the USA, its mission is to advance the creation, production and distribution of sport content — on all screens — via information, events and industry initiatives. Make sure your company and your industry are represented in this vital collaborative initiative. Join SVG E today www.svgeurope.org

Augmenting the beautiful game

Football Summit, sponsored by EVS, returned as an in-person event for 2022, taking place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on 10 March. Focusing on how the beautiful game can be augmented, both on and off the pitch, and examining the ever-evolving role that statistics and data play in match coverage and presentation, it welcomed an impressive line-up of speakers.

Kicking things off, Kelly Simmons, director of the Women’s Professional Game at The FA, discussed the

personalisation, data and digital products in the German Football League’s top flight.

Alex Buchan, Strategic Technologist, Spectrum and Security at DTG, looked closely at the work of the 5G VISTA Project which saw the development of a multiangle viewing position for a live football match using 5G broadcast technology, while representatives from BT Sport, Sky Sports, the Premier League and BBC discussed environmental sustainability in football production, and how the industry can continue to work towards achieving net-zero carbon emissions from outside broadcasts.

All this was just part of a packed agenda that also saw networking, a stadium tour and Kelly Simmons receive the SVG Europe Women Outstanding Achievement Award.

14 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
EVS CTO Alex Redfern addresses the audience
Football Summit
Enjoying the opportunity to network at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium The FA’s Kelly Simmons with SVG Europe editor Heather McLean
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 15
SVG’s Ken Kerschbaumer with Nick Baily, CEO, AE Live; Christof Haslauer, CEO, NativeWaves; Matthieu Lille-Palette, SVP, Opta, Stats Perform; Roberta Cambio, sales director, Brightcove Barney Francis, EVP global production, IMG, speaking on the Football Production 2022: The Verdict panel SVG editor Will Strauss with Andy Beale, chief engineer, BT Sport; Jo Finon, manager of responsible productions, Sky Sports; Rachael Nightingale, head of broadcast operations, Premier League; and Lawrence Windley, senior product manager, BBC SVG Europe editorial director George Bevir with Barney Francis, EVP global production, IMG; Alessandro Reitano, SVP of sports production, Sky Germany; Keegan Pierce, international development, LaLiga UK & Ireland; and Paul McNamara, senior director and executive producer, Major Events, ITV Andreas Heyden, CEO of DFL Digital Sports and EVP of digital innovation for the DFL Group, with SVG Europe editor Heather McLean

Bringing the community back together

After hosting an online event focused on wellbeing early in the year, SVG Europe Women was excited to return to in-person meetups in 2022, starting with an inaugural event in Scotland in March.

Held in association with Scottish production company and independent outside broadcast provider QTV, it focused on Exploring the Scottish Skills Shortage and featured Alex Gaffney, BBC Scotland, commercial and partnerships manager; Laura Dickson, City of Glasgow College, lecturer — television (media), and leader of Women in Media; Julie Robinson, QTV, senior broadcast manager; and Lucy Lake, QTV, human resources manager.

In addition, Stewart Kyasimire, managing director of BAME-led production company Create Anything, talked about why it is crucial to give people of colour more representation behind the scenes in sports broadcasting.

Next stop for SVG Women was Sky Central in West London where the theme was Elevating Women in Sport. As well as a packed schedule featuring former professional racing driver turned Sky Sports presenter Naomi Schiff, The FA’s head of the women’s professional

game Kelly Simmons, and Sky Sports executive producer Jo Osborne, attendees also had the chance to get hands on with a wide range of broadcasting kit, talk to the trained operators on hand about their roles and, of course, enjoy the opportunity to network.

SVG Women also returned to IBC, where a networking event saw Vili Nedialkova, former ZDF sport co-ordinator and winner of the SVG Europe Outstanding Contribution to European Sports Broadcasting award, in conversation with SVG Women editor Heather McLean.

svgeurope update
Attendees at the Elevating Women in Sport event, at Sky Central in West London SVG Europe editor Heather McLean with Kelly Simmons, The FA, head of the women’s professional game; Jo Osborne, Sky Sports, executive producer; Anna Ward, Premier League Productions, director of production and operations; and Steph Harries, Women’s Sports Group, managing director
SVG Europe Women
Attendees at the ‘Exploring the Scottish Skills Shortage’ event listen to SVG Europe editor Heather McLean with Alex Gaffney, BBC Scotland, commercial and partnerships manager; Laura Dickson, City of Glasgow College, lecturer – television (media), and leader of Women in Media; Julie Robinson, QTV, senior broadcast manager; and Lucy Lake, QTV, human resources manager SVG Europe editor Heather McLean with former professional racing driver and Sky Sports presenter Naomi Schiff Attendees at the Elevating Women in Sport event SVG Europe editor Heather McLean with Vili Nedialkova, former sports co-ordinator at ZDF at the SVGE Women networking event at IBC2022 Stewart Kyasimire, managing director of BAME-led production company Create Anything, on stage in Scotland
theswitchtv theswitchtv theswitchtvthe-switchtheswitch tv From Anywhere to Everywhere

TJune, welcoming people from across the European sports broadcasting industry to the Parc des Princes. Attendees were able to get hands-on with a wide range of technology, network and enjoy a tour of the home of Ligue 1 team Paris Saint-Germain, but the highlight of the day was undoubtedly the extensive conference programme.

Sessions began with a high-level debate on the State of the Streaming Nation, with Roger Brosel, head of content and programming at LaLiga; Dominik Scholler, head of audiovisual rights international, DFL; Mario Reis, Olympic

Broadcasting Services, director of telecommunications and OTT; and Sebastien Audoux, Canal+, digital editor in chief, agreeing that one-size no longer fits all when it comes to content, and that OTT provides huge opportunities for

Other highlights included Tim Stott, HBS, digital executive producer; Steve Heymann, Origins Digital, business development director; Fiona Wood, Little Dot Studios, strategy director; and Pete Bellamy, Endeavor Streaming, SVP global sports lead, debating all things fan engagement, and Matt Stagg, BT Sport, mobile and immersive strategy director, explaining how the metaverse, cryptocurrency and NFTs are all coming together to reshape the digital future. He was joined by Johannes Franken, HBS, director of digital, and Sébastien Audoux, Canal+, digital editor in chief.

Sharon Fuller, chief content officer at the eSkootr Championship, finished the day on a high with an in-depth look at how OTT and digital platforms are being used to launch, establish and raise the profile of the new electric scooter racing series.

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022
Sports OTT Summit
SVG Europe France ambassador and Orange CTO Nicolas Déal with Mario Reis, Olympic Broadcasting Services, director of telecommunications and OTT; Sebastien Audoux, Canal+, digital editor in chief; Dominik Scholler, DFL, head of audiovisual rights international; and Roger Brosel, LaLiga, head of content and programming The audience listens as ViewLift CEO Rick Allen discusses the changing sports media landscape around the world SVG Europe editor Will Strauss with Tim Stott, HBS, digital executive producer; Steve Heymann, Origins Digital, business development director; Fiona Wood, Little Dot Studios, strategy director; and Pete Bellamy, Endeavor Streaming, SVP global sports lead SVG Europe editor Heather McLean with Matt Stagg, BT Sport, mobile and immersive strategy director; Johannes Franken, HBS, director of digital; and Sébastien Audoux, Canal+, digital editor in chief SVG Europe editorial director George Bevir with eSkootr chief content officer Sharon Fuller
back WHERE THE ENTERTAINMENT AND TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY REUNITE REGISTER YOUR INTEREST BACK AT THE RAI AMSTERDAM | 15-18 SEPTEMBER 2023

The future of sports production

SVG Europe’s flagship conference and networking event provided an opportunity for the great

In a special keynote fireside chat, Isidoro Moreno discussed how and why Olympic Broadcasting Services used cloud-hosted, software-based architecture and a pioneering virtualised OB van during host broadcast coverage of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. The director of engineering shared lessons from the proof of concept and spoke about virtualisation and its role in redefining production requirements and workflows as

Another of the world’s biggest upcoming sporting events was also discussed, with Florin Mitu, FIFA head of host broadcast production, and Dan Miodownik, HBS chief executive, on hand to run through their plans for Qatar 2022. The duo shared their insights into the challenges of producing coverage of the world’s most popular sporting event and explained why they’re putting fans at the heart of coverage of this year’s tournament.

The programme of debate and discussion concluded with a panel on buying priorities. With IBC making a welcome return the day after Sport Production Summit, Bevan Gibson, EMG, COO; Scott Rothenberg, NEP, senior vice president, program and planning; Emili Planas, MediaPro, CTO and operations manager; and Gordon Roxburgh, Sky Sports head of production technology, discussed the tools, solutions, services and technology

TechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 Sport Production Summit
Networking at Sport Production Summit The recipient of SVG Europe’s 2021 Outstanding Contribution to European Sports Broadcasting, Vili Nedialkova, former sport co-ordinator at ZDF, collected her 2021 award during Sport Production Summit
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 21
Isidoro Moreno of OBS in conversation with SVG’s Ken Kerschbaumer SVG Europe editorial director George Bevir with Michele Gosetti, SES, head of sales sports & events; Michel Bais, Mobile Viewpoint/Vislink, managing director; Sarah Wu, Lumen Technologies, director of product management, global content delivery network services; and Mike Burk, LTN Global, general manager of LTN Create SVG Europe editorial director George Bevir with Florin Mitu, FIFA, head of host broadcast production, and Dan Miodownik, HBS, chief executive Senior industry figures involved in education, training and recruitment discuss which particular roles and skills are in short supply, with Lucy Lake, QTV, director of people and purpose; Aoife Murphy, Timeline TV, outside broadcast, head of operations; Armelle Canet, HBS, head of Broadcast Academy; and Bob Clarke, MAMA Youth, founder and CEO Fredrik Glans, Spiideo, director of European media partnerships; Dr Ciro Noronha, Cobalt Digital, EVP of engineering; Marius Merten, MRMC, sports broadcast manager; and Steve Gruning, SOS Global, senior vice president, global sales and alliances A standing ovation for the recipient of SVG Europe’s 2021 Outstanding Contribution to European Sports Broadcasting, Vili Nedialkova

TCanon, took place at the DeLaMar Theater in Amsterdam in September. Winners on the night included Aurora Media Worldwide and NEP for Extreme E season 1, Dizplai and BT Sport for Champions League Tonight, and OBS for its immersive audio coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

One Planet Award for Sustainability in Sports TV and Outstanding Production Achievement – Event: (L-R) Wilfred Soerel, Canon, ISB EMEA operations & sales manager; Brian Clark, NEP, director of sales; Lawrence Duffy, Aurora Media Worldwide, MD; James Pearce, Aurora Media Worldwide, partnerships director Outstanding OTT or Engagement Experience: (L-R) Wilfred Soerel, Canon; Andy Beale, BT Sport, chief engineer; Ed Abis, Dizplai, MD; Karl Kathuria, Dizplai, customer solutions director Outstanding Production Achievement – Innovation: (L-R) Wilfred Soerel, Canon; Lawrence Duffy, Aurora Media Worldwide, MD; James Pearce, Aurora Media Worldwide, partnerships director Outstanding Audio Innovation: (L-R) Wilfred Soerel, Canon, and Isidoro Moreno, OBS, director of engineering SVG Europe Women Award for Diversity in Sports TV: Canon’s Wilfred Soerel (left) with Sunil Patel, Whisper, CEO & co-founder SVG Europe editor Heather McLean interviews Aurora Media Worldwide MD Lawrence Duffy SVG Europe editor Heather McLean on The DeLaMar stage

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Calendar of events

EVENT DATE LOCATION DESCRIPTION

SVG Europe Austria (Regional Summit)

SVG Audio

Sports Graphics

SVG Europe Women

Football Summit

SVG Audio

Create, Share, Engage: Making and monetising sports content online

SVG Europe Italy (Regional Summit)

SVG Europe Women

SVG Europe DACH (Regional Summit)

Remote Production

SVG Audio

Sport Production Summit & Sports TV Awards

SVG Europe Women @ IBC

SVG Europe Networking @ IBC

SVG Audio

OTT and Content Delivery

SVG Europe Spain (Regional Summit)

FutureSPORT and Content Strategies

February (TBC) Vienna, Austria Platinum/Gold/Austria only

February Online

February Online

March Online

March Paris, France

April Online

3 May London, UK

24 May Milan, Italy Platinum/Gold/Italy only

June In-person, TBC

21 June Berlin, Germany Platinum/Gold/DACH only

July Online

July Online

14 September Amsterdam, Netherlands

16 September

Amsterdam

16 September RAI Amsterdam

September Online

October Online

October (TBC) Barcelona, Spain Platinum/Gold/Spain only

8 November London, UK

The Austrian sports broadcasting and production community comes together for its annual day of panel discussions presentations and networking, discussing the latest developments in technology, workflows and more.

Insight into the latest tools and techniques for creating on-screen and studio graphics, including 2D, 3D and augmented reality, virtual studio systems and the capture and presentation of data to aid audience engagement.

Advances in producing and distributing coverage, with case studies from FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and Women’s Euro 2022.

Bringing together leading producers, production services teams and technologists at the forefront of creating, delivering and monetising engaging viewing experiences, with insight from sporting federations and clubs.

An opportunity for the Italian live sports production sector to gather in-person, share ideas and network.

An opportunity for the German live sports production sector to gather in-person, share ideas and network.

Discussions on the current state and usage of different types of remote production.

SVG Europe’s flagship conference and networking event shines a spotlight on the sporting highlights of the year and provides an opportunity to debate the future of the industry and highlight recent successes. Includes the Sports TV Awards.

An in-person event providing information, education, awareness and networking opportunities for women working in sports broadcasting.

In-person networking during IBC2023.

An online exploration of the latest methods for distributing and sharing live sports content with viewers.

An opportunity for the Spanish live sports production sector to gather in-person, share ideas and network.

A forward-facing in-person event that will provide an opportunity to examine innovations in capture and distribution of content, plus the longer-term content production and distribution strategies of federations, broadcasters, production companies and their suppliers that will provide a definitive view of the direction of the live sports production and broadcasting industry.

SVG Europe Women

Sports Audio Forum

November London, UK

(TBC) London, UK Insight and debate from leading figures in the world of audio.

24 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
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Qatar 2022: FIFA’s focus on World Cup fans

One of the standout features of the upcoming Qatar World Cup is the proximity of the venues.

All of the games are set to take place in Doha, with only 40 miles separating the stadiums furthest apart. In addition, the tournament is taking place within a relatively condensed timescale — the shortest since 1978 — with the final taking place 28 days after the opening match between hosts Qatar and Ecuador on 20 November. The compact nature of the 2022 World Cup is potentially good news for fans making the journey to the Middle East, providing the opportunity to attend two matches per day. And it’s the fans, says FIFA, who will be the focus of the 2022 tournament.

“We have put together our production plans based on what the broadcasters tell us they want,” says Florin Mitu, FIFA, head of host broadcast production. “And what they tell us most, is that they want to see as much as possible to do with fans interacting with each other, and with screens of all sizes.”

The Corniche in Doha is providing the setting for FIFA’s broadcast partners’ outside presentation facilities, along with FIFA’s official ‘Fan Fest’ area which is expected to host in the region of 120,000 fans from all nations each day.

Speaking at the recent Sky Sports and SVG Europe DACH Summit, Mitu says: “In previous World Cups each city would host fans, but in Qatar there is only one. So, all the fans from different nations will be in one place, and for those in Qatar who are not in the stadium, [the Fan Fest] will be the place to watch. Having all fans in the same city has never happened before and presents another opportunity for us to rethink how we cover the fans, and that is a message we got strongly from broadcasters; they

wanted us to invest as much as possible in gathering fan footage and bringing it back to the IBC and making it available to them.”

Dan Miodownik, chief executive of Host Broadcast Services (HBS), which has served as host broadcaster of the 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 editions of the World Cup, says every event comes with different expectations and opportunities. Speaking during SVG Europe’s recent Sport Production Summit, he says: “The expectation from broadcasters is that they see this unique opportunity of a single event for us to explore and they see fans as central to that. There has been massive investment in really opening the door to the fans’ journey, whether those fans are in a souk in Doha, on the metro travelling to the game, at the match; there are significant resources devoted to really extending the experience for broadcasters.”

Following the fans

“Our job is to help them do their job,” continues Miodownik.“We are not broadcasters, we are helping them to achieve what they want for their audiences, so you will see significantly more content around the fan journey and significantly more pre-match such as the teams leaving the hotels, with drones, helicopters, motorbikes following buses. We really want to extend the build-up to the game because it is so important to broadcasters and their expectations for the event.”

Mitu adds: “We will be out and about with story crews, and they will be focusing on fans. We will have live production at the Fan Fest as well as two ENG crews. The idea is to interact with fans and for them to tell us what they thought of the match and to make predictions about upcoming fixtures. We will also have a fan booth at the Fan Fest and outside the stadiums for fans to predict the score, comment on line-ups and so on.

“In order to create a home for all this fan footage, we have created a new ‘fan coverage’ channel as part of the multipackage channel offering which exists at every

26 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
FIRST PUBLISHED 21 OCTOBER FIFA World Cup Just 40 miles separates the stadiums being used for the World Cup
back WHERE THE ENTERTAINMENT AND TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY REUNITE REGISTER YOUR INTEREST BACK AT THE RAI AMSTERDAM | 15-18 SEPTEMBER 2023

World Cup. So, if you take that feed, you will have footage of fans from all countries.”

The compact nature of the World Cup, which will feature 32 teams and 64 games, has presented FIFA and its host broadcaster with some challenges as well as some opportunities, says Mitu.

The Main Media Centre (MMC) together with the IBC — which will be home to 74 broadcasters — are both located at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), which is around 6 miles from the Corniche. “That is an opportunity that we recognised, of being able to locate all the media together in one place. They would like to go to as many matches as possible, but the opportunity to be at the IBC where all the feeds are delivered is a great chance to sit, work, see all the matches and attend the press conferences before each match.”

All the teams competing in the World Cup have been advised that they will need to make their coach and one player available to travel to the QNCC the day prior to each match.“We will have four press conference rooms to allow for them to be interviewed which has never happened before,” says Mitu.

“Within one hour, broadcasters and journalists can go to any stadium; they can move from a desk in the media centre to a seat in the media tribune. We will still have media centres in each stadium, which is the traditional way World Cups have operated in the past, but we have created this new opportunity for the media to be located together with the broadcasters as well. They can interact — journalists from different countries know each other, and journalists from written media contribute to broadcast, so these arrangements help to facilitate that process.”

With such a short timescale for the 2022 tournament, groundskeepers will have their work cut out. To help to keep pitches in good condition, some changes have been

made to the way content will be captured the day prior to a match. Says Mitu: “Activities that usually take place at a stadium before the match such as training sessions and press conferences will not be happening at the stadiums, so that has created a challenge to find 32 training grounds. And it’s been a challenge for us, as we have then been required to pretty much double up on the broadcast infrastructure in stadiums that previously would have been used to cover matchday minus-1 activities. Instead, we must equip the 32 training camps and network them by fibre to the QNCC.”

UHD HDR

When considering the format in which to capture and deliver World Cup content, FIFA and HBS have considered the requirements of its range of rights holders.

Says Miodownik: “We had a deep discussion two-anda-half, three years ago, where we tried to forecast where broadcast is going and where technology is headed as well. We know big events like the World Cup and the Olympics provide an opportunity for regeneration and a chance to introduce into the broadcast chain valuable new equipment. We also look at how broadcasters who will air this event are doing, as opposed to what the payTV broadcasters are up to.

“We made what I think is the correct choice reasonably early, with the decision to opt for a single layer UHD-HDR workflow for the main match feed, which we felt guaranteed the best quality in all formats, and I think that has been borne out in all the offline tests we have done, and at the Arab Cup [a tournament that took place in November and December 2021 as a prelude to Qatar 2022].

“We must also be practical and take into consideration the availability of equipment, as well as the financial and logistical aspects. With that in mind and the sheer number of stadiums, matches and camps during a World Cup, the rest of the footage will all be 1080p HDR, so all multifeeds, the ENG content, matchday minus-1 content, will be 1080p, which I think the industry recognises as being reasonable and the highest quality most will need.

“It’s also worth mentioning one of the more delicate topics, which was look up tables [LUTs] and how to sympathetically deal with colour between the different formats, especially between HDR and SDR because there are different views on this. In the end, we have come up with an optimised one which we feel deals with the needs of the many. But we’re being practical here — it’s a World Cup and there are a lot of broadcasters with different expectations and that is one of those areas where the industry still needs to align, because it is a complication and something where you do have to compromise.”

28 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
FIFA World Cup
“In order to create a home for all this fan footage, we have created a new ‘fan coverage’ channel as part of the multipackage channel offering which exists at every World Cup”
FLORIN MITU, FIFA Having
all fans in one city means more investment in fan footage

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Facts and figures: From 8K VR and a revolutionary virtualised OB van to 5G and the cloud

For Beijing 2022, Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) is pulling out more stops than ever for a Winter Olympics. It is producing over 80 hours of the Olympic Winter Games in live 8K virtual reality (VR), as well as trialling a revolutionary virtualised outside broadcast (OB) van and using 5G and the cloud to widen choices for rights holder broadcasters (RHBs).

OBS will produce more than 6,000 hours of content, including 900 hours of live sports and Ceremony coverage. RHBs will have access to more than double the amount of content from the sporting action compared to PyeongChang 2018.

This year we can expect to see OBS using 41 HD contribution multilateral feeds, 31 UHD contribution multilateral feeds, 43 HD distribution feeds and 36 UHD distribution feeds. The production will utilise over 600 camera systems, 148 speciality cameras, 38 high-speed slow motion (HSSM) cameras, as well as 33 virtual reality cameras, with 15 live and 18 ENG, plus many more.

As well as the trial virtualised OB van there will be 15

other OBs around the venues supporting the workflow. The IBC is a hefty 30,000sqm, while the Zhangjiakou Broadcast Centre (ZBC) is 5,000sqm. There are also 14 broadcast compounds, bringing the Games to viewers around the globe.

First Winter Olympics in native UHD HDR

From a broadcast perspective, Beijing 2022 will offer an exciting glimpse into the immersive and virtualised future of Olympic broadcasting, exploring new and innovative ways of producing the Games while engaging worldwide audiences further.

The Olympic Games Beijing 2008 were the first to be produced and broadcast entirely in HD. Fourteen years later, Beijing 2022 will represent the first time that an Olympic Winter Games is natively produced in UHD HDR with immersive audio. This new standard elevates the pictures and sounds, delivering life-like colour and breathtaking contrast while capturing the full atmosphere from the competition venues.

OBS will achieve this level of coverage thanks to a brandnew, state-of-the-art IP-based core system that will allow for additional services, new formats and more flexibility, while dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of the broadcast operation in the host city.

To showcase Beijing 2022’s celebration of winter sports, OBS will introduce a series of innovative technologies to improve the overall Olympic viewing experience and provide worldwide audiences with the genuine feeling of being at the Games. Working with Worldwide TOP Partners Alibaba and Intel, OBS plans to use the latest technologies to deliver a far more immersive experience than in previous Games.

30 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
Beijing 2022
OBS will capture, produce and distribute the Games in live 8K VR for the first time Credit: 2021 Olympic Broadcasting Services

Bringing a virtual games to life

Together with Intel, OBS will capture, produce and distribute the Olympic Winter Games in live 8K VR for the first time. Through a much improved user experience, Olympic fans (via participating RHBs) will be able to watch the action in higher quality, true-to-life VR and feel like they are actually there alongside the athletes, while broadcasters will be able to use these VR feeds in 8K to create virtual backdrops for their television studios.

Beijing 2022 marks the first ever multisport event to be covered in 8K VR. OBS plans to produce more than 80 hours of 8K live VR, including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and selected sports, with two different sports available daily.

The switch to 8K is a huge step towards delivering spectacular and truly immersive VR live streaming, with a guaranteed ‘wow’ factor. OBS will place up to six 180-degree monoscopic cameras and one 360-degree camera to capture the Ceremonies and Olympic competitions. Viewers will be able to choose camera perspectives of live streams, while OBS will also provide an additional stream with integrated camera coverage.

RHBs are taking the immersive media service in a variety of delivery formats including: OBS’ white-label solution; mobile and web SDK; direct URL streams; and short-form VOD downloads. The apps are available on VR headsets for Oculus Quest/Quest 2 and Pico, and also on mobile.

OBS will generate further engaging and dynamic viewing experiences in Beijing by deploying more multicamera replay systems for frame-freeze ‘bullet-time’ slow motion replays. These systems will allow viewers to move around the athlete and capture an up-close look at the action from various angles.

For curling and speed skating, OBS has joined with Alibaba to use its cutting-edge cloud solution to deliver unique replays to viewers around the world in mere seconds.

Revolutionary OB van design

Teaming up with Intel and Alibaba, OBS will also explore more flexible and modular production environments by designing a virtualised OB van.

With the full adoption of an IP-enabled infrastructure, certain functions of the in-venue production units can be moved away from the legacy broadcast components into using virtualised commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) information and communications technology (ICT) servers and networking. This will open up new opportunities that could lay the groundwork for producing the Olympic Games in an entirely new way in

the near future.

Virtualisation will redefine broadcast production requirements and allow for the possibility to scale services and greatly reduce set-up time.

5G to the cloud

The wider adoption of cloud and 5G technologies in Beijing will also reshape the way the Games are broadcast. The OBS Cloud will once again support the backend of Olympic broadcasting and play a key role in content distribution and post-production workflows. OBS will distribute the feeds in HD and UHD through the cloud for the first time to more than 20 broadcast organisations. Not only do the RHBs have a new means of receiving the live signals in their home countries, this also offers them a more agile solution to choose which feeds they wish to receive.

The full 5G coverage implemented across all Olympic venues provides new opportunities for live coverage and, for the first time, OBS will capitalise on super-fast 5G wireless connectivity to deliver live signals from several cameras, including those fitted on snowmobiles at crosscountry skiing and those used in the start and finish areas at alpine skiing.

After proving so popular at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Digital Fan Engagement initiative will return to Beijing 2022. Fans around the world will again have the chance to show their support for their favourite athletes and teams.

Once again, athletes will be able to connect with their loved ones and share with them, live in the moment, all the emotions of participating in the Olympic Winter Games. Unlike in Tokyo, where it was available at selected sports only, OBS will offer these athlete moments from all Beijing competition venues and incorporate them as much as possible into the live coverage to convey the athletes’ emotions beyond the arena.

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 31 svgeurope update
Beijing 2022

OBS is placing up to six 180-degree monoscopic cameras and one 360-degree camera to capture the Ceremonies and Olympic competitions. OBS will also provide an additional stream with integrated camera coverage. Additionally, it will produce a broad variety of highlights, features, athlete experiences and point-of-view clips from all sports, some never before captured in VR.

These highlights and features are delivered as VOD in a mix of 180- and 360-degree formats.

Virtual reality makes the leap to 8K in Beijing

In the moment

The VR enhancements are part of a broader OBS effort to enhance digital fan engagement. For example, in Tokyo OBS facilitated more than 200 Athlete Moments connecting Olympians in the venues with friends and families back home, creating moments of pure emotion captured by OBS cameras and distributed worldwide.

T

he Winter Games in Beijing are seeing an increased commitment to virtual reality (VR), most notably the use of 8K cameras and distribution that will help improve the viewer experience. It is all part of a broader plan to increase fan engagement at an Olympic Games where virtual connections are the norm.

“A well-designed VR experience can be transformative,” says Matt Millington, OBS, director of digital content. “The user feels completely transported to the heart of the action, following the athletes’ footsteps onto the field of play, and enjoying a new and unique perspective on the Olympic viewing experience. VR adoption has been growing steadily, and to further mainstream its adoption, we need to produce the highest quality content and maintain that quality through to distribution to give viewers an unforgettable experience.”

“Thanks to greater detail creating even more realistic images, the 8K VR distribution will bring the atmosphere of Beijing 2022 Olympic venues to life,” he adds.“And, like never before, viewers can engage with winter sports in a unique and profound way.”

OBS is producing more than 80 hours of 8K live VR from the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and selected sports, with two different sports available daily.

“These sports and venues have been carefully chosen by OBS content creators based on the ability to strategically place cameras to convey a sense of proximity to the athletes, making the viewer feel like part of the action,” says Millington.

This Digital Fan Engagement initiative has proved a valuable tool in reaching out to and engaging with fans around the world, counterbalancing the impact the pandemic has had on Olympic fan attendance. Both athletes and broadcasters expressed great interest in making it a permanent fixture of future Games. Thus, OBS is bringing it back on a larger scale for Beijing 2022.

With the expansion of the project for Beijing, OBS will facilitate Athlete Moments across all sports and venues. OBS will incorporate many of these moments into its coverage to share the emotion of an athlete’s connection with their family and friends with a worldwide audience.

Fans are also invited to video themselves recording a message of support that will be later broadcast in Olympic venues, on Olympics.com and on RHBs’ digital platforms. Displayed as a video matrix on the big screens inside the Olympic venues, the Fan Video Wall helps enhance the atmosphere and sense of global fan inclusion, also contributing to the athletes’ Olympic experience.

New for Beijing 2022, those whose clips are selected for a fan video wall will receive an email with a link to the matrix featuring their video. They can then share that clip on social media.

Fans will also be able to virtually cheer from afar thanks to the cheer button, available via RHBs’ platforms, International Federations’ websites and Olympics.com. The cheers are collected and compiled into a live world cheer map, which provides a dynamic display from the world’s sporting fans.With no overseas spectators allowed, this service offers the athletes the chance to virtually see and feel their fans’ support.

32 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
“Thanks to greater detail creating even more realistic images, the 8K VR distribution will bring the atmosphere of Beijing 2022 Olympic venues to life”
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IBC facilities in Beijing continue to go greener and become more efficient

“OBS has created a better mix of technical areas and office space to help better balance airflow and reduce the amount of heating and cooling required, thereby lowering power consumption across the facility”

The Beijing Games has been a unique Olympics for many reasons, not least of which is that only eight rights holding broadcasters (RHBs) have a base of operations at the IBC (representing 38 organisations, including sublicensees). In Zhangjiakou Sports Park, five RHBs representing 16 organisations have facilities at the ZBC. And, at both broadcast centres, Olympic Broadcast Services (OBS) has endeavoured to be more sustainable, green and efficient.

At the IBC and ZBC, according to Tomoyo Sato, senior manager for broadcaster services at OBS, broadcaster offices range from small units with a few desks and computers to broadcast spaces housing several control rooms, TV studios, editing suites, off-tube commentary booths, news-production areas, and other office rooms.

OBS technical facilities operate mainly from an area called OBS Tech, located within the IBC, which is made up of the Contribution, Distribution, and Unilateral (CDU) master control room (MCR), the International Transmission MCR, the Commentary Switching Centre (CSC), the Archive Video Logging Area and Mixed Zone Feed Area, and the Broadcast Data Feed (BDF) room.

“Additionally, OBS has also built two TV towers to offer

RHBs TV studios and standups for their news reporting,” says Sato. “The Beijing TV tower is located in front of the Bird’s Nest National Stadium and Beijing Medals Plazas. In Zhangjiakou, the TV tower is adjacent to ZBC and facing the National Ski Jumping Centre.”

Eugenia Sofia Fuenmayor, director, construction, OBS, notes that, as part of a long-term commitment to sustainability, OBS has been rethinking the design of the IBC, making optimisation of space a priority.

For Beijing 2022, OBS has succeeded in reducing the overall net broadcast footprint from 36,000sqm to 30,000sqm by facilitating the integration of the IBC and the Main Press Center (MPC) into a single venue, instead of the two initially planned.

Bringing the IBC and the MPC under the same roof allowed a broad range of facilities and services, which otherwise would have had to be duplicated, to be shared by press and broadcasters, reducing costs for the OCOG while optimising Games-time operations.

Locating technical areas centrally in the IBC reduces the energy required in cooling equipment racks.

“In order to optimise the broadcast operation and for the first time in an Olympic Winter Games, OBS has designed a series of Centralised Technical Areas strategically placed within the IBC and ZBC,” Fuenmayor explains. “These areas provide ‘data centre’ type services and infrastructure to both OBS and the RHBs, enabling broadcasters to keep their technical equipment that receives or sends signals from and to OBS, saving energy by reducing the heat, ventilation, air-conditioning and technical power consumption.”

Fuenmayor adds that the areas are shared by several RHBs, with the more efficient use of space being more cost effective for the broadcasters. “OBS has created a better mix of technical areas and office space to help better balance airflow and reduce the amount of heating and cooling required, thereby lowering power consumption across the facility.”

For Beijing 2022, taking into account RHBs’ space requirements, OBS has built 12 fitted-out compartments, six on each level, at the IBC and an additional 12 distributed on one floor at the ZBC.

“An enhanced modular and prefabricated system helped reduce the fit-out timelines significantly,” says Fuenmayor. “With an innovative, completely clean-anddry fit-out system, OBS was able to reduce the timeline by a month and half, about 20%. The prefabricated fit-out system, based on steel-sheet panels, will be reused for the next three Games editions, resulting in a significant reduction of construction waste.”

Further gains are likely in Paris in 2024. Looking towards future Games editions, OBS has integrated a series of enhancements to facilitate fit-out construction with little to virtually no impact on pre-existing structures and legacy buildings.

34 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
EUGENIA SOFIA FUENMAYOR, OBS The overall net broadcast footprint for Beijing 2022 is just 30,000sqm
FIRST PUBLISHED 16 FEBRUARY 2022 Beijing 2022
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Sounding

in China

Calrec support engineer Toby Spiller is in the thick of it in Beijing at the Winter Olympics, supporting the audio tech provider’s customer NBC with its broadcast infrastructure.

Here he tells us about supporting a number of international broadcasters who are using remote and on-prem hardware, how that works under strict COVID19 measures, the importance of training, and how it all differs from the last time a Calrec support engineer was at the same venue 14 years ago.

Daunting times

“It has felt quite daunting at times. Keeping abreast of all the COVID-19 requirements in different countries has meant I had to change my flights and my route three times just to get here, but I flew into Beijing Capital International Airport on Friday 14 January,” says Spiller.

“In Beijing we are all part of a closed loop system, so we are only allowed in the hotel and the venues where we are working. The pre-approval tests to join the bubble meant that we didn’t need to self-isolate when we arrived, so I was able to start work just two days later.

“My hotel is based near the China National Convention Centre in Beijing, right next to the Olympic Park; in fact, it’s the same area that Calrec’s senior product manager Pete Walker stayed when he provided support to NBC Olympics in Beijing in 2008. But the environment in 2022 is quite different to what it was 14 years ago. This year I am likely to stay within a square mile of the Olympic Village, although there is a brand-new Game Creek truck which NBC is using at the extreme zone up in the mountains which I am hoping might need a visit!”

Live remote mixing

“The A1s, all based in Stamford, Connecticut, US, are mixing the live events remotely and will be working to the same schedule, although they will be 13 hours behind so

36 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
perfect: Supporting the audio for NBC’s remote production of Beijing 2022 on the ground
Toby Spiller has come up with a first for NBC — a clone of the system which will be doing the live broadcasts
FIRST PUBLISHED 14 FEBRUARY 2022

their mix day will start at 16:00 and run through until the early hours.

“All the Calrec kit shipped in flypacks directly from Tokyo last year, so my colleagues Steve [Gligorovic] and Elliot [Roberts] were able to prepare the equipment prior to shipping, which made set up very straightforward.

“Prior to the competition, most of my work was aiding set up: setting and testing networks, working with NBC staff and other vendors, and providing training to anyone who needs it. Having spent so many months in the factory it’s not only been great to get out, but it’s been a good opportunity to talk to other manufacturers about their networks, as well as share thoughts on new workflows.

“NBC has eight RP1 remote production units in Beijing; four in the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) to cover Studios A, B and C, and four at remote venues around Beijing [two covering hockey, one at the opening ceremonies and one up in the mountains in the Zhangjiakou Broadcast Centre]. They are all connected to Calrec Artemis consoles in Stamford where there are five remote trucks and six control rooms mixing.

“It’s the first time a broadcaster has employed fully remote workflows for all its coverage from the IBC and it expands on the success of the remote workflows which took place in Tokyo last year.”

Clone of system

“As I have network access to every console and RP1 remote production unit I am able to perform daily checks on performance and settings should anything have changed, such as reference sync or power supply issue; it ensures I am able to provide a very high level of support,” he continues.

“This way of working has also allowed us to do something we’ve never done before either. Because we have a complete set of spares, I have been able to set up a clone of the system which will be doing the live broadcasts, so I have a complete hot spare system comprising an RP1, IO boxes, H2 hubs as well as Dante and MADI cards.

Spiller continues: “It means I can use it for testing and for offline fault finding. I can clone a live system and double check potential issues using live backups, and it means I have spares which are pre-tested ready to go within seconds.

“But it’s also a great opportunity to provide training away from the live system for operators and for other manufacturers who have equipment which is up or downstream of the RP1.

“Training is always a big part of the job, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to do it when so many people are in the same place at the same time!”

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 37 svgeurope updateBeijing 2022
“It’s the first time a broadcaster has employed fully remote workflows for all its coverage from the IBC and it expands on the success of the remote workflows which took place in Tokyo last year”
TOBY SPILLER, CALREC

ZDF to broadcast Beijing Winter Olympics across Germany in tandem with ARD

ZDF is ready to bring coverage of the Beijing Winter Olympics to fans across Germany. It will broadcast on nine of the 17 broadcast days for the Games, with Das Erste — fellow German broadcaster ARD’s flagship national television channel — taking the remaining eight days.

As it did for the Summer Games, ZDF is using its centralised production facility, the National Broadcast Centre (NBC) based at its headquarters in Mainz, Germany, to manage its entire production of the Winter Olympic Games.

The NBC was originally created by ZDF with ARD in order to cover the 2020 Euros as well as the Summer Olympics, with the build completed in March 2020.

Gunnar Darge, ZDF co-head of engineering, tells SVG Europe: “With this production, we have the same workflow as with the Summer Games, except that our studio is now in Mainz in the NBC.”

Shared workflow

ZDF is producing blanket coverage of the Winter Games, taking the host feeds from Olympic Broadcast Services (OBS) as well as several of its own in China. The Opening

Ceremony will be broadcast by ZDF and the Closing Ceremony by Das Erste.

Notes Darge: “We will produce extensively for this Olympic Games. For biathlon, ski jumping and alpine skiing we have our own additional cameras for moderation and interviews in the Mix Zones.

“We will live broadcast daily on ARD and ZDF, alternating [between the networks] between 02:00 and 17:00.”

The NBC is receiving all feeds from the broadcaster’s operations at the Beijing IBC. In Beijing ZDF has a small IBC in Zhangjiakou with switch case and five off-tubes. For the biathlon it has four cameras connected remotely via Nimbra Technik from ZDF’s NBC in Mainz, for ski jumping there is one LiveU camera, for alpine skiing there is also one LiveU camera, and there is a presenter platform on OBS Tower with two cameras again connected via Nimbra.

Meanwhile the NBC is equipped with its own technology plus some additional rentals. It boasts an MCR, broadcast control room PCR, subdirector A (biathlon) and subdirector B (alpine and ski jumping).

It also has a shared ARD and ZDF studio with four cameras and two large LED panels, which are played via a media control system. The studio is fixed but it was set up and designed especially for this production.

There are additionally 15 server-based Avid editing suites, seven EVS VTR places with Nexis server, three audio mix spots, special formats (SoFo) including the co-ordination of LiveU signals, 18 off-tubes, streaming direction for six online channels, plus on-air and off-air graphics.

Managing challenges

ZDF is facing the challenges of the chilly temperatures in Beijing right now, as well as the COVID guidelines. Darge comments: “The logistics in Beijing are not particularly easy as the colleagues are in a bubble that you are not allowed to leave for Corona reasons. Of course, this severely restricts the work and journalistic freedom. And the weather is always a big problem with winter sports, as there are often changes.”

In terms of COVID restrictions in China and Germany, Darge says: “Both in Beijing and in Mainz there are guidelines that protect us from Corona and these must be strictly observed.”

He goes on: “We’ve been used to dealing with Corona and the protection guidelines since the Summer Games; it’s part of everyday life now. Workplaces have to be pulled apart [to create distancing between people], and plexiglass walls have been put in place where this is not possible.”

However, while this way of working is now a normal occurrence, he says it would be nice to work without any restrictions, adding,“to be honest, [people are] relaxed but you can tell that it gets on everyone’s nerves”.

38 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
“With this production, we have the same workflow as with the Summer Games, except that our studio is now in Mainz in the NBC”
ZDF
ZDF’s MCR2 at the National Broadcast Centre in Mainz
Beijing 2022
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 39 audio-technica.com Trackside. Poolside. Pitch-side. On Your Side. / Stereo Shotgun Microphone, 380mm BP4027 Captivate your audience with 5G Deliver rich live-event experiences www.ateme.com

The broadcaster will deliver 1,200 hours of live content for its linear and digital platforms, including discovery+, Eurosport and the Eurosport app, over the course of the Games, using a completely decentralised remote production model that has hubs all around Europe.

More complex by nature

Although the Winter Games is significantly smaller than last year’s blockbuster, with a maximum of 15 concurrent events happening as opposed to the Summer Games’ 39 simultaneous events, it is no simpler for Discovery to manage technically.

Discovery augments The Cube for Beijing 2022 coverage

Discovery is all set to bring 50 countries and territories live coverage of the Beijing Winter Olympics next month using an enhanced Cube mixed reality studio and numerous workflow innovations that go over and above its technical achievements at Tokyo 2020.

Speaking to SVG Europe, Simon Farnsworth, senior vice president of technology and operations at Discovery, explains: “I guess in theory [the Winter Games] should be simpler, but the way that the Olympics works is that technically at the back end it’s a bit more complex [in China] because in Tokyo we had one IBC, [whereas] in Beijing, we’ve got two. We’ve got the mountains IBC and we’ll have the Beijing IBC, which really covers what I would call the ice events, such as figure skating. Co-ordinating all the circuits across the two different sites makes it more complex by nature.

“But what we did — which I think was smart — is use exactly the same technical IP set up that we used in Tokyo for Beijing,” he goes on. “The same equipment got shipped, because we just simply couldn’t pull all the equipment back to Europe and then send it all again and have everything ready in time; the sea freight times alone wouldn’t allow us to do that. So, in terms of the set-up time, it’s much, much quicker in Beijing, because we had it all configured ready for Tokyo. We’re just essentially a bit more plug and play.”

Farnsworth adds: “The Olympic Games by its very nature is extremely complicated as you have a large number of simultaneous sports going on at any one time. For Beijing, the biggest day will have 15 simultaneous events and when you’re broadcasting that across 19 different languages in 50 markets across Europe with 150 control rooms from Norway down to Madrid through those countries, you get complex pretty quick. So, there is an enormous amount of complexity across our network.”

Decentralised remote production

On how Beijing has evolved technically from Tokyo for Discovery, Farnsworth says: “We’re certainly doing a lot more remote production, even more than we were doing in Tokyo; lots more remote commentaries, lots more remote

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Simon Farnsworth,
SVP
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The Cube has evolved significantly from
the
version used
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to
closely resemble athletes from specific winter disciplines will float
in the
Cube,
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athletes’
movements and performance in more detail than ever before

editing, than we’ve ever done before. Partly that’s driven by the technology, but more so the COVID restrictions that we’re facing.”

He goes on: “I don’t think we’re now going to have any live commentators in Beijing, whereas we actually did in Tokyo. I think we had probably up to about 40 commentators in Tokyo. So all of those people will be remote.

“We’ve built essentially two commentary platforms in the cloud that do what we call auto mixing, so we don’t have an audio operator mixing any audio; we’ve simply got software using AI algorithms. So that’s been a big innovation for us.”

Discovery has embraced a decentralised remote working model for around 1,000 people working behind the scenes on the Winter Olympics in Europe. Farnsworth explains: “We’ve got production control rooms in all our sites, not just [a single] production control room. So Oslo, Stockholm, Denmark, Copenhagen, Munich, Warsaw, Hilversum, Paris, Madrid, Milan and the UK; everywhere now it is remote production.

“When we built our infrastructure, it was all around the ethos of remote production, but all the equipment sits in two data centres and then it just gets assigned to control surfaces in all the different markets. So one day we could

have two PCRs in Madrid, [and the] next day, we could have three, or four, or five,” he adds.

The datacentres are Discovery built and owned, based in London, UK and Hilversum, the Netherlands, the latter of which was opened in March 2020 following a €40 million investment to create a new technology hub.

He adds that this Games marks the first time Discovery has been able to allow all its editors to work remotely across a centralised editing platform in the cloud, following digital investment that began in 2018. He explains: “Beijing will be the first time that we’ll have everybody on that central editing platform, which is huge for us in terms of searchability of content and distribution of content.

“We’ve now migrated all of our editors onto our central editing platforms so all the content that comes from Beijing and the studios gets ingested into one central cloud-based post production platform that anybody who has a Discovery login can log into from home or from a Discovery site. [They can] edit content and then make that content available, either into a production control room, onto social media, as a replay for our playout system or for our digital.”

He adds that is a,“big, big move” on from Tokyo.“We’ve been working super hard on that in the background.”

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“Beijing will be the first time that we’ll have everybody on that central editing platform, which is huge for us in terms of searchability of content and distribution of content”
SIMON FARNSWORTH, DISCOVERY
C M Y CM MY CY CMY K SVG-half-page-standard-MandE-02.pdf 1 8/31/2022 4:55:01 PM

Onsite in Beijing Discovery has around 50 members of staff, who are mostly focusing on content capture. Farnsworth notes: “We still have quite a bit of venue capture, so the majority of those folks [onsite] will be ENG crews; video journalist crews at the venues capturing content. And then we’ve got a sizable presence in the IBCs, which are our broadcast operation centres that are taking all that capture in and then rooting it back to the two data centres. It then gets distributed out from the two data centres. So it’s a mix of engineers, IT and network people, operations folks, and then camera guys, sound guys, and everything that supports them.”

Infrastructure leap forwards

As to how this is possible, the broadcaster is constantly increasing the size of its wide area network (WAN). Farnsworth adds: “We’ve made huge improvements since 2018. We’ve been on a journey since PyeongChang to modernise Discovery and Eurosport’s infrastructure to allow us to move into a digital age, and we’ve invested a huge amount of time modernising those control rooms. We now have central ingest points which allow all of our editors and production folks to ingest any piece of content. They can start editing and distribute to social media, digital platforms, linear platforms.”

Farnsworth says: “We now have our overall WAN that we’ve built, which is bigger than Cisco’s WebEx network. We’re at 400-gig connections to all of our main sites, so we can chuck an awful lot of data around that network. And that’s connecting all our sites around Europe, as well as our sites in the US.

“It’s just constantly evolving and upgrading,” he continues.“We actually had that one in PyeongChang, but it was only maybe a 1GB to 10GB network, but now it’s expanded enormously,” he notes, due to the sheer volume of content that Discovery is pumping through, as well as the standards being used.

Says Farnsworth: “We’re all using JPEG XS encoding,

which is the lowest latency we possibly can get, and it’s all IP, so we can route anything; we don’t have a router anymore. We just have an enormous database that routes IP connections to all these sites.”

Cuboid evolution for Beijing

Onto the Cube, which has also evolved significantly from the version used in Tokyo. Bespoke avatars built to closely resemble athletes from specific winter disciplines will float in the Cube, so experts will be able to walk around them and analyse the minutiae of an athletes’ movements and performance in more detail than ever before.

In addition, background avatars will populate the studio space, adding atmosphere and life to the environment, and will even be transported around the resort by a functioning ski lift.

Discovery has also implemented a further three greenscreen studios in Europe taking the total to eight.

Farnsworth explains: “[The Cube has] got a totally brand-new look and feel [and] we now have greenscreen studios all around Europe. Also, we’ve put new tracking systems in the Cube, which allows it to look even better than it was before. In terms of the version, I think probably we’re on seven or eight, but every time we add a greenscreen studio, it gives us more functionality, particularly with the teleportation.

“We’ve seen with the Australian Open recently that we’ve got talent coming in from all around Europe and from Melbourne into the Cube so that we can have really cool two-way conversations.”

All the greenscreen studios for the Cube now use Mo-sys tracking software. This enables the increased number of studios to sync precisely, says Farnsworth. “We’ve completely implemented all the same tracking systems in our greenscreens around Europe so that we can all have the exact timing, the exact same data references, to allow us to do this, which is super cool.”

Ready for all challenges

Farnsworth is ready for whatever challenges the event throws at the team over the next few weeks but is ready for the logistical intricacies of putting on such a large event across the multitude of European markets that Discovery serves.

He says: “Stuff always crops up, but I’m sure the Chinese will put a great event on; if there’s no snow, they’ll create snow. The challenge for us is just the scale and the complexity of what we do, and no other broadcaster ever does it; we’ve got 19 different languages, 15 different events. If you multiply that up in terms of the volume of production associated to it, there is no other network in the world that probably does the scale that we do in terms of volumes and complexities of simultaneous feeds. So that’s the real challenge; making sure we’re properly co-ordinated around all of that.”

42 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update Beijing 2022
“There is no other network in the world that probably does the scale that we do in terms of volumes and complexities of simultaneous feeds”
SIMON FARNSWORTH, DISCOVERY
Behind the scenes of the Cube in action
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 43 Pro editing in any browser Fast Efficient Sustainable www.blackbird.video Connecting the Fan Experience Now and Into the Future emea.marketing@belden.com | belden.com/markets/stadiums-and-venues Ready to Start a Project? Speak to an Expert!

BBC Sport slaloms through COVID challenges to carve out a solid remote production set-up

B BC Sport is raring to go for the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics Games, which is fast approaching.

The public service broadcaster has been co-operating with fellow rights holder Discovery to ensure each network provides viewers with the best offering, says Jonny Bramley, executive producer for major events at BBC Sport, speaking to SVG Europe from Beijing. “We’ve basically got two live feeds under the Discovery deal. It’s the same deal [as we had in Tokyo]. What we’ve actively been doing is making sure that we’re in an open discussion with Eurosport about our schedules so that we’re not directly competing against each other.”

“Eurosport has got a very good winter sports offering,”

continues Bramley. “They’ll show a lot of the Nordic events; that’s quite regular for them. If they’re showing some of those Nordic events we will be able to show something different, thinking about the viewer across both networks, basically.”

Navigating the obstacles

Despite delays with freight being delivered into China as the Port of Tianjin was completely shut down when a COVID case was discovered, Canadian company Broadcast Services International (BSI), which is carrying out the installation for the broadcaster, is doing,“very well” and has got BBC Sport “right back on track”, says Bramley.

The advance of the Omicron COVID variant has not changed things drastically for people working on the ground for BBC Sport as, says Bramley, “everything’s really tight in China and it’s been a zero COVID tolerance place for a while, so [Omicron] didn’t make the slightest bit of difference. Everything was really strict anyway, quarantine was three weeks up until recently for anybody coming into the country, and because we’ve got this closed loop system, COVID is supposed to be completely eliminated within that.

“The closed loop effectively closes us off from the public and the rest of Beijing. Even within the closed loop we’ve got strict measures, so we have one-metre distancing, masks to be worn at all times unless you’re eating or drinking, and the same thing applies in the hotel, so it’s pretty strict.”

Unfortunately, this closed loop means that broadcasters are not able to move around the city to get local colour to give viewers at home a taste of where the Games are being held. However, host broadcaster Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), working with the Chinese Olympic Committee, is providing footage including B-roll of the city, country, cultural events and aerial drone shots of the venues for broadcasters to use.

Adds Bramley: “At least in Tokyo, once you went through a two-week quarantine period you were free to actually go out into the city and film. This is very different in the fact that you literally can only go between your accommodation and the Olympic venues. So OBS and the organising committee have released footage. We are able to use that to get a flavour of the place. Also, we’ll certainly do what we can in the venues themselves.”

While several asymptomatic people from broadcasters have tested positive for COVID on arrival in China and are still in quarantine, Bramley believes this is because of the booster vaccines given during December in the UK, and that the Chinese testing kit is more sensitive. This has

44 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
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BBC Sport’s Jonny Bramley, executive producer for major events, outside the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing

also caused issues for the broadcasters, who do not have surplus staff on hand to replace those in quarantine.

Bramley explains: “It is just not viable to fly extra [people in] just in the event that they might be needed; you can’t really justify that economically and we’ve also got a limited number of accreditations.”

However, the Chinese have implemented a fast turnaround visa process to enable broadcasters to replace crew who tested positive before they flew to China.

Remote production for maximum control

The broadcaster is producing its Beijing 2022 coverage using a mainly remote production model. BBC Sport is well-versed in doing this for Winter Olympics’ as the events are smaller than Summer Games which tends to make it simpler to arrange to have more people off-site.

Says Bramley:“For the Winter Olympics, we’ve tended to operate in a remote way for a number of years, actually, so in a way there is nothing new.As it’s not quite as big an event as the [Summer] Olympics it’s harder to justify having the whole team on site. This means we can actually manage the production remotely in our existing BBC production space in MediaCityUK, which was very different for the Olympics; just the sheer scale of a Summer Olympics means we’ve got to expand the Salford operation, which

isn’t fit for purpose for an event of that scale.

“Fortunately for the Winter Olympics, given that there are fewer events and it’s a smaller post-production operation, we can actually scale that within our existing facilities in Salford. So we have most of our postproduction operations in Salford, and we have two edit suites in the IBC here in Beijing.

“The advantage of that is [Salford will] get access to all of the host feeds, not just the main venue feeds, but all of the multi clips, which give us the extra camera angles, the extra footage they need. We’ve got reporters who can come in and voice material in the IBC, which is always a bit more flexible than having to record a voice track and send everything back to be edited in Salford, which is what we did in the Summer Olympics; it works fine, but it’s actually more flexible to have someone on site.”

“We’ve also got four additional cameras on top of our radio camera, which will mainly be going to venues doing live interviews from Mix Zones, but we’ll also be shooting features and material for if [editors] want to top and tail an event for our highlight shows,” continues Bramley.

“So that’s a combination of live interviews, which can be done throughout the day, but also packaging up items potentially for our highlight shows just to give a different feel and a different take on the event itself.”

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 45 svgeurope update
Beijing 2022
“Curling’s going to be a big venue for us, we’ve got an announcer position there as well so we can do twoways with our commentary team and our experts before and after the events”
JONNY BRAMLEY, BBC SPORT
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With the vast majority of its presentation being done from its new virtual reality (VR) studio in Salford, BBC Sport is minimising the need to present from Beijing, says Bramley.

“We don’t have any presentation as such on location, however our reporters [Matthew Pinsent, Steve Cram, Jenny Jones, Katherine Downes and Sarah Mulkerrins] will be reporting live on location from curling, figure and short track speed skating, sliding, snowboard and freestyle, and we’ll also have an Olympic Park radio camera which will also be used for athlete interviews.”

He goes on:“We’ve tried to scale back some of our onsite operations from the last couple of Winter Olympics, just because of some of the uncertainties around operating out here in China, and some of the logistics, you know, getting around venues.

“We took the decision to move some of our commentary teams back to Salford [that we would have normally had on site]. This means the only commentary teams we have on site are mainly for curling, short track and figure skating.”

Those three sports in particular are getting on site commentary because they are set to be popular events that have big entries, notes Bramley. Additionally, the British Olympic teams for these sports have good chances of winning medals, which will add to the appeal for viewers at home.

He adds:“There’ll be a lot of interacting with the athletes there. Curling’s going to be a big venue for us, we’ve got an announcer position there as well so we can do two-ways with our commentary team and our experts before and after the events. That’s certainly going to be something there’s a lot of interest in.

“Also, for the skating figure skating and short track teams, the venue’s quite close to the IBC and we’ve got Kat

be doing some reporting for breakfast, so it makes sense for her to be over here so she can do both. So there’s a number of reasons [for having some commentators in Beijing]. Certainly, for some of the freestyle snowboarding events, quite a lot of those events are clashing so it would’ve been quite difficult logistically to organise [commentary in the UK].”

Avoiding a white out

The BBC’s reporters will be interviewing athletes in the Mix Zone, as they did in Tokyo, and they will have to maintain a two-metre distance. Notes Bramley: “You have to do all your interviews with a long boom rather than getting up close to them. It makes it slightly trickier, but at least you can still get that athlete access. And, of course, in addition to that there are broadcast studios available here and athletes can access the IBC where we are based.”

On access to areas within the Olympic venues, Bramley comments: “We’ve got a roving radio camera, which is operating on the Olympic green. It’s still to be determined where we can physically go outside; they’re still working out what we can do, but that’s going to enable us to actually do live reports two ways with our studio back in Salford, and athlete interviews as well. That will give a sense of being outside in the Olympic Park; it’ll give you some sort of sense of location.”

Bramley says it is easier for the BBC to cover events remotely from the UK in the current circumstances. He notes: “I know in an ideal world we would have everybody on site; there’s certainly things to be gained by being close to the venues and being able to interact with athletes and coaches and just get a better feel for it. But in this situation, where we have limited movement generally, I think it’ll actually work better for us to have them in Salford.”

46 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022
The BBC office inside the Beijing IBC
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Champions League director Laurent Lachand on switching the final to Paris

The teams responsible for producing coverage of the Champions League Final are getting used to some tight turnarounds. For the past three years, the location of the final has changed at short notice, due to the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, and this year in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The decision to stage tomorrow’s final (Saturday 28th May) between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Paris instead of St Petersburg was made in February by UEFA, which also awarded host broadcaster duties to French broadcaster and Champions League rightsholder Canal+. Outside broadcast firm AMP Visual was then selected by Canal+ to provide technical and production support.

Canal+ director Laurent Lachand has been tasked with overseeing the host feed. Lachand’s credits include directing matches at the 2002 and 2018 FIFA World Cups, the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada in 2015, UEFA Euro 2016 in France and a host of French domestic and Champions League matches.

Speaking with SVG Europe ahead of the final, Lachand says his big game experience — and that of the team he regularly works with — has helped them deliver to a tight deadline.

“We try to go fast and to be simple in our approach,” he says. “We have some advantages, because of my knowledge of UEFA’s plans for the Euros, and we use this

type of camera plan. Also, we have domestic technical facilities with AMP, who we work with on the Champions League.

“We are lucky, because [AMP] has a long record of working on these kinds of games; the crew is the reason why I’m confident because we work together each week. For the final, we have worked on a well-known camera plan and setups to be sure to deliver in three months what is usually delivered in one year or more.”

Lachand says an added complication has been the number of other sporting events that are taking place over the weekend and airing on Canal, including the Monaco F1 Grand Prix on Sunday, MotoGP at Mugello in Italy, the D1 Arkema women’s football match between PSG and Lyon on Sunday along with the final stages of the Top 14 rugby union league, the Heineken Champions Cup final in Marseille, tennis at Roland Garros and the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 play-offs.

However, he says the challenges have been greater for the production teams and crew than for him. “The most difficult aspect is not on my side because, to a certain extent, a match is a match. I worked on the Champions League semi-final in Liverpool, the semi-final in Madrid, and on Paris Saint-Germain against Real Madrid, so I know very well the players on each team, the clubs and their history. That aspect is important, but more difficult I think is the production side.

“The production crew with Canal do an absolutely amazing job since we began three months ago, because this sport can be really complicated; everything from dealing with frequencies to setting up slo-mo cameras.”

“The approach for the final is much like a match at the Euros or World Cup; we have to deliver a fair world feed that shows a respect for the game, with the best angles and quality of images as we can for all broadcasters,” he adds.

“In February, we delivered Paris v Madrid, which was not so far from a final because it was a huge camera plan. And we take this level, and we upgrade it to arrive at all the obligations that we have to provide on Saturday.”

The 40-camera coverage of Saturday’s match between Liverpool and Real Madrid will include an aerial camera system, one helicopter camera, seven super-slow motion and two high-speed cameras, two in-goal cameras, two crane cameras and one coaching camera to capture the action that will air in over 200 countries and territories around the world.

Over 100km of fibre optic cable will be pulled by UEFA to deliver services to UEFA’s broadcast partners, with unilateral facilities including 120 TV and radio commentary position desks, 30 unilateral camera positions behind the goals, 25 pitch presentation positions, 13 flash interview positions and four super flash interview positions.

48 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
“We have worked on a well-known camera plan and setups to be sure to deliver in three months what is usually delivered in one year or more”
UEFA Champions League Final
Director Laurent Lachand has been tasked with overseeing the world feed Credit: Canal+

The broadcast format will be simultaneous, synchronised and timed UHD HDR and HD SDI 1080i50 feeds produced from a single production platform. For Canal+, in parallel with the linear broadcast of the match, online service myCanal will offer a stream in 4K HDR Dolby Vision 8.4 Dolby Atmos, with binaural sound for compatible Apple and Android devices.

Given the relatively short amount of time to prepare, Lachand says the focus for him, and his team, is less on technical innovation and more on providing sound editorial coverage as Real Madrid attempt to win their 14th top European title, while Liverpool will be hoping to add to their tally of six.

“We had just three months to create a secure, high level for the final, so it’s not a good opportunity to try something. We just want to push forward the usual tools that we need to cover this kind of event, such as the Spider Cam, or coverage from the chopper. I think this is the best way, because in so small amount of time, it’s not a good idea to try something different. The final is not a place for experiments. We need to provide secure coverage for the millions of people who will be watching.

“For a match like this, I think the most important aspects are those such as the interaction between the players, and to find the technical connections between

the players and understand how the teams are playing.”

With the 2020 Final in Estádio da Luz in Lisbon played behind closed doors and the 2021 Final to a crowd limited at 33% of the capacity of the Estádio do Dragão in Porto, Saturday’s match will be a welcome return to a capacity crowd and provides an opportunity to focus on the atmosphere in the stadium.

“It’s the first final since the end of Covid, and the first with a full stadium,” says Lachand. “In Paris, we expect thousands of English and Spanish supporters. It’s absolutely amazing, and the crowd is the difference between a regular match and the final. These matches are really different, with a taste of je ne sais quoi.”

svgeurope update
UEFA Champions League Final
Credit: Canal+ The 40-camera coverage will include seven super-slow motion and two high-speed cameras

Women’s Euro 2022: Facts and figures for the host broadcast match coverage

With less than a week to go before the start of the 2022 UEFA European Women’s Football Championship in England, the host broadcast plans for the tournament have been unveiled.

UEFA itself is the host broadcaster for the tournament, working with EMG who are supplying four large OB units, one per production team. EMG has subcontracted Sound Credit to provide fully equipped commentary positions and Telegenic to provide cabling.

Each production team will work on a specific ‘beat’, led by a director. The production teams are being led by:

• Rob Levi – Old Trafford, Manchester City Academy, Wigan and Leigh

• Gemma Knight – Rotherham and Sheffield

• Sarah Cheadle – Milton Keynes (group stage), Brighton & Hove

• Jamie Oakford – London, Southampton and Milton Keynes (semi-final)

Output

There is no HDR included in the tournament output. Instead, the group stages will be HD with SDR, with the latter stages also available in Ultra HD with SDR. Dolby 5.1 audio will be available throughout. Eurovision Services will act as the transmission supplier.

Cameras

The standard configuration for all Women’s Euro 2022 group stage matches will comprise a minimum of 15 match coverage cameras with additional cameras used to cover other events surrounding the match.

This will increase to a minimum of 16 match cameras for the quarter-finals while the semi-finals and final will feature a minimum of 17 and 19 match cameras, respectively.

Included in the camera armoury will be:

• Two super slow-motion triple-speed cameras per group stage match, three for quarter-finals and four for the semi-finals and final

• One aerial camera system for the final

• Two in-goal cameras per match (one at each end)

• Two Polecams per match (one at each end) as of semi-finals

• One Steadicam per group stage match, two as of quarter-finals

• Three handheld cameras - (non-Steadicams), four as of semi-finals

EMG will supply all of the cameras.

Graphics and VAR

All match graphics will be supplied on-site by Boost, a subsidiary of EMG. The TV match graphics will be keyed in the multilateral feed based on the overall Women’s Euro 2022 brand design concept.

Hawk-Eye will supply Video Assistant Referee (VAR), Goal-line Technology (GLT) and Electronic Player Tracking System (EPTS) football technologies at all matches.

Facilities for unilateral coverage

Rights-holding broadcast partners will be able to book camera positions on the main camera platform, the reverse camera platform, or behind either goal. One pitch-view studio is being made available per venue throughout the tournament, and two for the final at Wembley.

Three partially equipped tribune presentation positions will also be available at each match, with five available for the semi-finals and six for the final.

There will be two fully equipped and six partially equipped unilateral pitch-side presentation positions at each venue.

A minimum of 20 three-seater commentary positions will be available at each venue.

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FIRST PUBLISHED 30 JUNE 2022 UEFA European Women’s Football Championship The group stages will be HD with SDR, while the latter stages will also be available in Ultra HD with SDR Each match will have a minimum of 15 coverage cameras with additional cameras used to cover other events surrounding the match
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 51

Birmingham 2022: Inside the host broadcast set-up for the Commonwealth Games with Sunset+Vine

With time ticking on in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham later this month, host broadcaster

Sunset+Vine is working hard to ensure all rights holders have everything they need to bring every event to viewers.

This is Sunset+Vine’s third Commonwealth Games, but its first working independently as a host broadcaster. David Tippett, Sunset+Vine managing director, told SVG Europe: “This time around, we went alone. Obviously, lots of partners, including NEP, are involved, but we’re the lead.”

Over the 11 days of the Games, Sunset+Vine will produce around 3,000 hours of coverage for rights holders. Tippett says: “In terms of live coverage, there’s going to be about 2,000 hours of live sport produced. Then [on top of that] we’re doing a 24-hour Games channel, which is the best of everything. We’re producing six multichannel feeds, as part of our multichannel service. We’re producing two highlight shows a day.We’re producing all of the clips, we’re producing all of the extra digital coverage of squash, badminton, table tennis. We’re producing other Games-time content.

“It all adds up to another 1,000 hours or so, putting total coverage up to around about 3,000 hours, if you take everything that’s being repurposed and repackaged.”

Logistically challenging

The production of this Games is not on the same scale as an Olympics, but it is still impressive and logistically challenging. Tippett says: “We’ve got 19 sports but there’s 22 outside broadcasts once you factor in all the sports. Within cycling, for example, we’ve got track cycling, there’s road cycling, there’s mountain biking. So even within one sport you’ve got different outside broadcasts with actually quite different requirements as well. They’re all the complex ones, especially the road race and time trial on the mountain bikes. Those are big old operations in their own right.”

On which sport can be particularly challenging, Tippett says, “it depends who you ask!,” but adds: “I genuinely think athletics is one of the hardest things to do, and to do it well, because you’ve got the scale but you’ve got the concurrent events happening. So we’re covering three field events and a track race at the same time — I’m producing feeds for all of those things — and there’s an integrated feed, which is effectively what you’ll watch on the BBC. But we’re offering all of the components to allow the BBC to create their own integrated feed, so we’ll produce an integrated feed which will be taken primarily by international takers, but the BBC has the option to

52 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022
The Sandwell Aquatics Centre, Birmingham
Commonwealth Games
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 53

customise that themselves if they want.”

On OB partners, a myriad of providers are involved: Timeline is working on the IBC, badminton, boxing, netball, weightlifting and para powerlifting, plus table tennis and para table tennis at the NEC; EMG is on aquatics at the Sandwell Centre, the marathon in the city centre, cricket at Edgbaston, the mountain bike, road race and time trial cycling at Cannock Chase, judo and wrestling at the Coventry Arena, rugby sevens at the Coventry Stadium, and triathlon and para triathlon at Sutton Park; NEP is covering athletics and para athletics at the Alexander Stadium, gymnastics at Arena Birmingham and lawn bowls and para lawn bowls at Victoria Park; Gravity is covering the 3X3 basketball and wheelchair basketball as well as beach volleyball at Smithfield; and Cloudbass is on the cycling track at Lee Valley, plus hockey and squash at the University of Birmingham.

There will be eight major rights holding broadcasters on site during the Games: BBC Sport; Seven Network (Australia); Sky (New Zealand); Supersport (South Africa); Sony (India); CBC (Canada); Astro (Malaysia); and Sportsmax (Caribbean).

Tippett comments: “I think another interesting aspect to this that’s largely been accelerated because of COVID is the way rights holders want to access the feeds. There’s the traditional model which was we would produce video feeds at the IBC, and then it would be up to the rights holders to select which ones they want and figure out how they get them back to their base and that was it, end of story. Our job ended at the IBC.

“Whereas now, what you’re seeing is rights holders have got services at home and they want to take everything, or they want to take things and operate in a remote production model, which means we’ve just got to be a little bit more clever and more flexible about how we make our feeds and our coverage available. That means looking at SRT options, for example, so people don’t just want a video feed option now; it cuts down the cost if SRT streams are available, rather than old fashioned, expensive video circuits over fibre in the old fashioned way. It’s just changing the way people want to receive the content and us having to adapt accordingly.”

Reaching further

In its role as host broadcaster, Sunset+Vine has to expand its reach further than its usual role as a production company. Notes Tippett: “We are a host broadcast business but we’re still, at our core, a production business. So, what we’ve tried to do, is bring a production approach to doing host broadcast. It becomes a more qualitative type of operational project than just a quantitative.

“With this sort of project you just can’t treat it like a normal production, so I think that’s been one of the things we’ve been conscious of. I wouldn’t say it’s a challenge because we know how to do these sorts of things, but it’s just doing the non-production bits properly.

“It’s the bits like designing and building an IBC, or the scale of rights holder management that comes with this kind of job. This time, we’ve built and launched a rights holder portal and we’re running all of our rate card bookings through an online portal. So we’ve designed, built and launched a website. That’s not a production company sort of thing.”

A lot of tried and trusted technology is being deployed for the Commonwealth Games, says Tippett: “The camera plans are all very, very healthy. We’ve got over the entire project well over 370 cameras, for example. We’ve got lots of rail cams, cable cams, wire cams and mini cams; the high-level specialist cameras that you would expect at a major event. It’s a right-sized approach for the Commonwealth Games. But what that means is looking at and understanding what the rights holders want, and also what the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) wants and the Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) in every country.

“There’s 72 countries competing, so each one has a requirement as well from a content perspective. In the early days there was a lot of discussion about what is the right kind of venue, of content, and of services to provide in a Commonwealth Games post-COVID. And also, just trying to reflect the way that a big event is consumed across all sorts of different platforms. That’s where all of the innovation comes in. So, for example, there’s a big Games time clipping and content operation in place now, which will be producing short-form content or digital clips or social clips that can be used by all of those national associations or sponsors, or the CGF themselves; that’s something that we had never done at a Commonwealth Games before.”

He continues: “We’re doing streaming for extra fields of play at table tennis, badminton and squash. So again, in the past, take badminton for example, there’s a show court and that’s where you’d see the main games, the live coverage of that. But there’s also lots of other courts happening as well, and so we’ve put in a solution to produce digital-style coverage on the extra courts. So there’s quite a few ‘not been done before’ but the focus has been on just updating the overall scope of services.”

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“I genuinely think athletics is one of the hardest things to do, and to do it well, because you’ve got the scale but you’ve got the concurrent events happening”
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 55

Long build up Sunset+Vine was awarded the host broadcast contract one week into the first lockdown in England in April 2020. The tender process began in autumn 2019. Comments Tippett: “There was quite a long build up to being awarded the contract; it was a fairly lengthy process. Then we were notified that we’d won it a week into lockdown, so that was a real boost when everything else wasn’t very positive. We’ve been working on it for more than two years now.”

The multiple lockdowns since then did not negatively impact Sunset+Vine’s planning for the Games; rather, they improved it. Tippett explains: “Do you know, in a funny sort of way things like Teams and Zoom have made large planning meetings a little bit more efficient, because I think in the old days you used to go into a big meeting room and there’d be a whole load of printed plans on a desk and everyone would try and pour over them and all that kind of stuff. Now you just sit at your desk and someone shares their screen and they go through everything. It’s a far better way of actually running some of these big venue planning meetings. Even when we’re all in the same place now, often we’ll just sit at our desks and do it that way.”

However, he adds: “I think where everybody struggled in the beginning was the inability to go and do site visits. I think that was the one area where we would have preferred to have been out and seeing places sooner. Having said that, at a lot of the bigger venues there was nothing to see anyway. Alexander Stadium was a building site when we started. Sandwell, Aquatics Centre, I don’t even know if they would have started construction at that point. It was very, very early days.”

The Alexander Stadium has been designed to ensure

that it is a stadium with a legacy, building on the long-term future of the West Midlands. Already Birmingham and UK Athletics are bidding to host the 2026 European Athletics Championships at the stadium.A decision about which city will stage the 2026 European Athletics Championships — Birmingham or Budapest — will be made by the European Athletics Council in November 2022.

Sustainable production

The Games does not lend itself to the efficiencies of a remote production, says Tippett, because of the compressed schedule. Instead, Sunset+Vine is using as many local people as possible. He adds: “We’ve addressed sustainability and minimising our carbon footprint just by being very careful about how we travel people around. We’d have still had to have people travelling around — well probably more, funnily enough — if we’d been using a remote or several remote hubs.”

There will be around 1,500 crew members working on the production for Sunset+Vine, with the vast majority of those being freelancers. Around half of Sunset+Vine’s permanent staff, however — approximately 60 people — are working on the Games.

The opening ceremony will be available in UHD HDR. The rest of the Games will be available in HD 1080i, with sound in stereo.

Sunset+Vine is providing at the Commonwealth Games:

• More than 370 cameras across 19 sports

• 22 outside broadcasts

• 1,500 crew

• 2,000 hours of live sport coverage

• 1,000 hours of additional coverage

56 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022
Building the IBC at the NEC in Birmingham in early July 2022 were Sunset+Vine’s director of technical operations, Mark Dennis, and head of broadcast technology, Tom Copeland
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BBC Sport aims to bring Rugby League World Cup viewers closer to the action

Delayed due to the pandemic, the 16th edition of the RLWC, which is being hosted in England, will see three competitions played out in parallel for the first time with the best men’s, women’s and wheelchair nations all battling it out for the biggest prizes in the sport.

Kicking off this weekend (Saturday 15 October) with England vs Samoa in the men’s tournament, the host broadcast duties for RLWC are being shared by BBC Sport and Whisper, with the former doing 16 of the 61 matches, including both the men’s and women’s finals.

The BBC is also the domestic rights holder for the tournament and will show all of the games live in the UK, with some on the main network channels, and some streamed.

Its output is extensive. So, although it is only doing a quarter of all the matches as host, it is actively producing television content and/or doing presentation for 39 of them over the nigh-on five weeks of the tournament.

This is not an insignificant task, as BBC Sport’s RLWC executive producer Sally Richardson explains.

“With that volume, the challenge is having sufficient human and technical resources to be able to cover all

of it. Covering 16 matches as a host broadcaster is reasonably simple. When you add the presentation side to that it brings extra pressure and requires a lot of extra resources and it is all being administered and arranged logistically by a small team.”

With some of the matches being doubleheaders, there are plenty of those logistical headaches too. And scheduling of the three competitions also poses a challenge.

“Unlike most major tournaments,” continues Richardson, “which start off with a very busy group stage [and then ease off into the knockout stages], this tournament begins with the men’s tournament and then the women’s and wheelchair matches start halfway through. It means that the pressure ramps up as the tournament progresses.

“Week four [of the tournament] looks ridiculous.We dare not look at week four at the moment,” she says, presumably only half in jest.

Although the timeframe is tight, the BBC is still being ambitious with its planned coverage, both for the world feed and for its domestic output.

A serious line-up of pundits has been assembled including England’s most capped player James Graham, former Great Britain and England forwards Jamie Peacock, Jon Wilkin and Jamie Jones-Buchanan, the former England Women internationals Danika Priim and Lois Forsell, and former Great Britain coach Brian Noble.

Alongside the BBC’s lead rugby league commentator Dave Woods will be Matt Newsum and Sharon Shortle, Andrew Voss, Mark Wilson and Andy Stevenson.

And they all have a crucial role to play.

Rugby league is a very fast sport with very few stoppages. That is one of its many appeals. But with little time for a match director to tell the story of the game while it is being played, more of the pressure to explain what is happening, therefore, passes to the commentary and punditry team.

That is doubly so with a major tournament where the audience will differ from a domestic match, with far more casual viewers. Ensuring that the lay fan understands what is happening without alienating the regular spectator is a tricky balance.

“Our commentary team are very good at explaining the game to both sides of the audience,” says Richardson. “On one side, to the die-hard rugby league fans who know exactly what they’re watching, and do not want to be patronised by being told what it is that they’re watching. And on the other

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Coverage will be tailored to die-hard fans as well as those dipping their toe into the world of rugby league
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side to the people we are trying to encourage to come to the sport and stay with it.

“[The latter] are viewers who watch something because it’s got World Cup attached to it, or they’re watching it because of the badge that’s on the chest, and they want to support their team. We have to educate those people, make them feel included and encourage them to come back.”

Having referees mic’d up for TV really helps with that education process too, she adds.

“Rugby League referees are very good in their explanation to the players as to what is happening. Their signals are clear and easy to understand. If the on-field referee calls in the video referee, for example, if he or she is unsure or unsighted, or they refer a try up to the video referee, they will always say what that is for and we will hear the video referee talk through it. And then there’s a big screen in the stadium which will provide the decision [for viewers and fans]. It’s really simple but really effective.”

Camera setup

For capturing the action, atmosphere and reactions, there are a couple of specialist cameras being put in place for this tournament. A Spidercam will be used on the big games as will a BatCam. Dressing room cameras will be in situ too, as they often are for the sport of rugby league.

Possibly the most interesting innovation is not technical but in where a camera and operator are being given permission to go.

“Rugby League is a forward-thinking game and when we look to them for innovation, we are pushing against a door that is already ajar,” says Richardson. “It’s really not a difficult job. It’s a sport where we can take the viewer closer to the action than in any other sport.

“We won’t have player mics here at the Rugby League

World Cup, but we’ve got dressing room cameras. We’ve got refs mics. We’ll also have RF cameras that will actually be going onto the pitch after tries have been scored and bring players back from where the points have been scored. This is something that is rarely seen in other sports.”

The on-pitch cameras will also be used during pre-match analysis, continues Richardson.

“Domestically we will have an element that we call a Game Plan whereby we get one of our reporters to do a game plan on the pitch, while the teams are warming up. They are going to be right next to them. It’s brilliant. The teams are so good at allowing us to do that.”

BBC Sport is working with broadcast services company EMG for the RLWC.

For the world feed, there will be half-time flash interviews too. “As the players leave the pitch we’ll have pre-agreed players, one from each team, who will do a quick flash interview with us before they head off into the tunnel. This is quite unusual for our sports coverage.”

All these incremental benefits are about getting the viewer a closer view of the action.

“It takes viewers to places where they wouldn’t normally get,” she says.“Rugby league have been so progressive with this, and so generous with their access. But we have to get it right because the one time we don’t, they will say ‘out you go’. We are conscious of that.”

Unlike previous editions of the RLWC, where the big three nations Australia, New Zealand and England (who played as Great Britain prior to format changes) have dominated, this tournament is more open with smaller countries, Tonga and Samoa in particular, expected to do well.

But, for the BBC, seeing the home nations do well, is crucial.

“It’s incredibly important [that the home nations do well]. All home nations’ games are live on the network. Nations and regions are the lifeblood of the BBC and of rugby league. It’s a northern sport. Without the local radio and regional TV, rugby league would not get the coverage it gets. So it is crucial to the sport as well.”

What does success look like in a televisual sense? That is more tangible.

“Getting to 20 November, the day after the men’s and women’s finals, and being proud of what we’ve done, having seen [viewing] figures grow and seeing that what we’ve done has reaped some rewards and built some momentum for the sport of rugby league that we can then bring to our domestic coverage. That would be a successful tournament.”

60 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update Rugby League World Cup
“Rugby League is a forwardthinking game and when we look to them for innovation, we are pushing against a door that is already ajar. It’s a sport where we can take the viewer closer to the action than in any other sport”
A serious line-up of pundits and commentators has been assembled for the World Cup
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Whisper to showcase the social impact of Rugby League World Cup as part of host broadcast coverage

On the eve of the delayed Rugby League World Cup 2021, SVG Europe caught up with Whisper, one of two host broadcasters for the tournament alongside BBC Sport, to find out how they will cover the matches for both a global and domestic audience.

Whisper is doing 45 of the games during the four-week tournament, across 21 stadiums, most of which are in the north of England, the part of the UK where the sport of rugby league is most popular.

Telling the story of each match and capturing the excitement of the crowds and the event, are, of course, top of the agenda, but there is more to the host coverage than match-winning tries and hard-hitting tackles, as Whisper head of sport Pete Thomas explains.

Through investment, the event’s Social Impact Programme has led to improvements in local facilities, economies and the physical and mental health of populations living in deprived areas where the tournament is being staged. That will be showcased on-screen.

“We are asking,” continues Thomas, “how can we show what is going on alongside this tournament, the social impact change that’s coming as part of this tournament, what the game is doing to help people, and how it helps people on a daily basis? That’s a big target for us.”

Optional kick

As with any major sporting tournament, there is also a pseudo-educational aspect to the coverage. This is crucial for attracting and retaining those occasional rugby league viewers — or those who are watching the sport for the first time. But not at the expense of the avid supporter.

“The wheelchair [tournament] offers us a route into that,” says Thomas.“Most people won’t have seen the wheelchair game, so we are working on explainers, little accompanying VT packages that don’t feel like they’re being forced on you, but are there to educate and to give you a little bit of advice.”

Balancing that with ensuring that rugby league purists are not put off is not easy though, as he acknowledges. “It’s up to us to get that balance right and to just allow people to be informed without feeling that we’re forcing it down their throat I guess.”

Whisper will be making use of remote production workflows to bring coverage of the 2021 RLWC to air. It will be supported by Timeline Television.

“Using the same Timeline remote facilities we used on the Women’s Euros and the Tokyo Paralympics, [we] will produce games in a more sustainable way by reducing the numbers of staffing on-site,” says Matt Roberts, match director and programme editor for RLWC 21.

“This World Cup is unique, three World Cups in one World Cup [men’s, women’s and wheelchair nations are being played out in parallel], I don’t think that’s ever happened before. The way that the Rugby League World Cup has presented that is something that really appeals to us,” he says.

“The challenge we set for us is to represent those three competitions as part of one bigger tournament and for it to feel like one family and to encourage viewers to be across all three in one and to follow all those games.”

But there is another angle too, he adds: “I think also the efforts that the Rugby League World Cup are going to off the field, the programmes that they are putting in place to support local people, even the teams themselves, there are some fantastic things that are going on alongside the tournament.”

“The main gallery operation, graphics, digital clipping and video referees will all be housed in one building: creating the maximum amount of content from the feeds and allowing the most efficient workflows with multiple games a day through one gallery.”

With the BBC taking on host duties for the other 16 matches, and both Whisper and the BBC using different broadcast services suppliers (Timeline for the former and EMG for the latter) the two hosts are being very careful to ensure that the world feed viewer does not notice any difference between matches.

“We’re working really hard [on that] and I am pleased to say we’ve [dovetailed] really well with the BBC,” adds Thomas.

“Obviously we want to deliver fantastic matches that the viewers at home feel like they were there and were part of it,” concludes Thomas. “That is key. But I think, for us, it’s telling the wider story of this tournament. Telling the story of these three world cups in one. Telling the story of a sport that has always been a game-for-all.”

62 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 Rugby League World Cup
“The challenge we set for us is to represent those three competitions as part of one bigger tournament and for it to feel like one family”
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Whisper will be making use of remote production workflows to bring coverage of the World Cup to air
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Live from The Open Championship: EMG UK efforts power world feed, unilateral rightsholder operations

T here are a lot of extra toys and extra facilities for the 150th,” says EMG UK deputy CEO Hamish Greig. “On Monday afternoon, there was a Celebration of Champions, and it was a 35-camera show on holes 1, 2, 17, and 18. But it was still a very high-spec show, with all the specialist cameras we would have for the main show. That meant we had to have the whole IBC infrastructure up to be able to facilitate it as we didn’t want to double up by configuring a truck and then having to reconfigure it and reroute it. That just didn’t make sense, but we had to bring crew and the build forward by two days.”

A team of more than 600 is working across the Old Course and in the compound (adding rightsholders to the total credentialed brings that number to around 1,500). The team is using 56 Sony hard cameras, 12 Toptracer cameras, 29 Sony RF cameras, Panasonic POV cameras and two super-slo-mo cameras to help bring the story of the 150th Open Championship to viewers around the

world. The biggest new toy is a 550m-long CamCat wired camera system flying over what is known as ‘The Loop’, which includes holes 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 and features crisscrossing fairways, shared greens and a location right on the water.

“That was a request by [world feed producer] Jim Storey, who wanted to make the production special,” says Greig. “It’s just a beautiful location.”

ACS (Aerial Camera Systems) is overseeing operation of the CamCat system and, according to ACS operations manager David Whitlock, its advantage is that it can carry a larger camera package.

“The bigger the camera package, the more stable we can make it,” he explains. “This is carrying a Cineflex gimbal that is the same as you would have on a helicopter, making it as stable as you can get. Especially with the wind there will be vibrations, and you need a system that can match the conditions so you can get more out of it. We can also cover five holes with it, which will help make it worthwhile.”

Another new specialty item is a 70m-long Railcam riding along the wall that is on the Road Hole.

“It has a Cineflex gimbal as well,” says Whitlock. “GL built a platform behind the wall, and the key was to get it at a level that was the same distance from the top of the wall for 70 metres and we can get some foreground elements to give a sense of moving.”

ACS also installed a lipstick camera on the first tee, looking back towards the players teeing off, and four bunker cameras on the course. Golf Channel and Sky Sports have bunker cameras located in the practice area.

“The 17th bunker cam has a new camera, the Antelope Pico, which is a high-frame-rate minicamera,” says Whitlock. “We are shooting at 350fps, and we’ve never done that before in a mini-cam.”

Inside the compound

The Open Championship compound is based in a building that is home to the world-feed IBC and NBC’s unilateral production facility. One of the improvements to the IBC is the addition of Imagine routers, which have built-in multiviewers.

“We use a lot of multiviewers,” says Greig. “There aren’t enough available in the hire market, so we had to address the problem by using the Imagine routers. We’re also doing a lot embedding and de-embedding.”

Complementing that facility are trucks that handle other functions, such as Featured Groups and coverage of three holes in UHD HDR. The traditional EMG golf green-branded fleet, which is a mainstay at The Open, is joined by one truck and two containers from the EMG white-branded fleet.

64 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
EMG UK’s Terry James (left) and Hamish Greig at The 150th Open Championship
The Open Championship

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Capacity mandated use of the trucks, according to Greig. “We’ve always had two or three sister trucks here to help us with setting up infrastructure for comms, get cameras going and as a place for ACS to set up. Sky need lots of infrastructure and TV Asahi again have gone for a flypack option, which we’ve provided.”

On the audio side, there are 30 on-course commentator mics as well as 25 high-power on-course effects mics and another 80 stereo mics for the tees, greens and general effects.

“We also have about 60 low-power radio mics, 55 high-power radio mics, 72 duplex channels and over 650 radios,” adds Greig.

EMG has a couple of new clients: IMG’s Live at the Range and Netflix. And Sky Sports is once again producing its coverage from a gallery at its Osterley, UK, headquarters.

“It’s year two of the Sky remote,” notes Greig. “It has worked very well as it’s similar to last year except with added facilities like an extra studio for the 150th Open. We also have some Toptracer operators in Sweden, some ARL operators in New Zealand; TV Asahi has a remote flypack, with its main programme finished in Tokyo. There are also remote Hawk-Eye operators in Basingstoke, UK, and for NBC in America.”

EMG’s support of Sky Sports coverage has transitioned from a truck to portacabins housing engineering, routing, edit and Hego graphics operations.

Terry James, managing director, operations, EMG, says the cabins typically do light entertainment shows and have a healthy sound area as well.

Last year, when Sky Sports did its first production remotely, a full production truck was used. “They weren’t

using the production area,” says James,“so we put the threehole coverage into the same truck. But this is a more elegant solution because it doesn’t compromise the operation by having something else using the same router.”

With the number of events that need a full production truck, using cabins frees those trucks for other work. “We’re heavily committed to the Women’s Euros and have four venues for UEFA,” says James.“We’re very busy.”

Three-hole UHD HDR coverage

As for next-generation developments, EMG is supporting coverage of three holes in UHD and HDR.

“The three-hole coverage has 14 cameras,” says Greig. “The basic three-hole coverage is one camera dedicated to cover each green, but any other cameras on those holes have also been upgraded to UHD. We use the UHD outputs for the UHD HDR feed, and the HD outputs feed the normal golf infrastructure. So the main director directs his normal cameras. The three-hole director has his green camera and supplements it with the cameras already on that hole as those holes are covered every minute of the day.”

Every camera is also iso’d, and camera operators operate as if they are live all the time. This removes the need to do a lot of side-by-side production, which was the norm at The Open only a few years ago because rightsholders needed more dedicated resources.

“We’re also trying to clean the course and not have as many side-by-sides,” says Greig. “[That] is a benefit of NBC and ETP being so close together and working so well together. We were able to clear another 20 cameras off the course.”

66 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022
“It’s year two of the Sky remote. It has worked very well as it’s similar to last year except with added facilities like an extra studio for the 150th Open”
HAMISH GREIG, EMG UK The CamCat system can hold a gyrostabilised gimbal and a camera, providing smooth shots in windy conditions

Staying busy

The Open falls in the middle of what has been an extremely busy time for the EMG golf-production team. The week prior, there was the Scottish Open and the JP McManus Pro-Am in Ireland; next week is the Evian Championship in France, the Cazoo Classic for the DP World Tour, and the Senior Open Championship in Scotland.

“We have a triple-header next week,” notes Greig.“It has been a very busy little time.”

The team’s performance has impressed him, given the number of variables that have made it a very challenging time. “I don’t know how they do what they do. They have

worked incredibly hard and really delivered. We’ve had some people catch COVID, so they’ve obviously had to go home and others have been doubling up. The beauty of having one supplier doing everything is, we can address things and shore up with a pool of resources to help.”

The biggest challenge this week has little to do with technology or weather and more to do with simple logistics.

“We’ve got disruptions in all areas: car hires, flights and trains,” says Greig. “Having to rebook those things is a nightmare, or things like cars have tripled in price. Things that used to be a five-minute phone call can now take two weeks to sort out. And that’s on every production.”

Sky Sports innovates with Strike Meter and expanded programming

Sky Sports is onsite at The Open Championship with a team of 150 that has worked closely with a team at Sky headquarters in Osterley, UK, to deliver a wealth of content for the avid golf fan as well as the newcomer.

According to Sky Sports Golf executive producer Jason Wessely, Sky Sports is doing more hours than ever onsite, with such programming as The Open Zone, Live From The Open, live golf coverage and shoulder pre- and post-round coverage.

Sky senior producer Dave Randall is leading the efforts of the remote team. He says the challenge working from a gallery in Osterley was to create an environment that would be familiar and very similar to what the team would have if they were onsite. The editorial goal is to take all the video and audio sources available and tailor the story for British golf fans.

“Golf’s a very interesting sport in terms of producing it,” Randall points out. “It’s a question of what you leave out, not necessarily what you put in, because it’s a non-linear sport forced into a linear production. We tailor the coverage for our audience and try to follow our stories. Success [in remote production] is when the audience doesn’t notice the difference on screen.”

Sky Golf production manager Katie Harrison is at the Old Course, ensuring that the onsite team moves in step with the remote production team.

“It’s a much larger gallery and can take in a lot more feeds than our home golf gallery,” she says. “We’re sending about 60 feeds to Randall, who decides what goes on those feeds. We also have

18 of our own cameras this week, which include different types of presentation cameras, three RF cameras and [a super-slo-mo] camera.”

“Randall and the content team then decide on what else they want to tailor the feed,” she continues. “We’ll sit down and work that out with Randall, and I try to deliver that wish list.”

Explains Randall: “The challenge is the sheer volume of feeds and how we are going to use them. Some of them are for broadcast and some of them are for preview.”

In Osterley, there is also a replay room with seven EVS servers, each of which can handle 10 sources at once.

“Sky Studios, our production HQ, gives us so much more ability to handle complex productions,” says Randall. “It’s not just a building; it houses huge technical infrastructure with more capacity than OB trucks. Our HQ plays a big part in this remote production along with the technical support we receive from various departments.”

Sky also has two studio locations and an interview area this year, and all those signals return as part of the 60 vision paths. The two

studios onsite handle content for the Open Zone, which has been a staple at The Open practice range since 2016, and the Verdict show, which airs before and after live coverage.

One innovation for golf coverage is the Strike Meter, a new Toptracer version that crunches shot data – launch angle, ball speed, spin rate –through an algorithm to create a score of 1-100 (60 is average). The higher the score, the better the strike.

“We are a day and a half into using it, and it is very clever,” says Randall. “It’s a next-generation Toptracer and has captured data in various golf tournaments over the course of this year. This is the first time it has been deployed. It measures not only ball speed and club speed but side spin, and that unlocks future possibilities. There are four on the golf course: at the fourth, fifth, 13th and 14th tee boxes.”

Open Mic is also making a return, capturing the audio from a specific group in a more considered way than simply relying on effects mics or camera mics.

“It’s a directional mic that is focused on player and caddie interaction before a shot,” says Randall. “We’ll have somebody monitoring it and capturing moments around the course. Today is Padraic Harrington and his group, and the little snippets of commentary are fantastic.”

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 67 svgeurope update
The Open Championship
Sky’s production-management team for The Open: (from left) Stuart Lang, Lauren Shaw, Katie Harrison, and Chrissie Malone

Live from Wimbledon 2022:

Paul Davies on balancing innovation & tradition

2022 has been a special year for Wimbledon, with the 100th anniversary of the first match to be played on the iconic Centre Court. This year’s tournament also saw a fairly significant break from the usual practice of play pausing on the middle Sunday of the two-week tournament.

“A lot of the broadcasters used to still be on air on the middle Sunday even though there wasn’t any play, so one of the great advantages of having play is that the narrative continues and there’s not that breaking in storytelling,” says AELTC head of broadcast, production & media rights Paul Davies.“Broadcasters love the idea and we’re making the most of our resources.”

While the continuation of play has been a boon for broadcasters, an arguably bigger shift is that for the first time host broadcaster Wimbledon Broadcast Services

(WBS) committed to cover every single match.

Speaking with SVG Europe during the tournament, Davies says they decided to go “deep into week two”.

“That includes some of the new events like the under14 juniors, and the invitational events which are back this year but didn’t happen last year, because of COVID.

“So if broadcasters have got an under-14 junior player from Peru or Italy, we can guarantee that they can receive coverage of that match. And then it’s a question of whether they would like us to put commentary on it, which we generally can do because we commentate on 11 calls at any one time.

“That means we can satisfy all the broadcasters around the world and they get value from their rights, because that’s what it’s all about — seeing their players, as well as the top names, perform.”

68 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
AELTC’s
(L-R) James Muir, broadcast technical manager; Paul Davies, head of broadcast, production & media rights; Georgina Green, broadcast & production manager
FIRST PUBLISHED 12 JULY 2022 The Wimbledon Championships

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For broadcast technical manager James Muir, the additional coverage has been more of a logistical than technical challenge.

He says: “We used to derig the southern end courts on the middle Sunday…but because now the play extends the facility is already there doing the coverage, we just extend the time we keep it running.”

In keeping with the theme of maximising coverage and output, this year has seen the culmination of a four-year project to digitise AELTC’s archive of IMG-held content in order to make it available as part of the marking of the 100th anniversary of the move to the current premises on Church Road, in south-west London.

Says Davies:“There were probably 15,000 tapes and film stock that needed to be either transferred or interrogated to find out exactly what we had. There was a pretty good understanding of what it contained, but it wasn’t until we started going through the archive that we realised exactly what we had. The process uncovered some pretty magical items which we included in our centenary celebration on Centre Court on Sunday.”

Return from remote

While last year’s Wimbledon was delivered with a reduced number of staff — and spectators — this year

has seen a return to pre-pandemic levels. “All of our studios, all of our production suites, edit facilities, stand-up positions on the roof, are all absolutely booked out,” says Davies.

In response to that ongoing demand, AELTC is improving and expanding its facilities in south-west London, with a new media facility being built to house interviews and press conferences. And, in 2018, the AELTC bought neighbouring Wimbledon Park golf club to provide it with room for expansion.

“We are on a physical journey across the site, which centres on the long-term plan for the golf course,” says Davies.“We are tripling our footprint; the golf course site will provide new infrastructure in terms of additional tennis courts, but we also need to consider what we do from a media perspective. We’ve got the fairly old-fashioned studios upstairs, which are relatively small. Also, we’re really trying to get broadcasters outdoors.

“We want to showcase tennis in an English garden, so we want to see people presenting Wimbledon from outdoors but we have to enable them to do so. One of the ways we are doing that is via the new media pavilion which will allow us to put new outdoor presentation platforms on the second and third tier.”

70 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update The Wimbledon Championships C M J CM MJ CJ CMJ N SVGE_july2022.pdf 2 13/06/2022 15:21
“We can satisfy all the broadcasters around the world and they get value from their rights, because that’s what it’s all about — seeing their players, as well as the top names, perform”
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Live from Wimbledon 2022: ESPN on the future of The Championships

For ESPN, the focus of this year’s Wimbledon was to restore its presentation to 2019 levels.

“There’s so much enthusiasm to come and be a part of this we wanted to get everybody back and provide the full Wimbledon experience. We had a restorative mindset to harness everything here and turn it all back on again,” says ESPN VP production Jamie Reynolds, who spoke with SVG Europe during the second week of the tournament.

“Today, we have multiple control rooms, with a Centre Court channel on ESPN 1, and on ESPN 2 we have Court 1 and footage from around the grounds, so it’s a linear day of 10 hours programming but divided up so we are really doing 20 hours today. That means you need enough creative talent and horsepower to make sure that flight pattern works.”

To support its production, there are some 12 staff from ESPN International, 25 for DirecTV and 90 from production services partner and OB firm NEP UK. For its coverage, ESPN can take from the 70 feeds from host

broadcaster Wimbledon Broadcast Services (WBS) which provides court feeds, isolated cameras and behind-thescenes cameras. This is supplemented by ESPN’s own 28 cameras with six on court for game coverage, two RF cameras and a pair of roving cabled cameras and cameras in the three announce booths as well as the three set locations. In addition, ESPN is operating 10 EVS replay servers, with an extra nine for logging matches, over 30 EVS IPDirectors, three Avid edit suites and nine Avid stations to build feature material.

Middle Sunday challenge

This year, All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) added another day to the two-week Wimbledon schedule by hosting fourth-round matches on ‘middle Sunday’ - which has traditionally been a rest day for the players, as well as some staff. ESPN associate director Larry Wilson says: “Now we have done away with that middle Sunday break, it has opened the opportunity for more programming which is a great advantage, especially on a holiday weekend. From an operational standpoint, during week one we used to do a show for DirecTV for AT&T where the control room would output five courts of coverage. We used to have middle Sunday to change that control room over to a single output control room for dual networks; today we are on ESPN and ESPN 2. But since we did programming on Sunday, we couldn’t start that changeover until 19:00 to be ready for air on Monday morning.”

For Reynolds, it brings Wimbledon into line with other major tennis tournaments. “The players are used to it, so it’s not a game changer on that front,” he says.“Historically,

72 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 The Wimbledon Championships
ESPN VP production Jamie Reynolds
FIRST PUBLISHED 12 JULY 2022
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we had always done a three-hour show on ABC on middle Sunday that was a ‘weekend review’-style show, so 50% of our roster would come in on Sunday anyway to put together the three-hour review, so we’re kind of already in that rhythm. And, as I often say, it can be easier to do live television rather than post producing a bunch of highlights that need to be turned around quickly.”

Reynolds is already looking to the future of ESPN’s coverage of Wimbledon. The broadcaster first acquired rights to Wimbledon with the 2003 Championships and obtained exclusivity to the entire fortnight back in 2012.

Last year, it signed a 12-year agreement with the AELTC that will run from 2024 until 2035.

As part of that deal, ESPN, ESPN 2 and ABC will continue to present 140-plus hours of coverage over the fortnight. ESPN+ will have live streaming of all courts throughout the fortnight along with live coverage of the qualifying rounds and access to all ancillary content produced by AELTC, such as films, archive matches, highlight shows and press conferences. Wimbledon coverage will be presented across all screens via ESPN and Disney platforms, while ESPN Deportes will continue to provide coverage in Spanish in the US. In addition, ESPN’s rights around the world will include Canada via TSN and RDS, Latin America, the Caribbean and Brazil.

Futureproofing and planning

“We’ve got a great agenda for what we’re going to do in the next five or six years,” says Reynolds. “There is a vision to say how can [ESPN and AELTC] create the best possible product? The question for us, is how can we take 18 courts, 10 to 12 hours of matches per day and give the fan base as much of a menu as possible? It’s really a long-range plan; how do you make the linear network special so that when there is play on Centre Court or Court 1, how do you make that unique? And for the passionate fanbase that might want to watch the action on Court 18, you might need to give them a service on the ESPN ecosystem so that they can watch a dedicated feed. So, every day, depending on the order of play, it changes the way we package content daily.”

More immediate is the redevelopment of the broadcast centre and media pavilion, which Wilson says will provide an opportunity for futureproofing ESPN’s on site set up. “Later this week we will be with WBS to go through the physical design of the rooms and consider how we might be able to redesign them to suit our needs. We will have more of an IP-based infrastructure and distribution, so we’ll be replacing a lot of old legacy cable with network cable and installing new fibre and Cat5. It provides us an opportunity to future-proof ourselves when we look towards 1080p or UHD or HDR and build in the

74 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update The Wimbledon Championships
“Anybody can stream coverage of 18 courts, but to get the investment from viewers we need the first-person voice of the players”
JAMIE REYNOLDS, ESPN

technology to make those advancements as they come along.”

When asked about his long-term vision for ESPN’s presentation of its Wimbledon coverage, Reynolds says the most important thing is access to players and understanding their first-person experience. “What it is not about, is what I lovingly describe as ‘rectangles on the screen’,” he says. While automated and robotic camera systems may allow for greater volume of coverage, it is “personality-driven access” that ESPN viewers want.

“Anybody can stream coverage of 18 courts, but to get the investment from viewers we need the first-person voice of the players. The most ardent fan will follow you anywhere, but the secondary or tertiary ring of viewership want to get a little bit closer to those player stories and hear their voices.”

For Reynolds, the issue revolves around access without compromising the integrity of the player and the event while remaining aligned with the vision of AELTC. “It’s hard when you’re asking somebody to watch a five-hour tennis match, and they can hear a lot of the crowd and some of the chatter on court, but they don’t really have that first-person voice from the players or their interaction with each other and their coaches. So how can you harvest that and how can we reconcile that?

“At the end of the day, the players are their own team and they’re their own brand. They’ve figured out social media and what to do personally for their own brands, so in effect each player has their own channel. They might ask, ‘why do I need ESPN?’ What I would say, is that they might be able to talk to their own fanbase, but we are a vehicle to broaden that.”

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 75 svgeurope update
The Wimbledon Championships

Inside LIV Golf’s broadcast plans with chief media officer Will Staeger

LIV Golf chief media officer Will Staeger likens the new golf tournament’s efforts to freshen up coverage of the sport to the approach adopted by UFC or WWE.

“We are reinventing the coverage style and aspiring to forge a new way of covering golf,” he tells SVG Europe.

“Our goal is to balance the concerns of the core golf fan, and to bring in new audiences under the tent as well to help golf grow and golf viewership. We’ve read the complaints from viewers about the incumbent coverage. Complaints about things like the number of commercial breaks and the amount of golf shown, so we want a fast pace. I saw one article that compared about 25 minutes of coverage between us and an incumbent; we had 60-plus shots and they had 30 shots in their coverage.

“We want viewers to lean in, and we want younger entertainment and sports viewers to understand the stakes. The question for us, is how we inform, educate and entertain all at once while bringing in new viewers.”

The new eight-event LIV Golf pro tour has created something of a rift in the golf world, with the PGA suspending some players who have joined the breakaway tour. It has also drawn criticism because of its financial backing by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

The inaugural event of the invitational series, which took place in London earlier this month, saw Charl Schwartzel win $4,000,000 from a total $20,000,000 purse for the individual competition. The second stage of the tour will take place in Portland later this week, from 30

June to 2 July. It then moves to Bedminster in July, Boston and then Chicago in September, Bangkok and Jeddah in October, culminating in the season-ending team championship in Miami at the end of October.

In control

“On the production side, we wanted to control the coverage narrative. And the best way to do that was to handle our own production rather than have broadcast network production units coming in and covering it their way,” says Staeger. “We always wanted to build an internal production team in order to make sure we are delivering on the innovations that we aspire to.”

Staeger speaks of some tight turnaround times, citing a 90-day period during which the team was assembled and production partners signed up.

A key member of the production team is David Hill, former chairman of Fox Sports and a friend of golfer and LIV Golf chief executive Greg Norman, who has taken on the role of production consultant.

Senior vice president of global production is James Watson, who has produced worldwide championships including the Australian Open Golf, Australian Open Tennis and ICC Cricket World Cups, while Steve Beim, a nine-time Emmy award winner, serves as live event coverage director and executive producer. Creative director is Will Newell, a live event specialist who has delivered promotional and on-air assets for the Olympics and major sports leagues throughout the world.

76 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
The first LIV Golf Invitational took place in London in June
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Additionally, Clark Pierce is managing most of LIV Golf’s vendors, which includes NEP. The outside broadcast firm is providing key production facilities, which in London consisted of fly packs and cubicles but will switch to more of a traditional production truck setup for the Portland event and following stages in the US.

In terms of format, arguably the biggest difference to other tournaments is the use of a shotgun start, which involves all 48 players on the course at the same time teeing off from different holes. That means play concludes earlier than other tournaments, resulting in a more “compact” viewing schedule. “So instead of nine or 10 hours of coverage, it’s four and a half or five,” says Staeger.

With so much action taking place at the same time, the leaderboard pylon is intended to provide some clarity for viewers, displaying strokes as well as information such as the number of holes left to play.

“The key storyline is where are we in this tournament as well as the season, and so counting the number of holes remaining to play becomes key. The leaderboard pylon has both the team and individual standings,” he explains. Champion Data has been tasked with compiling, amalgamating and delivering the data for the leaderboard and onscreen statistics.

“The way we approached things generally was to look

at how the heritage events covered golf, and to bring up production commitment at that sort of level, from a camera standpoint, from an audio standpoint, from a graphic standpoint, from a personnel standpoint, and really follow best practices. The aim is to cover this sport at a faster pace, but still respect the core golf fan.”

That meant for the London event the use of over 50 cameras, 60 mics, 16 camera towers and two drones.

Live means live Staeger says the leaderboard is one of a dozen tools designed to keep viewers informed, with more to be deployed over the course of the season.

“The leaderboard pylon is one of the first key elements in that equation. We also have a feature called ‘Don’t Blink’. We have taken one of the marketing slogans and turned it into a way of being honest and informative with the viewer. So that leaderboard pylon is live and it’s telling you within a fraction of a second what has happened around the course. So we are not going back and rewinding shots that were captured with another camera on another hole and playing them as though they are live; we’re always live.

“When we need to catch up and show other shots, we run a ‘Don’t Blink’ segment. We have an ISO editing unit creating those replays and we’ll show three or four

78 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
LIV Golf
“We are reinventing the coverage style and aspiring to forge a new way of covering golf”
WILL STAEGER, LIV GOLF
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key shots in a row. Our commentary team tells viewers that we’re catching up, and we run that a few times every half an hour. So we’re both following the current action, mostly around the leaders and then catching up on any big moves. It’s not dissimilar to Formula One, where you’re following the leaders around the track, but there might have been a pass back in 12th place. We wanted to be honest with the viewer and say if it’s not live.”

In addition, a graphic to indicate the level of difficulty of the next three or four holes aims to help viewers understand whether a competitor is about to go on a run. “We’ve sampled it a couple times,” says Staeger. “It’s commentator driven, with a graphic on the lower third based on a scale of zero to five that lets you know the shot degree of difficulty as our announcers perceive it.” The ‘degree of difficulty’ graphic was used in a limited way during the first event in London but will be used across more holes, starting in Portland.

The way audio is captured and delivered is also likely to evolve as the tour progresses. “We will refine the way we are delivering access to the players and the caddies and experiment with some unique microphone placements that bring you closer to the action,” says Staeger.

“With golf, there’s an athleticism and a level of controlled violence when players are striking a ball and sending it

300 yards down the fairway, and we want to capture that and give the viewer the feeling that they are there. We will take lessons from other sports and have more natural sound in more places along the course, across the length of every hole, not just at the tee or on the green.”

As the tournament progresses, Staeger says the level of access to players and caddies should also increase.

“We’re both the league and the production unit, so there’s not a separate network asking for coverage and that’s important from a trust standpoint; we’re all in this together and we have no interest in covering some flowery language that the players don’t want broadcast any more than we do. They understand that, and we’re all on brand.”

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MotoGP innovations fuel the need for broadcasting at speed

“Back in 1992, we were travelling all around the world and didn’t really have any broadcast resources. We were just 15 people,” says Sergi Sendra i Vives, head of global technology at Dorna Sports. “We now have the privilege and the opportunity to manage MotoGP from end to end, from acquisition to distribution, but when we had to start doing the production, we didn’t realise what a sport like this would demand. It’s special and unique.”

Since taking the reins of the FIM World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP) in 1991, Dorna Sports has also been its exclusive commercial and television rights holder. When SVG Europe was granted access to the MotoGP race in Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto in Andalucía, it was clear to see how far the Spanish company has come.

Situated in a paddock surrounded by ranks of trucks and travelling garage facilities for the top racing motorcycle manufacturers in the world, Dorna TV was playing host broadcaster to the likes of BT Sport, DAZN, Sky Sports, Canal+, Ziggo Sport, ServusTV and RTVE, with a total of 187 cameras around the track, on shoulders and on bikes. There has been a lot of work and innovation to get here and, according to Sendra, there’s more to come.

Racing in circles

‘MotoGP’ isn’t just one race, it is a 20-event season that visits 16 countries across four continents, showcasing the planet’s fastest motorcycle racers in its three categories comprising the Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP World Championship. It was a global travelling tournament back in the early 1990s too, but the broadcast set-up then was a bit different.

“Seven people were taking care of the TV. We were recording the signal from different broadcasters who were creating the content in each country, such as Channel Nine in Australia, the BBC in England, and so on,” recalls Sendra. “Every country did a different job in terms of TV coverage. It was really chaotic.”

Rather than put up with such inconsistencies, the team, led by Manel Arroyo, then managing director of Dorna Sports and Moto GP, decided that it would be better to standardise the coverage.

“We started to define a way to do the same job for everyone in the world independently of the circuit,” says Sendra. “We started contracting our own camera crew with experience and bringing them with us. Being responsible for providing content to the broadcasters, we realised that we should be part of the decisions to make the tools better and adaptable to the sport.”

Arroyo, who came from a TV sports production background and is now Dorna’s chief commercial officer, believed that if Dorna didn’t control the cameras, it would not be able to develop them further. He also proposed that Dorna take control of the timing software for the race.

“Timing data is such an important and key factor for MotoGP,” says Sendra. “In 1999, this was in the hands of a third-party company, so we decided to acquire that. Thanks to all these decisions, we are now a company that has software developers, we have hardware developers, we have people who know audio and video mixing, and people who know how to use metadata and data processing.”

Sendra’s role was to design a new methodology to cover the races and help create a standardised model for the editorial coverage.

“There was only one master control room for everything and a feed from the cameras on the track. In the beginning, it was very expensive, complicated and challenging, because you had different combinations of circuits,” he recalls. “But, at the end of the day, you can simplify all the circuits into [riders] doing laps in a circle that is full of obstacles. So we found an easier way to monitor that.”

“In a baseball or football match, one camera can cover everything,” he continues. “In MotoGP, you cannot see everything, you have to create segments where one to three cameras will be able to see a shot.”

You can see the result when standing in the track feed control room in the Dorna TV compound — like the

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MotoGP
Dorna has refined its coverage of MotoGP and other races with streamlined camera management

output from the audio control room (ACR) across the way, the cut from here is folded into the international programme feed (IPF) next door. The screens showing the feeds around the race, though arranged in a rectangle, simulate a circular concept for the tracks, with the camera numbers running in a clockwise direction to follow the action.

The race coverage is heavily focused on certain points. “The straight is the busiest place because this is where the finish line is, where the grid is, everybody needs to go through this point to accomplish their goal,” says Sendra.“We also define every camera position in terms of advertising. Then there are the hotspots, such as the turns, which we cover from different angles to make sure that we capture it all. But you have to reconnect all the segments to recreate the sensation of continuity.”

Watching the track feed live at Jerez, for example, we could see cameras 9, 10 and 11 consecutively showing a bike approaching a corner, the zoom lens shot of the bike on the corner capturing the heavy braking, and then another view from the inside of the track as the bike accelerates out of the corner.

In this way, Dorna can tell the story of each race in a logical, templated fashion, with all the action — and advertising — on-screen. But it’s not the whole story; there

are other elements in play. There is input to be selected from the helicopter camera, the shoulder-mounted ENG teams that film the action in the pit lane and the team boxes, and on-site press conferences. All this content is overseen by the race director in the IPF.

There are also feeds from that major MotoGP innovation, onboard cameras, of which there are four per bike. One is situated at the front (pointing forwards), one on the rear (pointing backwards), a ‘butt’ camera and one mounted near the rider’s dashboard, pointing towards the rider when they are on the bike. In addition, at least one rider has a camera fitted with Dorna’s gyroscopic, 360 pan-motion and auto-tracking solution, allowing for live

“The bike is a key element in MotoGP,” adds Sendra.“It’s complex, taking all the energy of hundreds of mechanics and engineers. They don’t want their bike to be a camera studio, so we had to concentrate and see how we could develop systems as professional as those they dedicate to their bikes. That was the reference for us: if we wanted to install a camera on a bike, we couldn’t come with

Similarly, Dorna has been keen to mic up and monitor the rider. “We have already innovated here, installing microphones, installing sensors and installing heartbeat

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 81 svgeurope update
“Being responsible for providing content to the broadcasters, we realised that we should be part of the decisions to make the tools better and adaptable to the sport”
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devices, all to tell the human part of the story,” Sendra says.

The innovation extends onto the track feed infrastructure, which has to be rigged — and de-rigged — each time the race moves to a new circuit. “We have more than 25km of SMPTE fibre cables installed,” says Sendra. “We have been simplifying and improving this. For example, we have five hubs and each hub has five cameras, so rigging is very fast now because we are installing more and more hubs. Our new Sony cameras have Gigabit Ethernet networking so that the camera becomes a hub; you can extend more microphones and you can install more equipment on the network from that endpoint. That was impossible two years ago.”

Then there’s fibre.“Normally the fibre that you will buy as a production company has 12 cables. We got a company to build it with 72 cables for us,” Sendra reveals. “We can save tonnes of hours installing with this fibre. We are always thinking how to minimise, how to simplify the logistics.”

Sounding out

“Audio is a key matter to Dorna,” Sendra states.“And it will become even more important.

“At this moment the viewers are listening to the bikes, they’re listening to the audio that is generated around special places where we work on the grid, but we still have not solved listening to the team orders, listening to the rider inside their helmet, or being excited during the race.”

“Microphones already go in the pit lane and on the grid, this is something we could improve and Audio-Technica is helping us with that,” he continues.“We will soon be able to listen to people in the garages. There’s still a need for secrecy, as obviously the teams don’t want us to broadcast what they say when they decide on a tyre, or a strategy. But we want to capture those scenes where it’s not so critical, to have more audio sources to let the viewers listen to what is happening.”

Audio innovation has also been deployed for MotoE, the electric bike World Cup that races at several Grands Prix throughout the season.

“In terms of video, we use the same onboard system in MotoE as in MotoGP, so you get the same sensation,” says Sendra. “For the audio, the onboard camera is now going to carry new microphones designed and manufactured by Audio-Technica. This allows us to have access to a signal and to listen to something that we couldn’t [previously receive]. So, in MotoE, when there is a crash, or shouting, or people talking, the viewers can hear that for the first time.”

Artificial aids

With its IT and data processing already internalised, AI is an obvious technology for Dorna to adopt to track and inform the production. “In the IPF there are three or four screens telling [the production team] what is happening and the way it’s happening, how long they are covering each rider, and how they are covering them,” says Sendra.

Notifications abound, for good reason.“We can’t just do three laps with the onboard camera; if you don’t also have shots from the cameras on the track, you will not be able to see the sponsors of the bike. We also have a counter to say how long we are with the helicopter, with onboards and with track feed. So that balance is something we are analysing.

“AI is going to change the way we manage the content, the way we grab the audio, the way we transcribe interviews. With AI we could start creating clips out of what we are already watching,” he continues.

Take replays, for example, another area used to innovation. “In 2010, we reached an agreement with Grass Valley [to deploy a customised K2 Dyno replay system],” Sendra explains. “We decided that as those guys are [logging and keywording], they would not only select clips for replays, but also select clips to send it to the archive as part of the content that host broadcasters can use. We want to make sure that everything that was interesting is selected, archived with metadata and, at the end of the weekend, you have everything ready in the file management system.”

“At the moment, people on the replays only choose the most important moment, but we are still missing things,” he continues.“Maybe you have six riders doing the fastest lap but [the human operator] will only go for the first, second and third. The AI will be able to jump into this arena to improve the way we select and identify and create even more content.”

“MotoGP is a circus with a story that is always changing,” says Sendra. “We are constantly changing the script. There are always things happening that are not on the screen, so we analyse them and always need to be ready for improvisation. It’s very tiring, but it also makes the job very exciting.”

82 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update MotoGP
Dorna has cameras everywhere on the circuit, in either fixed positions or roving across the event
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Live from Jerez: Audio-Technica and Dorna sounding ready for another MotoGP in the Spanish sun

It is a hot weekend in Jerez de la Frontera and the action is about to get hotter as the Spanish Grand Prix takes place in the sunshine of Andalucía.

The Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto was built in 1986 and has been a fixture on the MotoGP calendar since its first Grand Prix a year later. Capturing the action as ever is Dorna Sports, the exclusive commercial and television rights holder and organiser of the championship — properly known as the FIM World Championship Grand Prix — since 1991.

Back to normality

It’s the first season to get back to anything like normality for the championship, which has travelled straight from Portimão in Portugal down to Jerez for round six of the 2022 season. It is also back to normal for Audio-Technica, the official Microphone Services Solution Provider to MotoGP, which has just signed a second consecutive threeyear relationship with Dorna.

This deal covers all the microphones and headphones in use across the MotoGP environment, not just for trackside sound, but also covering press conference

rooms, interviews and ENG, as well as the microphones inside the broadcast truck.

More than 300 channels come into the audio control room (ACR), to be managed live on each race for the international feed by a team headed up by Pep Mendoza, sound manager for MotoGP. The whole audio set up goes on a global tour with the rest of the MotoGP ‘circus’, travelling for nine months of the year covering around 22 back-to-back races.

Trusting partnership

Speaking to SVG Europe in the paddock at Circuito de Jerez, Audio-Tec hnica Europe CEO Robert Morgan-Males and MotoGP project manager Rodrigo Thomaz were keenly anticipating how the race would put the company’s microphones and headphones through their paces.

“We have had experience in sports broadcasting for many years in terms of a microphone transducer technology with the world’s largest sporting event since 1996,” said Morgan-Males. “But getting close to a regular event with MotoGP you’re in a much different environment, because you’re constantly on the move, the circus goes on for the whole year, and you’re a team.”

“By being at the races we are able to work much more experimentally,” continues Morgan-Males. “The conversation has been really easy. They talk to us about problems, and we come up with solutions.”

Morgan-Males says Dorna is open to taking prototypes into the MotoGP environment. “Dorna is at the pinnacle of sports innovation. They will actually take a prototype live there and then, so we’re getting instant feedback,” he says. “Also, being the exclusive microphone solutions provider helps us across the broadcast industry as a whole, as people know the premium quality that’s coming out of MotoGP.”

“It’s all self-contained,” says Thomaz. “So it’s the best test environment that we could possibly have. We are here as a partner, and we can also take advantage of this partnership to road test our microphones. Our developers see how robust the microphones need to be for this brutal environment.”

Thomaz works alongside Mendoza, and Sergi Sendra i Vives, head of global technology at Dorna Sports.“I’m here as a project manager to interface and glue this together,” says Thomaz. “Pep is a super-capable, experienced sound engineer. He knows what he needs to achieve. My role is to allow him to achieve that, to come up with solutions and give him the right inspiration [from the Audio-Technica range]. He might be looking for a product that he doesn’t know exists. We have a huge catalogue that we can dig from, but we are also working with some products that we are modifying specifically for MotoGP.”

One such product, which has undergone extensive testing over the past three MotoGP seasons is AudioTechnica’s 8.0 Microphone Concept. Also known as the

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BP3600, this ultimately forms part of the central sound source for a remote production workflow to be located in Dorna Sports’ facility in Barcelona, which includes a custom-built 7.1.4/5.1.4 dedicated audio control room to mix immersive audio received from the track in real time.

“We’ve used the BP3600 microphones at major winter and summer sporting events in the past four years,” says Thomaz. “However, MotoGP had a 3D-printed prototype two years prior to that. So they were beta testing it for us and helping us understand the microphone beforehand in a more brutal environment.”

Looking forward

“It’s exciting to be here,” says Morgan-Males. “It’s been a strange past three years, we haven’t been able to interact as much as we would normally do with the guys here because of the COVID protocols. Although there are obviously still COVID security measures in place, it’s slightly different, but certainly, it feels like we’re getting back to normal. We’re in a second contract with Dorna, which is a great relationship. We survived the pandemic together. They’ve been able to continue to deliver great content, and we’re helping them enhance that content. So, I’m incredibly excited to be back.”

Audio-Technica takes the MotoGP challenge onboard at Jerez

In the audio control room (ACR) in the Dorna Sports compound at the Circuito de JerezAngel Nieto in Andalucía, Pep Mendoza, sound manager for host broadcaster Dorna Sports, sits ready at the Lawo mc²56 mixing console, attentive to the requests coming through his Audio-Technica headphones from the race director in the international programme feed (IPF) gallery across the compound.

The desk inputs, set for Audio Follow Video, move in time with the main feed; there would be no way anyone could handle the fast switching of the inputs from so many sources. Suddenly there is a crash, Mendoza reaches over and smoothly adjusts his faders, and the pebbly sound of the bike and (safe) rider skidding across the gravel fills the room.

This total immersion is aided by the clever placement of hundreds of microphones around the track and onboard the bikes, all supplied by Audio-Technica.

Rodrigo Thomaz is the Audio-Technica Europe project manager for MotoGP. “The most obvious challenge is the sheer volume that is created by the bikes and the environment itself,” he says. “You may think that if things are loud, it’s easy to capture. But with a high level of contamination from the environment, it’s difficult to focus on anything. You need to find microphones capable of working under the extremely high sound pressure levels (SPL) of the bikes, but at the same time, perform in delivering high quality and detail.”

“We had to take time to decipher it,” he adds. “We created solutions for each portion of track, rather than approach MotoGP as one thing.”

It is not a small task; on the weekend we were at Jerez, there were 22 track feed cameras alone, including a jimmy jib, ground cams, bridge cams and several fixed and tripod positions.

Chasing onboard sound

MotoGP has the highest number of cameras in a single sports broadcast, mainly because there are four onboard cameras for each bike. “If you have a camera there is a need to have audio,” says Thomaz. “We are not talking

about a static mic, these are objects moving at Audio-Technica has been working on a modified version of one of its lapel mics, the BP899, specifically for MotoGP bikes.

On the track at Jerez for the last race weekend there were three new Audio-Technica BP3600 microphones able to capture high-end detail, the different crowd noise and atmospheres at the various tracks, as well as tolerate working with high SPLs. A high number of BP28 largediaphragm shotgun mics are also mounted on cameras very close to corners or situated on the

The long straights, particularly the starting grid, are covered by the BP4025 stereo mic. But Dorna has paired this with the BP40, Audio-Technica’s largest dynamic diaphragm microphone. “They put on a filter so only the low-end sound is processed in this microphone, leaving the BP4025 to concentrate on lowmids, mids and high frequencies. Especially at the start, when 20 bikes are roaring together, it gets very loud. It’s too loud for human hearing. We need a mic that can go beyond that so that when the viewer is at home and has a surround system, we can put that low end back into the listening environment without distorting everything.”

Dorna uses a lot of interesting camera angles, deploying jibs to get both really low and also overhead shots. These are matched by the BP4029, a very short stereo shotgun mic. “It gives a very nice spread from left to right but again it must be able to tolerate the highest SPL,” says Thomaz. “We also use them on the shoulder-mounted ENG cameras. As the operators navigate inside the boxes; they need a stereo image to match a wide-angle lens.”

Some of these boxes are also wired for sound, in that a few have a U851R boundary microphone positioned high on the wall. Again it’s a versatile mic with high SPL, which can capture the sound of each box at the pit lane as the bikes come and go.

“The pit lane is the heart and soul of MotoGP, it’s where all the action happens,” says Thomaz. “Now you can hear and feel what they feel and hear as if you were there.”

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Audio Technica Europe’s CEO Robert Morgan-Males and MotoGP Project Manager Rodrigo Thomaz on the track at Jerez
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 87 Read more on netinsight.net VAR & Remote production in Serbia powered by Net Insight Arena Sport utilizes Remote production for Serbia’s Super Liga & the Serbian Football Federation (FSS) has a new centralized VAR system. “Net Insight provides excellent quality and reliability, securing our operations.” Darko Petrovic COO, Arena Sport C M Y CM MY CY CMY K Newsbridge_SVG_Europe_SportTech_Journal_1122.pdf 1 7/21/2022 4:08:15 PM

Live from Munich 2022: Inside the European Championships with EMG

W

ith the temperature in Munich in the mid30 degrees centigrade, a hosepipe is being used to douse the spectators packed into Königsplatz for the final of the women’s bouldering. Despite the heat, the climbers continue to pick their way across the bouldering wall, while on the other side of the square in front of stands packed with more spectators, preliminary men’s and women’s beach volleyball matches are taking place.

Both sports are part of the nine Olympic events that make up the 2022 European Championships, which brings together the existing championships of some of the continent’s leading sports into one event and also features canoeing, cycling, gymnastics, rowing, table tennis, triathlon and a host of athletics disciplines.

The 11-day European Championships is the biggest multi-sport event to take place in Germany since the 1972 Summer Olympics. EMG is working directly with the Munich 2022 local organising committee (LOC) to provide production facilities in support of the LOC’s host broadcast plans, which include more than 400

hours of live production captured from 12 competition venues. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which represents Europe’s free-to-air channels, is the official broadcast partner of the European Championships, with 40 of its free-to-air broadcaster members providing live programming and highlights on more than 50 channels.

Given the scale of the event, EMG has drafted in trucks, kit and crew from its divisions across Europe, which include Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the UK. Spearheading the operation for EMG is head of international projects and sales Chris Demeulemeester, who led EMG’s bid and is on site in Munich along with some 285 EMG colleagues.

One of the main differences to other multi-sport events is the organisational structure; instead of working to a production company, EMG’s client is the LOC, a group set up by European Championships Management (ECM), the organisation that founded the European Championships and which manages and co-ordinates the event alongside the participating federations and the city of Munich.

While EMG has been tasked with providing technical

88 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
EMG drafted in trucks, kit and crew from its divisions across Europe for the multi-sport event European Championships
Credit: Ben Houdijk

and production facilities at the Olympiapark, including galleries, OBs at the venues around Munich, RF provision and asset management, the LOC is responsible for editorial, for example hiring the directors and camera operators under the direction of head of production Joris Wauman. Demeulemeester is also working closely with engineers Norbert Garske and Gerd Kaiser.

Detailed planning

For Demeulemeester, one of the standout aspects of the Championships has been the level of detail for both the tender and the planning of the project.

“I have never received such a precise production plan in my entire career,” he tells SVG Europe from the IBC at

“We don’t have any OB trucks here in the Olympic Park,” says Demeulemeester.“It is all done and run on diPloy, so the entire engine power of 12 OB events is reduced to two data centres, with base station units in the venues in the park.”

IP flypack system diPloy is housed in two shipping containers on the corner of the IBC. Based on Imagine Communications’ Selenio Network Processor platform, EMG built diPloy for the Olympic Games in Tokyo and tested it at the 2021 FIS Nordic World Ski Championship where it was used to co-ordinate a remote production, with the ski jumping production team situated a few kilometres away from the camera crew on the competition

The

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Event s

svgeurope updateEuropean Championships
BEST ANSWE R
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the Olympiapark the beach volleyball and climbing at Königsplatz, Rudi-Sedlmayer-Halle for the table tennis, and Odeonsplatz for the marathon and race walking. Further afield is Messe München for the track cycling, the Munich Olympic Regatta Centre for the rowing, and outside of Munich the road cycling.

“We have six external OBs for sports that are not able to be hosted at the Olympiapark, and they are working as standalone productions, feeding their lines back to the TOC at the Olympiapark. From here, we do quality control, we reinject feeds to other galleries and we distribute,” says Demeulemeester, adding that signal distribution between the venues and trucks is taken care of by Riedel MicroN technology, which is not part of EMG’s contract.

The third aspect of EMG’s role at the European Championships relates to the provision of wireless connectivity, from short range for roaming cameras at the athletics and rear-facing cameras mounted on bikes at the track cycling handled by EMG group company Broadcast RF, to long-range coverage for events such as the road cycling and marathons.

The fourth and most complicated element of EMG’s role at the Championships, says Demeulemeester, is the media asset management system, which is based on an EVS network in the OB trucks and galleries, with some 54 EVS VIA servers in use.

“The format we are using is 1080p50, so we need the bandwidth,” he says. Other elements of the MAM setup include 30 units of EVS IPDirector for logging of content, along with eight Adobe edit suites plus a cloudbased distribution platform created in partnership with EVS to make all content available to rights holders and partners.

“So with a login, a journalist in the US can browse and search for content and download it in any codec available on any format,” says Demeulemeester. “To run this, we have created a dedicated EMG network, with firewalls around it because of course you need to protect your network. In total, I think we now have 912TB of storage just to run the operation, and at the end of the Championships we will stay here for another 48 hours and upload that content to a temporary archive system.”

Audio over IP used to bring sound to viewers

EMG was responsible for the live broadcast of the European Championships Munich (ECM), and it used an audio over IP (AoIP) set up from Lawo to make it happen.

The nine galleries for the Games at the IBC, located in Munich’s Olympiastadion, plus one gallery for outside venues, were equipped with Lawo mc²56 MkIII production consoles to cover the audio production in the stadium for the athletics, BMX and mountain biking, the Olympiapark for the medal ceremonies, the Olympiahalle for gymnastics, and the remote venues.

Powered by the 1U software-defined A__ UHD audio engine with Home functionality, up to 1,024 mc²-grade DSP channels per processing core can be shared among multiple consoles. This pooling option was applied to the ECM installation as a whole; instead of dedicated audio cores, the required processing power for all mixing consoles was derived from a cluster of eight shared A__UHD audio engines in a redundant setup, supporting flexible DSP assignment and reliability.

For further increased security, docker containers in an also redundantly designed cluster of six servers hosted the mirrored software of the audio mixers, so if any gallery should have gone down, the whole system would have stayed

functional and the audio mixing could have still been handled outside the console.

For audio contribution, the set up comprised more than 30 Lawo AoIP stageboxes of the A__line WAN-capable AoIP nodes. Employed were clusters of A__stage64 and A__stage 48, as well as A__madi4 and A__madi6 plus A__ mic8 units, dedicated to tournaments and ECM events. Thirty-five Lawo C100 blades were in use for 130 multiviewer heads.

Guy Haegeman, EMG multicam audio engineer, stated: “EMG’s sports production services for the European Championships were certainly an outstanding event. Many tournaments were running in parallel. We had to cover them either in one location from different spots or in different locations. This meant that during the whole event we had to deal with an immense number of parallel feeds that needed to be monitored, switched and produced.”

90 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update European Championships
“One of the advantages of this project is the very short lines between content and engineering. If there are any issues, they can be reported and resolved so quickly”
Credit: Ben Houdijk Lawo mc²56 MkIII production consoles were chosen to cover the audio production in the Olympiahalle for gymnastics as well as other venues
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Combining European forces to bring Giro d’Italia to life

Giro d’Italia 2022 is being televised by EMG for host broadcaster and event organiser RCS. This marks the first year that RCS has run the production after taking the role back from Italian public broadcaster Rai, which had produced the event for the past 20 years.

As of 2022 EMG is utilising its plethora of broadcast technologies — externally and internally developed — and the reach of its expertise across Europe to create an innovative production that misses nothing, and still hits the budget. It plans to further develop its production with more innovations over the course of the three years of its agreement with RCS.

Fabio Guadagnini, EMG Italy chief commercial officer and project leader for Giro d’Italia, tells SVG Europe from his OB van in Italy: “This year [RCS] decided to leave the former relationship it had with the national broadcaster doing the production [Rai]. They were leaning on Rai for everything that was connected with the TV production. This year, they decided to centralise it and being chosen

as their partner was very important for EMG.”

EMG has bought together its Italian, French and Belgian divisions to work together on this project for the first time, combining skills, expertise and technologies to come up with a strong and unique solution for RCS and the Giro.

Guadagnini comments: “The thing that as a group has a very huge meaning is that, with this project, we are working with three different countries — Belgium, France and Italy — as a group and a partner for the first time, with the three of us working together on a single project. It’s another small revolution that we have started from this year.

“Our intention when starting with the three-year deal [with RCS] was to be connected with RCS for a longer period, and [we are] starting to improve the innovations [used in the broadcast]. As a group [we know that] this is just the starting point of the path, [working together as a group on] innovations, and bringing new stories in; this is something we would like to do.”

Adds Guadagnini: “The grand production is essentially something that the Italian entity is leading, because we know the territory — the specific complexity in having a lot of mountain stages — and we have people here. Aerials is something that we are leading in worldwide, thanks to the technology brought by EMG Belgium and EMG France, and also [specialist] knowledge of cycling comes from those countries, where cycling is like what football is in Italy. Putting all of this together as a group was the only way to provide to our partner with a top-class production.”

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Giro d’Italia
Angelo Carosi is the lead director on Giro d’Italia. EMG is utilising its plethora of broadcast technologies and the reach of its expertise across Europe to create an innovative production for RCS’s first Giro d’Italia as host broadcaster

international projects and sales, and project leader for Giro d’Italia, says: “It’s actually even larger [than EMG France, Italy and Belgium]. The uplinks, co-ordination and the quality control are done in Holland, with satellite trucks we’re going to bring in next year from Holland. This year the OB trucks, the classic business, is coming from Italy. The helicopter co-ordination is coming from Belgium. The aircraft and the tracking is from the French [division]. It’s probably one of the biggest projects we [have done] as one solid, glued EMG. Guadagnini is leading for the group and we add in all our specialties and engineers, while he co-ordinates everything, and we execute for Guadagnini’s clients. Done deal.”

Continues Demeulemeester “With the content team and the technology team, we have fewer people in the team, we are closer to each other, and I think that’s one of the biggest advantages that our clients can see. The storytelling, the engineering, the commercial aspects of this project, the co-ordination by Guadagnini and his team, is in one smooth, lean and mean package that we can bring to the table. In the past with previous clients, they have looked at us as the technical guys; now we are bringing engineering, content and storytelling, knowhow and new technologies for the future, because there are plenty of other tools that we will bring [to Giro d’Italia] with Guadagnini and his team.”

Lean and mean RCS, the biggest race organiser in Italy for a number of sports, has one major Italian client for Giro d’Italia, Rai, and one major external client, Warner Bros. Discovery. On what is being produced, Guadagnini says: “We produce about six hours of live production per day; at least six hours, sometimes more than that because we have to shoot the preparation of the race. We have also the ceremonies, the awards, after the race, so it’s a very extended, long production.”

Demeulemeester notes that EMG is using its experience on similar races such as the Tour de France to make the coverage work smoothly: “We are lean and mean, we are fast, efficient, and we do this with fewer people — we are doing this production with 75 crew in total — but what do we do differently? We cover flag to flag with a very, very powerful intermediate set up. That’s one of our specialties that we learned during the Tour de France, going into the Alps or the high mountains; it’s totally different than doing a race somewhere in the flat areas of Italy.”

EMG is using five motorbikes, two helicopters, two airplanes, plus five additional motorbikes for Rai and Discovery on this production.

Demeulemeester comments on how EMG has managed the production: “I started together with Guadagnini on this project and we basically do it in two blocks. The first block

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 93 svgeurope updateGiro d’Italia

“The thing that as a group has a very huge meaning is that, with this project, we are working with three different countries –Belgium, France and Italy – as a group and a partner for the first time”

is very basic; it is classic OB coverage. The second block which is probably the most complicated, is everything that is long range.”

He continues: “Why is this year a bit more complicated for the Giro d’Italia? The Giro is covered from flag to flag; that means from the start of the race to the end it’s live covered on Eurosport, on Rai, on all the broadcasters. With a flat race it’s not really an issue because the tools we are using are powerful enough, but the moment we go into a mountain situation, you need relay systems. You need to work in different blocks with different tools, with different teams handing over the signal, literally over the mountain; we are pushing the content over the mountain. That is one of the biggest challenges. If we are not able to detect the aircraft while blocked because of high mountain tops, we use an additional team and set up a ‘bounce’ via satellite and several carriers back to the finish.”

Demeulemeester continues: “Our second challenge is that everybody’s always focusing on a live feed covered by three or four motorbikes and a helicopter because that’s what everybody sees on the air. But besides that our team is delivering unilateral services for all these other broadcasters. So we are not driving around with four classic TV motorbikes, but we have 10 motorbikes up and running on the track. That creates massive bandwidth issues and we need massive different lines that we are pushing from point A to point Z.

“Plus a third element, which is very challenging every day, is that Guadagnini and his team are at a different location. The trucks are arriving in the evening around midnight. Next day at 10 o’clock they are ready to go live. So, every day, a whole circus is being built, moved, installed, tested, set up and ready to go live. There is no moment to make mistakes or errors and that creates a bit of pressure on people.”

Tech talk

EMG is using huge truck capability to cover this event. While the Giro started this year in Budapest, Hungary, for the first three live stages, in less than 24 hours the entire production set up of trucks, RF motorbikes, crew, helicopters and relay

aircraft needed to be available at the Mount Etna, Sicily, stage to continue the race. Says Demeulemeester“Of course trucks can never be on time, so we used double set ups and double teams.”

EMG has an in-house-developed RF platform called Livetools, created especially for the complex and highvolume transmission of the Giro. Livetools, which has been designed as a centralised low-latency wireless solution, is focused on time-based interleaving modulation and automatic ASI switching.

EMG uses interchangeable RF modules for 1310-2000, 1990-2700 and 3400-3800MHz; changeable bandwidths that gives the crew spectrum flexibility all over the European Union and the rest of the world.

Demeulemeester goes on: “What is actually very special in what we do, [which we also do] on the Tour de France, is our antenna tracking system, which is military-based. We are [focused on high] performance in high altitude mountains. Underneath our aircraft and every motorcycle, every source is tracked individually, so if the motorbike drives to the left and the pilot needs to fly to the right by coincidence because of wind and altitude, the antennas will [still] always look to each other. If the pilot banks to the left, the antenna will always follow the exact location [of the helicopter].

“[That gives us] a whole mix of data that we mix in the aircraft and recompile the ASIF stream and we recreate a new signal out of it. We always pick the best feed from the best motorbike in the best carrier. We push it to the aircraft, we track it back to the compound and there we select [which is the most] stable signal, what is good, what is not good, but very fast of course, and we create a new video stream.”

Continues Demeulemeester “Time-based interleaving modulation with automatic package switching and our high gain antennas in-house; that is really key and core from us. No one in the world has that type of modulation technology because we designed it ourselves. We have our in-house live tools and coding tools, so Rai or BBC or any other broadcaster who would do similar projects, they would always use off-the-shelf equipment from manufacturing. We don’t think that equipment is good enough for what we do, so we designed our own encoding.

“The high gain antenna tracking concept is probably the strongest tool in this long-range RF solution. All individual sources — helicopters and motorbikes — are tracked individually from a B200 King Air platform flying at 22,000-27,000ft. These individual controllable antennas (TX/RX) create the RF backbone of the entire system.”

Audio communication for the camera crew is an important part of the EMG set up, says Demeulemeester “Because we do [these type of productions] 180 days a year, we want to create comfort for Guadagnini’s team. The intercom is not classic UHF VHF; we created an entire digital link back to the motorbikers. So the motorbikers sitting there on the bike for more than six, seven hours a day, they have a digital intercom line that creates comfort,

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EMG has bought together its Italian, French and Belgian divisions to work together on this project for the first time. Shown here, the Mount Etna TV compound
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that creates more attention for the camera operator to the director, and so the director doesn’t need to yell. Everybody’s very relaxed and Guadagnini’s team can work very professionally in a small and cool environment. It’s like the camera operators are connected with cables. It’s exactly the same functionality.”

Storytelling creativity

Angelo Carosi is the lead director on Giro d’Italia, with deputy directors Franco Scotton and Antonello Grippo. Guadagnini says the storytelling aspects of an event such as this are focused on showcasing the race, the competition, the country, and all the many other stories going on, both on and off the track. EMG is using two helicopters to enhance this storytelling. One is focused on the race and the other films the landscape, gathering footage of the scenery in relation to the peloton to provide directors with the opportunity to give viewers visual context of where the race is geographically, while also showcasing the splendour of the Italian countryside. In addition, the camera operator onboard the second helicopter captures 360 images in the locale of the race.

Notes Guadagnini: “The complexity of a race like Giro d’Italia is that we have more stories crossing over and very close to each other, so every day we ask ourselves to tell the story of the territory, the country and the sports performance, all mixed together.”

He continues: “We have a daily meeting [from which we create] parallel rundowns. The first one is for the ground production, so the roads and the cameras positioned at the start and at the arrival, together with the story we can tell, thanks to our helicopters. These helicopters have their own rundown, to tell how the landscape follows this story, these people, competing in this race. These parallel stories are the main approach that Angelo, Franco and Antonello

are calling the cameras from every day in our

Demeulemeester comments on the parallel rundown approach: “If you compare it with previous periods, the helicopter pilots were just, let’s say, bus drivers carrying a camera operator. Now we engage the pilots and the Cineflex operator in those places of interest so they become part of the storytelling. This means that everybody in the chain becomes important. In the past the pilot got their briefing the same day of the production. Our pilots have a briefing two months [before the

One of the reasons RCS chose to work with EMG is its ability to offer rights holders personalised feeds. Says Demeulemeester “ Discovery asked us to have a special TV bike equipped with remote minicams in order to cover Sir Bradley Wiggins during his live interviews.

“One of the key storytelling lines for Discovery is Bradley, so for Discovery we created a dedicated Bradley Wiggins feed; Bradley is on a motorbike and we installed mini cameras that we can switch, so if he’s doing reports and live interviews in the race, on the right side of a rider or on the left side of a rider, we use mini cameras that can pan and tilt, they can zoom in and out; we control that camera. We feed that signal on one of the embedders up to the satellite, up to the truck. We unplug that signal and send it separately to Paris, where we get a return line, because [Bradley] needs to know what’s going on in Paris, of course, and so on. There is a massive in and out of data and lines and feeds.”Crosshead Snack time

The company is also enhancing the world feed with ‘snackable videos’ and fan perspective shots. Demeulemeester explains: “If we are doing a certain climb where a famous rider is very well-known, like Marco Pantani who is a God in Italy, very early in the morning we would send one of our ENG EFP media content managers. They will film with a wide sensor camera, some arty [shots] and quotes for content; for instance, extreme close ups of paintings of Marco Pantani on the asphalt, where you can see the emotion of the Italians that will pass by. We will [turn that into] a clip and during the live, [as the riders] head up to that climb, we launch that clip so the viewers at home would already recognise,‘oh, that’s the climb coming up’.

Concludes Carosi: “We are lucky because our territory is very, very interesting and we discover each place; I’m Italian but it’s very important for me to discover new places, new adventures, in this country. This is a circus we build every day for one month; the effort is very hard, but [despite] the challenges, [this] is important for us and we are sure of the success of the team.”

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Giro d’Italia
EMG crew hard at work in the OB for this year’s Giro d’Italia
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Live from Silverstone: The inside track on F1’s innovation aims

Arecord crowd of more than 400,000 watched an action-packed few days of Formula 1 racing at Silverstone last weekend (1-3 July 2022), culminating in Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz winning his first F1 Grand Prix.

Those watching in the 180 territories around the world where F1 is aired were kept up to speed by the efforts of director of broadcast and media Dean Locke and his team who produced the world feed for some 80 broadcasters.

While F1 fans may have been focusing on the various upgrades to cars introduced by many of the teams at the weekend, Locke says they aim to roll out something new for viewers at every race.

“Stefano [Stefano Domenicali, Formula One Group chief executive] and Ross [Ross Brawn, Formula One Group managing director] are technical innovators and pioneers in F1, so they want innovation literally all the time,” he says. “When we’re on the plane to the next race they will often ask me,‘what have you got new this week?’”

Those keeping in touch with the racing at Silverstone on Friday via broadcast and social media would have seen the rollout of the pedal camera, which might have been familiar to some viewers.

“We brought the pedal camera back after 20 years,” explains Locke.“I’ve been wanting to do it for ages, but we haven’t been able to because all the tubs [the main body of the race car] are different whereas 20 years ago, they were

all fairly standard.”

For Friday’s practice session the camera was placed in the footwell of Lando Norris’ McLaren. The aim, says Locke, is to get viewers closer to the action. “Unlike MotoGP or some other forms of racing where you can see every movement, we have a driver sitting in a car with a crash helmet on and you can’t see much of them.

“The idea of the helmet camera is to show their viewpoint, which can be quite surprising to people as sometimes there are 22 different elements on a steering wheel. And it’s the same with the pedal camera; we’re just trying to show more of what these athletes are doing in their cockpits.”

The limited number of channels that can be fed from the car meant the pedal cam was removed following the Friday practice session in favour of the helmet camera for qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday. Currently, the media team can run 90 cameras across 20 cars, with approximately 20 cameras switched on.

“What that means is we can have one camera for each car switched on, forward or rear. But we can also dualstream on several cars, but that very much depends on the nature of the circuit,” says Locke.

In terms of the total number of cameras, the race at Silverstone was covered by some 26 track cameras, 10 in the pit lane made up of a mix of fixed cameras, RF roaming cameras and a cable camera, along with a helicopter and cameras buried in the curbs. Together with cameras covering the press conference — and those in the cars — the total number was in the region of 60-70.

Updates to audio acquisition are also planned. At present, there are 150 microphones placed around the course to capture the sound of the cars and crowd.“We’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of years looking at audio around the car and we’re just designing some

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Credit: Formula 1
Inside the F1 Media Centre

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new on-car systems. We want extra audio channels and microphones on the car to pick up their sound,” says Locke, who says the rollout could be affected by component shortages.“Lead times just seem to be getting longer,” he says. “I’d love to see it rolled out next year, but it’s a massive project.”

Data and GFX

As well as enhancements designed to immerse viewers in the action, Locke and his team are also working on ways to better explain the intricacies of F1 races. He says: “Graphics in F1 are really hard, because we have this very complicated sport and a diverse fanbase; we have really hardcore fans really into data and strategy that might feel aggrieved if you explain things in simple terms, but we also have this massive drive for new fans as well, with a young demographic we need GFX to explain things to them.”

F1 struck a deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2018 to host the motorsport’s data centres and provide machine learning and data analytics services. As part of this, AWS also works with F1 on its series of F1 Insights tools, on-screen graphics designed to help viewers understand particular elements of the sport, including

race strategy, competitor analysis and car performance.

At Silverstone, the F1 Insights team debuted Projected Knockout Time, a new tool focused on qualifying, that uses predictive models that take into account all the conditions and historical data to provide information about how each driver will perform during each stage of qualifying and what times they need to achieve.

“We start with problems,” says Locke. “For example, we might have a low point in a race where it may get a bit quiet, but we want to encourage people to stay tuned. So we did some modelling around how long it might take a particular driver at their current pace to catch the person in front, taking into account things like tyre degradation, and we throw that into the model.” That resulted in the F1 Insight ‘Battle Forecast’, which provides a prediction as to how many laps it will take for a chasing car to catch the car in front.

F1’s relationship with AWS also covers distribution and is likely to be expanded in the near future, Locke says. “We have always used AWS for our F1 TV product. The distribution of that sits with AWS in the cloud, but how do we take that further? We would like to do that with our world feed signals as well moving forward, I think, and that’s something we want to move on to pretty soon.”

F1’s drive to provide curated viewer data feeds

Formula 1 is looking to provide bespoke data feeds to serve the needs of viewers with varying levels of technical knowledge of the sport, according to F1 director of data systems Rob Smedley.

Smedley says the biggest barrier to boosting fan engagement among new and casual F1 viewers is the highly technical and complex nature of the sport which often needs explaining.

“When it comes to deciding what data to show and how much, it’s a fine balance and, like any decent business, we have to listen to our customers,” he says.

Smedley, an F1 engineer who previously worked with the likes of Williams and Ferrari, says his role now is to act as “the glue” between F1 and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

“The way to avoid overloading with data is to make it a more bespoke experience for everybody, because there is only so much that we can put on a linear feed, so we have been thinking about that and pushing ideas around,” he says.

“[Data] should be an interactive choice and that is something that we are looking at for the future. At the moment, I think we have the balance right with how much data we show on

to is second and third screen devices so people can have their device and say, ‘I want to curate my data experience in such a way which is completely bespoke to me’.

“We’re at proof-of-concept stage. It has been talked about for a long time, but there are all sorts of complexities to it.”

Wet weather

Smedley spoke with SVG Europe on Saturday (2 July 2022) during qualification at Silverstone, when the F1 Insights team debuted a new tool focused on qualifying. The Projected Knockout Time tool aims to predict the time that teams need to reach in order that they pass through to the top 15 in Q1 and the top 10 in Q2.

“We try to use predictive models that take into account all the conditions and historical data, driving models, car models and say right, this is how we think everybody will pan out at the end of this particular qualifying session, or that is the lap time that all of the teams have to beat.”

However, while eventual race winner Carlos Sainz was able to take advantage of the rain on Saturday to claim his first ever pole position on his 151st attempt, the wet weather did not provide ideal circumstances for the launch.

F1’s Dean Locke later explained that the rain had affected the tool. “It ran, but we ended up running it a little less because of the rain, because it affected the model so we held back on it and we’ll roll it out properly in Austria [the next race in the calendar, on 10 July],” he explains.

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Formula 1
“We’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of years looking at audio around the car and we’re just designing some new on-car systems. We want extra audio channels and microphones on the car to pick up their sound”
Rob Smedley, F1 director of data systems
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Hill climb fever: Behind the scenes at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2022 with host broadcaster Gravity Media

As Goodwood Festival of Speed opens its doors to the public for four days of racing and all things motorsports against a spectacular setting in West Sussex, Gravity Media is also gearing up for a busy event.

The company was awarded the contract to bring three of the motorsport calendar’s greatest events to screens for Goodwood back in April this year, in a five-year deal that will see Gravity broadcasting the Members’ Meeting on 9-10 April, the Festival of Speed on 23-26 June and the Goodwood Revival on 16-18 September.

This is Gravity Media’s first year as the host broadcaster for Goodwood, after it took over the contract from Aurora Media Worldwide. Now it is on site ready to bring ITV’s coverage and the world feed to viewers from 23-26 June.

Comments Laura Wignall, Gravity Media’s business development manager: “Festival of Speed is unique because the Duke of Richmond allows his Goodwood

House to host the event and have the hill climb racing right outside his property, so it’s really spectacular and unusual. You’ve got the hill climb, the rally and then of course the sub cut, so we’ve got the multiple galleries going on.”

Adds Wignall: “We’re on air 10 hours a day, so it’s a big one.”

Busy production

Goodwood Festival of Speed is taking place over four days. The rigging time is short and sharp. The rig crew headed to site on Friday 17 June, giving them less than one week before the event starts

Over the next four days Gravity is producing 40 hours live on air for the world feeds, as well as three and a half hours on ITV’s main channel across the Saturday and Sunday. To make this happen, Gravity has pulled in 180 crew members, most of whom will be on site; only the highlights production and other clipping elements will

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A production gallery at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed
FIRST
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2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed

take place off site at Gravity’s London base.

However, Goodwood itself has been installing fibre on site, which will mean that going forwards Gravity will have the connectivity required to pull more crew off site to operate remotely, says Wignall.

She notes: “I think in the long run, hopefully we’ll be able to take a few more elements of the operation offsite to make it more hybrid. Of course the great thing is that because of it being only in Sussex, we’re not having to freight things around the world, so environmentally, at least there’s not a huge travel footprint, and a few [crew] live quite locally. We’ve got a fair number of members of staff that don’t need hotels because they live within an hour’s drive, so in that sense it’s really good as well.”

New perspectives

Gravity is rolling out a new wire cam feature for the festival, with a Dactylcam. Says Wignall: “It will be the first time that the wire cam will be used at Goodwood. The Duke has given his special permission for us to put that up. It’s a 350m-long cam and that 350m goes past Goodwood House, so the cars come up towards the house on this beautiful tree lined road and then cut next to the house to go up the hill. It’s a really unusual, spectacular view.

“We’re also using our in-house mini cams, which we’ve

used in various guises as neck cams or as helmet cams on different events around the world. We’ve also got some onboards, so we ask particular drivers and manufacturers about putting those onboards on, which will give a different perspective as well.”

Specialist experience

Gravity recently bought in Martin Turner as exec producer across all three Goodwood events as, with his career focused on motorsport, he is able to use his knowledge and experience to create the editorial direction of the productions, as well as bring in the right talent and crew for the editorial team to back up Gravity’s expertise in production and technical.

Says Wignall: “We’ve made sure that [the same team is] across all three events to have that consistency for Goodwood. Some of the producers [and directors] are leading one [event] and then another is leading [on a different event] to give a different flavour.”

Gravity Media is rotating its directors and producers to suit the three Goodwood events, which, notes Wignall, is especially pertinent to the Revival, “which has got quite a different vibe to the other two with this nostalgia as people dress up and it has that kind of event feel that you have at Ascot or Wimbledon”.

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 103 svgeurope updateGoodwood Festival of Speed
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“It’s that human element of feeling like you’re close to the project and that it’s not just being delivered without them really understanding how it works,” she continues.

“The Goodwood team have got so much motorsport knowledge and experience of event planning, but I think they’re appreciating even more now about how the broadcast all flows best as an extension of the events, which is great for us because they work closely with us on where best to move cameras and cables, and so on to make the positions work even better.”

“It’s a really collaborative relationship and now we’ve done one small event with them in April, the Members Meeting, going into Festival of Speed we’re all feeling really more confident that we’ve got that under our belts,” she adds.

She continues: “For Revival, we have a director for ITV who’s done a lot of other events and is more eventorientated, and the same with the producer, but you still have that world feed motorsport producer and director working alongside them. So that one’s slightly different, but in terms of the consistency across all three events, it’s the motorsport expertise and the same team working across the year that’s key.

“Across all three events we’ve got two separate galleries,” continues Wignall. “One for the world feed and one for the ITV presentation. Obviously the world feed is able to cater for everyone outside of the UK for Goodwood, so they have their own advertising spaces and elements that would not be compliant for ITV. The ITV show is a two-hour self-contained show that has the world feed live production feeding into it, but it has a completely separate feel and separate presenters [to the world feed].”

Collaborative effort

Wignall comments on why Gravity got the job:“I think that [Goodwood] liked the element of the account and project management that we bring; our business development team is really strong. We’ve now got a representative for OBs, production, post production and rental as well. I go down to Goodwood almost weekly and I speak to them a lot on the phone. We have a really close relationship, and there’s a lot of bouncing back and forth of ideas and I think they really wanted to have that involvement and transparency.”

Wignall concludes: “We’re really interested in doing end-to-end projects, like with Goodwood. The fact that we’re providing them with the technical, but also the production expertise, all as a one-stop shop, is key. Our production centre in Chiswick does a huge amount of production for motorsport and especially in the football world for UEFA and The FA and so on. We’re really trying to bring those areas together.

“Ever since we became Gravity Media in 2019 as a result of merging the various companies we owned, we’re doing more of those end-to-end productions and Goodwood is giving us these opportunities.”

Gravity Media will supply more than 90 hours of live content across the three Goodwood events, including six days of live coverage for ITV. There will also be world feeds for international partners, dedicated digital production, exclusive partner content and fully crafted highlights shows for domestic and international fans.

For the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed Gravity is rolling out:

• Around 15km of fibre cabling across rally, hill climb and for site connectivity

• Two TV compounds and multiple galleries (hill climb, sub cut, rally, ITV, world feed)

• Wire cam for the first time (350m-long Dactylcam)

• In-house-developed mini cams plus a variety of other fast pan robotic hotheads

• Around 30 cameras in total being used across the site

• Eleven 12-channel EVS machines

• Six onsite Avid edit suites

• Six to eight onboards (depending on permissions from drivers and manufacturers)

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Goodwood Festival of Speed
“I go down to Goodwood almost weekly and I speak to them a lot on the phone. We have a really close relationship, and there’s a lot of bouncing back and forth of ideas and I think they really wanted to have that involvement and transparency”
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Live from the CONCACAF W Championship: How a UK-based team is providing ‘gold standard’ coverage

T

he trek to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2024 Olympics is under way in Monterrey, Mexico, where CONCACAF is holding its 2022 CONCACAF W Championship from 4-18 July.

With eight teams divided into two groups of four, the top two teams of each round-robin group qualify for the World Cup, and the two third-place teams advance to a playoff (the winner also qualifies for the 2024 Olympics).

For Oscar Sanchez, director, broadcast operations/ executive producer, CONCACAF, it’s all part of an effort that has produced and delivered 160 women’s football matches to fans this year.

“This is a good place to do football because this is a football town,” he says. “It’s challenging because we’re putting together two different production teams: we have a UK-based team working with a Mexican team. It has been fun, and we’re happy so far with what we are seeing.”

With the Women’s Euros also kicking off this week and the CONMEBOL Women’s tournament starting soon in Colombia (and another women’s tournament in Asia as

well), women’s football is getting a global push, and Sanchez says CONCACAF is making sure the production shines.

“It’s very important that we look as good as the others, and we’re investing heavily on this one,” he says. “We also want the coverage to look as good as the men’s coverage looks. That’s why we decided to bring in director Grant Philips, one of the best soccer directors in the world, with his crew. We wanted to bring in a proper crew for this.”

The team from Europe includes a vision mixer from Ireland, an EVS producer, two EVS operators, two camera operators and a floor manager.

Sanchez says bringing over a UK-based production team that works on big international matches is important because the gold standard in football production has a UK feel.

“Directing in football is subjective,” says Sanchez, “but, at the end of the day, what you see in European football, Champions League, and the Premier League is what fans are used to. We want to give women’s football in the region the best level of production possible. In this region, we have the US, which are the World Cup champions, and Canada, which is the Olympic gold-medallist team. This is a great opportunity for the world to see the best players and to showcase them.”

A global team

The core team from the UK is complemented by a Mexican production team as well as producer Laura McDonald, who is from Jamaica. McDonald’s profile in the industry rose after she completed the HBS Broadcast Academy, which is an international effort focused on the development of next-generation talent via intensive training combining real-world experience and training from some of the best directors and production professionals on the planet. Also on the team is EVS operator Ashley Moore, likewise a graduate of the HBS Broadcast Academy, as Sanchez

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FIRST PUBLISHED 8 JULY 2022 Sanchez: “We’re investing heavily on this one. We want the coverage to look as good as the men’s coverage looks”

and CONCACAF look to create a talent pool across the Caribbean and beyond.

“We’re trying to link what we’re doing with the Broadcast Academy,” says Sanchez. “Laura was probably one of the first to come out of the Broadcast Academy, and now she’s producing the most important women’s event in the region and is also going to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup. She’s a great storyteller, she knows the sport and teams, and she’s great at all the skills a producer needs: she’s organised, knows the structure, and has knowledge in other production areas, like directing and being a venue manager. She has a holistic view of the process; we love that.”

The tournament is an intense run for the production teams. Two venues are in use: Estadio Universitario and BBVA (which will host 2026 World Cup matches). In the group stage, a single crew will produce a doubleheader of evening matches at 18:00 and 21:00 local time, with match days alternating between stadiums.

“We’re using the Televisa truck that they use to produce the Liga MX matches here as there are two teams in Monterrey with a huge fan base,” says Sanchez.“MediaPro is also providing some resources like an EVS IPDirector for us as they have a presence here in Mexico.”

There will be four matches on July 11, with a Mexican production crew handling two of the matches and the

Scottish crew producing the others. The group-stage productions will be done with 16 cameras, a drone, and a super-slo-mo camera system.

It’s a knockout

For the knockout stage, the production will add a Cablecam and a couple more super-slo-mos. And rightsholders CBS Sports, ESPN Mexico, Canada’s One Soccer and TUDN will increase their onsite presence with studio shows and on-air talent.

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 107 CONCACAF W Championship
CBS Sports reporter Jenny Chiu interviews USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski ahead of the U.S. team’s 5-0 win over Jamaica on Thursday night

“From the semi-finals on,” says Sanchez,“CBS will bring in a big team of around 120 people for the studio show, which will feature some legends and former players. They will also call the games from here. CBS has been doing a great job with women’s football, and we can tell they are putting forward a great effort in support of this tournament.”

The efforts are also a mix of onsite and remote operations, with graphics and commentary handled from Vista Worldlink in Miami.

“We’re sending all our clean feeds back to Vista,” Sanchez explains. “They integrate everything there, like graphics and commentary, and distribute to rightsholders. One thing Vista has been really good at is sourcing women and giving them an opportunity to grow their careers.”

Distribution to rightsholders is via Vista and The Switch and the latter’s MiMiC distribution platform.

“That has been really good for us,” says Sanchez. “We have produced 300 games in the first part of the year, and all of them have been distributed through the MiMiC cloud distribution. Each rightsholder gets an SRT, and, while at first some were hesitant, they love it. It is way cheaper than satellite and less complicated, and the quality is really good.”

The match-coverage improvements are also being enhanced with the addition of a content feed, something CONCACAF has been developing with HBS.

“We put everything that we cannot put on the main feed, like live player arrivals, and, if there is a goal, there are 19 angles of the goal,” Sanchez says.“We give the rightsholders everything for things like social pieces that they want to produce. We are producing those throughout and increasing the amount of content from the semi-finals on.”

Redundancy is also a big part of the effort (and a pet passion for Sanchez). “It helps me sleep better,” he says. “We’re doing satellite for the main transmission from

here, and we have a fibre company called Gold Data that has connectivity throughout Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and even South America. They’ve been a good partner throughout the years, and they are doing the additional content feed and backing up the main feed.”

Growing support

The efforts during this tournament are all part of CONCACAF’s goal to grow women’s football in the region. The additional production tools lift the quality, which lifts the viewership, which lifts support of women’s football across the entire region.

“No matter your gender,” says Sanchez, “you need to be able to play the sport that you want. The other thing is, we need to give women the opportunity to have more doors open for them to play, because it’s not the same as a boy, who gets a ball [while] a girl gets a doll. If a girl likes to play football, we want to be sure that she can go to a place to play and be treated respectfully.”

Those efforts extend into the broadcast realm, where Sanchez sees a big opportunity to develop the quality of the game via events like this as well as the NWSL and the USL in the US.

“The possibilities are endless because the fans have not discovered it yet and the rating returns are growing at an average that is higher than the men’s game,” says Sanchez. “We see a business opportunity as well. Hopefully, sponsors will get behind it, and the fans can have more opportunities to watch it. The thing for us, is you cannot put the women’s game in front of the fan at a quality that looks worse than the men’s coverage. These women are super-talented, and they are tough stars with a huge fanbase that follows them in any platform. We need to try to respect that.”

That respect extends behind the scenes as well: 20% of the production team is female, a relatively high number in a country where women are not as numerous in production as they are in the US or Canada.

“We hope to open the doors for women because, nowadays, it’s just a matter of make the decision and give them the opportunity to get behind the EVS or a chance to be producers of their own show,” says Sanchez. “It’s challenging because there’s not enough women available, and we need to do a better job sourcing those women that are available and opening more opportunities.”

He believes the move to remote operations might increase those opportunities. “I think that remote production is going to open more doors for women because, if they are a talented operator, they can be operating from home instead of traveling across the country to do a big game. They can do it from home if they have the right connectivity. We had a woman who lived in Phoenix, and she was so excited because she was a graphics operator who could put her kids to bed and then work from home. I think the opportunities are coming.”

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CONCACAF W Championship
“We want to give women’s football in the region the best level of production possible”
OSCAR SANCHEZ, CONCACAF
L-R: CONCACAF W Championship technical director/vision mixer Niahm Bhreathnack, director Grant Philips and producer Laura McDonald call the front bench in a Televisa production truck home July 4-18
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 109

Top hat and tails: NEP uncovers the drama and excitement behind the production of ITV Racing’s Royal Ascot

“Ascot is probably the most prestigious horse racing venue. It’s owned by the Queen and it is just on a different level; it’s the most sophisticated race event you could go to,” says Jon Harris, technical projects manager at NEP UK and Ascot expert. “It’s all high-end racing, attracts horses from across the world to compete for the big prize money, and it’s a massive event.”

Harris is something of a horseracing guru; this is his 10th Royal Ascot in his capacity as technical projects manager. He notes:“I know the ins and outs of horseracing TV coverage pretty well now.”

NEP and Harris work at Ascot to provide ITV Racing with all the camera angles it needs to give viewers an in-depth experience of each race — all the drama, excitement and analytics, plus everything else going on around the event, with the coverage bridging sport and entertainment.

The technical services specialist works alongside

RaceTech, which provides the integrity coverage for the core angles of each race as they happen, as well as providing stewards with various replays. “They’re your nuts and bolts, if you like, of the horseracing coverage,” says Harris.

“What we do at NEP with ITV is we work alongside [RaceTech],” he goes on. “We’ll take those race cameras from them because if they’ve got a camera at the far end of the course on a cherry picker watching the horses go past, there’s absolutely no point in us putting one alongside it — we may as well just have a feed from it. They are obliged to give us those camera feeds — but what ITV do is they put the fancier cameras in. They put the stuff in that the viewers want to see — the lower angles, the high motion replays — the stuff that’s less fundamental to the coverage, but that gives the artistic view of what goes on.”

Those beauty shots and replays are what provides the broadcaster with its main content, as most races take only 60-90 seconds from start to finish. Notes Harris: “The

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All NEP crew have to be wedding-outfit-ready to make the grade and blend in with the crowds at Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot

actual racing bit is really short, so it’s the bit in between you’ve got to fill. Ultimately, for ITV’s approach, they have a big presentation team, with around 18 presenters at Ascot in total across the course. It becomes like an entertainment programme almost; you’re interviewing the winning jockey, showing replays of what’s gone on, giving some analysis on the racing, and that’s where the digital camera angles that we’ve put in decorate and tell the story.”

Huge presentation team

NEP supplied two large production trucks for Royal Ascot 2022, with over 50 camera sources, which are split across the two trucks. Out of those 50 camera sources, over 20 of them were wirelessly linked, which, says Harris, “enables us to have flexibility to move across the site because, as well as capturing the racing action, we’ve also got to capture the event because the race is only a couple of minutes long”.

He adds: “ITV very much want to engage with the viewers, make them feel part of the event, and give them that Royal Ascot experience. So, from the royal procession arrival that starts at two o’clock at the beginning of the day through to the end of the day, when we’re around Ascot’s bandstand with the communal singing that goes on there, they want to give a flavour of all of that.

Ultimately, it’s a massive course and site and we need to have maximum flexibility so the reliance on RF cameras is really important for us.

“ITV has a large presentation team covering the show, all headed by Ed Chamberlain,” continues Harris. “Ed is based in the middle of the parade ring where we have our presentation set up, and he’s joined by a number of racing experts and, over the five days, the whole show is anchored from there, so really bringing the viewers into the hub of the whole event. Outside of the parade ring, we have a weather position, so another presentation position that, if it starts to rain or even if you need shade, Ed and his team can move during an ad break from one press area to the other, and we can pick up the presentation from that side.”

Outside of the key presenters in the parade ring, there are a number of roaming presenters with radio cameras working across the site.

Mini cams and stalled horses

This year NEP increased its mini cam technology that it fits inside the horse starting stalls, and has improved the camera technology it uses for this with a bespoke NEPdeveloped system. It deploys three systems, which are rigged for each race for selected horses that ITV wants to feature.

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 111 svgeurope updateRoyal Ascot
“Ultimately, it’s a massive course and site and we need to have maximum flexibility so the reliance on RF cameras is really important for us”
JON HARRIS, NEP UK
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“We have a stalls camera team that will rig the mini cams within the starting stalls, so that when the horses are being loaded we can cut to that mini cam and see the horse and jockey entering into the stalls. We have stereo microphones on them to capture the sound as well, so we can hear what the jockeys are saying to each other. We also have a camera that looks along the starting stalls, so you can see all the jockeys lined up, waiting for the stalls to open for them to break out.”

On the NEP stalls cameras, Harris goes on: “It’s been a really good thing to do; we see a lot of the footage from these stalls cameras being used in the social media strands that ITV do because, while we’ll cut to them briefly in the build ups of the race, they’re all recorded independently back at the truck and you can get a really interesting insight if you can see the whole clip of the horses being loaded.”

This year those cameras came into their own when Frankie Dettori was unable to remove the blindfold from his horse, Lord North, in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Ascot on 15 July. The pair were left in the stalls when the race started.

Harris adds that the stalls system, “has to be deployed quickly and derigged quickly because the starting stalls often have to get moved out of the way to allow the horses to run around that bit of the track when they’ve done a circuit, so the team have to work with the stalls handlers and the officials down there [at the start] to ensure we don’t get in the way of what they’re doing.”

“We’ve really increased our coverage down at the starts to capture the build-up before the race,” he continues.

Keeping up appearances

There are challenges to working at a venue with such strict dress and behaviour codes as Ascot, notes Harris: “One of the challenges we have with Ascot is that the compound space where we build the broadcast facilities and where the vehicles park is essentially an island that’s surrounded

by hospitality on all sides. The whole OB unit is hidden away at the back of the racecourse, out of sight. So the logistics of moving equipment is really limited

“Before our trucks arrive, that space where they park up is used for the delivery and distribution of the stock for catering and bars and all those kind of things,” he continues. “So it’s almost a bit like a building site, in terms of there’s pallets and machinery and forklift trucks all over the place. It’s a real turnaround to change it from a working area into an outside broadcaster area.

“The other challenge we have is that our broadcast trucks for ITV are in use on the Saturday before Royal Ascot,” notes Harris. “The event starts on Tuesday at Royal Ascot with the first programme going on air at 9am on the Tuesday. On the Saturday, we’re up in York doing horseracing up there during the day. We finish that programme on the Saturday, pack the trucks up, they drive down to Ascot and park up late Saturday night, and that gives us just the Sunday and Monday to rig and test all these broadcast facilities for the Royal Ascot week.”

Tight schedule

Harris adds: “Ordinarily, a job of this scale would have far more build time than what we allocate to it, but we’re able to achieve this because we have a loyal team of engineers and crew who work on the racing regularly with us. They’re familiar with the course, they’re familiar with the equipment that we’re rigging, they know the routine. So with their hard work, we’re able to build and deliver the set up in the available time scale that’s there.”

The crew is all-important for Harris, who says, “I love the team that work on this. They’re like a family. They’re an extended family for me on our side, on the NEP side, and it’s their hard work that makes it all happen, really.

“So for me, those two days, the Sunday and Monday, are critical to us because it’s not enough time and it’s a big old set up to get working. Then we go on air Tuesday morning and then, after that, we find a good routine for the five days, but they’re long hours; we do over 30 hours of live television over the five days. We have the opening show each morning, which is a magazine programme discussing up and coming racing for that day from 9am until 10am, and then we’re on air at approximately 1.30pm through to 6.30pm, which is a normal programme.”

One unusual requirement for crew working at Ascot is that they too must adhere to the dress code. That means

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“Our camera operators and our sound assistants, who are working out in the field, are required to wear top hat and tails every day and women have to wear dresses and fascinators which comply with the dress code”
JON HARRIS, NEP UK NEP worked with ITV Racing once again to bring all the drama and excitement of Royal Ascot to viewers

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wedding-ready outfits for women and top hat and tails for men.

Notes Harris: “For us and Ascot, it’s really important that the crew who work in and around the course fit in and blend in with the racegoers as much as they can. This very much includes the dress code, so our camera operators and our sound assistants, who are working out in the field, are required to wear top hat and tails every day and women have to wear dresses and fascinators which comply with the dress code.

“We have to hire over 40 suits for the crew and you’ll see our steady camera operators wearing top hat and tails, running around the parade ring, which while it’s not always that practical, especially in the heat, we totally understand, from Ascot’s perspective, the importance that we blend in as much as we can.”

Even aspects such as RF antennas need to fit into the

surroundings, says Harris: “The practicality of building things like camera platforms or how we rig the placement of antennas and aerials and things like that have to have additional consideration to ensure that it fits into the surroundings. We work very hard with Ascot to try and head off any things that may stand out and ensure that we do stuff in a way that Ascot will be happy with, because they spend a lot of time and effort with their set up and the racegoers’ experience. We want to ensure that we don’t detract from that.”

“We have a good rapport with Ascot now and we understand what they’re trying to do,” adds Harris. “Equally, we’ve got to put some stuff in, practically, for our coverage. Obviously, they understand we’ve got to make our TV set up work, as well. So sometimes there’s a bit of compromise, but on the whole, I feel we get it right and we are supporting Ascot rather than being a hindrance to them.”

RaceTech gallops back to the start line to support ITV Racing at Royal Ascot

As a partner of Ascot Racecourse, RaceTech is providing technical and outside broadcast provision at Royal Ascot 2022. While outside broadcast provider NEP is working on the main feed with ITV Racing, RaceTech is providing support feeds to ITV and other broadcasters.

Camera crews and extensive outside broadcast facilities from RaceTech will provide live enhanced coverage each day to a multitude of international and domestic media outlets, including Sky Sports Racing, Ascot Racecourse TV, Ascot social media production, Ascot’s world feed, various individual bookmaker channels and support to ITV Racing.

RaceTech will have around 70 skilled crew — who will be wearing top hats and tails wherever possible — on the course covering each day’s races. A multitude of cameras will cover all the action and festivities, from the royal procession to the bandstand singalong.

The RaceTech starting stalls team will be on hand to offer a calm welcome to horses and jockeys at the start of each race. Photo finish technology, including the reverse angle system, as is standard at every Ascot meeting, will capture each race finish in close detail, plus the Longines timing system will be in full operation.

A new addition to this year’s daily output is a fashion and lifestyle show to be created using RaceTech technical and production facilities.

The show will feature highlights from each day with celebrities and special events taking place around the course to be broadcast on all Ascot’s social media channels reaching a global audience.

RaceTech is also supporting the HBA Media TV-distributed ‘Golden hour’ show, which is being produced by IMG, as well as fully supporting the ITV sport production by supplying numerous RaceTech cameras and feeds.

Ed Chamberlin, ITV Racing presenter, said: “In the Platinum Jubilee year, Royal Ascot 2022 is going to be something special. ITV Racing will show every single race and we are set for some sizzling action on the track with our own superstars trying to fend off the strong international challenge. With the return of crowds in their thousands, the royal procession, and the daily bandstand singalong, we are in for a week to remember.”

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RaceTech is providing services to ITV Racing for Royal Ascot 2022
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Grand Slam: Inside Roland-Garros with HBS in its second year working with the Fédération Française de Tennis

Host Broadcast Services (HBS) is in the throes of its second year at Roland-Garros working with partner Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT), which took over as host broadcaster for the Grand Slam last year. While many of the major innovations came in 2021 as the FFT revamped its production, there have been a few interesting changes to the technologies being used this year.

We catch up with Philippe Oziol, project director for HBS on Roland-Garros, to find out how the production is going.

What did you learn last year, and how are you moving the production forward in 2022?

We learnt a lot about the deployment itself and the ergonomics of the facilities, but, also, we learned a lot about the expectations of the Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT) and their broadcasters.

A tennis grand slam tournament is such a massive production, in regard to the number of simultaneous matches during the day and also at night. This requires very thorough operational planning and preparation in all areas. Sharing of information and detailed briefing of all parties involved is key, as well as making everyone aware of what we distribute in order to ensure a consistent delivery.

To achieve this in the short time leading up to the tournament we had to streamline all workflows to be able to deliver the best possible content to broadcasters, helping them to create their own programmes.

What exactly are you doing for Roland-Garros 2022?

For the first time this year we have a full IP-based production, which allows us to be more efficient and agile and to share signals between the 22 productions galleries.

An IP system of this scale, with multiple galleries and users in an almost 24/7 operation, implies a strict management of maintenance and troubleshooting outside of operational hours. It requires specialist knowledge and we have experienced that it is very difficult to troubleshoot certain failures while on air.

Mission-critical components are designed in a redundant manner, hence a single point of failure (eg, of one of the control systems,) does not always need to be immediately resolved and is better restored during the night when no production is active.

What’s new from your perspective for 2022?

For the first time we will produce the four main courts in UHD HDR, including three of the courts with audio multichannel mix.

On the audio side, we repositioned and added microphones to better capture the sound of the clay when players are sliding, as this is an iconic constituent of the Roland-Garros tournament.

What key equipment is being used and why? Any changes or evolutions and innovations for 2022?

The full IP-based solution allows us to have a unique core equipment from production to distribution.

A unified camera set up (similar sensors, mainly Sony HDC3500/5500/P50 type hard cameras) in combination with a full IP production environment, sharing sources and resources across all production facilities, has

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Roland-Garros
A unified camera set up combined with a full IP production environment streamlined the installation

streamlined the overall installation into a much more compact footprint.

The audio network is built around Lawo mc2 consoles and IP stageboxes. The entire host broadcast production facilities could be integrated into portacabins attached to two containers hosting all the main equipment, making additional space available for unilateral operations.

For the first time at Roland-Garros, coverage of 11 courts is produced remotely using ViBox and remote camera systems.

What is the general production workflow from the courts to the main production gallery and out to rights holders?

All courts are produced with the same pivot format to ensure the quality, and to be able to share content within the different galleries. To magnify the clay and to ensure the quality of the pictures, we created a specific HDR workflow and a dedicated shading room where supervisors ensure homogeneity between courts.

All video and audio deliverables are checked by quality control which can communicate with the different galleries.

A Master Control Room is in charge of validating all feeds produced and their distribution to broadcasters.

What’s the biggest challenge for you, in your second year working with Roland-Garros as host broadcaster?

To ensure and maintain the technical and editorial quality of our delivery to broadcasters and FFT during the tournament.

What is on site and what is off-site this year, and how are you using IP and cloud technologies to enable this workflow?

We produced 11 courts remotely based in the north of Paris. The 11 galleries have two secured direct links with Roland-Garros and the IP base core equipment. The media management and logging are done in this remote production centre.

All content produced can be accessed from all around the world, through a dedicated interface called RGlive server with a secure delivery. It allows each broadcaster, through a web interface, to have access to a specific library where all content is stored and logged.

And finally, how many people are you bringing on site to make this production work? The total set up represents 660 people on site and 90 involved in the remote production.

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 117 svgeurope update
“For the first year we will produce the four main courts in UHD HDR, including three of the courts with audio multichannel mix. On the audio side, we repositioned and added microphones to better capture the sound of the clay when players are sliding”
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Studio Berlin deploys remote production concept for EHF European League

Since the 2020-2021 season, production service provider and studio operator Studio Berlin has been responsible for producing all matches of the EHF European League in Germany on behalf of Infront Productions and creating the world feed.

In February 2022, Studio Berlin began using a selfdeveloped remote production concept for the men’s matches, with only cameras and atmo microphones in the venues. The actual production, including editing, control, integration of graphics and slomo, and the sound mix, is realised from a fixed control room at its Berlin Adlershof facilities.

After intensive tests, Studio Berlin and Infront Productions have decided to implement Studio Berlin’s new remote production concept for handball games covered by four cameras. This concept will also be used for games with up to eight cameras in the future.

The production format for the games is HD 1080i/50, stereo. Only the camera and audio signals are created on-site in the venues. Studio Berlin uses the infrastructure of network provider MTI to transmit the signals to the control room in Berlin Adlershof, running through a bidirectional connection with a maximum bandwidth of 100Mbit/s. Riedel’s Bolero is used for communication

between the control room and the venue. For signal contribution, Studio Berlin uses the SRT protocol. Signal distribution continues to take place via satellite. However, the SNG is no longer located at the venue but at Berlin Adlershof.

Leveraging the remote production concept, Studio Berlin has drastically decreased the production effort for each game — while maintaining the same high production standard. In addition, the concept offers further advantages: on some match days, two games from different venues are produced directly one after the other – managed by the same director and the same staff in Berlin Adlershof. In each case, only the personnel for direction, slomo, image technology and audio are deployed in the studios in Berlin.

An additional feature is that the graphics operator remotely controls the graphics machine either from the headquarters in Copenhagen or from the home office of the respective graphics operator. However, this is only the first step. In the medium term, the slomos will also be operated from the home office of the slomo operator.

Nick Zimmermann, managing director, Studio Berlin, comments: “With this workflow, which we developed especially for this production, we have taken a first, obvious step in introducing remote production services at Studio Berlin. Remote production has been a topic for producers and service providers for a long time, but it has not yet been implemented consistently for these types of sports. Deploying this concept, Studio Berlin demonstrates its feasibility under the demands of an actual live sports production. The concept handles the available resources sparingly, without accepting a reduction in the usual production quality. For the Studio Berlin team and directors and camera operators, this resulted in a learning process, with working methods and processes being rethought and adapted. Together, we developed a workflow that functions and is a true alternative to using an OB van in many production formats.”

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“Together, we developed a workflow that functions and is a true alternative to using an OB van in many production formats”
NICK ZIMMERMANN, STUDIO BERLIN
EHF European League
Studio Berlin and Infront Productions implemented a remote production set up for Men’s EHF league games
FIRST PUBLISHED 25 MAY 2022

Green Production

The remote production concept has an additional effect. Remote production and the resulting reduction in production efforts for technology, personnel, travel, hotel, energy and transport (all the venue equipment fits into a Sprinter plus trailer) allow Studio Berlin to realise another important goal that the company has set for itself. Condensed under the term Green Production, Studio Berlin consistently strives to significantly reduce its CO2 footprint in its productions. Thanks to this new concept, CO2 emissions from handball production have been reduced by two-thirds.

Peer Seitz, head of Infront Productions, says: “As Infront Productions, we strive to take efficient approaches to

svgeurope updateEHF European League
ITALY SPAIN AUSTRIA TOGETHER WE GO FAR OB VAN MCRFLIGHT CASE REMOTE PRODUCTION SPECIAL CAMERAS www.videe.it

eSerieA 2022 championship brings EMG Italy into the esports arena

live filming of tournaments is carried out with show modes very similar to those of real-world sports matches: referees, commentators, streamers (in person or remote production) orchestrate and illustrate the matches.

This includes the recent eSerieA 2022 championship, an online tournament open to all Serie A fans, which encouraged thousands of gamers to have fun trying to win the title of Champion of Italy. Organised by Lega Serie A, in collaboration with TIM, Infront and PG Esports (PGE), the tournament started last November with Online Qualifiers, followed by the Regular Season and the Playoffs that decided the eight teams that competed for the scudetto.

T

he world of video games has come a long way since players played alone or with friends in the same room. Today, esports competitions have become organised multiplayer games, complete with professional tournaments followed by millions around the world.

The esports market includes many different types of multiplayer games with fights, sports, static games, strategy, fantasy and much more all proving popular. This has led to the creation of numerous competitions and leagues featuring sponsored teams, which report growing revenues across the globe.

EMG Italy, a global provider of broadcasting services and multimedia solutions for sports, entertainment and live events, has also taken an interest in, and devoted a lot of energy to, the esports sector.

In two of its studios in the Via Deruta production centre,

Studio 7 of EMG Italy hosted the battle of the Final Eight for the second edition of the tournament. Obrun2002 of Torino FC was crowned the winner of last month’s final between Venice and Turin with Karimisbak’s Venezia beaten on penalties.

The event was broadcast live with Italian commentary on the Twitch and YouTube channels of the eSerieA TIM and on TimVision. Other broadcasts were delivered on the Lega Serie A YouTube channel and the EA Sports FIFA Twitch channel with English commentary.

Max Ceriani, in-house TV production manager and director at EMG Italy, who followed the birth and development of the esports phenomenon, explains: “Esports are comparable in many ways to a real sporting event. They can broadly be divided into two macro categories: the most famous classic games and online multi-players.

“Usually online games work in one-to-one mode in

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Studio 7 of EMG Italy hosted the battle of the Final Eight
eSerieA 2022 championship

which two players compete against each other, each managing a team, or in multi-player mode, such as football, in which each real player controls only one virtual player.

“The networks that broadcast these clashes are online platforms such as Twitch and YouTube which tend to offer two types of videos on their respective channels to subscribe to: those made by pros, who teach and explain the various techniques for each game, and the actual live matches, the official championships of the various sports.

“The target of these programmes is usually an audience not typically interested in linear TV and who prefers to carve out a personalised schedule on request, precisely on these and other platforms.”

Production updates

The finals of some famous titles are organised in impressive venues where the major players compete in front of a large audience, gathered in front of gigantic screens.

These events can generate revenues in the billions of dollars and therefore even traditional TV has begun to take an interest in them, creating models of use that are based on a mixture of the two genres.

As television operates with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, while games operate in 1080p60, considered native

4K, EMG has recently updated its structural technical production techniques to ensure compatibility with all situations that operate in full digital, including esports events, while also adapting to televisions that meet this standard of image, representing a big step forward in digital connectivity.

Historically, the first approach

The first broadcasts dedicated to esports created by EMG Italy were House of Esports on the DVBT channel Dmax. These made extensive use of augmented reality, with cameras moved with tracking and therefore able to create zooms and pans interfaced with proprietary software.

Today the main client is PGE, which creates tournaments, championships and broadcasts of national and international esports events. The format now features an anchor presenter who sews the incoming contributions from two micro cameras engaged in filming the players physically on site.

In addition to these, four broadcast cameras are engaged: two shoot close-ups and wide fields for the presenter and two document the events in other environments, such as the lounges for interviews and guests, within the same studio. A beauty camera is also employed to deliver aerial shots of the environment.

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 121 svgeurope updateeSerieA 2022 championship
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EMG Italy produces 20th edition of Milan Marathon for RCS Sport

The 2022 edition of the Milan Marathon, organised by RCS Sport, represented the 20th anniversary of the event and provided an opportunity to return to a colourful mass-participation race after a smaller event in 2021 and a postponement in 2020. It also welcomed some of the biggest names in distance running to the city.

EMG Italy was called in to manage the international television coverage as well as the broadcast for Sky in Italy, creating a great day of sport for viewers on Sunday 3 April.

More than 13,000 people participated in the event, which included a standard marathon and a relay event of four-runner teams as well as a race for children and families, which was held the day before.

The course started at the Bastioni di Porta Venezia. Here EMG Italy set up a compound with two mobile vehicles for HD filming and a gazebo that housed a small studio for unilateral filming organised for Sky.

Max Ceriani, inhouse TV director at EMG Italy,

Telepass Milano Marathon is more difficult to shoot than other competitions or sporting events, such as cycling, where there are sudden breaks and surprise final sprints and therefore more spectacular images.

“Here, we were able to restore the pathos of the race, which is really a very important moment for the running movement but also for the very large and international audience, getting them closer to the participants and all the events related to running.

“We have linked this long-awaited event as much as possible to the territory and to historic and touristic Milan, underlining the joy of finally doing sport together and packaging this great international spectacle in the best possible way.”

Capturing the action

Three cameras were situated in the Sky studio, delivering interviews, commentary and opinion. A further three camera operators on motorbikes and five cameras positioned to film both the start from the Bastioni and the race to the finishing line from Viale Maino, captured the on-course action for EMG Italy. Of these, two cameras were connected by radio frequency and made use of a long lens to return general images and document the large influx of enthusiasts both among the runners and the crowd.

The three motorcycles with camera operators on board focused on the elite runners leading the men’s and women’s races. The third bike also followed the other elite runners and focused on close-up fillers of the crowd.

An OB van parked in Piazza Venezia took care of the

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“Having also worked on similar events in the past, the team is closeknit, knows the problems and wanted to offer the public images of colour and curiosity”
Around
13,000 people participated
in the event
Milan Marathon

international direction, controlling both the five cameras in the start-finish area and the customisation for Sky, which was managed by a second mobile integration vehicle, also in the area.

Other special shooting support included a Jimmy Jib and two shoulder-mounted RF cameras that moved from the ramparts of the start to the finishing line in Viale Maino.

The moving cameras also documented some of the most significant corners of the city and were busy for over six hours, until all the runners had finished.

Ceriani adds: “The Telepass Milano Marathon, which will be repeated in 2023, requested a precise roadbook in this edition which we have previously agreed with the camera operators on the circuit. Having also worked on similar events in the past, the team is close-knit, knows the problems and wanted to offer the public images of colour and curiosity. We were able to tell some historical and interesting anecdotes and, repeating what we had done in the past for the various marathons, we interspersed many lesser known curiosities.

“This year too we have provided a series of corollary shots that we recorded the morning before the event, with impressive shots of the points of greatest interest along the way. In the past, for example, among other curiosities,

we described the English cemetery from the Second World War, the San Siro mound created with the rubble of houses destroyed in that war, and much more.

“This year we decided to look for some anecdotes and places not too well known along the way, as well as more ‘institutional’ sites, such as the Arch of Peace, La Scala, the Castello Sforzesco, and described Piazza Gae Aulenti, as well as the Duomo and its statues,” he concludes.

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The moving cameras were busy for over six hours, until all the runners had finished

Tour de force: Discovery Sports’ Guy Voisin discusses the emergence of women’s cycling

Discovery Sports will bring more women’s cycling to TV viewers than any other broadcaster in the world this year having added new rights in territories outside its Europe-wide offering, including the inaugural and much anticipated Tour de France Femmes.

This increased focus on women’s cycling is no accident, it’s been several years in the making, as Discovery Sports director of cycling Guy Voisin told SVG Europe.

Where are we with women’s cycling, in general, but also on TV? With the Tour de France Femmes starting this year, have we reached a tipping point?

I think it’s over the edge. When I came in 2019 to take over the pillar of cycling at Discovery, the first thing I did was look at the calendar while looking at my budgets, and ask: ‘Where are all the women’s races?’ Then, I had long conversations with my rights guys. We actively went out to buy them.

Did you get strong support for this initiative from within Discovery?

We’ve taken a real step forward here and the company has shown a real commitment to women’s cycling, both through the breadth of coverage and stories we share across our platforms, as well as the new live rights we have secured — the Tour de France Femmes and Paris-Roubaix Femmes to name only two.

Beyond the rights themselves, it’s important to us that we give equal treatment to the presentation of all our events.

This is why it’s particularly exciting to be showcasing the Tour de France Femmes from the award-winning Cube studio, just like we plan for the Tour de France.

What have you been doing with women’s cycling up to now?

In our weekly show, we actively went out and covered women’s cycling, and women’s cycling stories, which are so freaking interesting because you’ve got doctors, nurses, concert pianists. There were women who were leaving racing during COVID to go into the COVID wards to help. They just had these great stories. It was really easy to get all the producers and all the crew aligned [after that]. Now it’s just become like business as usual. It’s great racing and they’re incredible cyclists and incredible stars of the sport.

Does the way you cover the races change if it’s a women’s competition?

We do cover them differently, but not technically. Production-wise, we cover them the same, but we cover them differently in the storytelling because there are a lot of stories that haven’t been told on the women’s side that have been told a million times on the men’s side. With the Tour de France Femmes, which is a new one, we have the responsibility of creating what the men’s tour had for a hundred years already. The women’s tour had a failed tour in the 80s, which was a great tour, publicly, super wellliked. Then, it was let go by the producers. This tour, we have the responsibility of creating that history so that it makes it impossible for the production of it to let it go.

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Tour de France Femmes
FIRST PUBLISHED 28 MARCH 2022 Discovery Sports will bring more women’s cycling to TV viewers than any other broadcaster in the world this year

Does Discovery Sport have a part to play in its potential success, particularly with the scheduling?

We’re by far the biggest cycling broadcaster in the world. We have to play our role in making sure that we make it a huge space for the women’s tour and for all women’s racing. We learnt something during production with the Flanders Classics: the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Gent-Wevelgem.

After chatting with them, and experimenting with them, we discovered that if we start the women’s race in between [the men’s race] and finish it an hour later, I can cut straight from the men’s live race to the women’s live race. We don’t do any podiums or anything, direct hit: the viewership goes crazy! The viewership stays there. If I hit that peak, when the guys cross over at 1.8 million or 2 million, and it goes to the women’s, I will retain those viewers on the women’s race. This is super important to give that visibility to that race. If you can get that peak and hook them in, they stay longer. And that last hour of the women’s race actually gets better viewership sometimes than the last hour of the men’s race.

There is a common misconception among the public that men watch men’s sports and women watch women’s sport, which is generally not the case. The demographics are often the same, just the audience size differs. Is that the same with cycling?

We don’t ever think we’re broadcasting the women or we’re broadcasting the men. That’s a 1990s way of thinking. I guess some people do it in other [genres] but in sport, you’re broadcasting to sports fans and cycling sports fans are super knowledgeable. They really know their sport, they love their sport. They spend hours talking about their sport on [social media]. I don’t see a difference, honestly, in our viewership. It’s heavily viewed by men still as a sport, but they watch both men’s and women’s racing.

How about the pundits? Are they happy to analyse both?

Not always. The professional women who retire and want to participate or work with us, such as Iris Slappendel, she’s very honest. She gives us really insightful opinions. I asked her to do the men’s racing and she just said,‘No, I don’t know it. I don’t know them and I can’t commentate on them.’ The same with Bradley Wiggins. We asked him if he would do Brad on a Bike [during a women’s race] last year. He said,‘I’d love to, but I’d be horrible at it. I don’t know how they race. I don’t know them and it would be unfair to do it.’

Cycling is a data-heavy sport but you’ve got very little women’s data. How do you overcome that? Well, we’re going to have to dig into the rest of the world tour events and work with the cycling teams themselves. We have some blockers in the men’s with data, because it’s a very protected asset by certain teams. With the women’s

events, we have a closer relationship with the teams so we can work with them directly. On the Tour de France Femmes we’ll definitely do data and there will be freedom to do it because they won’t be working with the same restrictions.

In summary, what does success look like for you with women’s cycling on Discovery?

Just lifting the level of the sport itself. I mean, yes, as a broadcaster, I want to get ratings. I want to make sure that we’re offering the entire package. My overall goal has always been to be the number one destination of cycling. Overall, men’s, women’s, everything and all verticals of cycling, mountain bike, BMX, you name it, in as many territories as possible, so GCN’s a big key for us there. In women’s cycling, if we grow the sport, it’s kind of one of those things, yes, the rights become more expensive for us because we don’t own them all. At the same time, our viewership grows and our subs grow on our digital platforms. That makes the races more valuable, hence the riders are getting better pay, better prize money, better conditions. It sounds like we’re being really nice about it, but it’s just ridiculously good business. Everybody wins.

That desire to succeed also takes the form of the ‘Home of Women’s Cycling’ campaign, doesn’t it? This is an initiative created to raise awareness of lower salaries and gender bias. Why is this important for you and for Discovery?

[The question is] how do we relate cycling into the community? You want to get to the men, you want to get to the women, the girls, the boys. The goal is basically, again, it’s not charity or great will, it’s just good business. I’m trying to ensure that I have a community that’s going to listen to and watch the cycling races in 10 years. I want to bring up people going, ‘I’m going to watch cycling. It’s going to be on GCN and Eurosport and Discovery Plus’.

The Cube will be used for cycling presentation for the first time this year. How did that decision come about and how are you going to use it for cycling?

It has been a rather rapid decision. We said, ‘Okay, tennis, Wimbledon, won’t be in the Cube this year’. I was like,‘Well, hey, July, I’ve got the whole month!’ I’ve got the Tour de France, then the Tour de France Femmes right after, can we get it? We threw around budgets and played around with it. Yes, we got it. It’s going to be readjusted into the cycling vertical. We’re throwing around ideas now about what we want to do but I see group profiles, maybe a little more interactivity.

We’d like to do what we were doing on the touchscreen before on our analysis; we’d like to do it within The Cube. We have talked about 3D versions of certain climbs too. We gave the engineers a list of what we’d like to do. Then they ran off and they’re going to come back with what we can get done on time.

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 125 svgeurope updateTour de France Femmes
“There are a lot of stories that haven’t been told on the women’s side that have been told a million times on the men’s side”
GUY VOISIN, DISCOVERY SPORTS
Voisin: ‘We don’t ever think we’re broadcasting the women or we’re broadcasting the men. That’s a 1990s way of thinking’

Crowds and crew return to the Crucible for the World Snooker Championship

For the past two years, an important element of the World Snooker Championship has been largely absent: fans. Spectators were almost completely shut out in 2020, with just 300 allowed to watch the last two days of action, and in 2021 the return of spectators was staggered as the tournament progressed.

This year, there has been a full return of snooker fans to the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, UK, for the duration of the event. Alongside fans, production teams have also returned, with IMG opting to move away from remote production for this year’s tournament, which concludes on 2 May.

IMG executive producer Alison Witkover says viewers are likely to appreciate the return to normality. She says:

“It now feels like we are able to get backstage and behind the scenes more than we have been able to do for the past two years, which will make a difference for viewers — and we hope that the TV audience will feel the tension and atmosphere as we build-up to the Crucible Final.”

Complete coverage

Snooker fans around the world will be able to tune into the IMG Productions Scotland-produced feed, with the production firm responsible for the UK Championships,

the Masters and the World Championships. IMG provides the two-table match coverage which is sent out around the world plus all the BBC’s produced coverage, including its presentation, which is fronted by Hazel Irvine.

Across Europe, the tournament is streaming via discovery+ and available via Eurosport, which manages its own presentation. This year, Radzi Chinyanganya is presenting World Championships coverage for the first time after he was named as the broadcaster’s host for all three of snooker’s triple crown events. Discovery says it has also introduced more touchscreen analysis than before, with Ronnie O’Sullivan set to join pundit Jimmy White, subject to his playing schedule (O’Sullivan was leading his quarter-final match at the time of publication).

Meanwhile, DAZN (Canada, US, Brazil), Rigour (China), Now TV (Hong Kong) and Sky Sports (New Zealand) are among those airing the tournament, with tournament promoter Matchroom also showing the action via its matchroom.live online player.

For Witkover and the IMG team, planning began before the season started, with feature content for the whole season filmed from October onwards. Additional content was produced before and throughout the World Championship, but rigging for the tournament only started

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World Snooker Championship Some 21 cameras are being used for coverage of the two tables this year

about a week before the first match took place. And this year, that has meant a shift away from remote production.

“We’re more or less back to how we produced the coverage in 2019,” says Witkover, who has worked on the World Snooker Championships since 1998.

“We did some investigation and analysis into whether remote production was the best route forward, having done it in 2020, when our studio was remote and we had very minimal presence on site. That isn’t really the way we wanted to continue — we wanted our main presentation on site so that we have access to the players and can bring the unique Crucible atmosphere to life.

Staying close

The decision to base staff on-site was made after careful consideration by IMG’s production executive.

“We did a lot of Albert [Bafta-led sustainability initiative] calculations and because it’s a long event and everyone comes and stays put for the 17 days, the sustainability side of it didn’t come into play so much because everyone is able to walk into work rather than driving in [to a remote production centre]. We also chose hotels that use certified green energy providers to minimise our carbon footprint. Because we are on site and we stay fairly locally, we have more flexibility with crew scheduling, which is more efficient than when we produced the coverage remotely.”

IMG is working with production services and outside broadcast firm NEP, which is providing the facilities for the host coverage as well as the BBC presentation, producing 168 hours of TV coverage for the BBC and even more for the world feed coverage.

NEP has five OB units on site for the event, with Venus used for table 1 match coverage, Mercury for table 2 match coverage, executive producers and loggers, Albiorix for BBC presentation, Voyager 1 providing four edit stations and X-Stream used for one edit position plus a production management office.

The main BBC Studio is located in the Winter Gardens, which is approximately 500 metres from the Crucible Theatre. To connect the two sites, NEP has installed permanent fibres through the ducts that run through Tudor Square which separates the two locations. NEP Connect is providing distribution for IMG, BBC and the world feed.

Some 21 cameras are being used for coverage of the two tables, including minicams for the table pockets and PTZs for comm cams, overhead and beauty shots. After 12 days, when the tournament enters the latter stages and the second table has finished, some cameras will be relocated to provide shots of dressing rooms or backstage action.

Last week, former world number one Neil Robertson bemoaned the “very cramped” conditions at the Crucible, and the lack of space is an issue for the production team as well as the players.

“We are always looking at new technology, but it is difficult — anyone who has been to the Crucible will know it is a very small venue and space is really tight so putting in extra cameras for example is really difficult, and everything has to be virtually silent because they play in such quiet conditions,” says Witkover.“That is why we are going down the analysis route to enhance things.

“We have a new graphics provider this year and have added a lot more stats. Former World Champion Shaun Murphy has joined our commentary team and we have some flexibility with our lineup so our hope is that players may join us once they are no longer in the tournament and this brings even more insight into the coverage,” says Witkover.

“Traditionally, during the match, snooker has presented GFX on just camera 1, but with IMG and approval from BBC Sport, we were able to take that brave step to have GFX available on every camera shot which has enabled us to put stats in at any time in the match,” says Nev Appleton, director and co-founder of graphics provider Moov, which developed bespoke software for the on-site logging of match statistics.

Added analysis

This year, a third telestrator has also been added to enable more analysis from players. This is in addition to the two telestrators on the tables. “We feel we can get more value out of our analysis by giving the experts the tools to explain the intricacies of the sport more clearly,” says Witkover.“A simple line or circle around a ball can really help and we’re constantly reviewing and adding tools to the telestration application to enhance this even further.”

Moov provided a tablet for use by the pundits.

“The team can inject that into the live coverage and presentation sections between matches,” adds Appleton.

“It looks like Shaun Murphy and Steve Davis have been doing it for years; the process is really refined, and the pundits have provided some great analysis to explain to both knowledgeable viewers and new snooker fans what is going on with particular shots.”

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 127 svgeurope updateWorld Snooker Championship
“Traditionally, during the match, snooker has presented GFX on just camera 1, but we were able to take that brave step to have GFX available on every camera shot which has enabled us to put stats in at any time in the match”
NEV APPLETON, MOOV
As the Crucible is a small venue putting in extra cameras is a challenge

Getting the balance right: The inside track on the eSkootr Championship

The first stage of the new eSkootr Championship (eSC) takes place in London on Saturday (14 May), which is a fitting location given that co-founder Khalil Beschir came up with the concept while in the city.“Someone arrived at a meeting in London and said they just saw two people on scooters racing each other, and something in my head just clicked,” he says. “I was sitting next to my partner [eSC co-founder and chief executive] Hrag Sarkissian, and I said, ‘why don’t we do a racing scooter?’ He thought I was joking, but it grew from there.”

That idea has now evolved to a six-stage championship, with races in London, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain and the US. In each location, 30 riders from 10 teams backed by the likes of F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg and former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will race against each other in a series of short heats.

The riders, who are from a variety of sporting disciplines such as speed skating, BMX biking and snowboarding, will race specially designed electric scooters that can reach speeds of over 60mph, on inner-city circuits.

Sharon Fuller, ex-global head of central content creation for Red Bull and a former BBC Sport exec, is responsible for the creation of all eSC content. Her remit also includes overseeing distribution, media partnerships and production partners, including outside broadcast and production services provider NEP and production firm Boombox.

Fuller says that one of the things she has most enjoyed about her role at eSC is the “joint vision” of the

organisation. “What can happen [when you work on sporting events], is that as a content person you are asked, ‘here is an event, can you cover it?’ But with eSC, I have been involved in much wider conversations from a very

Being involved in the start has allowed Fuller to ensure that content and broadcast plans were considered from the start and as the sport was developed. The placement of cameras on the scooters is a prime example of this, with the fittings and cabling integrated into the design of the scooters rather than retrofitted.

“We have a fully integrated content and sport plan,” says Fuller.“We’re as much of a tech business as we are a sport, and we have the unique opportunity to consider the tech, sport and the content all together. I’m not sure that anyone else has done that in the same way as us.”

NEP was selected to provide broadcast and technical services, and Fuller says eSC has pushed them to do things they haven’t done before, for example with regards to the onboard cameras.“That’s why they’re such a great partner, because we know we can do that,” she says.

Using the BSI miniTX UHD for onboard coverage, up to six scooters at one time will have up to three live pictures each during each race, including a forward, rear and rider-facing HD Marshall Minicam. An onboard mic will provide feedback from the riders, plus noise from the scooters.

With Fuller opting for a “belt and braces” approach for the first event in London and a lack of fibre at the venue of the second stage in Switzerland, the first two races won’t be remotely produced.

That means in London, NEP’s Caspian and Mercury trucks will support the outside broadcast, with NEP Connect sending a dual dish truck transmitting five feeds, four in a MUX. These will be received by the Media City UK operations centre and passed on via the Anylive network to NEP Oslo for Mediabank and to NEP’s London production centre at Gray’s Inn Road.

There will be a shift to remote production for the rest of the season, in keeping with eSC’s commitment to sustainability and the constraints of racing in city centre locations.

Electrik City

Boombox has created content across several Olympic Sports and X Games, as well as with esport leagues and Red Bull. It was selected following a tender process, but despite its list of credits the choice of the Canada-based company for production of live coverage and highlights may have surprised some, says Fuller.

“We wanted to look at production from a completely different perspective. What we didn’t want was another slightly different version of motorsport. We had to start with a totally blank sheet of paper, and that’s where the idea for the Electrik City came from.”

128 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
eSkootr Championship Specially designed electric scooters can reach speeds of over 60mph

SVG WellbeingEurope Fund

Providing financial aid for people working in European sports broadcasting and production who require mental health support, therapy or counselling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fund, underwritten by Sony Professional Solutions Europe, provides up to €400 per person towards the cost of psychological wellbeing services.

To apply for assistance please visit www.svgeuropefund.org for more information. The applicant’s name and identity will remain private throughout the process and personal information will only be made available to the person on the Wellbeing Fund team who receives the application and the Fund manager who will contact the applicant for Fund distribution processing.

“The Fund is a response to the deepening COVID-19 pandemic which is causing emotional strain for those who are still unable to work, those who have been made redundant, or those who simply cannot work because an underlying condition makes them vulnerable to serious complications if they fall ill with COVID-19. We hope that it can help as many people within our community who need it

Ken Kerschbaumer, editorial director and SVG Europe Sports Broadcasting Fund director
www.svgeuropefund.org

“We wanted to look at production from a completely different perspective. What we didn’t want was another slightly different version of motorsport”

Electrik City is the name given to the Unreal Enginegenerated environment that provides a setting for presenters and guests. However, it is intended to be more than just a recreation of a regular studio setting. Fuller describes it as “a cross between gaming and a virtual environment”.

For Boombox lead producer Andy Fox, Electrik City is arguably eSC’s biggest innovation and “an imagination of what a futuristic, sustainable and micro-mobilitydriven city may look like that we can utilise as a broadcast environment”.

He says: “We can use this virtual environment in the same way as a regular studio if we need, but it is also so much more than that. Not only can we add in presenters from anywhere in the world, but it also provides opportunities for branding and exposure and will help us to blur the boundaries between real life racing and esports. It’s really breaking new ground.”

Establishing the narrative

With responsibility for live race coverage as well as highlights packages for broadcasters such as the BBC, Fox Sports Australia and MBC Action, Fox’s task is to get viewers up to speed on the eSC values, the racing format and the scooters. But they also need to “create heroes”, he says.

“All of the racers come from different sporting backgrounds, and part of my job is to get these personalities across and follow them through into the racing. A lot of our content for the first race is an eSC 101 lesson, but we also need to make sure that we establish the racer’s backgrounds and stories with viewers.”

Fuller says that eSC has adopted a strategic approach to the types of content Boombox is producing, with Little Dot Studios also selected to produce content specifically for social media.

“What we’ve tried to do is create differentiated editorial products that give us the opportunity to reach a wider

audience,” says Fuller.

“We will produce a live feed on a Saturday, which is intended to be an interactive live stream for streaming platforms. We’re also producing a 90-minute show, which is specifically designed for more traditional broadcasters who aren’t necessarily interested in the live race. And we have a 52-minute highlight show which is also a ‘follow doc’, with highlights in.”

ESC will be also be piloting a 9:16 live stream.“We’re in the world of TikTok, and if the live stream works in the same way as other content people engage with on those platforms, they are more likely to stick with it,” says Fuller. To support this, at NEP’s Gray’s Inn Road facility, there will be a live pan and scan production, changing 16:9 content into a 9:16 aspect ratio.

“When viewers turn their phones around, they will get the full broadcast feed in landscape, but we’re going to have a bespoke 9:16 feed, and we will have somebody directing the window to make sure that it matches the action,” says Fuller.

A raft of broadcasters has been announced by eSC over the past few weeks, with races to be shown live by the likes of BBC via its iPlayer service, DAZN and MBC Action to homes across the Middle East and North Africa region.

A live stream will also be available via eSC’s own OTT platform, which has been built by Ostmodern. Live Like is powering a chatbot in the OTT platform for polls and quizzes. “There’s a lot of integrated stuff that we’re doing with all the data that we have in the back end,” Fuller adds. “Ultimately, it’s Al Kamel race data that other series or championships might have, but we’ve put in F1 levels of data into the scooters, plus biometric data from the riders, and we’ve thought about the potential applications through the whole system.”

Inclusive approach

ESC has adopted a sustainable and inclusive approach, not only in terms of its coverage but also the structure of the championship. A minimum wage combined with a salary cap for riders is intended to make the sport both accessible for riders and sustainable for teams, while the scooters –apart from a carbon fibre chassis – are built from natural materials. And races will not be split according to gender, with male and female riders instead racing together.

However, Fuller is candid in her assessment that such a balance has been tricky to replicate across the entire production team.

“Our team needs to represent the audience that we want to attract,” says Fuller. “Our riders come from a variety of different backgrounds, and they see them reflected in the team behind the scenes at eSC. Having said that, probably the one area which is not living up to that is our broadcast engineering team because there just isn’t enough diversity in that area. We will proactively do something about that, together with NEP.”

130 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update eSkootr Championship
Onboard cameras and mics ensure viewers are fully immersed in the coverage
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Aerial Camera Systems (ACS)

“Over two years in the planning, ACS successfully supplied a wide range of specialist cameras for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 on behalf of host broadcaster Sunset+Vine,” says Matt Coyde, sales director, Aerial Camera Systems. “Services included the provision and co-ordination of three live filming helicopters and a 2D wirecam for the main stadium including UHD HDR coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, railcam systems with stabilised gimbals for athletics, swimming and gymnastics, and vertical track systems for athletics and hockey.

ACS SmartHead robotic camera channels also featured widely with over 20 systems deployed across multiple venues along with a range of specialist minicam systems from Polecam to HFR systems. ACS was also supported in the aquatics by NEP Australia with the supply of the Mobycam U/W rail system, U/W remotes and Starting Block minicams.

2022 SPONSOR UPDATE

“Finally, in conjunction with the event organisers, extensive efforts were made to reduce carbon footprints through measures such as the use of public transport, sustainable diesel fuel, carbon offsetting for the helicopter operation, and more.”

ACS was also the exclusive specialist camera provider to ETP/EMG for the 150th Open at St Andrews.

“The biggest golf event in the calendar,

ACS was proud to be involved in this widely acclaimed live coverage, which included the Celebration of Champions held before the tournament — even the weather was kind!” says Coyde. “New innovations included a wirecam covering multiple holes, a 75m railcam on the 17th green and a HFR bunker minicam. This was in addition to the pre-event helicopter and UAV aerials, a wide range of robotic systems (SmartHead), behind the tee railcams and HD minicams. All facilities were installed, maintained and operated by a 20+ experienced technical crew.”

Some of ACS’ other highlights this year include Beijing 2022, UK football, ITV Racing, Wimbledon, the Women’s Euros and the Munich European Championships.

“We have recently secured and renewed a number of sporting contracts both externally and through [EMG],” says Coyde. “Our focus will very much be on the successful delivery of these, as well as a continued focus on expanding our UHD/HDR capability and growing our team with 2024 major events in mind.”

Live

STUART COLES CCO

“The past 12 months have thankfully brought back a sense of normality to the sporting calendar, allowing us to press ahead with a number of exciting business opportunities that had to be temporarily put on hold during the pandemic,” says Stuart Coles, CCO, AE Live.

past year was the opening of a new subsidiary office in the US, further expanding AE Live’s global footprint.

“We have an exciting pipeline of opportunities that we are working towards and have also made some key hires in the region with Paul Jamieson [VP, creative] and Matt Celli [GM, North America] leading our endeavours and building out a local team,” says Coles. “We have also expanded the size of our in-house creative agency Ignite, with the appointment of Andrew Olley as creative director for the newly formed Ignite UK office. With offices now located in the US, UK and New Zealand, we can better service clients from a geographical perspective, while at the same time being able to harness the expertise from our global pool of creative talent.”

2022 also marks AE Live’s 30th anniversary within the broadcast industry. “We are grateful to have been able to recently take time to celebrate this landmark by hosting an event during this year’s IBC, which saw a number of our long-standing clients, technology partners and staff in attendance,” notes Coles.

“In terms of major contract wins we were delighted to secure the Premier League Productions contract from the start of the 2022/2023 season,” he continues. “This sees us deliver a range of broadcast and virtual studio solutions for its coverage of all 380 Premier League matches per season and magazine programming for rights holders outside of the UK. We have also retained the BBC Sport Football contract where we will again provide studio as well as OB graphic services for its Premier League, FA Cup and international football coverage.”

Currently gearing up to an extremely busy period at the end of this year, AE Live will undertake its biggest project to date with a huge presence of over 50 staff in Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, providing a broad range of host broadcast and unilateral graphic services for multiple clients.

132 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope Sponsor Update
AE
One
of the primary company updates over the
As a packed year of sport draws to a close, Michael Burns talks to SVG Europe’s Platinum, Gold and Bronze sponsors about their recent projects, industry trends – including cloud, IP, remote production and sustainability – and their plans for the future.
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AJA Video Systems/Phosphor

Since September 2021, leading broadcast technology company Quidich, live event production company BC Live Productions, Korean Broadcasting System and Fox Sports have showcased AJA technology applications in live sport environments.

management and HDR/SDR/WCG conversion needs in live sports production, with 12G-SDI and HDMI 2.0 for single wire 4K/UltraHD HDR up to 4:2:2 10-bit 60p or 4:4:4 12-bit 30p with a unique low-latency colour processing pipeline,” says Button. “The device’s clean and predictable round tripping between HDR and SDR for various pipelines, including slow motion and other workflows, elicited very positive reactions at the show.”

technological innovations developed to bring more inclusive experiences for fans in multiple locations. For example, Alibaba introduced Cloud ME, a cloud-powered realistic projection that facilitates remote social interactions. The technology defies distances by enabling people to meet and converse with each other’s lifesized, true-to-life persona projections.”

“Quidich demonstrated how it’s using AJA’s FS-HDR real-time universal converter and frame synchroniser as a colour correction solution for matching its BuggyQam camera output with broadcast system cameras to ensure a consistent look for cricket match productions,” says Bryce Button, director of product marketing, AJA Video Systems. “BC Live showcased the versatility of tools like AJA Fido converters, Kumo SDI routers and Ki Pro Ultra Plus recorders in esports productions. To bolster monitoring and return signal configuration for the transmission of live sporting events, KBS established a workflow comprising a Bridge Live, while Fox Sports leveraged the FS-HDR to recreate the colour, warmth, and feel of Field of Dreams for a special MLB broadcast.

“In the pursuit of richer, more interactive fan experiences, broadcasters and sports leagues have rapidly embraced 8K, 4K, HDR, AR and VR, and real-time data-driven tools in live sports production,” continues Button. “While these technologies are driving innovation, they’re also introducing production complexities as professionals juggle a larger volume of formats, protocols and technologies than ever before. To help alleviate the associated bottlenecks, AJA released several products and updates in 2022 that make it simpler and more cost-efficient to capture and deliver compelling content to fans in and outside of the stadium.”

Most recently, AJA and its European representative Phosphor launched ColorBox — a portable, low-latency in-line HDR/SDR algorithmic and LUT colour transform device — at IBC2022.

“ColorBox supports a wide range of look

Earlier this year, AJA debuted Helo Plus. “With dual encoders and built-in graphics capabilities, the compact H.264 streaming and recording device arrived as more professional and recreational leagues and high schools and universities are building out their streaming and recording workflows — whether to stream live matches to fans off-site or to capture match footage for post-game performance analysis,” observes Button.

Alibaba Cloud

“In an effort to bolster the International Olympic Committee’s digitalisation efforts, Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 migrated its core games technology services to Alibaba Cloud. The migration occurred against the backdrop of the Covid pandemic, in order to create a safer, more efficient, sustainable and inclusive experience for participants and audiences from around the world,” says Raymond Ma, general manager of Europe, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.

“In collaboration with Olympic Broadcasting Services, Alibaba’s cloud technologies were utilised further during Beijing 2022, to increase broadcasting efficiency while bolstering the coverage of the Games through more innovative and inclusive viewing experiences for global sports fans. For the first time during the Olympic Winter Games, rights-holding broadcasters [RHBs] could receive live footage through the public cloud infrastructure — a more agile option with only a fraction of the cost compared to other transmission methods.”

OBS also leveraged multi-camera replay videos with Alibaba. “[This provided] replays of competition highlights for curling and speed skating within seconds, bringing engaging and dynamic viewing experiences to audiences around the world via RHBs on the cloud,” says Ma. “Beijing 2022 also showcased a series of

In addition, Alibaba unveiled Dong Dong, a 22-year-old virtual influencer. “Originating from Beijing, Dong Dong was created to interact with fans globally, sharing fun and informative Olympic-related facts,” Ma adds. “Speaking in a natural-sounding human voice, she can convey a range of emotions. This has proven to be particularly efficient for engaging with the younger audience. From 4-20 February, Dong Dong’s livestreaming was viewed by more than 2 million viewers, with a fan base of more than 100,000.”

Alibaba Cloud also announced the introduction of new video solutions ApsaraVideo Live and ApsaraVideo VOD to support customers, including sports broadcasters in Europe, with live broadcast services and holistic video production and management tasks.

“On 26 March, BT Sport, working with Appear for the provision of 8K contribution encoders and decoders, successfully delivered the UK’s first live 8K broadcast of a top-tier sporting event into the home,” says Thomas Bostrøm Jørgensen, CEO, Appear. “The Saracens vs Bristol Bears Gallagher Premiership rugby match was produced entirely remotely and without a significant on-site presence, proving the durability and sustainability credentials of BT Sport’s approach to technical innovation. Appear is redefining video contribution with the X Platform; the compact, robust and powerefficient solution empowered BT Sport with the ultimate in flexible technology.”

134 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope Sponsor Update
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“In September we also revealed our latencybusting OTT collaboration with Deutsche Telekom,” he adds. “After three years of implementation, product development and consultation, Deutsche Telekom has a fully functioning OTT value chain already in production using a channel from a well-known German broadcaster bouquet for validation and testing.

carrying important events from around the world — from the Super Bowl, the Masters and even Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral,” says Arista vice president, business development/alliances/ wi-fi/media & entertainment, Ed Chapman. “Broadcast partners have entrusted Arista so much with their switching fabric needs that Arista is the reference switch fabric at broadcast industry interoperability events.

“Over 85 Arista switches and 10 WiFi APs are being used by Game Creek Video during the 2022/2023 NFL Thursday Night Football season,” Chapman continues.

show. How cool would it be to move your switch fabric around, constantly rewiring it, without the need for a broadcast engineer to make a single configuration change? We are working on implementing some of these features using open standard IEEE and IETF networking protocols.”

Ateme

RÉMI BEAUDOUIN

CSO

“Combining the established benefits of OTT with the live performance of cable and satellite will be crucial in the coming years. Latency is vital to consumer enjoyment of sports content. If you’re watching a live match, the last thing you want is to hear your neighbour celebrating a goal seconds before you get to see the action!”

The move to IP and cloud for media processing and transport has always been an area of investment for the company.

“We are focused on improving our products and services to meet this need,” says Bostrøm Jørgensen. “However, despite the move to more cloud- and software-based technologies, there is still a strong demand for agile, efficient, high-density, high-performance, on-premise solutions like the X Platform and we intend to maintain our position as a world-leading provider of media delivery solutions for contribution solutions and sports applications.

“Environmental impact and sustainability practices are starting to play a much larger role in the consideration of sports production workflows as we face the current energy crisis and the global threat of climate change. At Appear, we have taken a leadership position in offering energy-efficient solutions that address the need for greener credentials, but also keep the total cost of ownership at the lowest possible levels.”

“Also, by using Arista CloudVision’s ZTPaaS [Zero Touch Provisioning as a Service], Game Creek was able to ‘hands-off deploy’ this large network given the accelerated time schedules.”

As well as ZTPaaS, product highlights for the year include the company’s Arista MCS (Media Control Service) software control and abstraction framework which interfaces between any vendor’s broadcast control software and an Arista switching fabric. Meanwhile, true native 400G Ethernet (400Gbps x 1) interfaces have allowed for more efficient infrastructure builds, better throughput utilisation, increasing capacity for the densest of 4K/8K workflows and beyond.

“PTP is a requirement in SMPTE 2110 and Arista has led the way in PTP and IP multicast scale after our early success over a decade ago in the high frequency trading and financial markets,” says Chapman. “Many broadcast engineers are looking for more automation, more visibility, more telemetry and more security,” he continues. “In addition to the wealth of information already available in our switch fabric operating system and Arista CloudVision, we look forward to further developing across all these value propositions with further enhancements to CloudVision (and NMOS integrations), our DANZ monitoring fabric, and our AI-based Arista Network Detection & Response portfolio.

“We have had an extremely busy 12 months with regards to both testing and deploying new technologies in sports,” says Rémi Beaudouin, CSO, Ateme. “For example, at the French Open, we were involved — alongside other select companies and broadcaster France Télévisions — in exploring the potential of new 5G-enabled broadcast and multicast distribution modes.

“Arista is the backbone of many SMPTE 2110 infrastructures

“In addition, we’ve identified a need with many of our event productions customers to allow for daily — or even hourly — variability in deployment of assets as a live production dictates. Imagine a set of gear needing to be moved from one end of a golf course to another side of the golf course for a post-production

“For the broadcast mode of 5G, the aim was to assess the ability to broadcast France Télévisions’ channels live with good geographical coverage and a ‘quality guarantee’ — regardless of the number of users connected at the same time on the same coverage area of the transmitter. Then, for the multicast mode of 5G that would allow an optimised broadcast of the live channels, we tested several key elements, including the new VVC codec — which can significantly reduce the required bitrate without affecting quality — and low latency DASH streaming.

“Another major highlight was our involvement in the live streaming of the UEFA Champions League Final on 28 May. OTT platform Tivify utilised Ateme’s Titan transcoding solutions, using the CMAF features within Titan to live-stream a football match at a latency matching broadcast levels.”

In product terms, Ateme’s most important development of the past 12 months was the launch of its 5G streaming solution in June; it has already been used in several high-profile events, including the Eurovision Song Contest.

Specified by the 5G Vista consortium for an in-stadium project in the UK, it allows for enhanced experiences, such as viewing the

136 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope Sponsor Update
Arista
ED CHAPMAN VICE PRESIDENT, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT/ALLIANCES/WI-FI/MEDIA
&
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game live in multiple angles and re-viewing the most important moments on near-live channels.

“From an events perspective, I would also pinpoint our involvement in a series of lowlatency deployments, including the Tivify project and the use by Canal+ of our Just-InTime packager to launch one of the world’s first deployments of OTT low-latency streaming on AppleTV 4K, iPhone and iPad devices,” says Beaudouin.

One of the areas Ateme is focused on is audience-aware streaming, which can increase QoE while simultaneously reducing the carbon emission of streaming; it works by dynamically connecting the CDN data with the encoder.

“In one of our labs’ use case examples, it was possible to achieve a 43% total bitrate reduction. This paves the way for a lower total cost of ownership, a greener service, and an optimised viewing experience,” says Beaudouin.

Audio-Technica

“Audio-Technica has again been closely involved with the broadcast audio of MotoGP, the Grand Prix motorcycle racing championship, as the official microphone services solution provider to Dorna Sport, the commercial rights holder of the series,” says Rod Thomaz, project manager MotoGP at AudioTechnica Europe. “It’s been another incredibly exciting, sometimes challenging season that has seen several developments in terms of the way we help to deliver an immersive, involving experience to a global audience.”

“Dorna is constantly looking to improve and refine the audio content of the MotoGP broadcasts, so it’s a case of constantly pushing ourselves and the technology during the season — sometimes even making changes on race days themselves. It’s a wonderful sport to be part of.”

Thomaz feels one of the most significant developments in sports broadcasting in general is the emergence of immersive audio as a key component in the broadcast package. “As with live events, concerts and fixed installation audio, audiences are demanding more than simple stereo or even 5.1 audio these days,” he adds. “We’ve been working with Dorna on the development of our new 8.0 microphone for three seasons and it’s now being employed at the podium, parc fermé, pit lane and key positions around the racetrack. As audiences expect and demand a more encompassing audio experience in their listening environments the need for real-time live immersive mixing is only going to increase — so it’s been great to have the opportunity to develop the 8.0 mic in the heat of the action, in demanding real-world situations.”

Blackbird

“Blackbird is now being used by even more top-tier sports organisations, including FIFA, NCSA and Eurovision Sport, for hyper-efficient cloud-native video production,” says chief marketing officer, Adrian Lambert.

“As well as winning new sports clients, we’ve also hired top new talent to rapidly evolve Blackbird for the creator economy. They include appointing Sumit Rai as chief product officer, Mo Volans as SVP product marketing, and Morgan Henry as VP of engineering.

In the summer, Blackbird released a sustainability study entitled Decarbonizing Video Production, produced in collaboration with environmental consultancy Green Element.

It highlighted that while considerable gains have been made across the media industry due to the rise of remote production and the adoption of cloud-based solutions, broadcasters can go much further and faster by integrating authentically sustainable, native technologies specifically optimised for cloud workflows. Key findings from the paper include that in 2020, 480 billion hours of live video streaming led to sea ice loss the size of Scotland. And, while 90% of editors are using the cloud, 65% are inefficiently and needlessly moving large files around.

In September, Blackbird released Speed Testing Video Editing Platforms, a study that invited a select group of independent professional sports video editors to compare the speeds of its browser-based pro editing platform with traditional on-premise non-linear editors (NLEs). Completing three popular workflows of varying complexity for the creation and distribution of live and file-based content, the results found that Blackbird was between 1.8 and 4 times faster than the NLEs tested.

Blackmagic Design

“Earlier this year, we launched DaVinci Resolve 18, which included a major new cloud collaboration update allowing multiple users to work simultaneously on the same project, at the same timeline, anywhere in the world,” says Blackmagic Design EMEA channel marketing director Simon Westland. “DaVinci Resolve 18 supports the Blackmagic Cloud for hosting and sharing projects, as well as

“Audio is increasingly important to sports broadcasters, who are fully aware of the role that great sound plays in placing viewers at the heart of the action,” Thomas continues. “So you’ll now find microphones covering everything from the intimacy of the riders’ boxes — full of technicians and mechanics — to onboard the bikes and in the pitlane. We’re looking to deliver every part of the story, not just the sound of motorcycles going past cameras.

“Blackbird has also won a number of top awards including the Queen’s Award for Enterprise and the SportsPro Best Tech Company of the Year and the NAB Show Product of the Year.”

“We also launched a new family of ATEM Constellation HD production switchers giving existing ATEM Mini users a professional

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 137 svgeuropeSponsor Update

upgrade path,” he continues. “We’ve seen tremendous demand for our small HDMI-based switchers, particularly within the broadcast and sports production community. More recently, we introduced the ATEM SDI, retaining all the ATEM Mini’s portability but adding more professional connectivity in the form of SDI.”

Blackmagic has also revealed the Ultimatte 12 real-time compositing processor range. “This was exciting news for anyone involved in mixed reality or virtual set production,” says Westland. “We’ve made Ultimatte technology accessible to more customers with our HD, UltraHD and 8K models.”

Westland says remote and virtual production are two of the biggest trends the company is currently observing. “Both are impacting the industry significantly,” he adds. “Having a production team in one region or country while filming in another is changing how sports production companies do business and enabling much more flexibility while reducing their environmental impact.

“Similarly, advances in LED panels and greenscreen technology, including our industry-leading Ultimatte hardware, enable those involved in sports production to deliver broadcast-quality content.”

“We haven’t seen the growth in all-IP environments that many companies have predicted, which is understandable to some extent,” Westland continues. “Many organisations refreshed their studios and server rooms during the pandemic, and the impact of ripping out and replacing them yet again for marginal gains is simply not feasible. Similarly, the industry also suffers from a lack of agreed standards in this area. Until common standards are ratified, studios will not take the risk with a very significant and expensive infrastructure change that could change in a matter of weeks or months.”

Brightcove

Active in more than 70 countries, Brightcove’s intelligent video platform enables media leaders

to stream and monetise content more reliably.

This year has seen the company’s Brightcove Marketplace, which formalises and evolves its technology partnership programme, thrive after its launch in late 2021.

According to Rajan Shah, VP of technology partners & integrations at Brightcove: “With the Brightcove Marketplace we are addressing the ever-evolving needs of our customers in their video execution journey. We are marrying the rich value of our platform with other leading technologies in the video ecosystem and facilitating a more meaningful engagement.”

Members include Magnifi, 3Play, VideoElephant Sport, StreamHub and many more.

2022 has been a busy year for the company with a whole host of new hires. Marc DeBevoise was named chief executive officer and board director having spent time at ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal and more; Trisha Styles was named chief people officer; and Dan Fruend joined from Oracle as chief revenue officer. In addition, former AMC exec David Beck took up the newly created position of chief strategy and corporate development officer.

Broadcast Solutions

RAINER KAMPE CTO

For the coverage of the African Cup of Nations, hosted by Cameroon in February 2022, German systems integrator Broadcast Solutions helped successfully deploy two VAR video operations room systems to service referees and their assistants. These were commissioned in partnership with the Confederation of African Football authorities in Germany.

developments at the company, such as meshLink wireless video transmission.

“meshLink represents the latest developments in RF technology on the one hand and breakthroughs in ultra-low latency UHD HEVC encoding on the other, now combined in one product,” says Rainer Kampe, CTO at Broadcast Solutions. “This is a true duplex IP-based wireless system allowing a wide range of functions during live broadcasts, like RCP and telemetry integration. Furthermore, intercom, return video, prompter and other functions can be integrated like in any other IP-based application.”

“Adding additional radios — we call them Nodes — the system creates a Mesh, a singlefrequency, highly scalable, self-forming, selfhealing wireless network,” continues Kampe. “Placing Nodes ‘on the fly’ allows ad-hoc transmissions from virtually any position. Signal routing is automatically and dynamically selected for optimal performance to deliver the best quality without compromising signal stability.”

Another new development is the hi human interface for OB vans and studios. “The first real intuitive control software for broadcasting and media technology, this serves as the perfect man-machine link, an assistant, that leads users to the complex process of workflow design and signal management in broadcast and media installations,” says Kampe. “Hi human interface is a vendor-independent system that integrates easily with many different devices. With thought through functionalities and ‘if-this-then-that’ logic it guides the users through the full process and gives advice with the best possible way to develop workflows and trigger actions.”

Kampe reveals the company is working on some large OB trucks for international broadcasters. “Additionally, we built an OB van for DMC, a new company on the map of sports production companies in the Nordic countries,” he adds. “A Sports Production Hub jointly used by DMC and Norwegian broadcast TV2 will be ready for the FIFA World Cup in December.”

Broadpeak

In August, the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan became a FIFAcertified VAR system user, recently gaining the approval with VAR systems delivered by Broadcast Solutions.

There have also been major product

According to Broadpeak’s vice president of business development Xavier Leclercq, OTT streamers today are leveraging smart

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networks in the ISP to scale their video delivery.

scale. Multicast technology drastically reduces the bandwidth consumed throughout the ISP networks and guarantees an exceptional QoE.”

for The One Show. Deploying the network at Victoria Square in Birmingham, the trial was a perfect example of how wireless cameras can be used wherever, including congested areas full of people using their mobile devices. The 5G cell used was originally built and designed for the Emergency Services Network.”

“For example, TIM in Italy is using Broadpeak’s nanoCDN technology to scale its TIM Vision video service, which includes streaming of the Summer and Winter Olympics in 4K,” he explains. “Today, this infrastructure is also used by OTT services such as DAZN, enabling streaming distribution at scale through the same infrastructure. The advantage of this approach is an improved quality of experience [QoE] with higher bitrates and resolutions, reduced latency and a drastic reduction in streaming issues such as freezing. nanoCDN enables millions of football fans to access DAZN’s Serie A streams with a superior QoE.”

“Earlier this year Broadpeak launched broadpeak.io, a SaaS-based platform that offers content providers and rights owners an easy, fast and reliable way to deliver advanced streaming experiences to subscribers,” Leclercq continues. “[The platform] adapts streaming to the context of the situation — such as the content rights, network, location, device, category of customers — in real time. When it comes to live content and sports, broadpeak. io enables stream personalisation, including targeted advertising and content replacement typically for compliance purposes, for example, emergency alerts or blackouts.”

The collaboration between ISPs and OTT service providers is a trend Broadpeak is seeing repeated. “It started with Disney driving the Open Caching initiative to use the CDNs of ISPs,” explains Leclercq. “This helps large OTT streamers avoid building out additional capacity. Now with live sports content moving to OTT, a new set of OTT service providers need to scale the delivery of their services.

“At Broadpeak we engineer and deploy open infrastructure inside the ISP networks to facilitate video delivery. This can be based on traditional unicast or multicast, such as nanoCDN. In the case of live sports, being able to leverage multicast inside the ISP is simply the most efficient way to deliver live OTT content at

“As well as providing the OB connectivity, BT designed and built a non-public 5G network [NPN] for Saracens’ StoneX Stadium to provide robust, broadcast-grade infrastructure at the club’s Premiership match against Northampton Saints,” says John Ellerton, head of media futures, BT Media & Broadcast. “The 5G NPN connected untethered, low-latency match-day cameras. BT’s solution built the capability further than traditional RF networks, by converging all the wireless technology onto a single platform providing a true bidirectional communication path, opening up possibilities for wireless microphones, return vision, comms and camera control.”

As well as continuing with its sustainability drive to become a net zero carbon business by 2045, the next six months will see BT Media & Broadcast continue building its capabilities with 5G private networks and eventually 6G, build on Vena’s foundations to deliver managed media services in private and public clouds, build on its partnership with satellite provider OneWeb to trial connecting 5G NPNs to low earth orbit satellites, and collaborate with Supponor to empower sports broadcasters to virtually insert adverts into live content.

Calrec

The transmission was distributed over the 5G network to BT’s OB truck on-site, and then backhauled over Media & Broadcast’s Vena network, enabling complete remote control from a remote operation centre in High Wycombe. Another output of the game was also distributed through the Vena network into AWS.

“A high-performance network with a ‘brain’, Vena intelligently routes high-demand video and data traffic,” says Ellerton. “It supports all content transmission, including broadcast, live and streaming. It connects studios with production facilities, playout and broadcast infrastructure — delivering video streams and files between them.”

The company’s second trial of a bespoke 5G NPN came during the BBC’s coverage of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. “This marked the first time the technology had been deployed at this scale in Europe, with 300 million viewers globally watching their favourite teams and athletes,” says Ellerton. “Using the 5G NPN, the BBC harnessed multiple, synchronised cameras to create live coverage of the games

“After the last few years of sporadic sports events, we’ve been very pleased to be able to support our customers across a range of events, and we’ve been very excited to work on some fabulous esports projects too,” says Dave Letson, VP of sales, Calrec. “The Wimbledon Championships was back with a large Calrec network of Summa consoles connected via Hydra2, and the US Open used eight networked Artemis consoles with a Hydra2 router split between locations. ESPN built eight control rooms next to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center alongside several Amazon and NEP outside broadcast trucks.

“We were also proud to be involved in more remote workflows, such as the Extreme E competition which utilised a Calrec Artemis console on an Impulse IP core at NEP’s Gray’s Inn Road, with an RP1 remote production unit located in remote locations,” adds Letson. “This is a unique set-up which has been well used this year.”

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Calrec also worked with Riot Games EU on events covering the League of Legends, Valorant and Wild Rift esports with multiple Calrec consoles.

“Redundant multi-console Impulse cores served two Artemis surfaces, with two modular Type R IP mixing consoles as backup and submixers,” Letson says. These events are often hosted at remote venues and so sent feeds over IP back to a data centre. Both sets of Impulse and Type R cores are based in the data centre, which have a backhaul link to Riot Games’ remote broadcast centre where all four surfaces are located.

The company launched two Argo audio control surfaces at IBC2022.

“Argo is a new approach to audio mixing which has the ability to position any panel, anywhere,” explains Letson. “This enables it to adapt to changing production requirements. It is a flexible, IP-native surface with a supercharged DSP core, interchangeable panels and fully configurable layouts. Argo also fits into distributed ways of working. It is IP centric which makes it versatile for all aspects of remote production, and distributed DSP and control.”

“[Over the next six months], we’re working with customers to help them adapt their systems with regards to live sports production, but mainly we are getting ready to ship Argo,” he adds.

Camera Corps

“With the Tokyo Summer Games postponed until the summer of 2021, the World Short Course swimming in Abu Dhabi, followed quickly by the Beijing Winter Games, the ongoing football season and an e-gaming event all in close succession, Camera Corps equipment and crew was in high demand this past year,” says Barry Parker, commercial manager at the company.

in favourable use in Abu Dhabi, leading to a successful bid to supply cameras for the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Hungary this summer, producing great footage for the host broadcaster and rights holders,” continues Parker. “PTZF cameras and intelligent robotic heads are the mainstay of the work carried out by Camera Corps in many of the sporting events we covered.

“The majority of our recent product development has been in signal transportation. The unique development by Camera Corps of the SMPTE Max 3-Box system allows the connection of these UHD cameras and remote heads over a long distance using a single camera fibre. The use of this during both the Summer and Winter Games over multiple sites enabled the host broadcaster to deliver a large number of live signals from multiple camera positions over large distances in an efficient and robust way.”

Parker continues: “While managing shortterm requests, we must also look to the future with our clients and their longer-term requirements in order to manage our resources and development investment accordingly. For example, where for large events broadcasters need to optimise and compromise their acquisition formats. Broadcasters will always try to optimise or acquire in the highest possible format they can, for example in UHD HDR, while still producing multiple formats for other broadcasters in HD HDR or SDR. The compromise comes about due to the available equipment, budgets and what rights holders request or can manage.”

Parker says remote production is here to stay. “However, events will continue to need high-quality, specialist camera installation with technical support on site, all of which can be delivered by Camera Corps,” he adds. “Live capture within the field of play is what we are good at, and we continually ask directors to challenge us to develop new ideas or improve what is currently available; sometimes new ideas may be looking at new positions for cameras, not necessarily always new cameras.”

Canon Europe

JACK ADAIR

ensure a high standard of coverage at this event, from photojournalism equipment up to video lenses and cameras,” says Canon Europe product marketing specialist, pro video Jack Adair. “Since last year we have introduced two key products to the industry, the first being an adaptation of our flagship model the UHD

“Major developments in the suite of specialist underwater aquatic cameras resulted

“This year — in July and August — Canon was the title sponsor for the Commonwealth Games. For this, we supplied a host of equipment to

“[For the UHD Digisuper 122 AF], we kept all the features that have made this such a powerful lens. This is not to replace the existing model or the skillset of the operator, but as 4K is becoming the standard in many regions, we added the auto focus function to assist in any fast-paced moments where the subject may be travelling at speed towards or away from the lens.

“At IBC we launched two key products,” he continues. “The CN8x15 wide angle Cine Servo lens is a perfect blend of our ENG lens technology with cinema lens optical quality. With the 1.5x extender this lens offers coverage for super 35mm and full frame cameras and is perfectly suited to give live productions the cinematic edge that is now being demanded by broadcasters. IBC also saw the introduction of the CR-N700, our high-end PTZ camera, equipped with a 4K UHD 1.0 Type CMOS sensor, 15x optical zoom and a host of broadcast standard features such as 4K/60p over the 12GSDI, and HDMI or IP outputs which support the SRT protocol among many more.”

“There has been a steady increase in cloudbased solutions required for sporting events, especially those in a tournament format where you may have multiple matches happening each day,” he says. “There is powerful technology out there that enables broadcasters to playout multiple events simultaneously so the viewer at home can decide which event they would like to watch and jump between them if they wish. This means that more lenses and cameras are required to be on the ground for each event — we work hard to ensure that this increased demand is met for our customers.”

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Caton

“Our development work on our proprietary transport protocol that is aptly called Caton Transport Protocols (CTP) is now widely recognised and adopted for use in live sporting events to ensure broadcasters achieve the ultralow latency that is required,” says Caton senior vice president, global operations Gerald Wong.

“At IBC2022, we introduced enhancements to CTP with multi-pathing to enable a new way of IP transmission. By using AI and machine learning, automatic traffic rebalancing on every path ensures that even the most challenged internet connectivity becomes highly reliable.

Unlike a simple network bonding designed to increase bandwidth, CTP Multi-pathing Core reacts to all possible traffic reshaping to derive the best performance. With this new multipathing feature, live sporting events can be contributed and distributed in a more efficient, reliable and economical way.”

Video, Kuai Shou and more. Caton mobile encoders (Live Cast Pro) were deployed in Tokyo to provide real-time HD video transmission through multiple 4G networks, while journalists were able to use Caton’s Cydex platform to transport large files during the event.

More recently, Caton has been transmitting NBA and MLB to TV operators and OTT from the US to Asian countries. Caton was awarded a five-year contract to deliver Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) live coverage from Japan to Taiwan, using Caton’s CTP, CVP and Network Monitoring System (NMS) to allow Eleven Sports Taiwan to deliver high-value content with ultra-low latency.

Cerberus Tech

CHRIS CLARKE

CEO

“Cerberus Tech develops and leverages the very latest in technology to securely deliver content anywhere in the world,” says Chris Clarke, CEO, Cerberus Tech. “Our Livelink Service Network plays an important role in this. Over the next six months we will expand our interoperable, global network for sports and live events, with our best-in-class technical and strategic partners. We have some exciting projects in the pipeline and are currently focusing on a new on-demand file transcoding service, in collaboration with our long-term partner Ateme, as well as building our teleport footprint, to help facilitate seamless content delivery services.”

Last December, Caton worked with Relevent Sports Group to provide coverage of the Women’s International Champions Cup (WICC) to audiences throughout China.

“With 100% successful transmission, coverage of the WICC 2021 final was efficiently transported from BT Tower in London to Sina Weibo, the leading Chinese social media platform, quickly and securely,” says Wong. “In utilising Caton Technology, the content was delivered in the lowest latency, resulting in exceptional coverage across the Sina Weibo platform, exceeding viewers’ expectations.

During the Tokyo Olympics, Caton and China Unicom jointly designed an integrated solution to securely and reliably transmit live HD video from Tokyo to Beijing. Caton was selected by Momenta as the solution and service partner to deliver high-quality, low-latency content to live video platforms such as Migu, Tencent

This year has seen Celtic FC adopting Cerberus for an alternative delivery method for its domestic and European away matches. “Celtic TV had previously been receiving coverage using a combination of SNG and satellite contribution from the venue, directly to the home ground — Celtic Park in Glasgow,” recalls Clarke. “Factors including weather conditions and inadequate satellite bandwidth at source and destination had an impact on the delivery of content to its viewers. By using Livelink, Celtic TV was able to deliver feeds to its audience quickly, efficiently, and subsequently only paid for the duration of

the contribution of the match. Since the initial requirement, Celtic TV has continued to use Livelink for the delivery of both domestic and European and Champions League fixtures.”

Racecourse Media Group (RMG) opted to work alongside Cerberus Tech’s IP expertise to transport feeds to Australia. “The required hardware was shipped directly to RMG and arrived pre-configured,” says Clarke. “The support team was then able to remote in and talk RMG through a straightforward set up, which meant the technical set-up with the affiliate could take place simultaneously.”

Other developments include a collaboration with TAG Video Systems. “This offers Livelink customers software-based monitoring of linear video workflows and cost-effective IP delivery for live sports,” says Clarke. “The use of realtime visualisation and monitoring capabilities has already led to cost-savings and greater confidence in signal integrity for Cerberus Tech customers, who can now monitor all signals on a mosaic configuration as opposed to individual feeds, resulting in reduced transport costs and bandwidth requirements.”

According to Cisco’s Ken Martin, general manager and director of global sales in the sports and entertainment solutions group, a big highlight this year was the Cisco converged network infrastructure at SoFi Stadium that played a critical role in the success of Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. “SoFi Stadium is the most technologically advanced sporting venue in the world, and the Cisco converged network touches every aspect of stadium operations, from broadcast, show production, concessions and merchandise sales, to fan experiences and building operations,” says Martin.

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“During Super Bowl LVI, the broadcast network alone was processing 24 terabits per second, possible because of the Cisco IP Media Fabric in SoFi Stadium. When you look at IPTV specifically, driving 2,500 screens and 300 outdoor signs across SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park, the network was transporting 2.5 gigabits per second of multicast traffic — continuously. That’s more than 200 terabytes of data flowing seamlessly to ensure that each screen in the venue is getting full, uncompressed 4K video feeds. It was an incredible showcase for our technology.”

“Beyond that, over the past year we have expanded our sports and entertainment portfolio with two new key global partners — McLaren Racing and Real Madrid,” he continues.

“Additionally, we are also growing our presence within Major League Soccer in the US to complement our soccer presence worldwide.”

“We look forward to collaborating with our partners across the sports and entertainment space to explore new opportunities to enhance the fan experience in venues, such as the renovation

of Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, through new innovations like Cisco Connected Scarf.

Martin believes the sports and entertainment industry as a whole — and venue connectivity specifically — is at a major inflection point. “We believe that Cisco’s Wi-Fi 6 technology will continue to shape the future for venues, teams and operators around the world as they look to optimise not only the fan experience, but also operations and sponsorship,” he says. “This technology has proven to be transformative for what is possible across emerging video, virtual and augmented platforms; the leading sports brands and venues see what is possible and they’re implementing it now.”

Cobalt Digital

“Cobalt gear played a role in NBCUniversal’s awardwinning Tokyo Olympic Games broadcasts,” says Suzana Brady, SVP of worldwide sales and marketing, Cobalt Digital.

NBCU covered the whole content pipeline, from acquisition in HLG and distribution in PQ to a new version of its Skypath distribution system, ensuring the Ultra HD versions were made available to more than 50 local TV stations across the US.

Calrec’s

“NBCU used the 3D LUT processing feature on Cobalt Digital’s 9904-UDX audio/video processor cards as the engine for its very own NBCU’s LUTS which fed their UHD playout system,” says Brady. “Incorporating the Cobalt cards into its workflow allowed NBCU to achieve quality conversion of either SDR to HDR, or HDR to SDR, and cross-conversion from HLG to PQ, providing the broadcaster with the enhanced agility to deliver the finest possible video quality to its audience.”

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In July, Cobalt announced that NEP’s IP-powered Supershooter 6 mobile unit had rolled out with 12 frames of Cobalt Digital gear onboard.

“For Supershooter 6, Cobalt provided NEP with 12 HPF-9000 20 slot, high-power frames packed with openGearform factor cards and Cobalt’s OGCP-9000 Ethernet remote control panel optimised for live colour correction applications,” says Brady. “The configuration comprises 4K- and HDR-capable cards and supports up/down/cross conversion, audio processing and colour correction. Highlights of the system include over 100 Cobalt openGear distribution amplifiers from several of the company’s card families, including the 9910, 9501, 9502 and 9410, to give Supershooter 6 a full scope of 3G/HD/SD/ASI capabilities in a compact footprint.

“Since launching in May, Supershooter 6 has been deployed to support live production of the NHL playoffs and the women’s and men’s College World Series.”

As well as celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022, Cobalt has also released numerous products, options and upgrades this year geared towards sports and live production, including its Indigo 2110-DC-01. Indigo is a factory option that supports uncompressed 4K and adds native SMPTE ST2110 interfaces to the audio and video processing elements on the company’s 9904-UDX-4K openGear card.”

Cyanview

“Our products are used for remote shading of specialty cameras, mostly on high-end events,” says David Bourgeois, CEO and founder, Cyanview. “This year saw the expansion of the use of large-sensor cameras on sports. For us it started with Fox’s Megalodon, controlled over LTE for the whole NFL season. Fox is also controlling drone cameras like Sony FX6, Red Komodo and Atom One cameras on Nascar. CBS also used our system to control a Panasonic GH5S within a Freefly Movi gimbal on the Golf Masters. This NFL season, BSI, 3G Wireless, CP Communications and C360 all use our control system for the pylon cameras. ESPN is also controlling Sony FX9 and Venice wireless large-sensor cameras on Monday Night Football.”

Cyanview worked on the 24 Hours of Le

Mans in June. “They have 50 onboard cameras, typically four per car, all controlled remotely for shading, switching channel, picture in picture. It’s their own RF solution,” says Bourgeois. “The cameras are of different models, so the challenge there was to have a good global shutter camera with enough sensitivity to cover the night and dynamic range to deal with the sun during the day without any access to the camera for 24 hours. But even though [there are different camera protocols] they can control them all

campo, CNN Portugal uses Virtual View and Delta-highlight to allow around six to ten analysts to add an expert level of analysis to the

The company also worked with wireless cameras on the Tour de Suisse. “The setup we provided for this multi-stage cycle race included eight Cyanview RCPs installed in the main OB truck,” says Bourgeois.

These controlled shading on cameras on motorbikes, a helicopter carrying a CineFlex camera system, and shoulder operated Sony camcorders among others.

“We also have a few companies who started to use our products for remote production,” he adds. “PGA covered multiple events at once controlling Sony ENG cameras on golf at multiple courts in Florida from their studios in New York.”

Deltacast

Eleven Sports is using Deltacast augmented reality for live storytelling during Belgian Pro League matches. “This is a great example of the use of augmented reality and live data at the heart of the production, finding the right balance between AR data and readability of the game,” says Deltacast international sales manager Lionel Dutilleux. “Meanwhile, CNN Portugal is using Delta-highlight to bring enhanced football analysis to fans with 3D storytelling and a virtual stadium.”

During the one-hour show, Rui Santos em

Deltacast has also extended its live graphics platform to stadium and arena displays by adding the multi-sports interface and by supporting 8K and non-rectangular screens (centre-hung displays). The Delta-stadium solution aims to boost fan engagement in major arenas and stadiums by managing content, scoring and graphics in real time.

“Deltacast is now FIFA-certified for the 3D virtual offside line for VAR in football,” adds Dutilleux. “It provides the solution to the leagues through its VAR partners Evertz, SimplyLive and Slomo.”

Over the next six months, Dutilleux says the company will aim to get more stadium and arenas equipped with Delta-stadium, and more leagues to deploy the virtual offside line.

The company has observed a few trends in sports broadcasting, he adds. The first is a change in viewer behaviour. “Currently, the sports industry is experiencing a change in the platforms where content is consumed,” he explains. “TikTok for example, a social network focused on video consumption, is rapidly growing among the new generations. This affects sports production and the type of solutions used for graphics. The second technology trend we observe is around data. The challenge here is to transform data into valuable information for fans. This is where Deltacast expertise comes into play.”

Dizplai

The big news for Dizplai in 2022 was its rebrand from Never.no and its incorporation of cloudbased audience engagement platform Bee-On.

“It’s an exciting major milestone for the company. As content creation continues to

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evolve, we’re seeing a unique opportunity for the brand to expand on the foundations and success we’ve built over the years,” said Ed Abis, managing director of Dizplai at the time.

The company has since gone on to announce a number of key partnerships, including the integration of Reddit’s API with Dizplai. This gives content creators access to over 100,000 active communities on the platform. Producers can source and display authentic, real-time conversations and curate topical discussions, themes or reactions in their live production to contextualise news, sports factual and entertainment stories.

The native integration of the Stats Perform API into the Dizplai platform was also announced. This is designed to create a quick, simple connection between the live data and display of dynamic graphics, to inform and entertain sports fans on broadcast and digital channels. The agreement includes an official partnership with Stats Perform’s Sports Partners Intelligence Network (SPIN), an initiative connecting influential and complementary partners to continue the delivery of innovative content delivery across the market.

Dizplai has also helped clients such as BT Sport, DAZN, BBC, ITV and Manchester City FC to create interactive viewing experiences.

“Live sports in Dolby Atmos is currently one of the most important growth topics for Dolby worldwide and especially in Europe,” says head of commercial partnerships Europe Arkin Kol. “In the UK, 200 Premier League games are broadcast each season by Sky, BT and Amazon in Dolby Atmos, plus 150 English Football League and Carabao Cup matches, and around 30 shows across rugby, hockey and PPV boxing. Some 420 UEFA Champions League [UCL] and Europa League games are produced in Dolby

“Canal+ in France also started broadcasting the UCL in the immersive sound format and, with the start of the new 2022/23 season, Sky in Germany started to broadcast every Bundesliga top match of the week on Saturday night in Dolby Atmos. Additionally ProSieben Sat.1 is going to show a handful of selected Bundesliga matches during the season on its UHD channel in Dolby Atmos. We expect to gradually expand the offer in Europe and are talking to all relevant broadcasters and partners.”

This year, Kol says the co-operation with the entire ecosystem, with all partners, from the national and international leagues, the broadcasters and from the supply chain, was — and is — crucial for Dolby.

“At the same time, we as Dolby ensure that the high-quality content, the exclusive live sport, is also delivered in the best quality to the end consumer, to the fans,” Kol adds. “Millions of televisions, plus millions of soundbars and home cinema systems are now in homes across Europe and around the world, guaranteeing that viewers can experience a stadium-like atmosphere on their couch in the living room. It is therefore important that Dolby Atmos plays an important role for users in almost all situations.”

Domo Broadcast Systems

“It’s been a huge year for us in terms of our structure and the opportunities that has given us, including being able to assist so many tier 1 sport broadcasters around the world with their remote production needs,” says Mike Budge, CEO at Domo Broadcast Systems. “In March, Broadcast Wireless Systems (BWS) and DTC Domo Broadcast joined forces, and we now operate under the name Domo Broadcast Systems. It’s a collaboration born out of the need for growth and innovation to meet the rapidly expanding demands being placed on the sports broadcast industry. As a result, we not only retained the engineering and sales teams from both original companies, but continue to expand them, with some of the best in the business joining us.”

“Over the past year, our solutions have been well travelled, from the UEFA Women’s Euros in England and the Europa League final in Spain, to the Repco Supercars Championship in Australia and the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam,” Budge adds. “Most recently, Gravity Media

used our new 5MHz bandwidth modulation at the US Open Tennis Championships, allowing them to minimise the number of RF licences needed to cover their 23 wireless cameras on site. The solution meant they could cut the

The company also provided an in-housedeveloped system comprising four camera onboard transmitters and a recording/playback system for France’s major circuit racing championship, the FFSA GT.

“This system was all controlled by our DBS IP-mesh backbone that lets broadcasters centralise control of their wireless devices on a single RF channel,” says Budge. “Domo Broadcast Systems has worked closely with Timeline TV since their inception. Our Sapphire encoders and decoders are the workhorses behind many of Timeline’s complex sports transmissions, and Timeline has embraced our recently launched Onyx platform — ultra low latency HEVC solutions that offer 4 x UHD or 4K transmission.

“The Onyx has taken latency down to unheard of levels and allows broadcasters to transmit video down two different paths using a variety of IP formats, including SRT, at bitrates of up to 120Mb/s. It has definitely been a game changer for remote production in sports broadcasting.”

Edgio

TRAVIS NORMAN PRODUCT MARKETING SPECIALIST

“With more broadcasters getting involved in the live sports streaming space, it’s imperative that we provide them with reliable, scalable content delivery to support their needs,” says Travis Norman, product marketing specialist, Edgio. “We deliver online traffic for a recurring large-scale sporting event that happens on Thursdays in the US. Recently, for this particular event, we supported a 160% increase in traffic, compared to prior day traffic at

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peak. This was a record-setting accomplishment for us when it comes to delivering content for live events and highlights the value that Edgio brings to the streaming industry.”

Norman points out that, according to Nielsen reports this summer, streaming has officially surpassed traditional cable. “While we could all see the writing on the wall, this is important news for us and the content delivery industry,” he says. “Our sports production clients want to provide exceptional experiences for their customers, so one of our focus points has been on nanosecond timing for latency reduction. This is helpful in providing a smooth, reliable experience for both our customers and end users. While streaming isn’t the same as being in the stadium, our goal is to make it as close as you can get.”

“The combined strength of our three foundational companies, Limelight, LayerO and Edgecast has moved us into a much stronger position in the marketplace,” says Norman.

“Our goal is to become the go-to partner for businesses seeking to deliver faster and safer digital experiences. To achieve this, our focus over the next six months will be on app development, web security, streaming and content delivery.”

As streaming takes more market share from traditional broadcasts, Edgio is keeping a close eye on what’s happening in the form of monetisation. “Whether that be forensic watermarking of data to prevent piracy, to server-side ad insertion, effective monetisation will continue to guide our moves in the sports production space,” adds Norman.

EditShare

“In 2020 the emphasis was forced upon the industry to find ways to do remote production,” says Stephen Tallamy, EditShare CTO. “What has emerged from that is the recognition that sports broadcasting, by its very nature, comes in bursts and we should use remote production capabilities to reflect that.

“Cloud editing is an obvious application. If you find yourself with the rights to a large sporting event you need a lot of editorial capacity for a short duration. The cloud is the obvious approach to minimising capital cost and the environmental impact of buying hardware that will only be used for a few days.”

“The EditShare solution, Flex Cloud Edit+ pairs our content storage and management technology for hybrid cloud and on premises servers with our partner, Data Expedition’s CloudDat high bandwidth transfer software and your choice of edit software: Media Composer, Adobe Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve,” he continues.

“To deliver the best possible solutions, we have formed close partnerships with other leading vendors. We have worked with Cinedeck, for example, to provide comprehensive support for 4K and HDR UHD, which is now the norm for premium sports events. We have implemented NDI throughout our offering, so broadcasters can make maximum use of bandwidth from remote sports venues to the production base.

“We have also advanced functionality that we see as both extremely valuable and unique in the industry, which we call Universal Projects. Part of our Flow content management software, it provides complete and seamless bidirectional synchronisation of projects between Flow and your choice of editor. You can set up a project in Flow, complete with bin structures and all the content you will need, then with a single click load it into whichever editor you need, confident that the editor will be able to start working instantly.”

The next six months will see Editshare continue product development to meet clients’ ongoing production requirements.

Tallamy observes: “Production companies are looking to maximise cost-effectiveness through remote production: sending the minimum possible crew to the location, sending as many signals back to base as possible, and producing and enriching content there.

“All of this depends upon scalable, accessible,

secure content storage which sits seamlessly into intuitive production workflows, putting the material where it is needed without adding to the administrative burden of the creative team.”

“There were many highlights over the past year for EMG and we had the pleasure to be involved in a number of major sporting productions,” says CEO Shaun Gregory. “EMG successfully delivered broadcast facilities, on behalf of UEFA, across all 31 matches of the UEFA Women’s Euro football championships, culminating in the spectacular final between England and Germany at a sold-out Wembley

“EMG supported BT Sport in successfully delivering the UK’s first live 8K broadcast of a premier sporting event into the home, by providing an 8K truck and on-site facilities for BT Sport’s broadcast of the Saracens vs Bristol Bears Gallagher Premiership Rugby match in March,” he adds. “EMG also produced the Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte fight at Wembley Stadium, London, for BT Sport. Other highlights include premier cycling race the Giro D’Italia in Italy, the Tour de France and the Oxford versus Cambridge boat race in the UK, alongside a host of top-class football, golf and more. It’s been a great year and EMG is looking to more of the same next year.”

This year also saw EMG begin a group rebranding process in multiple countries, with CTV and Telegenic in the UK now operating under the EMG brand.

“CTV and Telegenic, market leaders in the OB space, made an amazing contribution to the market, but their consolidation delivers numerous synergies that will enhance the market value of EMG and deliver a stronger and more dynamic single entity,” says Gregory. “Removing the barriers between these divisions has delivered a stronger, more experienced

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and refocused EMG, which has a clearer and more powerful market offering, is able to better engage with new customers and markets, re-energise relationships with the existing customer base and develop more innovative technical solutions for the market. As well as this rebranding, EMG welcomed a host of new faces to the business to strengthen the business, including Lucy O’Brien as group CTO and Neil Jones as CCO. The last two years have been exhilarating and 2023 looks set to be an even more exciting year — we have a lot to be thankful for.”

ES Broadcast

“In a dress rehearsal for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, ES Broadcast provided ENG cameras to support HBS in its coverage of the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup, held in November and December 2021,” says Jonathan Lyth, group CTO, ES Broadcast. “Matches were held at six of the eight World Cup venues and ES Broadcast provided eight Sony PXW-Z750s and 10 PXW-FX6s for crews following the teams involved. For the World Cup, the amount of equipment will ramp up significantly, with 40 Sony PXW-Z750s, 60 PXW-FX6s and three

“The ST2110 control room incorporates a Grass Valley K-Frame V Series production switcher, while a fleet of GV LDX 92 HDR IP camera chains were also provided.”

This year, ES Broadcast became the UK’s first Grass Valley GV Media Universe Advanced Channel Partner, and the company also announced a partnership with cloud-based live production specialist Mavis Broadcast, allowing ES Broadcast to offer the Mavis Live SaaS-based production platform to clients in markets such as sports and esports.

“Investment in equipment has been crucial for ES Broadcast over the last year,” says Lyth. “The company’s rental fleet has undergone significant expansion, with the addition of the latest camera technology in the shape of a fleet of Sony HDCF5500 Super 35mm system cameras. The camera adds the shallow depth of field beloved by the cine world to a system camera, allowing users access to storytelling creativity in a camera that is custom designed for the live production environment.

“We anticipate it will prove a very popular addition to sports coverage. And, as we approach another busy period of sport over the coming months, the company also acquired almost 70 Grass Valley LDX 98 UHD IP camera channels. These will slot seamlessly into IP, remote and cloud workflows.”

Eurovision

Nitro Rallycross international season in partnership with Aurora Media Worldwide,” adds Robineau.

ES Broadcast also recently completed an IP upgrade for the University of Minnesota (UMN), developing a solution that enabled UMN to migrate from SDI to a COTS-based uncompressed IP production workflow, with a strong focus on keeping down both cost and complexity.

“The system was designed and deployed on a 100G switch infrastructure supported by Imagine Communications’ SDNO routing control solution and Selenio Network Processor for on-ramp SDI-to-IP conversion, frame synchronisation and audio shuffling,” adds Lyth.

“As a leading provider of connectivity for the world’s major live sports events, one of the highlights of the past year for us has been working on the global distribution of the UEFA Women’s Euros 2022 in England,” says Fabien Robineau, head of global sales & marketing, Eurovision. “We provided two satellite news gathering trucks at each venue to distribute two match feeds as well as the preand post-match live interviews. We distributed all matches from the quarter-finals onwards in UHD-SDR and provided an international signal for UEFA’s broadcast partners to live stream the competition on their OTT platforms.”

“Alongside our long-standing distribution agreements with many of the world’s toptier sports federations, we have also provided connectivity solutions for exciting new sports competitions such as the first Super League Triathlon esport competitions and the debut

“On the technology side we are continuing the migration to our Content Hub service, which better integrates both content owners and rights holders into the Eurovision Global Hybrid network. This allows content owners to make more content available in different formats and with personalisation options, and it gives rights holders greater flexibility and greater simplicity with the feeds they can book. We have also conducted the first tests of enhanced BISS-CA audio features, which opens up the possibility of separate encrypted audio feeds.”

Eurovision is “excited looking forward”. “The increase of content localisation means that our unrivalled scale and expertise managing top tier events and complex set-up is more and more in demand,” says Robineau. “We are driving automation and orchestration as well as leveraging our software capabilities to integrate into our customers systems, simplifying workflows.”

“Remote production is providing new opportunities for us,” he adds. “There is a big drive towards efficiency and sustainability and, once into our network, we can add value to the feeds connecting to remote centres for production, graphics or commentary and deliver just the right mix to the broadcasters.”

Evertz

MO GOYAL

SENIOR DIRECTOR — INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, LIVE MEDIA SOLUTIONS

“It’s been an exciting time for Evertz and the Bravo Studio live production product suite,” says Mo Goyal, senior director — international business development, live media solutions, Evertz. “Over the past year, we have seen DreamCatcher used in a number of major events and new locations. We’re also seeing a shift in how production is being done with the addition

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of cloud and 5G networking. At the end of 2021, we were part of the IBC Accelerator Programme that looked at 5G for live production; we used DreamCatcher Bravo Studio in Microsoft Azure to produce some fan feeds during the FIFA Arab Cup in Doha, Qatar.

“Electronic Arts continued to use our DreamCatcher [for replay] in the cloud as part of its production of large events, including its annual Madden Championship Series in November during US Thanksgiving,” continues Goyal. “Our technology continues to be used for major events including the Super Bowl, the Winter Games in Beijing and Royal Ascot to name a few. We are also excited about the continual growth of the DreamCatcher install base. We recently installed a number of DreamCatcher DC-Ones in Australia — including the new Allianz Stadium in Sydney — with our partners Studiotech Australia as part of a production technology refresh.”

Goyal is seeing continual investment in the cloud for live production and tools to enhance fan engagement, but adds that demand for more content during live events for audiences is becoming a challenge.

“Audiences are consuming the live event across multiple platforms but also are looking for choice,” he explains. “For example, some fans watching a PSG football match may want to watch the full game, but another fan may want to watch a camera solely on Messi and another on Mbappe. This additional content helps maintain the fan’s engagement over the match but can be costly if done with traditional production workflows.

“Using tools like our Bravo Studio in the cloud can add these additional feeds more costeffectively than traditional workflows while giving the audience more content and choice.”

In terms of trends that will likely shape sports production, Goyal highlights gamification of the fan experience. “Another trend will be on technology or innovations to reduce the latency for live streams,” he adds.

“EVS solutions are deployed for a significant amount of sporting events throughout the year. However, if I were to pick one that drew particular attention, it would be the European Championships that were held this summer in Munich,” says Sébastien Verlaine, head of marketing & communications at EVS. “For this multidisciplinary event, our partner EMG deployed over 60 EVS servers across the city in the IBC and different venues to cover the various sports. EMG also deployed for the very first time our new SaaS content exchange platform MediaHub, which was launched a few weeks later at the IBC show. This solution enables content owners to maximise the value of their content by facilitating its distribution to rights holders worldwide.”

depending on needs — and edge computing,” he continues. “The reason is that sometimes it makes more sense to deploy parts of the workflow on site for economic and/or security reasons. Furthermore, a balanced approach allows our customers to continue to use their existing infrastructure while easily scaling it up by using the cloud.”

Flowics

“In the past year, the adoption of Flowics Graphics has significantly increased in the live sports production sector,” says Gabriel Baños, CEO, Flowics. “Our platform has been used for producing motorsports competitions in Spain with our client Quality Media, ski and cycling events with Eurovision Sport and many more. One of the highlights was the case with Eurovision Sport and the production of the live broadcast of the 2022 Tour of Hellas race. With the Flowics Data Connector for Matsport and Flowics Graphics, the production team easily incorporated broadcast graphics with live stats and timing information in a fully remote production, which was a first of its kind.”

Verlaine describes EVS as being in growth mode, with a record-high order intake in the first half of 2022 and a historical deal worth over $50 million signed in August. This was with a major US-based broadcast and media production company and includes the delivery of EVS’ live production, replays and highlights solution LiveCeption, combined with a long-term service level agreement.

“We have also managed to hire 52 people in recent months; EVS employs 594 team members across the globe,” he adds.

In terms of trends, Verlaine says the transition to IP is still an important concern of EVS customers. “It facilitates the implementation of remote and distributed production workflows,” he explains. “The request for these types of workflows has dramatically increased since the pandemic began in 2020 and we don’t expect it to wane in the future.”

“The use of the cloud is also on the minds of our customers and EVS is introducing a balanced approach where the right combination of hardware and software is deployed between on-prem, the cloud — private or public

In September, Vizrt Group acquired Flowics. “Flowics and Vizrt Group are both pioneers of software-defined visual storytelling, and sports broadcasters and leagues throughout Europe rely on our tools for real-time graphics and visualised sports analysis,” Baños says. “The Flowics team is now supported by Vizrt Group’s expertise and large global network of partners. That means Flowics and Vizrt have a shared road map of innovations for simple, quick-todeploy, cloud-native graphics solutions that sports broadcasters can use from anywhere. That synergy will benefit all Flowics’ sports and esports customers.”

Flowics already has a robust catalogue of sports-related data connectors, which includes Sportradar, Stats Perform, Genius Sports, Swiss Timing, and more. “These native integrations of live external data can directly populate broadcast graphics created with the Flowics cloud-native

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engine,” adds Baños. “We will continue to expand the Flowics Data Connector catalogue to broaden the assortment of live external data sources graphics teams can choose from. We’re also working on a renewed graphics control interface, and we’ve got more partnerships and more platform integrations in the works.”

In terms of technology trends, Baños says moving to the cloud is now a reality. “Cloudbased technologies are paving the way for a new way of producing and distributing sports content — including graphics and fan interaction,” he explains. “Sports producers use Flowics Graphics not only to create live, data-driven graphics to use within their broadcasts, but to attract and retain audiences and create more interactive content outside the broadcast. With our platform, they can engage fans via social media and through live polling embedded on their websites or apps.”

“With broadcasters often working in a confined space with sometimes difficult acoustics, the need for compact and ultrareliable studio monitors that can adapt to their acoustic environment has driven a lot of our recent product development,” says Howard Jones, PR director, Genelec. “With the increased take-up of immersive audio, that requirement is magnified — since producing consistent immersive mixes relies on total monitoring accuracy and a system that’s optimised for the space. So we have a big focus on compact DSPpowered nearfield monitors and refining the GLM calibration software that enables them to

a complete analysis of room and monitoring system performance, in line with best practices — including ITU-R BS.1116 recommendations.”

Grade provides specific observations and advice on any acoustical issues, helping users and studio designers to fine tune the room’s acoustic treatment, adjust monitor and listener positions, and optimise bass management.

“It analyses a wide range of variables including frequency response accuracy and early vs late sound at the listening position, time of flight accuracy, early reflection structure and a complete room acoustic analysis,” says Jones. “These all combine to identify the reasons for any inaccuracy in sound colour, the precision of stereo imaging, the degree of listener envelopment, subwoofer and bass management performance and more.”

The next six months will be a combination of the slow return to more face-to-face events — both trade shows and Genelec’s own bespoke events — with a continued focus on quality video tutorial and webinar content.

“One thing the pandemic quickly showed us was the myriad opportunities to inform and communicate with our customers online, and the appetite for useful, educational material is huge,” says Jones. “We’ll also be continuing to grow our global network of Experience Centres, which enable customers to audition a wide range of Genelec monitoring solutions in a controlled, critical listening environment.”

Globecast

VALÉRY BONNEAU

INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR

la 1ère, The Explorers, Ateme, Eutelsat and Ilotdrones, with live coverage from the Réunion la 1ère production truck at the start line sent straight to Paris. The finish line feeds were remotely produced at Réunion la 1ère premises first, then sent to Paris. This was the first ever 4K content live broadcast from La Réunion.”

“To help our customers produce accurate audio mixes that translate reliably, our GLM 4.2 calibration software update was a big step forward,” he continues. “GLM works closely with our Smart Active monitors and subwoofers to allow the user to optimise their monitoring system to the room, and GLM 4.2 includes the brand-new Grade report — which provides

“In November 2021, Globecast partnered with France Télévisions Overseas, and its regional directorate Réunion la 1ère, to trial a 4K pop-up channel on the Indian Ocean island of La Réunion, covering the Grand Raid 2021 ultratrail race,” says Valéry Bonneau, internal and external communications director, Globecast. “Globecast also worked with Orange to create a trial of 4K contribution over 5G for the event, which facilitated remote production.”

“All 4K local production was driven by Réunion la 1ère and La Solution RF, with more than 10 cameras, three drones, four native 4K feeds and the upscaling of HD 1080p signals too,” Bonneau continues. “Globecast created and branded the channel, with pre-recorded content supplied by France Télévisons, Réunion

Once all the content was received in Paris, it was uploaded to playout in the cloud. “Globecast then managed the global channel media supply chain for OTT distribution via CDN,” Bonneau says. “It was also streamed on YouTube Live and Facebook Live.” Additionally, Globecast managed the supply of the pop-up channel to Eutelsat for the DTT-by-satellite platform Fransat Ultra HD and delivered the channel to TDF for DTT distribution on La Réunion.

“The 5G trial was initially planned to work in parallel, but as the race unfolded, Orange and Globecast’s 5G non-standalone ‘bubble’ covering the stadium finish line was actually used live for two 4K contribution feeds to the pop-up channel.”

“Horse racing channel Equidia has also deployed Globecast’s Managed Cloud Network service, plus encoding, to expand the amount of content available and to easily select which affiliates receive what content,” he adds. “It’s tailored for sports broadcasters and rights holders and provides Equidia with cost-effective, secure cloud-based distribution.”

According to Bonneau, Globecast currently has four key strategic growth initiatives, supported by significant investment: end-toend OTT video ecosystem integration; media supply chain cloud services; remote production connectivity and production hosting; and digital platforms using Globecast Media Hub services.

Gravity Media

“As the only end-to-end provider of bespoke technical solutions and tailored production and creative services across global sport, entertainment and drama, we are

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SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 155 svgeuropeSponsor Update www.hitomi-broadcast.tv enquiries@hitomi-broadcast.tv +44 (0)1753 208803 MatchBox Latency... IT’S ABOUT TIME! Multi-camera alignment with MatchBox Latency | Measure delays in the broadcast path Over head camera Shoulder held camera Track side camera

proud to have delivered a number of sports production highlights since September 2021,” says Ed Tischler, managing director, EMEA, Gravity Media. “The highlights would include Goodwood 2022. Following the announcement of Gravity Media being awarded the highly coveted contract to bring three of the motorsport calendar’s greatest events to the screens for Goodwood, we are delighted to have supplied more than 90 hours of live content across the three events, including six days of live coverage for ITV. This also included world feeds for international partners, dedicated digital production, exclusive partner content and fully crafted highlights shows for domestic and international fans.”

values and coverage for fans. We recognise that we have a responsibility towards growing the talent pool, so we have committed to this through various avenues, including our Production Centre expansion across London’s White City and Manchester, bringing together broadcast, production and post-production solutions.”

Hyper Studios

Gravity Media also provided dedicated support across the Women’s Euros 2022.

“The team provided production services across the UEFA Women’s Euros, including commentary for all rights-holding broadcasters around the world using our production centre in Chiswick as its base, before transferring to the venues for semi-finals and final,” says Tischler.

“In addition, Gravity Media has provided dedicated services for ESL Gaming, Formula 1, Wimbledon, ARES Fighting, Sub7 Sub8, the Archery World Cup, FINA World Aquatic Championships, Roland Garros, the FA Cup Final and the London 10k,” Tischler recalls.

Since September last year, there have been several company developments. “One of the highlights was our recent Gravity Media Production Centre Manchester opening in the iconic ABC Buildings; we are poised for the most exciting chapter this company has ever known,” he adds. “Recently, we grew our talented senior team by announcing the key appointment of Steve Kruger as executive director — technology, while Pete Newton is promoted to the new role of executive director — media services & facilities.

“This year, we are focusing on the evolution of remote broadcast production for sports federations and broadcasters globally, looking into how we can reduce costs and our global carbon footprints while raising production

“Hitomi has always been involved in the coverage for the Women’s Super League. To see it go from a three-camera shoot to a 12 is great recognition that the women’s game is being given a more equal broadcast commitment to the men’s game,” says Russell Johnson, director, Hitomi Broadcast. “Hitomi MatchBox solutions help with multi-camera alignment and can provide the timing difference between the cameras with the new latency feature, which was successfully trialled by a major sports broadcaster at the US Open golf.”

“Since September 2021, Hyper has been involved in a lot of exciting sports projects, including Super League rugby for Channel 4, MLB’s Home Run Derby X World Tour, the FIFA World Cup, the EFL and the World’s Strongest Man,” says Sam Wilson, business development manager, Hyper Studios. “The largest project has been our flourishing collaboration with Sky and Sky Sports UK. Our data-driven, cloud-enabled, real-time graphics products, solutions and related services have become integral to Sky’s cutting-edge sports productions, growing from an initial four Hyper Engines with Hyper Studio to accommodate remote productions during the pandemic, to currently 28 Hyper Engines and multi-user licences for Hyper Sports, covering over 500 football fixtures a year, including all Premier League, EFL and internationals.”

The launch of MatchBox Latency has created considerable interest from sports broadcasters specifically in relation to remote production, multi-camera alignments and where visual effects are included in the broadcast path.

Hitomi plans to broaden its applications to as many sports as possible, including esports, where knowing the delays from the feeds from multiple paths is key and venues need to be synchronised.

“Production costs are going down allowing for more elaborate set-ups, including an increase in cameras to grab more interesting footage from around the events, particularly for the high-end subscription-based sports coverage,” observes Johnson. “There also appears to be an increase in remote productions and a heavy adoption of IP workflows. These trends increase the need to measure latency and Hitomi has the solution required.”

Hyper was recently selected by IMG for its production of ITV’s English Football League Highlights show which is using the data-driven Hyper Sports app connected to multiple Viz NLE plug-ins to allow editors to drag and drop prebuilt match graphics directly into their timelines.

“For our ongoing commitment to IMG and the English Football League, we provide 36 Hyper Engines and Hyper Sports data management and playout systems,” he continues. “This partnership with IMG has evolved to include sport events such as the World’s Strongest Man, Spurs Play app, R&A Amateur Golf Championships, Super League rugby and more.”

Expansion is planned for the next six months. “We are moving into our new offices near Cheltenham and plan to expand our team of developers to keep up with the influx of new business,” says Wilson. “We also plan to expand our sales and marketing teams to start a full

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promotional and sales campaign at the start of 2023.”

Cloud production, automation and AI are three market trends that Wilson identifies for Hyper. “They go hand in hand,” he says “Hyper is working on some exceptionally cool projects with various high-profile broadcasters and manufacturers that I really can’t talk about. What I can say is that we have been running fully automated rugby highlights for Sky in the cloud with our friends at Wildmoka for the past few months.”

“The Imagen product has been strengthened to support new use cases for sports organisations such as prepackaged delivery workflows that deliver content to leading OTT platforms,” says Imagen commercial director Tom Blake. “The Imagen platform auto-packages finished content according to the specific needs of each OTT platform, for example delivering direct to Amazon Prime Video in the required formats and metadata. We’ve introduced a multi-site offering which enables sports federations and governing bodies to create a host-site and subsites all on the same platform. They can share infrastructure, allow for an aggregated content search and create a sustainable approach to cloud storage.”

its ecosystem by integrating with platforms commonly used across the content lifecycle, such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Elastic Search, WSC Sports, Greenfly, Blackbird, Telestream Vantage, Zapier and Videocites. “We will keep adding more extensible integrations,” he adds. “Through a combination of these partners and core tools inside Imagen, we have amplified the possibilities of content performance analytics with a revolution in data collection and datadriven production decisions.”

As for the future: “We have a host of enduser experience enhancements, such as a reimagination of how to create collections and a dynamic way of sharing these, along with combining visualisation of events and timerelated media into a nifty calendar widget; all clever stuff to make it easier for users of the platform to navigate,” he reveals. “On the backend, we are creating a more streamlined upload experience, so ingest and metadata input is even more efficient and, of course, continuing to optimise storage tiering to be more economical on both financial and carbon cost.”

Imagine Communications

JOHN MAILHOT CTO NETWORKING AND INFRASTRUCTURE

“This year we were closely involved with the new NFL facility at Englewood, California, an all-SMPTE ST2110 facility with six studios, five control rooms and links through to the adjacent stadium,” says John Mailhot, CTO networking and infrastructure at Imagine Communications.

router setups and signal flows can be established and rerouted instantly. It allows NFL to organise themselves around operational requirements, not be tied to engineering limitations.”

The new production centre was online in time for the start of the last NFL season, and it was involved with the 2022 Super Bowl, including the half-time show.

“This sort of production-oriented architecture is very definitely the way of the future for sports broadcasting,” says Mailhot. “European highlights include the French Open tennis, where every signal was processed, converted or monitored through SNPs, as well as our work with one of the UK’s largest sports providers on their HDR rollout.”

Mailhot says rapidly growing interest in HDR has driven continuing improvements in colour processing, delivering more accuracy and controllability.

“An important part of these continuing developments is providing users with the tools they find familiar and comfortable,” he adds. “So we have integrated the RCP colour panel from Cyanview into the SNP. The panel is a completely familiar surface for colour shaders, so they can get straight to work making the best, most consistent images for HDR and check compatibility with SDR.

“We have also implemented JPEG XS as another personality for the SNP. This codec is hugely important for sports broadcasting because it provides excellent quality at very low latency.”

“One final advance that is worth a mention is a big boost in audio processing and channel management,” he adds. “A sport broadcast might include some 5.1 origination intercut with stereo feeds and archive content. The MultiMerge software for SNP takes in all the different audio track formats and outputs consistent 5.1 and stereo, checked for loudness, to give a consistent soundtrack to the audience.”

“We have massively enhanced our capabilities for live ingest and redistribution of SRT feeds,” he continues. “This opens a raft of new possibilities for operational efficiency and a simplified experience for our clients’ customers to take live events directly into their online services. Alongside this, all Imagen tools can be used across this live ingest content, such as live logging, clipping and download.”

The company is also working to broaden

“Imagine Selenio Network Processors [SNP] provide all sorts of core functionality, from signal conversions to point multiviewers, wherever required. The overall system control uses our Magellan software, which oversees third-party equipment, as well as the SNP infrastructure. The NFL installation relies on our unique virtual re-entry functionality, which means complex

Iron Mountain Entertainment Services (IMES)

“One big win for IMES in the past year was the expansion of our partnership with French content producer and broadcaster Canal+ Group to digitise up to 110,000 hours of its extensive tape archive, including sports content, creating digital assets for its streaming

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services,” says Simon Jones, studio manager, IMES UK. “We’re staffing a dedicated team for maximum efficiency and the content will be uploaded directly to a bespoke MAM platform based on IMES’ Smart Vault digital content repository.”

to explore long-term preservation solutions and more accessible solutions for deep storage to help content owners store sport’s magical moments for posterity, as well as continue to streamline delivery and operational efficiencies for Smart Vault.”

“Globally, we’ve also worked with sports organisations such as the San Francisco Giants baseball team to help them audit and create their physical and digital inventories,” Jones continues. “We work with one of the biggest names in sports production to digitise historic tennis archives as well as volleyball and some ice skating events. IMES works closely with this major production company to provide rich and relevant metadata to ensure that each file is named correctly and can be easily searched and found when needed. If more detailed information such as scores, participant names, or finishing position are required, these can also be added.”

A continuous development is the evolution of IMES’ MAM platform Smart Vault, which offers hybrid storage for content.

“One of its new features is the option to create subtitles burned into video through multiple personalised dictionaries for audio transcription,” says Jones. “This is a valuable tool to help streamline the internationalisation of sports content, an important revenue stream for media companies who own the rights to different sports competitions. Another interesting new monetisation opportunity that Smart Vault is now offering for sports content owners is the possibility of creating NFTs out of assets stored on the platform.”

In the next six months, IMES will launch a new physical storage environment in France, located 5km from the city centre of Paris.

“It will have storage vaults built specially to archive media assets, ensuring high-level security and climate integrity,” says Jones. “From an R&D perspective, we’re currently testing the adoption of AI to make sports content stored in our Smart Vault MAM platform even more easily searchable and accessible. We’ll also continue

“One of biggest highlights in the last year has been with our AutoMix and AutoSync solutions that are used by Warner Bros. Discovery as part of its pan-European IP network and European Technology Transformation (ETT) project,” says Ewan Cameron, co-founder and chief commercial officer, Lean And Mean Audio, or LAMA for short. “These solutions were used in delivering the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, all the major tennis tournaments and many other major sports. This success has really proven the viability of our software-based audio solutions philosophy for the most prestigious of sporting events.”

“This mixer is designed to be a software replacement for the large-scale hardware broadcast console but will also include the option of using the same algorithms that we use in our AutoMix solution. This will allow for a best of both worlds solution and will also not have the limitations of the traditional hardware mixers, due to the unlimited channels, busses and groups. Also, as it is software, it is also more flexible and scalable, as it can run anywhere — on premise, on private or public cloud — and can be easily turned on and turned off on demand.”

Lawo

He continues: “Based on our close relationships with many global broadcasters, we understand that although there may be common systems and setups, in reality each of them has unique workflows. As a result, to maximise the value of our audio solutions, we have had to design custom software elements that can slot easily into their setups. To strengthen this customised approach, we have set up a new division of talented DSP, C++ and web developers. This makes it possible to develop these custom solutions and solve our customers’ broadcast audio issues that cannot be addressed by standard off-the-shelf products.”

“We have seen that our standalone AutoMix solution works well for certain user cases, we have also had feedback that broadcasters would like to combine this functionality with the ability for manual mixing,” he adds. “To cover this requirement, we introduced the beta version of our software mixer, LAMA Mix.

“Besides Lawo’s significant contribution to the global sports events in Japan and China, there are quite a few more highlights to mention,” says Andreas Hilmer, chief marketing officer, Lawo. “Outstanding has been the Video Contribution Next Generation (ViCoNG) project of Belgian digital services provider Proximus, based on a V__matrix infrastructure, Lawo’s software-defined video processing and multiviewer platform. ViCoNG connects 18 Belgian arenas to the PmH production house, the video assistant referee (VAR) headquarters, as well as Eleven Sports and other broadcasters. It allows for both traditional and remote productions of up to 10 simultaneous matches, using between 16 and 28 cameras per match. The system and all devices are controlled using Lawo’s VSM IP broadcast control system.”

“Another highlight was the European Championships 2022 in Munich, where EMG was responsible for the live broadcast, using an AoIP setup from Lawo,” continues Hilmer.

“Nine galleries in the IBC in Munich’s Olympic Stadium and one gallery for outside venues were equipped with Lawo mc²56 MkIII production consoles powered by a cluster of eight shared A__UHD Core audio engines in a redundant setup. Also, the commentary infrastructure was 100% Lawo.”

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Lawo was also involved in the Dolby Atmos remote production of the Bundesliga this year.

“The most important product developments were the Home-native .edge hyper-density SDI/IP conversion and routing platform,” says Hilmer. “[.edge] is designed as an easy drop-in SDI router replacement and as a hyper-density conversion unit for IP and hybrid infrastructures, providing 192 SDI/IP conversions per 2RU. For sports production, which are usually based on trucks or flight-packs, this means immediate savings in rack space, weight and power consumption. [It also] provides full support for the SMPTE ST2110 suite of standards with ST2022-7 redundancy built in.”

Hilmer says Lawo continues to follow its internal S25 strategy. “This obviously includes new products as well as new developments and functions for existing products via softwaredefined updates — good for the environment and good for our customers,” he adds. “We will continue to further harmonise the user experience following our LUX Lawo User Experience guidelines. Beyond that, you can be sure we will keep on pushing the envelope in IP video, audio, control and monitoring solutions. Watch this space!”

Leader Europe

“The growth of UHDTV/HDR live production has been a feature of 2022, with the trickle down of HDR from major marquee events like the Olympics and World Cup, to day-to-day events like the English Premier League and Formula 1,” says Kevin Salvidge, sales engineering manager, Leader Europe. “All of these productions have one thing in common: while producing an HDR program stream, the SDR program stream cannot be compromised. The Leader LV5600 waveform monitor and LV7600 rasteriser support the simultaneous display of multiple HDR transfer characteristics, thus allowing the HDR supervisor to simultaneously monitor both the SDR and HDR program and make the necessary fine adjustments to ensure they both meet and exceed the broadcasters’ required standards.”

Salvidge adds: “Developments of the LVB440 IP analyser are continuing to enhance remote production, with the addition of support for SMPTE ST2110-22 JPEG-XS. At IBC2022 we

demonstrated for the first time a customisable Instrument View option that allows remote productions to configure and display the analysis tool productions require without the need to convert the IP streams to SDI video and add latency to the production.”

units and expanded this to six to create the dynamic, mobile coverage of this event.

“Over Exposed deployed a mix of compact LU300 and multi-cam LU800 units. It provided the on-site technical facilities, acquisition of the feeds via LiveU and then the management of those feeds back to Gravity Media. Gravity Media’s remote production gallery received the feeds and handled the production — commentary, graphics and anything else required — before distributing to London Marathon’s YouTube channel and the BBC Red Button service.”

“We work closely with our customers so we can continue to support their operational and production requirements,” he continues. “We are currently defining the production standards for simultaneous UHDTV/HDR and HD/SDR production that will be with us for the next 20 years. It’s great to be involved in these discussions and helping our customers continue to deliver outstanding content from live sporting events around the world.”

In terms of technology trends, Salvidge identifies remote IP production as a key driver. “Products like the Leader LVB440 are providing operational and production staff with the tools to work remotely. This will allow more live events to be broadcast with the same high production values that we have become accustomed to.”

“It’s been another very busy year for LiveU across the sports market, a market that we’ve been actively developing in terms of products and services,” says Ronen Artman, VP marketing, LiveU. “Earlier this year, UK-based production company Over Exposed turned to LiveU once again to create dynamic, viewer-engaging and highly cost-effective 5G remote production coverage of the iconic Vitality London 10K run. The run also integrated the British 10K Championships.”

“The production company is known for its remote productions and overall outside broadcast work,” he adds. “It owns four LiveU

In summer the company announced that Volleyball World, creator of an integrated ecosystem connecting all volleyball stakeholders (fans, athletes, corporate partners) together through both digital and live events, had turned to LiveU to bring cost-effective coverage of its global beach volleyball tournaments to viewers around the world across 2022.

“Volleyball is the fourth most watched sport globally and continues to grow rapidly,” says Artman. “LiveU is providing a fully managed, end-to-end IP distribution service using LiveU Matrix and LU800 field units and we’re supporting multiple tournaments across 2022.”

“LiveU deployed LU800s as multi-camera encoders on-site, connected via both LAN and WiFi, with cellular connectivity for backup,” Artman adds. “The company’s technology can easily switch between these networks providing tremendous, seamless resiliency.

“Meanwhile, our announcement at IBC2022 that we’ve partnered with SES to launch an integrated video contribution and distribution solution for global live events has attracted a huge amount of attention. One of the first customers, Oranda Singapore, recently deployed the joint solution for live broadcasts of sports climbing in Korea to viewers across EMEA, the Americas and Asia using LiveU’s portable units with SES’s satellite distribution.”

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LTN Global

“A major highlight for LTN this year was the launch of LTN Arc, our fully managed production service that handles every aspect of live event versioning, extending reach across platforms and geographies,” Joe Ferreira, vice president, sports and events, LTN Global, recalls. “LTN Arc enables content owners and sports broadcasters to efficiently deliver customised streams of live sports content to digital audiences across domestic and international markets, meeting diverse platform requirements and enabling seamless downstream monetisation.

pandemic era,” he says. “We are also seeing a significant shift in organisations moving towards IP-based transmission workflows to enable versatility, reach across venues, and lower latency and reliability, something the LTN Network provides the infrastructure for.”

“Another exciting trend is the explosion of OTT platforms and devices,” he adds. “Media companies require a mechanism to brand, monetise and distribute content in a scalable and tailored fashion — to meet diverse platform requirements and drive viewer engagement with culturally relevant coverage, harnessing local language commentary or custom graphics.”

Lumen Technologies

the streaming video industry. Lumen also introduced ISP Matching for Mesh for live sports events, a hybrid peer-assist solution based on the WebRTC protocol, as well as offering low latency for sports through its CDN, and expanding its CDN capacity with a new node in Egypt.

“At-home production, public internet transmission using the SRT protocol to deliver low-latency video over the public internet, and JPEG XS encoding are major trends,” observes Wu. “There’s also peer-to-peer delivery for live and global events as well as for major game releases [esports]. It helps improve video quality or download speed while controlling costs and offload the network during peak traffic. Our Mesh Delivery for Streaming has been around for a few years to enable this, and we’re launching soon Mesh Delivery for Downloads to help with game downloads.”

“Alongside Arc, we launched our cloudbased playout solution LTN Lift. While Arc is a service centred around live events, Lift provides automated versioning capabilities for full-time channels to reach cross-platform audiences.

“Arc and Lift address the challenges and opportunities posed by versioning and customisation in our industry. Media brands need to reach viewers with tailored, localised content experiences to drive subscriber retention. Both services help content owners and sports broadcasters customise live content at scale for global distribution, enabling efficient multi-platform distribution and revenue generation.”

Ferreira says LTN has been focused on helping customers navigate change and complexity in today’s digital media landscape. “Alongside new solution launches, our open, connected network strategy, underpinned by our proprietary IP multicast network, is enabling us to simplify IP-based transmission workflows in what can be a fragmented and chaotic global video transport ecosystem,” he adds.

Ferreira observes that the trend for broadcasters to pivot to remote production setups over the past couple of years has continued in 2022. “While media organisations needed to leverage remote production workflows during the pandemic to keep delivering live events, the trend continues to accelerate in the post-

Recent events Lumen Technologies has helped to deliver include the Winter Olympics, Tour de France, UEFA Euro 2020 and Roland Garros. “Using our Mesh Delivery, we had a 74% average CDN offload on Roland Garros for the French broadcaster,” says Sarah Wu, director of product management, global content delivery network services, who works with Lumen’s edge application delivery services. “We supported major OTT sports platforms streaming the EU football leagues, Formula 1 and motor races in general, and supported major events through our Vyvx offerings, including the US Open and

Luna Remote Systems

“Since Covid, there has been a huge jump in people needing to utilise remote production technology, which is of course our business, and we think that has gone a long way into the popularisation and further utilisation of our systems,” says Jo Adams, commercial director, Luna Remote Systems.

In March, New England Sports Network (NESN) selected Lumen Technologies for broadcast and content backhaul delivery services. The company will provide these video delivery services for all Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox away games. NESN also leverages the Lumen dedicated Cloud Connect platform for disaster recovery, helping to ensure uninterrupted coverage for all games.

In April, Disney Streaming and Lumen began an effort to produce standardised CDN configuration metadata and APIs for

“More people have been able to realise the amazing shots that remote cameras can achieve and the practicalities they can bring, such as space saving or crew efficiencies, and that using these systems does not have to break the budget. We’ve been able to reach a lot more people to discuss their projects and how we might bring new vision to their productions.”

“The popularity of VR/AR and the ability of our systems to work with that technology is also a massive plus point, given how that area has grown, especially in the sports arena,” she adds.

“We sent one of our four-point wirecam systems to the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Portland, via NEP UK for World

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Athletics,” says Adams. “The system was used to great effect along the back straight. Set up as a two-point system, but with the four winches, this allowed parallel and horizontal movement along the entire length of the stadium.

“We got some amazing shots for Sunset+Vine in Cannock Chase on the mountain bike course at the Commonwealth Games in August, with one of our Dactylcam wirecam systems. And in the world of esports, we have been to Busan in Korea and Singapore with Riot Games, with a four-point wirecam, remote dollies and five Mo-Sys heads.”

The company has taken on three new technicians this year and two trainees. “Most likely there will be need for more as we go into 2023,” says Adams. “In terms of equipment, we made further investments in wirecams in the main, two more stadium-sized Eagle Eye fourpoint systems and two new studio- and arenasized Eagle Eye systems. We invested in another high-speed Falcon point-to-point system which can travel at speeds of up to 70mph over a distance of 1km. We’ve also bought an Agito tracking camera system.”

Media

“As innovators in cloud broadcast developing live video solutions, we’re seeing an up-swing in sports rights owners looking to move their workflows to AWS Cloud,” says Matt Hughes, chief commercial officer, M2A Media. “We empower them and their broadcast partners to automate distribution, acquisition and live streaming at scale and at speed.”

that automated and scaled their use of AWS Media Services. We worked with ATP Media to implement our IP transport product M2A Connect to manage the acquisition of streams from third-party suppliers and their onward distribution via an easy-to-use user interface. The solution allows for dynamic event-based routing and entitlement management to ensure the correct feeds are distributed to the correct takers, including individual feeds, as well as ATP Tennis TV.

“With FIBA, we developed a VOD-to-live solution to allow the federation to leverage existing VOD assets enabling the creation of a 24/7 linear-like channel. The solution uses a combination of our low-latency, broadcastgrade live streaming product M2A Live, to automate the VOD playlist into a channel that can be distributed on a direct-to-consumer basis. In addition, FIBA distributes the Courtside 1891 TV channel directly to global takers using M2A Connect. With M2A Connect, FIBA can further monetise its vast existing array of content from across the globe improving its reach to basketball fans globally.”

The beginning of 2023 is set to be an exciting time. “We’ll be taking the wrap off and launching the revamped version of M2A Live, which will serve to provide a leap in capability, as well as a simplified user experience,” says Hughes. “Our new office in Portland, Oregon, will also formally open. This will help our push into the Americas with a direct channel to support customers around the clock.”

Magnifi

VINAYAK SHRIVASTAV

CEO AND CO-FOUNDER

says Vinayak Shrivastav, CEO and co-founder of Magnifi. “There is a distinct rise in popularity of highlights being shared via services such as Google Web Stories and other social platforms which require optimised 9:16 videos. Magnifi is delivering industry-first features… alleviating the need for editors to manually analyse, resize and crop video to meet the dimensions and orientation required by these popular platforms.”

“In 2022, we announced customer wins with two premier sports rights owners: ATP Media, the global sales, broadcast production and distribution arm of the ATP Tour, and FIBA, the international basketball federation,” he adds. “ATP Media required a solution to power the delivery of its live tournament feeds

Magnifi by VideoVerse (previously known as Toch AI) unveiled its new GUI/dashboard at IBC2022. Using AI and ML technology, Magnifi’s solution intelligently analyses video footage based on specified, preset criteria. Content is analysed in seconds, with clips being auto-resized and optimised to meet various social platform requirements so they can be auto-shared with speed and ease. Adding an option of editorial controls, the new interface offers content rights holders and broadcasters the ability to balance every level of automation with creative freedom.

“In addition, our AI-enabled ball tracking technology has been improved upon, allowing for a precise and impactful resizing of content,”

“To be able to automate the production of 9:16 videos, it is crucial to have a high-performing ball tracking mechanism,” Shrivastav continues. “Various challenges need to be overcome, such as accounting for the changing camera angles and movement, and the varying speed and unpredictable trajectory of players and the ball alike. Working through various false positive and negative scenarios, our AI team was able to produce an output that overcame these challenges and on deployment was able to ‘auto-flip’ videos with a high degree of accuracy. This was a turning point for the company — we could now resize videos without any manual intervention and do it at scale to keep up with the live event happening on the cricket field.”

Shrivastav looks forward to AI and Web 3.0 providing a solution to stream and watch live sports in the metaverse and sees 5G mobile connectivity as crucial to supporting the demands of content-heavy remote-working production.

Matrox Video

“Whenever you see a sporting event, chances are that Matrox technology is behind the scenes, or under the hood, powering the live production,” says Francesco Scartozzi, vice president of sales and business development for the broadcast and media group at Matrox Video. “For major sporting events — such as the Super Bowl, US Open, F1 events, premier European soccer

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FRANCESCO SCARTOZZI VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT FOR THE BROADCAST AND MEDIA GROUP (BMG)
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leagues and MotoGP — every international television network uses Matrox SDI I/O, ST2110, and/or H.264 codec cards, whether it’s to drive AR graphics, virtual advertisements, or state-ofthe-art virtual studios.”

framework, all that can be achieved is a lift-andshift model, which doesn’t get us as an industry to where we want to be, a virtual equipment room in the cloud.”

Mavis Broadcast

“This year Mavis Broadcast helped BT Sport put a purely cloud-based production on linear TV for The Ashes and the UFC in London,” says Patrick Holroyd, CEO, Mavis Broadcast.

“More and more broadcasters and live event producers interested in remote productions also leveraged Monarch Edge encoders and decoders as they are purpose-built to cover every REMI workflow consideration,” Scartozzi adds. “Tally and talkback for bidirectional communication between on-site and in-studio personnel and genlockable decoders for seamless integration into on-prem facilities are some of the design features that prove that Monarch Edge is built for REMI.”

With broadcasters looking for innovative ways to leverage the cloud for live production and distribution, Scartozzi says Matrox is working with partners such as GlobalM to offer orchestration over the internet. “This is a cost-effective approach to live productions by sending and sharing high-quality, lowlatency contribution streams to the centralised production and distribution hub via cloud-based links, versus traditionally expensive satellitebased links,” he says. “Real hurdles prevent tier 1 live sports and news events from being produced in the cloud. We must address latency, audio/ video synchronisation and redundancy, if our industry is serious about using the cloud for what is traditionally only offered on-prem.”

Over the next six months, Matrox will focus on building an infrastructure/framework to help the broadcast market transition to the cloud. “The only possible way to make this a reality is if we embrace the asynchronous nature of the cloud and marry that with the intimate knowledge of broadcast workflows, requirements and constraints,” says Scartozzi. “Matrox is uniquely positioned to build this framework/foundation to enable best-of-breed solution vendors and offer broadcasters a true path to live cloud productions. Without this

“An encoder box with the capacity to send six feeds into the cloud using MLSP powered the BT Ashes Daily live output. Footage was uploaded from EVS into Mavis, with monitoring and VT support at BT Sport’s MCR in Stratford, London.”

“We’ve also provided the solution that aggregated the English Cricket Board’s T20 Blast series from around the country, and broadcast live on its YouTube channels,” adds Holroyd. “Providing the platform for the Professional Triathletes Organisation press conferences for 2022 events has also been great.”

Holroyd feels the acceleration of underlying hardware that enables and powers cloud production technology is set to shape sports production workflows, and will impact on Mavis Broadcast’s business

“This is why we work closely with AWS to understand their roadmap and try to ensure our feature set complements their capabilities,” he adds.

If you visited the Atomos stand at NAB or IBC2022 you’ll have seen Cloud Studio: cloudbased live video production services for sharing and real-time collaboration developed in partnership with Mavis. It comprises Capture to Cloud, which uploads files from Atomos network-connected devices to cloud-based platforms, including Adobe’s Frame.io; Atomos Stream meanwhile uses any Atomos networkenabled device to live stream to popular platforms such as Facebook Live, Twitch,

YouTube and more.

“Announcing our partnership with Atomos is truly an exciting chapter for Mavis. The capability to provide low-cost, high-quality streaming devices that also act as recorder and screens will accelerate true cloud-based remote production,” says Holroyd. “There will be a lot more to come from our partnership with Atomos — watch this space!”

Media Links

“Media Links provides mediaover-IP transport technology solutions for many of the most watched sports events around the world,” says Gill Payne, marketing manager, Media Links. “We are the chosen technology for reliably and securely transporting critical highvalue content — video, graphics, audio, data and control signal transfers — across the globe for events, including the Olympics since 2004, the Super Bowl since 2008, World Cup games and many more. We work with service providers and broadcasters that transmit live TV and feeds to their licensed partners and consumers all over the world.”

The company recently launched its MDP3020 Max version that supports 4K UHD transport with JPEG-XS compression. “The MDP3020 Max processes multiple incoming 4K, 12G-SDI video/audio streams by first applying JPEGXS compression and then encapsulating this content into packets for transport over an IP network,” says Payne. “By utilising JPEG-XS with its inherent high image compression quality and ultra-low latency processing characteristics, the MDP3020 Max is ideal for live sports and remote production applications where network edge bandwidths are typically constrained and where time sensitive, immediate interaction between the studio and venues is a necessity.”

“We also launched MetroXpress, our selfcontained, expandable/scalable turnkey IP

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over fibre system solution for transporting multimedia services across metropolitan or localised wide area networks,” continues Payne. “It provides the ability to more easily and cost effectively transport/switch/control the highest contribution quality real-time multimedia services across a regionalised IP network, optimised for carrier-class performance.”

Payne says Media Links will continue to enhance and develop its technology solutions in delivering IP this coming year, to accommodate the rapidly evolving needs of the sports market, including ST2110-20, 22, 30, 31 and 40 technologies, 25Gb IP interfaces, data centre and cloud migration connectivity, and SRT/RIST capability for any service, to name a few.

In terms of trends, he sees the move to a robust and interoperable network management system that provides intuitive service provisioning, real time monitoring and troubleshooting of network elements for media networks as “a necessity”.

“A truly efficient NMS is intuitive to use and scalable whereby network operators and broadcasters can quickly bring new services online for studio, remote and field locations, all while monitoring and maintaining the reliability of active network devices,” he adds.

MediaKind

JEAN-CHRISTOPHE PINEAULT SALES DIRECTOR, SPORTS

“Earlier this year, MediaKind supported NBC Sports by providing video contribution and distribution solutions for its production of the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing,” says Jean-Christophe Pineault, sales director, sports, MediaKind. “NBC Sports utilised MediaKind’s range of video processing and advanced modular receiver technologies to support its high-quality, low-latency and reliable video distribution to viewers throughout the United States.”

technology service for video production, streaming, monetisation and fan engagement.

“MK Engage is built on a modular framework that covers the entire streaming pipeline, from ingest to delivery, enabling sports franchises and live content providers to increase fan engagement while exploring new revenue streams,” says Pineault. “New to the MK Engage service this year is a synchronised video playback feature that enables our customers to align the video player frame with the front end and open new use cases within the live streaming experience. For example, a sports broadcaster can show which player is in possession of the ball, or which golfer is teeing up on the golf course through video overlay.”

He continues: “In the sports space, our biggest focus is on enabling the entire industry to have the freedom to stream live without limits. Many challenges need addressing, particularly around scaling enormous periodic peaks of concurrent live streaming. Much of this content has been delivered to millions of users, primarily over broadcast networks.”

“However, in today’s OTT world, the vast majority of content is watched via unicast and therefore requires synchronisation of separate data feeds,” he adds. “With streaming now ubiquitous to all forms of media, we are concentrating on helping sports rights holders evolve their business models so that they can take their live video delivery workflows into the digital era and tap into the new opportunities for fan engagement. Migrating to the public cloud also enables minimal operational complexity while minimising the latency of live feeds.”

Moov

LAURIE BEAMONT

PROJECTS DIRECTOR

“We were also proud to be a part of BBC Sport’s coverage of the Commonwealth Games this summer,” Beamont continues. “This was a remote production with the studio based in Centenary Square, Birmingham, but with the control room and gallery teams based in Salford. There were challenges with providing a virtual set extension, which used NCam tracking, to a studio 90 miles away from the Brainstorm render engines, but the end result was spectacular. This offering was on top of our regular on-screen graphics contribution, which covered over 200 hours of television across 11 days.”

MediaKind recently announced enhancements to MK Engage, its comprehensive streaming

“The past 12 months have been incredibly busy for us at Moov; we’ve been involved in a number of projects ranging from virtual studios and screens productions to on-screen graphics and VR360,” says Laurie Beamont, projects director at the company. “One of our highlights was providing AR alongside our usual graphics offering for BT Sport at Wembley for the Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte fight. Working alongside our friends at Spidercam and BT Sport creative, we were able to develop a dynamic and editorially supporting device which really enhanced the coverage on such a high-profile night.”

In terms of company developments, Beamont says: “Over the past 12 months we’ve been able to develop in a number of projects and provide new and enhanced offerings in areas such as studio screens and VR360. This has either come in the form of using existing platforms in a new way, or developing our own tools that work alongside, or harness the capabilities of, other platforms. This allows us to be more agile when approaching projects to ensure that the final solution is more tailored and ultimately more powerful.”

“Our use of gaming engines has increased over the past 24 months and utilising the power of Unreal has really allowed us to explore new methods of deployment and approaches to projects,” he adds. “We see that flexibility in approach within the products and tools that we develop and deploy on productions is becoming more of a necessity in the current broadcast graphics landscapes.”

MRMC Broadcast — a Nikon Group Company

“At MRMC, we have made continuous improvements to our software products and introduced new robotics at the same time, allowing us to further meet our customer’s requirements,” says Marius Merten, sports broadcast manager, MRMC Broadcast. “We have introduced the ARC-360,

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a small, robust, weatherproof PTZ camera with roll capability. It is unique in that it provides the smooth movements that MRMC is known for while being entirely weatherproof. The ARC360 builds on our PTZ enablement offering, which we have further strengthened with our acquisition of Slidekamera. We have also introduced a new heavy nodal head, the PTA-2,

enhanced the coverage and viewer experience of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for Sport Digital Fussball viewers by adding data and analytics and instant replays on demand. These enhanced experiences were available to viewers who watched these games on the Sport Digital website. We are currently delivering selected games from the Brazilian and the Portuguese leagues to Sport Digital Fussball viewers who are watching the games on their mobiles, tablets and PCs.”

NEP

“NEP is proud to work in support of its great clients such as Aurora Media Worldwide, DAZN, Sky, Sunset+Vine, IMG, ITN, BBC and WBS, with some notable events such as Wimbledon, the Commonwealth Games, indoor and outdoor athletics events, ITV for the FA Cup and horse racing, Extreme E, Silverstone, Nitro RX and the WTA to name a few,” says Brian Clark, sales director for NEP Major Events.

The MRMC Broadcast team has grown rapidly over the past year. “Along with a more streamlined structure, we have hired new staff to provide our customers with the level of service that is expected for broadcast, including key hires in product development, support, and sales,” says Merten. “We are taking part in several interesting PoCs, which demonstrate our capabilities to the market. We recently finished a PoC in horse racing with a new product called Relay. This is a system that can be applied to track-based sports such as car racing, horse racing and Olympic sports.”

“As we finish the PoCs and continue to develop our robotics and tracking systems, we will be in a strong position to take our offering to market in a scalable way,” he adds. “MRMC Broadcast is traditionally a solutions-led company, and we are working closely with our partners and resellers to design products that continue to be intuitive and robust enough for customers to own and manage.”

NativeWaves

“We have been working with Sport Digital Fussball in Germany delivering next-level experiences to their viewers,” says Christof Haslauer, CEO and founder of NativeWaves. “At the beginning of this year, we

Hausler says important developments occurred around core product NativeWaves EXP in December last year. “NativeWaves Exp is a highly customisable experience framework that enables deeper fan and audience engagement across numerous types of content, programming and live events,” he explains. “Viewers can choose an enhanced event-centric experience on smartphone, tablet or mirrored to the TV, offering additional camera angles, audio tracks, instant replays and highlights, social media integration etc, including full on-screen navigation. In addition, NativeWaves EXP can be used and configured as a second screen experience.”

“From a NativeWaves EXP perspective, over the next six months, we will bring to market experiences such as cricket and American football while developing new experiences for sports such as biathlon and darts,” he adds. “From our streaming platform perspective, we plan to complete automation of most of the key tasks required to deliver multiview experiences, making it simple for our customers to handle most of the operations themselves.”

Hausler feels the user experience is becoming the focal point of sports production. “Our framework approach to delivering next-level viewing experiences means that we can help broadcasters and streaming services deliver these experiences to their viewers without the need for any major changes to their existing workflows. The new experiences not only help grab the viewer’s attention, but also provide new opportunities to monetise the content that they have acquired.”

NEP recently launched TFC Flow an IP-based Diva tool which offers complete control of data, intercom, video and audio signal flow within a unified live event network. “It is managed through TFC — our proprietary web-based control platform, and debuted at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games,” adds Clark. “We continue to push the boundaries with our remote broadcast solutions for our clients, with innovation on the signal acquisition and routing to our Mediabank media asset management tool, as well as new products we are developing that will expand our media processing and media management toolkit.”

Clark says NEP will be growing its centralised production platform around the world, which leverages the power of the TFC control system.

“This is a key factor for NEP and the end-to-end solutions we want to offer our partners,” he adds. “By looking at the entire ecosystem, we can ensure that we offer the correct solution for each project and production rather than the traditional areas that facilities companies were expected to deliver.

“We’re continuing to develop a global production ecosystem and our cloud-based solutions, working towards our vision where our clients and their production teams can collaborate with each other and create, manage and exchange content with the world. This connected ecosystem will allow us to deploy a full suite of practical and user-friendly technologies which will span our end-to-end capabilities in pre-production, production and post-production workflows.”

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Net Insight

“Net Insight has been very busy over the past year, delivering the next-generation solutions that elevate sports production,” according to Ulrik Rohne, CTO media. “Net Insight joined the GV Media Universe Alliance, so our platforms, including Nimbra Edge, a hyper-scale cloud media delivery platform, and Media Pro Application, a fully programmable, adaptable and scalable virtualised media function, can bring lossless, synchronised and broadcast-quality media transport across any infrastructure to GV Media Universe.”

ST2110 functionality and safeguarding highbandwidth media applications up to and beyond 100Gbps,” he adds. “Net Insight’s enhanced suite of ST2110 functions in the Nimbra platform enables customers to safely and easily run up to and beyond 100Gbps WAN network applications, including processing functions such as JPEG XS, JPEG 2000 and MPEG4.”

Newsbridge

“One sports production highlight for Newsbridge over the past year is our work with the Icelandic Football Association (Knattspyrnusamband Íslands, or KSÍ),” says

and immediately find, download and share content. Through Multimodal AI logo detection and facial recognition, Toulouse’s media assets are automatically indexed and sorted into dedicated Collections upon upload. Individual collections are then shared with specific sponsors and other partners who can access — via our mobile app — the specific match and training images relevant to them.”

Newsbridge recently announced a €7 million Series A fundraiser. “As a deep tech company, we’ll be continuing to define the new state of the art in managing content with Multimodal AI, and investing further in R&D,” says Petitpont. “We’re excited to continue our technological developments in data fusion and semantic search so that our customers can use our Multimodal AI to find the exact photo or video clip they need in less than two seconds.”

In the coming months, Newsbridge is establishing a presence in North America, with a first office in New York.

Net Insight has also been working with pay-TV broadcaster Arena Sport to deliver the world’s first combined remote production and centralised VAR contribution network throughout the Balkans for Serbia’s SuperLiga.

“Net Insight delivers secure and reliable live contribution for both projects simultaneously, contributing critical feeds over IP from stadiums across the region to Belgrade,” says Rohne. “The deployment, which is powered by the Nimbra Platform, enables Arena Sport to launch new channels and deliver more content over the whole region, easier, faster and more cost-efficiently. The platform allows the payTV broadcaster to stay ahead of the curve by responding to market needs easily and quickly.

“Net Insight has also been working with The Switch, supporting the transmission of top-tier live sports events. The Nimbra Edge platform plays a key role in MIMiC, The Switch’s cloudbased transmission service, enabling The Switch to remotely configure sites and benefit from hitless operation with two diverse transmission paths combined at the receiving end. This is a mission-critical capability for The Switch’s customers that include broadcasters and rights holders who benefit from the best quality with the lowest latency for live sports events.”

“In August this year, Net Insight announced the most significant upgrade to its Nimbra 1000 platform, introducing flexible and advanced

Icelandic Football is using the Newsbridge cloud media hub to centralise match footage from multiple leagues. “They’re ingesting eight live streams to our platform each week, amounting to 1,800 hours of video per year,” says Petitpont. “The streams themselves are recorded by Icelandic sports technology firm OZ Sports. Through the Newsbridge Media Marketplace, teams from the men’s and women’s leagues can view, clip and collect the match content they need. Coaches also access the media hub to download clips for game reviews.”

“We’re also proud of our recent work with French rugby union club Stade Toulousain,” continues Petitpont. “Toulouse is using the Newsbridge Cloud Media Hub to store and sort tens of thousands of photos. What is especially important to them is the ability for players, sponsors and the press to access the platform

“We have plenty of sports projects across Europe that we are proud of, but we would like to highlight two in particular,” says Guilhem Krier, head of new business & market development, Panasonic Connect Europe — Broadcast & ProAV. “Over the years, Suora Broadcast in Finland has been pioneering technological advancements and continuous improvement, alongside environmental responsibility. Carbon footprint management is an essential part of any responsible production process and since 2021 Suora Broadcast has achieved carbon neutral production, as it runs on green energy and has invested in electric vehicles.”

“As of today, up to eight productions can take place in parallel remotely,” continues Krier. “The technical solution behind this achievement includes remote production with Panasonic AK-UC4000 camera systems, and virtual

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studios equipped with Panasonic PTZ cameras, Zero Density Reality Engine and Panasonic Kairos. Kairos is at the heart of the system; it manages and processes the game signals and broadcasts the output internationally.”

The second project concerns esports production in Spain, namely eLaLiga for FIFA 21.

“For this live production, Mediapro needed a system to leverage the best of IT-based hardware and IP protocols while making the best of software-based user operation,” says Krier. “With gamers playing at home, a set with two productions running simultaneously and two control rooms, all signals were fed into Kairos, allowing production teams strong and intuitive live composing capabilities, to add unlimited numbers or layers and effects, while allowing the audience to watch on any platform what’s happening in real-time.”

Krier says a key driver for Panasonic is finding new digital ways to remotely collaborate and present its solutions to customers, partners and internal teams.

“As a result, this summer we have welcomed the first users into our brand-new AV Digital World, a digital web tool designed to show our entire portfolio in a playful 3D environment,” he adds. “This web space is accessible from any browser and any device and will allow you to learn about our products and solutions for different market segments.”

The company also launched the AW-UE80 PTZ camera, which Krier claims is “ideal for midlevel/ mid-budget sports production”.

“Our core business is about making the world sound as good as it looks,” says Francesca Bianco, CEO, Proaudio Group. “We belong pretty much everywhere sound needs to be recorded then aired, shared, or streamed. We serve broadcasters, production, post-production and streamers.”

Proaudio’s highlight this year took place in the very heart of a 300,000 cubic metre sports venue. “The Barys Arena, in Astana, Kazakhstan — Astana Tigers’ new hockey stadium — had an impressive loudspeaker system that could not cope with an eight second reverberation time,” explains Bianco. “We followed this project from A to Z, working along with the client’s designers and engineers, from issue analysis to final set-up.

Our goal was a speech transmission index (STI) of greater than 0.5, and reverberation time no higher than four seconds.

Quidich

“Quidich has grown over twice in size, from a strength of 34 people in September 2021 to 70 people at present,” says Jaskaran Singh Bakshi, director, global business development, at the company. “It has successfully established its presence in India and the subcontinent, deploying its drone, augmented reality, buggy and player tracking services across cricket, football, athletics, hockey

“Touching plasterboards or other structures that ‘dressed’ the Arena wasn’t an option we could work with, so we engineered an acoustic treatment for the only surface still available — the roof — and we relied on its steel structure. We engineered a gripping and suspension system to allow the installation of 2,767 polyester fibre panels, with first and second double safety anchorage, hanging just like laundry.”

Proaudio supplied the panels, made in Italy from 75% recycled PET, as ‘mattresses’ each weighing 6.88kg.

“We chose and purchased steel cable suspension systems, with a security grip, and engineered the spring to hook them up,” explains Bianco. “After a few weeks’ work, all the panels were up, and the result was way beyond expectations: STI of 0.56 and early decay time (EDT) of 3.8s.”

“We wrapped it up by calibrating the electroacoustical system with system integrator Professional Show,” adds Bianco. “We delivered several different EQ configurations to load, according to the event to be hosted (music, hockey game, speech and so on). The acoustic result has been fully achieved and aesthetics are also good. Astana’s Barys Arena now has its ‘black sky’.”

Proaudio Group operates through divisions and subsidiaries. “SMAPaudio.com, our equipment division and pro shop, supplies windshields: we’ve served DAZN, RAI and a number of football teams,” says Bianco. “We have just set up a new division, WeResolve — that’ll specifically help broadcasters and producers set up their production and postproduction workflows. We’ve signed a specific partnership agreement with Blackmagic Design.”

“Quidich Tracker [QT] is the first of its kind tailor-made technology for cricket that facilitates broadcasters to uncover stories related to fielding strategies accurately and in real time,” he adds. “A custom-built AI camera mounted on the highest accessible point of the stadium optically tracks the live positions and movements of every single player on the field. The smart camera feed generates an average of more than 5 million data points per T20 game. These data points are not just used as a storytelling tool for the broadcast, but also for teams to access a dashboard and analyse their fielding strategies.”

Since its inception, the technology has been deployed at over 400 cricket matches, including during the Indian Premier League, the Caribbean Premier League, the ICC T20 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2021 and the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022.

“The QT plot has gained so much popularity recently, that it appears a minimum of twice per over during any cricket game,” says Singh Bakshi. “If there is any significant fielding change, a QT field plot is sure to appear on your TV screen. The technology has been instrumental in increasing the tactical understanding of fielding strategies for spectators.”

Another highlight was an augmented reality eagle created by Quidich Innovation Labs and Disney Star Sports for the 2022 IPL final broadcast.

“The virtual bird took to the skies during the

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innings break of the final game, played between Rajasthan Royals and Gujarat Titans,” says Singh Bakshi. “It was built using Unreal Engine and Quidich’s proprietary real-time markerless drone tracking system Spatio and marks the start of the partnership between Quidich and Disney Star Sports that will bring further augmented reality features to IPL broadcasts.”

Combining its artificial intelligence and machine learning prowess with AR and second screen technology, the company plans to build a solution that “will enable the stadium experience on a mobile/immersive device to bring the fan closer to the action”.

Qvest

“With state-of-the-art technology and services, Qvest has supported major TV broadcasters at live sports events with individual media equipment solutions on a global stage,” says Henning Miehe, key account manager rental, Qvest. “Among the live production events with dedicated customer support by Qvest were major sports highlights such as the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2021, the Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2022 and the European Championships in Munich.”

from many international sports events, we know the requirements very well and can optimally support broadcasters in particular. For example, Qvest media technology solutions ensure minimal project risk and maximum budget efficiency for broadcasters — regardless of whether the team is working remotely or on site.

“Qvest will support a major German TV broadcaster for the upcoming football World Cup in Qatar with state-of-the-art media equipment that will make the workflows of the on-site crew easier and more efficient.”

“We see sports productions with HD resolution and HDR as a package with a lot of potential,” Miehe continues. “This means less complexity, more flexibility, better workflows and also very good feasibility for remote infrastructures, especially for temporary setups. This technology trend offers real added value for content, and we at Qvest are very well prepared with our team and equipment.”

Racelogic

“Racelogic is relatively new to the sports broadcast technology market,” says managing director Julian Thomas. “We developed a radio-based indoor positioning/tracking system for the automotive industry over the last five

conditions in the stadium. With traditional tracking systems, which are typically based on optical cameras and markers, it would have been impossible to do this.

“AirPixel excels in large volumes with varying lighting conditions, both indoors and outdoors. Our system has a fast setup time and scales very well to stadium size venues. The show aired with the virtual elements broadcast live and WarnerMedia was very happy with the results. This resulted in serious interest from other broadcasters to track not only SkyCams, but also wireless steadicams, cranes, drones and so on.”

Since its entry in the sports broadcast market, Racelogic has been working with major lens and camera manufacturers as well as providers of AR platforms and engines to make sure the systems are compatible.

“We are also in serious conversations with several global sports events rightsholders and broadcasters to use our AirPixel camera tracking technology,” says Thomas. “The potential to add attractive and relevant virtual content as well as advertising has been one of the drivers behind this interest. We expect that 2023 will bring a number of very interesting live events where AirPixel will be used to provide AR footage that has been impossible to create so far.”

RaceTech

Qvest supported German TV broadcasters during the Olympic Winter Games 2022 in Beijing with a temporary production solution based on EVS’ XT-Via ingest and EVS Live PAM Suites, Avid Nexis data storage, pre-configured Avid Media Composer editing suites, and Vizrt engines and Viz Trio live graphics control to ensure technically high-quality reporting from China to the world.

“Our Qvest approach has proven itself in customer use especially in live productions in the sports sector,” says Miehe. “With experience

In March/April 2022 Racelogic worked with WarnerMedia (Turner Sports) on the NCAA Men’s Final Four Games at The Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“The goal was to add non-static AR content to the camera footage from SkyCam — think of a large virtual TV screen and big team logos hanging in the air above the playing field,” explains Thomas. “Tracking a SkyCam and adding AR on top of SkyCam’s footage is a big challenge because of the large volume in which the camera flies and the varying lighting

At Royal Ascot in June, camera crews and extensive outside broadcast facilities from RaceTech provided live enhanced coverage each day to a multitude of international and domestic media outlets, including Sky Sports Racing, Ascot Racecourse TV, Ascot social media production, Ascot’s world feed, various individual bookmaker channels with full availability and support to ITV Racing. RaceTech also supported the HBA Media TV-distributed Golden Hour show produced by IMG, as well as fully supporting the ITV Sport production by supplying numerous RaceTech cameras and feeds.

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“This year, alongside our coverage of major sporting spectacles such as The Derby, Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival, we are delighted to have grown our support of racing initiatives such as the Racing League, Sunday Series and Blenheim Horse Trials,” says John Bozza, RaceTech CEO. “Our work around remote production has grown with several racing fixtures being produced remotely from our hub at Raynes Park in London.”

This remote production hub has grown significantly to include remote camera control alongside RaceTech’s key production tools.

“We have also built two mini OB units to support our work for rights holders such as ITV and the Hong Kong Jockey Club,” says Bozza. “We have continued to recruit and develop new industry talent across a wide range of roles.”

“We will continue to build on our work recently undertaken around virtualisation and the cloud in partnership with AWS,” he adds. “Remote and automated camera technology is also very exciting and will continue to impact how we operate.”

Reality Check Systems (RCS)

“Now in our 25th year, RCS — like our industry as a whole — has undergone a significant transformation over the past few years,” says Matt Rohrs, head of operations, RCS. “Known for our expertise delivering solutions with Vizrt, we have expanded our services through projects using Ross XPression, Unreal Engine and Singular.live. Launching a custom control interface — RCS Cobb — for controlling multiple different graphics renderers is one example. We have played an integral role in advising and supporting clients in their transition to remote and cloud workflows, using our decade of experience in creating remote production centres to design and build innovative and efficient workflows for clients all over the world.”

“In addition to supporting long-term clients, RCS has worked on some major new launches and projects over the past 12 months, including a new set of on-screen graphics following a rebrand for UFC that included Viz, XPression and Singular versions,” continues Rohrs. “We have also recently worked with Amazon Prime Video to deliver graphics as part of its new TNF alt feed productions for the NFL.”

Rohrs says remote and cloud productions are the most significant trends for the market.

“We first delivered an automated production workflow for Sky Germany 11 years ago and the Sky Sport News gallery remains one of the most sophisticated and efficient in the world,” he adds. “Almost ten years ago we delivered a remote graphics production infrastructure for what is now ESPN NL for its Eredivisie match production. We continue to work with them, supporting their switch from Viz to XPression, and most recently delivered a dedicated graphics package for a live match broadcast to TikTok.”

“The trends for efficiency and remote production are now entrenched and we have years of experience in both,” he adds. “Our expertise in cloud production and across a wide range of platforms including Unreal and Singular.live has enabled us to deliver innovative solutions to answer the most challenging demands of our clients.”

Red Bee Media

WILL PITT NEW BUSINESS SALES MANAGER

“Red Bee Media provides a wide array of broadcast services to various stakeholders in the sports industry. Since September 2021, as the world of sport re-established itself post-Covid and following the delayed Tokyo Olympics, we have seen a significant increase in activity,” says Will Pitt, new business sales manager, Red Bee Media. “Some highlights include the contribution and distribution of live sport for rights holders such as BT Sport, Canal+, ESPN, RTL, BBC, Channel 4 and Fox, which include the UEFA Champions League, F1, Tour de France, Eredivisie, NBA and the NFL; White label OTT PPV and subscription platforms for leagues and clubs, including Fightzone, Extreme E and Ekstraklasa; post production and creative services for clubs including Paris Saint-Germain FC and FC Barcelona; provision of data services to Cogeco Canada as part of Red Bee’s partnership with Stats Perform; and live

captioning services for DAZN boxing events, SBS, Ten and ABC (Australia).”

“On the product side, the demand for Free Ad-Supported Streaming (FAST) services has increased significantly across all sectors, including sport, and Red Bee’s comprehensive offer, including complete workflow management, dynamic ad insertion and distribution to platforms and smart TVs, has meant that we have been well placed to meet this demand,” continues Pitt. “As far as events are concerned, The UEFA Women’s Euros in July 2022 re-wrote the records for women’s football in Europe. Red Bee distributed every match on behalf of the BBC in the UK, with the final watched by an impressive audience of 17.5 million.”

Looking forward, Pitt says that as the lines between linear and non-linear platforms continue to blur, “sports rights owners and licensees will look to businesses like Red Bee Media to provide services that ensure the consumer’s journey to the content is as frictionless as possible and that the content is presented flawlessly every time”.

“In addition, 2023 is going to be a busy year in the sport, with the Men’s World Cups in rugby (France) and cricket (India) and the FIFA Women’s Football World Cup (Australia and New Zealand) all taking place,” he adds. “Contribution and distribution workflows for these and other events are being built and tested now. We want to ensure that nothing is left to chance when the events get underway.”

Ross Video

“Ross Video has been a part of many exciting projects involving some of the most iconic and innovative venues across Europe,” says James Ransome, business development manager, sports & live events EMEA, Ross Video. “Principality Stadium in Cardiff completely overhauled its production suite, choosing Ross

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JAMES RANSOME BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, SPORTS & LIVE EVENTS EMEA

Video and PMY to drive its LED displays and match day productions.

commercial director, RT Software. “Despite the pandemic we were able to deliver these projects successfully and on time and both customers are very pleased with the results.”

forward to being able to announce a very large partnership with a major national broadcaster,” he continues. “We’re providing their sports channels with touchscreen telestration, virtual studios, studio graphics, sports newsroom integration as well as channel branding for their playout channels — and all delivered in ST2110 uncompressed IP video.”

Salsa Sound

“Principality Stadium is delivering a best-inclass experience by further engaging fans of the Autumn Nations rugby, WWE Clash at the Castle and the FIM Speedway GP, just to name a few. In the OB realm, Aret is using Ross Video technology to design several OB trucks around the Ultrix Acuity and Ultrix Carbonite across Italy. The Ultrix platform was perfect for these projects, as they can switch between UHD and HD without losing any IO or power.”

Ransome continues: “Spidercam joining Ross Video majorly enhanced the way we deliver a superior experience to our customers and their viewers in the sports and live events space. In addition, we have just launched the Ultrix FR12, which accommodates a huge demand for larger hybrid audio and video routing platforms. As it is software defined, sports broadcasters can configure their Ultrix based on the demands of the production at hand offering greater flexibility.”

“There is so much more to come for Ross Video,” Ransome adds. “Over the next six months, our customers can expect to see tighter integrations with Spidercam, as well as some very interesting developments in the Ross Production Cloud, specifically with Graphite CPC, our cloud production toolset. Here, we can offer an all-in-one cloud solution including 3D, data-driven, real-time graphics, a clip server, an internal audio mixer and switching. We’re also further enhancing our Hyperconverged platform, Ultrix.”

“In terms of customer projects this year, we successfully launched live sports telestration with Tactic Live for Woodbine Entertainment in Canada and Racing Queensland in Australia,” says Mike Fredriksen,

“Getting back to seeing customers at IBC2022 was fantastic,” he adds. “It was the first time our European customers could come and see our new company and product branding and the response was very positive. We released webbased products at IBC; the new web services approach to the Swift range will expand the range of deployment options for our customers, so we are looking forward to our customers embracing this.”

Tactic Pro is the company’s premium telestration package aimed at broadcasters.

“We have substantially improved workflows by introducing AI to the product,” says Fredriksen. “It means we can accelerate operators’ setup time, giving them more time to focus on improving how they explain match play. We collectively called this Next Gen Analysis because it allows broadcasters to give their audiences more of the detailed match analysis that sports clubs use in their training rooms. It brings viewers closer to the action and we’ve been overwhelmed by how well this has been received.”

“Our industry has seen tremendous focus on cloud technologies and we’re continuing to support that transition,” he adds. “The web services approach to Swift CG is a part of a larger effort to migrate more of our portfolio to this architecture. These technologies underpin a desire by customers to adopt more distributed workflows and remote productions, where control rooms can remain fixed, therefore increasing reliability, instead of having to be continually moved and rebuilt at different locations. One of our customers runs a global championship with teams constantly moving around the world. They are constantly pushing the boundaries on how to best deliver amazing sports footage and virtual graphics and we’re looking forward to continuing our relationship with them.”

“From a customer point of view, we look

“We have expanded our technical team, launched new products and been a part of many new projects across international and national competitions. In addition, we also expanded our offering for AI-driven mix automation in new sports,” says Rob Oldfield, CEO, Salsa Sound. “[Highlights include] launching MIXaiR 2.0, our AI-driven automated audio mixing product, enabling automated live mixing and multi-versioning across multiple formats from stereo, 5.1, immersive and Next Generation/object-based formats, for different language or crowd perspectives; and being part of the multi-award winning 5G Edge-XR project, a UK DCMS funded project looking at enabling XR experiences by leveraging 5G networks to perform complex processing on the network edge. We were responsible for the immersive adaptive audio — paving the way for other metaverse applications where different dynamic audio perspectives are required for live events.”

“At IBC2022 we launched native MPEG-H support within MIXaiR — the world’s first live automated implementation of Fraunhofer’s MPEG-H next-generation format for personalised and immersive content,” Oldfield adds.

“We are always pushing the bounds of what can be done with AI in audio and increasing our volumetric audio solutions for the 360/ volumetric/metaverse. We have a lot of exciting projects and applications on the horizon that we will hopefully be able to talk about in the coming months.”

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In terms of technology trends shaping sports production, Oldfield first identifies the move to the cloud. “This is well underway, and more cloud-native tools are required across all parts of the workflow including audio, hence we architect our software to run in Docker containers for easy cloud deployment,” he says. “There’s also the bringing together of the gaming and live sports world for watching in 3D/metaverse-type environments. Volumetric video and free-perspective technology of course requires volumetric audio built on, for example, Salsa Sound’s object-based audio capture framework.”

Signiant

“A true highlight this year for Signiant was Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles,” says Jon Finegold, CMO, Signiant. “SoFi Stadium and the LA Rams use Signiant to help run the most expensive and sophisticated media stadium on the planet. As an entertainment venue, SoFi Stadium sets new standards in almost every category.”

Engine is built into the Signiant Platform, the technology is already installed and connected to our customer’s storage. There’s nothing to install. Best of all, some Media Engine users are included with every Signiant SaaS subscription.”

Finegold observes that in modern live sports productions, the amount of data needing to be moved to and from a wide variety of locations before, during and after the game is growing exponentially. “Speed is foundational,” he says. “Sports organisations must make it easy for their people to find and access content from anywhere in the world. They require automated workflows to distribute content to multiple places simultaneously, and increasingly leverage both on-prem and cloud infrastructure. Lastly, they always involve a wide variety of systems that need to interoperate. With advanced network optimisation technology at its core, the Signiant Platform is perfectly suited for modern live sports productions.

“The acquisition of Reach Engine is helping accelerate our vision for the Signiant platform, which includes next-generation workflow capabilities that build on the innovations and deep market knowledge of the Reach Engine team.”

Silver Spoon Animation

dozens of special FX options and full runtime controls for team, colour, studio placement and scale. On set, a dedicated Team-moji operator worked in tandem with the March Madness show director to block and execute a variety of playful, dynamic skits, woven throughout the tournament, all in real time.”

“We also broke into the world of esports by partnering with Riot Games for the highly anticipated Wild Rift Icons Tournament in Singapore this June,” he adds. “Unlike traditional sports broadcasting, esports gameplay happens within the confines of a screen, so to elevate the broadcast, we brought 85 champions out of the game and into real life, live on stage in stunning real-time AR. Each champion featured custombuilt FX and runtime controls for triggerable animations, colour adjustments, lighting and placement.”

Ventre continues: “Late in the summer, we had the incredible opportunity to partner with Fox Sports and Nvidia to bring Major League Baseball legends back to life for a game at the iconic Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa. We started by creating photorealistic 3D models of each legend’s head, and then composited them onto real-life body talent. Utilising advanced AI technology from Nvidia, we were able to facilitate rapid, realistic facial animation, resulting in a jaw-dropping final rendering.”

“The sheer volume of media activated on game day included 300 LED surfaces outside of the stadium, 2,800 video boards and the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ SoFi Stadium video board,” Finegold adds. “Leading up to the Super Bowl included four events per week requiring 100TB/day of content, 1.12PB of content inbound via Signiant, and 458.97mb/s PBs moved every month.”

In the summer of 2022, Signiant launched Media Engine, a media management service built into the Signiant Platform.

“Media Engine makes it easy to search across any Signiant-connected storage, anywhere, on-prem or in the cloud,” says Finegold. “Unlike a conventional MAM, there’s no need to move or ingest content into Media Engine. Just leave the assets where they are. Since Media

“We’ve been fortunate enough to grow and develop in many areas of our business this year,” says Phil Ventre, SVP of strategic development, Silver Spoon Animation. “One of our most significant company developments was opening up XR New York, our full-service LED volume located just outside NYC. This studio has allowed us to further expand our capabilities for sports broadcasters in the realm of virtual sets and XR content that not only looks great but performs seamlessly.

Ventre says Silver Spoon looks forward to continuing to strengthen relationships with existing sports broadcasting clients, including CBS, Fox and ESPN. “For the next six months we’re focused on continuing to push the boundaries of real-time production. This includes further innovation in our real-time broadcast AR services and expanding awareness of our XR capabilities including ICVFX and virtual sets for sports broadcasting,” he adds.

Singular.live

MIKE WARD HEAD OF MARKETING

“This spring with CBS, we brought back the crowd favourite Team-moji characters for [NCAA’s] March Madness 2022. We developed these playful, real-time AR characters to be highly customisable, with nearly 100 animations,

“This year Singular worked with partners QTV and RCS to evolve their cloud-based remote production for SPFL clubs using live integrated data from StatsPerform to update graphics in real time with match statistics,” says Mike Ward, head of marketing, Singular. live. “We also delivered two new projects for ESPN, including a live TikTok match feed with dedicated graphics for ESPN NL and a complex topic bar for ESPN Deportes.”

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Important developments include releasing the advanced data handling system Datastreams.

“This enables integration with data sources that deliver high-volume and high-frequency data,” says Ward. “It has helped with projects including motor racing. We have also launched a v2 version of our API which makes it even easier for developers and clients to integrate with Singular and build their own interfaces, giving them maximum flexibility when using the Singular platform. This is also being supported by an enhanced advanced developer portal and documentation. In addition, we have continued to add new technology and service provider partners to our network while also deepening existing integrations and partnerships.”

Ward continues: “We’ve got big launches coming up with some major networks and federations, as well as integrations with new partners. We are also launching a completely new portal that will serve people looking for a simpler, scaled-down solution. This will enable the core Singular team to focus even more closely on both our growing Enterprise customer base and our partners as we continue to harness intelligent overlays to deliver next-gen viewing experiences.”

Ward sees the move to remote and cloud production as impacting the whole industry.

“With much work moving huge broadcast infrastructures over to cloud — and increasingly cloud-native — services now done, the focus is shifting to live cloud production,” he says. “As awareness and knowledge around the cloud has expanded so too has everyone’s understanding of the significant differences between ‘cloud’ and cloud-native, web-based solutions. Singular’s intelligent overlays offer a completely new way to deliver live graphic overlays that can be personalised, adaptive and interactive, while also offering live production a far more sustainable way of creating content.”

Skyline Communications

THOMAS GUNKEL

MARKET DIRECTOR BROADCAST

“We have significantly expanded features and added new functions to our DataMiner platform to manage the complete lifecycle of sports events more efficiently,” says Thomas Gunkel, market director broadcast, Skyline Communications. “This starts with providing event planning apps and ordering portals to external customers, for

example to book infrastructure and connectivity between a stadium and an MCR. Once all administrative tasks have been executed and the request has been approved, those get converted into actual activities to automatically provision, configure, control and monitor all infrastructure that is required to successfully deliver the event.”

Slomo.tv

IGOR VITIORETS CTO

“This is only possible because DataMiner is aware of all your resources, along with their availability, capacity and capabilities; it reserves them, and right before an event, it spins them up and configures them. This includes on-premises hardware and software, cloud-based functions and network bandwidth, but also people, rooms, or OB trucks,” he adds.

“As multiple teams are included in the execution of an event, such as the OB team, MCR, production and playout team, DataMiner also provides tailored web user interfaces for your event, which include exactly the data and controls each team or team member needs. After an event is finished, our platform decommissions the infrastructure again, for example disconnecting signals to free up WAN bandwidth or terminating a cloud instance.

“We are about to release new features to also share our user-definable RESTful APIs with systems that are not running in your company, all via our cloud platform.”

“We clearly see the media industry moving to a much more agile and DevOps-based way of handling their daily business and new projects, which is perfectly in line with our philosophy to make it easy and quick for our customers to build and deploy projects on their own and to empower them to evolve and improve those over time,” he continues.

“A central theme for our innovations is empowerment of organisations. The DataMiner platform is all about enabling media companies to transform their workflows and to leverage the full power of the new generation of software products and cloud services,” he adds.

“The slomo.tv video assisted review system videoReferee, adapted for water polo, was used at the 19th FINA World Championships Budapest 2022, as well as at other international FINA water polo competitions,” says Igor Vitiorets, CTO, slomo.tv. “There was also the successful implementation of slomo.tv VAR technology in Kazakhstan, where videoReferee-8F servers and mini-II-vR-Cam cameras are used on a permanent basis at regular football competitions in the Super Cup and Kazakhstan Championship. A joint project with GFM Studio and the Georgian Football Federation saw the step-by-step implementation of the VAR technology based on videoReferee systems in Georgia (VAR Van solution).”

“Since September 2021, we have had many important events and product releases,” adds Vitiorets. “Slomo.tv’s videoReferee VAR systems have been tested and certified to the FIFA Quality Programme For Video Assistant Refereeing Technology. This allows the systems to be used at football competitions of any level of complexity and responsibility. In the last year, five slomo.tv slow-motion replay and multichannel recording servers have been delivered to Poland for TV production and sports broadcasting,14 VAR complexes have been delivered to Kazakhstan and, in co-operation with Deltacast, slomo.tv has integrated its videoReferee system with Delta-offside certified technology, enabling it to offer clubs and federations a complete VAR and VOL solution.”

The Arrow-V slow-motion replay and recording server was launched in a compact 2U chassis. “The Arrow-V is currently more powerful than any broadcast-grade replay server in 3G/HD mode with ISO cameras,” claims Vitiorets. “It supports 14 recording channels, 14 [simultaneous] search channels and two

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playback channels with transition effect for both HD and 3G; it also provides up to 16 channels recording for NLE and two independent workplaces.”

The company also released new software for videoReferee, which takes into account suggestions and feedback from replay operators who have been working on its VAR systems. “We have taken the best from the various VAR workflows, creatively refined them using the features of our system architecture and ended up with an even more user-friendly and faster VAR system with a unique interface and a high level of standard ‘routine’ actions automation,” says Vitiorets.

“In the coming months, we will be finetuning and refining solutions for VAR centre architectures based on SRT technology and public internet. This will allow us to offer budget centralised solutions and VAR centres, while ensuring camera synchronisation and high signal quality.”

“For the 150th Open Championship, SMT debuted Shot View, its real-time ball shot location technology, a first in the tournament’s history,” says Patricia Hopkins, corporate vice president of marketing and branding, SMT. “A team of 24 SMT specialists travelled to St Andrews to recruit and train 180 volunteers to operate SMT’s proprietary GolfX tablets. For each round, a group of volunteers followed each player across the Old Course’s 18 holes, notifying spotters in the landing areas when shots were incoming. The spotters co-ordinated with SMT laser operators, who collected co-ordinates for ball resting locations, creating 3D maps to help calculate how far the ball travelled or how many yards were left to reach the pin. SMT systems ingested the data for distribution to broadcasters, digital productions and on-course videoboards.”

SMT Creative Studio delivered USTA’s world-feed graphics package for the US Open’s transition to UHD, introducing a modern, bold style that showcased deep analytics. “Alongside the graphics package launch, a stylised 3D model of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center also debuted, providing a reference point for viewers as the matches were played across the centre’s 30 courts,” says Hopkins. “These were utilised by the broadcast team as an in-between interstitial as coverage moved from various matches during the broadcast.”

SMT has provided real-time data and timing information to enhance NBC’s production of the past 11 Olympic Games. “For the Tokyo Games, SMT data integration services were utilised for live, on-air graphics, searches on the MAM system and for scheduling information,” Hopkins reveals.

For the 2021 NHL season, SMT provided the league with a combination of scoring, tracking, graphics and virtual insertion technology. “2021 marked the first season of SMT’s Optics data-based graphics system, driven by Oasis, our organising philosophy and data platform,” says Hopkins. “Featuring events such as passes, goals, times of possession and more, Optics enhances the viewer experiences with storytelling graphics like pointers, discs and trails that reveal game-winning strategies. SMT also debuted on-ice, revenue-boosting, virtual ad insertions driven by our Camera Tracker technology.”

SMT’s Team Analytics is now used by every Cup Series team at Daytona. “The newest iteration, version 5.0, included design tweaks so that the virtual cars look identical to the next-gen models,” reveals Hopkins.

Solid State Logic

“Within Europe, the Solid State Logic System T broadcast production platform has been at the centre of a number of high-profile esports broadcasts,” says Tom Knowles, director of new products, Solid State Logic. “Blast.TV in Denmark and 120dB Sound Engineering in Poland used multi-console S500m/S500/S300 setups for both on premise and OB/flypack configurations, covering a series of next-gen esports events. Outside of Europe, System T was used to produce segments during the pre-game and half-time shows at this year’s

Super Bowl. Installed at the NFL’s new West Coast headquarters, the show was mixed from one of five System T equipped control rooms, which are connected over fibre to SoFi Stadium — a first in the history of the championship game.”

Important developments include the launch of pay-as-you-go licensing in new System T TE1 and TE2 Tempest Engines.

“This enables operators to flexibly scale processing capabilities according to broadcast production requirements,” says Knowles. “Software licences for five different processing packs, defined by the total number of mono all-paths equivalent channels supported, from 85 to 800, are now available as perpetual or short-term, time-based rental upgrades. In addition to this, console software releases for the System T range added automatic discovery and connection managements for AES67/ST2110 streams via SAP and SDP. Patching is presented via a GUI, with full mono routing capabilities. The AES67/ST2110 additions come alongside full Dante AoIP routing integration, with discovery of any Dante devices and full audio routing control, including automatic stream creation, utilising the Dante API.”

Solid State Logic has announced a proofof-concept initiative for running the Tempest engine in virtualised and public cloud environments. “The engine is running and we welcome discussions and PoC events to further develop the software IO required on the cloud instance and discussions about usage cases and workflows,” says Knowles. “The virtual engine can be used with any System T surface or software control instance.”

Knowles notes the ‘growing swell’ of immersive audio. “We have seen an uptake in the use for System T for immersive production,” he says. “The flexible and agile CPU-based processing architecture and multi-gesture touchscreens provide a platform that can evolve as immersive audio technologies and the creative ideas of those processing content evolve. Features have been added and enhanced

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SMT

to allow mix engineers to work with height channels without compromise, panning and monitoring includes height without complex workarounds involving multiple channels and busses linked together.”

“We’ve seen the adoption of large-format sensor cameras really take off in Europe, notably with the introduction of our HDC-F5500 with its super sensor S35mm, opening up new creative possibilities,” says Olivier Bovis, head of media solutions Europe, Sony. “The cinematic look offered by large sensors has notably been taken up by all the major football leagues around Europe.

infrastructure needed to achieve these objectives and provide it as a service to them.

“The solution is based on Nevion’s softwaredefined media node, Virtuoso; its SDN media fabric, eMerge; and its media orchestration platform, VideoIPath,” says Bovis.

“At IBC2022, Sony and Nevion introduced several new services and products that will continue to accelerate the transformation of workflows to facilitate distributed and remote production,” he continues. “Networked Live heralds a new era of on-premise/cloud hybrid distributed production solutions, which increases the potential for remote and distributed production, based around universal connectivity. Resource sharing between geographically distant locations enables highquality live production and processing from anywhere. This will allow sports production to be done anywhere and at any scale, levelling up the quality of sports productions overall and increasing efficiencies through a better distribution of people and technological resources — overall ensuring long-term business sustainability.”

SOS Global Express

Gruning reveals that 2022 has been a year of significant investment in personnel and innovation to increase the SOS Global portfolio of services. “Knowledgeable staff coupled with the latest technology has created an environment that ultimately provides highly customisable solutions for our client’s needs to deliver their events successfully and on a global scale,” he says. “The FIFA World Cup and PGA Bermuda Championship are still on the 2022 calendar, with 2023 shaping into another incredible year in sports. SOS Global Express looks forward to supporting and providing custom solutions to clients for all upcoming worldwide live events.”

Spiideo

EMIL HANSSON

HEAD OF PRODUCT — SPIIDEO PLAY

“We also partnered with BT and EMG UK to deliver a full 4K HDR broadcast workflow earlier this year for the Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte boxing fight, again illustrating just how much demand there is for a more artistic look in live production and enhanced operational workflow.”

“Remote production and IP-based production have also meant that new sports are being streamed or broadcast or existing sports are coming in at a lower economic and environmental cost,” he continues. “As an example, Nevion, a Sony Group Company, is working with TV2 and Telenor to deploy an IP-based system that defines how sports venues and production companies can participate in TV2’s production workflows. With over 60 venues and multiple simultaneous games involved, TV2 is contracting several production companies to produce the content. All games are to be produced remotely, with TV2 producing the final programme to be aired — effectively making this a distributed production, with centralised production hubs. TV2 can also produce other events directly, from the venues or new locations.”

TV2 contracted Telenor to build the WAN

“The Beijing Olympics, Super Bowl, Wimbledon, French Open, WTA Tour, US Men’s National Soccer Team, British Open, LIV Tour and RBC Canadian Open were all successful sports moments because of the cutting-edge approach that SOS Global delivered on behalf of their clients,” says Steve Gruning, senior vice president, global sales and alliances, SOS Global Express. “The Olympics are always a significant logistic achievement. For the Beijing Olympics, SOS moved over 100 tons alone back to the US, Australia, Singapore and Europe. The WTA Tour is another event we successfully delivered, covering Asia, North America, Australia, Europe and Central America.”

“To name a few, we’ve worked with organisations such as Gothia Cup, Ringier Sports and MLS Next Pro to scale their automatic production across hundreds and sometimes thousands of games this past year,” says Emil Hansson, head of product — Spiideo Play, Spiideo. “Gothia Cup, for example, broadcast 2,000 games to 177,000 viewers over a single week with 43 Spiideo camera systems.”

“We have focused a lot to go even further into large-scale automatic production by developing our fully cloudbased product suite to enable our customers to broadcast even more with less resources,” continues Hansson. “We launched CloudStudio Anywhere, which is a web-based product for enriching the production with graphics, video overlays and audio commentary from the comfort of your home or from anywhere. MLS Next Pro has 15 announcers that remotely use CloudStudio for giving their viewers an enhanced viewing experience.

“Another important development for Spiideo has been to go deeper into integrations towards various data sources relevant for our customers. In order to meet this growing demand, we have established a professional services team that

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help our customers build customised solutions, such as integration of event API and custom graphics, helping them deliver a top-level production that in turn will maximise the return on their media rights and investments.”

Hansson observes that the increasing availability of rich sports data will enable new immersive viewing experiences that could be tailored directly for the individual.

Meanwhile the company can reveal plans for the next six months. “There will be some great add-ons to our already large and flexible portfolio of AI cameras, making sure we cover all the potential needs our customers have,” says Hansson. “We will also see more and more of those unique sport experiences that made our Spiideo Perform product popular entering into the sport production pipeline.”

Sport Buff

“I think the sheer breadth

and scale of the sports and federations that we have partnered with this year have been what has really excited us,” says Jonty Whitehead, president, Sport Buff. “From esports tournaments on Twitch through emerging brands such as Formula E, playing a part in the growth and reach of women’s football across FAWSL, NWSL, UWCL and the Women’s Euros, right up to established partnerships that will help deliver this year’s biggest global sporting event. This all helps to demonstrate what a versatile and adaptable solution Sport Buff delivers.”

delivery of this opportunity will establish the brand, the business and the data that will allow us to turbocharge growth across the space and onto many different genres and verticals.”

Whitehead sees media convergence as the key to all sports broadcasting going forward.

He defines this as “the ability to personalise a viewer’s experience and to make them feel like they are having their voice heard within the main broadcast”.

“Sport Buff’s interactive overlay technology is where broadcasters and rights owners need to focus their attention in the years ahead,” he adds. “It can speak to a fragmented, disillusioned younger audience, provide brand new inventory for sponsors and advertisers, unlock direct monetisation opportunities plus open up a rich new seam of audience data.”

Suora Broadcast

“The most important development within the past and next six months is our new premises in Helsinki,” says Suora Broadcast CPO Roni Kianta. “We are building the new production facilities entirely based on ST2110 for meeting future sport production requirements. We will have five studios, off-tube facilities and other production facilities plus office premises at the new building. At the first phase, all our [horse] trotting productions will be transferred to the new premises, and the basketball studio productions and other sport off-tube productions will follow in February 2023. At the next phase we are planning to transfer the rest of our sports

system from the central apparatus room, which will provide a sustainable way for heating the building as we do not need to purchase any heating from outside.”

“Our main sport productions are with ice hockey, as we provide technical facilities and personnel for all Finnish Elite League, CHL games played in Finland and most of Finland’s National Ice Hockey Team productions (juniors, women, EHT),” says Kianta. “As a highlight, our ice hockey season culminated in May 2022, when the Men’s World Championships were played in Finland. We produced on site studio productions and additional match cameras for our customer MTV from both locations, Tampere and Helsinki. In addition, we had a studio truck and OB van in the Tampere Fan Zone during the whole event.”

Suora also covered Finland’s National Basketball Team World Championships Qualification Games over the 2021/2022 season.

“We started to provide production services within basketball in November 2021,” says Pylvänen. “As we do quite a lot of ice hockey and trotting, basketball is nice addition into our portfolio. We provide world feed productions of all World Championship qualification games played in Finland, as well as a domestic feed for our customer Sanoma Media Finland. The production is the total 14-camera OB production defined by FIBA. In addition, we provide studio productions for Team Finland World Championship qualification games played abroad.”

Supponor

2022 is a landmark year for Sport Buff. “We have engaged over 70 broadcasters around the globe as they plan their live sports coverage and activations for November and December 2022,” says Whitehead. “Sport Buff will be used by broadcasters on every continent, reaching hundreds of millions of viewers. This sets Sport Buff apart from any other fan/audience engagement solution due to the sheer scale of the operation. Putting our full attention into faultless

“As sustainability is one of our main values, the new facilities will be certified in accordance with the international environmental certification system BREEAM and the aim is to reach the Excellent level,” says sales manager Mikko Pylvänen. “One example is our heat recovery

“The past 12 months have been an incredible success for Supponor,” says Massimo Magri, EU managing director, and global head of football at the company. “Supponor Air received league-wide approval in Germany from the Deutsche FußballLiga (DFL). This gives us technology gold standard status, as the first, and currently only, fully software-based virtual advertising solution available to all Bundesliga clubs.”

“This allowed Supponor, global sports business agency SportFive and Borussia Dortmund to undertake the first commercial deployment of Supponor Air in Germany during the Borussia Dortmund vs RB Leipzig match in April 2022,” he adds. “Subsequently, Supponor

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SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 185 svgeuropeSponsor Update Find out more at www.uniqfeed.com Serving up simple virtual advertising solutions for sports rights holders Virtual advertising made simple Sevilla Paris Cologne DFB Cup Women TVN-Ü1 UEFA Conference League TVN-Ü2, SNG A+BUEFA Europa League TVN-Ü4 UEFA Champions League TVN-Ü6, TVN-Ü4, TVN-Ü3 Wacken Berlin Tirana Wacken Open Air TVN-Ü3 Finals and festivals and ready for more! DFB Cup TVN-Ü6, TVN-Ü5

Air was adopted by FC Bayern Munich, while VfL Wolfsburg announced its partnership with Supponor in August of 2022.”

management, Synamedia. “That’s why many of the advances coming out of Synamedia over the past year have focused on this space, from the Synamedia Go SaaS-based cloud video suite to specialist offerings that protect, enrich and deliver sports streaming.”

Bears rugby match in March was the first live streaming of 8K to the home, allowing us to demonstrate the effectiveness of this technology.”

Tedial

“Additionally, Supponor Air was adopted on a league-wide basis by the Italian Serie A in all 380 matches, in partnership with Interregional Sports Group (ISG Media), and via a direct partnership with Juventus FC,” Magri continues. “In Spain, the 2021/22 season marked the first season in which Supponor Air delivered Virtual Cam Carpets in over 300 LaLiga games per season, in partnership with broadcast production partner Mediapro and through Supponor’s direct partnership with FC Barcelona. Also, in the French Ligue 1, Supponor Air was deployed on a wider scale, including four games during the 2021/22 season, a number which is expected to double in 2022/23.”

The technology was also adopted by UEFA for its European club competitions, including the UEFA Champions League knock-out stages.

Outside of football, Supponor achieved another milestone in May 2022, with the deployment of Supponor Air during ice hockey’s IIHF World Championship in Finland where all 64 events of the tournament saw the virtualisation of the dasher boards in Helsinki and Tampere arenas. This was followed by the 3ICE 3-vs-3 ice hockey tournament in North America, between June and August 2022.

Magri adds: “The most recent partnership for Supponor is with the National Hockey League in North America, via the deployment of digitally enhanced dasherboards that will launch for the 2022/23 season.”

The company is also serving a host of other sports, including several rugby partnerships; in total, Air was deployed in around 3,000 live sports events across the world.

Synamedia

“Live sports streaming is pushing video technologies to new creative heights,” says Elke Hungenaert, VP of product

“Our technology takes the sport watching experience to new levels with live stats, multiangle cameras, watch parties, betting and more, all while keeping a lid on costs,” Hungenaert continues. “When millions of sports fans tune in to stream the same 4K stream at the same time, the network has to create a million unicast connections. To scale without choking the network and costing the earth, we have made incredible efficiency gains in deep edge caching with our Fluid EdgeCDN solution, featuring a sophisticated AI-based traffic prediction to deal with sudden demand spikes. Then, when streamers want to monetise their service, our industry-first application-tailored latency delivery mechanisms free up the network.”

For example, to support betting, the technology enables the swift deployment of WebRTC optimised caches for ultra-low latency so both viewers at home and stadium fans can bet on the next penalty. Or, to support fans chatting in real-time while watching a match, it switches to synchronised latency.

“This eliminates the need of partnering with multiple vendors, reduces infrastructure and cuts costs,” observes Hungenaert.

“Our Vivid Workflow as-a-Service (WaaS) portfolio, which supports any service provider with low-latency OTT services for sports and live events, is complemented by Quortex, a cloudnative SaaS solution for just-in-time processing of live streaming and disaster recovery. It cuts costs, energy and CO2 by providing exactly the resources required at any given time, rather than a ‘just-in-case’ service.”

“Another breakthrough is Immersive Live Sports Streaming in 8K, allowing operators and content owners to distribute 8K content at scale, cost-effectively to subscribers over any platform for the first time,” continues Hungenaert. “BT Sport’s broadcast of the Saracens vs. Bristol

“Over the past 12 months — and longer — we have been busy developing our new media integration platform smartWork, which we presented to the US market at NAB and the European market at IBC,” says Julian Fernandez-Campon, CTO, Tedial. “This new concept provides sports media companies and content owners with a NoCode approach, complexity abstraction and visual tools, which are built into the platform. This means that users within sports production environments, who don’t have coding or deep technical knowledge — ‘citizen developers’ — can easily build and manage content supply chains, which can include integrations of external thirdparty systems without vendor or specialist intervention. This new approach sees all the applications integrated within the smartWork media integration platform and enables business continuity for sports broadcasters to easily be achieved, as their current systems can also be integrated. This significantly improves operations by adding new business processes or cloud services.”

According to Fernandez-Campon, the M&E industry — including the sports market — is transitioning to a wider, more diverse range of software, IP, cloud and cross-platform technologies. “There are more tools than ever before for every part of the workflow,” he says. “More software applications are needed, and companies must rely on a greater number of vendors; companies of all types and sizes must navigate a fragmented market and choose the applications they need for their specific content supply chain. This can be a challenge even for large organisations.”

Fernandez-Campon claims smartWork

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“empowers users to define integrations autonomously — without vendor participation — and create workflows in a flexible and agile manner”.

“Aligned with Movielabs’ 2030 Vision for media creation, the platform removes timeconsuming and complex configurations via a common UI that guarantees an optimal experience and easy access to applications, external systems including legacy MAMs, PAMs and DAMs ensuring business continuity, and features self-validation,” he says.

Telestream

“Telestream products and services continue to be a significant enabler of sports production and delivery workflows around the world,” says Steven Bilow, senior product marketing manager, Telestream. “As the demand for high-quality remote productions using the latest technology continues to grow, Game Creek Video, a technical production services company responsible for bringing some of the largest sporting and entertainment events to air, has been expanding its mobile fleet.”

monitors have the largest touchscreen display in the market for maximum visibility, yet they only extend five inches into the rack, making it a perfect footprint for truck installations where every inch counts.

“In addition, NBC Sports selected Telestream to provide media capture, automated media processing, closed captioning and test and measurement equipment for its production of the XXIV Olympic Winter Games from Beijing.”

According to Bilow, two important technology trends that are impacting sports production workflows are high dynamic range (HDR) with wide colour gamut and the growing maturity of IP infrastructure in both studios and production trucks.

“Telestream provides solutions in both of those technology areas and we’ve seen rising interest in HDR for media processing, quality control and waveform monitoring, and equally growing interest in ST2110 for live capture, waveform monitoring and network monitoring,” he notes.

Tellyo

while protecting rights and licensing. According to Russell, part of WTT’s strategy with the Singapore Smash event was focused around raising the profile of the players themselves. Using Tellyo Talent, WTT provided unique video

“One new truck, tailored to the fall 2022 sports and entertainment season, is named Centennial. This powerful SMPTE ST2110 IP-based broadcast vehicle has been designed for maximum flexibility, handling formats from HD to 4K with full support for HDR to ensure superior contrast, brighter primary colours, richer secondary colours, and a more ‘realistic’ user experience,” he explains. “Telestream Prism waveform monitors, which were specifically requested by clients for installation in Centennial, are used at several positions throughout the truck. They have allowed a single instrument to replace two at each camera shading station and have contributed to making Centennial ready for the fall sports and events season. The Prism MPD series of waveform

“We’ve been very pleased to work with a number of sports customers since last September, including the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), LIV Golf, the Indian Super League (football) and Sunset+Vine (for its coverage of the Henley Royal Regatta), as well as partnering with the organisers of the European Universities Games to help power the live online coverage of their event this summer in Lodz, Poland,” says Stuart G Russell, head of marketing & communications, Tellyo. “The work with the ITTF was particularly enjoyable because not only did we help World Table Tennis produce the live and highlights content for their first ever Singapore Smash — the first in a series of new ‘smash’ events that form the backbone of the ITTF’s revamped annual competition calendar — we also supported the competitors via our Tellyo Talent app.”

Tellyo Talent enables event organisers to share approved video content with athletes, competitors, actors, brand spokespeople and sponsors. This content can be personalised (but not edited) and then shared through social media with the talent’s own community, helping amplify and extend the reach of content

“In terms of the platform, we’ve added some important functionality since last year, including SMPTE 12M compliant multi-camera synching, support for multiple audio tracks, full 24/7 playout capability, improved multiviewers for multichannel monitoring, support for a wider number of aspect ratios, and compatibility with an increasing list of third-party hardware control solutions,” he continues.

“We are really looking at the next big step in terms of the development of our platform, and I would expect us to be heading towards NAB 2023 with some exciting news up our sleeve.”

Telos Alliance

VP OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

“Our Telos Infinity hardware and Virtual Intercom (Infinity VIP) platforms have been used in a number of sporting applications this year,” says Martin Dyster, VP of business development at Telos Alliance. “With VIP now available as the only cloud-native intercom available to Grass Valley AMPP users, it has been deployed as part of an English Premier League football remote production for the 2022/23 season. It has also been trialled by many prospective customers investigating the viability of cloud video production in a number of other sporting genres, ranging from handball, basketball, baseball and rugby, to some very niche sports like arm wrestling!”

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The company’s focus on virtualisation has continued apace during the past 12 months.

“Telos Infinity VIP has generated a huge amount of interest and remains a focus of the company’s commitment to developing virtualised solutions,” says Dyster. “Part of that drive has seen us partnered with Grass Valley at NAB and IBC in 2022, and in many projects and proof-of-concept deliveries both with and without Grass Valley. Despite the many detractors who have claimed that the TV broadcast industry is not ready to embrace cloud for live production, we have seen precisely the opposite, with sales of virtualised communications product almost matching those of hardware. Many customers are dipping their toe into the water, using virtualised solutions as add-ons to their traditional systems in a hybrid model.”

Dyster continues: “The next six months will see more of the same in terms of product evolution. Telos Infinity VIP is evolving constantly as we expose it to more and more customers, and their differing requirements and applications continue to shape the development of the product. Intercom is a constant and critical component within almost all broadcast productions, but the use of intercom varies considerably depending on the genre of content and the culture of the user. With a cloud deployable product like VIP being so new, yet built on the foundation of a hardware platform, it can tackle most situations, but customers continue to surprise us with their requirements, and we continue to address those requests.”

“TBS has worked on a huge number of exciting sports productions over the past year,” says Andreas Eriksson, CEO/head of Telstra Broadcast Services. “These include the Winter Olympic Games last February and the Paralympics in March.

“Alongside these highlights, we also conducted the longest remote production distribution in the world — from Birmingham in the UK to Australia. TBS is excited to have a full calendar of major sporting events to deliver for international broadcasters for the rest of this year and long into the future.”

Eriksson continues: “TBS welcomed Deidre Joubert, Pierre Seban and Emory Strilkaukas to the business to strengthen its business development function in both EMEA and the Americas. Alongside enhancing the team, TBS chose long-standing customer and partner Grass Valley’s GV AMPP (Agile Media Processing Platform) to enable cloud-based production and playout capability for Stan Sport, Australian streaming service Stan’s premium, live and on-demand add-on sport package. Stan Sport can now deliver UHD coverage of premium live sports such as the UEFA Champions League, to subscribers.”

“TBS made an important upgrade to the capabilities of its next generation Internet Delivery Network (IDN), basing it more on established internet standards and taking a web-first approach to delivery for broadcasters,” adds Eriksson. “The upgraded IDN features more automation for efficiency, greater network flexibility, higher bandwidth and lower latency.”

“With more broadcast organisations adopting remote and cloud-based production workflows, and the rapid rise of new content platforms and viewing options, TBS also updated its Media Production Platform (MPP) to scale and expand as user needs evolve,” Eriksson says. “New platform enhancements included improved replay capabilities for live production and the addition of full linear playout capability, including the ability to create Free Ad Supported TV (FAST) channels quickly and cost-efficiently. All our efforts our focused towards supporting broadcasters to flexibly deliver in a rapidly shifting market.”

TeraVolt

TOBIAS FRÖHLICH

CPO AND CO-FOUNDER

It’s been a big year for TeraVolt, which delivers UX and viewing experiences for sports fans, with its addressable TV solution SmartPages, the Audience Manager for automated on-screen notifications, and its sports viewing suite TVXRay.

“At IBC2022, we brought to market our TVXRay on smart TVs,” says Tobias Fröhlich, CPO and co-founder of TeraVolt. “An Android TV device in a living room is now (almost) as interactive and as personal as a smartphone. There is now so much more joy in watching sports. We know that viewers prefer to watch on the biggest screen possible while they expect options for interactivity.”

“It was important to enable our TVXRay solution to truly personalise live sports broadcast for multiple football competitions on app and web,” continues Fröhlich. “With our patented technology, it is now possible for each viewer to get video alerts from any live football match and catch up on any key moment, be it Premier League or Bundesliga. For TV platforms, networks and OTT it is essential that they no longer lose eyeballs to any second screen: viewers have all relevant live data at their own fingertips — about the competition, the match, or the players, when searching for additional information and stats.”

Fröhlich believes a lot of innovation starts in football. “With the DFL — the Bundesliga — we have got a partner who is very open to innovations,” he explains. “But football is not necessarily the most suitable sport for every new feature.”

As for the future, Fröhlich says TeraVolt will not only be ready for every smart TV operating system, but it will also go to market with personalised viewing experiences for additional sports. “Over the next half a year, we will adapt the truly engaging features of TVXRay to cricket, motorsports, tennis and hopefully more,” he adds.

The Switch

“It’s not sexy, but our cloud transmission services have seen incredible growth in the past 12 months,” says Robert Szabo-Rowe, senior vice president, product management, The Switch.

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“The flexibility and price point have really clicked with our customers as they develop new workflows for new content and events. The huge rise in the production and curation of content that is not the main live event is great, clipping and editing for the development of highlight content, social media channel development — not just for teams and events, but for the players as well — is changing the value proposition for live content and we’re very happy to be right in the middle of that.

“TSL products are used in various sports broadcasting applications across the globe, both in studio and out in the field,” says Mark Davies, director of products and technology, TSL. “A recent example is TSL’s audio monitoring solutions being selected for a largescale project with Game Creek Video and its GCV Anywhere kit. This is a remote interface for OB trucks that allows production teams to produce and control live broadcasts while off site. TSL’s MPA1-Mix-Dante is part of the kits and is designed for use at an outside broadcast or headend where fast audio QC of multiple sources is needed.

and video kit can easily be found, launched and managed across a network that is utilising IP media routing. It can be added into any existing infrastructure as it utilises NMOS and is vendor agnostic, making it compatible with virtually all media devices,” says Davies.

“During the next six months, TSL will be targeting enhanced sport production across all our product sectors, with our new basic and intelligent power distribution products, SamQ-Net for AOIP monitoring and X-Connect allowing an alternative to traditional SDI routing infrastructure without the associated pain.”

TV Skyline

“We have invested heavily in our fibre network to enable us to offer the level of service required by our customers. We don’t see that ending anytime soon with the drive to 4K and the associated services that will run alongside that. We are also investing in our cloud platform MIMiC to broaden its appeal and flexibility for live production, clipping and editing and all the delivery variables we encounter in the market today. It’s a very exciting time to be in this space.”

This year, the company has supplied control room production, studio and transmission services for: Mountain West, Sun Belt, NCAA College Football, US Ski & Snowboard, AMA SuperCross, X Games, ESPN Tier 2 remote productions, La Vuelta a España and UCI Road World Championships.

“With the advent of reliable, high-quality cloud services we are seeing the birth of a whole set of new opportunities within the live sport marketplace that will exist alongside the traditional live TX we have all grown up with,” he adds. “Each of those niches presents an opportunity for us and we are looking closely at how we develop our services within those areas. In the more traditional space, the ever-growing drive for quality, not just picture resolution but dynamic range as well as audio improvements, sits alongside some of the new developments such as data and metadata capture and management, which is key to enhancing the customer experience.”

“TSL Tally and audio monitoring equipment was used extensively across all sights in the production of this summer’s highly successful XXII Commonwealth Games centred around Birmingham in the UK.”

Davies says TSL has put a strong emphasis on R&D and product development over the past year. “With this, we have expanded on our three business sectors with developments across the board, including audio, control and power,” he explains. “TSL prides itself on designing solutions that empower customers to help them streamline their workflows.”

“When it comes to audio monitoring, the new Sam-Q-Net introduces TSL’s Sam-Q advanced audio monitoring capabilities, with support for ST2110-30, ST2022-7 and multiple control options including NMOS,” he adds. “One of the benefits is that the onboard redundant 1G Ethernet connectivity vastly reduces the cost of deployment for audio monitoring where a 10G connection isn’t required.”

TSL recently launched the X-Connect IP routing software and hardware solution. “X-Connect is a control layer that ensures all the individual pieces of a broadcaster’s audio

“We had a very successful winter with a total of 18 winter sport host broadcasts, for example the Alpine Skiing World Cup in Wengen, the Four Hills Tournament in Oberstdorf and Garmisch-Partenkirchen or the Biathlon World Cup in Oberhof,” says Robert Kis, CEO, TV Skyline. “In spring, a new DTM [German touring car] season started for us as a general service provider, while in summer, we broadcast several UEFA Nations League matches, for example Germany vs. England.”

Kis continues: “Together with our client U.Com Media, we developed a remote production workflow for the broadcast of the Ladies European Tour and produced different golf tournaments all over Europe, for example in Spain, Sweden and Finland from our Skyline Remote Center in Mainz.”

The upcoming winter has even more winter sports in store for TV Skyline.

“New for us are all host broadcasts of the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation worldwide, including the Bobsleigh World Championships in St. Moritz,” Kis reveals. “In addition, the Biathlon World Championships in Oberhof are on the schedule for us next February.”

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TSL

TVN

“One of TVN Live Production’s year-round assignments is the weekly football coverage of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga, amounting to more than 100 productions a

Mobile Production, the DFL/Sportcast subsidiaries LiveCast TV Produktion and HD Sat Communication at the end of 2021,” continues Osthaus. “The joint venture TVN Live Production has significantly increased its specialist staff, know-how and equipment. A wide range of TVN state-of-the-art OB vans and mobile solutions is enhanced by two further OB vans and nine SNG vehicles. Since the crews and technical staff have been co-operating for years, all of the parties complement each other both technically and from a business perspective. This tried-and-tested co-operation is being constantly reinforced.”

uniqFEED

“The 2022 summer season culminated in the participation in nine productions in 11 days at five finals, including the UEFA Europa League final, DFB Cup final and UEFA Champions League final,” he continues. “With all six OB vans and several of currently 10 SNG units, TVN’s broadcast crews travelled to the venues in Spain, Germany, Albania and France.”

At the UEFA Champions League final in Paris, TVN was present with three OB vans for interviews and studio broadcasts for three rights holders from the German-speaking region in parallel. In addition, the operators created several feeds with virtual advertising for rights holders in Asia and America in UHD-HDR. The firm continued by broadcasting the DFL Supercup in Leipzig between DFB Cup winners RB Leipzig and FC Bayern Munich. Within the framework of the production, TVN was asked to test the new Sony HDC-F5500 camera, the first full frame system camera generating a cinematic look. TVN also broadcast the UEFA Supercup in Finland between Champions League winners Real Madrid and Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt.

Also, at the SportsInnovation 2022 trade fair in Düsseldorf, TVN Live Production produced the ‘innovation games’, with two UHD OB vans and various equipment, including drones, minicopters and specialist cameras, much of it used for the first time publicly.

“This great workload could be handled due to TVN´s increased technical and personnel capabilities,” says Osthaus. “We are seeing a growing order volume, especially in the field of football.

“This number of productions was only possible due to the merger of TVN

will see uniqFEED’s first full solution for LED perimeters in football.”

In September, uniqFEED also participated in IBC’s Accelerator Programme as part of the 5G and the Arena of the Future for XR Events.

“uniqFEED develops leadingedge virtual advertising solutions to enable sports rights holders to maximise the commercial potential of sponsorship inventory in live sports,” says Roger Hall, CEO, uniqFEED. “Our softwarebased solution enables the overlay of stadium advertising with virtual content, or for virtual content to be placed onto empty space such as the field of play. Multiple feeds can then be created, offering enhanced audience targeting capabilities.”

“The aim of the project was to explore the potential for 5G and XR for creating and commercialising virtual environments such as esports arenas,” says Hall. “uniqFEED’s part in the project was to enable the augmentation of the ‘arena-verse’ with personalised virtual advertising content. uniqFEED’s team of developers and engineers continue to look to the future, particularly in the areas of immersive technologies, extended reality and the metaverse to ensure that our products are ready for Web3 and the next generation of live sports production.”

Veritone

“In May 2022, uniqFEED was delighted to once again work with ATP Media and WTA at the Madrid Open, deploying our virtual advertising technology at over 48 matches throughout the tournament, creating an additional nondomestic feed with virtual advertising overlaying the stadium advertising on the baseline wall of the Manolo Santana Court and inserted on the court surface,” Hall continues.

“In August, uniqFEED released the most advanced version of our AdApt virtual advertising software solution, supporting new sports to make virtual advertising accessible to rights holders in as many different sports as possible. We currently offer solutions for tennis, baseball, basketball, table tennis, football, badminton and ice hockey and the next release

“Veritone was very proud to recently take part in the 50th 24h Nürburgring racing event by partnering with SportTotal Live, EMPA and base to process live footage in a matter of minutes, making it globally accessible to all key stakeholders including teams, manufacturers and sponsors,” says David Candler, senior director, customer solutions, Veritone. “What was previously a much slower and manual process became fully automated with Veritone Digital Media Hub, a cloud-based intelligent asset management solution powered by AI through Veritone aiWARE, a hyper-expansive enterprise AI platform. As a result of using Digital Media Hub’s powerful cognitive AI engines, key moments were quickly identified so that all key stakeholders could find the content they needed within minutes for multiple downstream use cases.”

“2022 also saw Veritone return to New York for the US Open Tennis Championships, where we sit at the heart of the closed file content

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 191 svgeuropeSponsor Update

distribution and archiving workflow,” Candler continues. “Veritone is also very proud to continue to represent the US Open through its content licensing services.”

Over the past year, the company has expanded its footprint across the global sports industry. “We have inked more sports-related deals across our SaaS platform, from SportTotal Live in Germany to Globo and Google in Brazil, with more new customers to be announced soon,” says Candler. “We have also increased our integration with sports production solutions such as iconik.

“In addition, we have furthered our relationships with major sports associations, such as USTA and the Fédération Française de Tennis, by renewing our content licensing agreements with them. We are also continuing to grow our live sport event services with events like the recent USTA US Open. In fact, seven of the world’s largest sporting events leverage Veritone,” he adds.

“October saw Veritone launch an international licensing marketplace called SportX, the first AI-powered sports monetisation platform for digital short-form content. SportX connects international sports rights owners with a global network of verified content buyers in a secure and intelligent content exchange. Some of the most exciting features will be sports event-based personalisation and dynamic pricing, which will help sellers capitalise on the content that is generating the most traffic, and the ability to use AI-powered metadata to connect buyers and sellers faster, and at scale.”

“In August 2021 Lega Serie A appointed Videe as one of its trusted suppliers for the provision of host broadcaster service,” says Paola Montanari, CEO, Videe. “Since then, we’ve been providing our 4K HDR OB truck which perfectly fits such main sporting productions thanks to its top-end technology, the presence of two independent control rooms and a 77sqm internal space to host up to 37 people.”

“A wide range of cameras and tailor-made production units also made Videe the ideal partner to different kinds of productions, ranging from diving to horse racing, from teqball to cycling, from basket to snowboarding to open

water swimming,” continues Montanari. “One of our main achievements is Barcolana, the biggest sailing race in the world. The project is very challenging: we have to receive AV signals from inside the fleet and from a helicopter covering 40sqkm. RF technology is then combined with IP infrastructures; the system is fully engineered by our team. Limited space on the compound also means resources are concentrated into one OB truck, providing feeds

web, mobile, OTTs, connected TV, smart TVs and gaming consoles. Contributing more than 340 million streams in 2021, it has teams across Europe, the US and Asia.

“We should also mention the Alpine Ski Championship. For RAI and Infront Italy we provided super-slow motion and hyper-motion cameras as well as 4K remote-controlled micro-cameras with RF and optical fibre RX/TX systems.”

As for the months ahead, Montanari says “the keyword is R&D”.

“With an eye on the market, we’re working in the remote production field. After a proven experience in the F1 remote production for Telefonica-Movistar (2017-2020, from all circuits), we’re experimenting with new approaches and new implementations. At the same time, we aim to partner with sports federations to add value to emerging sports championships.

“Remote production, particularly meant in terms of cloud production, is going to have a great impact on the broadcast sector,” she continues. “This will lead to a fragmentation of the OB truck market while leaving the floor open to lighter solutions. At the same time, through the reduction of budget and the requirements of a typical live TV production, it will significantly help content related to emerging sports to spread. Thanks to our remarkable experience and our highly skilled and up-to-date team, we are ready to take on the challenge.”

ViewLift

ViewLift offers an end-to-end platform for sports leagues, clubs, teams and rights holders to distribute and monetise their content across multiple platforms, including

Fan engagement is a key aspect of the ViewLift offering, with features such as a live game stat tracker, easy ticketing through provider integrations and game tickers. In addition, ready-made, customisable app templates enable users to quickly create new instances for new sports/leagues/teams to expand viewership. The company has worked with numerous clients across the sporting landscape, including The Rugby Network, Supercross, Professional Fighters League, LNP, Buzzer and MotoAmerica.

“We’ve been developing a new, best-in-class digital regional sports service,” says Rick Allen, CEO, ViewLift. “We have significantly ramped up our development team; integrated all major global payment platforms and premium ad networks; built out new apps on major smart TVs; and expanded our sales and marketing staffing and initiatives.”

“Plans for the next six months include: the expansion of FAST integrations; increased fan engagement tools; and helping sports teams and leagues use data from their owned and operated DTC digital services to drive broader distribution, including linear,” says Allen.

The CEO sees several technology trends shaping sports production workflows namely greater fan engagement via personalisation, consistent with data regulation; combining live video with greater digital visualisation, gaming and gambling; ultra-low latency; and increasingly sophisticated AI-automated highlight clipping tools.

Vislink

“We have made continuous enhancements to our 5G and AI-powered solutions over the past year in terms of performance, compatibility and efficiency of

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operation,” says Michel Bais, chief product officer, Vislink. “Notably, we have been featured participants in several advanced 5G trials for live sporting events.”

believe that this trend plays to one of our key technological strengths”.

Vivaro Media

Vislink participated with BT Media & Broadcast and the BBC in trialling a standalone 5G private network for broadcast coverage of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Using Vislink Mobile Viewpoint UltraLink-Air 5G cellular encoders to enable wireless camera connectivity, camera operators could roam freely within the network area during the event, as opposed to relying on broadcast cameras that connect to the outside broadcast solely using RF signals that rely on proprietary equipment. This enables the delivery of smooth, uninterrupted video feeds, and the ability to interface directly into IP-based content delivery networks utilising 5G internet connectivity.

The Commonwealth Games network trial followed an event in May where Vislink innovations were on display at the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Saracens and the Northampton Saints at StoneX Stadium in London. At that event, Vislink supported a BT-led project to highlight the potential for 5G in broadcast contributions, which centred on the connection of the matchday cameras to a standalone private 5G network.

“We have had several significant new product releases,” says Bais. “Including the AeroLink airto-ground system for capturing and distributing breaking news and sporting events footage; an NFT-ready video clipping tool that offers new opportunities for fan engagement and monetisation of sports content; Vislink Cliq, a compact and robust OFDM wireless solution for tier live events; and Vislink 5G 4Live, a complete end-to-end remote production system designed to provide a premium-quality, uncontended 5G private network solution.”

Looking at trends in the market, Bais observes that the industry is “continually looking for new ways to monetise content in the most efficient ways possible, and solutions in AI-automation hold immense potential to realise that. We

“Over the past couple of years, we had the chance to offer live video contribution and distribution of major events — such as the FIFA World Cup and the Winter and Summer Olympics — to broadcasters worldwide,” says Daniel Gonzalez, CEO, Vivaro Media. “We are also contributing to the dawn of a new era of remote production. Since our company acquired Vivaro Video (former TVTel), we’ve been able to offer a turnkey solution to reduce the crew at the venue, optimising our customer’s resources with a central production location. The result is an improvement in quality due to standard, high-end equipment. The remote production becomes a complete service once the live video content reaches our international fibre network, making it possible to distribute the event from anywhere to everywhere.”

globally. “In this edition, Vívaro Media will transmit live signals of the event to 18 different media companies, reaching around 600 million viewers in 10 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay, Canada, Belgium, The Netherlands and South Africa,” says Gonzalez. “To deliver live transmissions to broadcasters around the world, we’ll deploy innovative solutions which include 160 video links, 28 data links and more than 60 Gigabits of bandwidth from Qatar to 18 broadcasters on three continents. We will also be transporting signals in ultra-high definition and 4K, along with hitless and ultra-low latency delivery.”

Vizrt

“It’s been a hectic year for Vizrt,” says Sam Leadsom, commercial director of sports at the company. “By the end of this year, we will have released 23 products and updates to support our customers.

“Since late 2021, we have seen a considerable increase in the demand for transport of occasional use events,” continues Gonzalez. “Simultaneously, we have received a greater number of requests to provide services related to special events like the FIFA World Cup. This scenario led us to increase our team, which is now spread across Montreal, Mexico City and Santiago.”

“Finally, in 2022 our company rebranded, changing its name from Aldea Solutions to Vivaro Media,” he adds. “We are a wholly owned subsidiary of the Vivaro Group (formerly known as Marcatel), a collective of companies that support our initiatives to deliver the best solutions in video transmissions.”

Qatar represents the fifth consecutive FIFA World Cup in which Vívaro Media provides video transport services to rights holders

“Of particular interest this year are Vizrt Engine 5 with its improved integration with Unreal Engine 5 and our Adaptive Graphics feature, which supports multi-screen and platform distribution. Also, our Live Production in the Cloud solution. This product has captured the imagination of our customers, resulting in several incredibly ground-breaking proof of concepts using the cloud or virtual infrastructure. We will unveil the virtual stadium campaign in time for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. It adds a creative component to the storytelling capabilities of Vizrt’s XR Set solution and Viz Libero 8.0 and 8.1, which have also had a complete graphics refresh.”

“The acquisition of Flowics, joining the Vizrt portfolio as Flowics by Vizrt, also strengthens our graphics offering in multiple ways — adding agility, flexibility, HTML graphics and a set of robust sports data connectors,” he adds.

“A few standout projects include the BBC’s

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Winter Olympics virtual studio, which converted an 84sqm space and made it virtually limitless. The tight integration with Unreal Engine 4 and Viz Engine 4 was so realistic that some people mistakenly thought the presenters were in China instead of Media City Salford.”

“We also saw the first use of our proprietary Viz AI technology integrated with Vizrt’s Object Tracker at the Daytona 500 Nascar event by Fox Sports,” Leadsom continues. “Viz AI in Object Tracker allowed the detection and tracking of the race cars over any incoming video feed; no other camera tracking was required. Simplicity and non-intrusiveness were the critical strengths of the tech. Fox Sports is keen to explore how they could use it in their other sports broadcasts.”

“In the last 12 months, heads of sports for EMEA, AMECS and APAC have joined or been appointed, a cloud live production centre of excellence lead joined us from NFL Networks, and I joined as the commercial director for global sports,” he continues. “We’ve hit the ground running and have seen an immediate impact with key renewals and new businesses growing our customer base.”

“In 2022 Waves Audio introduced the Cloud MX audio mixer, a 100% cloud-based audio mixer with superior sound quality for cloud broadcast environments,” says Greg Kopchinski, live and install product manager, Waves Audio.

ins are audio processing modules that provide functionality from common channel strip processing (such as EQ, filters and dynamics) to advanced features including intelligent noise reduction, multiband compression, dynamic EQ and innovative sonic enhancement tools.”

Waves Cloud MX also fully supports the Dugan Speech Automixer, a real-time voiceactivated processor designed to control multiple live microphones simultaneously, such as those used in commentator and sports talent panel discussions.

“In fact, many of these same processing tools have been used for years in on-prem, OB, REMI and hybrid broadcast environments by top audio engineers around the world,” adds Kopchinski. “Waves audio processing is renowned in studio, live and post production and has earned Waves a Technical Grammy Award.

“Waves Cloud MX is NDI-compatible and fits easily into NDI-based cloud production environments, including Grass Valley’s Agile Media Processing Platform (AMPP). The support for NDI audio stream inputs and outputs ensures interoperability with replay, graphics, switching and other cloud production systems.”

Kopchinski says Waves will continue adding new features and capabilities to Cloud MX, “based on requests from sports production A1s and system operators”.

“The accelerating adoption of cloudbased production workflows by tier 1 sports broadcasters highlights the importance of innovative software driven solutions that are compatible and fully interoperable with adjacent systems,” he adds. “As the leading audio processing vendor for cloud broadcast environments, Waves understands that production teams can deliver more content across richer distribution channels as technology providers work together to provide capabilities that optimise the workflow from ingest to delivery.”

WorldCast Group

particularly fortunate to be an integral part of the mobile broadcast team of an international racing company this season. We’ve also recently been chosen to monitor the outsourced master control facilities for a US sports network, becoming the chosen in-house monitoring tool for their master control provider. Monitoring the equipment and services that make sports happen is what we do.”

“The first release of Cloud MX supports up to 64 stereo input channels and a total of 44 mix buses that utilise Waves double precision 32-bit floating point mixing engine to deliver pristine sound quality for any broadcast program feeds.

“A significant feature of the audio mixer is the ability to use a broad selection of Waves plug-ins on every input and output channel. These plug-

CYRUS UIBLE SOLUTION ARCHITECT

“2022 has been an exciting year for the Kybio team here at WorldCast Group,” says Cyrus Uible, solution architect, WorldCast Group. “As a reminder we provide on-premises and cloud-based monitoring to the media and broadcast industries and have been

“Particularly exciting feature developments this year have also included our Umbrella technology for monitoring remote teams, Kybio self-monitoring, and enhanced visual screens that will now be built-in for some monitored equipment. We’re continuing to make monitoring simpler as the underlying technology becomes more complex,” he adds.

“For the next two quarters we are very excited to bring more service-based monitoring features online as well as automation tools for more advanced self-healing and automatic logic workflows. In addition, we are increasing the size of our driver library to bring more visibility more quickly to our customers.”

In terms of technology trends that are shaping sports production workflows, Uible says it’s “still all about OTT and cloud-based services”. “Not as stand-alone, but as part of an overall ecosystem of technologies that is itself constantly changing,” he adds. “Making everything simpler for both operations and engineering will be crucial in the coming years. Striving for more ‘hidden technology’ will have a larger impact on not just sports but the wider live production industry as a whole.”

YuzzitPro

YuzzitPro, a tool for creating and distributing content on social media, is used by clients

SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 195 svgeuropeSponsor Update

including TF1, RTL Group and the FIA World Endurance Championship, enabling them to create, edit, broadcast and monetise content from any video rush, webinar or live stream without the need for additional software.

The tool is of particular value to the sports broadcast sector thanks to features such as automatic clipping and its ability to live broadcast to multiple platforms at the same time.

Thanks to AI, data feeds and workflows, real time alerts trigger the automatic cutting of video clips when an action occurs during a live event. Users can then customise and share it on their chosen platforms, such as YouTube, Dailymotion, Facebook and Twitch.

YuzzitPro is natively interfaced with all platforms so users can easily share content simultaneously on their CMS, FTP and the main social media and VOD platforms.

Zero Density

“We launched Traxis talentS, the industry’s first stereoscopic talent tracking system that makes wearables and markers obsolete,” says Yavuz Bahadiroglu, global growth manager, Zero Density.

defined location, it can trigger the graphics to appear, and leaving this location makes them disappear automatically.”

“Real-time data integration is also extremely important for sports coverage,” he adds. “With RealityHub, any source can be used to feed the graphics, such as a local excel file or a live data feed, without using any plug-ins or writing a single line of code.”

In terms of sports production highlights, Bahadiroglu says IMG Premier League Productions went on-air from a brand new virtual studio for the new season, powered by Reality Engine. “Belgium’s RTBF has been utilising Zero Density products in the last four years,” he adds. “Each year it revamps its virtual set design for the UEFA League. It also recently covered the Women’s Euros with the help of Reality. Also Discovery/Eurosport Finland covered national Finnish ice hockey tournaments from a virtual set powered by Reality.”

Bahadiroglu reveals that RealityHub’s feature set will be rapidly expanded in the coming months. “We’re also expanding Reality Engine’s XR features and working on integrating the latest AI algorithms and machine learning capabilities in our existing product line,” he says. “The trend we feel is most shaping sports production workflows is the drive for photorealistic images driven by Unreal Engine. Zero Density first introduced Unreal Engine to the industry back in 2016, and we continue to push to innovate in this space today.”

scale cloud infrastructure, delivering highly resilient low latency-live video routes globally on demand,” says Haren. “Zixi has been working closely with Amazon, building new functionality into Zen Master to assist with automating production workflows around complex live event schedules.”

“From the score to player statistics, we know great graphics are crucial for a sports audience. As the most photo-realistic real-time production platform, Reality Engine provides the tools to create the most immersive content possible and revolutionise storytelling in sports graphics,” says Bahadiroglu. “Combined with Traxis talentS, sports broadcasters can now create photoreal virtual studio or AR elements that talent can easily interact with — all while moving freely. It’s the ultimate presenter experience as it’s quick to set up, with no wearables or beacons getting in the way of creativity. Also, knowing the exact position of the talent makes it possible to create interactive scenes. For example, if a presenter walks to a

“Zixi has seen significant increases in the volume of live events our customers produce, the number of target destinations live events are trafficked to, and emerging technologies that are lowering production costs and complexity while creating operational agility,” says Ken Haren, senior director of product marketing, Zixi. “Interesting recent projects that Zixi has been an integral partner in delivering include EA Sports, where Zixi worked closely with EA to deliver a premium live broadcast experience, delivered globally, for the Madden Bowl esports tournaments, managing hundreds of live sources and targets.”

“Also, Amazon has leveraged the cloud-based Zixi-as-a-Service (ZaaS) solution to rapidly

Haren continues: “With the Live Events Manager in Zen Master, producers can now manage complex events schedules, automating the acquisition of live events on an easily managed programming schedule. The new features also define automated workflows with pre- and post-game slating that seamlessly transition the programme feed through event stages, while providing easily updated real-time schedule changes when needed.”

The company also worked with Bare Knuckle Fight Championships (BKFC). “BKFC and Zixi built a production and distribution solution to rapidly launch their next generation live video delivery system,” says Haren. “Zixi is orchestrating live source ingest to cloud processing centres, where Zixi integrated low latency transcoders process the source content into packaged OTT streams and deliver to CDNs. Of particular interest has been how BKFC is leveraging the metaverse, partnering with The Aquarium, a metaverse gaming and event venue located in Decentraland. Viewers experience the fight together in an arena-like experience and Zixi is helping BKFC ensure an ultra-low latency, high-quality live experience is shared across the metaverse audience.”

In Scotland, Zixi could be found at the Pitlochry Games. “Working closely with industry partners, Zixi successfully executed a completely untethered live remote production,” says Haren. “Zixi feeds were backhauled over a private 5G network to live production mixers. Contribution feeds were then uplinked over bonded 4G/LTE and Starlink satellite networks to our cloud-based ZaaS service. ZaaS then conditioned the content for delivery to discreet global licence rights holders, matching the target requirements for format and delivery protocol.”

196 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope Sponsor Update
Zixi
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 197 svgeuropeSponsor Update Easy to use cloud video editing for broadcasters More informations : www.yuzzitpro.com - Cut highlights while your stream is being recorded - Edit and publish in one click - Full automation option C M J CM MJ CJ CMJ N Yuzzitpro IBC2022 0722.pdf 1 27/07/2022 19:03

Tech

7917 772731 ben@808talent.com

chang.li@accedo.tv

mcoyde@acsmedia.com

1442 234531 gavin.bunker@ae.live

1 41 36 12

TFengel@aeta-audio.com

823803 jennifer.edis@racelogic.co.uk

7984 143056 gina@phosphor.pro

(0)6 09 58 29

yinan.qyn@alibaba-inc.com

97390 87670 meghna@amagi.com

7736 481

matthew.williams-neale@appear.net

771372591 elise.riffuad@ampvisualtv.tv

7769908968 Sam@arista.com

1728640605 r.sturm@arkona-technologies.de

d.bouskela@ateme.com

abischof@audio-technica.eu

tgeist@amazon.com

christine.williamson@belden.com

a.lambert@blackbird.video

870 756 alessandro@blackmagicdesign.com

6477 achang@brightcove.com

(0) 7

elodie.levrel@broadpeak.tv

a.hoeflich@broadcast-solutions.de

Webster +44 1977 598694 felicity.webster@bt.com

Emmott +44 1422 842159 kevin.emmott@calrec.com

Parker

44 1932 336052 barryparker@cameracorps.co.uk

Adair jack.adair@canon-europe.com

Belluzzo luciano.belluzzo@cartoni.com

Georgiana Verdonk Sim +31 6 8219 0688 Georgiana.VerdonkSim@catontechnology.com

Gold Vicky Callister +44 (0)7506 786745 vicky.callister@cerberus.tech

Gold Carol Bettencourt +1 631 545 2000 carol.bettencourt@chyron.com

Cingularity Gold Dan Pope + 44 (0)7788977904 dp@cingularity.tv

Cloudbass

Gold Ollie Williams oliwilli@cisco.com

Bronze James Wilson james.wilson@cloudbass.com

Gold Bob McAlpine +1 631 9888033 bob.mcalpine@cobaltdigital.com

David Bourgeois +32 470 65 07 06 david.bourgeois@cyanview.com

Gerald Olivier +32 4 2397887 g.olivier@deltacast.tv

Claire Bell

011 384 18344 Claire.bell@deltatre.com

+44 7464343263 alexandra.coulson@disguise.one

ed.abis@dizplai.com

richard@flech.com

gabriel@flowics.com

peter.hattan@for-a.co.uk

makoto.tomiyama@fujifilm.com

solja.nieminen@genelec.com

jodi.morelli.ext@globecast.com

tia.maletta@gravitymedia.com

russell@hitomi-broadcast.tv

Stuart@hyperstudios.co.uk

Anna.cotton@imagen.io

Kathy.Bunting@imaginecommunications.com

alisha.perdue@ironmountain.com

ewan@lamamix.com

andreas.hilmer@lawo.de

salvidge@leadereurope.com

ronen@liveu.tv

nkhan@ltnglobal.com

cyrille.huteau@lumen.com

jo@lunaremote.co.uk

lizzie.lawrence@m2amedia.tv

geetanjali@magnifi.ai

808 Talent 135 Bronze Ben Swanton +44
Accedo 29 Gold Chang Li 07854366589
ACS 139 Bronze Matt Coyde
AE Live 29 Gold Gavin Bunker +44
AETA Audio 139 Bronze Thomas Fengel +33
64
AirPixel 141 Bronze Jennifer Edis +44 1280
AJA Video Systems 33 Gold Gina Georgallis +44
Alibaba 33 Gold Yinan Qian +33
99
Amagi 35 Gold Meghna Vidyasagar +91
Appear 35 Gold Matthew Williams-Neale +44
258
AMP Visual TV 141 Bronze Elise Riffuad +33
Arista 143 Bronze Sam Watkins +44
arkona technologies 37 Gold Rainer Sturm +49
Ateme 39 Gold Dorota Bouskela +33 684633212
Audio Technica 39 Gold Alexandra Bischof +49 151 544 59 289
AWS Elemental 41 Gold Tracy Geist +1 415 298 2190
BCE Gold Laurent Seve +352 2480 7111 Laurent_Seve@bce.lu Belden 43 Gold Christine Williamson
Blackbird 43 Gold Adrian Lambert +44 (0) 7905 863352
Blackmagic Design 45 Gold Alessandro Lima +44 (0) 7392
Brightcove 47 Gold Antony Chang +44 207 148
Broadpeak TV Bronze Elodie Levrel +33
61 97 19 48
Broadcast Solutions 143 Bronze Andreas Hoeflich +49 6721 40080
BT Media & Broadcast 47 Gold Felicity
Calrec 143 Bronze Kevin
Camera Corps 147 Bronze Barry
+
Canon 204 Gold Jack
Cartoni 147 Bronze Luciano
Caton Technology 49 Gold
Cerberus
51
Chyron 51
Cisco 53
151
Cobalt 53
CyanView 151 Bronze
Deltacast 55 Gold
Deltatre 55 Gold
+39
Disguise 153 Bronze Alexandra Coulson
Dizplai 57 Gold Ed Abis
Dolby 57 Gold Stefan Kramper stefan.kramper@dolby.com Domo Broadcast Systems 59 Gold Sam Butchers +44 1489 884 495 sam.butchers@domotactical.com Edgio 59 Gold Natascha Roesgen +49 89 890 584813 nroesgen@edg.io EditShare 61 Gold Katharine Guy katherine.guy@editshare.com ES Broadcast 61 Gold Terry Murphy +44 1923 650 074 terry@esbroadcast.com EMG 3 Platinum Patrick Brand +31 6 22230797 patrick.brand@emglive.com EMG UK Bronze Angela Gibbons +44 7917460917 angela.gibbons@ctvob.co.uk Eurovision Services 63 Gold Fabien Robineau +41 227172020 robineau@eurovision.net Evertz 63 Gold Mo Goyal +1 905 335 3700 Mo@evertz.com EVS 65 Gold Sebastien Verlaine +32 4 97434244 s.verlaine@evs.com Fletcher 153 Bronze Richard Hingley +44 1753 576 861
Flowics 65 Gold Gabriel Banos +1 549 1131 7681815
For-A 69 Gold Peter Hattan +44 7860 958955
Fujinon Gold Makoto Tomiyama +49 1739496900
Genelec 69 Gold Solja Nieminen +358(0) 40 623 7100
Globecast 70 Gold JodiMorelli +1 203 2492839
Grass Valley 7 Platinum Elpi Klapa 07900 785017 elpi.klapa@grassvalley.com Gravity Media 9 Platinum Tia Maletta +44 1923 589425
Hitomi 155 Bronze Russell Johnson +44 797 0716261
Hyper Studios 155 Bronze Stuart Paterson-Browne 073401548881
Imagen 71 Gold Anna Cotton
Imagine Communications 71 Gold Kathy Bunting +1 416.722.1872
Iron Mountain Entertainment Services 73 Gold Alisha Perdue +1 614 747 0581
LAMA (Lean and Mean Audio) 157 Bronze Ewan Cameron +31 628601274
Lawo 73 Gold Andreas Hilmer +49 72221002
Leader 74 Gold Kevin Salvidge +44 7286 178 752
LiveU 75 Gold Ronen Artman +972 9 763 2414
LTN Global 77 Gold Nadia Khan +1 508 331 1870
Lumen 77 Gold Cyrille Huteau +33 1 76 40 09 75
Luna Remote Systems 157 Bronze Jo Adams +44 07787110189
M2A Media 78 Gold Elizabeth Lawrence +44 07949 904 168
Magnifi 159 Bronze Geetanjali Dogra Mehta 65 8134080
svgeurope Sponsor Update 198 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 SVG EUROPE SPONSOR PAGE LEVEL CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

Matrox

Mavis

MediaKind

MOOV

MRMC/Nikon

NativeWaves

NCAM

NEP

NEP

Racelogic

RaceTech

Red

Riedel

Ross

RT

Salsa

Sievewright

SponsorIndex

862556

donald.sievewright@matrox.com

Hamdhaidari moe@mavisbroadcast.com

Murray Barker

784548898 murray.barker@mediakind.com

Al Nunez +1 6787703584 anunez@medialinks.com

Mike Phillipson +44 7860 522185 mike.phillipson@moov.tv

Marius Merten

151 426 385 42 marius.merten@nikon.com

Venkat Venkateshwar +43 6607740782 vv@nativewaves.com

Mike Ruddell

20 167 3868 mike.ruddell@ncam-tech.com

Brian Clark +44 7824 563146 bclark@nepgroup.com

Palumbo +44 01908 865554 dpalumbo@nepgroup.com

Mari Fogelberg +46 735148503 mari.fogelberg@netinsight.net

Petitpont

Marco Fabi

(0) 6 35 13 73 43 laura.petitpont@newsbridge.io

3442263247 marco-fabi@ntt-el-eu.com

Kuppusamy

Martin Mulligan

1736282693 sivashankar.kuppusamy@panasonic.com.

1635 873030 martin.mulligan@phabrix.com

Bianco francesca.bianco@proaudio-group.com

Hassall tom.hassall@quantum.com

Jaskaran Singh Bakshi +91 9575 846 846 jaskaran@quidich.com

Matthias Reintgen

Edis

Hills

Ward

174 9481 983 matthias.reintgen@qvest.com

(0)1280 823803 jennifer.edis@racelogic.co.uk

44 781 3947201 khills@racetech.co.uk

7799 660792 mike@rcs.live

Gold Silvia Botella +34 689917616 silvia.botella@redbeemedia.com

Christian Bockskopf +49 (202) 292 9516 christian.bockskopf@riedel.net

Phoebe Chiu pchiu@rossvideo.com

Mike Fredriksen +44 207 1688820 mike.fredriksen@rtsw.co.uk

Rob Oldfield +44 7765 686883 rob@salsasound.com

SES Astra 97 Gold Merav Cunningham +1 9723 9280843 merav.cunningham@ses.com

Signiant 99 Gold Jon Finegold +1 781 3126786 jfinegold@signiat.com

Silverspoon 169 Bronze Phil Ventre +44 7581 482750 phil@silverspoonanimation.com

Singular 169 Bronze Mike Ward +44 7799 660792 mike@singular.live

Skyline Communications 173 Bronze Thomas Gunkel +32 51313569 thomas.gunkel@skyline.be slomo.tv

Bronze Kate Krivitskaya +1 3102858190 kate@slomo.tv

SMT 99 Gold Patricia Hopkins +1919 6024392 p.hopkins@smt.com

Solid State Logic 177 Bronze Ross Gilbert +44 1865 842300 rossg@solidstatelogic.com

Sony 23 Gold Anne Churchill +34 671756875 anne.churchill@sony.com

SOS Global 101 Gold Steve O’Connell +1 800 628-6363 SOConnell@sosglobal.com

Spiideo 101 Gold Todd Patton +46 70 294 6148 todd.patton@spiideo.com

Sport Buff

Perform

Broadcast

Gold Benn Achilleas +44 7788 232577 benn@sportbuff.com

Bronze William Personne william.personne@sportway.com

Gold Michael Morrison +1 8475 832100 michael.morrison@statsperform.com

Gold Johanna Koskela +358 44 0214 055 johanna.koskela@streamteam.fi

Gold David Patton +44 20 8992 1550 david.patton@supponor.com

stuart.russell@tellyo.com

carlos.farias@team.telstra.com

w.jauer@teravolt.tv

jessica.mintz@theswitch.tv

charlotte.wearden@timeline.tv

rob.adams@tslproducts.com

r.kis@tv-skyline.de

markus.osthaus@tvn.de

katy.walsh@uniqfeed.com

dcandler@veritone.com

paola.montanari@videe.it

manik@viewlift.com

roszvald@vidi.eu

charlotte.vanhertum@vislink.com

larry.tonon@vivaro.com

fanny.saint-pasteur@whitelight.ltd.uk

lucille@wildmoka.com

c.fourgeaud@wordlcast.group

frederic.bruel@yuzzitpro.com

birim.yamanlar@zerodensity.tv

john.wastcoat@zixi.com

svgeuropeSponsor Update
79 Gold Donald
07721
Broadcast 159 Bronze Moe
81 Gold
+33
Media Links 161 Bronze
83 Gold
83 Gold
+49
85 Gold
85 Gold
+44(0)
11 Platinum
Connect -- Gold Donna
Net Insight 87 Gold
Newsbridge 87 Gold Laura
+33
NTT Electronics 89 Gold
+39
Panasonic Connect 91 Gold Sivashanka
+49
Phabrix 161 Bronze
+44
Pro Audio Group Bronze Francesca
Quantum Corp 91 Gold Tom
Quidich 165 Bronze
Qvest 93 Gold
+49
Bronze Jennifer
+44
165 Bronze Kate
+
Reality Check Systems 167 Bronze Mike
+44
Bee Media 95
95 Gold
Video 2 Platinum
Software 97 Gold
Sound 167 Bronze
173
103
Sportway 177
Stats
105
Suora
105
Supponor 107
Synamedia 109 Gold Christelle Gental +44 788 1914289 cgental@synamedia.com Tata Communications 109 Gold Megh Amin megh.amin@tatacommunications.com TEAM Bronze Hannah Aitchison + 41 413681818 haa@team.ch Tedial 111 Gold Claudine Cecille +33 607865 552 ccecille@tedail.com Telestream 179 Bronze Melanie Tassone +1530 205 6416 melaniet@telestream.net Telos Alliance 179 Bronze Martin Dyster +44 (0)7900 584066 martin.dyster@telosalliance.com Tellyo 113 Gold Stuart Russell +44 (0)7827 019494
Telstra 113 Gold Carlos Farias +61 (405) 109 736
TeraVolt 115 Gold Wolfgang Jauer +49 151 15 22 48 63
The Switch 17 Platinum Jessica Mintz +1 310 339 4017
Timeline Television 183 Bronze Charlotte Wearden +44 8450 944 445
TSL Products 115 Gold Rob Adams +44 7803 183820
TV SKYLINE 183 Bronze Robert Kis +49 1703 733777
TVN Live Production 185 Bronze Markus Osthaus +49 (511) 12123705
uniqFEED 185 Bronze Katy Walsh +41 792197492
Veritone 117 Gold David Candler +44 (0)7785 301587
Videe 119 Gold Paola Montanari +39 0434-593608
Viewlift 189 Bronze Manik Bambha 805.341.6961
Vidi 121 Gold Robert Oszvald +44 6151 9385 25
Vislink 25 Platinum Charlotte Van Hertum
Vivaro Media 189 Bronze Larry Tonon
Vizrt 123 Gold Mark Gedderman +1 401 787 0120 mgederman@vizrt.com Waves 193 Bronze Gil Wasserman +1972 3 6084064 gilw@waves.com White Light 193 Bronze Fanny Saint-Pasteur +44 (0)20 8254 4800
Wildmoka 133 Gold Lucille Mari +33 (0)4 28 27 02 20
Worldcast Group 133 Gold Chantal Fourgeaud +33 (0) 557 928 928
YuzzitPro 197 Bronze Frederic Bruel +33 6 88 69 80 59
Zero Density 197 Bronze Birim Yamanlar +902 323351700
Zixi 135 Gold John Wastcoat 1 617 319 0928
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 199 SVG EUROPE SPONSOR PAGE LEVEL CONTACT PHONE EMAIL
GOLD BRONZE THANKS ITS SPONSORS 808 TALENT Audio. Control. Power. FLETCHER
GOLD PLATINUM BRONZE by VideoVerse Zero Density ™

events at a glance

EVENT DATE LOCATION DESCRIPTION

SVG Europe Austria (Regional Summit)

(TBC) Vienna, Austria

Platinum/Gold/Austria only

The Austrian sports broadcasting and production community comes together for its annual day of panel discussions presentations and networking, discussing the latest developments in technology, workflows and more.

Sports Graphics

Online

Insight into the latest tools and techniques for creating on-screen and studio graphics, including 2D, 3D and augmented reality, virtual studio systems and the capture and presentation of data to aid audience engagement.

Football Summit

Create, Share, Engage: Making and monetising sports content online

SVG Europe Italy (Regional Summit)

SVG Europe DACH

Summit)

March Paris, France

May London, UK

Advances in producing and distributing coverage, with case studies from FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and Women’s Euro 2022

together leading producers, production services teams and technologists at the forefront of creating, delivering and monetising engaging

experiences, with insight from sporting federations and clubs.

Milan, Italy

Platinum/Gold/Italy

Platinum/Gold/DACH

An opportunity for the Italian live sports production sector to gather in-person, share ideas and network.

opportunity for the German live sports production sector to gather in-person, share ideas and network.

on the current state and usage of different types of remote production.

spotlight

the

of the

the

provides

to debate the future of the

successes.

Awards.

PUBLISHED BY SPORTS VIDEO GROUP

260 Fifth Ave., Ste. 600 , New York, NY 10001 USA

Tel: +1 212.481.8140 | Fax: +1 212.696.1783 www.sportsvideo.org

Ken Kerschbaumer, Executive Director, Editorial kenkersch@sportsvideo.org | Tel: +1 212.481.8140

George Bevir, Editorial Director george@sportsvideo.org | Tel +44 7909 528886

Heather McLean, SVG Europe Editor heather@sportsvideo.org | Tel: +44 7986 473520

Will Strauss, SVG Europe Editor will@sportsvideo.org | Tel: +44 7789 711611

Jo Ruddock, SVG Europe Content Editor jo.ruddock@sportsvideo.org | Tel: +44 7980 264491

Veronica Newson, Head of Event Content and Production veronica@sportsvideo.org | Tel: +44 7801 231312

Clare Sturzaker, Sales Director clare@sporstvideo.org | Tel: +44 7710 991595

Nicky Lane, European Sponsorship Consultant nicky@sportsvideo.org | Tel: +44 7956 107882

Rob Payne, Managing Director, Worldwide Sponsor Development rob@sportsvideo.org | Tel: +1 212.481.8131

Andrew Gabel, Manager, Sponsor Development agabel@sportsvideo.org | Tel: +1 646.998.4554

Dawn Boultwood, Content Production dawn@sportsvideo.org | Tel: +44 7967 197803

Livvy Maule Ffinch, Audience Development livvy@sportsvideo.org | Tel: +44 7867 800191

Susan Schoepe, Sponsorship Coordinator sue@sportsvideo.org | Tel: +44 7711 168858

Joe Hosken, General Manager, Europe joe@sportsvideo.org | Tel: +44 7429 090134

Martin Porter, Executive Director marty@sportsvideo.org | Tel: +1 516.767.6720

IBC2023.

Paul Gallo, Executive Director paul@sportsvideo.org | Tel: +1 212.696.1799

Magazine Production

Dean Cook, The Magazine Production Company www.magazineproduction.com | Tel: +44 1273 911730

ABOUT SVG EUROPE

network.

in-person,

in-person event that

provide an opportunity to examine

in capture and distribution

content, plus the longer-term content

and distribution strategies of federations, broadcasters, production

and their suppliers that will provide a definitive view of the direction of the live sports production and broadcasting industry.

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.

202 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2022 svgeurope update
A PUBLICATION OF 2023
February
22 February
22
3
Bringing
viewing
24 May
only
(Regional
21 June Berlin, Germany
only An
Remote Production 5 July Online Discussions
Sport Production Summit & Sports TV Awards 14 September Amsterdam, Netherlands SVG Europe’s flagship conference and networking event shines a
on
sporting highlights
year and
an opportunity
industry and highlight recent
Includes
Sports TV
SVG Europe Women @ IBC 16 September RAI Amsterdam An in-person event providing information, education, awareness and networking opportunities for women working in sports broadcasting. SVG Europe Networking @ IBC 16 September RAI Amsterdam In-person networking during
OTT and Content Delivery 11 October Online An online exploration of the latest methods for distributing and sharing live sports content with viewers. SVG Europe Spain (Regional Summit) October (TBC) Barcelona, Spain Platinum/Gold/Spain only An opportunity for the Spanish live sports production sector to gather
share ideas and
FutureSPORT and Content Strategies 8 November London, UK A forward-facing
will
innovations
of
production
companies
Sports Audio Forum November (TBC) London, UK Insight and debate from leading figures in the world of audio.

Because Sport TV Leads the Way

Leading sports television executives from across Europe are at the vanguard of Sports Video Group Europe. An independent affiliate organisation formed by the successful Sports Video Group in the USA, its mission is to advance the creation, production and distribution of sport content — on all screens — via information, events and industry initiatives. Make sure your company and your industry are represented in this vital collaborative initiative.

Join SVG E today www.svgeurope.or