ADVANCING THE CREATION, PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION OF SPORTS CONTENT
Sports Video Group Europe Annual Review and Sponsor Update
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SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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CONTENTS IN THIS ISSUE
04 From the Chairman
30 FutureSport 2018
06 Opening Comment
34 Live from Amsterdam
12 Live from the Ryder Cup
38 Alpine Ski World Cup
Further structural change: nothing ever stays the same in sports production Clear communication required for an unprecedented age of disruption Sky Sports production team gets out on Le Golf National course to cover a unique atmosphere
Broadcast coverage plan for 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan is unveiled Ajax steps into the future with AI-driven player analysis and live streaming High Dynamic Range 4K UHD gets full test in Val Gardena and Alta Badia
42 FIS World Championships
SVT remote production expands to 80 cameras for Alpine Ski Championships in Sweden
44 Rugby Challenge Cup
NEP helps DAZN cover European Rugby Challenge matches in Grenoble and Parma
16 Live from Wembley
Dolby Atmos audio takes coverage of live boxing to new levels for heavyweight title bout
20 Live from Paris
VNProd captures the intensity of 2018 Men’s Table Tennis Coupe du Monde
48 Eurosport at 30
22 Live from London
EE and BT Sport achieve world first with 5G broadcast using remote production
26 Live from Milan
ATP Media and Gearhouse Broadcast test HD HDR workflow across production chain
Celebrating its 30th birthday, Eurosport continues to serve customers in their own county and language
54 Live from Monza
NDI and Dante crucial to coverage of 2019 Women’s CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup Final
58 Football Summit
Match directors share the secrets to storytelling success in football production coverage
SportTech Journal is produced & published by Sports Video Group Europe SportTech Journal © 2019 Sports Video Group 2
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
60 Nordic Summit 2019
The European sports TV production industry lands in Bergen for the Nordic Summit with NCE Media
62 Live from London
Inside BT Tower with BT Media & Broadcast for the final day of the Premier League season
66 SportTech 2019
SportTech takes Lord’s by storm with three events and a record SVG Europe attendance
94 Sport Summit Milan
96 SVG Europe Women
Mediapro team produces TV spectacular for UEFA as Liverpool overcome Tottenham Hotspur in UCL Final
74 Sky Sport Summit Munich
ESL, EVS and Riot Games discuss the eSports TV production journey to date
78 UEFA European Under 21s
UEFA innovates at the Under-21s in Italy with Global Production, VAR and 3D audio
FIFA TV discusses growth of beautiful game of women’s football at the Women’s World Cup IBC
88 ICC Cricket World Cup
Live from Cricket World Cup: Player tracking, AR and Buggy Cam bring fresh perspectives to world feed
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
World first innovation as Sky Sports debuts Sky Scope volumetric capture with MRMC and Dimension
102 Live from Wimbledon
Eurosport production team delivers for wide range of regional needs around Europe
106 FIFA eWorld Cup
Live from EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series Final: more content and more language feeds
107 SVG Europe Sponsor Update
81 Live from Paris
Sky Studios attracts bumper crowd to Osterley and considers some work-life issues
98 Live from The Open
68 Live from Madrid
HDR production experiences provide direction for the future, writes Roberto Landini
SVGE sponsors discuss developments in the marketplace during 2019, as well as plans for IBC2019. Compiled by Ian McMurray
164 Sponsor Index and Sponsor Thank You 168 Closing Comment
Remote production and road warriors: which way forward, wonders Sports Video Group Director of Editorial Services Ken Kerschbaumer
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 â€” on all screens â€” via information, events and industry initiatives. Make sure your company and your industry are represented in this vital collaborative initiative.
Join SVGE today www.svgeurope.org
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svgeuropeupdate FROM THE CHAIRMAN
Further structural change: nothing ever stays the same BY ALESSANDRO REITANO
Change is the only constant in life (Heraclitus)
2018 and the first half of 2019 were marked again by major changes and a massive structural transformation in the media industry. An end is not really in sight. More and more companies and studios want to launch their own OTT products in order to secure important market share and stay relevant for Generation Z and millennials — while on the other hand linear TV will still be an important pillar, especially for networks with a legacy fulfilment and live sports coverage to secure their core business and revenue streams. Knowing what the consumer wants is the key topic, and therefore content has to become 6
Alessandro Reitano Sky Deutschland,
Director Sports Production
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EDITORIAL
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
SVG Europe, Chairman: Sky Deutschland, Director Sports Production
am incredibly excited to begin my term as Chairman of SVG Europe, replacing the position of David Shield whose amazing work and achievements over the last five years have brought SVG Europe into a great environment for further growth and positioning. My first major SVG event 10 years ago allowed me to get a deeper insight into the industry, discuss trends, have useful and helpful discussions and build my contacts. Make people and products shine, that’s what I appreciate so much about SVG. I can encourage every decision maker in the industry to allow and motivate your people to come to SVG Europe events and to participate into a wider spectrum of topics and networking. With its excellent journalistic quality through its own events and major sporting events, and as an independent platform for members, partners and sponsors, SVG Europe is not only in a position to positively shape the future of sports production, it’s also able to drive diversity — SVGE Women events — and sustainability in our industry.
ADVISORY BOARD CHAIRMAN
Sportcast GmbH, Head of Innovation & Technology Management
the main differentiating factor. Generally we see within the world of broadcast manufacturers further consolidation in the market. Opex vs. Capex becomes more and more relevant for the right business decisions. Rapid technological progress will help to bring efficient and effective production workflows for the day-to-day business in order to drive easier contribution and distribution of content, whilst maintaining production costs in a balanced way. eSports can no longer be dismissed as a spinning mill and instead can be compared in terms of effort with a traditional major sports event. This year the FIFA Women’s World Cup made it clear that football, which men have dominated for decades, does not lose its charm if women play. Quite the contrary, this tournament was not only excellently produced, it broke the viewer consumption record in nearly every territory. It is also worth noting that the upcoming Rugby World Cup in Japan will take place for the first time outside the traditional heartland of the sport.
Nothing ever stays the same
The structural transformation in our industry is a huge challenge and creates on the other hand a lot of opportunities — but in addition to all further developments in AI/machine learning and doing more for less, we’re still a people business. This makes the difference. In the end, the ‘war of talents’ has already hit our industry and as we all part of this sports business we have to face the problem of coming up with the right answers in this fragmented environment. There are exciting times in front of us and we will be surrounded by a lot of changes in the near future. I’m really looking forward to working together with the SVG Europe team to enable them to support their members and sponsors as best possible and doing my best to help ensure that together we always address the right topics, questions and insights.
ITN Productions, Head of Broadcast Operations
Stream TV Networks, Head of Production
President, NEP UK & Ireland
CTV Outside Broadcasts, Chairman
Lagardère Sports, Senior VP Media Production
Sky Italia, Head of Business Partners & Program Mgnt
Bonnier Broadcasting Sport Sweden, Head of Sports Production
TV Skyline, Chief Executive Officer
Jens Cornelius Knudsen
TV 2 Norway, VP Production News and Sports
NEP Media Solutions UK, Head of Sales
BT Sport, Chief Engineer
Euro Media Group, Director of Operations
Sky Deutschland, Head of Operations, Sky Sports
ORF, Head of Directors Sport
Formula One Management, Executive Director, TV Production
Sky Italia, Director — Production & Creative Hub
BBC Sport, Executive Producer
Sky Sports, Production Executive
Robin Broomfield Consultant
Euro Media Group, Chief Technology Officer
Host Broadcast Services, Chief Executive Officer
OBS TV, NEP Broadcasting Services UK, Managing Director
Eurosport, Senior VP Technology
FIFA, Head of Host Broadcast Production
Premier League Productions, Managing Director
NEP Group, Director of Sales
ITV Sport, Technical Director
Sky Sports, Head of Operations
BBC Sport, Technical Executive
Mediapro, CTO and Operations Manager
Sky Production Services, Director
Olympic Broadcasting Services, Chief Technical Officer
NEP Media Solutions UK, Head of Technology
Ekstraklasa Live Park, Head of Operations
European Tour Productions, Head of Production
Ravensbourne, Education Initiative
IMG, Global Director of Engineering & Technology
IBC, Chief Executive Officer
Broadcast Rental, Owner
All England Lawn Tennis Club, Head of Broadcast & Production
Sunset + Vine, Head of Development
Henk van Meerkerk
Orange Sports & Media, Chief Technology Officer
Fox Sports NL, Head of Production
IMG Media, Head of Production
ESL UK, Managing Director
Arsenal Football Club, Senior Systems & Operations Manager
ATP Media, Director of Broadcast & Technology
Perform Group, Director of Broadcast and Technology Services
World Rugby, IT & Broadcast Technology Manager
Red Bull Media House, Global Head of Content Distribution
CTV Outside Broadcasts, Commercial Manager
Gearhouse Broadcast, Head of Projects
CTV Outside Broadcasts, Chief Executive Officer BT Sport, Chief Operating Officer
Woods Communications, President
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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svgeuropeupdate OPENING COMMENT
Clear communication in an age of disruption BY FERGAL RINGROSE Editorial Director, Sports Video Group Europe
here can be no doubt that the sports video production business is going through a time of great disruption. Technologies, enablers and platforms such as remote production, 5G, OTT, AR/VR, AI, 8K, immersive audio, HDR and more are jostling for our attention. What could be more ‘game changing’ than the NBA’s recent dive into smartphone-only capture on a Summer League game, delivered via 5G infrastructure to fans? “The Smartphone View alternative broadcast” is how Steve Hellmuth, EVP, media operations and technology, NBA Entertainment described this fantastic innovation. No more multicamera TV crew, no more TV production, or OB compound, or ‘broadcast’? And while broadcasters continue to battle each other and large production outfits for sports media rights contracts nationally and internationally, into the frame have come new OTT-only operators who again bypass ‘television broadcast’ and go direct to your device via live video streaming. Of course they are targeting the younger generation of consumers who have already broken the cord and simply don’t watch TV. If interested in the game they want to be able to follow it while interacting constantly through multiple social media platforms — some of which themselves want a slice of the action and are wading into the sports media rights arena.
Electronic, digital and online
And by the way, something else is happening with the manner in which the younger generation consumes media and interacts with the world — as discussed in a fascinating presentation by Dirk Ziems of concept m at the SVG Sky Sport Summit in Munich last May. Ziems noted that while digital natives are living their lives online now — which we all know — their concept of themselves as beings is inextricably bound up with that internet interaction. Their validation of self now comes not from any real-world activity or achievement, but through the approval they receive from others online. They don’t visit a tourist attraction to appreciate its beauty or historical significance but rather to place themselves in front of it in order to capture their own image on a smartphone so that they can receive more likes from friends. They don’t attend a sports event to enjoy the atmosphere and the competition in a collective environment but instead to feature themselves within the stadium and to interact with others on social media — rather than being there primarily to watch the game. Something along these lines is the driver behind the incredible eSports phenomenon. Young males (and yes they are nearly all male!) pay good money to go to a sports stadium and participate in a live event. Except it’s not a ‘sports’ event. And the game is not real. It’s 8
electronic. Digital. Online. But here’s the twist — and this is where SVG Europe comes back into the picture.With stadiums around the world now packed out with young males watching other young males play video games, how do the big eSports companies expand the experience to reach potentially millions more live viewers who are not at the venue? By combining their in-game expertise, in terms of navigation and storytelling, with the ‘traditional’ expertise of television broadcast production companies who can deliver multi-camera live sports events of the highest editorial quality. No matter how signals or streams are to be delivered, where and to whom — and how much disruption there may be along that path — live content creation that tells the story of an unfolding sports event still needs a production team experienced in planning and capturing that content for a mass audience. It turns out the eSports operators still need TV OB girls and guys with trucks! And while there is absolutely no question that remote production, artificial intelligence and virtual reality will continue to change the way live sports broadcasting is achieved — and we know the pace of that change will evolve significantly in the next couple of years, as climate-change and work/life balance pressures increase — the community of people producing sports around Europe will remain absolutely central to the business, as disruption and innovation occurs all around.
Anticipation through dialogue and access
In this maelstrom of disruption, clear communication is required in order to help industry actors understand the changes going on all around them so that they can do their jobs better. Our role here at SVG Europe is to report the news on our newsletters as it breaks around Europe and beyond, through our in-house editorial team and our network of correspondents. Getting behind the scenes for our ‘Live From’ reports from major sporting events around Europe is the most important single driver in this continuous effort. Our role is also to share information and innovation, through our events and initiatives — most especially the four flagship panEuropean events, Football Summit (February), SportTech (May), Sport Production Summit (September) and FutureSport (November). But above all our task — or our constant aspiration, certainly — is to anticipate new directions for the sports video business, in production, operation and technology.Anticipation brings insight and understanding. Anticipation requires constant dialogue and access — between our team and sports broadcasters, rights holders, production companies, OBs, service providers and technology vendors. No one will argue that the future for this business contains disruption and change: but it is going to be an exciting ride, that’s for sure. Please help us to continue that essential dialogue so we can provide clear communication — and hopefully a degree of anticipation — in the year ahead. SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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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 â€” on all screens â€” via information, events and industry initiatives. Make sure your company and your industry are represented in this vital collaborative initiative.
Join SVGE today www.svgeurope.org
Ryder Cup 2018
Jordan Spieth tees off for Team USA in the cauldron of the first tee at Le Golf National de Paris
Live from the Ryder Cup: Sky Sports team gets out on the course to capture unique atmosphere As a live broadcaster how do you tell the story of each day, capturing the intensity of the atmosphere around the golf course? BY FERGAL RINGROSE
very other year the Ryder Cup affords UK live broadcaster Sky Sports the opportunity to transform the way it covers big-time golf. And this is big-time golf. The giant stand by the first tee at Le Golf National de Paris seats 6,500 people — compared to 1,668 at Hazeltine in 2016 and 2,134 at Gleneagles in 2014. The format concentrates the huge crowds at Le Golf National, with massive groups of people gathering around various greens out on the course anticipating those putting duels that are the life-blood of the Ryder Cup.
It’s a match-play event, where there are only four matches out on the course at any one time on the first two days and then just 12 singles matches on Sunday — compared to two- and three-balls going out all day from 6.30am for a major golf championships. Of course it’s also the biggest team event in golf. Whereas the central focus of coverage on a normal major championship is individual reaction and visual analysis of individual play, at the Ryder Cup the individual doesn’t really matter — even in the Sunday singles — as it’s all about the team effort for the Americans and Europeans. There’s not much point hearing Rory McIlroy’s analysis of his own day’s play, as he’s either got a partner alongside or else he’s contributing to the team. Equally, there’s little point waiting by the 18th green to get those player SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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Sky Sports Golf Ryder Cup production managers (L/R) Emma Chapman, Dave Culmer and Katie Harrison
reactions, as most games in the Ryder Cup match-play format don’t get as far as eighteen. So as a live broadcaster how do you tell the story of each day, capturing the compressed intensity of the atmosphere around the course as big putts go down and the boisterous crowds roar and chant their approval? SVG Europe sat down with Sky Sports Golf production managers Dave Culmer and Katie Harrison (two of three production managers for the Ryder Cup 2018 along with Emma Chapman) to learn about their coverage plan for Le Golf National. Dave Culmer: “Everybody wants to see that putt going in the hole, don’t they? And the players have a different approach to the crowds, TV, the press, than at a normal tournament. It is one of those events where they play to the crowd a lot more, they’re happy to engage with the crowds, compared to major championships. Katie Harrison: “It’s completely different golf. The players are trying to get the crowd involved; normally you would never see that as they’re trying to keep the crowd quiet! “Our main studio is based just to the left of the first tee. So as well as having the Ryder Zone out in the open, where you can see the range in the background with the crowds there — with no glass or plastic — we’ve then got the main studio on the first tee that has the background of the matches plus a six and a half thousand seater stand. Dave Culmer: “We’ve got a fantastic view of the first tee, the stands, and the big open area around the first tee — where you have thousands of people, That fed into what Mike Allen [senior director] and Jason Wesseley [head of golf] visualised when they came out here on survey. “There’s more storytelling going out in the field as well. 14
Ryder Cup 2018
We have a total of six high-powered RF cameras with on-course reporters so we can follow all of the action. At The Open we had two RF cameras, and the reporters were of course in fixed positions with the SkyCart. Here, Jason will judge where the action is, and if a match is about to finish, he will send [on-course reporter] Tim Barter to the scene and we’ll get the player reaction as soon as it happens. “We don’t have the SkyCart here, because a match could finish on any hole. And it’s about the team, not pulling an individual into the SkyCart. They’re working in pairs each day, except Sunday.” Katie Harrison: “Whereas at The Open our main use of the Zone is to get the players in to do demos and interviews and look back at what they did before and how they’re going to do it differently at the tournament, here it’s obviously more of a team sport so we’re not using the Zone in the same way. This week we’ve had a celebrity match on Tuesday and a junior match on Wednesday, and we pulled in some of those people to talk to — in other words for other aspects of our show. “Here we’ve conducted player interviews on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, where we do the green screen shoots. We have sit-downs with them and get important information, but we also change it and do what we call ‘funnies’, in other words funny questions to draw out their personalities and it’s also a way for them to make fun of their team-mates. It’s about having them talk more as a team — who’s the joker in the locker-room, that kind of thing. That’s how it works on a Ryder Cup.” Dave Culmer: “We use our screen up at the Zone, with experts predicting what pairings the captains will pick. The screen has the same technology as the touchscreen on the SkyCart, and that lends itself perfectly to what we do: we have the players down each side of the screen and the expert picks a player and places him in the middle and likewise with his playing partner. That doesn’t have to be prearranged: we just put the players there and the screen technology pulls it across as they’re talking.” Katie Harrison: “We have a graphics cabin in the compound, where we have Perfect Parallel, Ncam and ChyronHego. It’s a combination: some of the creative work is going back by data pipe to Sky HQ and they’re turning around packages overnight. Some of the greenscreen packages are edited here and some are sent back to Sky and they do the work there. “We’ve also used Toptracer for our fun challenges in the Ryder Zone, where talent like Nick Dougherty and Rich Beem hit different shots against each other as ‘Europe’ and ‘USA’. “This is one of biggest sports OBs we do. It’s not just one day; so in terms of number of hours, size of compound, people required — all of that makes it big. The Ryder Cup is really up there with the major events. It’s exciting to be part of it.” SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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Heavyweight World Title
Sky’s Nik Taylor-Pugh in front of the Calrec Apollo in the Telegenic audio area
Live from Wembley: Dolby Atmos takes boxing coverage to new heights BY DAVID FOX
ast weekend’s world heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin on Sky Sports Box Office was the first time a payper-view boxing match has been delivered in Ultra HD and Dolby Atmos. The 5.1.4 immersive audio format adds a height dimension to standard 5.1 surround sound and has been used on other productions by the broadcaster, including almost 18 months on football. However, boxing has its own challenges, particularly the music. “For boxing there’s much more music, there’s 16
performances, all the walk-on sequences. We’re going to put that into the height, which is different to the football,” said Nik Taylor-Pugh, Sky sound supervisor. There is also a DJ in the stadium, for inter-round music, which TaylorPugh wouldn’t want to muddy in the stereo field, or in the front speaker for 5.1, so that goes in the height as well. “The big benefit of putting Atmos here is to get the perspective of being at Wembley stadium,” to give stereo and 5.1 the added dimension of height, said Robin Broomfield, technical specialist working for Sky on future technology. “You get a real feeling that you are in SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
“You have to make sure your reference of left and right stays with one prominent camera angle” AARON HARTE
the stadium, with fans all around you,” which gives added impact, especially to the ring walk. For productions, one of the great things about Atmos is how little extra equipment it needs on site. All the microphones Sky usually uses on boxing in 5.1, were also all it needed for Atmos, particularly the SoundField surround microphone fixed to the gantry, high above the ring. “From within that we can take more elements than we’re currently using and we can add the height,” explained Broomfield. Elsewhere, it uses the same number and positioning of microphones. “We’ve found that we already have enough elements to use to create that height as well,” he added. The only question might be where to place the SoundField. “In 5.1 you might want to get a bit more separation, but if your aim is to put the viewer in the crowd, then you might not be so worried about close claps or shouts in the Atmos world, whereas you might be more concerned in 5.1,” said Richard Williams, senior audio guarantee, Telegenic. But for football and boxing they put the SoundField in the same place as they would for 5.1, and then what goes in the height channels is the creative element, trying to put the viewer in the crowd. The SoundField DSF-3 Mark II processor decodes the height information, forming the basis of the SoundField bed.“The exciting thing about boxing is the elements that are included in a football match coverage, such as a live PA feed, isn’t necessarily part of the normal 5.1 mix, but in boxing, because it is in a live arena where the PA is a prominent part of the production, it’s an opportunity to use it a lot more, and that is a prominent source in the Dolby Atmos mix as well as other object-based sources,” said Aaron Harte, sound supervisor, Sky Sports, who has used Atmos extensively on football. They use commentary as an object, going through the Dolby Atmos renderer and pushing it in to the 5.1.4 image, in keeping with the existing 5.1 mix but adding the height element to embellish it more. “Things like the PA will go in to the height, but we have to make sure it sits right in the 5.1 bed in the normal way it would be used in the 5.1 mix,” he added. Just as in football, where the audio mix is associated with the left and right viewed from the camera 1 position, for boxing it is related to the main wide view of the ring. “The fact that you have reverse camera coverage dropped in to the production and things flip around occasionally: in the live environment it is very difficult to emulate this 180º switch from one side of the ring to the other. You have to still have that common reference point of the wide
Heavyweight World Title
camera angle, and use that for your front left/right and rear left/right and your heights.” Of course, if you have a tight shot, such as from one of the ringside cameras over a boxer’s shoulder, you can emphasise the appropriate camera effects mic, or use a boom pole mic above the fighter and coach between rounds to get part of the conversation. “But you have to make sure your reference of left and right stays with one prominent camera angle,” said Harte. “The overall Atmos bed needs to stay consistent,” even if you do pull up certain effects mics to match a shot.
The Atmos workflow
Atmos “involves a slightly different workflow in terms of the sound desk, because you are bussing to 5.1 and to an extra four channels for height,” but they try to keep it as simple as possible, said Williams, who has been leading the Atmos project for Telegenic since it started about two years ago. “The technical challenge is keeping it all coherent, so the viewer doesn’t hear any anomalies in the height or in the rears, but it is nothing different to what we do with 5.1 or stereo,” he added. They are looking for the same phase problems between height and 5.1, and across the stereo mix. “Microphone placement is a bit more important, but we are constrained by stadiums and rig times, so a lot of our microphone placements are limited, to a certain extent. If you are a purist and you had a week to set up an event and had lots of listening tests, then you might have a different view.” They also have to ensure compatibility between viewers with discrete Atomos systems (with multiple speakers) and those using sound bars, said Harte.“We get as good as we can coverage with the embellishment of Dolby Atmos, but making sure it is compatible with all those delivery formats” – it’s got to sound right in stereo, 5.1, and Dolby Atmos (whether discrete systems or sound bars), as assessed using the rendering tool, constantly switching between the formats to hear if the mix is sitting correctly. Technically, the biggest challenge is having the separate mixes in parallel. Previously, they just relied on the 5.1 mix folding down to stereo, but they can’t rely on the fold down from the renderer, so have to keep cycling between the three mixes, “rather than having one common mix that then collapses down in to all the other flavours. That is down to the infrastructure on the Sky delivery side, where we’ve made a decision to treat an embedded ED2 stream, which feeds the Atmos, completely separately in parallel with the 5.1 Dolby E data,” said Harte. SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
Table Tennis World Cup
He remarked:“We have chosen to focus on the intensity of the game by placing a camera mounted directly above the table at a height of nine metres.” Given the relatively small area of action only six cameras are needed to cover a table tennis match, but without exception, particular attention is paid to the slowmotion replays. “The main camera that is used during the match has a telephoto lens and is situated above the backcourt line. However, immediately after a point we also use slow-motion replays to show the players’ strokes and spins in vivid detail.” EVS LSM servers and Super Loupe cameras made it possible to detect a small 40mm sized ball and its deflected shots and passes. These were captured at 100 fps, which has now been widely established as the best frame rate for slow-motion coverage.
Steadicam shots provide movement
A steadicam operator was also on hand to capture additional footage (shots of the spectators, long shots of Six cameras were used to capture the on-court action at the latest ITTF Men’s World Cup the tables, etc) and to provide movement when showing the players entering the arena. In order to reduce the draw on resources and limit production costs, the same operator was also in charge of interviewing the players at the conclusion of the matches. The 2018 edition of the most prestigious table tennis competition after the Olympics and the World Championships was held at Disneyland Paris, and its broadcast production was part of an ongoing collaboration with beIN Sports. Looking ahead, coverage of the Pro A League – which is the top tier of French table tennis – will be produced by VNProd for beIN Sports, as well as for Sportside TV on the internet and the website of the French Table Tennis Federation. BY FABRICE MARINONI, French Correspondent In general, the technical setup will be similar to the one used to cover the World Cup, although there is a aking place at Disneyland Paris from 19-21 possibility that slow-motion replays may be used less “We have chosen October, the 2018 International Table Tennis extensively. to focus on the Federation’s Men’s World Cup brought together intensity of the 20 best male players in the world for three the game by days of competition. The host broadcaster for the event placing a camera was VNProd, which once again sought to raise the bar in terms of capturing the intensity of table tennis at its best. mounted In France, the event was broadcast by Eurosport 2 directly above and beIN Sports, as well as numerous digital platforms, including Yahoo, Sportside and France Télévisions. the table at a The international feed was aired worldwide and drew height of nine particularly large audiences in Asia, with CCTV among metres” the specific broadcasters enjoying strong viewing figures. VNProd was in charge of producing the World Cup ANTOINE ZARO GONI coverage and worked with the technical assistance of Master Films and director Antoine Zaro Goni, who had previously worked on table tennis championships in France when broadcast by beIN Sports.
Live from Paris: VNProd captures the intensity of 2018 Table Tennis Coupe du Monde
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Live 5G Remote Broadcast
At Wembley Stadium BT Sport’s crew with presenter Matt Smith prepare to broadcast over 5G, with the production crew working remotely at BT Sport’s studios in Stratford
Live from London: EE and BT Sport achieve world first with 5G broadcast using remote production BY HEATHER MCLEAN
“Normally the first thing your team asks is ‘can we?’. With 5G, it’s ‘where do you want to go?’” ANDY BEALE
T Sport and EE have successfully carried out a live broadcast over 5G using remote production, delivering a two-way transmission from Wembley Stadium to London’s ExCeL Exhibition Centre. Showcasing the capabilities of 5G technology for the world of sports broadcasting, BT Sport’s Jamie Hindhaugh, chief operating officer, alongside presenter Abi Stephens, spoke live from ExCel in East London to BT Sport’s Matt Stagg, director of mobile strategy and lead of EE strategy for delivering 4G and 5G networks for the media and broadcast industries, with Matt Smith, presenter, both of whom were pitch-side in Wembley Stadium, North London. All production for the live transmission was carried out at BT Sport’s base in Stratford, East London. The demonstration was designed to illustrate the potential opportunities that 5G can bring to sports broadcasters. BT Sport stated it will use 5G to increase coverage of sports as well as greatly improve efficiencies, from financial to creative. Speaking to SVG Europe, Hindhaugh said: “What we’re trying to show is the opportunities around remote production. We’re not giving up on 4G, but 5G almost combines fibre and 4G, into virtualised fibre; you have the surety of signal with the flexibility of mobile.
He added: “5G will next season enable BT Sport to deploy the most advanced remote production of any broadcaster. It will allow us to cover more live matches from more leagues and competitions, and to bring fans highlights action closer to the final whistle than has ever been done before in the UK.” Hindhaugh continued: “This is the world’s first remotely produced broadcast over 5G. It takes us back to the heart of BT Sport. BT Sport has a rich history of the latest broadcast innovations, whether it’s UHD with Dolby Atmos or 360 virtual reality. And then we look at 5G; the thing about remote production is the creativity it enables. “You can start covering things in a different way, and it also enables you to drive efficiencies. [5G] gives teams, through remote production, the ability to work on more, and different sports.You couldn’t expect someone to cover three games in a day from a truck, but you can with 5G.”
5G network slicing to guarantee latency, bandwidth and quality
Andy Beale, chief engineer at BT Sport, said: “[With 5G] you can get shots you haven’t ever done before, from the changing rooms to walking in the tunnel; it really does SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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Live 5G Remote Broadcast
BT Sport presenter Matt Smith and Matt Stagg, director of mobile strategy, at Wembley Stadium
unlock it. People are really still finding out the possibilities [that 5G will provide]; it’s not just about doing things more efficiently, it’s doing things you haven’t even thought of doing before.” Referring to sports broadcasting, Hindhaugh added: “Normally the first thing your team asks is “can we?”.With 5G, it’s “where do you want to go?”.” The transmission used EE’s 5G test network in the stadium, plus a first-generation 5G encoded dongle from Huawei. The test network used EE’s 3.4GHz spectrum from its 5G antenna in the stadium, connected to a 10Gbps backhaul link. With a throughput of 75MBps at Wembley, feeds from three cameras at 25MBps each were relayed through the Huawei 5G encoder to the 5G cell in the stadium. From there the transmission passed onto the EE backhaul network, and then to the internet. Going forward, EE will use 5G network slicing technology to create a broadcast grade network for clients, providing the guaranteed latency, bandwidth and quality required for live broadcast. The company stated 5G will enable broadcasters to send match footage back to base within minutes, opening up more coverage possibilities and reducing costs by reducing the number of technicians required at each game. Stagg stated: “What we can do with 5G is network slicing, where you build a virtual network so you can use the properties of 5G but outside the consumer network. We can give you 100GBps and it’s sewn up; you don’t need to worry about latency,” he said, giving an example of what will be possible with 5G for broadcasters. “It’s just about getting the best connectivity you can get to enable creativity.” BT Group is working hard to get 5G up and running for 24
2019. The BT Technology team is virtualising elements of the core network for 5G rollout in 2019 and is building a next-generation 5G core in line with the next stage of global 5G standards, with virtualised network functions on a cloud-native infrastructure, creating the basis for a smart and fully converged agile network. The BT 21CN backbone network is Petabit-class, and will ensure the future-proofed scale required to enable a world-leading 5G experience. Earlier this month, EE announced that nine 5G trial sites went live across East London. The trial has so far encompassed every element of building a new 5G network, from obtaining planning permission and access agreements, through to managing power outputs. The trial will go on to assess the customer experience of the new 5G spectrum. A week later, the mobile operator stated it is switching on 5G sites in 16 UK cities in 2019. The first launch cities will be the UK’s four capital cities — London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast — and Birmingham and Manchester. Throughout 2019 EE will also be introducing 5G across the busiest parts of ten more UK cities: Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol. EE will launch with multiple smartphone partners, as well as an EE 5G Home router with an external antenna, to showcase the power of 5G for broadband. EE is the lead partner of Wembley Stadium. Since the partnership kicked off in 2014, EE has introduced several technological advancements to the stadium, including delivering significant network upgrades preceding the latest 5G implementation, ensuring fans can stay connected during events. EE also worked with the Wembley team to deliver the first official Wembley app. SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
Live ATP Next Gen tennis in Milan: (L/R) Shane Warden, ATP Media; Laura Casey, Gearhouse, production manager; and Hamish Harris, Gearhouse
Live from Milan: ATP Media and Gearhouse test HD HDR workflow Partners manage HDR all the way through editorial chain, including all on-site production, ENG and archive BY FERGAL RINGROSE
TP Media, the broadcast arm of the ATP World Tour, has successfully produced and distributed a 1080p/50 HDR test feed at the 6-10 November Next Gen ATP Finals. The 1080p/50 HDR production generated the 1080i SDR feeds that were globally distributed. The Next Gen tournament is the ATP Tour’s showcase for innovation across all aspects of the men’s professional game with rule changes, line calling without humans, and player and coach data services whilst the match is in progress. Carried out in partnership with Gearhouse Broadcast, the test at the Fiera Milano exhibition centre covered the live and non-live workflows on site, marking the first time HDR content has been natively incorporated into replays and edit workflows on a live sport outside broadcast. This latest test follows an initial 1080p/50 HDR production trial during the Nitto ATP Finals in 2017, which put 4K and 1080p/50 HDR side-by-side in a live tennis environment for the first time. The results of that test suggested to ATP Media that it was 1080p/50 HDR rather than 4K HDR that would most efficiently deliver the clear benefits of HDR to its broadcasters and to viewers at home. This follow up test was a next step in 26
ATP Next Gen Finals Milan
delivering a 1080p/50 HDR test feed to broadcasters with a view to gathering feedback for future planning. The test was also a necessary next step in incorporating HDR and SDR content across all onsite production, including the non-live content available on the EVS network, ENG camera footage, SDR archive and SDR content from other sources. As host broadcaster, ATP Media produces a news service, premium content and bespoke social media content on site for broadcasters managing HDR and SDR in the post production workflow. The master daily hit list for the edit cabin team in Milan included: 60 second match highlights (two versions for each match); Tennis TV/World Feed match highlights (3’30” and 3’45”); daily highlights (max 4’ across four matches); post-match on court interviews; hotshots (Tennis TV/Amazon versions); tournament show reel (Tennis TV/Amazon); press conferences for newsfeed; and the daily buildup of a 52’ tournament show, to be completed and available immediately after the trophy lift. Gearhouse Broadcast provided a 1080p HDR facility using Sony HDC-4300 cameras operating in native 1080p HDR and a NAC high speed camera. Mini cameras were Panasonic AW-HE130s, operating in 1080p SDR, with colour space conversion happening on the input to the Grass Valley Kahuna vision switcher with Format Fusion 3 and 4. Routing matrix in the MCR was an Imagine Communications IP3, and the system was controlled by Lawo vsmStudio. Gearhouse lead vision engineer Hamish Harris told SVG Europe, “there have been a lot of discussions about what we wanted to achieve. What HDR standards? How far do we want to go with it? I would say that in terms of cameras, vision switcher, transmission and deliverables we know those areas very well. But in terms of editing in HDR — no-one has ever really done that before.” “That is the innovation here. That’s the point,” said Shane Warden, ATP Media director of Broadcast & Technology.“Three years ago in London we produced 4K SDR across the live chain. Last year we did the 4K HDR and 1080P50 HDR comparisons. But that was always just the live chain. “For many recent global sports events this year, the whole live chain was in 4K HDR. But if you actually looked under the hood it was still only the live part that was working that way. All of the replays, the edits, and the deliveries were 1080p SDR. Post production and the EVS network were in their own SDR ecosystem that was fed back in to the live chain and remapped to HDR. “The other challenge we have addressed is can we create a manageable infrastructure and workflow for a live OB within a very short rig in a fly-away? The goal was to complete an end to end path all the way through, with replay, edit and back to EVS again for the World Feed, and also managing a full rec709 file-based delivery, including the news clips that our broadcasters get as well as Tennis SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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Next Gen match, November 7: Taylor Fritz (USA) vs Liam Caruana (Italy)
TV, our digital channels, and VOD for Amazon,” said Warden. “That editorial chain is now all being managed in HDR and we believe it has never been done before in a live OB. So how can we actively manage HDR through the editorial process, especially considering ENG? We’ve got archive; we’ve got other people going out shooting material we don’t have control over. That content might not be in HDR — and it might not even be in a progressive format. “For our own ENG cameraman going out and shooting scenics, creative match action and interviews, you can’t just say ‘you need to shoot Log’.We have to consider how it
ATP Next Gen Finals Milan
fits into the world where our live chain is in HLG and they have a camera that shoots S-log3 — they might even have another camera for B-roll that shoots a different version of Log like a DSLR. “We needed a simple workflow that takes all of that different media in and mixes it with the EVS record chains to piece together openers and closers and promos as well as ensuring all of the digital and social clips we need to produce look great too,” said Warden. “We also do something else here on site that’s quite unusual: we build a 52-minute fourpart fully-produced and voiced highlights show that we distribute to the world approximately two hours after the trophy lift. We build that show as we go along each day. “Making sure we’re able to do all that while we’re here obviously adds pressure. We’ve set ourselves quite a task. How can we orchestrate what we’re doing? That’s what we’re achieving in the edit suite here, working in Log across the board but with the guys viewing everything in HDR and working off the HDR pictures — so that we can understand how that looks, especially in relation to the live match action we’re producing. We’ve got to make sure all our post produced material actually has the same look and feel,” he said.
The promise for 1080P/50 HDR production in the future “HDR is going to make the single biggest difference to the viewing of sport, in my opinion,” said Shane Warden. “Resolution isn’t going to do that. “Last November in London we set up two identical Sony screens, absolutely matched, and people could not tell the difference between the 4K HDR and the 1080P/50 HDR. People could not tell the difference — people with a lot of TV experience. “Here’s my argument. You acquire at 4K, in HDR. You process carefully through the chain, down at 1080p/50. The big difference here is we are going at 50 frames progressive – and that is a massive boost for your enhanced viewing experience. “We get to the point where we can distribute to any broadcaster in the world, easily, with HDR alongside — and then they can put it out on their 4K HDR channels. And it’s going to look great. That’s the feedback we’re already getting this week. “We can start to bring the benefits of HDR to consumers way earlier if we go down this route. It’s much more achievable and nowhere near the compromise that people think it is. For a global travelling OB the reduction of complexity in the infrastructure versus a 12G set-up is a colossal saving and I personally think this approach could be applied to other genres like entertainment where HDR and 50P bring such a visual treat.”
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
Broadcast coverage plan for 2019 Rugby World Cup BY DAVID FOX
reparations are well underway for the next Rugby World Cup, which takes place in Japan from 20 September to 2 November 2019 — the first time the event has taken place in Asia. Two of those most closely involved in delivering the host broadcast and match graphics for the event spoke at SVG Europe’s Future Sport 2018 conference in Manchester last week, looking at the logistical and operational challenges faced by broadcasters and revealing their plans for the tournament. This will be the first major event held in Japan since its co-hosting of the football world cup in 2002, with the Tokyo Olympics to follow in 2020. It is also the first Rugby World Cup to have an official host broadcaster: IGBS, a joint venture between IMG and HBS. The Rugby World Cup requires a minimum of eight venues, but Japan wanted to spread the matches around 30
the country so will have 12 venues, which will create logistical challenges. “We have eight main OB units, supplied by NEP, and we have to get them to all these venues, which will take a while, as some are more remote than you’d imagine,” said Alan Bright, IMG Studios’ vice president and director of engineering. IGBS will have about 650 people in Japan, divided between eight main technical teams and four production teams, which have been carefully selected from major rugby-playing and broadcasting nations (New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, France and the UK). The production is being formed around four directors selected “as their coverage, we believe, has stood out in their various regions and also, we think it is great for the World Cup to mix the various flavours from regions around the world,” explained Bright. However, this presents them SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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with an added challenge, as there are four different opinions about how the production should be laid out and about such details as where graphics are positioned. Each game will have a minimum coverage of 23 cameras (of which eight will be Ultra HD), including four super-slow motion units and two ultra-motion systems, plus a ref cam. For 34 games, including the opening match there will also be two extra super-slo-mo cameras and a Spidercam (with either 10 or 14 UHD cameras). Each knock-out match will also have four corner flag cameras. “There is lots of interest in the UHD coverage from broadcasters, but we’ve noticed it is price sensitive,” and the premium for UHD hasn’t disappeared yet, he said. The productions will use flyaway packs — four are IP-based, the others SDI. Flyaways were chosen because there are a limited number of OB trucks in Japan, most of which are owned by rights-holding broadcasters, and its need for eight units capable of UHD and 32 cameras couldn’t be met locally. All 48 matches will offer broadcasters eight multi-feed options for each match, all precisely timed so broadcasters can opt in at any point. The various feeds and formats will include UHD (SDR, 59.94, square division, with Dolby 5.1 audio) and HD (59.94 1080i and 1080p) match feeds, tactical feeds and a new additional content feed containing pre- and post-match content (such as team arrivals, dressing room cameras, press conferences) and in-match ISO camera clips. There will also be seven host broadcaster ENG crews providing material from the
training camps of the various countries, including interviews, as well as roving cameras at the venues and fan zones, plus additional 360º virtual reality content. IGBS is building a large international broadcast centre in temporary structures at the Tokyo Stadium that will house the technical centre, editorial and operational teams (including three commentators in English for each match), and quality control. The media server hosting all the world cup data will also be based at the IBC. For three matches (Japan v Ireland, Semi-Final 1 and the Final) there will also be an 8K production with nine 8K positions, plus upconversion of some UHD camera feeds, by NHK. It would be more, but there will also be the enthronement of a new Emperor in October, which will be a priority for NHK’s 8K production. The Television Match Official for each game will be set up in a separate Portakabin in the OB compound at each venue, with access to all the camera feeds and the Hawk-Eye replay system, while the citing commissioners will be based at the IBC.
In graphic detail
2019 will be Alston Elliot’s second Rugby World Cup having successfully delivered host broadcast graphics in 2015, when it was responsible for the Tournament Information System in partnership with Opta (which it will also be working with in Japan). Alston Elliot does a huge amount of rugby for BT Sport, Sky Sports, BBC, ITV, RTE, and for both the Rugby Championship and Super
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Rugby in the southern hemisphere. “Although the Rugby World Cup is obviously a step up in terms of workflow […] we’ve got a lot of experienced people doing it and it is a proven and robust system,” said Stuart Coles, Alston Elliot’s chief commercial officer. It is planning to match IGBS with four graphics production crews and eight technical crews, plus an IBC presence. It will have ten sets of kit, based around Vizrt systems, including the IBC and a disasterrecovery site. Having been in Tokyo when a typhoon hit, Coles added that the probability of having to use the disaster-recovery site was “quite high.” He expects to have at least 42 staff in Japan, plus project and client managers. Its workflow will include delivering: world feed graphics in 1080p and augmented reality graphics, first level logging to augment the Opta data collection, the official match timing system and infotainment graphics for the big screens in each stadium. A remote production at the IBC will add automatically generated UHD feeds, a backup world feed, multi-language feeds (Japanese and French, possibly more) and multi-language augmented reality graphics. With Spidercam playing an important part in the matchday production,Alston Elliot is also “looking at that to get some AR content in to the coverage as well. We’ve done a lot of work with Spidercam over the last couple of years on getting data from the Spidercam unit using their vector system. We’ve done it primarily on cricket, although we have dabbled on other sports, and we think it is something that could be really effective on rugby,” he said.
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
Alan Bright, IMG Studios, vice president and director of engineering
AR has been used extensively on rugby,“but mainly as a presentation tool, and while that looks great, we just think you can get a lot more value out of it if you’re using it with live match data.” For example, Alston Elliot has been experimenting with how to show kick maps in AR, rather than the normal 2D maps.“Goalkicking is so important in these big games, and different kickers have different blackspots on the field they don’t like to kick from, and it would be quite nice to show that,” explained Coles.
Ajax FC technology consultant Max Reckers (L) and Mobile Viewpoint MD Michel Bais before Ajax U-19 v Bayern U-19 UEFA Youth League match in Amsterdam on 12 December
Live from Amsterdam: Ajax steps into the future with AI-driven player analysis and live streaming BY FERGAL RINGROSE
“With sports like ice hockey and basketball, where the players largely stay closely grouped together, it can work really well” MICHEL BAIS
t the UEFA Youth League Ajax U-19 v Bayern U-19 match on Wednesday, Ajax FC Training Academy hosted a live demonstration using AI-driven live broadcast capture for player analysis and simultaneously for Ajax TV. The Innovation Team at Ajax partnered with Hikvision, Mobile Viewpoint and TNO for this technology collaboration. Dutch research foundation TNO and Chinese video surveillance company Hikvision have developed an ecosystem for live sports production and analysis using new technologies to automate the capture of live sports, based on AI algorithms. The four-lens 180-degree Hikvision camera used for Wednesday’s demo is the company’s very first unit in Europe. The Ajax Training Academy, led by Ajax Innovation technology consultant Max Reckers, has taken the lead on this AI-based project — which from Wednesday’s UEFA
Youth League match has also now been adopted by Ajax TV for live streaming. Mobile Viewpoint has worked for the last nine months on productising part of this ecosystem to make it ready for broadcasters and editors to be used in online streaming and live television. TNO’s technology focuses on tracking players based on AI and low-cost hardware; recognising situations and persons with very high accuracy, including behavioural detection and tracking; and machine learning to recognise patterns and act upon that in terms of direction. Mobile Viewpoint’s IQ Sports Producer is an AI-driven production suite that supports the capture and delivery of live sports streaming from any location. The combination of Hikvision’s four-lens camera with Mobile Viewpoint’s AI technology captures matches by tracking players, balls or other objects and live streams the resulting content — SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
Ajax U-19 v Bayern U-19: Bayern ran out 2-1 winners
removing the need for production facilities, camera crews or directors. The IQ Sports Producer platform features the 24MP 180-degree camera, covering the entire playing field; a 2U MVP PC box with IQSP software and HEVC encoding; and an IQSP LinkMatrix online management dashboard. The system’s de-warping and stitching technology provides a corrected image with straight line markings. A pan and zoomed image is automatically created using speciallydeveloped game-tracking technology. Mobile Viewpoint managing director Michel Bais said, “smaller or lower leagues of sports can now get a chance to live stream their games. You already see this happening with success using image recognition to follow the game using a single camera. “AI will make these productions more interesting because it will enable goal detection, yellow and red cards, corners, time outs or injuries. Together with player analysis it is possible to create automatic summaries that will appeal to many more viewers compared to the complete game. Also, AI-based advertisement control will make those games more interesting for sponsors.” IQ Sports Producer, first unveiled at NAB in April, is now with Ajax and Feyenoord in the Netherlands along with other beta customers internationally. Bais said “recognition-based AI technology was expensive in the past but is now quite cheap to get. As sports viewers move online, second and third leagues can now reach an audience, especially as team and club-based viewing is growing. Meanwhile, new streaming channels are looking for alternative quality sports capture and a return for their sponsors.” As the partners continue to work on the system, Bais said they realise that “the cameras need protection against the weather, and higher resolution cameras are required for larger fields. AI is the future but needs a lot of training, as ball detection is sharply context36
sensitive. AI algorithms are defined on a single image basis; there is no history context, as there is in video encoding — you need to develop your own training data.” On the road map for the future? Better ball detection; multicamera auto director, delivering 2 x 4K at 16m; automatic replays after goals; automatic summary; and AI-controlled ad insertion. Bais continued, “Ajax and TNO have been working on player tracking and AI for a long time. We got involved where we said to TNO ‘let’s make a deal together where we adapt your technology into a real product that also fits the requirements of our customers, with the ability to add overlay and advertisements and those commercial things’. “We started in April at NAB, with an example of what we could do. The surprising thing for us was that at NAB the most interest for anything on our whole booth was this product. “People said ‘but how do you deal with the connectivity issues?’ We said,‘that’s what we do, we’re a connectivity company’. “We’ve spent the last months bringing it all together in one hardware box, including bringing the algorithms back down on Nvidia-based hardware. We had to make it all smaller and more affordable. “Now we think we are ready to roll out. With sports like ice hockey and basketball, where the players largely stay quite closely grouped together, it can work really well where it looks almost like what you would see on television. “When 5G [contribution] is introduced,” said Bais,“you could bring the box away from the customer — you’ll only need the camera and you just bring the IP from the camera back to the cloud. You’ll have so much high bandwidth that you won’t need hardware on-site any more. You just put the camera up and away you go. Next year will see a lot of 5G trials, and we expect it to roll out [properly] in 2020.” SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
Alpine Ski World Cup
High Dynamic Range 4K UHD gets full test at the Alpine Ski World Cup BY ROBERTO LANDINI, Italian Correspondent
t the mid-December FIS Alpine Ski World Cup events in Val Gardena and Alta Badia, the International Ski Federation along with producer Infront and OB provider Global Production tested 4K UHD with the HLG BT2020 HDR colour space. The signal produced in Italy was not distributed in UHD HDR but its conversion to HD SDR went to all the world’s largest broadcasters and the event was designed as a real-world test to get ready for a forthcoming 4K TV airing. Global Production, as technical provider worked with Infront Sport & Media Italy, holder of the rights of the Ski World Cup. The mobile vehicle engaged, OB8, used as many as 25 GVG LDX 86N UHD HDR cameras of which three were in 6x configuration along with four EVS XT Via production servers and XT3 Channel Max configured in UHD and 1080p. Davide Furlan, CEO and partner at Global Production, said: “Never has the ‘white’ been so exciting and the result so incredible! We can say that we have opened a new era 38
for the TV production of the world ski races. It is a new world reproduced, where the spectators at home will feel really there on the slopes, thanks to the new definition in 4K UHD and the new colour perception closer to reality provided by HDR: new colours, new sounds and new emotions.” It took three days to wire the track and connect the 25 LDX 86Ns, positioned by Infront director Sandro de Manincor, with the support of the FIS for security issues. The technical staff hired to produce the event consisted of almost 60 people. The organising committee made a portion of pre-wired optical fibres plus some dark fibre sections available. Global Production laid the remaining backbones in dark fibre and SMPTE, using about 15 km of cables. They then created intermediate remote routing stations using hybrid fibre-based GVG systems to reach each TV camera. Stefano Bianco, a director and partner at Global Production said: “To follow the various competitions on the different ski fields we sent two mobile reference SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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vehicles, the OB6 and the OB8. The OB8 unit is the last 14-metre flagship with over 70 square metres of walking space, completely in 4K UHD, capable of handling 30 cameras in 4K UHD. “The other, the OB6, is also a 14-metre vehicle with great technological and performance content, 64sqm, capable of managing 30 GVG LDX 80/LDX 86N cameras and 10 servers, already fully wired in 3G. “In Val Gardena OB8 was engaged for the production of the 4K UHD signal with 25 LDN 86N cameras that covered a shooting surface of around 4800 metres of very steep slopes. Two Gigawave radio cameras, one at the start and one on the parterre, a Polecam at the start and two Jimmi Jib Extreme arms completed the event camera plan,” said Bianco. The production decided to also commit two LDX 86N cameras to shooting at 6x in order to create exciting images in Hyper Slow Motion. Grass Valley followed these sporting events, technically supporting Global Production
Alpine Ski World Cup
by providing spare equipment and giving support in the management of native live HDR. The core of the technologies used for production within the OB8 were the Platinum IPV3 matrix by Imagine Communication: 512 x 380 in/out 3G with 488 different sources for multiviewers in 3G HDR. The GVG video mixer is the K-Frame with double M/E Karrera and Kayenne 192 in and 96 out in 3G configured in 2.5M / E 4KUHD HDR. Thanks to the interaction between the Digico systems and the Lawo VSM audio control interfaces, the shots were made in total ‘intelligent audio-follow-video’, as the GVG K-Frame commanded the pre-set DiGiCo audio channels with a management programming of audio matching with video with fade-in and fade-out timing and left-right pan-pot movement depending on the type of cut and framing made by the director. An omnidirectional Soundfield microphone was placed on the parterre to capture the spatiality of the fans’ cheers recreated in Dolby 5.1 surround. All the sources, the Dirty Feed and Clean Feed converted into HD SDR were distributed to the TV compound for international broadcasters: in addition to RAI, the ORF, ZDF, RTBF and RTV were taking feeds. Furlan added: “When months ago I proposed to Infront executives to produce the Val Gardena event in 4K UHD there was immediately a great interest but also an understandable concern for the complexity in producing this event. Skiing has, by its nature, a very high production difficulty rate for the environment that hosts it, temperatures are not comfortable for man, not to mention for electronics, weather conditions are very changeable and very long travel times are needed due to the topography of the territory that obliges the use of skis, lifts, helicopters, skidoos and snowmobiles. “The communication systems must also be very reliable, ensuring coverage of many square kilometres. Due to all this we understood the concern of Infront’s managers in inserting a technological element of innovation and radical change such as 4K UHD HDR that had already seen productions in football with a quality considered below expectations and received some controversy from viewers at home. “The project, however, was carried out and the result was truly incredible: those who have seen at home the competitions in HD SDR did not notice anything thanks to the high quality of the downscaling equipment on board.” This is the first time that such a huge deployment of technologies, personnel and means was employed for Alpine Ski World Cup. Everything worked in extreme conditions, far from the comfort typical of other production situations in other sports. The 3TRE FIS World Cup Night Slalom on 22 December was broadcast on Eurosport 4K Russia in Ultra HD. SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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FIS World Ski Championships
Insight Nimbra media gateways will send uncompressed HD signals from Åre to Stockholm. Return signals are uncompressed HD and video latency is about 75 milliseconds. Clear-Com IP intercoms are also in use to make sure communications are as close to real time as possible. Each of the three control rooms in Stockholm will produce different signals as one will focus on the regular world feed, another on world feed plus, and then the third on the Swedish unilateral needs.
SVT remote production expands to 80 cameras for Alpine Ski Championships BY KEN KERSCHBAUMER
“Many said it won’t work with bigger events. But this event shows the full potential of remote production” ADDE GRANBERG
weden’s SVT and Infront will break new ground in remote production during its host production coverage of the FIS World Ski Championships 5-17 February when it sends 80 camera signals from the course via two 100 Gbps fibre circuits from Telia to three control rooms in Stockholm. Adde Granberg, SVT director of technology & CTO, says the accomplishment at the World Ski Championships shows how far things have come since 2012 when SVT put remote production to the test for the London Olympics. “It’s not about new technology, it’s about a new way of working,” he explains. “This has nothing to do with IP as the facilities at the course are the same if we were not using IP. Only the transport of signals is over IP.” About 150 people will be at the course, including technicians, the camera people, and the director. The director will have access to a control panel to control the Grass Valley vision mixer that will be located in Stockholm where a production team of about 40 will create the ultimate coverage. Grass Valley cameras are the camera make of choice, serving content to EVS replay operators in Stockholm. FIS handles the creation and management of graphics which are then integrated with the produced feed. “In our office in Stockholm we have the same equipment as you would find in an OB truck so the goal was to figure out how to use that so that we wouldn’t need to rent trucks as we don’t have our own trucks,” explains Granberg. The two Telia 100 Gbps circuits outfitted with Net
Getting to this point took about five years of convincing both the International Ski Federation and the other broadcasting rights holders as well as SVT. “It was an enormous internal journey that began a few years ago,” he says.“There were many questions along the way: Why? How? and so on. But perhaps the toughest nut to crack was communicating with everyone who said it would never work.” An initial test proved out the system two weeks ago, allowing the SVT team to get around to the task of getting on-site preparations and 79 cameras in position. Annika Zahr, SVT head of operations, oversees those efforts. Granberg says that once the team overcame their discomfort with the idea of working remotely, they began to come up with more ways it could be accomplished. “We’re making use of the digital technology we’ve had for a long time, to digitalise our method for maximum benefit,” he explains. “We use fixed technology in one location — in this case at SVT in Stockholm — and have the cameras in a different location farther away.With long extension cords, so to speak.” What defines a successful remote production? The cost savings are obvious, especially for major sports where hundreds of people need to be on site at locations where cheap hotel rooms are non-existent. And equipment can be better utilised as it will spend less time in transit and more time being available to be used. And, of course, Granberg says that making sure viewers don’t notice or have a bad experience is at the top of the list of making a successful show. “Many said, ‘okay, but it won’t work with bigger events. But this event shows the full potential of remote production.” “It definitely changes the work routines of a lot of people, but it doesn’t change anything negatively for the viewer,” he adds. “I’ve had the pleasure of travelling around the world to work with big events since 1993. But how much is all that personal satisfaction worth when the viewers get nothing in return for the additional expense and environmental impact?” As for the next step, Granberg is intrigued with the move to cloud-based production that doesn’t require physical rooms. But the team at SVT will have a chance to become SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
FIS World Ski Championships
even more comfortable with remote production when it is put in place for the Biathalon World Championships in Östersund in March. “My staff are ready for new routines; we’re more efficient and more green, and we’ve made SVT an attractive workplace for those who love to work with TV production,” says Granberg. “After our world championships, our newfound expertise will carry over into everyday production, combining all of SVT’s resources to create programming where it’s needed, with new methods that will carry the company forward. “With the 2015 World Ski Championships in Falun and
EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
now Åre and Östersund in 2019, SVT has put Sweden on the map with new production methods.We have sporting facilities with fibre connections that let us be on site much faster without giant production vans, just cameras. “This saves time and money when major events need to be moved to a different location due to weather conditions, or when other big competitions are held in our part of the world. We can now produce television broadcasts of biathlon, cross-country skiing, ski jumping and alpine events of top world class in the most environmental, efficient way possible, with, I dare to say, shorter lead times than any other country in the world.”
European Rugby Challenge Cup
NEP helps DAZN cover European Rugby Challenge matches in Grenoble and Parma BY ROBERTO LANDINI
N “It is interesting to note that shots involving the coaches are fewer in rugby, because they are less angry than in football!” MAURIZIO MORINI
EP Italy was on hand earlier this month to help DAZN with its HD coverage of two matches in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (ERCC). The two matches saw Grenoble take on Benetton Rugby on 18 January and Zebre Rugby Club play La Rochelle the following day. NEP Italy provided Unit 24 and Unit 18 respectively. For both matches, a day of preparation was necessary to ensure everything was in place for the eight camera set-ups. The physical dimensions of the trucks and the size limitations of the stadiums that the games were played in caused some interesting challenges, as Maurizio Morini, technical manager in charge of the event, told SVG Europe. He said: “Although Unit 18 can operate with up to 14 cameras, in this case, we were using eight, placing Camera 1 and Camera 2 in a high position on the public side. “Often we try to position Camera 3 at the same height as the 1 and 2 as happens in football but here there is not enough space.” Morini explained that it is often natural to make a comparison between rugby and football coverage. With the latter, cameras capture quite close shots of the details to allow viewers to follow the action. But in rugby, the shots are always a little wider and involve smaller groups of players. “Camera 1 remains to
take quite wide shots to show the action as a whole. This is because in rugby the action is always more articulated and mobile than in football and generally the small groups of players are followed by 2 and 3. “Another camera is placed on the sideline on a hi-lo and still takes a lot of shots from a high position,” he added. Another four cameras were positioned on the corners of the field with a shoulder camera then taking care of shooting the whole field, always to the side of Cameras 1 and 2. In addition, a dedicated camera captured the lower left corner of the pitch and was then also used to shoot the pre and post-match interviews and the interviews that took place at half-time. Morini went on to explain that, “in the field we have installed tripods to get shots that are always a bit wider than in football, since the ball seems to move faster and the action is articulated on a larger space, involving the whole field.” He believes that the action of a football match is easier to follow for TV. “In rugby, the groups of players move rather compactly and the development of the action is a bit more difficult to follow. “It is interesting to note that even the shots that involve the coaches in the stands are fewer in rugby, just because SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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European Rugby Challenge Cup
they are less angry than in football! In fact, although it may seem like a violent action sports, in fact, it is not: there are many fewer offences and complaints in general because the referee intervenes immediately with punishments.” Sound is also crucial for rugby coverage, he said. “In the match, the presence of the referee’s voice is very important since he makes decisions continuously and constantly consults the other match officials,” said Morini.“Stereo audio was captured by eight microphones placed in the field, mostly Sennheiser 416s, plus a stereo Sennheiser 418, placed near camera 3, on the sideline.” A relatively lean crew was required for the coverage, although additional match officials did swell the numbers, said Morini. “The production crew on the van includes not only the director and the graphic designer but also a TMO or support officer for the referee then two RVM, an RVM coordinator, two camera controls, a technician and a sound engineer.” The ERCC is an annual European rugby competition organised by European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR). It is the second-tier competition for European clubs behind the European Rugby Champions Cup. The Challenge Cup is contested between 20 teams. Of those 20, 18 qualify from the three main European
domestic leagues — Premiership Rugby, Top 14, and Pro14 — while two qualify from the Continental Shield, a competition that takes place between teams from second-tier level Rugby Europe nations. Cardiff Blues are the current Challenge Cup holders. In October 2018, the live and on-demand streaming service DAZN landed the rights to show 70 matches from the ERCC in Canada, Germany, Austria, Japan, Switzerland and Italy for the next four seasons. As part of the deal, DAZN acts as the host broadcaster for matches that take place in Italy. BT Sport holds the rights for the tournament in the UK and Ireland. Rights for France are shared between France Televisions and beIN Sports.
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Eurosport at 30
Eurosport studio for this year’s Australian Open tennis
Eurosport 30: Serving customers in their own country and language Eurosport Player OTT digital streaming platform available in more than 50 countries across Europe BY PHILIP STEVENS
n 5 February 1989 Eurosport was launched offering a unique sports channel with commentaries in English, Dutch and German. During the first few weeks, it transmitted a number of high-profile sporting events including the World Alpine Skiing Championships, World Bobsleigh Championships, World Matchplay Snooker and the European Figure Skating Championships. By 1993, the cost of securing sports rights had risen so much that it was decided that Eurosport and The European Sports Network (TESN) should join forces to provide one single programme service under the name Eurosport. That merger also involved TV Sports, Screensport and Sportkanal, and saw the introduction of the first single pan-European sports outlet on both the Astra and Eutelsat II satellites. In 2014, Discovery Inc. completed the acquisition of the 48
controlling interest in Eurosport International. Discovery Inc. now operates in excess of 200 worldwide TV networks reaching an estimated 3.7 billion subscribers One of the first to market with an over-the-top (OTT) digital streaming platform for sport, its Eurosport Player service is available in more than 50 countries across Europe and saw record subscriber numbers in 2018. In an exclusive interview with SVG Europe, Gordon Castle, senior vice president, technology and operations, Eurosport discussed the milestones and successes of the channel, and offers some thoughts for the future. “What is intriguing about the growth of Eurosport is its evolution from a single pan-European channel to what has become a wide-reaching outlet — but with localisation at a scale that has not been done before. And by localisation, I mean the fact that we produce content in 21 different languages and on a variety of platforms SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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Eurosport at 30
every screen. That strategy is vital and ensures there are not separate teams in different buildings doing isolated things for a diversity of platforms. It is one integrated team, and that allows us from a technology, editorial and content standpoint to have an engagement with users that is unique.” As someone who has been around the industry for many years, Castle says this approach overcomes the challenges of the past when it comes to the management of resources in order to meet the needs of fans across many sports and in different cultures. “This content management is far greater than I have seen elsewhere and enables a continent-wide brand to still achieve a local reach.” Eurosport Legends podcast: Boris Becker, Mats Wilander and John McEnroe
to deliver content that is locally relevant in each of the diverse markets we serve.” Castle explains that he calls this approach ‘hub and spoke’ — in other words, the central creation of content that is then extended out across the relevant outlets.“From the Olympic Games, we’ve taken a ‘one team’ approach to what was previously our TV coverage and digital offerings, so we can control and optimise what is seen on
On 1 January 2017 a unique partnership between Discovery Communications and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) saw Eurosport become officially the new Home of the Olympic Games in Europe. “That was a game-changer and is a key milestone,” emphasised Castle. “The reach of the Olympic Games in South Korea was better than had been envisaged. Consumers across Europe were served in a way that
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SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
Eurosport at 30
had never been achieved previously. And perhaps that explains why Discovery/Eurosport is one of the few media companies that has seen advertising revenue and subscription reach increasing, while others are shrinking.” He cites the use of VR as an example of technology that has moved audience participation to a higher level. “Previously, an expert may have used a Telestrator to illustrate a point. But with the VR and AR technology we used in South Korea we were able to create an immersive experience that put athletes right in the middle of the analysis and have them explain what they were thinking at a particular moment, and what was going on in the action in a way they hadn’t been able to do without that technology.” He says that many of the lessons learned from the Olympic Games have now been incorporated in other events such as the Australian Open tennis.
But it wasn’t just the technology that saw a significant advancement. The whole package of acquiring the rights produced a different approach to the broadcast and digital scene. “Discovery originally secured full multi-platform rights
Gordon Castle, senior vice president, technology and operations, Eurosport
— TV and digital - to cover the Games across Europe, which allowed the company to embark on a mixture of our own production and distribution on our Eurosport channels and the Discovery Free to Air channels — such as those in Norway and Sweden,” said Castle. “Beyond that, we had a clear plan to bring the Games
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Eurosport at 30
Discovery IBC studio: Eurosport became the home of the Winter Olympics in South Korea
“AI is a priority for us on several fronts. One area of focus is metadata information generation” GORDON CASTLE
to more people through sub-licensing with some of the biggest and best national broadcast partners. This unique arrangement positions us, not just as a broadcaster in the traditional sense, but truly as a content house and acting not just as a distributor, but using our in-house expertise to truly optimise distribution across all platforms.” Castle believes this is an interesting mixture at different levels and is indicative of what is going on with the media world overall — the merging of roles that have been clear in the past but what is now becoming blurred. “Eurosport is a leading-edge example of how well that can work. It enables us to make sense of the evolution that is happening in sports coverage. And that evolution involves looking to personalise content even more so that we can connect with passionate sports fans.” Eurosport’s digital services are key in that role. And Castle reports a very healthy growth in that area.“Thirty years ago, of course, there were no digital services as we know them today. Again, our success in that area has come about by using the ‘hub and spoke’ approach we mentioned earlier. We have the content, and we now have the platforms on which to personalise what fans want to see. “The pan-European TV channels remain as popular as ever, but now we can deliver unique offerings to
consumers in the Netherlands, Germany, UK, Sweden, Norway — wherever — in the local language and specifically target the content. “The overall aim is to serve fans, in their own country and in their own language. So, for example, in Germany Eurosport is seen as a premium, German sports channel designed and delivered for the fan communities in that country.”
Make things visible
Continuing in that direction, several initiatives are under way that see the way content being shared more effectively internally. Called the Eurosport Technology Transformation initiative, the outcome will fundamentally change how events are produced and how content is available to the rest of the business for both TV channels and digital properties. “As one example, when it comes to graphics, we will evolve the products and the infrastructure behind them to enhance the consumer experience. We will manage the content more dynamically than before. It means that access to all the archives, all the streams, all the native languages, all the metadata, all the sports information will be available to the team. But crucially, it will allow us to dynamically recreate that graphics information on the SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
Eurosport at 30
tablet, on the phone, on the web site, as opposed to taking the image directly from TV.” Castle says that the result will be the ability to create enhanced userfriendly graphics and configurations for a phone or other devices.“All of those plans are achievable because we are merging the information and the content levels. In short, all content will be available across all properties, both digital and TV, in whatever is the appropriate format.” Eurosport used remote production for some of is Olympics coverage, but Castle is confident this will increase in the future. “Frankly, it just makes sense. The problems of practicality that were experienced in the past have been essentially solved — or are so small they can be worked around. Remote production allows so much more flexibility when it comes to handling staffing — and allows your key personnel to sleep in their own beds at night!” He reveals that case studies show higher quality production and greater personnel satisfaction.“Of course, there is still some scepticism in some quarters and every media company will have its limit when it comes to opting for remote production. Maybe it’s the number of cameras needed for the event or the anticipated ad revenue — but at some point, there will be a time when using remote production will be decreed as preferable.” Remote production will also allow minority sports to get shown where in the past not practical. “We have the luxury of having lots of platforms and an audience who want a broad mix of sports. Remote has made it more efficient so now we can address the niche sports.”
“Today, you cannot get though a discussion about technology without someone mentioning Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is a priority for us on several fronts. One area of focus is metadata information generation. “Being able to use that to create more detailed information about the events. and being able to do that in multiple languages. Another area for AI for us is to be able to create targeted content. Targeting the individual fan and making content that is specifically relevant for him or her. But overall, we can use AI to really enhance the overall consumer experience — by understanding user behaviour we can improve their experiences.” According to Castle, the pace of change is the biggest challenge facing all media outlets in the coming years.“That pace has never been faster. One of the exciting things about Discovery and Eurosport is the embracement of change in the global sports and entertainment production arena. If you are not changing you are not evolving and that is bad news. “The plans we have are all about being flexible. Our technology infrastructure has evolved over the past few years and it does a great job today. We have made a huge investment in our infrastructure and it will have benefits. “But, while we are making huge steps forward with flexibility, you can be sure that within the next five years, the current thinking will be challenged again. We have to be ready for that uncertainty.”
Women’s CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup
Photos courtesy of CEV (Confédération Européenne de Volleyball)
Live from Monza: NDI and Dante audio technology crucial to coverage of 2019 Women’s CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup BY ROBERTO LANDINI
he Candy Arena in the Italian city of Monza was the venue for the final of this year’s Women’s CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup, a match that was significant in both sporting and televisual terms. The game saw Saugella Monza make history by beating Aydin BBSK 3-1 to claim the trophy in what was the club’s first foray into European competition. In doing so, they also became only the second Italian team ever to win the competition. The TV coverage of the final, as well as the first leg of the men’s semi-finals in the same competition at the same venue, was produced by the Italian production company MediaNews and streamed live on the EuroVolleyTV OTT service. MediaNews made use of an IP-based OB van for the production, one that utilised both Newtek’s NDI and the 54
Dante audio protocol. All the onboard video devices, including the video mixer, instant replay machine and graphic contribution system, shared the same IP technology and the entire audio system operated on Dante technology. With no SDI distribution or analogue audio, all the signals were processed and transferred using IP.
One of MediaNews’ unique selling points is that it always tries to use unconventional methods in order to reduce costs and increase the flexibility of television productions. The choice of NDI for its OBs continues this tradition and brings with it a major advantage; the ability to lay out a single fibre network that carries everything — audio, video and data — therefore, simplifying the production and its set-up. SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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Coverage for the Women’s Challenge Cup final and men’s semi-final consisted of five HD cameras plus graphics, replay and commentary stations. From the mobile vehicle, physically located just outside the Candy Arena, an optical fibre link was carried inside the palazzetto and from there to the cameras and the reporter stations. According to Roberto Musso, MediaNews managing director and technical manager, rigging and set-up took just 90 minutes. “In a remote production there comes a time when you miss the physical presence and the interaction with the public that is definitely a great part of
Women’s CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup
a super sports show.” The difference is striking compared to traditional systems that can require three to four times the set-up time required here.“Even the weight of the OB van is decidedly lower than that of a traditional TV vehicle,” he says. “Therefore, the circulation limits are much lower and also the power mains consumption is very low.” As he explains, just a normal supply of electricity, even the typical civilian allowance of 2.5KW, is sufficient, since the equipment is completely different from a traditional gallery and consumes a lot less energy. “Even any PU generators are really small, 3KW, and can work for many hours,” he adds. Another important advantage of this set-up is that by no longer using SDI video and analogue audio, the size of the control equipment can be drastically reduced. This results in much more available space for operators. This means that even a Citroën ‘Jumper’ L4 van can comfortably accommodate up to four people plus a director, something that would be completely impossible
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Women’s CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup
in a traditional gallery given the size of the racks. Musso himself designed the vehicle, with install and integration completed by MediaNews in collaboration with Adcom. NewTek supplied the onboard kit. The camera plan for the five-camera shoot was based on a specification from the CEV, the European Volleyball Federation. It included two RF cameras for mobile contribution, complete with Swit radio links, plus three fixed cameras positioned around the court: one on the short side and two on the long side; one engaged getting wide shots, while the others dealt with close-ups. The two radio cameras were positioned on the sidelines so they could get narrow shots of the game as well as shots of the crowd. They were also used for pre and post-game interviews. The HD cameras used were made by JVC. Along with audio gear developed by Glensound, and a Behringer audio mixer, the Newtek VMC1 video mixer played a crucial role. The video control desk is very large, with 44 inputs and 30 outputs and eight MEs. Although it was being used for HD, it can operate in 4K if required.
from the commentator box on the field, it is possible to remotely control the audio mixer and adjust the levels, so avoiding interaction with an operator physically placed in the control room. In practice, from the courtside, it is also possible to remotely operate both video and audio mixers. This means that in the set-up phase if it is necessary to control particular signals or to set some levels on the spot, it is not imperative to have an additional person connected in the gallery, but it can all be done independently, thanks to IP technology. However, Musso is not yet convinced about remote production. “It is feasible to use remote production in its entirety and therefore count on interesting general cost savings, moving on-premise only the indispensable resources,” he says. “In my opinion, today the presence on the spot — typical of traditional TV production systems which NDI technology facilitates and simplifies — obviously allows greater empathy with the event and makes it more beautiful for the public at home. “In fact, in a remote production there comes a time Remotely possible when you miss the physical presence and the interaction Using NDI and Dante it is possible for MediaNews to with the public that is definitely a great part of a super remotely control any device via the network. For example, sports show.”
“In a remote production there comes a time when you miss the physical presence and the interaction with the public” ROBERTO MUSSO
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Football Summit 2019
Match directors share the secrets to storytelling success BY KEN KERSCHBAUMER
“You should think of the people at home to determine what goes on the screen” GRANT PHILIPS
op match directors took to the stage at Football Summit 2019 to discuss their role within a production, outline how any production is a true team effort and ponder the technology that can sometimes make a difference (as long as it doesn’t interfere with the storytelling). “Doing nothing, bizarrely, is often the best thing,” said Grant Philips, director/executive producer who has worked on World Cups, EPL matches, Confederation Cups, and more. “You want to make every frame be the best it can be on the television, so it’s about the right shot at the right time.” Sarah Cheadle, Sky Sports, director, discussed her preparation process.Week in and week out she directs EPL matches and she said that things like camera positions are pretty much locked down. But there are some storylines in each match that require some additional camera assignments. “If you have a big game you want a camera on the manager and I also like a camera on the away fans so that you can get a shot of a player running to the fans after a goal,” she said. The rest of her preparation process requires some study as she digests the statistical packs to know the stats of the players and teams and any potential milestones. She also checks out things like twitter and social media.
Coming to you in 3, 2, 1… A match directing masterclass, with Gemma Knight and Sarah Cheadle (Photo: James Cumpsty) 58
“I want to be one step ahead in the preparation process as when the game kicks off anything can happen,” she said. Philips concurred, adding that he goes into each match looking to be aware of backstories and relationships between those involved in the match.And the preparation process also requires personally picking everyone involved in the production as it is important to have a team that is trusted and whose skills are known. “They can make you look good so it’s important to have had a hand in that,” he said. Added Cheadle: “It’s a team effort. You can have an amazing shot but if it is not racked properly it isn’t usable. Or a replay can be great but if it isn’t cued you can’t use it. So, you need to be a team player and respect those who are working for you and with you.” Two positions they agreed are particularly important are the floor managers, who are the eyes and ears around the pitch and can break a lot of storylines, and the replay coordinator, who serves as the eyes and ears inside the replay area. If the replay coordinator does there job correctly the team on the front bench can ensure that it offers up the best shots (and occasional hidden gems like a dragonfly landing on a player’s lips) that might be missed otherwise. “You need to trust the replay operator to be in tune with the match,” said Philips, adding that a good replay coordinator is worth their weight in gold. “And the commentators should never lead the show,” he said. “You should think of the people at home to determine what goes on the screen.” As for the role technology plays in their work Cheadle mentioned the Spidercam system that she put to use for a recent penalty kick shootout, and it gave a new look that she liked. She is also intrigued with the Intel True View 360-video system. Football Summit 2019, sponsored by EVS, took place at the Stade de France in Paris on 28 February 2019 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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Nordic Summit 2019
Eva Poysti, SVT head of operations with SVG editorial services director Ken Kerschbaumer
European sports TV industry lands in Bergen BY WILL STRAUSS
he benefits and challenges of doing remote production was a key theme at SVG Europe’s Nordic Summit 2019 in Norway on 7 March. The annual event, sponsored by Limelight Networks and organised in association with NCE Media and Media City Bergen, featured a number of sessions that touched on the subject, including one with Eva Poysti, head of operations at SVT discussing how it was used comprehensively during coverage of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships and the Biathlon World Championships. Poysti revealed details about the Sweden-wide operation that allowed pictures from Åre and Ostersund to be switched by a team 620km away in Stockholm. She said: “In terms of the number of hours of TV and the number of viewers, plus the km of cable and the number of cameras, Åre is the world’s biggest remote production. With snow, wind and rain, it is a very challenging environment. 60
“We’re doing it to make it cheaper and faster and to do more for less. But we can see it as being good for the environment too since we are not travelling as much. “There are so many things that can go wrong in a TV production. If you are doing a remote production, you have to change your way of working and your way of communicating. You need a good logistics department too. These are the things that we have been learning.” Discussing why they did it, she added: “We’re doing it to make it cheaper and faster and to do more for less. But we can see it as being good for the environment too since we are not travelling as much. It also provides flexibility and allows you to standardise the way you work. It also improves work-life balance for staff and crew.” BBC Sport head of operations Charlie Cope also discussed remote production, offering opinions on how it can help public service broadcasters. “Remote production not only offers potential cost savings it also provides really exciting editorial possibilities,” he said before adding a caveat: “The big equation for us is: How far do we push innovation vs what is the benefit to the viewer? That is a constant dilemma for us.” The event also covered a number of other topics, including how augmented reality (AR) graphics can enhance handball, ice hockey and cycling coverage. In that session, Adi Strichman, graphics producer for TV 2 Denmark, highlighted the importance of teamwork SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
Nordic Summit 2019
when doing AR. He also offered up the opinion that creating and producing AR graphics can be a chaotic process if not carefully planned.
Innovation at NRK Norway
In a session on OTT and live streaming, Oliver Thompson, BBC executive product manager, and Tor-Einar Eriksen, a product and technology strategist from TV 2 Norway, agreed that offering high-quality images and sound alongside personalisation services are the key to keeping viewers happy — and fighting off competition from pirated services. “Audio from the game is the best way to upgrade our football production: making more use of the sound from the players, from the referees and from the stadium.” NRK Beta strategic advisor Eirik Solheim used his presentation at the Nordic Summit to highlight three new innovations being developed by the Norwegian broadcaster: a portable live production studio; a YouTube video game where commenters lead the players; and an AI-based application that allows on-screen talent to appear as if they are accurately speaking different languages. Fox Sports Netherlands head of production Henk Van Meerkerk provided insight into how the broadcaster
BBC Sport head of operations Charlie Cope: “How far do we push innovation versus what is the benefit to the viewer?”
covers football, discussing innovation in production as well as the use of VAR. “Audio from the game is the best way to upgrade our football production,” he said, suggesting that broadcasters could make more use of the sound from the players, from the referees and from the stadium. He advocated putting a microphone on referees, as is commonplace in rugby coverage. This would improve communication with both the crowd in the stadium and the viewers at home, he said. Nordic Summit 2019 took place on 7 March at Media City Bergen
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English Premier League
In the MCR at BT Tower on Sunday 12 May: (L/R) Nick Preston, team leader TVOB MCR; Stephanie Smith, TVOB MCR; Kevin Gooding, TVOB MCR; Paul Marsh, TVOB MCR; Kate Wendelboe, director, BT Media & Broadcast; Callum Elsdon, Global Occasional Use business development; and Lee Davies, TVOB MCR Switching
Live from London: Inside BT Tower for final day of the Premier League season BY FERGAL RINGROSE
anchester City finally edged out Liverpool to claim the Premier League title on Sunday 12 May. The football drama ensured the busiest day of the season for the team in BT Tower in central London, due to strong demand for Premier League coverage from broadcasters worldwide and the fact that all ten games took place simultaneously. On a normal weekend matches are played across Friday evenings (sometimes), several start times on Saturdays and Sundays, and a Monday night match. However, every match was in play that afternoon, all kicking off at 15:00. BT’s network is more than scaled to take on the challenge of transporting feeds from 10 Premier League grounds simultaneously, but it requires a much more intense level of monitoring and the ability to be able to react quickly to any potential problems. Also, the network connectivity between BT Tower and the broadcaster’s production facilities are running hot, as these lines are optimised for an average day’s demand, so on this day, almost every single line is in use simultaneously. Every single monitoring square on the video wall in the 62
Ops Master Control Room at BT Tower had a live feed coming through on 12 May. The team have direct lines from BT Tower to the master control room at IMG Studios Premier League Productions facility in Stockley Park near Heathrow and to Sky’s facilities at Osterley Park – meaning that if a problem arose, they could immediately connect to their counterparts and agree how best to shift the lines around between BT Tower and the customer’s facilities to ensure the most valuable feeds were restored/maintained. For the last day of the season, BT brought around 130 uncompressed HD vision feeds back from venues to the Tower, split across multiple customers. These included clean feeds, multiple camera angles, interview lines and unilaterals. They also sent multiple reverse HD feeds back to venues. On top of that were at least 10 UHD services compressed as visually lossless TICO and several return UHD feeds. They carried around 20 4-wire circuits and 15Gbit/s of data and internet services from across the venues. Feeds were switched on the network through two switching hubs direct to BT’s broadcaster customers. They SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
English Premier League
had the ability where requested to multicast services to the FacilityLine vision matrix at BT Tower for other takers. There was also multiviewer capability at customer premises that were remotely managed from BT Tower with return monitoring feeds back to the OB MCR and on to the wall displays. This meant they could see services right from venue to customer handoff. In terms of the capacity of the network from each of the grounds, there was 80Gbit/s per venue across two fibre routes, so 40Gbit/s plus 40Gbit/s per venue. Delivery of content was predominantly over fibre but the TVOB fleet has satellite and microwave capability too, if any additional capacity or additional diversity/resilience is required.
English Premier League all around the world
Media & Broadcast’s main customers are IMG’s Premier League Productions (PLP), BT Sport and Sky Sports. The latter are the UK broadcast rights holders while PLP produces content for 80 broadcasters in 212 territories worldwide.An average game is watched by over 12 million people. BT Media & Broadcast director Kate Wendelboe told SVG Europe, “It isn’t necessarily the team’s busiest day of the year; but it’s the busiest couple of hours because
everything’s happening simultaneously. They’ve got all the clean and dirty feeds, data, and voice services. “And what we’re finding year on year is that the number of visions is increasing and we’re seeing quite a bit of growth in the data area and some of the UHD aspects. All the lines are maxed out during this two-hour window today. “Media & Broadcast is a market-facing unit that sits within the Enterprise division of BT,” she said. “We have Enterprise, Global Services and Consumer. BT TV and BT Sport sit in the Consumer division. We’re the media services provider arm, and then we’re all supported underneath by a technology organisation. The guys in our OB MCR room here in the Tower come from that organisation.” Callum Elsdon, Global Occasional Use business development for BT Media & Broadcast said,“every one of these screens has got some content going through it. The majority of this is done for Premier League Productions. One of the matches has 24 visions out of the stadium today. Obviously, if something in the network were to go down, then the majority of the world would not be able to see their Premier League content. “At each of the Premier League sites, there is a remotelymanaged cabinet with our 40+40 Gig fibres, where the
“Imagine BT Tower as a big telephone exchange, but for video. We make all those connections” NICK PRESTON
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customer can patch into the cabinet themselves. Some customers choose to have one of our engineers on site to support them as well. These guys in here can then monitor what’s going on in those cabinets, looking at the connectivity, and they can remotely open and close it without the need for any manual intervention. “All of the content for Premier League Productions goes from the grounds to IMG Studios in Stockley Park. It’s uncompressed for HD and for UHD we use TICO. This is as well as work completed for the other host broadcasters, BT Sport and Sky Sports.” “We also have horse racing going through today,” added Wendelboe, “plus the BAFTAs tonight — which is over microwave rather than fibre, as there is line of sight to the Tower. With all of these customer relationships, it’s about developing the network with their requirements in mind. We need to really understand what they want and need, in order to build the best network.”
A giant telephone exchange – for video
TVOB Master Control Room team leader Nick Preston told SVG Europe, “There are two UHD feeds today for Sky Sports, who are doing the Man City and Liverpool games. They’ve got links between the two, so depending on who wins they can have pictures back and forth. We have Scottish football going through today as well, on top 64
English Premier League
of the racing and the BAFTAs. We’ve also got tennis from Madrid as well. “What we’ve got up today would normally be across Saturday, Sunday and Monday night, and maybe Friday as well. Sunday is normally Sky Sports, doing what they call hub and slave games – with the late game being the hub and one or two slave games earlier in the day. We provide all the network links between venues via here. BT Sport will bookend it with an early or late game, or two games on Saturday – and they have a slightly different configuration to how Sky runs. “It’s a combination of unmanned cabinet work and BT trucks connected to the cabinets to provide other services,” said Preston. “Racing is all unmanned again through cabinets, managed from here. “Today is challenging because of the sheer volume: I think 195 visions in total, at last count. “We’re a mirror for Stockley Park in terms of circuits: but what we’re doing today is breaking out a lot of services to feed their onward customers,” he said. “So we’re an overflow, a backup to some of the services and general management of the whole network, plus all third party distribution to international customers. “Feeds from here are being sent all around the world. Imagine BT Tower as a big telephone exchange, but for video. We make all those connections.” SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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At SportTech IMG’s David Shield handed over the position of Chair of SVG Europe over to Alessandro Reitano, Sky Deutschland
SportTech takes Lord’s by storm with three events and a record attendance BY HEATHER MCLEAN
ith the first SVG Europe Carbon Literacy for Sports Production Workshop, a full programme of content at SportTech, and then the SVG Europe Women event, SportTech 2019 at Lord’s was a packed one-day event with something for every attendee. Around 450 people attended the day in total, including 200 at the cricketthemed SVG Europe Women event in the evening, many of whom had attended the entire day. Kicking off SportTech, held in the Nursery Pavilion at Lord’s, SVG Europe chair, David Shield of IMG, announced he was standing down and handing over the reigns to Alessandro Reitano, vice president of sports production at Sky Deutschland. Reitano said on stage at SportTech that he was,“very pleased and honoured to succeed David”. The Carbon Literacy for Sports Production Workshop was a rollercoaster ride of emotions and inspiration for attendees. This took place in the morning, while members
Networking opportunity at Lord’s Cricket Ground, 22 May 66
SportTech 2019: Where OTT Meets Broadcast
of the England cricket team including Tom Curran and Jofra Archer bowled a few bowls on the Nursery pitch for the cameras, ahead of the World Cup this summer. Those that had participated in the workshop said they were warned they would feel despondent by the midway point of the session, after being shown the scale and urgency of the carbon situation globally, but in the second half they were presented with solutions and shared best practice. Many stated they were geared up to get back to work and start working within their business to make changes. With sports presenter, Abi Stephens, keeping things running smoothly as MC at SportTech, the sessions covered a broad range of topics, yet the overarching message by the end of the day from all the speakers was to focus on the fans viewing your content, to gain a true understanding of them, trust their demands and put them at the centre of everything you do. Speakers included Amy Williams, BBC Sport younger audiences Lead, Jeff Foulser, Sunset+Vine chairman, Sebastien Audoux, head of sports at Canal OTT, Barry Flanigan, Copa90’s general manager and chief product officer, Axel Gasteier, BVB-TV head of production and Marcus Parnwell, DAZN’s senior vice president of market expansion. After networking drinks in the evening, the women’s event with 200 attendees, both female and male, kicked off with a panel from the BBC talking about the evolution of the broadcaster’s holistic approach to both men’s and women’s cricket and its plans for 2020 when its rights package with the ECB kicks off. Speakers were BBC Sport’s Dominique Middleton, head of production for radio, digital and cricket, Henry Moeran, BBC Sport Test Match Special producer, and Isabelle Westbury, sports broadcaster and former Middlesex Captain. The second panel covered the trials, tribulations and great cooperation between the people behind this summer’s women’s cricket, Aoife Murphy, England and Wales Cricket Board broadcast and media operations manager, Jennie Blackmore, Sky Sports production executive for cricket, and Angela Gibbons, CTV Outside Broadcasts’ commercial manager. The evening concluding with more networking in the Nursery Pavilion and was a great success. SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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Emili Planas Quintana, Mediapro, CTO and operations manager
Live from Madrid: Mediapro team produces TV spectacular for UEFA as Liverpool beat Spurs BY FERGAL RINGROSE
aturday night in Madrid saw a 2-0 victory for Liverpool FC over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League Final and the successful broadcast signal delivery of European club football’s showpiece event by the Mediapro team on behalf of UEFA from the Wanda Metropolitano. The UEFA Champions League Final is one of the most-
Mediapro CL Final match director Oscar Lago 68
UEFA Champions League Final
watched televised sporting events in the world, with viewership far greater than even the annual US Super Bowl. The Mediapro Group was chosen by UEFA to produce and deliver the host broadcast signal. Mediapro was also responsible for producing the host signal for the CL finals in Madrid 2010 and Lisbon 2014. The dedicated Mediapro team of 290 people at the home of Atlético Madrid deployed 42 cameras for the production including eight super slow-mo, two ultra slow-mo, two travelling cameras behind the goals, two ultra slow-mo Polecams, Skycam, five tactical replay cams, three beauty shot cameras, two net cameras, two cameras focused on fans in the stands, seven to cover the team arrivals and five tunnel cams to cover players entering and leaving the pitch. The match was produced in 4K UHD and HD quality in simulcast, the second final after Kiev to be produced with simultaneous broadcasting in both formats. It was produced in HD-SDI 1080i50 and UHD (four quadrants), utilising a single dual format OB van. Dolby surround sound was available on the HD feed, while Dolby Atmos immersive audio was also available on the UHD feed. Both UHD and HD camera output was used simultaneously, but the HD production feed took priority and was the primary deliverable. All format conversion, resolution upscaling and colour mapping was processed in the main vision mixer with simultaneous UHD/4K and HD-SDI outputs. All vision control and colour matching was done as for a HD delivery. The host production operation was separated so that while camera shading and Lawo-based audio production was undertaken in the main truck, the vision production and EVS replays (16 units and 12 operators) were transferred to nearby temporary cabins in the TV compound. This provided two calm, cool and spacious areas for main match production team with director Oscar Lago and also the entire match replay team operation. The Mediapro TV match director, Oscar Lago, also directed the UCL Final in Madrid in 2010. He has been directing Champions League matches since 2009 and La Liga since 1991. The opening ceremony TV director was Daniel Lozano. He has directed the Real Madrid CF UCL celebrations in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018, has been a TV match director on La Liga since 2005 — and also directed Placido Domingo at Santiago Bernabeu 2016-2018. Imagine Dragons performed live at the opening ceremony, presented by Pepsi. Following on from Dua Lipa’s performance at the 2018 final, the 2019 opening ceremony featuring a further enhanced level of production for a UEFA Champions League final. “The first thing is that we need the best professionals for this kind of event,” Mediapro CTO and operations manager Emili Planas Quintana told SVG Europe in the TV compound at Wanda Metropolitano. “We are using SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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UEFA Champions League Final
“In terms of numbers, an El Clasico (Barcelona vs Real Madrid) match is around 35 cameras and this is 42 cameras for the host broadcast of the international feed. The big difference is that we are covering pre-match with arrival of the buses as well, which required five or six cameras, plus the press room. We added another OB with more cameras for unilaterals and the multilaterals. We supply more OB vans for this match (than El Clasico) as the interest in this match is greater. “We have nine OB trucks here, and for the Mediapro audio engineering team in Madrid: (L/R) Mario Rodriguez de Miguel, Jesus Rodriguez Cerro and Sergio Rodriguez del Val international feed we have 290 people. And we are covering the pre-match show, which of Mediapro people from all parts of the world — Portugal, course is not sports. We provide a director specifically for Argentina, Miami and obviously Barcelona, Madrid and that show, specialising in directing musical show events,” Valencia plus some from France. We have a lot of special said Planas Quintana. cameras working in UHD with the maximum quality “This stadium is quite new; it’s amazing to work here. required by UEFA, all supplied by Mediapro. Cabling is a little bit complex. For cameras positions the “Of course we have people working on LaLiga and stadium is perfect, but for this event we are not in the other leagues all over the world on a weekly basis. This regular TV compound [which is located in the stadium, is useful; but coordinating different people and different not in the car park] so we needed to use new cables for equipment from different countries for the same match is each camera. a challenge,” he said. “But in terms of lighting this stadium is perfect: all the
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UEFA Champions League Final
lighting is new and it is all LED. These lights provide very good colour quality and intensity in the field. It’s perfect for super slo mos and high-speed cameras because we have no flickering — perfect for this kind of production,” he said. “The biggest difference to the last time Mediapro produced the Champions League Final for UEFA is the UHD. This 4K needs to be produced in simulcast. It is not acceptable to produce with less cameras. UHD needs to have exactly the same number of cameras and replays as HD. This is now accepted for all kinds of productions at a high level.
“Kiev last year was the first simulcast UHD/HD production; but for us to do this is not complicated as we are doing it every week on LaLiga. In fact, it’s more complicated for LaLiga as we produce two games per week in HDR; for the international feed of this event we are not producing HDR, rather UHD SDR. “Not all the cameras here are UHD; 90% are, but with wireless cameras and links the technology is still not sufficiently advanced due to latency issues so we have a 1080p link with maximum quality to synchronise with the rest of the cameras.
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UEFA Champions League Final
“We have an OB van ready to be used at the flick of a switch as a backup to the main production, if something went wrong with equipment in the main OB van. This is something agreed with UEFA. “We deliver signals to the Technical Operations Centre,
but TOC is the responsibility of UEFA. The TOC was our responsibility when we last produced the Final in Madrid and Lisbon, but now it is the responsibility of UEFA. It makes sense, as they are already dealing with all the rights holders,” said Planas Quintana.
Delivering for broadcasters around the world
Both the UEFA-managed Cable Interface Room (CIR) and TOC areas were located in the TV compound, with the CIR cabling technology supplied by Mahlzeit and the TOC infrastructure — running on an all-IP backbone for the first time at a Champions League Final — supplied by Gearhouse Broadcast. UEFA also operated the Hawkeyedriven VAR system itself, with VAR deployed for the first time at a Champions League Final. Pitch camera and pitch reporter positions were taken up by BT Sport UK, Fox Sports LatAm, Digi Sport Romania, Arena Sports Serbia, CCTV, ESPN LatAM, Match TV Russia, Media Group Ukraine, MTV Finland, Turner, Perform Canada, POLSAT Poland, RAI Italy, Tottenham Hotspur FC, RAI, TV2 Norway, Eleven Sports, Univision, Mediapro Spain, RMC, Sky Italia, Esporte Interativo Brazil, DAZN, 1
PPTV China, Cosmote TV Greece, Sky Deutschland, Univision, Pro Plus Slovenia, MTVA Hungary, RTE Ireland, Sony Six and Liverpool FC TV. Pitch view studios and tribune presentation positions were occupied by Mediapro, BFM TV, Turner, BT Sport, Univision, ESPN Latin America, Esporte Interativo/ Facebook, Viasat, DAZN, Canal+ Afrique, Fox Latin America, Sky Italia, and RMC. Super flash, flash and indoor studios were taken by PPTV, Polsat, Teleclub, Eleven Sports, Cosmote TV, BT Sport UK, Fox LatAm, Mediapro, Esporte Interativo and Univision. The unilateral post-match super flash on the pitch was BT Sport, the domestic rights holder for the country of both finalists, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool FC.
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Sky Sport Summit Munich
Left to right: Panel presenter Timm Kraft, CvD eSports ran Redaktion, 7Sports; Mitch Rosenthal, head of production & operations, Riot Esports; Jens Fischer, global eSports specialist, EVS; and Torsten Haux, VP global media rights, ESL
ESL, EVS and Riot discuss the eSports TV journey to date BY BIRGIT HEIDSIEK, German Correspondant
At the 2018 World Final, Riot had 99.4 million viewers. “We have 14 leagues around the world that are playing in regular season” MITCH ROSENTHAL
he eSports universe is expanding. eSports is no longer the domain of the gamer community but attracts about 400 million fans worldwide. At the big eSports tournaments where League of Legends, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike are played in huge stadiums, players are competing for thousands, sometimes even millions of dollars. eSports viewers are mainly male, young and well-educated, making them a key target group for broadcasters as well as for sponsors. “In Germany, eSports has an awareness level of 75%,” said Torsten Haux, VP global media rights at ESL, the founder of eSports in Germany. “We are reaching out to the millennials in the age group of 18 to 39 years.” For the recent ESL One Cologne 2019, the Lanxess Arena was turned into the Cathedral of Counterstrike where world-class players competed for a prize worth US $300,000. For three days 14,000 viewers attended the event, which was broadcast in over 120 countries and could be seen by up to 20 million people. “eSports is in no way inferior to the realisation of a traditional sports production. Ice hockey, basketball and handball have an average of 5,000 viewers [in the arena],” said Haux. An essential difference is that there is not necessarily a national team at eSports events. “In eSports the game comes first, while in traditional sports the fans can often identify with the club in their region,“ Haux pointed out.
“eSports brings together the youth of the world like a big music festival.With a total of 110 million players, League of Legends is the biggest eSports title in the world.” “eSports was literally developed as a Free To Play Game,“ said Mitch Rosenthal, head of production & operations, Riot eSports. “It definitely gives the players something to look forward to.” Riot has staged tournaments at the Bird’s Nest Arena in China as well as in Korea.“We have partners around the world and collaborate with them to bring all that technology together.” Among the partners is EVS. “We have been working with ESL and Riot for four or five years,“ said Jens Fischer, global esports specialist at EVS. “We want to improve the storytelling, which is as complex as a soccer match with 80 players and ten balls. “eSports is always at the cutting edge of technology,” said Fischer. “The technical infrastructure and the workflows need to be simplified.” On the other hand, the use of AR can make sense. “The player sees the avatar only virtually. AR gives us the opportunity to let a big monster appear right next to us,” said Fischer. ”If something goes wrong, we get the feedback ten seconds later via live chat in the control room.“ Indeed, the production of an eSports event has various technical challenges. For example, the start sequence of Dota 2 in SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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Sky Sport Summit Munich
which the players choose their avatars, requires a vision mixer that supports more than 15 M/Es. “We have hit the wall with our classical broadcast technology,“ said Fischer. eSports also means big expenditure in terms of cameras and OB vans. 80 players in a tournament translates to 80 signals from their computers alone. Furthermore, there are signals from 80 face cameras as well as other cameras. “Basically we have two main productions,“ Haux pointed out. “On one hand, eSports is like a traditional show production with cameras, big stages and cranes. On the other hand, we need to feature the game, which requires people who understand it and can realise it comprehensively, making it visually appealing.”
Learning how to tell the story of an eSports event
When eSports started, almost all viewers were gamers. Nowadays about a third of the viewers are non-gamers who enjoy the entertainment and the atmosphere in the arena.“We are working together with broadcasters, OTT platforms and communication partners from all across the world,” said Haux.“Therefore we need to develop an editorial way of presenting analysis, slo-mos and storytelling that has a visual value. We are still in the fledgling stage when it comes to full analysis and building up stars.” A big benefit is the gigantic pool of hobby players. When a team lost two players for a major Dota 2 tournament, they signed a 19-year old amateur player from Finland who had never played on a big stage before.As part of the winning team that competed for $25 million prize
money, the young player received $ 2.2 million. “In traditional sports it would never be possible that a club such as Real Madrid recruits an amateur player for the Champions League Final,” noted Haux. eSports offers many options because in a game a lot of data and facts are generated.“It is very difficult to integrate the metadata. Sometimes it has to be done game by game because the games differ from each other,” said Fischer.“Some manufacturers provide the right kind of API, some don’t.” When a partner offered EVS its metadata, the API had an output of 45,000 data points per second. “That wasn’t helpful for our editorial workflow at all.” Meanwhile, Riot has a global league system. The fans are not focused on national leagues, they also follow up on leagues in foreign countries such as Korea.“If there is a mega clash in Los Angeles which is similar to a game that took place in Berlin a week ago, we want to show that,” emphasised the ESL representative. “We need these tools so that we can access the database, search for the material and transmit it live — connecting the American with the European league. That is exactly what the kids are doing because they are watching several leagues in parallel.” However eSports events in big arenas cost a lot of money.“We try to cut costs where we can and constantly reinvest back in the player,” said Rosenthal. At the 2018 World Final, Riot had 99.4 million viewers.“We have 14 leagues around the world that are playing in regular season and now sponsorship is starting.”
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UEFA European Under-21 Championship
UEFA innovates at the Under-21s in Italy with Global Production, VAR and 3D audio BY ROBERTO LANDINI
rom 16 to 30 June, Italy was home to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, played at stadiums in Bologna, Reggio Emilia, Cesena, San Marino, Trieste and Udine, where the final took place. This major sporting event was produced by UEFA and the technical partner chosen for the production of all matches was the Italian OB provider Global Production, which recently joined the international Euro Media Group. With 21 matches played over a two week period, the tournament coverage required a considerable production commitment that was entrusted to the four technical and editorial crews that took turns on the OB vans in the various stadiums. Davide Furlan, chief executive and managing partner of Global Production observed that the definition of ‘technical partner’ is rather limiting because “we have been asked to take care of the whole editorial part and in fact we have provided all the directors, assistant directors, producers, floor managers, compound managers – all this army of over 200 dedicated people was managed by us.” 78
The technical configuration included in the tournament qualifiers and in the final involved a camera plan of 14 cameras including two super slow-motion 3X, a hyper-motion 6X, two RF radio steadicams, five EVS stations, on-board OB van graphics and the VAR which for the first time was used by UEFA in a youth tournament. The VAR set-up was provided directly by UEFA while the graphics from Global Production were based on the expertise of another Italian company. There were four OB vans engaged, those that have just merged into the new corporate configuration that saw Global Production maintain its personal and professional profile in the new international landscape of Euro Media Group. Specifically, the vehicles used were OB6, OB7, OB8 plus a vehicle hired from Videe. Furlan resumes: “It is important to underline that this is the first Global Production engagement in the new Euro Media Group corporate configuration, for an event of great commitment that moved about 200 people in total and for each game has seen around 50 professionals lined up.” For each event, on board the vehicle was a director, SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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UEFA European Under-21 Championship
Global Productions’ OB8 truck outside the stadium in Bologna
Grass Valley moving along the left side of the field in the bench area, and a central, high reverse on the other side of the field. For the 14-camera configuration, a second Steadicam was added, covering the right side and two other cameras in line with the area of the goals,but in reverse, beyond the goal itself. The configuration was decided in tandem between the pool of Global directors and the UEFA manager. In each stadium there was a beauty camera, with a separate video signal demanded by UEFA, and a Polecam was also involved for the final. View of production gallery inside the OB8 truck
assistant director, EVS master who coordinated the replays, five EVS operators, graphic designer, audio mixer, and the floor manager from UEFA who followed the entire production and applied the international running order with guaranteed editorial quality control. “We are using 3D Audio recording as a demo for some broadcasters to promote future applications in Serie A football in Italy, obviously and ideally in conjunction with 4K HDR video.” Obviously, for those matches where the Italian team was present there was higher media interest and so the mobile vehicles assigned were those with the greatest technical capabilities, namely OB8 and OB6. The configuration of the cameras was standard and equivalent to Serie A football: it is known as Standard C for the preliminary stages and Standard B for the semifinals and final. The camera plan included the main cameras, 1 main and 2 close up-positioned on the 16 metres, then a high back door, two low back doors, a Steadicam radio camera configuration with Link radio links by Links and 80
Wiring and audio set-up
UEFA had asked Global to take full control of the entire compound TV area and Global responded by providing a compound TV manager for each stadium. Three stadiums, where Serie A matches are normally played, are pre-wired while in the remaining three (San Marino, Cesena and Trieste) it was necessary to lay out temporary ad hoc wiring and this required the work of two dedicated teams of technicians for a fortnight. The tight schedule forced the team at some stages to dismantle the set-up immediately after the end of an evening game and move at night to the next location to be able to set up again the next morning and be ready in the afternoon. It was decided to produce audio in Dolby E, the audio coding system designed and optimised for the distribution of audio signals in professional environments. Surround and multichannel audio was routed via a conventional PCM channel, simplifying the wiring inside the production infrastructure. The standard microphone configuration was provided by UEFA and configured with an additional implementation by Global sound engineers — in some SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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respects — to have an even more present and engaging multi-channel Dolby. Each camera showed stereo microphones that followed the shooting plans and then a multi-capsule microphone was placed in the main cameras area, responsible for capturing ambient sounds, the empathic reaction of the public, and to recreate the typical spatiality made possible by the Dolby system.
First live sports use for 3D immersive audio
Moreover, very importantly, for the first time during a live sports production an immersive sound recording and processing system was used, otherwise known as 3D Audio. This philosophy of shooting, which allows the sound to be positioned in three-dimensional space in a very 82
UEFA European Under-21 Championship
precise way, even at different heights than the viewer, was used by Global Production on the 27th in the Bologna semifinal as a final test and the 3D Audio signal was recorded without going on air. The result was so good that it was decided to also use the same system in the final at Udine, this time also for airing. As many as 22 microphones were placed around the playing field, some positioned on the cameras and others on the sidelines, according to the canonical positions of shooting of international sound in a high-level football match configuration. If the points of sound placement were traditional, there was an innovative management of these signals made with a German technical partner which provided special processors able to generate a live threedimensional immersive audio. In this scenario shooting takes place according to the typical techniques of surround and then a 3D digital codec can recreate a three-axis spatiality, never experienced before. The system was created for musical use in concerts and multitrack recording for audio post production. Instead here it was used live for the first time The system was created for musical use in concerts and above all in multitrack recording aimed at audio post production. Instead here it was used live for the first time. The end user did not receive 3D Audio but a particularly accurate multichannel and stereo, derived from the immersive 3D Audio, with a much more defined presence and a very wide and open stereophony. Davide Furlan said: “We are using 3D Audio recording as a demo for some broadcasters to promote future applications in Serie A football in Italy, obviously and ideally in conjunction with 4K HDR video. “In headphones the yield is maximum, with the multichannel speakers of a surround system and also in the stereo. The experience of the spectator who feels himself in the field is exciting, and certainly superior to any audio program heard so far.” SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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FIFA Women’s World Cup
Johannes Holzmuller, FIFA head of Football Technology & Innovation
Live from Paris: FIFA TV on growing the beautiful game of women’s football BY HEATHER MCLEAN
s a result of the strong broadcast coverage so far in the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, viewing figures are significantly higher than they were for the previous Women’s World Cup. While FIFA hopes to get one billion viewers for the tournament globally (versus three billion for last year’s men’s event), it recently released healthy viewing figures for the first round group matches. Football fans across France watched their team’s 4-0 opening win, resulting in a record combined audience of 10.655 million viewers. An impressive 19.728 million Brazilian’s tuned in to see the Seleção Feminina’s 3-0 victory over debutantes Jamaica, while a comeback by Le Azzurre brought a record women’s football audience of 3.301 million to Italian screens, and the all-British clash between England and Scotland attracted a record women’s football audience in the UK with 4.019 million viewers. This tournament’s success is already taking the women’s game forward; FIFA has received a record nine expressions of interest in connection with the bidding process for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, from the Argentinian, Australian, Bolivian, Brazilian, Colombian, Japanese, Korean, New Zealand and South African football associations. This represents the largest-ever list of member associations to have confirmed their intention to submit 84
a bid for a single tournament in FIFA’s history. Those member associations are now in France on tour looking at what it takes to host this competition, and then they will have until 4 October 2019 to submit their respective bids to FIFA. Looking ahead to that competition, speaking to SVG Europe Florin Mitü, FIFA head of host broadcast, states that FIFA is predicting what technologies will feature more heavily in its coverage of the 2023 event. “Clearly the multimedia, digital side, with people viewing on different screens, the different ways of consuming football, is definitely changing. Us older ones are still watching our 90 minutes on the TV, but this area is definitely something we’ll be looking at. We always listen to the broadcasters, and adjust our offering to best suit their viewers needs. “At this Women’s World Cup,” Mitü went on, “we are doing UHD SDR for the first time, with 1080p being made available at both venues and the IBC and 1080i via satellite transmission worldwide.”
For the last two and a half years since summer 2017, Neil Darroch, senior manager TV operations at FIFA, has been working on the host broadcast and FIFA TV side of planning the Women’s World Cup. The main goal for SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
FIFA Women’s World Cup
FIFA in the development of this year’s tournament was to build on the foundation of Canada 2015, taking incentive also from FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s FIFA 2.0: The Vision for the Future, a mandate for the association that he unveiled in 2016. Infantino said at the time that, “we will invest in the game, its players and its future; we will innovate to improve the player and fan experience; and we will take greater ownership of the business operations for our showcase events”. On the women’s sport, the mandate set the goal of growing the number of female football players worldwide by 2026 through the development and execution of a strategy to bring women’s football to the mainstream, taking the figure to 60 million, while it also committed $315 million in 2016 to help member associations to incentivise investment in the development of the women’s game to 2026, including funds for the successful organisation of girls’ leagues, women’s professional leagues, and the creation of a development strategy for the women’s game (on top of the resources committed through the then new and fully developed Women’s Football Division). The women’s game is now benefiting from that and growing, and FIFA is excited to be helping drive that change. Mitü says: “FIFA is putting a lot of emphasis on
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the development of women’s football.” Adds Darroch: “We’re trying to raise the women’s game to the level where it should be, by making the coverage as high end as possible. Alongside the UHD and 1080p live feeds, we provide a wide range of additional content for traditional linear as well as dedicated digital media use. We want to provide the broadcasters with the opportunity to show the colour and tell the stories around the World Cup alongside their live match coverage.” Broadcasting bonuses that were effective in Russia at the FIFA World Cup last year have been rolled into the women’s game, such as the use of Polecam behind the goals, something that FIFA introduced for the men’s World Cup last year that was very successful, and aerial coverage, which was in demand from broadcasters to be made available for the first time at a Women’s World Cup. Comments Darroch: “As always, we’ve been looking at maximising use of existing stadia infrastructure while adding facilities to provide the broadcast setup needed for the HB production [up to 29 cameras per match] and visiting broadcasters from around the world to be able to produce on-site.”
Left to right: Neil Darroch, senior manager TV operations at FIFA; Heather McLean, SVG Europe Editor; and Florin Mitü, FIFA’s head of host broadcast, at the Women’s World Cup IBC in Paris
FIFA Women’s World Cup
FIFA Media Asset Exchange
“There are lot of ‘firsts’ for this competition,” says Mitü. “While we envisaged generating a Women’s World Cup record 1,700 hours of footage made available on the FIFA Media Asset Exchange (MAX) Server during this event, the figure is more likely to surpass 2,000.” FIFA has dramatically increased the footage available to media rights licensees on FIFA MAX, generated in part by the addition of 24 FIFA TV film crews that are following each team throughout the competition, up from just six film crews (one per city) for the previous FIFA Women’s World Cup. FIFA has also given broadcasters access to footage on FIFA MAX remotely, so they can work from their home
headquarters as though they were on-site, which is also a first for any FIFA event, such is also the addition of the IBC instead of the usual porta-cabins. Learning from the men’s World Cup in Russia has also helped inform the build of the IBC in Paris. For instance, at the men’s World Cup VAR was stationed in two rooms with two sets of workstations in each, but it was found that having two teams working in the same room even for short overlaps was challenging, due to the level of concentration and vigilance needed by each VAR team. For Paris, the architect worked with FIFA to design the VAR area into the IBC design, but this time using four separate rooms with one team stationed in each, creating the quiet work environment needed. Concluded Mitü: “In its overall Women’s Football Strategy, FIFA marks the FIFA Women’s World Cup out as the cornerstone of its drive to establish the women’s game in the mainstream of international sport. Although the knockout phase has only just begun, the high production value that FIFA TV has brought to this edition has already given a clear indication that the competition is set to become a truly must-watch spectacle.”
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ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Live from Cricket World Cup: Player tracking, AR and Buggy Cam bring fresh perspectives to ICC world feed BY WILL STRAUSS
CC TV executive producer Ajesh Ramachandran, chatting alongside various members of the production team, outlines the R&D that went into the Cricket World Cup 2019 coverage and discusses some of the technology and production choices that were made. Working closely with production services partner Sunset+Vine, and executive producer Huw Bevan in particular, ICC TV’s Ajesh Ramachandran is ultimately responsible for the production of the World feed at the Cricket World Cup 2019. As the ICC’s senior manager for broadcast he has assembled (and is overseeing) a team of facilities providers and producers who, working as ICC TV, will cover all 48 matches until the final on 14 July. As he explains, the introduction of new technology has been crucial in bringing a distinctiveness and a freshness to the coverage. “For this event, we have put a lot of emphasis on new technologies,” he says, chatting with SVG Europe at Lord’s during England versus Australia. “For us at ICC TV it was very important to create a 88
visual signature, something that is a little different but adds to the game at the same time. “Sunset+Vine has solid experience on the cricket front, but we needed to enhance that with a lot of technology.We signed up several partners. We have paid a lot of attention to the graphics look and feel, for example. It’s an effort that started almost three years ago.” That planning and preparation has seen a number of innovations added including player tracking for fielding graphics, the Piero graphics system for multi-angle replays, Spidercam for long sweeping shots of the wicket and square, AR graphics (including some on Spidercam), a Batcam drone for aerial views and Buggy Cam which provides a ground level view of the action.
UAVs and Buggy Cam
Cricket World Cup viewers may have noticed the mole’s eye view of the pitch that is being captured by what looks like a remotely controlled car with an RF-operated camera head strapped to its back. Even the on-air commentators have mentioned it during matches where it has been used. SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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This is the Agito from Motion Impossible, or the Buggy Cam as it has been named for this tournament. For ICC TV’s world feed, the bidirectional trackless camera system is being operated by the UAV company Batcam and is capturing live tracking shots and replay content both on and around the pitch and of the crowd. “Buggy Cam gives us fantastic replays, especially from behind the wicketkeeper,” enthuses Ramachandran. “It keeps moving and gives us a nice tracking angle. It’s a UK first. We wanted to use it in a big way in the Cricket World Cup.” Bevan, who also shared his thoughts with SVG Europe at Lord’s, is a fan of this new production toy too, describing it as “new and different.” “Buggy Cam is eye-catching because it allows a live shot at ground level, particularly as the bowler is running in or by moving behind the slip cordon. It gives us a very dynamic view of the action.” As well as Buggy Cam, Batcam is also providing and operating a drone that is capturing a bird’s eye view for use by the match director. Like Buggy Cam, it is not being used on every match but where it is, the shots are spectacular, 90
ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
capturing the geography around the ground as well as the action taking place within it. “The key thing for us is that the ICC was keen to use some different technologies to get some unique angles that bring something fresh to the event,” adds Batcam chief executive and co-founder Jon Hurndall. “The Buggy Cam is essentially the best remote-control car you have ever seen with a stabiliser and 10x zoom head. It gives some unique tracking shots in and around the boundary rope and on the pitch in the changeover between batsman.
Spidercam goes further
Although not available at every ground, a Spidercam, which is rigged from one side of the playing area to the other, is used frequently during the coverage to punctuate the action at specific moments. “The directors are using Spidercam really well,” says Jeff Foulser, chairman of Sunset+Vine.“When a new batsman comes in to bat, it swoops down and over them. You get a real sense of being in the middle of the action.” “We like to showcase all the cricket at our events with lovely aerial sweeps and angles,” adds Ramachandran. “But we’ve taken [the use of Spidercam] much further than that at the World Cup. To make it more dynamic and appealing to younger audiences, we have added some quite spectacular Spidercam AR graphics. “[These are used] at key moments such as when there is a new batsman coming in to bat and when we are showing the playing elevens at the start of the game. There are a SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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number of things that look great in AR.” To make this possible, ICC TV completed significant testing with Spidercam at the Women’s T20 World Cup in West Indies last year, practising camera moves and trying out graphics ideas. One example of AR being used for this tournament sees a 3D version of the World Cup trophy added to a live Spidercam shot. “Putting the World Cup trophy in the centre of the screen offers a lot of potential,” says Matthias Kluth, Spidercam project manager. “Once you have the 3D objects [in the shot] you can fly around them and under them. With plain graphics, you can go left and right but it’s not as appealing.” Using AR with Spidercam is not an entirely new concept, but it is yet to be widely adopted. “[It] is slowly catching on with broadcasters,” says Kluth. Frequently used for football analysis, the Piero graphics system is being used on Cricket World Cup coverage for the first time this year. As Ramachandran explains, the technology stitches together raw cameras feeds and, wherever it makes sense, is being used to provide 360-degree replays. “It’ll take a few high and low cameras and create an arc that freezes at the point of impact or delivery and allows the perspective to be shifted from a straight on view to a square on view.”
Graphics and Augmented Reality
AE Graphics is behind the on-screen graphics, including the augmented reality (AR) elements. All the various templates and elements were pre-built in its Vizrt engine for the Cricket World Cup. The stats for many of the graphics are being provided by CricViz. In total, more than 100 different graphics templates 92
ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
have been devised for use on the world feed, including a sponsor-free version for matches involving India due to advertising restrictions. At each venue, AE Graphics’ six person-strong crew is delivering core match graphics, including data collected by AE operators, while the AR content, using Spidercam and its Vector System is being made available at The Oval, Durham, Trent Bridge, Old Trafford, Hampshire, Edgbaston and Lord’s. Four crews are covering the tournament for AE Graphics. In addition to this, the company is also providing bigscreen graphics and a range of unilateral presentation graphics for Sky Sports and Star Sports India during certain fixtures. When coming up with the designs, younger viewers and less experienced cricket watchers have been taken into consideration. “Different demographics perceive data sets in different ways,” says Terry Charlton, AE Graphics’ project manager for the Cricket World Cup. “We’ve tried to use big punchy text with certain key graphics in the info bar. We’ve tried to keep things from being a list. We used to have lots of top 10 lists, such as the top ten leading run-scorers. Now, instead, it’s top five lists with big punchy photos.We’re always thinking about what we do next. You want the kids to watch the broadcast.”
Live player tracking on the field
Ball tracking has been used in cricket coverage (and for umpire review decisions) for some time. But player tracking is a new innovation. At the Cricket World Cup, the tracking has been added to AE Graphics’ workflows and makes use of the Tracab application from ChyronHego. The optical tracking product shows viewers the exact live fielding position of players on the pitch and how far they are apart as well as a range of data points including running speed and distances covered. To get the technology right, a trial was conducted at the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy using player tracking in a live environment, says Ramachandran. “We were very clear about what we wanted,” he says. “There was a lot of R&D work that went into it. We did some testing on county games too and at the 10 World Cup warm-up games where we could integrate it with the rest of the production. It is one thing for something to work in isolation but [it has to also work] when the rest of the production shows up, when there are so many moving parts.” “It took a little time to get it operationally working as we wanted it to,” acknowledges Bevan. “But after the tournament proper got underway and people got used to it, it has really been a value-add because it has brought the cricket field to life in a way that maybe has not been possible previously.” SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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Sport Innovation Summit Milan
Sky Women in Sport: (L/R) Martina Maestri, Paola Formenti, Serena Chiama and Cristina Villella
HDR production experiences provide direction for the future BY ROBERTO LANDINI
“I honestly do not know what is missing in the market to start a definitively native HDR production” DAVIDE FURLAN
n July Sky Italia hosted its annual Sport Innovation Summit in Milan, held in association with SVG Europe. The event was opened by Fergal Ringrose, SVG Europe editorial director, and was moderated by a combination of Manuela Baraschi, head of business partners & program management; Riccardo Botta, production, broadcast & creative director; Rossella De Vivo , head of production & creative hub; and Cristina Villella, head of studios at Sky Italia. A Women in Sport panel was moderated by Serena Chaima. The other panelists from Sky were Paola Formenti, Martina Maestri and Cristina Villella from Sky. A Sustainability in Sports Production discussion was helmed by Manuela Baraschi, head of business partners & program management at Sky, with interventions by Massimiliano Anchise, 3zero2; Andrea Gianolli, ONE; Cristina Fenzi, Sky Academy & responsible business, human resources; and Elena Sacchi, Sky VR46 & sport development. Flavio Russo and Roberto Montoli from Sky explained how it was possible to “connect all the experiences and try to synthesise them into something new”. Augmented reality was used to unify the clip world and the study world. The study was ideally divided into defined parts, the management area, the area where the
news and data are analysed, where the AR is the heart and unifying element of the whole. Each part has become a portion of a whole and the filming that enhances this approach employs a Robycam to deliver the greatest immersive experience possible. The centre of the action is not the area of focus but a mix of images coordinated only thanks to AR. VR is not aired but is used for designing. It was employed to predict what would become the new studio, to view shots, understand what could work and what to improve. AR is used to create aesthetic elements, perspectives, sets and angles. It works through a star tracking system for all cameras that follow white reflective disks strategically placed on the studio ceiling. Then the MoSys Star Tracker infrared system reads these tracking points. The Robycam instead is based on the length of the cables and the operators manage the camera movements. A virtual window is generated and a virtual camera is created inside it connected to the real cameras and, taking advantage of the perspective lines and escape routes, realises the graphic effects on various levels following the same perspective as the camera. All screens are managed by Dataton WatchOut and the AR is managed by Vizrt, as is the virtual window. SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
Sport Innovation Summit Milan
The future of Italian sports production
Wrapping up the day’s proceedings, Sky’s Riccardo Botta moderated a panel titled The Future of Italian Sports Production in discussion with Andrea Gianolli from ONE; Natalino Pintabona from NVP, Andrea Bonomo from Cinevideo and Davide Furlan from Global Production. Regarding the emergence of 4K and HDR Andrea Gianolli said, “4K is already a very visible reality and at the Barcelona Grand Prix a workshop was set up to show the state of the art. Implementing 4K is not a simple step even where the HDR is native because sources often are not HDR, even if the renewal process is in progress. “The one-year HDR study in production and archiving with comparisons and evaluations was carried out together with the Evertz team, also with firmware modifications and with the Sony team (including 8K filming). “For more than a year Dorna for its IPF International Programme Feed (the race without specialties) has produced in 4K HDR with 26 cameras and the main replays (the parts of specialties at the moment are not), starting from 10 Bit native HDR. “A multicast multi-feed was presented to suggest a choice without compromises, compressions and reductions; and both 4K HDR and 4K were provided, as well as HD and HDR HD, with the complete chain. On some Sony 32 “monitors the various formats were projected side by side,” he said. According to Davide Furlan, Global Production, “one year has passed since our vehicle was released: it was an important choice
to create a truly 4K HDR vehicle, but the reality is different and still today, despite some productions in this native HDR format (the Ferrari Challenge finals, a race of the Ski World Cup in Val Gardena), many external signals do not reach us in HDR. So there are possibilities: 4K can be done and I honestly do not know what is missing in the market to start a definitively native HDR production.” Cinevideo’s Andrea Buonomo commented, “last year we produced HDR integration and I can confirm that the remaining problems were the signals that were not all in HDR, as well as the graphics — and then also the down compatibility to the HD signal remains challgeng.” Natalino Pintabona from NVP said, “we were precursors to come out with a 4K HDR vehicle in 2017 and with our experiences abroad we found the problems of integrating non-HDR signals. This is certainly a big limitation for the spread of HDR, in addition to the lack of distribution channels and overall costs.” The speakers all agreed that if you start from a 4K HDR programme and down-convert to HD the resulting signal is not always of superior quality, because the result “depends on the cook”. The broadcast engineering department of Sky made comparisons between 4K HDR and SDR and among the things noticed there were issues in the lighting of the stadiums that remain problematic, to the point that sometimes even to some the SDR is visually more pleasant than the HDR! So even if today we are ready from the technology point of view, the theme which still remains is “when 4K will become mainstream”.
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SVG Europe Women Summer 2019
Sky Studios attracts bumper crowd and considers some work-life issues Inclusivity initiatives are required due to slow turnover of staff and a continuing lack of applications BY WILL STRAUSS
ow to start a women’s initiative at work, dealing with unconscious bias and developing and progressing your career were key topics at the SVG Europe Women at Sky Studios event on Thursday 18 July. An audience of almost 150 people from across the sports production and broadcasting community attended the specially convened forum, which was produced in conjunction with, and hosted by, Sky Production Services and Sky Sports. During the evening, the audience was treated to two panel sessions, video masterclasses, a VT tour of an OB, live feeds from two sporting events and plenty of opportunities to network with both peers and influential and inspirational senior executives from across the industry. Following opening remarks from SVG Europe editor and internal head of SVG Europe Women, Heather McLean, Sky Production Services director Inga Ruehl opened the event with an inspirational story about how she got her job and then successfully improved her work-life balance in face of huge challenges. The first panel session (pictured) looked at gender balance in sports production and featured: Anna Ward, Premier League Productions (PLP), head of production; Anna Lockwood, Telstra Broadcast Services, head of global sales; Mandy Murray, Sky Sports, head of organisational delivery; and Ilona Valent, Solent University lecturer, and technical manager at Broadcast Solutions UK. The talk began with a frank discussion about why there is a need for inclusivity initiatives within sports television. “To get into the sports broadcasting industry is not difficult,” said Valent.“To stay and progress is.” Sky Sports’ Murray pinpointed two reasons for needing initiatives: slow turnover of staff and a lack of applications. “In Sky Sports, it is predominantly male,” she said. “Culturally, as a country, women’s sport is more accessible now. Hopefully, long term 96
we will start to see more women applying for more sports roles [as a result]. One of our big problems is that our current workforce doesn’t leave. It is difficult to change your workforce when people don’t leave! We don’t get enough women applying [for jobs]. We need to attract more women to apply.” “It is important they are nurtured once they are in [their jobs],” added PLP’s Ward, speaking on a more general level, a comment that was universally agreed with. The panellists then provided examples of initiatives within their own companies. At IMG, of which PLP is a part, there are various schemes including networking, working groups and apprenticeships, and the company is considering fast-tracking and mentoring. On a wider level, the company focuses on developing a more inclusive culture. Sky offers training schemes, mentoring, working groups and a recruitment review, among many other things. While Telstra offers flexible working on all job roles. “It’s been hugely powerful and allowed women to stay in the workforce,” said Lockwood. SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
SVG Europe Women Summer 2019
Ward pointed out that the statistics show that “business perform better if you have a variety of people within decision-making roles” but that “you have to get senior management buy-in. And change the company culture. The education piece is important.” “You need to convince some senior people how important [the initiative] is.You need a budget,” she added. Session two, ‘Going live in 5, 4, 3… On the road with women behind the camera’, showcased the vocational roles required to do an outside broadcast and included live feeds and VT interviews from the Netball World Cup in Liverpool and the Women’s Ashes in Taunton. Presenter Isa Guha provided a guided tour of a cricket OB. This was followed by masterclass sessions from the Netball, one with two female Steadicam ops, one with a female sound supervisor and a third with a female graphics co-ordinator. In the panel session that enveloped the video links and VTs, the discussion centred on what Sky has done to be more inclusive as an employer. The speakers were James Clement, Sky Sports, head of operations; Bridget Bremner, Sky Sports, production executive; and Sarah Warnock, Sky Sports, production executive. The chair was Amanda Tully, Sky Production Services, craft manager for technical management. A restructure within Sky Sports production management has
EUROPE SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
improved opportunities for women, it was noted. “Generally, in the industry, there is a cultural shift taking place,” said Bremner.“There is more awareness of women being able and wanting to do certain roles.” “I have always had managers who have supported me and encouraged me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. Managers need to support their staff and give them the confidence to push themselves out.” Clement revealed that for service providers to work with Sky, contractually, they need to provide information on sustainability issues including gender balance recruitment.‘You have to do it be able to work with us,” he said. Sky Sports is now looking at how improvements can be made to the diversity of its freelance crew.
The 148th Open Championships Royal Portrush
A virtual Henrik Stenson is reproduced and brought to life by presenter Nick Dougherty at The Open Zone
Live from The Open: World first as Sky Sports debuts volumetric capture innovation BY FERGAL RINGROSE
O Jason Wessely, head of golf, Sky Sports
“I think it will take [golf] coaching to a new level” JASON WESSELY 98
n the first day of The 148th Open at Royal Portrush, Sky Sports introduced what it calls Sky Scope, in which presenter Nick Dougherty demonstrated the golf swings of Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson at The Open Zone in 3D virtual reality, thanks to a brand new volumetric capture process. Working closely in partnership with Mark Roberts Motion Control (MRMC) and ‘virtual human’ experts Dimension, Sky Sports has created the world’s first mobile volumetric capture studio that is also integrated with motion capture. MRMC has also announced this innovation as Polymotion Stage, a mobile solution for high-end volumetric 3D video capture and avatar creation. Polymotion Stage is currently available as a Stage Dome (and soon a Stage Truck), and can be transported globally to wherever the talent is located, such as sports
arenas or film sets. Inside these soundproofed capture stages, 120 video cameras capture everything in the performance space at up to 4k resolution, making assets flexible for use across immersive and traditional media formats. Sky Sports head of golf Jason Wesseley put this innovation into perspective for SVG Europe in the TV compound at Royal Portrush.“From a golfing perspective it enables you to see a top level player in any environment you choose to put him in and see how the mechanics of his swing actually work. It’s huge. “These players have limited time, and they don’t always want to talk. They can come in and get their swing mapped, and then it takes five to eight minutes and they just have to swing a golf club. Then you have that asset to do what you want with it, because that’s really key. This is just touching the surface of what’s possible. “The 3D nature of it enables you to see the golf swing from positions that you’ve never seen before. You’ve never seen a golf swing from in front, because the ball is coming at you and it’s a dangerous place to be. Now you’re seeing it and that’s quite a wow factor. “[Presenter] Nick Dougherty is very talented and can tell the story of the swing on multiple levels. That Dustin Johnson example was quite complicated and quite in-depth. What you saw today was quite a high level analysis,” said Wessely. “The good thing about the Sky Scope is that not only is Nick able to describe the visuals, he can illuminate things that have never really been told properly before. In other forms of slow motion, you can’t freeze it to the level you can here and move around it at the same time. SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
Telstra_SVG Europe Journal_06-19.pdf
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
The 148th Open Championships Royal Portrush
MRMC’s Polymotion Stage in situ at Royal Portrush
“When it went on air for the first time today my phone lit up like a Christmas tree with people wanting to know how we did it!” JASON LANDAU
“Nick probably had an hour’s worth of prep for each sequence. He gets the raw video asset, and he can pick out the points he wants to talk about and advises us on where to push in with the camera or what angle to shoot if from at any one time. “I think it will probably take [golf] coaching to a new level. And I think we could take it to the first tee and put it there with an Ncam. It just so happens that The Open Zone is our environment of choice,” said Wessely.
Getting closer to the golf action: the next step
Duncan East, head of directors & creative, Sky Sports, takes up the story of how this latest Sky Sports Golf innovation came into being.“As brilliant as The Zone is and has been, we’re always thinking what’s next — what’s next? “We’ve done AR in The Zone before with our player walkthroughs at Opens and The Ryder Cup. Last year we took the AR out of the glass studio on-site down to The Zone, a great step forward to take it outside and place AR in an environment where is pushes you to really get it right. “This is the next step,” said East.“What we’ve now done is partnered with Nikon and MRMC. They came to us with some products and ideas around AI and different strands of broadcasting. But one thing they showed us was a 3D capture of an individual. They teamed up with another company called Dimension Studios, and we were familiar with them from an Anthony Joshua 3D capture they did for Sky VR a couple of years ago which was fantastic. “Technology has moved on: what this allowed us to do is capture a golfer’s swing in a relatively short time, and
in 48 hours turn around that capture and put it into an AR broadcast environment. They pitched the idea to us around the capture of individuals and athletes originally — and straight away we thought ‘this would work best on golf’. “Because with golf you can isolate the individual, you can capture that individual and study their swing in detail. There are some other areas where we think it can work really well, but with the platform we have for golf, with this opportunity to showcase it in The Zone, the lightbulb went on. Golf swing: this is where it’s going to come alive. “[Design director] Jason Landau went away to get more detail on how it could be done and achieved, and came back with a slicker presentation in a Sky Sports form — which in fact, ultimately, is very close to what you’re seeing on-air today,” said East. “We then very quickly included Jason Wesseley, our head of golf, telling him we have a fantastic piece of technology that will take The Open Zone onto the next level. In order to make it happen there was an incredible amount of collaboration between the R&A, Sky, Nikon (who are of course a sponsor of The Open as well), the golfers themselves, their sponsors and individual club manufacturers — there were so many people we needed to bring together to make this happen. “We track a Steadicam around an AR object (which isn’t there, obviously) in The Zone, and Nick Dougherty talks the viewer through the swing. Nick uses a monitor with output only: very difficult for the talent, because he has got to address the viewer, the camera, a 3D object which doesn’t exist, all while checking a monitor out of SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
The 148th Open Championships Royal Portrush
shot. No script. “You can get a camera in there and freeze it, analyse it. When have you ever been able to stand in front of a golfer when he’s swinging the club? You can pause at any moment you want and analyse any intricacy that makes that golfer unique. “Every millimeter makes a difference — and now you can talk the viewer through all of that, doing it in a 3D world. It’s a world first. I think it’s one of the most innovative steps forward we’ve ever had in sports broadcast analysis. It’s that good. “I’ve been thinking all day about what rivals this — like when we first started using touchscreens or super slow mo. This is one of those milestones for sports analysis,” said East. Jason Landau, design director, Sky Creative Agency — Sky Sports added, “There’s a big white dome on the practice range that looks like half a golf ball. Some of the players were really wowed when they went in. It’s basically a 360 greenscreen, with lighting and 120 cameras. “It is the first time ever that volumetric capture has integrated with motion capture. I believe this is a world first in sports analysis. There are 120 cameras: the bulk of the cameras are 30 frames per second, and the infrared motion capture cameras are 360.
By the beach at Dunluce Links, Royal Portrush Golf Club: (L/R) Nicky Chauhan, senior creative, Sky Creative Agency – Sky Sports; Duncan East, head of directors & creative, Sky Sports; and Jason Landau, design director, Sky Creative Agency – Sky Sports
“I can honestly say, that when it went on air for the first time today, my phone lit up like a Christmas tree with people wanting to know how we did it! I believe we have hit the perfect balance between wow factor and editorial,” said Landau. “There is a real reason why we’re doing this, but at the same time you’ve got to have the viewer going ‘that’s amazing’. I think we’ve absolutely got that balance right.”
In the action packed world of live video production and distribution, The Switch is always on and always there – setting the industry benchmark for quality, reliability and unmatched levels of service.
theswitch.tv SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
AELTC Wimbledon Championships
Thick of the action: Eurosport director of tennis operations Ann Keith (standing)
Live from Wimbledon: Eurosport team delivers for wide range of regional needs BY KEN KERSCHBAUMER
W Arnold Montgault, Eurosport, senior producer
“We have another MCR for Simona Halep as she gets a bigger audience in Romania than a lot of football matches” ARNOLD MONTGAULT 102
hen it comes to Grand Slam tennis production Eurosport has a lot of mouths to feed. There are the needs of an international signal that is distributed across Europe in more than 20 languages as well as regional Eurosport channels that want to deliver a more tailored experience for viewers. And while the Wimbledon footprint, with more than 70 people, maybe lighter than at the other Slams (most notably because of the lack of a true physical studio presence) it meets the needs of viewers across Europe. Ann Keith, Eurosport’s tennis director of operations, says that Eurosport’s facilities include two standup studio positions on the roof of the AELTC Broadcast Centre and a two-storey cabin just outside of gate 17. “We have a production office and three edit facilities upstairs for highlights and then downstairs we have a small production switcher and audio board where we get the host feeds,” she says. “Eurosport’s dedicated local production teams from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and the UK are on site, which is still considerable even if our rights for Roland Garros across the whole of Europe demand 10 markets and two full studios on-site. Norway also uses a camera with LiveU to transmit from around the grounds. “We had Mats Wilander interview Rafa Nadal, so you
had two players with more than 25 Grand Slam titles between them talking to each other. Offering unrivalled expertise is a big focus for us.” Eurosport has total exclusivity for the Wimbledon Championships in Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Romania, Russia, Sweden, and the Ukraine (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have exclusivity for when a domestic player is not playing). Partial exclusivity is in the Netherlands (NOS has the semi-finals and final). As part of Eurosport’s commitment to localisation and locally relevant content in its markets, during the tournament, Eurosport regional teams from Russia, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and the UK are on site at various times and in various capacities of the tournament. Russian commentators were on site during week one but are now back home calling the action off tube while Swedish and Finnish commentators were home last week but are now on site. Gearhouse Broadcast is the equipment provider for Eurosport’s presence which also includes an EVS IP Director as well as an EVS replay server. “We do have EVS here, but we utilise it for recording highlights, on-demand catch-ups and to create a halfhour highlights show that airs every night in the UK,” says Sebastien Martineau, Eurosport, engineer. SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
AELTC Wimbledon Championships
Arnold Montgault, Eurosport, senior producer, says that every day the production team is looking to provide Eurosport channels across Europe with expert points of view, interviews from the standup positions, funny intros, and more. “We want to show people the different parts of Wimbledon and places they usually don’t see,” he says. “And then we have a 30-minute wrap-up show with the best highlights and interviews. For example, we had Mats Wilander interview Rafa Nadal, so you had two players with more than 25 Grand Slam titles between them talking to each other. Offering unrivalled expertise is a big focus for us.” Wilander is joined by co-host Barbara Schett for the daily programme ‘Game, Schett & Mats’ as well as other experts like John McEnroe offering up opinions and analysis. “We prioritise local heroes so that Eurosport will have most of their interviews with players from Serbia or Romania in these regions,” says Montgault. “Then there are the live matches — the live is a huge focus and priority for us — and between 10-15 standups each day.” All of the content from AELTC is passed back to Eurosport’s broadcast centre in Paris via Globecast. From there the signals are made available to the various Eurosport entities across Europe. The Russian Eurosport
TimelineTV SVG Europe SportTech Journal 0719 Chosen.indd 2 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
service is also delivering a UHD feed. “We also have three master control rooms in Paris that are used for the different regions and then a fourth for Romania that is used when Simona Halep is playing as she gets a bigger audience than a lot of football matches there,” says Montgault. Keith says the team hopes to have a set-up similar to Roland Garros for the US Open which begins at the end of August.“The operational side here is not quite as complex for us given our on-site footprint, but with individual and varying requirements, it still takes a lot of coordination,” she adds.
EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series Final
Live from the FIFA eWorld Cup 2019: More content and more language feeds Host coverage goes up a notch with director managing six world feeds cut simultaneously BY WILL STRAUSS
ugmented reality graphics, player microphones, heartbeat monitors and multiple language feeds were all part of an enhanced TV production set-up that was put together for coverage of last weekend’s FIFA eWorld Cup Grand Final in London. The conclusion to the EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series, the eWorld Cup Grand Final took place over three days (2-4 August 2019) at the O2 Arena. It featured the 32 highest ranked FIFA players from the season competing across a group stage before heading into a knock-out phase that culminated in a two-legged final. The tournament’s winner, Mohamed ‘MoAuba’ Harkous from Germany, beat the Xbox world number two, Mosaad ‘Msdossary’ Aldossary from Saudi Arabia, 3-2 on aggregate in the final. The 2019 tournament had a prize money pool of more 104
than US $500,000 and attracted 21 media rights licensees covering over 75 territories. The host TV coverage of the event, produced by Sky Sports for FIFA, reflected the scale and importance of the event. In total, there were more than 20 hours of live production across the three days with the output being shown on both linear and digital channels around the world. In addition to the match-play stream taken from the video game itself, and the in-vision presentation, analysis and commentary, in order to provide production gloss the host feed also included live augmented reality graphics added to a Jimmy Jib shot, overhead shots captured by a BatCam and heartbeat monitors strapped to the players. Competitors were mic’d up too, and each had a minicam installed in their playing booth, allowing the coverage to get even closer to the real-world action. SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series Final
Mohamed ‘MoAuba’ Harkous takes on Mosaad ‘Msdossary’ Aldossary in the final
Importantly, the host coverage also included additional language feeds, adding two more to last year’s four. English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Chinese feeds were all produced, each featuring their own in-vision commentary team. The feeds were made available to the relevant broadcasters with each one also streamed live on FIFA’s digital channels. Speaking to SVG Europe on day one of the Grand Final, Neil Darroch, senior manager, TV operations at FIFA, said that doing the multiple language streams from a single OB truck was the biggest challenge that the team faced. “It’s one director managing six world feeds that are cut simultaneously,” he explained. “It’s a big step up to manage all of that out of one truck. We do it this way to ensure consistency. That’s the biggest challenge and the biggest achievement.” Sky Sports head of production Phil Marshall also pinpointed the multiple language feeds as an accomplishment, noting the importance of the on-screen graphics too. Having worked on three tournaments with FIFA now, he sees it as being part of the production journey. “We’ve learnt over that time and assessed from the audiences that graphics, and the ability to look at graphics in a digital world, are important,” he said. “You can see the development in our graphics package. When people are using smaller screens, they are now able to see everything that is going on in the game and the tournament. “Producing [the coverage] in six languages adds complexity and creates an awful lot of work for the vision mixing kit in the truck,” he added. “It also requires a lot SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
of [preparation] to ensure that everything works to a tee when we go live.” CTV Outside Broadcasts provided the OB facilities over the three days. From an editorial standpoint, while there was plenty of presentation and analysis elements and multiple commentators, the coverage centred on the match-play taken from the video game itself. Especially in the early stages where games were being played simultaneously. “Based on the feedback from the FIFA eFootball team, we know that the majority of the community want to see the game being played,” said Darroch. “That was in the brief: focus on the gameplay but also make sure we show what’s happening in all the matches, not just the main one. So, we show goals in-play and there are shorter talking [segments] and introductions, especially for the group stage of the competition where there is lots happening at the same time.” The audience stats back up the decision. “We looked at numbers and metrics and we figured out, together with the platforms, that the audience is very interested in the gameplay,” added Adrian Roelli, head of eFootball at FIFA. “Ultimately, what eFootball is doing, is serving the football family and ensuring that, in a playful way, you can get a young generation to get into football. It is really important for us as an organisation to deliver football on all sorts of levels.” “That’s when they start to interact.We’re not saying that all the talking around it is not needed. We just make sure that the balance is right. People watch [the FIFA eWorld Cup] because they play the game themselves. They want to see how the professionals are doing it.” 105
EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series Final
Winning kiss: Germany’s Mohamed ‘MoAuba’ Harkous with the trophy
Production of the FIFA eWorld Cup 2019 also went beyond the match action and presentation. Plenty of additional content was created for broadcasters to use too. Roving ENG crews captured the colour and excitement around the arena and backstage, primarily for digital output but, utilising the same content production workflow, clips and packages were also made accessible to TV via an online distribution platform. “We’ve made a lot of content available,” continued Darroch. “So, if broadcasters want to promote around [the event], they have features, promos, short clips, long clips, summaries of the whole event, series summaries of last year. It’s a great library of content that we can produce making use of existing resources.” Roelli made the point that the event has different levels of content production, reflecting both the importance of TV and the fact that the video gaming community is digital-native.“The main feed should be world-class,” he said. “But then we have also got side streams that
have been specifically made for the streaming audience. And you can tell. The qualities are different. The editorial approach is different. The tone is different. The interaction level is different. We try to serve both worlds.” Serving both worlds will then potentially lead to a wider interest in the sport, and not just the simulation version, he added. “Ultimately, what eFootball is doing is serving the football family and ensuring that, in a playful way, you can get a young generation to get into football. It is really important for us as an organisation to deliver football on all sorts of levels.” Starting in October 2018, the Road to the FIFA eWorld Cup 2019 has included several new additions and competitions to the EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series, including the FIFA eNations Cup — a new team competition for member association that took place in April 2019 — as well as the EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series Rankings. The FIFA eWorld Cup 2019 Grand Final took place at the O2 Arena in London 2-4 August 2019. Picture credits: Photos by Eamonn McCormack and Luke Walker (FIFA via Getty Images)
Camera set-up for eWorld Cup Grand Final • • • • • • • • 106
2 Steadicams 1 Jimmy jib for use with AR graphics 1 BatCam 16 minicams, one per player 6 locked off cameras, one for each language feed 1 locked off camera for touchscreen analysis and telestration 3 long lens cameras 1 beauty camera SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
2019 SPONSOR UPDATE It has been another amazing 12 months for the advancement of sports production. As IBC 2019 approached, SVG Europe spoke to its Gold, Platinum and OB/SI Sponsors to find out about their latest solutions, sports-related projects and future plans. Interviews and research by Ian McMurray.
808 Talent BEN SWANTON
CEO AND CO-FOUNDER
Having made key senior hires in the sport media market for customers including Avid Technology, ChyronHego, Eurovision, Pixellot, Streamstar and Veritone across Europe, Asia and the US, it’s been a rewarding year for retained search and recruitment consultancy 808 Talent. “Over the past 12 months, 808 Talent has developed its consulting and coaching services, particularly for start-ups, and organisations either looking to scale up or going through change management — which means that as well as identifying and sourcing the best talent in the market, we’ve also become involved in advising and consulting businesses on people and hiring strategy in order to impact sales growth and delivery,” says CEO and co-founder Ben Swanton. “For example, we helped Ncam grow from 13 to 30 people, and we were proud to play a part in their international expansion plan into the US and Chinese markets.” Swanton notes that his company is now bringing performance and mind-set coaching to the industry.
ACS MATT COYDE
2019 is ACS’s 40th anniversary and the company has celebrated with a presence at numerous high profile events including the Women’s World Cup, the Nordic World Ski Championships and the World Aquatics Championships in South Korea. October will see ACS at the IAAF World Championships in Doha. The company is also the specialist camera supplier to the Wimbledon Championships. “This year, for the first time at Wimbledon, we supplied a wirecam offering tracking shots across the courts,” notes Matt Coyde, sales director. “We also debuted our Cineflex Pro SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
stabilised mount on one of the wirecams we content at selected venues using Spidercam’s supplied for the ITV Racing coverage of Royal Vector system, player tracking using Ascot.” ChyronHego’s TRACAB application and stadia big-screen graphics. AE Graphics has now secured the contract for the coming season. “Our in-house design team has built a comprehensive graphics package including 100 different graphic templates delivered on Vizrt, for use on the world feed, including nonbranded versions for use in complex advertising The past 12 months have also seen ACS territories,” notes Stuart Coles, CCO. develop the Fancam, which was used at the FA Continuing the cricket theme, August saw Cup Final and Cheltenham Festival to get right the AE Graphics team supporting The Ashes in among the fans. It comprises an RF-stabilised Tour — and then a change of sport for the high-speed handheld camera, providing the Rugby World Cup in September. operator with discrete filming and jib-like “Most of our new development has been movement capability. focused around the delivery of virtual studios,” “We’ve also invested heavily in our gimbal Coles explains. “This is a major growth area inventory, responding to the demand in UHD in the industry and many of our clients are filming, and have recently taken delivery of approaching us and looking for assistance and the Cineflex Pro,” adds Coyde, “The system is inspiration in this space. We’re undertaking fitted with a Sony HDC P50 camera and can significant investment both from a hardware be used on rails, wire and helicopters. This is and personnel standpoint to allow us to be able in addition to the Cineflex Pro+ we invested in to meet the demand that we’re seeing. last year which is fitted with Grass Valley LDX“We have some high-profile projects, C86N compact camera. Additionally, we now most notably with BBC Sport, that we will be have a number of Sony HDC-P50 cameras and delivering prior to IBC,” he concludes. have been running a development programme AJA Video Systems to integrate them with our SMARThead BRYCE BUTTON remote heads — the first of which was used at DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT MARKETING Wimbledon this year.” The continued rise of live sports AE Graphics streaming platforms like ESPN+ STUART COLE is driving college sports athletics CCO departments to rethink their video production The Australian Open, Six and streaming strategies, according to AJA Nations and IPL are just three Video Systems director of product marketing of the premier sporting events Bryce Button. That means his company has in which AE Graphics has been involved in seen an uptick in demand for its HELO H.264 recent times. For the 2019 ICC Cricket World standalone streaming and recording devices Cup, the company deployed four crews of six across this market, as seen with two of AJA’s cricket specialists to deliver a range of services customers in college sports this year. at 11 different venues during the 6-week long “The multimedia and production arm at tournament. On-site, AE Graphics crews were Harvard Athletics produces and broadcasts present at every fixture, delivering core match home games in high quality H.264 to ESPN+, graphics, which are integrated with data regional outfit NESN and the Ivy League’s collected by AE scorers, augmented reality international streaming platform, and also 107
creates ancillary content using a host of gear from AJA Video Systems,” says Button. “The video production arm of Princeton’s Athletics Department streams home games for more than 37 sports to students, alumni and international audiences via ESPN+, Stretch Internet and NBC Sports Philadelphia. It recently ramped up its production infrastructure ahead of the 2019/2020 season — building two new control rooms, a flypack and on-campus studio, with AJA gear powering routing, conversion, streaming and recording.”
fibre-based network, ensuring low latency and high reliability, with points-of-service throughout the Americas and Europe,” says Lionel Bentolila, CEO. “Our services include full time and occasional use services, HD and 4K encoding along with other production and transmission services a customer may require.” In April, Aldea and Intelsat announced that the two companies had entered into a peering relationship to expand satellite and fibre video contribution and distribution networks for media customers globally.
AMP VISUAL TV STÉPHANE ALESSANDRI
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS
Button is also excited by Ki Pro GO, a new product announced at NAB. A multi-channel H.264 recorder, it supports up to four channels of simultaneous HD and SD recording to offthe-shelf USB drives with redundant recording. “The device arrives at a prime time for the sports market,” he believes, “especially as the role of performance analysis grows. Ki Pro GO makes it easy to record live footage of sports matches to USB drives for quick handoff to coaches, players and teams right after the event.”
For the fourteenth year running, AMP VISUAL TV was the main broadcast provider at the Le Mans 24 Hours. The company’s technical set-up is used by 290 technicians on site with three OB vans, 46 cameras, three or four cameras onboard 16 cars — and much more.
The past season has also seen AMP VISUAL TV cover more than 300 football matches for LIONEL BENTOLILA the Africa Cup of Nations. CEO The company has also been busy on the Aldea Solutions has provided development front. video distribution services and turnkey solutions for media customers around the world, with projects under the company’s belt over the past 20 years including the World Cup, the Women’s World Cup, the Olympics, the Youth Olympic Games, Copa America and the Pan American Games. The company is headquartered in Quebec, Canada. “We have created unique, tailor-made graphic software solutions to enhance our customers’ programs,” says Stéphane Alessandri, who is executive vice president, international operations. “Our #Cast software suite is graphics specially developed for sport, and Prizm is an intuitive media player for live productions. Not only are they compatible with “We provide end-to-end, fully managed official statistics streams such as OPTA, STATS, worldwide transmission and content INS, TAT and so on, our solutions are powerful, distribution services and operate an extensive simple and easy to use.”
Aperi CESARE CAMPARADA
SENIOR MARKETING DEVELOPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY MANAGER
One of Aperi’s highlights from the last 12 months has been the deployment of a nationwide connected stadium media IP network. This has included a video referee system that is being used to support a leading professional European football league. “The implementation — which includes the SMPTE 2022-7 protection mechanism — also enables the service provider to add future IP and video feeds transport to centralise, not only a virtual assistant referee system, but also to easily integrate remote production workflows,” says Cesare Camparada, senior marketing development and technology manager. “What has been deployed is a practical way of creating more live content while reducing the production costs.” The company has also developed a Network Address Translation & Firewall (NAT) app which it describes as an FPGA-based application designed for the microserver platform that supports SMPTE 2022-2, SMPTE 2022-6 and SMPTE 2110. “It provides seamless inbound and outbound re-routing of RTP streams within a network infrastructure, stream replication, SMPTE 20227 hitless protection, A/B failover and RTP stream health monitoring,” Camparada explains. He sees the market’s adoption of IP and virtualised technology as moving at a very fast pace, thanks to new capabilities to transport high bit rate and uncompressed signals over an IP network topology. “New infrastructure investments are generally in live/real-time sport production in which Aperi already has a proven record of real-world global deployments,” Camparada continues. “For example, remote production, virtualised functions such as light visual lossless compression — TICO/ JPEG-XS — and sourcetimed switching at the venues — Aperi’s unique ACIPSR, SMPTE2022-6 &-7 and SMPTE2110 seamless IP handoffs — are all helping to define next generation sports production workflows and leverage the advantages of IP-based infrastructures.” SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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Arena TV DAF REES
HEAD OF IP DEVELOPMENT
explains John Peach, technical director, EMEA. “However, as the SVT teams started rigging up and testing the full-scale system in Åre, it became clear that there was an issue with the underlying IP network.” The problem was solved with multiple 7280R Series fixed configuration switches. The joint SVT and Arista technical teams began diagnosis and replacement of the existing media core switches at SVT Stockholm. The replacement 7280R features 48 x 10G ports plus 6 x 100G uplinks that offer a throughput of 2.16 Tbps. Deployed in pairs, the 7280R includes dynamic deep buffers in a fixed form factor that Arista says makes it an ideal top of rack switch where lossless performance and in-cast problems are expected — ideal for live video workloads. Day Two of the championships began with remote video, control signals and metadata now flowing across Arista switches. During that day, the SVT team were able to deliver content from up to 75 remote cameras simultaneously; setting a record for the largest ever remotely produced event. For the following 12 days of the event, the Arista solution performed flawlessly and by the end of the closing ceremony, the switches had transported over 8,000 TB of data, and roughly 10,000 hours of HD video without any failures.
An early adopter of the technologies that are set to transform the broadcast and media industries, Arena has had an end-toend IP system capable of 4K and HDR since 2017. The company’s new triple-expands (OBX, Y and Z) plus double-expand OB12 all feature UHD/HD/SD multicast technology, and are based around a powerful IP core developed in association with Grass Valley and Cisco. “The last few months have seen the refinement of HDR standards and preferred client workflows,” notes Daf Rees, head of IP development. “In particular, great attention has been paid to preserving the HD-SDR output which is still widely viewed whilst providing the best possible 4K-HDR experience. “IP continues to dominate the Ultra HD field with its unparalleled capacity and flexibility,” he goes on. “Effortlessly scalable and ready for remote production, HFR (High Frame Rate) and ultimately 8K are the foundation of all future broadcasting workflows.” A highlight of the year has been Arena’s participation in a BBC trial to deliver the FA CUP semi-finals and final in Ultra HD. Until now, Ultra HD trials have been a separate, experimental production process — but for the FA Cup, the BBC’s Ultra HD coverage was the Arqiva main production from which the HD and SD GRANT PARKINSON options were derived. This, the BBC said, helped SALES MANAGER, SATELLITE AND MEDIA establish the most efficient way of producing programmes in multiple formats. It was, of course, Mark Twain Arena — which has remained in continuous who, after the publication of his family ownership for approaching 30 years obituary, remarked “the reports — holds contracts with the UK’s major of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Arqiva broadcasters to provide coverage of events, knows how he must have felt. music and large studio shows as well as sport. “Despite the rumours, Arqiva are still very much embedded in the sports, events and Arista OU markets,” laughs Grant Parkinson, sales JOHN PEACH manager, satellite and media. “The change of TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, EMEA direction with respect to the uplink and space Sweden’s national public segment has allowed Arqiva to reposition and television broadcaster SVT strengthen its business in line with the future turned to Arista Networks growth around content aggregation, fibre and to provide critical network infrastructure to IP. deliver over 10,000 hours of HD video from “We have a long and rich heritage of 75 remote cameras across the 12-day 2019 FIS delivering broadcast quality sports content Alpine World Ski Championships. and this is still very much at the centre of what “In smaller scale labs testing, the solution we do,” he continues. “Satellite downlink had worked well, but previous events had and onpass from our dedicated and partner never deployed so many remote HD cameras,” teleports in the UK, USA and Hong Kong are all 110
available on a per-match/per event basis.” Parkinson cites as an example a live sports OTT service to a major US broadcaster. The client was launching a strategically vital international channel dedicated to major live sports events, and was looking for a ‘spin it up, show it live, then take it down’ approach. It was looking to go beyond traditional TV boundaries to target the tablets and devices of a new payper-view global audience. “Our automated approach handled with ease the 70+ discrete technical and business process needed to spin up channels in seconds,” Parkinson confirms. “As the markets change, we want to change with them,” he concludes, “and look forward to providing these services into the future, continuing to evolve our offerings to meet the changing landscape of the live sports market.”
Axon Digital Design PETER SCHUT
Earlier this year, UK outside broadcast specialist Cloudbass became the first company in the world to transform an existing outside broadcast truck from HD-SDI to UHD IP using Axon Digital Design’s signal processing technology. “Since launching Neuron at IBC last year, we have been overwhelmed by the positive response it has received from broadcasters who were quick to see its potential as the ideal audio and video processing platform for IP infrastructures,” says Peter Schut, CTO. “That it also has the capability to work as a bridge between IP and SDI infrastructures makes it even powerful. “We are very pleased that Cloudbass adopted Neuron to run its IP truck and that its first productions have gone very well,” Schut continued. Upgrading the 20 camera vehicle took just five weeks to complete and involved a total refurbishment of all working areas, as well as the installation of a full IP solution based around Axon’s Neuron Network Attached Processor (NAP). The gateway product, which was designed to address the needs of complex IP and hybrid-IP environments, handles uncompressed SD, HD, 3G and UHD signals based on the ST2022-6 and ST2110 specifications. To complement the Neuron system, SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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Cloudbass also installed Axon Synview IP multiviewers in the truck’s main gallery, with additional Synapse UHD processing for the final output path. It also installed an Axon Cerebrum monitoring and control system, which is rapidly becoming the de facto standard for complex mobile production, news and studio live production, master control and remote production.
Batcam ALASTAIR SOUTAR
HEAD OF OPERATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY
Drones are, perhaps, more accurately known as unmanned aerial vehicles — UAVs. Not all UAV companies are created equal, however. The company’s unique safety practises have seen it gain exemptions from the UK’s CAA that allow it to go where other UAVs are not allowed. “BatcamFLY, our live UAV system that uses a unique 5-axis gimbal to allow us to shoot with large zoom lenses, was used on every one of the 45 Cricket World Cup matches this summer — including games at Lord’s cricket ground, where we’d previously never been allowed to fly — meaning that Batcam provided shots that had never been seen before,” says Alastair Soutar, head of operations and technology. “The second camera on the Cricket World Cup is BatcamDRIVE, an RC buggy with a stabilised head attached to it. It’s used for batsmen walking on and off and, during play, it tracks round the boundaries to provide a mobile Railcam — but without the rails.” Soutar says that Batcam covers over 200 live events a year, including Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup football.
Blackmagic Design STUART ASHTON
It seems like 4K/UltraHD only happened yesterday — yet, already, 8K seems to be front and centre of everyone’s thinking. That’s certainly true for Blackmagic Design.
“Sports broadcasting has always led the way in emerging technology trends, and the testing of 8K workflows and immersive experiences for fans by the industry’s leaders this year shows that has no sign of changing,” believes director Stuart Ashton. “However, it’s important to remember that, for many, the immediate requirement is for reliable, robust workflows that can support the live production needs of rights holders, clubs and broadcasters.” That’s probably why he chooses the Atem Constellation 8K and HyperDeck Extreme 8K HDR as Blackmagic Design’s two key products of the past 12 months. “They create an incredibly powerful UltraHD solution with a massive 40 inputs, and incorporates 8K capability — a world first,” Ashton enthuses. “It’s a future-proof workflow that enables anyone to test 8K workflows based on 4K budgets and planning. Implementing H.265 in the HyperDeck also means it provides the perfect interchange format for 8K.” According to Ashton, his company has already supported a number of tests with the likes of BT Sport, who trialled its 8K VR experience at this year’s FA Cup Final, and France Television, who live streamed more than hundred hours of 8K content from Roland Garros during the French Open Tennis over 5G. As well as significant infrastructure updates by the likes of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, Juventus FC and Brighton & Hove Albion, Ashton says that Blackmagic Design’s solutions continue to play a critical role in shaping the future direction of sports broadcast, as rights holders and broadcasters begin to explore 8K.
Bridge Technologies SIMEN K FROSTAD
Bridge Technologies says it has long been a fervent proponent of IP technology and the benefits it brings to those who create, produce and distribute content. Increasingly, that content is sport — and the company says its probes are revolutionising what’s possible with remote production. Take, for example, a major French tennis tournament that saw Canal Câble deploy a number of Bridge Technologies probes throughout the distribution network, with the results from each probe being returned to the IP-based head end for comparison with
the original signal. Thresholds and alarms automatically alerted the network management team to any discrepancies between what was being transmitted and what was being received, enabling instant corrective action to be taken. Bridge Technologies’ Remote Data Wall was also deployed to provide intuitive feedback on the status and performance of the content distribution network. “For sports production companies to fully embrace remote production, there has to be a very high degree of trust that delivery mechanisms are robust, and that transmission output will not be compromised in any way,” says Simen K Frostad, chairman. “It’s that trust that we can help provide, ensuring that what consumers sees is what the production team wants them to see.” Bridge Technologies’ probes provide monitoring and analysis of high-bitrate uncompressed media flows over IP with both ST2110 and ST2022-6 transports, providing network operators, digital media organisations, production studios, master control centres and outside broadcast vehicles and venues with an analytics solution for numerous streams and multiple technologies in real-time and in parallel.
Brightcove CLEMENT REVERDY
SPORTS SALES SPECIALIST
For the centennial celebration of La Federation Francaise de Football (French Football Federation) Brightcove launched an OTT service to provide content for the A-team, the women’s team and the youth team to a worldwide audience. It is designed to improve fan experience and improve and enhance brand awareness internationally.
“If OTT content delivery is all about creating a supplemental digital experience alongside the linear broadcast, differentiation is key,” believes Clement Reverdy, sports sales specialist. “Content is king, of course, SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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but the beauty of OTT is that it mitigates the constraints of traditional television, enabling rights holders to create compelling digital destinations even when their most coveted media assets — namely their premium live rights — have been sold to third party distributors on an exclusive basis. “Clipping live footage to create on-demand assets allows rights holders to extract greater value from event content,” he continues. “English soccer’s Premier League, for example, operates a dedicated online platform that houses a wealth of non-live content, such as goals of the day, iconic moments, player interviews, and coverage of the league’s various community initiatives. Manchester City is also capitalising on its ability to distribute an array of auxiliary content by building its own branded media channels to sit alongside the live coverage of matches.” Brightcove now has a new Live solution that allows sports organisations to clip live feeds and instantly distribute them to social networks. The company handles DVR capabilities as well as multi-output, including to social media destinations. “We have built a turnkey OTT solution that sports organisations can roll out in 6-12 weeks — OTT Flow — for specific events, tournaments and so on,” says Reverdy.
positions and wireless cameras on site for multiple clients. Clients can easily produce and broadcast their own footage from the pit lane or paddock. Our new master control room in The Netherlands — from which we can provide support and monitoring of all on-site systems — forwards this to each individual client’s studio.” At the Rotterdam Marathon, Broadcast Rental provided a creative solution to the problems resulting from the long distances involved via a complete remote hub — eliminating the OB van at the start of the course. This allowed the client to receive all broadcast signals from the entire track in one OB truck at the finish.
Broadcast RF CHRIS BRANDRICK
While there is perhaps no substitute for being there, watching sport broadcast gives viewers access to experiences that would not be possible any other way. Being at the heart of the peloton in cycle racing, for example. It was this that led Broadcast RF to introduce the Velo4G. “The camera is lightweight — only 160g — so it can be fitted to a bicycle without disturbing the rider,” explains Chris Brandrick, commercial Broadcast Rental director. “The system uses 4G LTE to transmit GEERT PAUL SLEE footage and each unit can be fully remote CEO controlled from any remote location in the Among its many other world.” assignments, Broadcast Rental has once again been the provider of services for the Formula 1 season to rights holders in Europe, the Middle East and South America.
Broadcast Solutions PETER JAKOBSSON
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
Broadcast Solutions draws on more than 15 years’ experience in developing complex broadcast facility projects and OB Vans, with special expertise in the fields of remote production, IP-based broadcasting, UHD, augmented and virtual reality and HDR workflows. Perhaps its most challenging project of the past 12 months was the remote production hub the company created for Streamteam/Telia in Helsinki to cover 450 matches in the Finnish ice hockey league — with up to seven games taking place simultaneously. “The task was to give Streamteam a solution that is future-proof and that will provide them with the ability to expand their business further — both in the country and also abroad,” says Peter Jakobsson, business development director. “Remote production has already shown its benefit in terms of operability and flexibility.” The early part of this year also saw Broadcast Solutions’ Robycam, with its auto stabilisation feature and gyro-stabilised head making 3D camera movements possible, given the opportunity to show what it could do at a major eSports event in Katowice Poland — watched by 18,000 spectators live and millions via the Internet, as well as enhancing the in-stadium experience. Rigging points for the winches were placed to the right and left of the stage, and on the tiers, allowing the Robycam to fly over the entire stage and auditorium. “With eSports being the current driving force in the entertainment and sports sector, there is an ever-increasing demand for bigger spectacle and better viewer experience at eSports events,” notes Jakobsson, “whether live on site, on TV or via streaming.”
“Broadcast Rental has its own IP infrastructure on every Formula 1 racetrack around the globe,” notes CEO Geert Paul Slee. “For every race, our team provides commentary 114
The year hasn’t just been about cycling for Broadcast RF, however. Wimbledon saw the company supply 14 RF systems, including two UHD RF systems with new HEVC equipment. At the London Marathon, Broadcast RF deployed seven bikes and two helicopters linked via a plane relay, with some specialist ground reception equipment to help out in some of the later course tunnels — and 29 RF systems were used at The Open Golf.
TECHNICAL SALES MANAGER
According to Broaman, the past year has seen it involved extensively in winter sports. Broaman products were used on the Betamobil OB truck to cover races for the FIS Ski World Cup and also the Four Hills ski jumping tournament on the TVP Poland OB truck. “Both productions relied on our Mux22 SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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platform transporting 3G-SDI, intercom, audio and data,”explains Maciek Janiszewski, technical sales manager. “We’ve been experiencing more and more severe weather worldwide, with some very high temperatures. OB truck providers are searching for solutions that can survive outdoors — whether in winter or summer. BroaMan products are designed using the highest quality components to provide as wide a working temperature as possible.
“Another factor in customers choosing our products over the past year has been the redundancy they offer,” he adds. “All signals are transported over a single fibre, so it’s important to have a backup cable: we offer unique automatic redundancy for the main fibre between our Mux22 devices.” Janiszewski believes that the introduction of redundancy for the Mux22 at IBC last year was Broaman’s most important recent product development in relation to sport. “Redundancy has become a must-have for every OB truck that covers sports,” he believes. “You can simply run two fibres — main and redundant — between two distant locations, such as where the OB truck is parked and the stadium, and securely transport all video, audio, comms and data.” Janiszewski also notes great customer interest in 6G and 12G transport, and in transporting a quad 3G signal — a problem for which he says the Broaman’s Repeat8-NANO is the perfect solution.
Broadcast Systems International TONY VALENTINO
MANAGING DIRECTOR, UK OPERATIONS
in-house developed camera systems and RF link systems. A 7GHz Real Freedom receiver infrastructure was used with 8-way diversity in dual pedestal, running a video bit rate of some 40Mbits/ second for the radio cameras. A separate 2GHz Real Freedom receiver infrastructure was used with 8-way diversity in single pedestal for all the other specialist cameras.
Among the specialist cameras deployed were the BSI Real Freedom UHD HDR Radio Camera System. “This is a complete radio camera system with integrated camera control designed to fit on to a UHD Sony Z450 camcorder,” explains Tony Valentino, managing director, UK operations. “The camera system included a unique world first design feature which was a builtin UPS system — allowing the cameramen to change batteries without interrupting the live picture feed. The RF cameras were deployed uninterrupted for over five hours. “The production and vision crew commented that they were just like cabled cameras,” he smiles. The UHD (HDR) Lantern Camera provided was developed completely in-house specifically for the rugby coverage and was based on a remote-operated stabilised gimbal with a UHD camera and UHD lens which was fully remotecontrolled. BSI also supplied the new version of its RefCam which includes remote control of the camera ‘live tilt’ feature, enabling the camera to be framed up for scrums and player head shots.
BT Media & Broadcast DOMINIK WRONA
HEAD OF TV OUTSIDE Newcastle, UK in May saw BSI BROADCAST SERVICES involved in the Rugby Challenge Cup and Champions Cup Finals A world first took place this year for an event that was to be covered in UHD when, thanks to a collaborative HDR, with coverage required both inside and effort between UK host broadcaster BT Sport outside the stadium. and BT’s Media & Broadcast division, the 2019 The equipment supplied by BSI included Champions League Final was delivered in HD 116
HDR and UHD HDR to multiple destinations. The company also pulled off a UK first, with the FA Cup semi-finals and final broadcast for the first time in HEVC UHD over BT’s high bandwidth fibre network. “We’ve been continuing to invest in our UHD HEVC capabilities and now the majority of our trucks are UHD-capable,” says Dominik Wrona, head of TV outside broadcast services.“This truly is a sign of our expertise, thought leadership and market leading contribution portfolio — and the level of demand/volumes of events that we’re delivering in UHD. The adaptation of the latest UHD equipment also allows us to work with our customers on HDR events.”
BT is also, however, enthused by the potential that 5G represents. In May, the BBC seized the opportunity offered by the launch of BTEE’s 5G service to conduct several news interviews on TV and radio over 5G. “We’re very proud that these were the first examples of live TV and radio broadcasts over a public 5G network in the UK,” smiles Wrona, “and, as a technology demonstration, they show that 5G will in future be capable of carrying live TV and radio for production. We believe 5G will have a significant impact on many of the current workflows in the future.” The past 12 months has also seen BT adopt the latest BISS encryption in order to protect its customers and their content.
Calrec DAVE LETSON
VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES
One of the key drivers behind the accelerating use of remote production is the opportunity to reduce cost. “But,” says Dave Letson, vice president of sales at Calrec, “cost reduction should not affect the quality of output, so we are seeing more installations with smaller, feature-rich consoles like the Calrec Brio which still provide the flexibility to take on surround mixing, monitoring and metering should it be required. SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
Remote production using our RP1 is also on the rise as it keeps costs low and coverage wide by keeping personnel, transport and shipping costs to a minimum.” The introduction of its ImPulse core is Calrec’s most significant development since IBC last year. ImPulse is designed and built with a native IP backbone that is AES67 and SMPTE 2110 compliant to ease customer transition to IP. It is compatible with existing Apollo and Artemis control surfaces, providing a simple upgrade path for existing Calrec customers. “For sport, ImPulse has been designed to cater for the demands of immersive audio,” Letson explains. “Broadcasters are already producing live content in immersive formats over platforms like MPEG-H and Dolby Atmos, along with OTT content, which increases the number of audio channels that need to be processed and increases the processing complexity.” Noting that Calrec’s presence at IBC will be “all about AoIP”, Letson stresses the importance of the careful planning required in moving to an IP infrastructure. In response, his company has introduced Gateway technologies to make the transition smoother and allow more flexibility
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at large, multi-OB events where Hydra2 and IP combination with a lightweight high-end are being used concurrently. camcorder that can be remote-controlled for most camera telemetry functions. CAMCAT “Now,” he continues, “we have a solution ALEXANDER BROZEK for any request concerning CAMCAT cable CEO cameras with the CAMCAT Standard, CAMCAT As creating and distributing HighTension, CAMCAT 2D, CAMCAT Colibri, sports content has become CAMCAT vertical, CAMCAT linear, CAMCAT more accessible, the demand HighSpeed.” has arisen for smaller, lighter, more costTwo CAMCAT zeros were deployed at the effective systems. That’s a demand to which European Games in Minsk, where Brozek says CAMCAT has responded with the launch of that “the client is very happy with them”. the CAMCAT zero remote controlled cable Beyond Minsk, CAMCAT has seen its camera, a miniaturised alternative to the cameras deployed at a wide range of sporting CAMCAT-Standard or CAMCAT Colibri. events over the past 12 months, including at “Many clients requested a high performance Kitzbühel for the Alpine ski downhill race; the small system that would work for lower Aintree Grand National; Royal Ascot; the Le budgets,” explains CEO Alexander Brozek. Mans 24 Hour; Formula One; and Wimbledon. “They wanted to use it for smaller events for Camera Corps smaller sport channels — so we finished the BARRY PARKER development of a small CAMCAT system, the COMMERCIAL MANAGER CAMCAT zero. It´s much smaller and very economical for the client. It doesn’t use a wireless It’s been a productive 12 months system — all connections are via fibre cable.” for Camera Corps as the The CAMCAT zero is designed for a small company has brought to market digital 3-axis stabilised camera head in a number of new products.
The new Qx is a compact weatherproof head with integral pan/tilt/zoom/focus drives. Said to deliver high video quality and to be unobtrusive enough to be operated within view of other cameras, it offers producers the freedom to cut and mix with video feeds from full-size studio and outside-broadcast cameras. “A key strength of the Q-Ball series is its very smooth pan and tilt mechanism, including high-precision acceleration and deceleration,” notes Barry Parker, commercial manager. “These features are especially useful in live environments because they allow accurate on-air follow shoots.” A recent addition to the Camera Corps rental fleet, Clarity is a miniature camera delivering real-time live output and high-frame-rate SDI for use with slow motion replay servers. A UHD version operating at four times real-time is also available. For rental, the new DMR (Dual Mini Remote) head is a fully remote-controlled camera mount that is primarily devised to carry a high motion camera for behind-the-goal football replays.
Canon Europe RYUHEI (RYAN) KAMATA
EUROPEAN PRODUCT MANAGER IN CINEMA AND BROADCAST
In April, Canon added two new lenses to its 4K broadcast lens line-up — the CJ18ex28B and the CJ15ex8.5B — both said to be world firsts of their kind. “Now,” says Ryuhei (Ryan) Kamata, who is European product manager in cinema and broadcast, “we have a Canon lens for every broadcast filming scenario, enabling optical 4K performance, whilst maintaining excellent manoeuvrability and handling — comparable to Canon lenses for HD broadcast cameras.” Additionally, Canon has launched the Canon UHD DIGISUPER 122 and UHD DIGISUPER 111. “Both are driving innovation in sports broadcast with their exceptional optical performance, exceeding 4K expectations with broad ranging focal lengths, high zoom ratios and class-leading operability,” continues Kamata. “Both lenses have been very well received from sports production clients and have already been used in major field events such as Serie A and the European Champions League since shipping started earlier this year. “Both lenses are used along with the wide 118
variety of portable 4K lenses,” he adds, “which supports 4K acquisition in being as flexible as it needs to be. The addition of the CJ18ex28B, the portable 4K ultra telephoto lens, and the CJ15ex8.5B, the portable 4K image stabiliser lens, can cover even broader shooting scenarios and situations.” His company is, notes Kamata, committed to maximising the value of customer investments. In June Canon launched a free firmware update for six of its professional 4K reference display models, supporting feature upgrades including streamlined workflow efficiencies for 4K/HDR production. He also points out Canon’s strategy of ensuring where possible that products fit into existing workflows.
CenturyLink RORY MC VICAR
HEAD OF PRODUCT, EMEA, IP, CDN AND VYVX
SMPTE ST2110 has been described as a “game changer” and “the future of broadcasting”. It’s no overstatement to say that it is a major contributing factor in the movement toward one common IP-based mechanism for the professional media industries. As such, the collaboration between CenturyLink and Sony earlier this year — in which the two companies completed a remote production built on the SMPTE ST2110 standard with Sony IP equipment and a 10GbE Wavelength network provided by CenturyLink — couldn’t have been more significant. “CenturyLink has been preparing its network for a world in which remote production is the rule and no longer the exception,” notes Rory Mc Vicar, Head of Product, EMEA, IP, CDN and Vyvx. “We’ve invested in fibre builds to key sports and eSports venues as well as architected our Vyvx network to deliver content into locations that live events rights holders rely upon to produce and stage their content for mass audience consumption.” Another exciting development for CenturyLink was its announcement that its Vyvx suite of fibre-based broadcast services now provides secure, high-performance connectivity into Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Vyvx Cloud Connect provides broadcasters, as well as studios and stadium venues, a path for getting live and linear video in and out of the cloud. “OTT platforms, broadcasters and gaming
companies need a high availability, low latency network solution to deliver their live events and linear programming to cloud service providers for encoding, packaging and delivery to their CDNs,” says McVicar. “CenturyLink’s Vyvx Cloud Connect enables our customers to leverage a managed, monitored and secure private network path to reach GCP, enabling cloud-based workflows.”
ChyronHego OLIVIER COHEN
HEAD OF COMMERCIAL STRATEGY
With the ability to deliver live arena- and stadium-based AV presentations to any canvas size with any number of outputs in any resolution, Dallas Cowboys home field has upped its game — thanks to ChyronHego’s integrated graphics toolset Click Effects PRIME. “The solution is ushering in a new era of 4K production on the LiveFX Endzone board at AT&T Stadium,” smiles Olivier Cohen, head of commercial strategy at ChyronHego. His company has announced a partnership with Grass Valley to deliver an integrated graphics creation and switching solution for complex arena productions. “The integration gives technical directors a simple, repeatable means of switching shows with game-in-progress graphics delivered simultaneously to multiple LED ribbon boards, scoreboards, concourse/concession screens, and other displays,” Cohen explains, going on to note how teams are employing ever-more sophisticated techniques to sell tickets and fill seats — which means giving fans an in-venue experience that rivals or exceeds what they might have at home. ChronHego also recently launched Version 7.5 of its Paint telestration tool. Paint now supports recording and outputting of native 4K telestrated content and also integration with leading production servers. Paint now also enables the automatic publishing of telestrated replay clips to social media outlets. IBC will see the company announce a powerful new graphics input scaling and compositing engine. The solution will allow operators to scale multiple graphics and video inputs and output up to 33 million pixels, and arena producers will be able to draw from an unlimited number of layers to drive unconventional screens in any canvas size in any resolution. SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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standard for complex mobile production, news and studio live production, master control and remote production. Cloudbass unveiled its new IP-ready outside broadcast vehicle at the UK Speedway Championships in May 2019, which it is under contract to broadcast for the BT Sport channel.
SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER
It’s easy to forget that IP is having as much impact on the world of audio as it is on the world of video. For Clear-Com, the trend towards remote connectivity over IP is clear. “With the LQ Intercom/Audio to IP converters, we are able to facilitate the trend where more and more broadcasters are putting skeleton crews on site and sending audio and video back to the main production centre for onward broadcast of sporting events,” explains Stephen Sandford, senior product manager. “LQ provide a local intercom network and allows communication and audio cue programming back and forth with the production centre over IP.” Clear-Com has added IP connectivity to its award-winning FreeSpeak II digital wireless intercom system, thus allowing sports providers to use fibre-based LAN transceiver connectivity. “That makes the running of widely dispersed wireless transceivers around a motor track or golf course much easier,” says Sandford. “The use of AES67 over these fibre links improves audio quality and lowers latency.” The FreeSpeak II IPT transceiver features AES67 Audio-over-IP for low latency signal distribution, enabling FreeSpeak II wireless belt packs to be deployed across a user’s LAN. The transceiver connects to an AES67-compatible IP switch and to Clear-Com’s Eclipse HX system via the high-density audio-and-intercom-overIP E-IPA card. Dorna — the exclusive commercial and television rights holder for the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP) — has now deployed Clear-Com’s intercom technology across all its worldwide events. Clear-Com solutions were also deployed at The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2019, as well as at 24h Race at the Nürburgring, supporting TV Skyline Germany.
Cloudbass MICHAEL BEAUMONT TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
The transition from SDI to IP continues apace, it seems… Now, Cloudbass believes it is the first to take an OB truck equipped for HD-SDI — and transform it into one equipped for UHD IP. 120
Cobalt Digital CHRIS SHAW
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES AND MARKETING
“This transformation allows Cloudbass to offer broadcasters all the flexibility and speed of a fully IP workflow,” smiles Michael Beaumont, technical director. “It also cements our position as one of the most technically advanced broadcast solutions providers operating in the UK.
The build was achieved by using a core infrastructure of seven Axon Neuron Network Attached Processors to provide IP gateway, routing and processing. The product, which was designed to address the needs of complex IP and hybrid-IP environments, supports uncompressed SD, HD, 3G and UHD signals based on the ST2022-6 and ST2110 specifications. By acting as a bridge between SDI and IP, Neuron allowed Cloudbass to decide what equipment it wanted to keep and what it wanted to replace. “Anything that couldn’t be connected directly to the new Arista 7280 switch could be easily channelled through Neuron and brought into the IP domain,” remarks Beaumont. To complement the Neuron system, Cloudbass also installed Axon Synview IP multiviewers in the truck’s main gallery, with additional Synapse UHD processing for the final output path. It also installed an Axon Cerebrum monitoring and control system, which it says is rapidly becoming the de facto
Having one foot in the past and one in the future is always a challenge — and that’s certainly the case for broadcasters when it comes to SDR and HDR. It is, however, a challenge that Cobalt Digital is addressing with its 9904-UDX-4K up/ down/cross converter and image processor for openGear frames. “It’s gained a lot of interest since we integrated Technicolor’s HDR Intelligent Tone Management software,” says Chris Shaw, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “The combination allows mobile production truck operators to seamlessly use SDR cameras, graphics, and other equipment to produce HDR footage, because it offers real-time SDR-to-HDR and HDR-to-SDR conversion. “So far,” he adds,“our solution has been used successfully to deliver live 4K HDR coverage of a premier tennis tournament in Paris, several U.S. football games for a prominent college program, and even professional baseball games for a popular cable network.” In addition to the transition from SDR to HDR, Shaw sees RIST — the Reliable Internet Stream Transport protocol that allows for low-latency transport of broadcast video content over the internet — as an important development. RIST, he points out, takes advantage of advances in compression technology and network infrastructure to use the internet as a low-cost contribution link, eliminating the need for costly dedicated links. “Cobalt was one of several companies that received an Emmy Award earlier this year for our role in the underlying technology for reliable video transport over the public internet,” Shaw notes. “Cobalt has already added RIST capability to some of our AVC/ HEVC encoders and decoders, and we plan to expand our RIST-compatible offerings in the next year.” SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
coverage at The Ryder Cup in Paris; camera coverage the for host broadcaster numbered HEAD OF BROADCAST 70, including nine RF cameras plus a 620m Anyone who has watched Wirecam, Boatcam — and a plane. CTV sport over the last many years Outside Broadcast also provided technical can’t help but have noticed facilities for all the other broadcasters on-site. its progressive transformation from a game or competition to a complete, all-embracing spectacle. “In-stadium entertainment is more exciting and more of a show, and organisers are pushing the boundaries more and more,” notes Ben Tompsett, head of broadcast at Creative Technology. “Therefore, we’re responding with bleeding edge technologies. Our PPUs, for example, are built around a 12G infrastructure as more of our customers are demanding 4K “We also launched UHD and Dolby Atmos workflows.” at the World Darts at Alexandra Palace for Sky Providing that infrastructure saw Sports,” smiles CTO Paul Francis, “as well as Tompsett’s company at the Royal Greens golf fulfilling Premiership football requirements course in King Abdullah Economic City earlier for BBC Sport, domestic and international this year, where Creative Technology (CT) cricket for Sky Sports plus the European Tour were on hand to deliver all video aspects of the Golf.” historic event on behalf of clients European To cap off a memorable 12 months, CTV Tour and IMG. Outside Broadcasts was also in Nice and “We were contracted to design, engineer Montpellier for the Women’s World Cup, and fabricate eight bespoke LED structures, with each venue having 23 cameras, a mix of a big departure from the standard scaffold 13 Sony HDC4300 channels working UHD or support structures traditionally used at golf 3x super slow, three RF cameras, a Hi Mo, five events,” explains Tompsett. specialist cams — and a helicopter. The structures — providing leader board and DELTACAST scoreboard information — were strategically PIERRE MESTREZ placed to ensure spectators could follow PRODUCT MARKETING MANAGER the event no matter where they were. In the media centre, CT provided a screen to allow VAR didn’t do itself any favours the press to follow the action in real time and during the Women’s World 32 IP TVs were strategically placed to display Cup — but that was no fault of CT’s customised Tournament Television the technology… Perhaps if it had used AI, as Programme comprising live feeds, highlights, DELTACAST’s offside solution does, it would interviews, scoring, player information, stats, have been very different. social media and sponsor advertising. Among its numerous other projects, CT also supported the British Masters, the Cricket World Cup and the League of Legends Final, one of the year’s largest e-sports events.
CTV Outside Broadcasts PAUL FRANCIS
To have deployed 21 OBs on a single weekend for the third round of the FA Cup, as CTV Outside Broadcasts did, was no mean feat. It almost pales into insignificance, however, beside the provision of host broadcaster SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
Nevertheless: VAR is undoubtedly the future. The Belgian Pro League has now been using DELTACAST’s solution for two seasons. The technology is available as a standalone system, or as an add-on to VAR system providers
to create a best-of-breed solution: it is, for example, integrated with the Evertz system in Belgium. DELTA-offside is also available as a standalone system. Besides VAR, the Belgian Pro League and DELTACAST are working jointly to leverage data- and graphic-based innovations in order to respond to the challenges of professional leagues and clubs to increase in-stadium and home fan experience and improve collective team performance. “To increase the immersion experience for fans, one track is the enhancement of Belgian stadiums with DELTA-stadium to play out video and advanced graphics on giant single displays and multiple LED perimeter boards,” explains Pierre Mestrez, product marketing manager. “Another option is to use the various data provided by STATS, the official data provider of the Pro League, to enhance the storytelling of the game using its virtual display technologies and create a superior watching experience — whether through the many screens inside the stadiums, or through television coverage. “We are confident that AI will continue changing the sport industry across all tiers with many use cases such as production task automation and assistance, highlights and creative process assistance, refereeing, coaching, health and merchandising,” he concludes.
Deltatre CARLO DE MARCHIS
CHIEF PRODUCT AND MARKETING OFFICER
The past year has seen Deltatre continuing to grow its portfolio of clients worldwide, mostly focusing on new key markets, such as the Americas. “On top of our existing portfolio, new clients were won across the biggest American sports properties, both in OTT and the owned and operated side,” says Carlo de Marchis, chief product and marketing officer. “In particular, a focus on the consistent development of our proprietary CMS — Forge — was key to helping our clients across sports such as American football, baseball, soccer and others to deliver unforgettable digital experiences. Further to that, thanks to the acquisition of Massive Interactive late in 2018, we’re now fully equipped to penetrate the entertainment sector.” 121
Content is still king, de Marchis believes, and this is therefore what Deltatre will keep focusing on. “We are big believers in enabling storytellers to focus on what they’re best at — weaving compelling narratives and bringing fans closer to the action — through innovative uses of technology,” he continues. “End-to-end workflows that enable content creation, distribution and analysis from one centralised platform will be of higher priority for many operators in our space moving forwards. As the process of convergence between OTT and traditional linear broadcast is underway, making tools that can integrate as many modules and widgets as possible to create a fluid, multi-platform experience will be crucial. Fans, today, want everything in the same place.” IBC will see Deltatre announce a number of renewed partnerships, technology deployments, and the onboarding of new clients it will be working with over the coming years.
disguise TOM ROCKHILL
For those who believe that VR and AR have an important role to play in the future of sports broadcasting, the disguise stand at IBC may be the place to be. “disguise and White Light — a disguise Certified Solution Provider — will once again be teaming up to present the White Light SmartStage, powered by disguise’s xR,” says Tom Rockhill, CSO. “This fully immersive production environment will showcase the latest developments in augmented reality and mixed reality workflows for live broadcast.” White Light has been pioneering SmartStage, an immersive video environment which replaces the traditional green screen element of a studio and allows presenters and the audience to interact with the content around them. disguise xR has been designed to empower production teams to deliver augmented and mixed reality within studio environments. The disguise and White Light teams will also present some recent projects that have utilised SmartStage and xR technology in live broadcast, including the mixed reality studio set for ITV Sport’s coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. 122
Dolby ROB FRANCE
HEAD OF HOME CONTENT ENGINEERING
For the first time ever, all of the UEFA Finals — Europa League, Champions League, Super Cup and Nations League — in 2019 saw the provision of Dolby Atmos immersive audio embedded within the UEFA UHD feeds for international distribution. UEFA worked closely with production partners MediaPro and MediaLuso, distribution partner Eurovision Services and Dolby to enable it to happen. Broadcaster operators such as BT Sport and CCTV delivered some of these events to consumers through their services in UHD, incorporating Dolby Atmos immersive audio. “Dolby Atmos offers the viewer at home a more immersive listening experience by adding height elements to the sound delivery,” says Rob France, head of home content engineering. “It also provides more versatility to the live content producers. “A Dolby Atmos mix typically consists of a 5.1 bed and additional elements, sometimes referred to as ‘objects’, such as the height information, for example,” France explains. “The bed and objects may be pre‐combined as ‘presentations’, based on individual rights holder broadcaster’s needs. Presentations are pre‐set mixes of beds and objects, arranged in a fashion that satisfy the rights holder broadcaster’s minimum or specific transmission requirements. Greater flexibility is granted to the live content producers on how to position such elements in the mix to ensure maximum effect.” For easier handling within legacy consumer audio video receivers, the immersive experience was based on a 5.1.4 mix (5.1 bed + 4.0 height object). This combination was used by UEFA broadcast partners for a simple channel‐based 3D audio environment without additional objects — but there was some more flexibility provided to broadcast partners, for more advanced needs. A dedicated ‘3D audio microphone’ was used to capture the ambience of the stadium in a more immersive way. This was installed close to the main camera. “To deliver Dolby Atmos and other new audio experiences, there is dedicated audio ‘mezzanine compression’ technology that enables a smooth transition from traditional stereo and 5.1 channel workflows using the
existing infrastructure,” continues France. “Dolby ED2 provides a low‐friction path to integrating next‐generation audio into existing live/linear workflows. The efficiency of Dolby ED2 allows it to be carried alongside existing stereo and 5.1‐channel audio for redundancy and multi‐format delivery. The backward compatibility of Dolby ED2 allows it to be transmitted, received, and decoded by a large installed base of Dolby E decoders. Professional metadata defines new parameters to specify audio topology, describe presentations, and improve loudness control.”
Endeavor Streaming WILL STAEGER
PRESIDENT, BUSINESS OPERATIONS
If ESPN will pay $1.5 billion for 5-year US broadcast rights for something — the chances are, that something is a big deal. The ‘something’ is UFC — the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the world’s leading mixed martial arts series. Endeavor Streaming recently handled the record-breaking — it generated $86.4 million for the economy of Las Vegas in a single night — UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor. “Earlier this year, we formally merged Endeavor’s internal streaming technology platform with NeuLion’s technology and customer service to launch Endeavor Streaming,” notes Will Staeger, president, business operations. “As a combined entity, we’re providing new product and service offerings and a more customised approach to OTT, which is so important in a marketplace with an increasing number of consumer choices. Within that same time period, we’ve signed a number of new clients — UEFA, WWE and OSN to name but a few. “There is no better home for content owners — whether an established sports league or a rising new content creator — than Endeavor Streaming,” he goes on. “We provide clients with the best tools and services in video streaming, removing technology as a barrier in reaching their consumers.” Staeger says his company is starting to see a shift of focus for sports organisations to include more digital. “The most successful organisations are the ones who are looking at digital as a complement to more traditional means rather than a replacement,” he believes. “Adapting a digital presence allows these organisations to SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
engage new audiences and further monetise their content. It also provides them a platform to create and offer additional content from archival footage to behind-the-scenes interviews, and more.”
ES Broadcast BEN MURPHY
For ES Broadcast, its business divides into the traditional and the non-traditional.
“On the traditional side of things, we’ve delivered a major OB fleet upgrade and expansion project for RaceTech, the UK’s leading horse racing broadcast services provider,” notes Ben Murphy, managing director. “Having won
major contracts via Sky Sports Racing to provide on-course coverage and live TV broadcasting, RaceTech turned to ES Broadcast to help them boost production capacity to over 1,500 outside broadcasts per year.” ES Broadcast’s systems integration team delivered four new OB trucks — three 14-camera HD trucks and a 17-camera expander — as well as extensively refurbishing and upgrading an existing unit. Each vehicle was designed to retain familiarity for users of RaceTech’s existing fleet, whilst upgrading the underlying technology. “At the non-traditional end of the spectrum, our delivery of a large scale, broadcast-quality studio facility for an eSports battle arena proved to be our most ambitious — and creative — eSports solution to date,” continues Murphy. “The project was carried out for leading eSports broadcaster OGN, which now generates in excess of 3,000 hours a year of content, to an audience of around 200 million across 150 countries.” The system was, says Murphy, designed and built as a highly innovative and unusual hybrid
solution. It can be installed semi-permanently into a studio building, but still retains the flexibility of a portable production unit by virtue of being constructed in five wheeled rack units. The whole system can be packed up and transported to temporary venues, where the units can be interconnected using the venue’s structured cabling.
Euro Media Group TIMO KOCH
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
“Fantertainment” is one of those wonderful portmanteau words — like “phygital” — that is immediately self-explanatory, and that’s what Euro Media Group (EMG) helped provide at all nine venues of this year’s Women’s World Cup. France 2019 also saw EMG provide all host broadcasting facilities to HBS at seven of the nine venues. Earlier this year, Videohouse, an EMG company, played a significant role at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships with the provision of some 130 cameras and a team of 35.
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Seventy of the cameras were deployed for the cross country, including high speed, wireless, wireless high speed, Polecam, drone and mini cameras. Those interested in what the future may hold are likely to be heading to see EMG at IBC, where the company is planning to have on show what it believes is one of the largest OB trucks in Europe. It’s not its size that’s important, however: it’s the technology onboard. “The truck is fully based on OBjective 2020 technology,” says the company’s director of operations Timo Koch. “That means it’s fully modular, flexible and scalable.” The OBjective 2020 initiative was launched in 2017 with the objective of designing and building a new concept: one of the most futureproof IP-based media production solutions on the market. EMG aimed to change the concept of outside broadcasting by designing an IP-based scalable and modular workflow. Built around small data centres that can be mobile, fixed or hosted, EMG describes OBjective 2020 as a triple-A solution for content production: “anywhere, anyhow, any size.” That means it can be deployed wherever in the world it is needed; that it can be used as an OB truck, as a build-out or for remote production; and that it can be scaled from standard HD productions up to the biggest UHD multi-venue event. In support of its ambitions, EMG announced earlier this year that it had subscribed to a capital increase in Belgium-based company SDNsquare, giving it a minority position, and will engage in a long-term partnership to develop advanced, future-proof IP production solutions. “Thanks to IP, we are now able to harmonise the core technology used in EMG for media production, thus allowing us to share the hardware and exchange the people between our different entities in order to increase our operational efficiency,” explains Koch. “This is of strategic importance for our group in order to stay ahead of the competition and respond to the market demand for cost-effective and flexible solutions.”
Eurovision Services MARCO TINNIRELLO
With more content available from events than ever before, sports federations and event organisers know it’s important to provide 124
a more personalised experience for their audiences, no matter where they are in the world or which device they use. Until now, the only way to achieve some level of personalisation has been to produce several signal versions at the origin and transport them separately to rights holders — a costly and complex operation. “This year, we saw a lot of interest in our latest Remote Graphics Solution which allows our clients — media organisations, sport federations and event organisers — to remotely adapt their TV graphics at the origin without having to produce several signal versions and transport them separately to takers,” says Marco Tinnirello, CEO of Eurovision Services. For example, some sport federations used this latest product development to personalise their TV graphics for different audiences throughout the year.” Remote production is increasingly shaping sports production workflows, Tinnirello believes, noting that the tools are not completely new. “We’re finally seeing the impact of these new technologies on the market,” he adds. “Our clients are using more IP-based tools and software solutions to gain more visibility on their content and manage their workflows. Our Eurovision FLEX service allows clients to easily manage the delivery of their content and sport production workflows to ensure that the right content is delivered at the right level of quality and service. We also recently opened Eurovision Labs — our technology hub in Madrid — to help power the next generation of media products and services using software engineering.”
Evertz MO GOYAL
SENIOR DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, LIVE MEDIA SOLUTIONS
The transition to IP seems inexorable — and it’s a transition in which Evertz has been investing. “Our Software Defined Video Networking solution continues to be installed globally, with over 400 installs to date,” says Mo Goyal, who is senior director, international business development, live media solutions.“This allows sports media companies to take advantage of IP to create and deliver more sports content than ever before. A majority of the growth is in two
places: stadium builds and video transport.” Evertz’ most recent sport productions highlights include the Champions League final with partner Perform Group, based in the UK. To cover this production, Perform Group used its DreamCatcher nodes for production ingest, playout, replays and highlight packages throughout the match. DreamCatcher was also used by RaceTech for both the on-site production and racing stewards review for the British Horseracing Authority for over 770 races throughout the year, including Royal Ascot. “This project highlights the versatility of the DreamCatcher platform to not only provide on-site multiple camera replay for the in-racetrack production but also the stewards’ review with the addition of a DreamCatcher VAR node,” Goyal explains. Evertz also worked with Next Generation Esports, who use DreamCatcher DC-ONE for eSports production playout and multiple camera replay for games and series — such as the week long Forza Motorsport event for Turn 10 Studios. IBC will see Evertz introduce DreamCatcher BRAVO to the international market. It is designed to allow customers to leverage their DreamCatcher system to perform collaborative production, and is said to be ideal for events that are four to eight cameras and for second or third tier leagues.
EVS SÉBASTIEN VERLAINE
MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
Swedish national public broadcaster SVT used EVS live production technology to successfully deliver two complex and ambitious remote productions for the Åre 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships and the Östersund 2019 IBU World Championships Biathlon. Host broadcaster SVT remotely produced both events from its broadcast centre in Stockholm, some 600 km away, taking in over 70 uncompressed HD camera signals via IP. There, LSM operators provided instant replays, slomos, highlights and closers for the world feed as well as SVT’s national production. “The transition to IP will continue because IP infrastructures provide flexibility and are designed to scale,” believes Sébastien Verlaine, SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
marketing and communications manager. “They also enable production teams to optimise their workflows and content owners to distribute more content from any platform.” EVS was also in action for the Intel Extreme Masters 2019 in Katowice, where many of its products were in action — including the Dyvi switcher, which was used to animate the video displays at the venue as well as for the live programming on ESL’s social channels. April saw EVS announce its Ethernet media sharing network, XNet-VIA, which is designed to facilitate the ultra-fast and bidirectional sharing of high-resolution and super motion content between both XT-VIA and XS-VIA servers. This new IP-based network provides three times the bandwidth of EVS’ legacy SDTIbased network. At IBC, EVS will introduce an autonomous camera system based on machine learning. “Artificial intelligence, and machine learning in particular, will help production teams to deliver more accurate and creative live storytelling, to improve game analysis and to save production costs,” Verlaine says.
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
Finepoint Broadcast GILES BENDIG
Widely used for coverage of the 2018 World Cup, the Sony HDC4800 UHFR 4K camera system has attracted rave reviews since its launch — and the past year has seen Finepoint Broadcast add it to the company’s hire fleet. “It’s very much a premium product with performance to match, capable of 16x slow motion in HD or 4x slow motion in 4K, along with the ability to cut out HD pictures from a 4K image,” enthuses managing director Giles Bendig, who notes that his company’s shelves were left bare on the last day of the Premiership season, with all games being shown on the same day. “These cameras bring fantastic ultra-slow motion, in HDR and 4K to premium sporting events. “In addition,” he continues, “the new Sony PWS-4500 servers, of which Finepoint is one of the select few that have them in stock for hire, are becoming much more popular and being used by various clients across many sports
productions — and are being used in nonsports production environments as well.”
Fletcher Group RICHARD HINGLEY
HEAD OF EUROPEAN OPERATIONS
Part of the NEP Group since October last year, the Fletcher Group has worked closely with its new parent organisation on productions such as the IIHF world ice hockey championships in Slovakia. Fletcher introduced Tr-ACE at Wimbledon 2018, and it was subsequently deployed at the US Open. “Tr-ACE is a semi-automatic robotic camera system that has been designed specifically for tennis,” says Richard Hingley, who is head of European operations.“Designed by the in-house team at Fletcher, Tr-ACE utilises off-the-shelf broadcast cameras — Sony P1s and Sony P50s — with a new Fletcher robotic head to auto-follow tennis players on the court.” According to Hingley, it does this by using a custom sensor array positioned at the side of the court, in line with the net. Utilising Lidar
Gearhouse Broadcast and micro camera technology, the sensor array ED TISCHLER sends this acquired data back to the Tr-ACE MANAGING DIRECTOR software to interpolate the movement of the players. This in turn drives the robotic head to Two of the standout projects follow the player.” that Gravity Media’s Gearhouse The underlying technology has been Broadcast has been involved incorporated into Follow, which is designed for with over the past 12 months have been a small court productions such as basketball, ice first-of-its-kind 1080p50 HDR test production hockey and so on. with ATP Media and the deployment of a bespoke lightweight flyaway solution enabling FOR-A Whisper Films to deliver consistently high MASAHIRO SOGA quality highlights packages to Channel 4 from DIRECTOR, OVERSEAS SALES & all 21 grands prix of the 2019 Formula 1 World MARKETING DIVISION Championship. During this year’s Champions League final, a number of FORA’s latest FT-ONE-SS4K variable frame rate ultra-slow motion camera systems were used in the live broadcast. Specially designed for live ultra-slow motion instant replay, the FT-ONESS4K camera offers UHD frame rates of up to 1,000 frames/second, along with 4K real-time live output. At the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan in “Heading for the upcoming 2019 world rugby November, Gearhouse worked alongside ATP event, 2020 Tokyo summer games and the Media to produce and distribute a 1080p50 start of the new professional football leagues in HDR program feed. Europe, FOR-A’s FRC-9100 broadcast frame rate “The production covered all live and non-live converters and FA-9600 dual channel signal workflows on site,” notes Ed Tischler, managing processors, are gaining huge attention from director, “marking the first time HDR content premiere broadcasters,” notes Masahiro Soga, has been natively incorporated into replays director, overseas sales & marketing division. and edit workflows on a live sports outside FOR-A has announced the FRC-9100, broadcast.” which it says builds upon the success of the This test followed an initial 1080p50 HDR FRC-9000 frame rate converter, delivering production trial that Gearhouse had conducted full motion compensation high quality frame during the Nitto ATP Finals in 2017, which put rate conversion. Designed for live broadcast 4K HDR and 1080p50 HDR side-by-side in a transmission, the systems offers up to two live tennis environment for the first time. The independent 3G/HD/SD-SDI frame rate results of that test suggested to ATP Media that converters, along with optional 4K and 12G-SDI it was 1080p50 HDR rather than 4K HDR that support. would most efficiently deliver the clear benefits “The FRC-9000 has a proven track record of HDR to its broadcasters and to viewers at for the broadcast conversion of live sports home. and other live applications, offering high It was also a necessary next step in quality real-time conversion,” says Soga. “We incorporating HDR and SDR content across anticipate the FRC-9100 will be as popular.” all onsite production, including the non-live FOR-A’s new SOM-100 media orchestration content available on the EVS network, ENG platform is said to provide seamless camera footage, SDR archive and SDR content interoperability between baseband and IP traffic. from other sources. “We strongly believe 12G technology is “Overall, the test further demonstrated HDR currently the right choice for sports and other technology’s ability to significantly increase 4K productions, because of its reliability, ease the picture quality of tennis matches for fans of operation and industry standard interfacing,” at home,” says Tischler. “In addition, while declares Soga. “SDI and IP each have their own ATP Media has no current plans to distribute advantages, and solutions should be offered content in native 4K, 4K cameras were used that take advantage of each as appropriate.” on-site to capture live match action as high 126
resolution acquisition is very much part of the workflow to produce high quality 1080p HDR for broadcasters to distribute as part of a 4K HDR service.”
Ahead of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, Whisper Films was looking for the most efficient way to deliver consistently high quality highlights packages to Channel 4 from all 21 Grands Prix. Gearhouse Broadcast deployed a bespoke flyaway solution that was lightweight, easy to ship and quick to rig. The flyaway system was designed so that highlights could be remotely produced back in London. This was done by streaming all RF-overfibre cameras and presentation microphones in real time back to the UK. From there, the video and audio signals could be recorded and edited into highlights packages and transmitted via Channel 4.
Genelec LARS-OLOF JANFLOD
STRATEGY ADVISORY OFFICER
According to the company’s strategy advisory officer LarsOlof Janflod, Genelec is present in the majority of OB vans in Europe: he estimates the company’s market penetration as being around 70%. “OB vans are, of course, key resources in sports production,” he smiles, “so, whatever the event, the chances are that our equipment will be there.” The move towards immersive sound is one that Genelec is tracking and in which it is finding success. At NAB, the company was demonstrating a selection of its active monitors in a 7.1.4 Atmos configuration, placing listeners in the middle of a 3D audio environment through the addition of four overhead height channels to the more traditional 7.1 horizontal surround space. The demonstration comprised a S360A Smart Active Monitor (L-C-R), 8341As (side and rear), 8331As (overheads), and 7382A and 7360A subwoofers (sub and bass management). All were being showcased at SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
NAB for the first time. Genelec plans a similar demonstration for this year’s IBC. Perhaps the company’s most interesting recent product development has been the introduction of its Aural ID software technology. “It’s a significant first step in improving the trustworthiness of headphone listening,” says Janflod. “It recognises that traditional ‘one size fits all’ headphone reproduction fails to yield a proper reliable reference for audio professionals. Aural ID works by acquiring a person’s exclusive acoustic attributes to create a detailed modelling of their unique anatomical features affecting hearing, which can then be compensated for. This enables the delivery of more truthful and reliable sound when headphones are employed for reproduction.”
Globecast JULIET WALKER
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
In late 2018, Globecast renewed its partnership with tennis rights owner ATP Media, the broadcast production and distribution arm
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
of the ATP World Tour, to bring HD coverage of tennis events to viewers around the globe. Globecast provides satellite backhaul from venues to London, combines them with incoming fibre deliveries, then selects content to create a master feed. This hybrid model, the company says, ensures successful delivery of an extremely resilient, redundant world feed.
marketing officer. “This allows customers to benefit from a fully integrated contribution and Digital Media Hub content processing workflow. “Combining our years of live content acquisition expertise with our Digital Media Hub cross-platform suite of content publishing services, we have created a turnkey live content solution — from any event to any screen,” she continues. Globecast Live facilitates the capture and publishing of live content suitable for: intranets, extranets, social media, short- and long-form VOD, linear broadcast and OTT services in all their forms. Content can also be stored Globecast also extended its relationship with and made available for later use via Content the organisers and rights holders of the Total Marketplace, which is part of DMH. Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, bringing the 2019 Grabyo event to the world. The company provided a GARETH CAPON range of services in 2019, including contribution, CEO distribution and VOD content preparation and storage. For the first time, the opening match There can be little doubt that and the final were broadcast in 4K. social media is assuming “Also this year, we announced the launch growing importance in the of Globecast Live,” notes Juliet Walker, chief world of sport. That trend has seen Grabyo
join forces with Tennis Australia to enhance its international video content strategy and expand Tennis Australia’s reach across the globe. Grabyo’s cloud-based video platform enables Tennis Australia’s digital and social teams to create, edit and distribute real time video clips and live streams to multiple social and digital platforms throughout its major domestic and international events. DAZN has also turned to the Grabyo platform to share real-time clips, highlights and live streams to social media. On Facebook, DAZN has achieved over 440 million views.
“Grabyo has helped DAZN to tailor its content strategy in each of its key markets, aligning its output with business objectives in each region,” says Gareth Capon, CEO. Following the release of Grabyo Editor at IBC2018, the editing platform has been integrated with the wider Grabyo platform. “In doing so, we have created a fully end-toend solution for live video clipping, advanced live streaming, and video editing,” explains Capon. “Digital teams in sport are now able to deliver real-time clips, advanced live broadcasts, and longer highlight compilations and social videos from their browser. “This update has made the workflow of digital teams much simpler,” he continues. “Producers can take clips from a live feed, or their own live broadcast, and publish in seconds. Clips can be saved and edited for a compilation video, and delivered quickly after the action is finished.”
Grass Valley MARK HILTON
VICE PRESIDENT, LIVE PRODUCTION
Grass Valley solutions were at the heart of Sweden’s national public broadcaster Sveriges Television’s (SVT) remote/at-home production workflow for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. “SVT built its remote/at-home production 128
workflow around Grass Valley’s unique DirectIP capability,” says Mark Hilton, vice president, live production. “Earlier testing had demonstrated that the workflow was robust enough to deal with the sheer volume of remote signals and data that the championships would generate.
between streams from the same panel to experiment, compare and define a look. Once created, a look can be instantly shared across multiple cameras. “It’s a fast and intuitive solution that enables users to quickly take multiple snapshots of how setting changes impact an image, compare them and select the preferred result,” Hilton continues. “We’ve designed the interface to be extremely user friendly, requiring minimal training: most users can learn on the job.”
Haivision MARK HORCHLER
PRODUCT MARKETING DIRECTOR
“We offer the only all-IP communication between a camera head and its base station available on the market,” he continues, “allowing the UXF XCU base stations to be situated at SVT’s Stockholm facility, with the cameras situated on location. The DirectIP configuration on the Grass Valley cameras ensured highly efficient handling of uncompressed HD signal distribution. This workflow handles signals with greater bandwidth efficiency and lower latency to ensure audio and video arrive in sync to the production studio.” Hilton sees IP as being a key enabler of these new ways of working, with projects like the FIS Alpine World Ski Championship showing that large live productions can be handled from the home studio with to deliver the stunning images that audiences demand. “We’re only just scratching the surface of the types of content can be created in this way — from news and sports to live events,” he says. According to Hilton, the robustness and reliability of the DirectIP workflow enabled SVT to completely avoid the need to rent multiple OB trucks to support its live production operation. This approach resulted in considerable savings in set-up time and costs and there was zero compromise on image quality. Hilton believes Grass Valley’s most important product development of the last year has been its Creative Grading solution. “It’s seen a fantastic response from customers,” he smiles. “Before we developed Creative Grading, hundreds of parameter combinations had to be modified when defining a look and adapting it to current conditions. GVCG presents these controls as bundles of related parameters; shaders can easily toggle
The fact that well over 100 million people worldwide play League of Legends — just one of the many MMOs (massively multiplayer online games) available — is testimony to their popularity, and has given rise to the booming eSports industry.
Riot Games, the creators of League of Legends, is a Haivision customer, and needed support in streamlining their internal productions for the broadcast of their 2018 World Championship — carried globally by more than 30 television channels and digital platforms to more than 99.6 million viewers. “Using new remote production over IP technologies and REMI workflows, the tournament was broadcast live from Korea while being centrally managed and produced from the Riot Games’ headquarters in Los Angeles,” explains Mark Horchler, product marketing director. “With 18 studios in LA dedicated to 18 different regions/languages, Riot Games succeeded in delivering a broadcast viewing experience that rivals some of the biggest professional sporting events.” The past year has seen Haivision launch its ultra low latency video encoder, the Makito X4. “As sporting events and sports fans become more international, sports broadcasters are looking for new ways to source their content while keeping costs in check,” says Horchler. “They are also very mindful of 4K workflows, as SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
4K screens become more popular and demand for 4K/UHD content increases. We developed the Makito X4 as a solution for both today’s and tomorrow’s workflows. This video encoder will allow sports broadcasters to send high-quality content to their central production teams over the internet in either HD or 4K, reducing on-site event investments while maintaining high quality and low latency.”
Harmonic THIERRY FAUTIER
VICE PRESIDENT OF VIDEO STRATEGY
Over the past year, Harmonic has demonstrated what it says are the amazing benefits of using video software-as-a-service (SaaS) for live sports streaming via real-world deployments. Both IndyCar and Telkomsel, Indonesia’s most popular mobile network operator, are using Harmonic’s VOS360 Video SaaS for live sports streaming. “Harmonic’s VOS360 solution provides exceptional scalability and flexibility,” says Thierry Fautier, vice president of video strategy.
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
“Using VOS360 SaaS, Telkomsel successfully served 550,000 concurrent viewers and achieved excellent QoE during last year’s world soccer tournament held in Russia.” According to Fautier, IndyCar chose VOS360 SaaS for its competitive, pay-per-use business model and flexible cloud-native media processing, which covers the entire workflow — from ingest to playout, transcoding, packaging and origin server capabilities — speeding up delivery of live auto race coverage.
technology partners, that used VOS360 video SaaS to deliver live, catch-up TV and VOD content in 8K to TVs, mobile devices and tablets using 5G networks.” Harmonic will be demonstrating its VOS360 SaaS solution at IBC. The company has launched a new end-to-end UHD-HDR solution for live sports streaming that it says solves the latency issues it believes are a major challenge for OTT service providers — like the delay of more than 30 seconds for OTT compared with broadcast services at the last World Cup. The Harmonic solution is said to deliver latency of about 6 to 9 seconds endto-end.
Hitomi Broadcast RUSSELL JOHNSON
Harmonic has also been exploring new Whatever the broadcast sport, applications for VOS360 SaaS related to 5G the requirement exists to and 8K. synchronise video and audio “During a major tennis tournament in France — and, says Hitomi, production companies earlier this year,” adds Fautier, “Harmonic are turning to its Matchbox technology, which participated in a world-first trial, alongside accurately measures audio and video alignment
so that the exact amount of correction can be applied, to achieve this. At IBC, the company will unveil Glass. “Glass is a new mobile app lip sync tool, currently optimised for Apple iPhone or iPad environments,” explains Russell Johnson, director.“A Glass-enabled iPhone or iPad can be held in shot in front of a camera to ensure audio and video sync. It does this with a distinct and measurable flash and audio tone that can be read by Hitomi’s MatchBox Analyser. It’s a very fast — a couple of seconds — and effective way to ensure lip sync is correct before going live.” Glass is also a camera alignment tool. “Point multiple cameras at the same iPad or iPhone and the system will measure the latency difference between them,” Johnson continues. “ For example, if a mixture of wired and wireless cameras is used, then a measured time correction factor can be added to get a perfect cut.”
a user’s most exciting or commercially valuable content by restricting playback to the first 30 seconds,” smiles Pitt. “Preview mode is a permission setting that can be applied to content using standard Imagen access controls. To see more, users click the Media Request button and a nominated administrator can approve or deny access to the full duration version.” For Pitt, IBC is all about keeping an eye on the future. “We keep abreast of industry developments, and are constantly trialling numerous initiatives,” he says. “We continue to increase AI capabilities to improve our s2t, image recognition and brand recognition. Even more detailed analytics are needed to help plan content strategies. We’ve developed this significantly over the past year, and our user analytics now include customisable date ranges for added insight into performance metrics, more statistics for clip order downloads, plus information on media counts and duration. Imagen “We’re also exploring new ways of WILL PITT generating metadata to add more descriptive HEAD OF SPORT and searchable information,” Pitt adds, “as well The sheer volume of video and as looking for ways to increase our localisation multimedia content, according support for key regional markets. We already to Will Pitt, head of sport, is support multi-language, and we want to refine problematic. this for more markets around the globe.” “But, when you add in the need for global Imagine Communications access, expedited delivery, secure storage, MATHIAS ECKERT mass market ingestion and of course, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT excellent quality, the need for a consistent and AND GM, EMEA/APAC comprehensive cataloguing system becomes imperative,” he believes. Sport, points out Mathias While Imagen can already post content to Eckert, senior vice president social profiles, users can now archive their social and GM, EMEA/APAC, remains the most media posts alongside their video, images, challenging environment for broadcasters: audio and documents so all content is available with no chance of retakes, it demands in one easy-to-manage platform. Imagen stores absolutely flawless realtime performance. the URL for each post and renders the content “While there is considerable interest in when accessed. Supported social media remote production for sport — and we are deep platforms include Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, in discussion with a number of customers about Reddit, YouTube, Tumblr, SoundCloud, and how best to create such an infrastructure — the Vimeo. truth is that, today, most broadcasters prefer to AFD2 — Accelerated File Delivery — is rely on outside broadcast trucks,” he says. Imagen’s high-speed file transfer service used, it says, by many of the world’s biggest media companies to distribute broadcast quality files to their key clients at very high speed. In the latest update, users can download or send professional file formats to a range of devices and users — such as customers, colleagues or edit suites with just one click. “Imagen Previews offers a tantalising look at 130
“Those broadcasters are turning their attention to 4K Ultra HD production, which poses real challenges in physically fitting all the required technical infrastructure into a roadready truck,” Eckert goes on.“Over the last year, Imagine has tackled these real-world problems for two truck operators.” Imagine worked with systems integrator Chromaline on a truck for outside broadcast company Global Production, capable of supporting up to 30 4K cameras. At the heart of the design is the Platinum IP3 router from Imagine, capable of switching SDI and IP, and HD and Ultra HD (HDR and SDR) in a single frame. The Global Production truck also uses Imagine’s Selenio Network Processors (SNP) to provide the bridge between IP and SDI. The truck covered the Ferrari Challenge World Final event in November. The SNP was also central to the truck developed for Swiss production company tpc. Here, the design is largely centred on SMPTE ST 2110 connectivity, and the SNP provides high-density signal processing with complete freedom to select formats by signal or by production. The software-defined architecture is managed by Imagine’s Magellan SDN Orchestrator, and the truck also features a flexible monitoring capability, driven by Imagine’s EPIC MV multiviewer.
Interxion RICHARD CRAIG-MCFEELY
STRATEGY AND MARKETING DIRECTOR, DIGITAL MEDIA
The concept of remote production is, notes Richard Craig-McFeely, Strategy and Marketing Director, Digital Media at Interxion, wellknown and based on the centralisation of production equipment, which increases utilisation and enables reduced costs. This, he points out, typically involves simply putting the same production equipment in a central location. However, he believes, an important trend is virtualised production. “These workflows are the evolution in SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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remote (at home) production,” he explains. “Virtualised production means that the production technology is software-based, multi-tenanted and made available on a SaaS basis. This means sports production service providers can provide their services in a flexible, scalable and cost-effective manner. This ultimately benefits all parties.” There’s another emerging trend that CraigMcFeely believes will become significant — the hybrid cloud. “Sports production workflows are increasingly taking advantage of cloud-based services, which are typically provided by public cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google,” he believes. “The benefits of cloud-based workflows are documented extensively, but basing any workflow in the cloud — especially live sports workflows — requires reliable, secure connectivity to the cloud service of your choice. This often results in hybrid workflows — where production can leverage equipment in a highly connected, colocation data centre that also hosts the ‘on ramps’ to cloud services.” He also believes that fans consuming live content on their preferred device will impact the distribution of live sports. “The next generation of OTT distribution for live sports will leverage the learnings of global content platforms to benefit from new and emerging ‘eyeball’ networks that are in co-located data centres like Interxion,” he concludes.
Lawo ANDREAS HILMER
DIRECTOR, MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
Lawo’s director, marketing and communications Andreas Hilmer, is confused. “We’ve been involved in so many high profile sports productions all year round, it’s really hard to choose just one or two,” he laughs. Hilmer settles on the Asian Games and the Women’s World Cup, at both of which Lawobased large scale IP infrastructures including IP signal routing, overall facility control via VSM, and V__matrix-based multiviewers were deployed. “In eSports, there was our recent installation at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas, built by Allied Esports International with the objective of producing live content in a style 132
and quality that meets or exceeds current Leader Europe business development manager. broadcast standards,” he recalls. “Sport OB continues to be the primary driver for 4K-UHD broadcasting as the extra detail that can be delivered really brings match coverage alive. A key feature of the LV5490 is the ease with which it can be configured to match a wide choice of production standards. These can be selected either at the time of purchase or added as optional upgrades during the proven very long lifetime of Leader test instruments.” As well as the UEFA Champions League Final On the video side, new Lawo product in Madrid, Mediapro also used Leader test developments include new V__matrix apps equipment in Baku for the production of the such as the distributed multiviewer and the UEFA Europa League Final and also used it in UDX up/down/cross converter, which are said Portugal for the UEFA Nations League Finals in to allow for streamlined yet more powerful Portugal. sports truck designs. On the audio side, Lawo The past year has seen numerous additions has introduced a dual-fader option for its third- and enhancements to the Leader range, generation mc²56 audio production console. including the LV5900 8K waveform monitor “This increases the fader count, while for content producers, broadcasters and keeping console size small,” explains Hilmer. equipment manufacturers progressing into the “It’s a feature that is often requested in live Super Hi-Vision standard. The LV5900 provides sports production trucks.” full support for SMPTE ST2082-12 in 8192 × 4320 Another new and shipping product is and 7680 × 4320 resolution plus 12G-SDI quad Lawo’s Power Core, a 1RU fully-featured audio link. processing and I/O unit for remote production Limelight Networks with modular I/O, 64 DSP channels, full remote STEVE MILLER-JONES control from the console plus WAN-capable VP OF PRODUCT STRATEGY IP streaming with ST2022-7 network link redundancy. With more than 25,000 sporting For Lawo, the key technology trends are HDR events — football, basketball, and 4K/UHD, plus 3D immersive sound as the baseball, tennis, rugby, natural audio counterpart to 4K video. motorsports, boxing and more — streamed to “Watch out at IBC,” he smiles, “as Lawo will millions of fans, DAZN is the first global purehave major announcements regarding these sport live and on-demand streaming service. trends.” The company chose Limelight to support its expansion. Leader “DAZN chose Limelight based on our KEVIN SALVIDGE technology to consistently deliver high quality EUROPE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT viewing experiences,” says Steve Miller-Jones, MANAGER VP of product strategy. “Limelight’s private Leader LV5490, LV5350 and global network provides the speed and capacity LV5333 test equipment formed to ensure fast performance for the largest global the core signal monitoring resource deployed events. by Barcelona-based television production “With multiple channels in eight markets group Mediapro for its coverage of the UEFA across three continents carrying major sporting Champions League Final in Madrid. Selected events concurrently, DAZN often experiences by UEFA as the host broadcaster, Mediapro extremely high traffic peaks,” he goes on.“Plus, fielded multiple OB vehicles, 42 cameras and they’re quickly gaining market adoption, more than 150 crew to capture the match for 4K securing rights to additional events such as the and HD simulcasting. English Premier League and Spain’s La Liga. “This was the latest in a long series of very They are now entering new markets such as the high profile sports events at which Leader U.S. with Matchroom Boxing USA JV, and Italy instruments have been deployed to ensure high with rights to show 114 matches a season from quality signal monitoring,” says Kevin Salvidge, Serie A for three seasons. DAZN uses a multiSportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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CDN strategy to load balance traffic and ensure low latency streaming is available worldwide. “Limelight’s Advanced Service Architects work closely with the DAZN team to help solve challenges and scale to support large audience events,” Miller-Jones adds. Miller-Jones sees a movement towards the standardisation of online video streaming to simplify the distribution of OTT at scale with the introduction of the MPEG Common Media Application Format (CMAF). “CMAF is known for its efficiency in allowing media segments to be simultaneously referenced by HLS playlists and DASH manifests,” he explains. “That makes it well positioned to become the standard for OTT live video delivery by simplifying the workflow for video providers. Because CMAF is delivered by HLS and DASH, scaling live video stream distribution leverages the existing CDN infrastructure with the ability to support the largest major events.” Two months after IBC 2018, customer trials of Limelight Realtime Streaming — a globally scalable solution that allows video to be streamed from anywhere, to viewers everywhere, in less than a second — began. “The sub-second latency provides multiple benefits for sports viewing, Miller-Jones notes. “For example, for live sports events that are simultaneously broadcast and streamed online, this low latency mitigates the spoiler issue when someone watching the broadcast texts a friend watching online about an event that they haven’t seen yet.” He points out that this delivers opportunities for in-game betting — as well as ensuring that all viewers have the same betting opportunities and experience, regardless of where they may be located or the device they are using to view the event.
Livelike also worked recently with the European Broadcasting Union and Eurovision to release what it describes as a groundbreaking biathlon VR app for the Biathlon World Championships.
Over the summer, the company released an Engagement SDK for mobile and web, along with APIs to enable broadcasters to create a highly engaging viewing experience for any screens. “Many of the broadcasters and federations we have worked with in the past are thrilled with this new product,” smiles Westberg.“They can plug into their mobile or web properties in just a few days. The key goal is to increase the engagement of viewers and their session length.”
LiveU RONEN ARTMAN
VP OF MARKETING
perspective, our introduction of HEVC encoding in 2017 changed the game. We made a very clear choice to use hardware encoding in our products, and that has multiple performance advantages, including very efficient power usage combined with ultimate quality video.” With the launch of the LU300 unit at IBC last year, LiveU completed the transition of all its broadcast-grade units to HEVC — putting, says Artman, professional HEVC encoding within a wider reach. “It combines high-quality video performance with extreme bandwidth efficiency in a compact form factor,” he notes. LiveU Central, together with LiveU LU600 HEVC units and the LiveU MultiPoint solution, were also deployed in association with Sportradar Media Services to deliver 240 matches of the Austrian Football Second League to viewers worldwide LiveU has also seen success in Spain where, in conjunction with production company Global Audiovisual, it has helped stream some 80 football matches each week from the Spanish second and third division. LiveU’s wireless video encoder, LiveU Solo is at the heart of the project.
M2A Media MARINA KALKANIS
Following what the company says was a very successful test late last year, WRC Promoter — the company responsible for all commercial aspects of the FIA World Rally Championship — is now using LiveU’s technology across 10 rallies in 2019. Multiple LU600 HEVC-equipped units with associated LiveU server technology are being used, together with LiveU Central for overall management.
Madrid in May saw M2A Media provide its cloud-native live streaming solution deliver the UEFA Champions League final for global OTT platform DAZN. The much-anticipated Canelo Alvarez vs. Daniel Jacobs fight in May was another highlight in the M2A calendar. Streamed live from Las Vegas to DAZN platforms around the world, it was also delivered using M2A’s live streaming solution.
In 2019, LiveLike worked with Dentsu, DAZN and NTT Docomo to bring VR to JLeague. Dentsu surveyed thousands of viewers and found that 75% of viewers were satisfied or very satisfied with the experience. “While we can’t disclose all the details, what “Our use of HEVC has opened up the sports became apparent is that there is a real business market and we have consequently seen massive case for VR streams,” says Samuel Westberg, growth across the sector,” says Ronen Artman, chief commercial officer. VP of marketing. “From a cellular bonding
“We were also excited to support Channel 4 with its live coverage of the new all-female W-Series Racing Championship,” smiles Marina Kalkanis, CEO. “Deploying our live capture solution for the races in Hockenheim,
LiveLike SAMUEL WESTBERG
CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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viewers were subsequently able to rewatch key moments from the race or catch them later on Channel 4’s catch-up service.” Over the past year, M2A Media has been further developing its server-side content insertion solution — Dynamic Content Insertion — which Kalkanis says can accommodate many different monetisation or syndication strategies concurrently during a single live streaming event. “We can take a single input stream and a set of playlists and, based on SCTE35 markers, produce many regionalised variants each carrying a unique set of targeted promotional content,” she explains. “We can do this either in an OTT direct-to-consumer live stream or in a contribution stream where a federation wants to offer regionalised variants of its live content to different global broadcasters.” The company has also built out its 4K streaming features and delivered its first public cloud 4K live streams for several tier 1 sporting events. HEVC support, multi-track audio and support for more event scheduling system integrations have also been added to the M2A live streaming product.
Mark Roberts Motion Control STEVE BOLAND
Imagine having Rory McIlroy or Dustin Johnson live in the studio so that the pundits can analyse his swing — even though they’re in Ireland. That, in effect, is what Polymotion Stage from Mark Roberts Motion Control (MRMC) can do. Launched in July in partnership with Sky Sports and Dimension, who specialise in the creation of volumetric humans and avatars, MRMC introduced the new technology — a world first, the company says — at the 148th Open at Royal Portrush, where it was used to capture volumetric video of the world’s top golfers before the tournament to create what Sky calls ‘Sky Scope’. Polymotion Stage created lifelike digital replicas which were then transported to the Sky Sports Open Zone studio. “The players were in and out of the mobile studio in minutes, allowing them to get back to their preparations quickly,” recalls broadcast director Steve Boland. “That meant that Sky Sports could use their digital duplicates during the live broadcast for swing analysis with neverbefore-seen angles. 136
the video content, wherever it resides and throughout its lifecycle.
Media Links GILL PAYNE
“Polymotion Stage will become a very important tool for sports programming as broadcasters searching for new ways to interact with their viewers and deliver new VR, MR and AR reality content,” he continues. “Our Polymotion Player solution has the potential to vastly increase the number of unique camera angles available at any given sports event, without adding more people to the operation. It also offers more efficient ways to control multiple cameras at events, such as Sky Sports’ darts coverage.” IBC will see MRMC showcasing Polymotion Stage and Polymotion Player as well as Polymotion Chat — and, on the camera side, the company’s new Bolt X cinebot.
Masstech GEORGE KILPATRICK
What the company describes as powerful new functionality has been added to Masstech’s MassStore and FlashNet intelligent storage and workflow management solutions. “This facilitates a smooth, efficient transition to the cloud and hybrid cloud,” says CEO George Kilpatrick, who joined Masstech from AWS in April. “Masstech’s solutions enable sports facilities of all types to harness the full power of hybrid cloud, optimising content storage across mixed-tier environments so that assets are always stored in the most costefficient storage location. “New lifecycle automation tools simplify storage; public cloud, private cloud and on-premise disk or tape storage can be presented as a single homogenised workspace. Masstech automates the entire optimisation process, allowing operators to focus on their production operations.” Masstech has also developed automated, metadata-driven workflows specific to sports environments, that the company claims revolutionise how sports organisations find and repurpose their content. Metadata and linked assets are automatically stored alongside
Sports productions in which Media Links has been involved in the recent past include providing the technology, along with support services, for the Women’s World Cup and the Super Bowl. The company will also be present at the upcoming Rugby World Cup and at the 2020 Olympics. As well as providing video transport for UltraHD, Media Links has seen increased use of ‘hitless’ data services through its multi-port Gigabit Ethernet cards that can be configured up to 10Gb/second, along with the ability to provide a variety of network address translation modes. “We’re seeing more demand for higher bandwidth both to and from sporting venues, for remote production applications, more video feeds as well as more data carriage capacity — which is why we’ve recently introduced our 100Gb/s MDX100G Switching Series,” notes marketing manager Gill Payne, who points out that his company is well known for its ability to accommodate almost any video and/or data services presented, and to transport high-value content seamlessly around the world without interruption.
Mobile Viewpoint MICHEL BAIS
In what was claimed to be a world first, BT Sport and EE carried out a live broadcast over 5G using remote production, delivering a two-way transmission from Wembley Stadium to London’s ExCeL exhibition centre — and Mobile Viewpoint, working with Timeline, contributed to a successful outcome.
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The demonstration was designed to illustrate the potential opportunities that 5G can bring to sports broadcasters. BT Sport said it will use 5G to increase coverage of sports as well as greatly improve efficiencies, from financial to creative, and that 5G will allow it to deploy the most advanced remote production of any broadcaster. The past year has seen Mobile Viewpoint introduce the IQ Sports Producer platform, which it says completely automates the live production of field sports using AI technology. “The platform consists of a single 180 degrees camera, a hardware box which houses the AI software and the bonded cellular connectivity, the core of Mobile Viewpoint’s technology,” explains Michel Bais, managing director. “Enhancements since IBC 2018 in the software include AI-enabled ad insertion; auto playback of replays following a goal; auto highlights generation; and continuing to train the system on a wider range of content. Next to soccer, we expanded into a number of other sports such as ice hockey, basketball, rugby and cricket.” IBC will see Mobile Viewpoint demonstrate IQ Sports Producer in a multi-camera set up, which allows automatic switching between AI-controlled shots from different auto tracking cameras. “It provides a complete platform for sports production with only one operator on site,” notes Bais.
has already found favour in multiple projects, including two major international ice hockey tournaments: the IIHF 2019 in Slovakia and the CHL Final in Sweden. The past year has seen the company participate in a broad range of sporting events, including football, biathlon, short track, volleyball, basketball and many others. It’s also been a fruitful year for Movicom in terms of new product development. “We now have the Robycam 3D S, which can work at greater heights and achieve higher speed acceleration,” notes CEO Victor Pakhomov. “Another important addition is the Overhead 360 unlimited-pan cameras. At the CHL final, together with IMT Vislink, we provided an updated Refcam. We’ve also launched a new railcam with a new gyro-stabilised head — the Robyhead R3 — that is permanently installed at Dinamo Stadium in Minsk. And finally, we continued to develop our AR Compass tracking: we’ve eliminated pan drifting and improved overall stability of the tracking system with our new Robyhead R3 head.”
Native Waves MARCEL HASENRADER
Delivering multiple streams of content seamlessly to multiple devices in complete synchronisation is, for many, the holy grail of sports broadcasting. It’s seen Native Waves Movicom trialling its new technology, which is designed VICTOR PAKHOMOV to do exactly that, with a broadcast partner CEO covering international motorcycle racing. Movicom launched its “Viewing habits are changing,” believes CEO Robycam Compact at IBC last Marcel Hasenrader. “Live sports viewing is no year — and the new camera longer restricted to just the TV screen. Viewers like to personalise their viewing on multiple devices, while watching the action on their TV. The major issue that the industry has faced with delivery of content to multiple screens has been latency. Latency of much more than 40 seconds used to be normal between the main screen and the second screen — but this has now changed. Technology has evolved to seamlessly deliver content to multiple devices, in synch, to enhance the viewer’s experience and deliver what they have been asking broadcasters for.” As Hasenrader points out: multiple cameras capture a sporting event, but the large majority of this content is wasted as the TV screen only uses one camera feed at a time.
“All of this is about to change,” he smiles. “New streaming technologies enable broadcasters to use all the content that is being produced and deliver that to their viewers seamlessly to multiple screens. Not only can viewers personalise their experience, but broadcasters can merge production, or look for synergies in production between their broadcast and streaming services, leading to cost savings and driving cohesion between the two teams. These new technologies also open new revenue opportunities.” Native Waves will be showing its video encoding technology and synchronisation engine at IBC.
Ncam PHIL VENTRE
VP SPORTS AND BROADCAST
“One of the most exciting events we have ever been involved in was the Emmy-nominated coverage of the Super Bowl in March 2019,” smiles Phil Ventre, VP Sports and Broadcast. “CBS approached us in December as they wanted to bring the audience something that had never been seen before, and wanted to use live AR graphics to achieve it. Ncam was the obvious choice to enable live augmented reality in a sports arena setting, but it was also a first for us as we were unable to run cables over the pitch — so we needed to find a way to free up the camera operation to allow free flowing camera movements on the pitch.” Solving this cable issue would also alleviate one of the last limitations that camera tracking faces in a live broadcast environment, Ventre explains. “We mounted the sensor bar to a Steadicam RF rig as normal, and tethered the rig to a mini computer loaded with Ncam software, which was carried by an assistant who moved alongside the Steadicam operator,” he goes on. “The RF signal could then be send back wirelessly to the production truck. This was the first ever example of an untethered Steadicam position being deployed to enable live, realtime AR graphics with marker-less camera tracking, and we did it successfully in front of a global audience of millions.” Following the success of the Super Bowl, Ncam has been working on productising an untethered AR workflow, with customers input having a significant impact on the company’s roadmap. SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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NEP Connect DAVID MEYNELL
NEP Connect’s Anylive fibre network has continued to grow, and now numbers some 220 venues now ‘on-net’. Among these are not just English Premiership teams, but also teams from the Championship, League One and League Two: 72 new football teams are being added to the network. Meanwhile, all the venues for the Cricket World Cup leveraged its capabilities, providing worldwide distribution services for multiple clients. This year’s Royal Ascot horseracing also benefited from its Anylive connection. The June fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr. also saw NEP Connect involved. The company took two feeds from Madison Square Gardens — one via fibre, the other via satellite — to its MediaCityUK network operations centre, from which the world feed was distributed to Europe, the Americas and the Far East via satellite. In February, NEP Connect announced a contract with Premier Sports, Dublin, to provide fibre network broadcast HD connectivity services for Guinness PRO14 rugby coverage. The fibre connectivity deal includes Kingspan Stadium, Belfast; Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh; Scotstown Stadium, Glasgow; Cardiff Arms Park; Rodney Parade, Newport; Liberty Stadium, Swansea; and Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli; as well as Premier Sports’ broadcast facility in Dublin. NEP Connect has provided connectivity services to Premier Sports and Setanta in Ireland for many years, but this contract marks the first service offering on the Anylive network. NEP Connect managing director David Meynell said: “Our flexibility and expertise enable us to engage with our clients through every component of their technical and commercial requirements. Our in-depth consultation results in an outstanding service offering that meets or exceeds initial requirements while keeping within budget.” Meanwhile, NEP Group has been busy in Australia, achieving what it described as a “a milestone in sports broadcasting” with the successful live, remote production from Sydney of the IAAF World Relays 2019 held in Yokohama, Japan. NEP’s multidivisional teams delivered two days of live coverage and competition highlights from NEP Australia’s 140
centralised IP- and multi-format production facility at the NEP Andrews Hub in Sydney, NSW. On-location hardware and crews from NEP UK covered the event and 30 HD signals — comprising the 17 main cameras, including two Sony HDC4800 cameras in ultra-high frame rate, plus graphics in Yokohama — were linked via diverse and hitless 10 gigabit-per-second circuits on the Telstra Distributed Production Network and sent on to Sydney, 7,800km away, using VC 2 ultra-low-latency compression technology. The finished programming was transmitted from the Hub to broadcast rights holders around the world.
Net Insight ALEXANDER SANDSTRÖM
HEAD OF PRODUCT MARKETING
Net Insight worked with SVT and Grass Valley earlier this year to undertake remote IP production for the broadcast of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Sweden.
The production setup for the competition boasted the largest number of cameras — 80 — deployed and the highest volume of remote signals — video, audio and data — transmitted to date from a live location to SVT’s headquarters in Stockholm, over 600 kilometres away. “Five years in the making, this significant undertaking broke new ground in remote production,” says Alexander Sandström, head of product marketing, “ with video as well as intercom, audio, data and return signals all transported with Net Insight’s Nimbra transport solutions, including the recently launched Nimbra 1060 Terabit Capacity Platform.” SVT said that the accomplishment showed how far we’ve come in executing remote production, and described the World Ski Championship as setting a new benchmark —
and they weren’t wrong,” smiles Sandström. Net Insight was also selected by Aldea Solutions for the Pan American Games in Peru, where the Nimbra platform was used for live video transport between 17 arenas and the International Broadcast Centre (IBC). Net Insight’s most significant recent new product announcement has been the Nimbra Edge, which is targeted at primary distribution, sports and news interconnect through a cloudnative architecture. “The introduction of Nimbra Edge extends our media transport capabilities to include cloud-based properties and we can now offer scalable, quality transport across managed, unmanaged, and cloud infrastructure,” says Sandström. “With the launch of Nimbra Edge, Net Insight offers the richest live media transport portfolio in the market.”
Nevion OLIVIER SUARD
VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING
Among the many projects Nevion has been involved in since this time last year was the remote production of the Finnish ice-hockey league, which involved the live coverage of up to seven games simultaneously every week. The project also includes video assisted refereeing (VAR) — all from a central location in the Finnish capital Helsinki.
The past year has also seen Nevion add a number of features to its flagship products Nevion Virtuoso, the software-defined media node, and VideoIPath, the orchestration and SDN control software — many of them, the company says, very relevant to sport. “To highlight just two of those, they would be support for JPEG XS and advanced IP audio handling,” says Olivier Suard, vice president of marketing. “JPEG XS is a lightweight, very low latency video compression that is going to SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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become widely used for transporting signals — especially 4K — from the venues to the studios or central production. The advanced IP audio handling makes it much easier to manipulate audio in production, especially when the signals come from different timing domains. “Without doubt, the increasing move towards remote production is the most significant trend to affect workflows — allowing broadcasters to produce more content more efficiently,” Suard continues. “The continued reduction in the cost of bandwidth, and the emergence of technology like JPEG XS are significant enablers of this.” IBC will see Nevion focus on using real-life case studies to highlight how its solutions and products can help broadcasters and service providers make the most of IP and virtualisation, explaining how it has integrated with diverse equipment from various vendors.
NewTek LIAM J. HAYTER
WORKFLOW AND SOLUTIONS ARCHITECT, EMEA
It can be easy to forget that there are English football clubs beyond Manchester City, Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal — but NewTek haven’t forgotten. “We’ve seen growth across the UK sports market, most notably within non-syndicated football clubs and the like, who want to reach their fans — regardless of their position in the leagues,” smiles Liam J. Hayter, workflow and solutions architect, EMEA. The past year has seen NewTek acquired by Vizrt, creating what the former calls “an IP-driven, software-defined, real-time powerhouse”. NewTek has also expanded its NDI FPGA product line further with the launch of two NewTek Spark Plus models offering HDMI input at either HD or 4K30p that is designed to be affordable and ultra-low latency. Another announcement saw NewTek announce native NDI recording with embedded network time protocol, in lieu of traditional timecode — but, the company says, far more accurate. NewTek’s production systems — such as the NewTek VMC1 and TriCaster TC1 — can now offer recording and instant replay on all inputs as well as mix effects. In terms of technology trends, NewTek sees the acceptance of IP across the live creative 142
Ostmodern industries, enabling 4K, HDR and higher to TOM WILLIAMS meet audience expectation — plus the benefits CEO AND CO-FOUNDER of simpler installation and roll out across larger venues such as stadia. Whatever the sport, fan “Software-defined production and the ability engagement is only growing in to fully virtualise the production environment, importance. It was that trend will continue to open doors to new workflows that has seen Ostmodern design and build and deployment,” adds Hayter. “Notably, it apps for Arsenal over the past year, having had provides the ability to link venues together and a relationship with the football club since 2010. assign the production centre remotely.” “Having redesigned the Arsenal website, launched in 2017, we won a competitive tender Open Broadcast Systems to design and build their mobile platforms to be KIERAN KUNHYA consistent with the main arsenal.com website,” MANAGING DIRECTOR says Tom Williams, CEO and co-founder. “The Using the public internet for brief from the club was to deliver a better transmitting sports content is experience for fans, improve engagement, and not without its challenges — support revenue. The app is integrated with but it’s a challenge to which Open Broadcast Opta data, Urban Airship for push notifications, Systems has risen with its RIST (Reliable Ooyala for video playback and Gigya for Internet Stream Transport) protocol. RIST subscription and identity management. received its first major outing at the end of “Today, football fans have access to a wealth April, when the company’s encoders and of information about their clubs,” Williams decoders were used to contribute live IP feeds continues,“but as a direct outlet of the club, the from a high profile long distance running race. Arsenal app is what gives supporters an inside “The event was a great success,” says view, with exclusive content and news. The live Kieran Kunhya, managing director, “with RIST match experience in the app stands out with recovering packet losses that traditional FEC its pre- and post-match analysis, official video — Forward Error Correction — was not able and radio commentary, play-by-play feeds, to correct. It was a great showcase for using summaries, match reports, video highlights and generic IP connectivity to transmit a high- round-ups of key moments in a match.” profile event. According to Williams, the name of the game “RIST is a protocol for interoperable in sports is contextualisation and storytelling, low latency contribution quality video via told across mediums, producing content where unmanaged networks, including the internet,” the audiences are, not where you want them he explains. “It is based on the Video Services to be. The rigid tools that used to be used for Forum’s TR-06-1 technical recommendation articles and video are thus losing their relevance document and the collaboration of all leading — and that’s seeing, and will continue to see, vendors and global broadcast operators. the rise of the CMS, with the flexibility and “RIST gives us a simple, yet highly effective, freedom to deliver content more effectively to method for interchanging professional signals every channel an audience uses. between different vendors,” Kunhya adds. Panasonic “We have aligned our existing retransmission GUILHEM KRIER product to comply with RIST as it is much MANAGER, PRODUCT MARKETING AND simpler than alternatives. For this reason, we BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, BROADCAST believe RIST will have wide adoption in the AND PROAV professional broadcast world.” NAB saw Open Broadcast Systems showcase An 8K image is, of course, four the latest version of its encoder and decoder times the size of an HD image. So: why not software. build an 8K camera to capture four HD images? “With an end-to-end latency of just 60 That’s exactly what Panasonic showed with its milliseconds at 1080p60, it is the lowest 8K ROI (region of interest) multi-camera system currently achieved for an encoder/decoder pair prototype at IBC last year. It’s a solution that, using commercial off-the-shelf IT hardware,” the company says, reduces operational costs on Kunhya says, “and it’s able to achieve this with a multitude of potential production applications no reduction in picture quality.” — and is now available on a made to order basis. SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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in the junior NBA championship tournament with Flosports, streaming direct games from Segunda División B and Tercera División in Spain with Footers and German Bundesliga volleyball men and women with Sportstotal under its belt, it’s been a busy year for Pixellot. The company has also launched Pixellot Prime — a new broadcast quality version of its automated sports production solution. “A single operator can control multiple cameras each with several pre-set crops for versatile yet cost-effective multi-camera operation,” explains Guilhem Krier, who is manager, product marketing and business development, broadcast and ProAV. “The camera control unit is capable of outputting the full 8K image as 4x 12G-SDI feeds usable for 8K ROI replay systems, such as those provided by Fletcher Chicago at Super Bowl LIII. It makes the camera well suited to sport broadcasts, especially those with arena-based coverage including basketball and football.”
This year has seen Panasonic at Roland Garros for the French Open, providing ten AK-UC4000 4K camera systems and two AK-UB300 4K box cameras on the ‘La Fabrique — Toulouse’ OB to deliver simultaneous production in HDR and SDR from the camera with both HLG and BT.2020 colour space support. The UEAFA Champions League final featured Panasonic’s UB300 as a ‘skycam’ suspended above the pitch within the Omnicam4Sky system. Panasonic is a believer in IP as the way forward, and IBC will see the company reveal what it describes as “a ground-breaking concept” — a new IT/IP-centric production switcher with full baseband video and videoover-IP support, designed for IP remote production.
debut at IBC. Cloud2TV is an IP-based, softwarecentric media playout and channel branding solution that can be deployed standalone or to extend the scale and versatility of its existing product range. “Cloud2TV retains the modularity that makes PlayBox Neo solutions easy to configure for a standalone OTT streaming channel and upward all the way to a multi-language multi-time zone television network,” says Pavlin Rahnev, CEO. “Cloud2TV incorporates numerous advantages such as fast and on-demand channel launch, endless scalability, 24/7 reliability, web-based access and IP workflow.”
Qvest Media HENNING MIEHE
“Pixellot Prime adds full HD 1080p broadcasts at native 50-60 FPS, 8K capture delivered via streaming or uncompressed SDI, low-latency streaming, automated game highlights and graphics,” explains CEO Alon Werber. “Clients can choose either a ‘clean’ feed, streaming only the sports action, or a program (‘dirty’) feed and select from a wide collection of integrated graphics, adding opportunities for advertisements and sponsorships.” Pixellot will be at IBC to demonstrate what Werber says are the many monetisation opportunities for the company’s partners who are producing games with its systems.
KEY ACCOUNT MANAGER, RENTAL
An all-in-one control room/ live OB solution you can take with you on the plane? That’ll be Simplylive’s Vibox8 — and that’s what Qvest Media took advantage of for the Ladies European Thailand Championship 2019 golf tournament.
Playbox Neo PAVLIN RAHNE
The ‘Channel in a Box’ company previously known as Playbox Technology is now Playbox Neo — and it scored a major success when UseeTV, a Jakarta-based interactive television network, chose a complete broadcast playout system to power a new sports channel. The project included supplying, installing and commissioning four AirBox Neo Pro playout servers in 2+2 main and hot standby configuration with TitleBox Neo, ListBox Neo, Multibackup Manager and SafeBox ALON WERBER Neo options. CEO PlayBox N e o ’s Having produced 42,000 Cloud2TV was launched hours of sports in January earlier this year, and alone, and with involvement makes its European
“Covering smaller sporting events or fringe sports is now becoming a profitable business for broadcasters worldwide,” says Henning Miehe, key account manager, rental. “In Thailand, an agile production team from the sports production service company U.Com supplied broadcasters and streaming services across the globe with individually edited feeds. For example, graphics and commentaries were added to the original live feed to perfectly meet the expectations of the respective audiences of companies like Sky Sports, Eurosport, GOLFTV, Golf Channel, and many more. The ViBox systems also served the production team as vision mixer and master control system.” A similar ViBox solution was used by broadcaster TV 2 Denmark for the remote production and slo-mo operation during the Ice Hockey World Championship in Slovakia. TV 2 Denmark operates a full-blown sports TV-channel playout which outputs a wide SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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variety of content from, for example, the Danish ice hockey and handball leagues. “Hundreds of these productions are being delivered each year using remote production technology,” adds Miehe. “In order to extend production capacity, the broadcaster has decided to take the ViBox8 setup into permanent service. It will also serve as a remote production system for esports events.” Over the past year, Qvest Media has also further developed its multicloud management platform Qvest.Cloud. Qvest.Cloud, notes Miehe, enables sports broadcasters and media companies to create software- defined architectures in a multi-cloud environment.
Reality Check Systems JEFF HEIMBOLD
VICE PRESIDENT OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Following the success of the inaugural season the Overwatch League — an esports league produced by Blizzard Entertainment — Reality Check Systems worked with Blizzard to both expand and enhance the broadcast’s capabilities for the 2019 season.
“This solution enables us to deliver low latency, high quality streams from remote events over a low bitrate secure internet connection, for any type of sports event,” says David Travis, chief portfolio officer, video services. “Red Bee Media has already begun delivering this service and in May 2019, a major European broadcaster employed us to deliver a big event to its audience through remote production using the newly introduced technology.”
RaceTech KATE HILLS
HEAD OF PR AND MARKETING
If you’ve watched horse racing on TV, you have RaceTech to thank. Outside Broadcast and Integrity Service provider to all British racecourses, the company’s services are available to Racing TV, Sky Sports Racing, ITV Racing and numerous international TV broadcasters.
“This was done by broadening the package to include the league’s eight new teams and integrating them into the existing workflow while also interfacing new hero animations for every hero and team in the league,” explains Jeff Heimbold, vice president of business development. RCS also worked with Blizzard’s Broadcast Technology team to come up with a Vizrt split-fork solution that allows for different concepts to be triggered automatically and output unique graphics and video content to partners in Brazil, China, France, Korea, and Russia. Additionally, RCS utilised Singular. Live to create an automated solution for the “2018 has been a highly successful year for Overwatch League All-Access Pass on Twitch, our business, with major new contracts with providing score overlays and realtime team The Racing Partnership, Sky Sports Racing, versus team stats. Ascot Racecourse Limited and the Chester Race Red Bee Media Company,” notes Kate Hills, head of PR and DAVID TRAVIS marketing.“We were also delighted to secure a CHIEF PORTFOLIO OFFICER, long term renewal with the Racecourse Media VIDEO SERVICES Group.” RaceTech hasn’t just expanded its customer It seems everyone is talking base: the company has enhanced its technology about remote production — solutions, as well as expanding its OB fleet with and Red Bee Media is no exception. At NAB the addition of five new units, including its fl 2019, Red Bee Media demonstrated what agship OBX. it describes as the media industry’s most “OBX will typically be used for the larger advanced workflows for remote production festivals and meetings up and down the and site-to-site contribution. Using V-Nova’s country,” explains Hills, “and has an impressive P.Link encoder, Red Bee Media showcased an technical portfolio capable of catering for a optimised contribution network, which it says multitude of requirements at large broadcast enables top-of-the-line workflows for inter-site events.” working and remote production. 146
Beyond remote production, Red Bee Media says it has made huge strides in its managed OTT offering. With what it claims is a record low latency on its live OTT feed, reaching as low as 3.5 seconds from lens to screen, the company believes it can deliver streams that are faster than traditional broadcasting feeds. “With this service in place, viewers will receive the streams almost instantly on their screens and will no longer run the risk of spoilers from social media and other sources while watching an important game or sports event,” smiles Travis. Over the past 12 months, Red Bee Media has delivered Premier League and Champions League for BT Sport and other European broadcasters — and set up live OTT streams of matches in every McDonalds restaurant.
Riedel Communications SERKAN GÜNER
Earlier this year, Riedel Communications supplied a comprehensive, integrated communications infrastructure for the Special Olympics World Games 2019 (SOWG) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Riedel’s Artist digital matrix intercom system and Bolero wireless intercom were at the core of an extensive communications deployment that spanned more than 30 venues and locations and included managed IT network services. “It was an honour to be such a key player SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
in this year’s Special Olympics World Games, which included more than 7,000 athletes from over 195 nations,” says the company’s Serkan Güner. “This was the largest, most inclusive, and most unified World Games in the history of the organisation. Our numbers speak to the sheer size and scale of this event: we deployed more than 30 Artist-64 nodes, which supported over 180 Bolero beltpacks on 56 Bolero antennas, plus another 170 C3 Digital Performer beltpacks, and 1,500 Tetra radios.” At the SOWG opening and closing ceremonies in Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium, Riedel provided crew and announcer communications through 65 1000-Series control panels, 60 Bolero wireless beltpacks, and more than 250 Tetra radios. A pre-existing MediorNet infrastructure greatly simplified the integration of the communications system in the largest stadium in the United Arab Emirates. “The venue deployments marked the first time that the SOWG has achieved seamless communications without radios, with event
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
crews relying solely on Bolero,” adds Güner. Riedel is also working with Shanghaibased TechSound, a company specialising in esports audio, to develop an advanced player communications system for Chinese esports clients based on Riedel’s Artist intercom matrix, Performer partyline, and MAX headsets.
Ross Video STUART G RUSSELL
SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
Ross Video has been heavily involved in a number of important sporting events since IBC 2018, including the in-stadium production at the Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta for the 2019 Super Bowl and the North American Football League’s annual draft event in Nashville, Tennessee, in April 2019. “Ross continues to grow its presence in the sports production market in EMEA,” says Stuart G Russell, senior communications manager, “with Ross production switchers, graphics and replay servers being deployed at the UK’s newest — and most expensive — football
stadium in North London. “Speaking of London,” he continues, “Ross Video has also worked with Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment to help power the North American Baseball League’s first ever match in London in June 2019 at the iconic Olympic stadium in Stratford.” Earlier this year, Ross Video acquired the Piero Sports Graphics business from Red Bee Media. The acquisition by Ross was said to be complementary to its strategic objectives, and to perfectly complement its XPression Graphics and VS/AR offerings, fitting nicely into Ross Video’s sports solutions portfolio and adding advanced sports analysis graphics to the mix. “Piero uses image recognition or encoded camera heads to overlay tactical graphics on sports content, bringing new angles to every game, on the screen and in the studio, with visually engaging and informative effects,” explains Russell. Piero is available as a solution for broadcasters, and there is also a Club version that can be used by sports clubs and teams for player coaching and development.
“For TV viewers at home, Piero helps them to get inside the game like never before,” enthuses Russell. “It offers a whole new level of insight into tactics and player performance, cracking open the decisions made by coaches and team captains and deconstructing the key moments that shape matches.” The growing use of graphics is not without its challenges, however, as Russell notes. “The trend towards larger and unusually sized displays in stadia and in TV studios continues, along with the associated challenge of rendering graphics correctly on these displays,” he says. Other trends that have caught his eye include how innovative camera technologies continue to evolve, offering up more ways to improve the creativity of broadcast content. A second is the continuing rise of remote production as production professionals look to benefit from the additional efficiencies IP opens up in this domain. A third is the increased focus on matchday production, as sports clubs and stadia try to tempt fans into venues by providing a more engaging experience.
RT Software LUKE HARRISON
PRODUCT MARKETING MANAGER
When BBC Northern Ireland wanted a low cost but powerful telestration software product that could easily add graphics to their coverage of the Irish football League, it turned to RT Software’s tOG-Sports Lite. “The BBC were able to take post-match footage and add telestration graphics prior to the clips being made available on social media channels,” says Luke Harrison, product marketing manager.“ tOG-Sports Lite provided the ability to not only paint telestration graphics, magnify image sections and add text but also add chroma keyed 3D graphics.”
Australian broadcaster Fox Sports selected RT Software’s tOG-Sports analysis system for its cricket coverage, which was used live in the studios by presenters and in the commentary 148
box, allowing the experts to use drawing tools to explain in detail nuances of the game play or to highlight key action moments. RT Software was also chosen as one of the technology partners for coverage of a major sailing event. The company has been focusing on making storytelling and presentation of graphics in sports productions both high quality and easy to use. “In June, we launched the full version of Tactic Advanced, our sports analysis and telestration solution,” continues Harrison, “adding further functionality, such as line calibration to provide metric graphics — speed, distance run and so on — and custom touchscreen interfaces for on-camera presenter control to the features in the first release, including editable motion paths, composite graphics, automatic keying and camera tracking.” Tactic Advanced will be demonstrated at IBC, as will a number of RT Software’s other solutions.
Signiant JON FINEGOLD
Signiant recently released a new SaaS solution, Jet, which the company will showcase at IBC2019, having announced it at NAB 2019, where it was the recipient of two awards. “Many sports production workflows still rely on scripted FTP to automate file transfers between locations, posing speed and security issues,” notes the company’s CMO, Jon Finegold.“Jet provides an easy way to automate high-speed transfers of large data sets between locations around the globe.” Built on Signiant’s SaaS platform, Jet is said to offer powerful, enterprise-grade capabilities to small and mid-sized organisations with multiple locations or that regularly exchange large data sets with partners, customers and suppliers. “Jet’s unprecedented speed and intuitive visual interface make the process of automating and monitoring file transfers simple, fast and cost effective,” adds Finegold. Jet also employs Signiant’s new patented, intelligent, self-learning transport mechanism that optimises recurring, time-critical transfers, further improving the efficiency of transfers during peak demands of sports events. Signiant’s cloud-native SaaS solution Media Shuttle was deployed by online media
company COPA90 who focus on global football fan culture, reaching over 100 million people across a multitude of online platforms and social media channels. “For the FIFA World Cup in Russia, COPA90 scaled its publishing output to more than 6,000 content assets across multiple platforms, generating more than 750 million views through the tournament,” explains Finegold. “Without the on-premises infrastructure of traditional big broadcasters, but still with the need to move huge amounts of video from all across the world, COPA90 relied on Media Shuttle and Base Cloud Media.”
Skyline Communications THOMAS GUNKEL
MARKET DIRECTOR, BROADCAST
Skyline provided an end-toend monitoring solution for the new TPC ST2110 UHD OB truck infrastructure, including hardware, software and sophisticated flow monitoring. “Our flow tracking application enables broadcast operators to easily track every single video, audio or ancillary data flow in real time and to find the root cause of any flow problem on the truck,” explains Thomas Gunkel, market director, broadcast. “At the same time, the data plane is constantly monitored in the background — for example, to proactively warn the operator in the event that one of the redundant ST2022-7 streams has an issue.” Gunkel sees many more remote productions on the horizon.
“Those are either based on low-delay compressed video codecs or are using SMPTE ST2110 or ST2022-6 uncompressed video-overIP standards,” he says.“Those complex projects need to be managed carefully. There is a big demand for multi-vendor SDN orchestration solutions to manage the complete production end-to-end, including capacity management for blocking infrastructures, especially for contribution and exchange networks as well as efficient resource management.” SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
in Gwangju, Republic of Korea.” Vitiorets notes that many leagues would like CTO to take advantage of video refereeing — but are VAR and video refereeing aren’t budget-constrained. In response, his company just about football. has developed VideoReferee-ST — an entrySince IBC 2018, slomo.tv has level system that can be upgraded as finances been working on the implementation of video allow. refereeing systems in numerous sports. “It fully complies with the minimum FIFA/ IFAB requirements for VAR,” confirms Vitiorets, “and is the most affordable system on the market.” slomo.tv isn’t just about video refereeing. At the international CS:GO BLAST Pro Series esports tournament on CS:GO in Madrid, three slomo.tv Dominator AT/3G replay servers were used to provide replays from 42 recording channels. “One example is the implementation of video Sony refereeing in water polo,” says Igor Vitiorets, NORBERT PAQUET CTO. “VideoReferee systems were used in HEAD OF PRODUCT MANAGEMENT Belgrade at the FINA Men’s Super Final 2019, which was the first time that video refereeing Few tennis fans can have systems had been used at high level water polo watched Wimbledon on TV and competitions. slomo.tv also provided video not been aware of Hawk-Eye, refereeing at the 18th FINA World Championship the technology that removes all uncertainty as
to whether a ball was in or out. Few of them, however, will know that Hawk-Eye is part of Sony. “Hawk-Eye is the leading innovator in ball tracking solutions including goal line technology and line calling as well as video replay solutions including VAR (Video Assisted Refereeing), that are integral to more than 20,000 sporting events in over 90 countries every year,” notes Norbert Paquet, head of product management. During April of this year, Hawk-Eye was closely involved in the successful production of one of the world’s largest and most prestigious majors in golf. “Hawk-Eye teams in the UK, USA, Germany and Holland were responsible for clipping every shot, with 39 remote operators working to access on-site servers which captured over 100 video feeds and 300 audio channels over the course of the tournament,” continues Paquet. “Throughout the 4-day event, over 22,000 clipped shots were provided to broadcasters.” Sony’s year hasn’t just been about Hawk-
Eye, however. Described by the company as a game-changer for sports production, Sony says its IP-capable HDC-5500 and HDC-3500 system cameras — with the world’s first 2/3-inch 4K CMOS sensor with global shutter technology — have brought new standards of image quality, portability and creative flexibility to live environments. In May, Euro Media Group acquired 42 HDC-3500 system cameras — all with native 4K and IP capability. The following month, Sony entered into a strategic partnership with Nevion in the area of IP-based solutions, with Sony becoming a leading investor with a minority stake in the company.
SOS Global MICHAEL TENENBAUM
For SOS Global, 2019 started with freight projects in challenging destinations such as Dhaka for the Bangladesh Cricket Premier League and Karachi for the Twenty20 Pakistan Super League Final.
“Bangladesh is not part of the Carnet ATA treaty and that adds a layer of complexity to every temporary customs clearance,” notes managing director Michael Tenenbaum. “In the case of Pakistan, clearance and handling of cargo is always a demanding task. But this year, it coincided with the India-Pakistan border skirmishes that started soon before. Flights were cancelled, freight space shrunk accordingly, and customs officers were on high alert! But, with a lot of patience, situational awareness and intense focus, SOS Global managed to successfully handle both of these freight lots.” Tenenbaum recalls another interesting case that involved time-sensitive broadcasting equipment for a cliff diving tournament. The 150
tournament was held in the region of El Nido on the island of Palawan in the Philippines — another country that doesn’t accept Carnet ATAs for temporary imports. Accordingly, after a complex customs process in the capital Manila, SOS Global had to arrange a dedicated transfer to Palawan Island, a destination that offers very few carrier options for time-critical freight. “Our team of project managers worked hard to accomplish this mission,” smiles Tenenbaum. “Happily, to the satisfaction of all involved parties.” Despite the absence this year of an Olympics or World Cup, SOS Global still has its hands full. The company provided its tailor-made freight forwarding service to broadcasting companies around the globe for events such as the World Aquatics Championships in South Korea. SOS Global will also be supporting the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Qatar and the Rugby World Cup in Japan, where it will support the host broadcaster with all freightand logistics-related matters. “The future keeps looking quite Asia-centric with the Summer Olympics Tokyo 2020, the Winter Olympics Beijing 2022 as well as Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022,” says Tenenbaum. “Since preparation has been crucial to SOS Global’s success, we have already started doing our homework in all these countries, visiting regularly, choosing the right partners and following all developments closely. We were recently proud to find that the host broadcaster of Tokyo 2020 has decided to work with SOS Global for the fourth Games in a row. “As every year,” he concludes, “we look forward to meeting our friends and clients at IBC. This yearly gathering provides the perfect setting to look back on on past cooperation while planning future projects.”
Sportradar FELIX BLANK
DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL PLATFORMS — INTERNATIONAL
The past season has seen Sportradar, in collaboration with LiveU, bring Austrian Football Second League to viewers worldwide. Working with LiveU LU600 HEVC units alongside the associated LiveU central management platform and LiveU multipoint solution for content sharing and distribution, Sportradar produced and distributed all 240 matches.
Sportradar — who provide sports data, media and entertainment solutions — also extended its partnership with Montreux Volley Masters. The new multi-year deal saw Sportradar provide additional services to ensure the event continues to gain maximum exposure. Among those additional services, Sportradar took on further responsibility for TV production, supplying all tournament data and ensuring that all 18 matches over the six day event were made available live using the company’s OTT platform offering. Late last year, Sportradar signed an agreement with FOX Sports that will see Sportradar developing new research tools, data products and machine learning technology that will enable FOX Sports broadcasters to bolster their in-game and digital content with real-time and historic sports data via API. In June, the company announced the extension of another agreement — this time, building on its successful four-year relationship with NASCAR to deliver real time data to NASCAR fans. “Our key product development over the past 12 months has been our pioneering work with the integration and convergence of data and video,” says Felix Blank, director of digital platforms — international. “We believe the seamless application of real-time data coupled with a quality OTT service is an effective way of driving fan engagement and monetisation. “On the subject of monetisation,” he adds, “we’re increasingly seeing clients talking to us about how they can use sports betting as another means to derive revenue from live and VOD content.” High quality, engaging content is, of course, no less important to sport than to any other entertainment medium — and it’s there that Blank sees the most influential future developments. “For long-tail rights holders and sports, the trends we’re seeing and expect to continue are geared around being able to create content in the easiest way possible — so, via the smartphone for a mobile-first audience,” he explains. “Also, any methods of creating content that can be done without human resource are set to be big news in the near future too as automation grows across the industry. “Automation is potentially huge for video and OTT,” he continues, “although publishers obviously want to keep that element of quality control when it comes to production.” SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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Supponor ROSS HAIR
After what the company describes as lengthy testing, Supponor completed its first full season of commercial Digital Board Replacement (DBR) virtual advertising technology deployment at 29 matches in the Bundesliga featuring all 17 BVB (Borussia Dortmund) home games and an additional 12 games featuring BVB and Bayern Munich away. “We also continued to innovate and grow completing several deployments with major global sports institutions and federations in Europe, and delivered some exciting commercial deployments with the NBA in the Summer League, at the All Star game and in the Playoff Finals in the US,” says Ross Hair, managing director. The most significant progress for Supponor’s product research and development was, the company says, the design, completion, testing and manufacturing of its Additional Optical Device Mk II, which is now ready for deployment. “This encapsulates the evolution of stateof-the-art optical devices, improving image quality during broadcasting, and provides more efficient deployment for operational teams including support for even more flexible solution implementation through the use of remote or downstream integration,” Hair explains. At IBC, Supponor plans to make further inroads with its target markets, including sporting institutions that have a broad array of on-screen advertising options during live broadcasts. “We’re also planning to bring to people’s attention the ongoing evolution of our TV-only Natural Scene Augmentation (NSA) features with NSA2,” Hair adds. “Further developments in this area deliver improvements in the TV-only virtual replacement and masking in a variety of indoor and outdoor conditions. Supponor NSA can be delivered as part of a complete suite of virtual advertising solutions, alongside DBR, or as a powerful entry level stand-alone solution.”
ill afford to see it dissipated — which is why Synamedia believes its Credentials Sharing Insight will be “a game changer”. It is designed to let streaming providers understand where they are experiencing revenue leakage from both casual account sharing and for-profit piracy, and then act upon these insights. “Using AI, behavioural analytics, big data and machine learning, the solution lets marketers segment viewers and act quickly to encourage prolific casual sharers to upgrade their service in return for more concurrent users,” explains Jean-Marc Racine, CPO and GM, EMEA. “This approach makes it easier to keep honest people honest and also boosts revenues. Importantly, it can also be used to identify and stamp out the scourge of for-profit password sharing by shutting down illegal streams promptly. “Our work in this area over the past six months for high-profile customers has resulted in a considerable number of pirate networks being taken down,” he adds.
Tata Communications BRIAN MORRIS
GLOBAL MEDIA HEAD
Tata Communications’ sports capabilities are underpinned by its next generation fibre network, which carries around 30% of the world’s Internet routes, enabling motorsports, golf, cricket and sailing fans worldwide to immerse themselves in the action. Most recently, Tata Communications started working with the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) to deliver a new, all-live feed to six broadcasters. “Our Video Connect service, which is built on our global network, allows the WRC to seamlessly connect some of the most challenging and remote locations in the world for live video delivery,” says Brian Morris, global media head. “Our team of experts manages all aspects of transmission and broadcast end-toend for the sport and its official broadcasters.” Europe is the number one region for the WRC today, but the sport is looking to win new fans in new markets. This is where Tata Communications believes its global media Synamedia capabilities will make a big difference. Together, JEAN-MARC RACINE the WRC and Tata Communications are also CPO AND GM EMEA exploring how innovations such as the remote There’s substantial revenue — production of feeds from 80 cameras at each and profit — to be earned from event could boost operational efficiencies for sports content. Owners can the sport.
“The high quality of live content across different platforms is a must for sports looking to reach new audiences and to keep existing fans hooked,” believes Morris. “Traditional broadcasting methods are becoming too complex, restrictive and expensive — they can no longer meet the demands of live sports. Remote production is redefining the traditional model of broadcast operations, and helping to ensure a great viewing experience for fans across TV and OTT platforms.” Tata Communications has already worked with NEP Broadcast Solutions to complete the remote production and broadcast of the VIVO Indian Premier League for Star Sports. “To tackle the challenges arising from the back-to-back schedule of events, the long distances between the match locations, and the need to localise content for different regions, Star Sports worked with us and NEP to centralise many of its core operations and manage them remotely from its production hub in Mumbai,” explains Morris. Another recent milestone for Tata Communications has been its MotoGP collaboration with DAZN, delivering what it describes as an “ultra-live” VDN service for the sports OTT platform. “This service aims to deliver optimal viewing experiences to fans, regardless of device. It’s part of our mission to unleash the power of live sports over the Internet like never before,” Morris concludes.
Tedial JEROME WAUTHOZ
VICE PRESIDENT, PRODUCTS
According to Jerome Wauthoz, vice president, products at Tedial, the big news from his company over the past year is that SMARTLIVE is now shipping. SMARTLIVE is an automated workflow solution tailored specifically for sports and live events that was previewed at last year’s NAB and IBC. “We’ve been inundated with enquiries ever since,” he smiles, “but now we can deliver on the promise of better and automated sports storytelling.” Tedial now offers the ability to easily create new sports configurations into SMARTLIVE, making it straightforward to generate automatic highlights or auto-clipping for any genre of sport. The Metadata Engine is said to be totally agnostic to all data feeds and to allow SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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Connectivity providers to the broadcast industry (Satellite/Fibre/Bonded Cellular).
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
System shown is a 14+2 channel stat mux with an add on 8+2 channel stat mux, & 4 additional unilateral channels, All encoded to MPEG 4 10 bit.
the simple addition of a new configuration in the system. SMARTLIVE and Tedial Evolution now also include a new module that allows content to be published to any social network — such as clips, highlights or historical media — which can be published in just one click. This is enabled by the system’s capability to create social publishing campaigns inside the MAM.
Tedial has also entered into a technology partnership with Speechmatics. By integrating Speechmatics’ ASR technology with SMARTLIVE, operators can now search for comments made during a match or live event; automatically create file locators; and import a file or drop it into a watch folder and manually generate the speech-to-text from the commentary track. “At IBC,” says Wauthoz, “visitors will see a dramatic increase in the number of highlights SMARTLIVE will be able to generate automatically. We’ll also be showcasing the enhanced financial and operational benefits of SMARTLIVE with the addition of operating in the cloud.”
Telegenic EAMONN CURTIN
Early summer saw Telegenic in Madrid to provide facilities for BT Sport’s UHD/4K/Dolby Atmos coverage of the Champions League Final, as well as host coverage in 4K HDR and the 360 VR production. Football was again at the heart of the action, with Telegenic onsite in Le Havre and Rennes for the Women’s World Cup, providing UHD coverage for HBS. The company covered 14 matches during the tournament, including two of the quarter finals. According to commercial director Eamonn Curtin, Telegenic continues to look at different workflows for remote production. 154
“We successfully engineered a UHD/HDR quality production values affordable to small centric workflow on live rugby, football and organisations. hockey productions throughout 2019,” he says, Telos Alliance “culminating in the 2019 Champions Cup Rugby MARTIN DYSTER Final from Newcastle for BT Sport, which had INFINITY PROJECT DIRECTOR over 20 cameras. In response to the growth in HDR, we’ve improved the monitoring through The Telos Alliance has, says our trucks by installing the new 55” PVM X550 Martin Dyster, Infinity project in our production galleries and additional BVM director, been a key player in HDR monitors in vision areas for the HDR and sports broadcasting for years. UHD vision supervisors.” “Now,” he says, “Telos Infinity IP Intercom takes sports communications to new levels with Telestream on-the-fly configuration and a graphical UI that CHRIS OSIKA makes it easy to set up — crucial for complex CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER events that require even unseasoned engineers The claim that a new product to configure systems under pressure.” reduces the time taken to Because it does away with what Dyster achieve something from weeks describes as outmoded matrix technology, or even months to one that takes just minutes Infinity IP Intercom is said to improve workflows is a bold one — but it’s one that Telestream and free up space in OB trucks, scaling easily as is comfortable making for its new channel endpoints are added. creation capability, OptiQ. “New Infinity Link technology connects “Once created, these new video channels remote systems, bringing local and long exhibit considerable sophistication,” says distance production centres together over IP Chris Osika, chief marketing officer. “As LAN/WAN,” he continues. “This makes it far standard, they feature integrated monitoring simpler to share equipment, studios/control throughout and the ability to switch between rooms, and staff across locations, offering big multiple sources — live or file-based. A ‘pay savings and immense production flexibility as you go’ business model offers the over existing tech. Because it’s built on IP, flexibility to accommodate unforeseen Infinity is an agile, flexible, and scalable solution fluctuations in demand while aligning such that allows broadcasters to future-proof while costs to revenues. improving reliability and uptime.” “What this means for sports,” he continues, Telstra “is the ability to easily and quickly add alternate ANNA LOCKWOOD content channels and apps to support an HEAD OF GLOBAL SALES event such as expert roundtable commentary, complementary onsite coverage and more Telstra has, the company says, vantage points.” enabled a significant milestone OptiQ targets a number of applications. It is in sports broadcast production designed to facilitates new revenue streams for with the remote production and delivery of the content providers looking to accelerate time to International World Relay Championships in market for new channels, and for broadcasters Japan. Working in conjunction with a Japanese and service providers by enabling short-term telecommunications company, Telstra (premium and non-premium) channels/ transported 30 HD live camera and graphics events, or additional content such as highlight feeds from the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama reels, player bios and event histories alongside to Tokyo, and then onwards to Sydney, premium content. enabling the successful remote production of “We believe that, currently, service providers live coverage and competition highlights in and content aggregators are turning business Australia over the two days of the World Relay away due to not being able to create channels Championships. quickly for short-term events,” explains Osika. “The signals travelled from Japan via diverse Telestream markets a range of live production and hitless 10 gigabit-per-second circuits on and streaming system solutions that cater for a the Telstra Distributed Production Network diversity of sizes, scales and budgets — such as to Sydney — 7,800 kilometres away — using Wirecast, which is designed to make broadcast ultra-low-latency compression technology,” SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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explains Anna Lockwood, head of global sales. “The Telstra DPN is an end-to-end IP network which has been custom built for the media industry,” she continues. “It enables professional media customers to produce live broadcasts at a distance from the actual event by sending multiple raw camera feeds, audio and equipment control signals over the network back to centralised production hubs.
“Remote production over long distances requires a network that has the special characteristics of high bandwidth, low latency, low jitter and low wander,” she concludes, “which the Telstra DPN delivers in Australia — and now, internationally.” IBC will see Telstra highlighting its live sports capabilities in Asia and around the world through its low latency digital link miniature live camera technology, as well as subsea and terrestrial fibre connectivity. Also on show will be the company’s Globecam, which is designed to transmit live content right from the field of play.
The Collectv CHRIS SARSON
The Collectv’s sporting highlights since IBC2018 included its first Ryder Cup with CTV for NBC, at Le Golf National in Guyancourt. The company provided the Avid edit systems on site, with Interplay and EVS integration. “It was an amazing event for us, where the sport really led all the stories and there was plenty of drama along the way,” recalls managing director Chris Sarson. “We just had to ensure the systems met NBC’s high expectations and remained optimal — which was made possible by having our technical manager, Simon Tomkinson on site.” Another highlight for The Collectv was the 156
Timeline Television Formula 1 Drive to Survive — A Netflix Original, DANIEL MCDONNELL produced by Box to Box Films. CEO “This was the first of many Netflix productions we have been involved with,” Timeline Television worked continues Sarson. “We had a system built to closely with SailGP, a new fly around the world that had resilience built fast-paced global sailing in, while also ensuring we could manage the championship, and Whisper Films to develop workflow to conform with Netflix’s strict a complete remote production operation to security guidelines.” provide host coverage from London. “This is believed to be one of the world’s The Switch largest host coverage remote productions,” ERIC COONEY says Daniel McDonnell, CEO. “This ensured a CEO consistently high standard of production from Few can have failed to be aware each of the SailGP locations worldwide.” of the meteoric rise of eSports Timeline Television has been awarded a — but for The Switch, that rise three-year contract to provide technical outside isn’t just something to watch: it’s something to broadcast facilities for three of BBC Sport’s learn from. iconic tennis tournaments. These include the “We see the live sports and eSports markets Fever Tree Championships, the Nature Valley converging in the way they cover their events,” International Eastbourne and the Nitto ATP says CEO Eric Cooney. “As global viewing Finals. Timeline’s flagship, triple expanding, IP figures grow, eSports has the potential for 4K HDR outside broadcast truck UHD2 kicked traditional live production to come in and off the coverage at Queens. provide broadcast quality coverage of live game play at tournaments. “As live sports begins to understand the value of OTT services linked to live broadcasts, they’re looking at what eSports are doing in this space,” he continues. “Every eSports tournament has a global streaming audience interacting with the event on multiple devices and through multiple channels. This is the next development step for live sports production.” Over the past year, The Switch has expanded its remote capabilities and launched what it says is a highly flexible version of The Switch At-Home, which allows users to operate in a way that fits their production needs. Also launched have been The Switch Digital Connect, which simplifies the syndication of targeted social media and over-the-top feeds; The Switch Access, which allows anyone with a broadband internet connection to connect to The Switch network from anywhere in the world; and The Switch eSports service, a The company has also expanded its Ealing complete production, streaming and broadcast Broadcast Centre to accommodate largerplatform for managing, monitoring and scale programmes and to meet the increasing delivering eSports content. demand for its remote production offering. A IBC will see the first major public showing of new, highly specified large gallery with sound The Switch’s refreshed brand. control room and VT area has been built with “With over 30 years of live production new edit suites and production offices added, heritage, and as we enter our next stage, it increasing the company’s capacity at the West makes sense that The Switch’s brand reflects London facility in Ealing Studios. the dynamic, action-packed and always-on “The Broadcast Centre is equipped with nature of live sports production,” says Cooney. complete production facilities, enabling SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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Timeline’s clients to produce complex programmes with state-of-the-art remote production technology,” says McDonnell. “The ability to base the production team in London, whilst remotely producing from the outside broadcast location to the facility, means that production team costs and travel requirements are decreased without compromising on control or programme quality.” Timeline TV North has also grown recently, expanding its MediaCityUK presence, and becoming the first provider to offer highend purpose designed podcast services — in addition to the already-established audio department.
TSL Products MARK DAVIES
DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTS AND TECHNOLOGY
efficient control solution than installing devices for a specific control room, where they sit idle when the room is not in use.” Developments in remote production and more complex workflows are, Davies points out, only increasing the need to be able to centrally control assets and devices across a facility. “A recent customer application is China Sports Media,” says Davies.“Since August 2018, China Sports Media has continued to use TSL Products’ Advanced Control System to control tally, routers, mnemonics and digital signage systems across 10 studios and one master control room.”
TV Skyline ROBERT KIS
The first big event for OB11 was the start of the German Touring Car Championship, the DTM, on behalf of Wige Broadcast and ETR in May. TV Skyline were also at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup football in Poland for HBS, and later, again on behalf of Wige Broadcast, the company was at the 24-hour racing at the Nürburgring — a big production in combination with the G10 gallery truck. TV Skyline had 55 working spaces and five galleries there.
TVN Mobile Production MARKUS OSTHAUS
TVN Mobile Production, which is part of the TVN Group, has been in business for more than quarter of a century, with its fleet of trucks deployed throughout Europe to a broad range of venues to provide coverage of not only sport, but also shows and major political and social events. In the past year, those sporting events have included a range of football engagements such as the Bundesliga and Champions League; the Red Bull Air Race (for which it has provided facilities since 2014); winter sports; the CHIO Aachen World Equestrian Festival; and the Berlin Marathon. Recently, TVN Mobile has launched TVnUE6, the latest addition to the company’s growing roster of OB vans. “It is,” smiles CEO Markus Osthaus, “undeniably state of the art in terms of its functionality and performance. “We truly believe it is the most powerful van available to the European outside broadcast industry.”
The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, hosted in Hamburg in June and July was, apparently, the biggest beach volleyball event of all time with a record attendance. TV Skyline was there with its OB8 UHD and an array of cameras, delivering production for ARD, ZDF, DAZN and Stream. “The most important recent development for us has been our new OB van, OB11, the latest addition to the TV Skyline design family,” enthuses CEO Robert Kis.“The OB11 focuses on maximum multifunctionality with state-of-theart technology. In terms of design, we’ve created a whole new world that is extraordinary, unique and innovative.” Kis is referring to his company’s recognition that more people are spending more time in TVU Networks OB vans — so their comfort and productivity DAVID JORBA becomes a real challenge. The 34 workspace EVP, MANAGING DIRECTOR EUROPE OB11 was designed to address this. The emphasis, he says, was firmly on interior design To maximise the quality Meanwhile, on the control side, Flex and the provision of creative production space and reliability of live video Network, powered by DNF, is a modular –so all the technical equipment is located in a transmission — despite lessplatform of professional IP-based machine separate support tender truck. than-ideal environmental circumstances — controllers that are said to solve all manner of Spanish public broadcaster RTVE deployed operational control problems. TVU Networks’ TVU Nano Router and TVU “We continue to see an uptake of its Anything Anywhere to send live video from the Paristo Anything Device Control Routing System,” Dakar Rally, held in the Peruvian desert, to the notes Mark Davies, director of products and RTVE studio in Barcelona. The live IP streaming technology. “The AADCRS is being used in videos were shot on smartphones and the network production facilities that produce content was successfully aired live over on sports and non-sports content. It solves the RTVE flagship channels La 1 and Teledeporte in problem of allocating production resources broadcast quality. among competing production control rooms, Additionally, The Football Social recently when and where it is needed. This is a more “It represents pure enjoyment,” he laughs. reached more than 17 million online views for One of the many benefits of moving to an IP-based workflow is better space efficiency, particularly in OB trucks and fly packs. With that transition, TSL Products says it has seen an increased uptake in the company’s audio monitoring solutions, including the MPA1 range and PAM-IP units with ST-2110. Several of TSL Products’ OB customers are using these units when producing major sporting events for professional sports leagues such as MLB, NBA and NHL games.
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
the 2018/2019 Premier League season using TVU Networks’ TVU Chat solution. “TVU Chat represents a creative way to engage with fans in real-time,” says David Jorba, EVP and managing director, Europe. “It allows fans to be a part of sports broadcasts by using their smartphones to send live HD video from anywhere — even a crowded stadium — to the studio and contribute to the conversation before, after or during the game.”
helps capture all the sports action no matter the location Patented IS+ and HEVC/H.265 encoding makes it possible to transmit video with higher contrast and more vivid colors and capture the action of any sporting event at the highest level of quality,” notes Jorba. The new cellular portable transmitter will be showcased on the company’s IBC stand.
Tyrell DAN MUCHMORE
SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR
TVU One 4K is the latest transmitter from TVU Networks. TVU One 4K is claimed to change the game for the sports broadcast industry, delivering the highest quality video as the first backpack solution that supports true 4K60P encoding and transmission in addition to 1080P, HDR and 5G. “TVU One 4K
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
Some of the most exciting technology is coming out of Israel — and it was there that Tyrell found ABonAir. “Their range of camera RF transmitters has some innovative technology to guarantee high bandwidth, extremely low latency transmission whilst also being the only solution on the market to have talkback, return video and an open approach to CCU/RCP control,” says Dan Muchmore, sales and marketing director. Tyrell recently replaced Virgin Media Television’s (TV3) graphics with Avid Maestro
and associated hardware. “Avid’s unique approach meant that we were able to bring online new channels for Virgin to cover the Premiership and European football in the summer months,” continues Muchmore, “and they have now invested in rental Avid Graphic systems to support OB and unique events where more graphic channels are required for a fixed period.” Muchmore is also a fan of Clear-Com’s recently launched LQ range of audio (4-wire to 2-wire) to IP converters transporting comms and high bandwidth audio over public, WAN or LAN networks. Since its release, Tyrell has sold over 250 units that have been deployed as permanent and temporary installations in football, horse and dog racing stadiums linking OBs and broadcasters. For Tyrell, IBC is all about finding and visiting ‘disruptive’ companies in both the production and delivery areas. “We’ll be looking to see what technology is emerging to aid the deployment and delivery from field to gallery to improve how our customers execute their remote production
workflows,” says Muchmore. “Live streaming and audience engagement are other exciting areas in which we’ve seen some interesting developments in, and that we’ll invest time into to broaden our solution representation.”
Wildmoka MATTHIEU LOREILLE
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
Ingesting and live streaming some 841 matches, and publishing hundreds of clips and summaries to social networks, was the feat achieved by Wildmoka for France Télévisions at the 2019 Roland Garros. Streams were directed to France Télévisions’ france.tv sport app. In July, Wildmoka also provided extensive support for the Tour de France.
Verizon Digital Media Services ARIFF SIDI
CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER
In April, Verizon Digital Media Services announced that it is working with Microsoft to deliver a simpler way for broadcasters, content owners or streaming services to deliver highquality, ultra-personalised viewing experiences on Microsoft Azure. “Full integration with Azure cloud solutions is designed to deliver video experiences to millions of concurrent viewers,” explains Ariff Sidi, chief product officer. “It delivers a simpler way for broadcasters, content owners and streaming services to deliver high-quality, ultrapersonalised viewing experiences on Microsoft Azure. The new offering supports the accelerated consumption of online media and OTT services, shaping the future of video content delivery.” Sidi goes on to note the challenges posed by viewers located all over the world having varying last mile network connections, bandwidths and devices. “The Verizon Media Platform makes it easy and flexible for broadcasters and content owners to ingest content, encode once, and deliver the optimised experience for every single viewer that hits play,” he says. “4K content increases encoding complexity and processor utilisation requirements, and the Verizon Media Platform simplifies the workflow by optimising encoder settings for delivery to any device.” The company was at the Women’s World Cup, where the Verizon Media Platform supported the streaming of all 52 games in 4K on TVs and connected devices while dynamically inserting server-side ads for millions of viewers, ensuring every person received an optimal, high-quality experience. Other recent events include the NBA finals and tennis Grand Slam. IBC will see Verizon Digital Media Services focus, among other things, on its ability to deliver 4K live streams with support for HDR and HLG with low latency, as well as dynamic server-side ad insertion.
“The unlimited scalability of the cloud makes it possible to stream every single moment of large tournament — a very different proposition to the restrictions of linear TV slots,” believes Matthieu Loreille, who is chief marketing officer. “It is now possible to ingest all cameras and to enable viewers to select which camera or event they want to watch — it’s a true ‘a la carte’ viewing experience. “Also,” he goes on, “because the amount of content on the internet is huge, people are looking for personalised content to be delivered directly to them — such as goals scored by their favourite soccer player. Personalisation is only possible with automation — otherwise there is no business case). Personalisation is very important.” Wildmoka has been busy on the product development front too, extending the number of sports supported by its AI-based automatic clipping algorithm to 10, making it, the company Videosys says, the largest on the market. It has also COLIN TOMLIN launched its automatic summary composition MANAGING DIRECTOR tool that will be demonstrated at IBC 2019. And: Wildmoka has enabled automatic clip creation The UK’s BT has begun to within the Avid MediaCentral platform — offer speedway coverage in another functionality the company plans to UltraHd — creating a need showcase at the RAI in Amsterdam. for 4K systems on the part of Cloudbass, with 160
the company acquiring what it needed from Videosys. Videosys also received orders from Presteigne for five camera control systems to support its coverage of a well-known boat race. That same rising demand for 4K/UltraHD was behind the announcement of Epsilon, a camera control system with a pre-integrated 4K decoder and receiver. “Epsilon is yet another addition to our growing 4K/UltraHD offering,” says Colin Tomlin, managing director. “It works seamlessly with the 4K Aeon-CC to provide a complete UltraHD system. It’s simple to manage and deploy, making live 4K transmission more affordable.” IBC will see Videosys further extending its range with a series of integrated systems designed for the live broadcast industry that reflect not only the trend to 4K resolution, but also the trend towards reducing equipment count as much as possible — again, reducing operational costs.
VIDI ROBERT OSZVALD
DIRECTOR OF EVENT SERVICES
Few sporting events in the past 12 months have taken the world more by surprise than the Women’s World Cup which attracted capacity crowds and record TV audiences. VIDI provided a full turnkey solution for video, audio and data services between all nine venues and the IBC in Paris. “Setting up the network turned out to be a mammoth task,” recalls Robert Oszvald, director of event services.“Every goal, every pass and every parade had to go through the IBC. In addition to the audio/video streams, those connections were also used for extensive data services — resulting in a very demanding task for the VIDI engineers, who were responsible for the signal transmissions from the individual stadiums to the IBC and for the further worldwide distribution to numerous rights holders.” The teams at the nine venues each comprised a technician from the local network operator as well as an engineer from VIDI. At each venue, 36 ports for video in all formats as well as eight 1G data services were available to broadcasters. The connection to the IBC was made via a redundant 10G network cable. VIDI is now gearing up for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, where the company will provide another full turnkey solution for video, audio and data services between all 12 venues SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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and the IBC at Tokyo Stadium. The team will consist of ten engineers plus project managers, with three engineers permanently based at the IBC and seven travelling between the venues in Japan.
Vislink DAVID ROBINS
VP OF GLOBAL SALES
The last 12 months saw Vislink at the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship Racing Event in New Jersey, showing off the capabilities of its ultra-compact, lightweight transmitters for capturing live video at high speeds at a U.S.based event for the first time. “We also teamed up with Movicom and Infront Sports and Media to provide a compact referee camera solution that gave ice-level points-of-view during the game between the Frölunda Indians and Red Bull Munich at the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg, Sweden,” notes VP of global sales David Robins. ”Our miniaturised IMTDragonfly transmitter was integrated into the Movicom RefCam — a lightweight wireless kit that attaches into referee helmets and transmits real-time, high-quality video. “There is a thirst from viewing audiences to do more than simply watch events — they want to be fully involved and as close as possible to the unfolding action,” he observes. “That means live sports video producers must provide a fully immersive, high-impact experience to engage their viewers. Our ultra-low latency solutions address this need.” Robins also sees a growing role for HDR in its ability to deliver that immersive experience — a capability that is supported by Vislink’s HCAM system. A major announcement for Vislink was a significant update to its HCAM and UltraReceiver wireless camera solution, which now provides sub-single-frame end-to-end latency for 4K UHD transmissions for the first time in the US. In HD HEVC mode, it delivers double the range of MPEG-4 devices. Both will be featured by the company at IBC.
the sports broadcasts of the future. Perhaps it already is. “AR will continue to gain dominance in not only sports production workflows, but also in the expectations among sports viewers in the stadium, at home, and over second screens,” believes Dr. Stephan Würmlin Stadler, president, global sports. “Vizrt’s unique virtual 3D perspectives of key plays and our Virtual Presenter interactive analysis are key differentiators for our customers who have adopted Viz Libero’s telestration and analysis solution.” The Australian Open tennis was, according to Stadler, a fantastic display of data-driven AR graphics that showed how AR can lift up the production value of live sports while providing valuable information to the audience. The graphics were rendered with Viz Engine. “Another good example was last year’s International Champions football, where our partner Catalyst Media used Viz Arena to regionally tailor advertising,” he adds. “The cam carpets on the pitch displayed betting adverts to their international feed, whereas the local Singapore feed had different content because of laws on advertising gambling in the region.” Stadler notes that the ability for clients to take a single game and leverage their ad inventory across multiple regions, tailoring virtual ads to specific audiences, is having a huge impact on not only how they are monetising their advertising content, but also how they are recognizing an exponential return on investment. He concludes by confirming that the formation of the company’s Global Sports business will further strengthen Vizrt’s focus on sports.
XD motion BENOIT DENTAN CEO
Over the past few years, watching broadcast sport has been transformed by the variety of views on offer — and few are more compelling than views from above the action. That’s an area in which XD motion operates, specialising in aerial filming and multi-dimensional tracking solutions based on innovative gyro-stabilised systems. DR. STEPHAN “Whether it’s aerial shots from helicopters, WÜRMLIN STADLER planes, multi-dimensional Cablecam or PRESIDENT, GLOBAL SPORTS travelling tracks, robotic arm vehicles and drones Few doubt that augment reality — we use the latest head technology from 3- to (AR) will be a key technology in 6- axis, auto horizon axis and open architecture
to accommodate all sizes, models of cameras and lenses systems available on the market,”says Benoit Dentan, CEO. That capability has seen XD motion at a range of sporting events over the past year, including flying its X fly 3D Cablecam at the Judo Grand Slam in the Paris Bercy Arena, and at the rugby Six nations at Stade de France. XD motion as also involved in the Formula One French Grand Prix and at the draw for the Womens World Cup. The new X fly configuration allows movement in three dimensions. Using the latest technology, the X fly 3D is based on four fibre rope attachment points and allows the dolly to move left and right, up and down and forward and backward. Safety critical software ensures collision avoidance as well as repeatable flight paths — and the pilot can concentrate on the camera shots without having to look at the dolly camera. IBC will see XD motion showcasing its latest developments, including the X fly 3D equipped with AR, a mini X fly 1D and a tethered drone.
Zixi JOHN WASTCOAT
SVP MARKETING AND ALLIANCES
It is a self-evident truth that content delivery of live sports demands the very best in terms of quality, latency and reliability — and it’s one that John Wastcoat, SVP, marketing and alliances, espouses. “Zixi and its ZEN Master control plane provide technology partners and clients flexible and reliable video transport and monitoring solutions during live sporting moments that matter,” he says.“Zixi is used to stream the most high-profile sporting events in the world like the Super Bowl, the Olympics and the World Cup.” Cerberus Tech, a global services company dedicated to IP in broadcast, leverages Zixi’s technology offering to deliver 24/7 services for a number of leading European football clubs to global affiliates. “We help provide content stakeholders with an internet-based method of distribution that simplifies the global channel delivery process, providing fast set up times, flexibility and scalability, continues Wastcoat. “Cerberus’s Zixi-enabled 24/7 distribution platform, Network1, uses Zixi’s built in content quality analytics to detect source quality issues within milliseconds and uses advanced automated failover tools to reroute video based on the best available link.” SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
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808 Talent ACS (Aerial Camera Systems) aegraphics.tv AJA Video Systems Aldea Solutions AMP Visual TV Aperi Corporation Arena Television Arista Arkona Technologies Arqiva Ateme Axon BATCAM Blackmagic Design Bridge Technologies Brightcove Broadcast Rental Broadcast RF Broadcast Solutions Broaman BSI International BT Media & Broadcast Calrec Camcat-Systems Camera Corps Canon CenturyLink ChyronHego Clear-Com Cloudbass Cobalt Creative Technology CTV Dell EMC Deltacast Deltatre DigitArena disguise Dolby Endeavor Streaming ES Broadcast euNetworks Euro Media Group Eurovision Services Evertz EVS Finepoint Fletcher For-A Fujifilm Gearhouse Broadcast Genelec Globecast Grabyo Grass Valley Haivision Harmonic Hitomi Imagen Imagine Communications Interxion Lawo Leader Limelight Networks
119 32 33 39 119 123 39 125 41 41 43 – 45 127 45 46 47 129 131 47 49 49 50 51 55 131 Cover 53 55 56 133 37 133 135 135 57 59 – 137 1 59 61 63 5 65 65 69 137 – 69 70 7 71 72 73 9 73 75 139 13 15 75 76 77 17
OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other OB/SI/Other Gold OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other Gold OB/SI/Other OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other Platinum Gold Gold Gold Platinum Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Platinum Gold Gold Gold Platinum Gold Gold OB/SI/Other Platinum Platinum Gold Gold Gold Platinum
Ben Swanton Antonia Wood Stuart Coles Gina Georgallis Larry Tonon Elise Raffuad Cesare Camparada Rob Hopkinson Lisa Elliot Rainer Sturm Matthew Neale Dorota Bouskela Geert Jan Gusson Jonathan Hurndall Mel Atherton Tim Langridge Emma Vanstone-Booth Geert Paul Slee Chris Brandrick Andreas Hoeflich Tine Helmle Tony Valentino Felicity Webster Kevin Emmott Alexander Brozek Barry Parker Blazej Klacansky Claire Taylor Allyson Patanella Rachel Archibald James Wilson Bob McAlpine Ben Tompsett Barry Johnstone Simon Haywood Geraldine Demarteau Claire Bell Veronique Haluska Sagar Shah Tatiana Zakharova Kayla Conover Terry Murphy Hannah Britt Sophie Joduin-Lund Agnieszka Czerska Mo Goyal Sebastien Verlaine Giles Bendig Richard Hingley Peter Hattan Ingrun Bencker Siobhan Murtagh Howard Jones Bazeli Mbo Aaron Duckmanton Katharine Guy Lance Boulet Crystele Trevisan Russell Johnson Jack Cammish Sharon Kuhl Richard Craig-McFeely Andreas Hilmer Kevin Salvidge Andrew Gray
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email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org. email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org. email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Simon.email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Claire.email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Mo@evertz.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Katharine.email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org. email@example.com Sharon.Kuhl@imaginecommunications.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
NA 11.D12 NA NA NA NA 2C30 NA 8E30 NA 1.B61 1D71 10.A25 NA 5.B23/7.B45 1A71 5B69 NA 11.D12/11.D20 8.C77 8.C60 NA N/A,D02 8.C61 NA 11.B33 12.D60 5.B61 7.C21 10.D29 NA 10.B44 NA NA 7C39 7.CO1 14.F06 NA 8B26 2.A10/2.A11/8.F09 14 MR H19 NA NA N/A.D01 NA 1.D31/1.F29 8.A96/8.B90 NA NA NA 12.B20 NA 8.D61 1.A29 14.D18 9.A01 14G22 1B20 2.C11 14.H07 1.D61 NA 8.B50 11.A33 5.B52
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
SponsorIndex SVG EUROPE SPONSOR LiveLike LiveU Masstech Matrox MediaKind Media Links Mobile Viewpoint Motion Impossible MOVICOM MRMC (Mark Roberts Motion Control) NativeWaves NCAM NEP Connect NEP Group Net Insight Nevion NTT Electronics Open Broadcast Systems Ostmodern Panasonic Broadcast Pixellot Playbox Technology Qvest Media RaceTech Reality Check Systems (RCS) REDBEE Riedel Ross Video RT Software SeaChange International Signiant Skyline Communications Skyline Television slomo.tv Solo Satellite Communications Sony SOS Global Sportradar Streamstar Supponor Synamedia TATA Communications TEAM Technology Advantage Tedial Telegenic Telestream Telstra The Collectv The Switch The Telos Alliance Timeline Television TSL Products TVN Mobile Production TVU Networks Tyrell UI Centric uniqFEED Verizon Digital Media Services VideoSys Broadcast Vidi Vislink Vizrt Wildmoka XD Motion Zixi
139 77 141 79 19 141 21 143 143 81 81 83 – 23 83 85 – 86 87 87 145 145 89 147 149 89 91 25 91 – 93 151 153 151 153 27 29 31 93 95 155 35 – – 97 155 99 99 157 101 157 103 109 159 109 111 161 161 111 163 113 113 115 115 117 163
OB/SI/Other Gold OB/SI/Other Gold Platinum OB/SI/Other Platinum OB/SI/Other OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Gold Gold Platinum Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other OB/SI/Other Gold OB/SI/ Other OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Platinum Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other OB/SI/Other OB/SI/ Other OB/SI/Other Platinum Platinum Platinum Gold Gold OB/SI/Other Platinum OB/SI/Other OB/SI/Other Gold OB/SI/Other Gold Gold OB/SI/Other Gold OB/SI/Other Gold Gold OB/SI/Other Gold Gold OB/SI/Other OB/SI/Other Gold OB/SI/Other Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold OB/SI/Other
SportTechJOURNAL AUTUMN 2019
Fabrice Lorenceau 1 862 283 9611 Ronen Artman +972 9 763 2414 Nik Forman + 44 7866 794472 Donald Sievewright 07721 862556 Murray Barker +33 784548898 Gill Payne +44 1252 622605 Charlotte van Hertum +31 7270 00502 Rob Drewett +44 1454 501010 Kseniya Shablinskaya + 79671150877 Assaff Rawner +44 1342 838000 Venkat Venkateshwar +43 6607740782 Dawn Bochenski +44 7887627764 Donna Palumbo +44 01908 865554 Brian Clark +44 7824 563146 Mari Fogelberg +46 735148503 Oliver Suard +44 7799 903130 Marco Fabi +39 249 537430 Kieran Kunhya +44 20 3051 1695 Stuart Ferreira-Cole + 44 203 215 0041 Sivashanka Kuppusamy +49 1736282693 Yossi Tarablus +972 (0)52 289 0297 Maya Ash 00359 888988650 Bjoern Korb + 49 221 9156597 Kate Hills + 44 781 3947201 Mike Ward +44 7799 660792 Silvia Botella + 34 689917616 Christian Bockskopf +49 (202) 292 9516 Stuart Russell +44 7827019494 Mike Fredriksen +44 207 1688820 Christoph Klimmer + 31 625230876 Jon Finegold +1 781 3126786 Thomas Gunkel +3251313569 Robert Kis +491703733777 Kate Krivitskaya +1 3102858190 Keith Marshall 44 07836 333763 David MacIntosh +34 626282729 Fernando Soler +49 40 611 6407 11 Jamie Barr + 20 3868 6772 Kevin Fitzgerald +44 7484851266 David Patton + 44 20 8992 1550 Christelle Gental +44 788 1914289 Shakti Shivam +91 9892 765721 Hannah Aitchinson + 41 413681818 Patrick Roache Claudine Cecille +33 607865552 Eamonn Curtin +44 1494 557406 George Boath +44 1604764715 Ana Lockwood +612 2986 63643 Chris Sarson +44 20 3375 8532 Jessica Mintz +1 310 339 4017 Martin Dyster 07900 584066 Charlotte Wearden +44 8450 944 445 Chris Exelby +44 1628 564610 Markus Osthaus +49 (511) 12123705 Yoni Tayar +34 936317566 Dan Muchmore 07852 545868 Moe Hamdhaidari 0207 488 2830 Lukas Gysin +41 792197492 Darren Lepke 424 220 0468 Colin Tomlin + 44 1293 541200 Robert Oszvald +44 6151 9385 25 Emily Fox +44 7802 392669 Mark Gedderman +47 5523 0025 Christophe Danglot 0033 650437372 Benoit Dentan 33 130660534 Keara McCarthy +1 877 4949426
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Remote production and road warriors: which way forward? BY KEN KERSCHBAUMER Executive Director, Editorial Services, Sports Video Group
he hottest topic in sports production continues to be the move to remote production. More and more channels,leagues and OB providers are making use of fibre connectivity to keep personnel back home, a move that cuts costs, the size of the compound, and may ultimately be the key to the future of the industry. The biggest effort to date was this past winter when SVT, Sweden’s national broadcaster, produced the FIS Alpine World Cup held in Åre, Sweden, approximately 450 miles north of Stockholm. It wasn’t that long ago when that effort would have required hundreds of production and engineering personnel to be on site. But instead two Telia 100 Gbps circuits were used to transport all camera and audio signals (approximately 80) from the course to SVT’s production centre in Stockholm. The effort took advantage of equipment SVT already owned in its production centre but also allowed those working on the project to live at home and commute to the office rather than staying in a hotel or house rental in Åre. More and more this philosophy is going to become the norm, especially for large multiday or week events. And it is also going to significantly change the culture of a sports production community that has, for decades, proudly been an industry built on road warriors who embrace a career that includes a steady diet of travel. When we reported on SVT’s efforts Adde Granberg, SVT, director of technology, CTO, laid clear how new ways of working will impact the lives of those who work in the sports production industry. “It definitely changes the work routines of a lot of people, but it doesn’t change anything negatively for the viewer. I’ve had 168
the pleasure of travelling around the world to work with big events since 1993. But how much is all that personal satisfaction worth when the viewers get nothing in return for the additional expense and environmental impact?” Much of the discussion around these efforts has focused on how it is done technically but we are just at the beginning of understanding what it will mean for those who are attracted to a career in sports production. The grind of life on the road is attractive to some but there are also plenty of people who have not become part of the industry because of the demands of travel. And the attractiveness of this way of working isn’t just for those events that require a long flight. NEP’s Andrews Hubs in Sydney and Melbourne have been up and running for a year and many of the productions that are produced at those two locations are of events that are within a relatively short drive for the crew. Logic would say that the crews would prefer, if possible, to head out to the stadium but the feedback has been the opposite. They have embraced calling the Hub home as it means avoiding the traffic and logistic issues everyone faces when heading to a sports venue on game day. Will this new way of producing live sports events make a career in the industry more attractive? One can only hope so as the industry is facing a looming global crisis of finding qualified engineering and production talent willing to step up to the challenge of a career in live sports production. Yes, there are plenty of road warriors today who can credit life on the road as something that has saved their personal relationships. But in a world where younger workers are looking for a healthy work/life balance, embracing new remote production methods may do more than just save money: it may save the industry.
PUBLISHED BY SPORTS VIDEO GROUP
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