News Production & Post

Sky broadcasts UK’s first Ultra HD football match

3 September 2013
Sky broadcasts UK’s first Ultra HD football match

This weekend Sky’s R&D teams successfully broadcast the UK’s first live event shot in Ultra HD. Saturday’s 3pm match between West Ham and Stoke City at Upton Park was transmitted over satellite in UHD and directed live, produced and edited by Sky’s in-house football production and broadcast operations teams.

The broadcast employed four Sony F55 UHD cameras, complemented by two UHD EVS servers for replay and graphics. The production operated out of an OB truck purpose-built in conjunction with Sony and Telegenic. The match was encoded as four synchronous full HD feeds by Ericsson over a Eutelsat transponder to Sky’s Isleworth headquarters then played out on a Sony 84-inch Ultra HD TV– a display which currently retails for £25,000.

Ultra HD (2160×3840) has four times the resolution of current HD at 50 fps – twice HD’s rate of 25fps.

Barney Francis, managing director Sky Sports, said on his blog, “Unlike our early efforts at Arsenal, this was a fully-fledged live production, with multiple cameras and a full outside broadcast…Prior to this, UHD sports broadcasts had either been recorded and played back ‘as live’, or distributed over closed-circuit networks, so this was real progress."

“We saw enough in this test event to know that live sport in UHD has real potential,”  Francis continued, “The broadcast also demonstrated the capability of our satellite platform, which is ideally placed to continue supporting high-bandwidth video. That said, we’ve still much more to learn, particularly about how to make full use of UHD from a live production perspective. “

Sky Sports will talk more about its strategies for making richer, more dynamic sport content in the opening session of next week’s IBC conference, Bread and Circuses (and Lots of Screens): Broadcasting Sport Mega-events. Martin Turner, Sky’s head of F1, will represent Sky Sports on the panel, alongside Luc Doneaux of EVS, Francis Tellier of HBS, and Ben Gallop of the BBC, to discuss the relentless drive to make sport broadcasting bigger, better and more immersive. The session takes place at 8am on Thursday, 12 September and will be moderated by sports journalist Ross Biddiscombe.

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