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Pushing sports boundaries

Drones, biometrics, 4K cameras, multi-screen delivery… Key sporting events like the Winter Olympics in Sochi and the World Cup in Brazil have been driving technological innovation arguably more than any other content.

“We initially encourage the venue production team and the technical management team to be creative and not to talk about budgets”, said head of production at OBS, host broadcaster for the Olympic games Mark Wallace during ‘Major International sports events: producing for a global audience’, chaired by Ken Kerschbaumer, editorial director of Sports Video Group.

At Sochi that way of thinking led to flying drones above the Slope Style competition and installing up to 12 Alpine cable cameras to follow all the ski races. “The use of specialty cameras has dramatically increased since Vancouver,” confirmed Sotiris Salamouris, head of engineering and technological operations at OBS.

If the sky’s the limit for technological innovation, financial constraints remain an issue for the director
of the TV division of FIFA, Niclas Ericson: “We cannot take football money and pour it into technology – it has to make sense.”

But that did not stop Joerg Sander, director of World Cup host broadcaster HBS, and Sony head of live production Mark Grinyer from using 4K cameras to broadcast the event. “Football looks great with 4K, you get big expansive wide shots right into the home of the consumer,” said Grinyer.

The end result is, hopefully, that viewers, especially the younger ones, become more involved and engaged with what they are watching.