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Orange details ‘highly complex’ operation behind Olympics’ live feeds

For the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, almost 500 cameras will be used (compared to the usual 60)

Orange has revealed further details of its Olympic coverage technology.

As the Olympic Broadcasting Service’s (OBS) sole service provider, Orange will be responsible for delivering live coverage of events from all 35 competition venues across France and its territories to the OBS International Broadcast Centre (IBC) at Le Bourget, near Paris.

Pierre-Louis de Guillebon, CEO of Orange Events explained the magnitude of the task ahead. Nearly 4 billion viewers are expected to watch the Games around the world, making the need for network resilience paramount. “We have to anticipate all scenarios,” said de Guillebon. “From fibre outages to attacks or climate crises. It is a highly complex operation due to the volume of data involved in transmitting several tens of thousands of hours of broadcasting, and the requirement for precise synchronisation, to the second.”

More cameras will be deployed than at any previous Olympics. For the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, almost 500 cameras will be used (compared to the usual 60). 200 will be on board ships and boats which will form a procession along the Seine. In Marseille, where kite surfing events will take place, cameras on the athlete’s equipment will provide immersive footage from the water.

A new private 5G network has been deployed for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Marseille Marina, the Stade de France, Bercy and Arena 92, said de Guillebon. This aims to enable feeds to be transmitted from a large number of cameras without affecting the public network and also serves dash/body cams.

Additionally, a 4G “push-to-talk” function enables organisers to use mobile phones as walkie-talkies over a priority 4G network, with the ability to send messages and videos. Around 13,000 devices will be available within the IBC.