4K looking unlikely for XX Commonwealth Games

The host broadcaster for next July’s XX Commonwealth Games says it has received no interest in even an Ultra-HD test recording at the event. Sunset+Vine chairman Jeff Foulser remarks: “We’ve not been asked to do anything in 4K or 3D for the Games [for which the BBC is the domestic UK rightsholder] and in TV terms we’re not very far away now. Once we get to January we expect everything to be nailed watertight.”

Nor is S+V experimenting with Ultra-HD for BT Sport, though Foulser says the indie is ready to go at a moment’s notice.

“4K is much more transformational a viewing experience than 3D, certainly as a mainstream way of looking at sports, but there’s no call from our clients to look into it just yet,” he said. “It’s an expensive thing to do, but if a rightsholder such as the Commonwealth Games wanted it, then we’d be able to put it together.”

Sunset+Vine, owned by Llanelli, Wales-based producer and distributor Tinopolis, has doubled its staff to over 120 in preparation for the Games, and to cater for the £100 million three year deal it won last December as production partner to BT Sport.

The production outfit has contracted 18 trucks, three smaller units and two large fly-packs for the Games, split among the main UK OB suppliers, and will produce up to 34 live feeds from 17 events plus the opening and closing ceremonies.

Experienced from its work for Channel 4 during the broadcaster’s coverage of the 2012 Paralympic Games, the event marks Sunset+Vine’s largest event as host broadcaster. It is teamed with Australia’s Global Television, which will provide the technical solution, including the build and running of the IBC.

“We’ve had a team in Glasgow for 18 months and we’ve a good relationship with the organising committee,” he said. “If you get really good directors, camera-operators and EVS operators familiar with the sport you will end up with a decent product. My feeling is that while the major international events are always covered well, there’s been a bit of a lack of creativity about them, a boilerplate template if you like, about moving from one event to the next. We’ve put some thought into how we can elevate this and hope our coverage will be seen as taking it on a bit from previous Commonwealth Games.”

The fallout from SIS Live’s decision to abandon OB facilities is still being worked through. S+V has to find homes for the work it had apportioned to SIS for the Commonwealth Games, while the BBC has yet to allocate sports tenders including The Open Golf Championship, and the Olympics.

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