EHF Final4: First-of-its-kind multi-platform experience to be a celebration of handball

The EHF Final4 2024 event is set to take place from 8-9 June at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany.

Thanks to a combination of live television content and vertical live content captured exclusively for social media, the production is set to be the first of its kind.

SVG Europe’s Patrick McCumiskey sat down with Miguel Mateo, director content & media operations, and Clemens Martinek, content strategy & marketing, at host broadcaster EHF Marketing to learn more about this historic event production.

An industry first

This season’s EHF Final4 will be one to remember – not just for fans viewing in the 20,000-seat capacity Lanxess Arena, but also for the millions of handball fans worldwide tuning in from across 80 countries.

In a handball first, fans viewing at home will be able to enjoy the event via a second screen experience complementary to the TV production, with a vertical live show produced by Spontent to be broadcast on Instagram and YouTube.

“2024’s TruckScout24 EHF Final4 is not just a television event, it’s a multi-platform celebration of handball,” comments Mateo.

Putting the fans at the heart of the game, EHF Marketing is embracing the possibilities of merging traditional and vertical formats to engage fans on various platforms. In doing so, it’s bringing a whole new viewing experience to the EHF Final4.

TV coverage

Forming the basis of the television coverage are 32 Grass Valley LDX 96 cameras with Canon and Fujinon lenses, supplied by TV Skyline.

Twenty-three cameras positioned in and around the arena will provide all possible viewing angles of the action. This includes two Sony FX3 and Sony FX6 cinematographic cameras, which will bring shots of the matches to the spectators at home.

Also included in the set up are four super slow-motion, one high-speed and one cable camera, which will be utilised to offer dynamic shots and unparalleled detail of the action on court. An additional seven cameras will secure further visual details of the event for post-production material, amounting to around 2.5TB and around 10,000 individual content captures.

Forming the backbone of the audio setup will be a Lawo mc256 mixing desk, boasting 480 DSP channels integrated with a Waves SoundGrid Extreme server. Riedel’s Artist digital matrix and stageboxes will ensure seamless routing and connectivity, while 28 MADI ports will ensure compatibility with various digital audio sources. This powerful system, complemented by Dynaudio and K+H monitoring and Wohler audio control, will faithfully capture the event’s atmosphere for the audience.

A multi-platform experience

The production will introduce three vertical production cameras capturing visual content exclusively for Instagram live and YouTube live. With this step, Mateo and Martinek hope to put fans at the centre of the action with a fresh perspective specifically designed for social media viewing.

Instead of adapting traditional captured content for vertical, these matches will be filmed entirely with vertical cameras, thus offering a unique, dynamic – and perhaps even totally raw – view of the event.

“By embracing the vertical format, both for match production and as a digital second screen, we’re entering uncharted production territories. But in doing so, we’re putting handball at the forefront of the sports content revolution. And that is very exciting!”

According to Martinek, this innovative approach is about gauging the potential of vertical production for future events, bringing handball directly to fans on the platforms they use most.

“By embracing the vertical format, both for match production and as a digital second screen, we’re entering uncharted production territories,” comments Martinek. “But in doing so, we’re putting handball at the forefront of the sports content revolution. And that is very exciting!”

The possibilities of the vertical content will enable the production team to add extra footage of sideline action, interviews and spontaneous action to the highlights of the event, thus unlocking additional visual perspectives for fans.

Live commentary

Chris O’Reilly will once again provide insightful commentary of the event, adding another layer of storytelling to the production.

As has been the case with previous EHF Final4 events, it’s expected that O’Reilly’s live commentary will serve as a compass for the visual editors working the cameras on the fly.

With the added flexibility and spontaneity of the vertical cameras, the production team is expecting to incorporate additional visual possibilities to further underline O’Reilly’s engaging narrative.

Thanks to EHF Marketing’s production plan, viewers can be assured that they will be transported to the heart of the action, experiencing every goal, every save and every ounce of passion with unparalleled depth.

“With our combination of traditional and vertical content, we’re hopeful that all fans viewing from home will be able to watch the right content, at the right moment and on the right screen,” concludes Mateo.

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