Euro 2024: The story behind ITV Sport’s presentation set in Berlin and how graphics and data will be used during the tournament

“It’s all real,” divulges ITV Sport executive director and producer Paul McNamara chatting to SVG Europe about the UK public service broadcaster’s presentation studio set in Berlin for UEFA Euro 2024.

“We looked at AR [augmented reality] but having done quite a lot of AR with our studio hub back in the UK and having used AR for Moscow [World Cup 2018] and Qatar [World Cup 2022], this time it was a double whammy: the cost was crucial. We have to hit a budget, and budgets are tight at the moment. But we also thought ‘We’ve got a beautiful setting’. As a director, I can do as much with LED screens as I can with AR. So, we decided to let the background and the foreground do the talking without over-cluttering it. It was both a financial decision and an editorial decision.”

There are actually two presentation positions available for the ITV Sport production team. One on a balcony on the top floor of the Academy of Arts in Berlin’s Pariser Platz, and another in the BMS (Broadcast Media Solutions) temporary studio complex opposite the Brandenburg Gate. The presentation set on the 4th floor is the one that will be used the most.

“We decided to let the background and the foreground do the talking without over-cluttering it. It was both a financial decision and an editorial decision.”

“It’s a lovely big space which shoots side-on to the gate itself,” explains McNamara. “We have put a big screen at the back and a profile screen on the other side. This allows me to run VTs on one screen and put player profiles in, on the other which we’ve formatted in portrait.


Read more about ITV Sport’s Euro 2024 production here: Euro 2024: ITV Sport opts for a ‘reverse remote’ production workflow with sustainability at its core


“We’ve got four cameras up on the balcony and a big jib that can come off a rolling base and hang over the square and do some links from there and pull back into the studio. We position the guests against the gate because the majority of the time they’re the ones speaking and we’re able, because of our angle onto the Gate, to get a really nice single shot of Guest 1 and Guest 2. And then we can add a beautiful image on the screen of the European Championship trophy for Guest 3. We shoot the presenter, which is either Mark Pougatch or Laura Woods, on the wide. That camera can also go into a tight shot. You get a really lovely background for them which includes a local parliament building.

Paul McNamara (left): When the sun’s beginning to go down, it flares into the camera in the most beautiful way. You’d have to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to recreate that natural beauty using technology!

“If you’ve got the square flush on,” he continues,” the single shots on the left and right are always going to be into the very dark buildings, which is something we were trying to avoid. We’re lucky that the light, especially around 8pm or 9pm, when the sun’s beginning to go down, it sort of flares into the camera, in the most beautiful way. You’d have to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to recreate that natural beauty using technology! It’s feature film-esque. And then, in the evening, the Gate lights up as well. And it complements the foreground beautifully.”

The presentation space has a roof that allows the presenters to broadcast, pretty much, all the time.

“It does get very hot in that sun,” says McNamara. “I wouldn’t want to leave the presenters and pundits without a roof. So, they’re covered by the natural existing roof that is there.”

If the weather turns inclement, the second presentation space can be used.

“The downstairs studio is behind glass,” he says. “I don’t know how much we’ll use it. You have the problems of cross-shooting. You can only ever get the beautiful shot on the wide. The cross shots of the presenter, and the guests are a bit dark. And you can’t start asking to light Embassy buildings! But the space is there as our backup if we get a thunderstorm or heavy rain.”

Choosing between the two is quite straightforward, says McNamara.

“The roof space feels much richer and there’s much more detail. The floor is laid down. It’s beautiful. We can light that. The background is stunning. We’ve got lovely LED lights everywhere to enhance it. It looks rich and beautiful, and the screens have come up well. There’s much more variety of shots to take.”

Graphics and data


Creatively, everything that ITV viewers see on screen is based on a fairytale theme (click the video above to see it in action).

“All the creative synergy comes from the title sequence,” McNamara says. “We’ve done a set of titles based on fairy tales, and the Brothers Grimm. The music is based on The NeverEnding Story. That artwork transfers into the set, onto the big screens and into the graphics which have a magical vine feel in the way they animate.

“All of the wipes are centred around that too, as are all the moving backgrounds. So it’s all laid out to follow a path from the titles.

“The bumpers are bespoke to each team. If Spain is playing Italy, for example, we have a bumper with the Spanish flags on the way out, and the Italy flags on the way in.”

“The pundits are constantly talking to the graphics and EVS analysis operators back in London to get exactly what they want. It’s all fairly instant, even though the operators are in UK. They’re building analysis as the match goes on.”

Analysis will be done using Ross Video’s Piero.

“It’s fairly standard with analysis,” adds technical director Tony Cahalane. “We have the ability to play analysis clips to the green room monitors for the talent team during the match and then when they step on the set, we can review them on air on the large LED screen. We also have quite a nice close-up link position in front of it as the screen is very fine pitch. The pundits are constantly talking to the graphics and EVS analysis operators back in London to get exactly what they want. It’s all fairly instant, even though the operators are in UK. They’re building analysis as the match goes on.”

UEFA are providing some useful data, among other things, too, concludes McNamara.

“We are taking the World Data Feed that includes the possession, the passes, the corners, the territory gains, the tackles. We use that in the half-time bug. That’s how we get that data across. UEFA are pretty progressive. Their services are good.

“As well as the match feeds, we have access to 14 ISO feeds per match that provide team arrivals, Manager Cam pictures and we’ve got constant wide angles we can use for graphics, or put on our LED screen. They also provide cut editorial pieces on certain players that are quite innovative.”

ITV Sport’s coverage of UEFA Euro 2024 continues on ITV, ITVX, STV and STV Player until (and including) the Final on 14 July.

 

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