Football Summit: Ten-match 8K production planned for FIFA Women’s World Cup

During the wrap-up session at SVG Europe’s Barcelona football production event Stefan-Eric Wildemann, Manager Sales and Distribution FIFA TV, announced that “on the back of the very successful collaboration with NHK for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, NHK will produce ten matches in 8K for the Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada. It’s going to be a six-camera production in three venues, and obviously the final is part of that, plus the Japan matches.

“NKH will then transfer the signal to two public viewings in the USA, in cooperation with the local media rights licensees, and there will be local streaming at the IBCC or elsewhere in Vancouver, along with some screening in Japan. The distribution of the signal will be done by NHK,” Wildemann confirmed.

In terms of the overall broadcast production plan for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada [already previewed exclusively for SVG by Editorial Director Ken Kershbaumer earlier this month click here for more], HBS Head of Production Dan Miodownik said, “It’s easily the second biggest production now, after the FIFA World Cup – it’s bigger than the Confederations Cup both in terms of scope of services but also in terms of interest from broadcasters, which is significantly larger than we expected coming out of 2011. The match production plan is, I would say, on a par with big matches at the domestic level, which indicates the interest in this competition.

“Canada is obviously a big country,” said Miodownkik,” and we’re struggling with both the geography and time zones. So the plan is to have six fixed OB vans; we’re getting those through Dome Productions who are the biggest producer in Canada. They rank fairly high even in North America, and when they put in a big truck it’s a big truck!

“In terms of specialty companies,” he continued, “Broadcast RF will do our RF solution; remote cameras will come from TV Skyline and Plazamedia — both of those worked with those in Brazil, as did Fletcher in relation to ultra motion. PMT will provide the Spidercam, and ACS Helicopters [will be involved] as and when we need them — the final decision on those games will be taken in the next month or so.

“But what this shows you is that we are starting to be able to use this event as a stepping stone, not just coming off the 2014 World Cup but we can also start thinking ahead to what we would want to be doing for the Confederations Cup and World Cup. That has an impact as well on things like digital services and where we’re going with UHD – whether it’s 4K, 8K or somewhere else,” he commented.

“It is important that you are offering more than just a match feed, and again that’s replicated here. A slight variation on what we’ve done in having a clips compilation, for Canada we have what’s called an Additional Content Channel (ACC). The idea of that is to output as much content as we possibly can – pre-match, post match and during the game – so that the broadcasters on-site can really take advantage as quickly as possible. That’s replicated by the high-end technical platform we need, both on the trucks at the venues and at the IBCC.

“On ENG content: again, another good step in the right direction from FIFA, putting in resources to gather content around the games,” said Miodownik. “Remember this is now a 24 team competition, with double-headers, so you’ve got a lot going on on Match Day Minus One. You’ve got even more going on on Match Day, with teams arriving while another match is taking place.

“Those ENG crews will be working like dogs, gathering content not just in and around the training camps at the hotels, but also on Match Day Minus One and then on Match Days mopping up as much content as possible. This content is cut down and sent back to the IBCC where it is then ingested on the Media Server.

“The ENG will be full HD. Everything will be logged. We will have a big post operation: in this case we’re going to go more for the cut-downs and not finished ‘craft’ product, though we will produce a little of that. Two types of service in terms of the Media Server access: at the IBCC you can access everything (as has been developed since 2006); and then there will be off-site access, which is news-type not match action,” said Miodownik.

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