to launch with low cost production tech

UK: A combined effort between Input Media, Kameleon, Telegraph Media Group (TMG) and Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI), the platform plans to stream 1400 hours of live coverage over IP every year from September.

“The idea is that there are a lot of sports that people play in the UK that don’t get extensive television coverage,” comments David Wood, executive chairman at Input Media which will function as’s production arm. “The main sports – football, rugby, cricket – are seen extensively on the subscription platforms and the free to air channels, but the minority sports – while getting some pre-Olympic exposure – have historically got much less exposure.

“We felt that with a low cost IPTV solution we could service these people and these sports.”

The channel will be sponsorship-funded and free to air and across various portals.

“If it’s outdoor then we will be using a small, low-cost OB van,” explains Wood. “For indoor events, such as basketball, then we’re testing the Hego OB1 technology that allows us to generate multiple camera angles from a single array. We think that could sit really well within stadium-based sports, and we’re working with Hego now to add our production experience to their technical knowledge.”

The Hego OB1 made a bit of a splash at IBC last year, not least because the company ran a beach volleyball tournament to showcase its capabilities. Such gimmickry wasn’t that necessary, however, as it’s a powerful and potentially very useful unit that combines images from six independent and fixed position HD cameras to create a live panoramic video image. Within this view, an operator can translate and re-size a box to mimic or emulate the physical pan, tilt and zoom functions of a single physical camera. Do that several times and you end up with a multi-camera production from a single unit.

According to Wood, testing last week led to several ‘lightbulb moments’ that should go a long way to making the OB1 production hardened. He also points out, however, that the venture is not all necessarily going to be produced on a budget.

“Of course if an event has an event sponsor that wants to improve the quality of the coverage, then we’ll put in a full-sized OB. [At Input Media] we’re used to working in the high-end of the market producing HD coverage for both UK and international broadcasters,” he says.

Currently, Wood says that he is talking to one supplier that might be putting together a unit that will help them with uplinks as well. A media player and partner for the platform is being finalised over the summer, and they’re also looking carefully at remote production systems that will see them streaming MPEG-4 footage back to their HQ, before mixing and then streaming them out.

“What we’re trying to do is apply our editorial and production expertise to exploit the new technology and low cost solutions that will make this work as an offering.”

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