Inside the game: editing the World Cup

Frankfurt: HBS is capturing all the matches from the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1080i50 and stereo. At the group stages, 55 broadcasters were taking a live feed, with more coming on board every day as the Cup progressed, while 29 were taking a 24 minute highlights package which goes out on the world feed 90 minutes after the game. For now that’s being put together on Final Cut Pro, but the rather underwhelming launch of FCP X might be putting paid to that in the future.

Two systems are installed at HBS House, as, like tonight, HBS needs the ability to work on two matches at once (while Brazil entertain Equatorial Guinea in Frankfurt, Norway vs Austria is also underway over in Leverkusen). The main feed comes in from the venues on fibre with satellite back-up, the live feeds are ingested into a Mac Pro with two capture cards, and the editors get going. According to consultant Brian Cutts, Edit Support Engineer on site, the 24min programme will normally be done 40 minutes or so after the final whistle.

“Double headers are complex, though, particularly for the highlights” he says. “A lot of the super slo-mo ISOs come down post match and at the same time we’ve got to set up for the next match, so there’s a bit of an overlap and we have to use good old fashioned tape technology to cover that.”

HBS is also running some testing of some new, under the radar, technology developments for delivering content to mobile during the tournament. “The idea is that we’ll take the data feed that comes in from Deltatre, detect events such as goals etcetera, and we’ll put together a production – say a thirty second edit of the goal, graphics, plus multiple voiceovers – and push that out to a portal where it can be collected by mobile networks.”

It will be interesting to see how that develops between now and Rio 2014, as will the question of what will of what editing platform will be in use. Mention the slightly vexatious subject of Final Cut Pro X to Cutts, and you have the same unhappy grimace that has been recreated virtually in forums up and down the internet.

“I can understand that Apple wants to bring a new version out, I understand when they say it’s not finished, but there are lots of things missing from it that professionals also need,” says Cutts. “Why oh why did they stop making Final Cut Pro 7 available when they launched it?

“As it stands, for the next World Cup we’re having to look at alternatives.”


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