Inside the game: Sky Sports at the US Open
What’s the story? Rory glory! While the United States Golf Association makes a US Open world feed available to broadcasters from around the globe, Sky Sports brings over a crew of 65 to make sure that audiences in Europe see what they really want to see: European golfers in action.
“Europeans want to see a more European slant and with Rory at the top they want to see Rory [McIlroy] and the rest of the Europeans play,” said Dave Culmer, Sky Sports, production manager for golf. “So we will take the American camera feeds [from NBC and ESPN] and add in some camera feeds of our own as we follow around Europeans and slot in shots our audience otherwise wouldn’t see.”
Sky TV operated out of an OB unit from Corplex, a US OB operator, called Iridium. It features a Grass Valley Kalypso vision mixer, 10 EVS XT  six-channel servers, a Calrec Sigma audio mixer, and Sony HDC-150 cameras. Chyron Duet systems are providing graphics. Sky is also relying on the Grass Valley Edius editing system and Panasonic P2 cameras for edited pieces.
“We try and keep abreast of technology and we are one of the first to go with Edius and P2,” added Culmer. “We have two full blown Edius edit stations on site where we can create an overnight cut and also the show opener. Then during the day we go out and shoot mini features.”
Given the stunning and historical dominance of McIlroy as he won his first of what will no doubt be many majors, there was no lack of coverage by the NBC Sports production team that was responsible for tee-to-green coverage. So Sky’s camera coverage, which included one camera in a tower at the ninth hole, three RF cameras, two cameras in a studio booth, and an Arri Super Slo-Mo camera from Fletcher Chicago, focused on enhancing that coverage and bringing Sky viewers closer to their favorite golfers.
“We get a bit of art and close ups that offer a bit of a reaction,” said Culmer.
The only thing that seemed to be missing from a Sky perspective was some 3D coverage as the network delivered the Ryder Cup in 3D last year and the Masters in 3D this year. Culmer said that Sky is looking at doing the Ryder Cup in 3D next year when it is held in Chicago.
“3D is up and coming,” said Culmer. “With 3D viewers can feel like they are sitting right on the edge of the green.”
The challenge, he added, remains a complex mix of not only monetising 3D productions but all sorting out the equipment as in the UK there are only two 3D Telegenic units (with a third on the way).
So, for now the emphasis remains on the European players who are providing compelling stories week after week and major after major, stories that make it easy for the Sky TV team.
“Rory and a lot of the Europeans are riding high in the world rankings and that makes the programme more complete,” says Culmer.