Italy’s EBD discusses the sports graphics and content production ‘circle’
EBD (European Broadcasting Development) is a holding company whose business was established in 1996 with a focus on sports graphics. In 2005, the structure was reshaped to adopt its present ‘Circle of Business’ formation encompassing specific operations for content production, content management, content aggregation and content delivery.
Renato Pizzamiglio, one of the three partners, remarks: “The great explosion of the information technology over the last 7/8 years made us think and invest in dedicated software platforms to meet any need of the broadcast production world.”
As mentioned, there are four key areas: content production, content aggregation, content management and content delivery. For each of these broad areas EBD provides a specialised company able to provide concrete answers.
For content creation Emmevi & Partners was founded in 1996 and deals with sports graphics; Clonverk also handles graphics but in the entertainment market, as well as data management. Virtual Solutions (ViSo) takes care of the virtual productions, while DNG – which was acquired in 2012 – is in effect a news agency that prepares and sells news where needed.
Pizzamiglio notes: “In addition to DNG, through an agreement with a company in Naples, Rewind, which owns several OB vans, some operating up to 10 cameras, we are now able to make a full production delivery. In practice, our group is unique and we can give all the answers to these markets in terms of content production.”
At the level of aggregation and content management, Microplus is the internal software house that creates convergence between systems and has a great awareness of all stages of collection and processing of data. It deals with all the software platforms as well as the necessary interfaces to existing instruments, such as transponders placed on racing bikes, automotive wiring circuits for timing systems, and so on.
In the segment of delivery the company owns approximately 60% of SIES (formerly Elettronica Industriale) which manufactures transmitters and radio links, and the other company Digiten, which is responsible for managing the transmission sites.
The core of EBD is the sports graphics specialist associate company, Emmevi. Here graphics equates to a deep knowledge of the medium. We are talking here about the dynamics of the game and the continual fine-tuning of the mechanism of production.
All software is proprietary and investment in R&D is substantial. In-house software development takes care of real-time data updates, live 3D graphics and virtual ads, remote titling services, highlights service, Instant replay and virtual linesman.
All Emmevi packages point to a database that can, for example, provide the list of participants in a discipline, categories, statistics and suchlike.
Of the utmost importance is data recovery and its management; for example, in a diving competition, all handheld touchscreens provided for the judges are enhanced by an application to retrieve all the relevant data at a given time. Emmevi was also among the first to use transponders on race bikes, which are essential for certification of success on the various stages.
EBD and Emmevi are also present in motor races where 1/1000º measurement second is crucial. A touchscreen monitor is in the hands of the journalist in the tribunes and acquires all the information needed in real-time to produce a story.
In any sports competitions the organiser or broadcaster asks to study a graphic set of elements which Emmevi creates in titles, backgrounds, captions, time stamps and so on in the style requested by the customer. The system operates in real-time 3D.