NFTS partners with HBS and EVS to boost sports production training opportunities

An EVS-devised simulator will be at the core of the new NFTS short course about sports production

An EVS-devised simulator will be at the core of the new NFTS short course about sports production

Based around a groundbreaking simulator, the new Live Sports Production with Live TV Simulator short course at the National Film and Television School is the result of a collaboration with HBS and EVS. Based at Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, UK, the NFTS is consistently ranked as one of the world’s leading film schools.

Due to run from 22-28 September, the Live Sports Production with Live TV Simulator programme incorporates both theoretical and practical learning. It will be led by a series of experienced professionals who have worked on major sporting events around the world.

Dr. Jon Wardle, NFTS deputy director, tells SVG Europe that “over the last few years we have added a number of new buildings and re-equipped our TV studio as 4K- and IP-enabled. This [expanded platform] has allowed us to increase the breadth of the courses that the school offers.”

But it’s certainly not a numbers game as the emphasis is on “getting the best 8-12 people” on each course. “We want to produce people of real quality who the industry will lap up,” notes Wardle.

Having recognised that sports production was not just an area in which a serious skills crisis was looming, but also one that was currently somewhat underserved by UK broadcast colleges, the NFTS launched a dedicated Diploma in Sports Production in early 2016. Delivered in partnership with IMG, the diploma is designed to equip students with the editorial skills required to produce sports and live events coverage, highlights content and other material.

(From left to right): Jon Wardle, NFTS Deputy Director; Tom Lewis, NFTS Sports Production Diploma Leader; and Lise Cosimi-Breant, Director Broadcast Academy.

(From left to right): Jon Wardle, NFTS Deputy Director; Tom Lewis, NFTS Sports Production Diploma Leader; and Lise Cosimi-Breant, Director Broadcast Academy.

That course – which includes a four-week placement at IMG and will yield a permanent job there for one candidate upon graduation – is very much ongoing, with applications currently being invited for the January 2018 intake. “Last year we had eight students on the course and all of them are now in work at IMG, BBC Sport, etc,” says Wardle.

Collaboration with HBS

Having heard about the success of the course, a team from the HBS Broadcast Academy – the training arm of the host broadcaster of the FIFA World Cup, among other global sports events – “came to see us” about the possibility of cooperation around new course offerings.

The first publicised fruition of this collaboration is the Live Sports Production with Live TV Simulator course. “I think that the combination of the HBS and NFTS brands will be very attractive to [potential students] both in the UK and overseas,” says Wardle.

Explaining the impetus to collaborate with the NFTS, among other training providers, HBS Broadcast Academy director Lise Cosimi-Breant remarks that the organisation “has the experience of working with talented broadcasting professionals from all around the world and finds that the biggest challenge that faces the industry is not talent but education and exposure. HBS is committed to leaving a broadcast legacy in markets where they operate and therefore took on the commitment to the academy.

“The course with NFTS is a result of a number of enquiries from broadcasting professionals from all across the world requesting practical and relevant training. Our courses will support skills development that will result in an improved quality of sports production, and a higher engagement with the audience, benefiting sports, sports federations and broadcasters.”

EVS multi-configuration simulator

At the heart of the latest short course is an innovative simulator installation that represents a further continuation of HBS’ long-running collaboration with EVS. As Nicolas Bourdon, SVP marketing of EVS, explains, it is one that is underpinned by a shared commitment to increasing educational opportunities.

“The relationship between HBS and EVS began in 1998,” says Bourdon. “It goes far beyond a traditional customer-vendor relationship; we can really talk about a partnership. Both companies have worked hand-in-hand for almost 20 years, and both companies place a lot of importance on the skills development of people working in the live production segment. EVS offers basic and advanced user-training programmes from 15 different training facilities across the globe to hundreds of individuals each year. [In addition] HBS introduced the Broadcast Academy programme following the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Nicolas Bourdon, SVP marketing of EVS

Nicolas Bourdon, SVP marketing of EVS

“Last year we thought it would make perfect sense to combine our efforts, which has led to this new programme. The objective is simple: we aim to continuously develop the skills and expertise of engineers, operators and directors working in live production, so that they can take advantage of the latest technology and improve production standards.”

The simulator provided by EVS for the NFTS course comprises “two XT3 production servers, LSM remote control panels for replay and highlights production, IPDirector for content management, as well as a switcher, audio panel and multiviewer system. The system offers multiple configurations. For instance, one of the servers is preloaded with a multicam match so that those using the system can reproduce the live coverage and compare results. However, the system can also be integrated to the existing production infrastructure of a customer, offering participants the ability to produce their own event. This flexibility is a unique asset for the training programme.”

Looking into the future, Bourdon confirms that EVS and HBS are “discussing multiple ways to develop our collaboration, together with universities and associations around the globe.” The two organisations are also assessing “the possibility of developing new live simulators based on IP infrastructure to prepare participants for that transition to live IP workflows.”

Back at the NFTS, Wardle and team are also gearing up to launch short courses in LSM – XT Basic Operational Training and Sports Commentary. For more information, please visit

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