IMG Sports Media tackles the Rugby World Cup
The build up to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand has hardly been a smooth one. Stories of poor ticket sales dog the tournament, the 3D capture was canned a month ago, and it even lost one of its main venues after the devastation of the Christchurch earthquake back in February. One thing is certain though: with five host broadcasters, another 40 taking the world feed, and a projected audience of 4bn people, televisually its impact is going to be huge.
That said, it’s a slow burner, is the RWC. Rugby is very much a contact sports (the famous quip states “I went to watch a fight and a game of rugby broke out”) and as a result the tournament is spread fairly languorously over a six week period to give the players time to recover between matches. As a result, and with NZ being a fairly compact country, its OB schedule isn’t quite the logistical nightmare of other recent, high profile tournaments. There are still challenges, however.
“The Cook Straight provides quite a barrier between the two islands, and you don’t really want to be moving trucks between the two because it’s such an expensive body of water to cross,” comments David Shield, Director of Engineering & Technology at IMG Sports Media who is facilitating the host broadcast for Sky NZ. “In fact, when we first started looking at it five years ago there was a suggestion that it would be cheaper to move trucks from Australia and back than between the islands.”
Australia’s On-Site Broadcasting (OSB) which has been handling Sky NZ’s rugby coverage for some years now, is providing six HD trucks that will shuttle round the dozen venues for the tournament. All matches are being captured in HD and 5.1, with stadia spec starting at 13x cameras with 2x super slo-mo units, and peaking at 24-camera coverage with 4x super slo-mo. Skycam is also going to be used at Auckland’s Eden Park the organisers also promise the use of changing room cameras for the first time at a Rugby World Cup (providing, that is, the coaches agree to it first).