Sporting obsession: Sony Europe looks at how the moving image is allowing us to follow in our ancestors’ footsteps
By Norbert Paquet, head of live productions solutions, Sony Professional, Sony Europe
Sports productions are prehistoric.
This statement might surprise you but cave paintings found in the Lascaux caves in France seem to depict sprinting and wrestling in the Upper Paleolithic around 15,300 years ago.
Other examples exist of our prehistoric attempts to chronicle a sporting event. Neolithic rock art found at the cave of swimmers in Wadi Sura, near Gilf Kebit in Egypt shows evidence of swimming and archery being practiced around 10,000 BCE, while prehistoric caves in Japan have painting seem to depict the ancestor to sumo wrestling.
So how do we trace the story of telling sports stories all the way into 2022?
Ancient Egypt to Tokyo 2020
The ancient Egyptians had monuments depicting images of wrestling and most of us will be familiar with Greek vases depicting that super sports man, Hercules. Traces of ink and dye recounting epic moments in sports go far back, and in many ways images remain to this day the most compelling way of bringing to life a match, a game, or a fight. Images move us; they have the power to evoke our emotions and stoke our imagination, and create memories. Through our eyes, we create or transmit stories and that is a uniquely human trait.
Which is probably one of the reasons Sony is obsessed in many ways by the power of images and strives to create technologies that emulate ever more closely the engineering of our eyes, capturing and bringing stories to life.
2022 will mark 30 years since the first trials with slow motion cameras at the Summer Games in Barcelona. Slow motion and HD were transformative technologies, in the same way that introducing colour to images was, and paved the way to more emotional storytelling and non-linear workflows, which in turn set the scene for remote and distributed productions. 2021 saw Sony cameras – from stills to 4K – being used in across all games in the Tokyo delayed Olympics.
Remote and distributed production
2022 will see remote and distributed productions becoming the norm, with image enhancing technologies such as IP or HDR becoming “business as usual”. It will also mean that sports that up to now had smaller audiences and recognition will see greater airtime, as the multiplication of platforms and new production technologies feed our ever-growing appetite for content.
Now of course, as per above, the image is probably the strongest vector for storytelling in sports, but we need our brains to process all the information coming from our eyes to shape and craft the story. The image is just the beginning; the first chapter of sports storytelling. Data is the second. See you in the next chapter.