Sunset+Vine unpacks Commonwealth Games host broadcast workflows in Glasgow

The Host Broadcaster contract for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games was awarded to international television sports broadcast experts Sunset +Vine and Global Television in December 2011. The collaboration brings together two independent television production companies who, in their first joint venture as SVGTV, are charged with capturing the excitement and thrills of the Games for a potential worldwide audience of more than one billion.

In an edited version of a Q&A issued to trade media yesterday, Sunset+Vine unpacked the collaboration and discussed Commonwealth Games workflows in detail…

How are you splitting responsibilities between the two companies?

Some background: the Glasgow 2014 Host Broadcaster will be responsible for providing High Definition television coverage for 11 days of competition originating from 19 venues encompassing 26 different sporting disciplines, as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

The Host Broadcaster is also responsible for the International Broadcast Centre (IBC), which serves as the hub for all Commonwealth Games broadcasting activity, handling incoming television pictures and sound from the venues and distributing that footage to international television and radio rightsholders’ home countries. The IBC also manages outgoing worldwide transmissions from rights holders working at the IBC and Games venues.

This partnership brings together the best creative broadcast teams in sport with significant experience across a diverse range of sports including multi-discipline events. This is the third consecutive Commonwealth Games contract that Global has been involved in (Global provided the International Broadcast Centre – IBC – technical build for Melbourne 2006 in and the design, installation and operation of the IBC for Delhi 2010).

Sunset+Vine has significant experience in the production of programming for numerous high profile sporting events including Test Cricket, Premier League and Europa League football, horse-racing (including the Grand National and the Derby), The Volvo Ocean Race, The World Athletics Championships, AVIVA Premiership and Heineken Rugby. In 2013 Sunset+Vine was awarded a BAFTA for Best Sport and Live Event in relation to its groundbreaking coverage of The London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Who does what?

S+V is responsible for producing what the viewing public will see at home – filming; camera placement; direction; lighting and so on. Global is responsible for the build and running of the International Broadcast Centre and making sure that the technology is in place to get this feed from the venues to the broadcasters around the world so that they, in turn, can get it onto the screens of the viewing public.

In summary then, Sunset+Vine will deliver the production outcomes and Global TV the International Broadcast Centre and engineering outcomes.

Will your responsibilities cover radio as well as television?

Yes, the Host Broadcaster responsibilities include the delivery of radio requirements.

Are you providing any web streaming – or is that the responsibility of the rightsholders on a country by country basis?

There are two answers to this question. In Geo-Blocked Territories and for Broadcast Rights Holders it will be up to the broadcast partner on what they live stream to the web. Broadcasters can, on their own online platforms, live stream the Commonwealth Games Channel and put out the other six feeds. These six feeds are not continuous / ready for broadcast feeds. A schedule will be made available to broadcasters the day before the feed is available, so they can take what they want ie. rightsholders have the option to live stream from their own platforms, i.e. BBC and BBC.COM.

For Non Geo Blocked Territories the following coverage will be available on YouTube: streaming of the CWG Games Channel (which is ten hours per day live feed); 2 x 1 hour highlights programme, cut up and uploaded; and breaking news/features as it happens. In Non Geo-Blocked Territories, we will live stream for ten hours a day (between 10am and 8pm UK time) on the Commonwealth Games Channel on YouTube.

Will there be clean feeds to the rightsholders so that graphics can be ‘personalised’?

There are no clean feeds – RHBs do have access to HB camera splits at the venue.

How many cameras do you estimate will be used in total? And OB units?

At time of writing we are estimating a need for somewhere in the region of (more than) 280. We expect there to be 25 OB units in operation to deliver the needs of Glasgow 2014.

Who is providing the OB units?

There are a number of providers for this requirement. NEP Visions is the largest by volume and amongst other things they will be covering athletics. Telegenic and CTV Group are joint-second in terms of contribution with Arena handling Squash and Table Tennis at a combined venue. Aerial Camera Systems will be providing the speciality cameras.

Where is the IBC? And are you providing any kind of MAM facilities – either for your own use or the IBC?

The International Broadcast Centre (IBC) will be located in Glasgow at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC). There is no MAM system. The archiving solution and storage uses EVS equipment.

How many feeds can be accommodated in your own Media Control Room (MCR)?

32 main and 30 standby feeds.


Can you talk about the production/technical training programme that will be provided to accompany the Games?

The Host Broadcaster Training Initiative (HBTI) is a key legacy project of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. More than 600 Scottish-based creative sector students will receive training and work experience through the HBTI, which is being delivered by the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Host Broadcasters Sunset+Vine and Global Television (SVGTV), in partnership with the Creative Loop Media Academy.

The HBTI is receiving substantial investment in equipment and expertise from SVGTV and their suppliers, and financial support from the Scottish Funding Council, Skills Development Scotland and Creative Skillset.

Why did Sunset+Vine move into host broadcasting of multi-sports events?

We see global opportunities in Host Broadcast work that builds on our reputation as a high quality live sports producer. We are used to covering high profile events individually but working as the Host Broadcaster puts things on another level entirely. One of the reasons we opened an office in Singapore was to enable us to pitch for opportunities in the Far East on the back of the Glasgow 2014 experience.

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