UEFA EURO 2016 digital services insights from deltatre International Football Managing Director Gilles Mas
UEFA EURO 2016 sees UEFA offer its broadcast partners and their audiences even more digital content than ever before, as part of their long-term commitment to broadcast and technical innovation. This content, ranging from live match streams, multi-angle clips to enhanced data and statistics is available on a variety of platforms and devices, including mobiles, tablets and smartwatches,
UEFA EURO 2016 marks sports digital and broadcast, services and content specialist deltatre’s fifth consecutive involvement in coverage of the EURO championships. UEFA host broadcast (HB) has engaged deltatre to supply rights holding broadcasters with a blend of digital and broadcast service solutions, and the company is providing a team of over 100 to support UEFA HB in delivering EURO 2016 to broadcast partners around the world.
Specific broadcaster solutions being deployed at EURO 2016 include the deltatre broadcast production graphics suite, which includes virtual studio and touchscreen solutions. UEFA HB has also tasked deltatre to deliver the player tracking systems installed at every stadium along with 4K graphics production. In addition, the full range of Next Generation Digital Services (NGS), already available to UEFA Champions League broadcasters, are also being offered by UEFA to its EURO broadcaster partners via deltatre to complement their existing coverage.
UEFA is also currently testing various virtual reality (VR) systems in a live and as-live (ENG) environment. Testing successfully started across all four UEFA Champions League semi-finals, at the Basel Europa League final, at the Milan Champions League final and will continue at selected UEFA EURO 2016 matches.
These tests, conducted by UEFA in conjunction with deltatre, will provide the opportunity to evaluate the VR equipment, app development, technical workflows, key editorial positioning around the match and footage that will best add production value and eventually meet broadcast partner and sponsor requirements.
Ahead of UEFA EURO 2016, deltatre international football managing director Gilles Mas described the tournament as “a great environment to showcase the continuous development and dedication put into innovating and delivering a holistic experience to fans across platforms, anywhere.” With this in mind, SVG Europe spoke to Mas to find out more about the scope of its activities around UEFA EURO 2016, which is due to conclude on 10 July…
Can you give us an overview of deltatre’s main deliverables at UEFA EURO 2016?
Many of these activities are centred around the EURO 2016 website that we are developing and powering along with its mobile friendly and app services.
Secondly, we are powering and producing – on behalf of UEFA – the digital products for a number of broadcasters involved in the tournament. These range from live streaming of six ISO cameras, near-live production and delivery of multi-angle clips, data capture, and feed-based delivery of match events and a whole range of statistics, infographic provision. These will all be used within the various white label apps, SDK and web player solutions we are also delivering in order to enrich broadcaster’s second screen and online experiences. In addition to these integrated solutions, all the produced content is made available as live video and data feeds over the cloud.
The third main area of focus is what I would call the broadcast studio production suite, covering the on-air graphic provision for the international feed as well as a range of services including augmented reality based virtual studio, interactive touch screen based match analysis, and live studio backdrop services for broadcasters. The purpose of these services is to enrich the shows that they produce during the tournament by allowing immersion into the stadium as well as more interactivity to their game analysis.
What can you tell us about the graphics for 4K and augmented reality aspects of UEFA EURO 2016?
On top of the tournament traditional graphic multilateral and unilateral production, we are now delivering on-air graphics for the matches being shot in Ultra HD. If workflows for 4K are very much similar to HD ones, I would say that their specificity lies in the scale and volume of information that has to be handled and which is certainly pushing the equipment to its limits.
The popularity of augmented reality enriched studio production can be attributed to several factors, not least the fact that every broadcaster wants to differentiate their coverage from others. They are also keen to have the best studio experience possible for premium events. So on the one hand AR is enhancing the studio work a great deal, adding more interactivity and dynamics to the shows, and is certainly graphically appealing; on the other, more and more events are being covered using remote production set-ups in which broadcasters are not deploying their own resources, so as a result studio work is becoming increasingly important.
How many rights’ holding broadcasters are you working with on this event, and to what extent do the services delivered differ between broadcasters?
For this tournament we are delivering to 25 different UEFA broadcast partners with our broadcast and digital offering, and delivering more than 50 different services from the IBC as well as our cloud platform and Remote Operating Center based in Turin.
What about some of the other new features for this event?
UEFA is piloting and experimenting VR and 360° productions in order to evaluate their potential and limits. While footage from those tests will not be made available to the public, they implement a full live experience. This is a great opportunity for us to assess the potential of these new technologies beyond the hype.
Among the 50 other services we are covering, I would highlight the deployment in partnership with ChyronHego of the ‘Vistacam’ service. An array of HD cameras, deployed in various fanzones and stadiums, allows the composition of live huge stitched panoramic views. Those feeds are then transported to the IBC and through the internet to the broadcaster partner’s premises to be displayed as studio backdrops on very large screens. Coupled with the ‘augmented reality’ service, this allows UEFA broadcaster partners to run their shows and engage the viewers in a quite unique and immersive experience while being in remote locations.