IBC2013 Q&A: Giancarlo Varolo, managing director, FOR-A Europe
In 2013, how significant a contributor is sports broadcast to FOR-A’s overall business, and which are the specific products driving your presence in this sector?
Probably the biggest recent impact we had on sports production was the use of the FT-ONE 4K high-speed camera. It featured at many prestigious events including the Super Bowl in New Orleans. Other than that, it has been in the coverage of football, tennis, speed skating, figure skating, boxing, etc. Some were 4K productions, but another application was the so-called Super Zoom, where the 4K output was used to create HD-sized zoomed images, to deliver greater detail, as well as smooth slo-mo, in the zoomed HD output.
More widely, our frame-rate converters are widely used in sports. Many were deployed at the London Olympics, a trial by fire for the new UFM-30FRC, [which] offers high-quality conversion on a modular card. We also supply many compact vision mixers for OB vans, used for matches and events throughout the year. Here, the range of facilities including frame-syncing inputs and built-in multiviewer help to make them a popular choice.
In what ways has your philosophy towards sports broadcast changed over the last few years?
There have been no significant changes of philosophy towards this market, but we continue to offer new products that, in general, do more of what’s needed in a compact unit. We continue to apply our expertise in digital video and audio processing. The FA-9500 is widely used to process inputs. This year, we have added a dual-channel version, the FA-9520, still in a 1RU box. We continue our drive to make the setup of mobiles/ OBs faster, easier, and more reliable. For example, the new FA-1010 is a multichannel asynchronous signal processor with 10 video inputs and outputs and a range of functions to enable multichannel routing — all in a 1RU box.
How important is IBC for FOR-A, and what can you tell us about the company’s plans for this year’s show?
Frankly, the importance of trade shows is diminishing but still offers the only opportunity to show the whole range of products together. So we will continue to attend the shows but should reconsider its efficiency and effectiveness.