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30/05/2006

BBC Outside Broadcasts captures a summer of HD sport

BBC Outside Broadcasts is capturing two major sporting events live in high definition this month –Wimbledon and the biggest international football tournament -The FIFA World Cup.
Both will be broadcast in the UK in high definition for the first time as part of the BBC’s HD trial. With 65 cameras, three production units, two recording units, a custom-built studio, 50 miles of signal cable and eight outgoing circuits from the site to Television Centre, BBC Outside Broadcasts’ Wimbledon operation is huge and complex. Wimbledon’s Centre Court and Court One will be covered in HD and a further seven courts will be covered in SD.
As the host broadcaster, BBC Outside Broadcasts is responsible for the feed for foreign broadcasters as well as domestic coverage. It will provide HD (1080i) and SD pictures in 16:9 and 4:3 and stereo and mono audio, plus a live digital surround sound mix on the HD courts.
Digital Radio cameras, Jimmy Jibs, robot tracking cameras and innovative remotely operated robotic cameras from BBC Outside Broadcasts Special Cameras’ team, will be used to support comprehensive coverage of the event, from match footage, studio presentation and player interviews, to pictures from the Umpire’s Chair, beauty shots and aerial views.
BBC Outside Broadcasts has much experience of working in high definition. It carried out the first HD trial at Wimbledon twenty years ago and captured the Eastbourne ladies tennis championship 2005 in HD for BBC Sport. It has supported a range of HD productions, from high profile events such as Glastonbury and Last Night of the Proms, to The Quatermass Experiment, Carols from Kings, Later with Jools and The Princes Trust Concert for independent Clear Channel Entertainment.
While Wimbledon takes place in England, BBC Outside Broadcasts will also be supporting BBC Sport’s World Cup coverage in Germany and is continuing its HD investment to meet the demand. The latest additions to its HD fleet are a large production truck, Unit 10 and a second mobile satellite vehicle, Link 18.
Other complex sport outside broadcasts are also seeing enhancements this summer. BBC Outside Broadcasts has introduced a new Graphics Unit to support BBC Sport’s Golf coverage, deliver time and cost savings and provide an improved working area for production. Several porta cabins onsite have been combined and transferred into a newly converted mobile unit with permanent monitoring and fixtures. This will cut back on set-up time and provide long-term cost savings. BBC Outside Broadcasts also created a new mobile presentation studio for BBC Sport’s Golf, to mark the arrival of presenter Gary Lineker and to give the commentators a presence out on the Golf course.
“With lots of high profile and complex sporting events to cover in HD this summer, the heat is on,” said Mark Tugwell, Director of BBC Outside Broadcasts. “New technology is enabling us to drive innovation and new ways of working to exceed our customers expectations more than ever.”
(GB)
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