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30/08/2000

BBC GO ALL OUT FOR OLYMPICS

THE BBC has set-up a complex technical operation for coverage of the Olympic Games in Sydney.
BBC Resources chief technical coordinator Paul Mason, alongside outside broadcasting engineering manager Steve Goodey and senior sound supervisor Brian Prior, will be leading the crew.
Prior’s team will consist of 11 staff from radio OBs and four from radio production resources, providing full technical facilities for 17 hours of broadcasting on each day of the games.
BBC resources will build a Satellite News gathering unit (SNG), which will be directly linked to remote crews covering live interviews with athletes at numerous Olympic events. Output will then be sent to an Australian domestic satellite allowing material to be transmitted back to the UK
The BBC’s production gallery, video tape area and outside broadcast set-up will be housed in the International Broadcast Centre (IBC), amongst a virtual reality studio. With cameras located around Sydney Harbour, BBC presenters can be seen against a virtual backdrop featuring stunning views of the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Botanic Gardens.
In addition to the host broadcasters technical operation, BBC Resources will have five cameras within the stadium. This will include a camera located in the ditch area at the side of the track to cover the start of races such as the 100m, 200m, and 400m, one camera located in the mixed zone to cover live interviews with athletes and another camera to provide specific coverage of the British athletes.
An additional remote camera will be set-up in the Olympic village with a fully automated studio. This will enable British athletes to be interviewed by BBC presenters from the IBC.
There will also be commentary positions at all of the major venues, which will feed into the control room at IBC. In addition to the fixed commentary positions, reporters will be equipped for exclusive post event trackside interviews with a roving mike covering the Olympic park around the stadium area, an interview position at the British Team HQ and a satellite radio car to cover anywhere else.
All coverage will be fed into the IBC and into the BBC’s production area with digital video used throughout, whilst audio output will remain in analogue.
Two tons of equipment will have to be transported out to Australia to build a central control room; two studios for BBC Radio 5 Live, two studios for BBC Worldwide Service and a multi purpose edit and playout suite and desktop editing facilities in the Sportsroom office.
The resources team have used England’s famous Kew Gardens to recreate its Australian counterpart and London’s Canary Wharf buildings to become Sydney’s business district.
BBC Resources have also developed the title sequence for the BBC’s coverage of Olympics 2000 using 2D and 3D animation, visual effects, live action and VT footage.
The impressive title sequence begins with past Olympian greats before cutting to a view of space and a fictional BBC satellite. The camera then zooms towards earth and the Australian continent before focusing on Sydney, before flying into the Botanic Gardens. It is here we see a boy throwing a model aeroplane as it soars through the sky with pictures of famous athletes being projected onto Sydney’s buildings. The sequence culminates with a shot pulling back from the Opera House to reveal the presenters in their virtual studio.
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