Great Success for SVG Europe’s Inaugural Summit

The SVGE conference was one of the most informative and interesting gatherings of industry experts

SVG Europe’s first major event, the Sport Production Summit held the day before IBC opened, was a huge success as nearly one hundred of the leading industry professionals from the world of sports production from across Europe and beyond debated and discussed the issues affecting the industry writes Andy Stout, Editorial Director SVG Europe.

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As it’s very much an off the record event, most of what was said on the panels has to remain exactly that: off the record. But suffice to say that there was some very lively discussion between the various parties attending, with federations, broadcasters, OB providers, production companies and others all pitching into the debates – which lasted long into the evening after the event had officially wound down.

“The SVGE conference was one of the most informative and interesting gatherings of industry experts I have had the pleasure of attending,” said Duncan Humphreys, Creative Director at Can Communicate. “To be able to share time and ideas one on one with so many leaders in the sports programming industry in relaxed yet business-like surroundings was genuinely beneficial.”

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Humphreys was speaking on the second panel of the day on stereo 3D, but before that the event had been opened with a welcome from Steve Hellmuth, SVG chairman, who laid out for the European sport production community some of the ways broadcasters in the US utilise SVG to move the industry, not to mention their careers, forward. Hellmuth then moderated a panel discussion about the current state of the European sport production industry as experts like Darren Long from Sky Sports and Bernie Ross from UEFA weighed in on the challenges and opportunities.

Ken Kerschbaumer SVG, Peter Angell HBS, Duncan Humphreys CAN, Timo Koch OB, Steve Schklair 3ality Technica

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Given that one of their conclusions was that the European sport production landscape remains spectacularly lumpy – HD and 5.1 at one end, still mired in 4:3 SD at the other – debate about stereo 3D seems a bit esoteric in context. Nevertheless, debate there was aplenty, with Humphreys, 3Ality Technica’s Steve Schklair, HBS’ Peter Angell and others taking the discussion beyond whether or not 3D works (it does – end of) to the bigger issue of financial viability (slightly trickier) – an issue addressed again once the Federations, including UEFA, the European Tour and the NBA, started examining their nascent digital workflows.

Bjornar Nordhal from OB-Team, meanwhile, had Europe’s newest 3D truck parked outside the RAI, and was one of the panel pitching in to the discussion on OB truck design. The diversity of the European fleet reflects the diversity of European production, and the full intricacies of kitting it all out now and with an eye on future-proofing, not to mention keeping it on the road in the current economic climate and in the face of an increasing threat from remote production were examined in lively detail.

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Steve Cozort ESPN, Mark Grinyer Sony, Scott Nardelli Bexel, John R. Naylor NewTek, Greg Huttie Grass Valley

The last panel looked at the future of sport production technology from the perspectives of both manufacturers and broadcasters. The manufacturers, whose byplay included a slight interchange between them on what truly constituted mid-range, essentially predicted much that would be evident once IBC opened – the second screen is here, 4k is on the way – while Steve Cozort from ESPN EMEA talked of speciality cameras, the increasing use of telemetrics, and returned the whole debate to the raison d’être of the day and why SVG Europe’s first Sport Production Summit was such a success: what are the best ways to use technology to help broadcasters tell the story of sport to the viewer.

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Sandra Gorline is from the Fédération Française de Tennis, and sums the event up. “It was an interesting way of meeting the other actors of the always changing broadcast world,” she says, “and of sharing ideas with them about the past, the present and the future. It was a good way to feel the tendencies…”

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