HD Production: FIFA World Cup™ 2010
EVS technologies are employed at different levels of the host broadcast production, including the live production of the 64 matches at the ten Broadcast Compound Facilities, where EVS systems will be used for the live slow-, super- and ultra-motion replays, as well as the compilation of the best clips and highlights creation.
EVS is also providing a full HD multiple feed ingest and media exchange solution at the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) on a Media Server, based on an advanced XT network infrastructure, offering instant access to any content recorded during the competition with enhanced search and low resolution browsing systems. This allows broadcasters to easily interchange media content. The media recorded and logged into the media server includes 9 different feeds from the pitch, plus ENG files from 40 reporting crews.
In order to maximize the remote access to the content, HBS has decided to introduce the web-based server system already operated by HBS for the Ligue1® Football production in France. The system (known as the EVS XTWeb) will enable broadcasters to access, browse, and review the ENG edited sequences produced by the HBS ENG team at the different venues on a web-based solution for download in SD or HD. Xedio, EVS’ editing solution, will be operated by HBS editing teams for the production of 24/7 news programs, and provide remote access to file based ENG via advanced web production systems.
Moreover EVS, via HBS, will be providing different broadcasters (known in the FIFA jargon as Media Rights Licensees or MRLs) with browsing tools to access, review, clip, and import material for their own production crews.
Last but not least, EVS systems will manage the ingest of dedicated mobile feeds with live streaming onto Apple XSAN and FCP editors for instant delivery to mobile network services.
The Improvements for the 2010 FIFA World Cup
• The standard 26-camera plan implemented at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ has been upgraded to a 30-camera multilateral camera plan including the addition of two box cameras and two Ultra Motion cameras. An additional pair of cameras (an aerial coverage camera and a cable camera system) is provided for selected matches.
• The Extended Stadium Feed (ESF) is now considered the Basic International Feed (BIF).
• A comprehensive Mobile Match content package has been developed for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), the mobile markets around the world and, most of all, the fans.
• Increased FIFA TV ENG crew coverage is offering MRLs greater feature and training ground coverage.
• Additional Match Day-1 coverage is offered to Media Rights Licensees (MRLs).
All 64 matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ are covered in High Definition (HD) 16/9 format (4/3 safe). The technical standard is HD 1080i/50 16/9. This worldwide standard ensures maximum compatibility. All cameras are HD, including SuperSlowMo (SSM) cameras and Ultra-Motion cameras.
Shoot and Protect
In order to produce the highest-possible quality viewing experience, the HBS match production teams are using two shoot-and-protect standards during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Both of these are ensuring that viewers watching the tournament on 4/3 television sets do not miss any important match action while allowing viewers watching on 16/9 sets to benefit fully from the extra screen size.• Wide action match cameras (including camera 1) will shoot and protect 4/3. In other words, the main action is framed within the 4/3 action-safe area while the 16/9 action area is framed appropriately.• Close-up cameras shoot and protect in 14/9. This is providing the best possible framing for 16/9 viewers without any significant impact on 4/3 viewers.Furthermore, and regardless of the type of shoot-and-protect deployed, all graphics are contained within the graphics safe area.
The Production Plan establishes clear guidelines for the production of the multilateral coverage of each of the 64 matches, on-screen graphics, Multi-Feeds and the Mobile Match Feed.
The Production Plan takes into account a number of parameters including (but not limited to):
• The FIFA World Cup™ attracts a wider TV audience than other televised football events. The audience includes viewers who know less about the technical aspects of the game and are more interested in the size, scope and human interest angles of the event.
• Increasingly the FIFA World Cup™ is seen by more than just the traditional TV audience, as internet and mobile outlets become more and more prevalent for highlights, goal alerts and even full match streaming.
• TV coverage of football matches varies widely around the world. Many countries, for example, still use five-camera coverage. Diverse production styles continue to co-exist between regions, and even within regions.
• Recognising that more and more MRLs are broadcasting in High Definition and Standard Definition (SD) widescreen while respecting that much of the global audience is still watching in analogue 4/3.
• Production style and coverage must remain uniform and impartial, with no distinction made between better-known and lesser-known teams.
• The challenges facing the broadcast community in their unilateral planning, both on site and at home, and how the Production Plan can best support them.
• The expectations of ‘new media’ and in particular mobile content.
• Recognising the expectations from the broadcast community in regards to specific special cameras – aerial-, cable- and ultra-motion-systems were tested at various events prior to the World Cup.
Based on these considerations the following principles have been established for the television coverage:
• A classic ‘high quality’ style that caters to the international audience.
• Simple, cohesive coverage, with a set number of live cameras.
• Prime directive of “live coverage only” when the ball is in play.
• Directors to remain neutral, providing an impartial view of the match.
• Uniform, consistent production that all HBS crews can implement.
• Use of replays only in relevant situations, with pertinence taking precedence over quantity.
• Special cameras will be used with consideration and not forced into the coverage.
The ‘Dream Team’ concept is implemented again at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. This successful model, established by HBS at the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ in Korea/Japan and adopted again with great success at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, has now been adapted to other major football events. There are seven directors at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, each with their own dedicated production team.
The seven directors are: Jean-Jacques Amsellem, Francois-Charles Bideaux, Knut Fleischmann, Francois Lanaud, Jamie Oakford, Wolfgang Straub and John Watts. All have previously worked for HBS as FIFA World Cup match directors.
The Broadcast Compound Facilities at the 10 Venues
Each of the ten venues has identical facilities: a long corridor of rooms, approximately eight meters deep and of varying length depending on the needs of the personnel (for example, tape playback is longer than camera shading). One side of the corridor has two story houses while the outer has one story houses.The design and set up of the cabins has been a long time coming, from initial drawings to a test at Ellis Park during the Confederations Cup last summer with 20 cameras. That is short of the full-scale, 32-camera productions currently airing but was big enough to know the concept would work.
Each of the HBS Houses are run by different technical teams from leading European remote production facility providers. Alfacam handles four venues: Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durbin, Ellis Park in Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth and Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria. Euro Media Group is responsible for Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit (CTV, UK) and Green Point Stadium in Cape Town (VCF, France). Mediapro from Spain is in charge of Bloemfontein’s Free State Stadium while Studio Berlin is working in Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenberg and Soccer City in Johannesburg. For the most part the technical facilities at the venues stay, only the cameras with lenses and the RCPs are moving from one stadium to another.
Since the last World Cup there have been some changes in the equipment complement (e.g. the addition of ultra-motion cameras and the Spidercams), however Grass Valley predominates for camera and the production switcher needs while EVS has installed its XT and XT+ servers at all ten Broadcast Compound Facilities.The biggest change is the use of super slow-motion systems and ultra-motion camera systems. Grass Valley super slow-motion systems are on hand for recording at 150 frames per second.On the ultra-motion camera system side HBS did a lot of testing before selecting two companies: DVS (which is providing two systems, the Arri HiMotion camera and the SuperLoupe system). The third system is the Antelope from German manufacturer LMC. The key for getting the most out of the ultra-motion camera systems is focusing on getting shots that do more than just follow the ballbecause there are more than 20 other cameras pointing at the ball therefore the ultra-motion cameras delivering shots that are more emotive because they are stronger and have an aesthetic quality.
Audio Broadcast Services (ABS), a rental company and subsidiary of Lawo, was responsible for the installation of container-housed mobile audio control rooms at each of the ten venues designated for this year’s football event in South Africa. Equipped with a Lawo mc²56 and an Innovason Eclipse, multiple feeds are created at each stadium: the main stereo audio feed, merged with the respective commentators’ audio by the national broadcasters, which authentically reproduces the stadium atmosphere and the sound of the ball for the TV viewers at home, several interview feeds and, for the first time in history, a program feed specifically designed for cell phones. Pre-mixing for the surround feed is also handled at the stadium.
Multilateral Camera Coverage
The multilateral camera coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ includes some enhancements from the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, where 26 cameras were used. An additional four cameras (two box cameras and two Ultra Motion cameras) have been added to form a standard 30-camera multilateral camera plan.
A further two cameras (an aerial coverage camera and a cable camera system, mainly Spidercam) are used for select matches. A separate camera dedicated to the Mobile Match Feed is confirmed but is not part of the standard multilateral television camera plan; it is marked ‘M’ on the 32-camera plan below.
Additional Cameras for Selected Matches
The additional cameras outlined below are proposed for selected matches and the final stages.
• Aerial Coverage (Helicopters with Cineflex Camera Mount at selected matches)
Viewers will have noticed that there is a significant amount of aerial coverage at the 2010 FIFA World CupTM, largely down to the Heli-Cam which is being deployed for almost all matches. The Heli-Cam coverage helps create a sense of continuity between the exterior landscape of the venue, including the journey of teams from the hotel to the stadium, and the environment of the match, especially during the pre-match build up.
“The Heli-Cam lens has a continuous full-optical zoom, so we are able to go from very wide vistas to tight singles,” explains Jerry Grayson, Aerial Unit Commander. “It enables us to seamlessly link from camera to camera – we really haven’t found the limit yet, so the system is giving us a whole range of creative solutions.”
“We are operating seven cameras on six choppers,” adds Sara Hine, Aerial Producer and Unit Quality Controller, “all of which will be providing coverage across each of the nine host cities.” “Downloads are a big issue for us,” picks up Jerry. “Down-linking full HD uses a lot of bandwidth through a very heavy radio-signal environment, but so far it has worked well. The addition of an up-linked ground crew picking up the colour corrections and iris control has been fantastic.”
It was that ground crew that enabled the Heli-Cam to follow the South African Air Force jets across a changing light-scape so seamlessly during the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
All Helicopter downlinks are realized with wireless video technology from Riedel Communications.
• Cable Camera Systems (mainly Spidercam at selected venues)These systems are available as 3D (X, Y, Z Axis) gyro-stabilised aerial systems.
About 130 XT servers are deployed at the Broadcast Compound Facilities at the ten venues in South Africa. These advanced digital video recorders manage the acquisition of all cameras surrounding the playing field. They are based on a loop recording process, so that not a single shot is ever missed. Their live oriented architecture (high level of redundancy and fault-tolerance, insuring that no failure can interrupt the workflow) guarantee a maximum level of control for instant replays, highlights editing, compilations of best clips, and graphic overlays managed by the OB production team during the matches. Each server can simultaneously ingest and control multiple feeds (up to six feeds per server).
During the production of a match all the XT servers installed in the Broadcast Compound Facilities are linked together allowing operators and production teams to share content and control media recorded on this XT network. The XTs are ganged together through a dual media sharing network (on the one hand the XNET network based on high bandwidth SDTI, and on the other hand a standard Gigabit Ethernet network). Any feed recorded on one server can be reviewed, clipped and played out from any other server. This allows operators to exchange clips and highlights with other operators, gathering all the best sequences and actions that will then be transferred to the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) in Johannesburg.
During the production of the matches at the Broadcast Compound Facilities, the large number of In & Out XT channels are controlled by multiple systems, such as:
• The MulticamLSM remote controller for all live slow-, super-, and ultra-motion replays, as well as multi-camera action clippings, highlight creations, and closers.
In addition EVS LSM controllers are operated by HBS production teams to point offside positions of the players through the insert of a virtual offside line graphic overlay recently integrated onto the system. In total more than 150 LSM controllers are operated by highly skilled LSM operators selected by HBS for the live ‘slomo’ and related live replay operations.
• The IPDirector for the multi-camera ingest and XT network control, browsing, and logging operations.
In addition a timeline editing module of IPDirector, IPEdit is operated by HBS for the creation of highlights and clip compilations. With IPEdit, HBS editors are benefiting from instant access and control over the XT recording channels, with no need for media transfer, encoding and decoding processes. The IPDirector is also used to manage the transfer of clips and sequences onto third-party post-production systems used by HBS.
Live Editing Operations
A total of 150 MulticamLSM systems are used at the different venues for all live replay operations, including slow-motion, super-motion and ultra-motion camera replays (EVS is used for all replay actions of ultra-motion camera sequences managing up to 1000 frames per second). In addition HBS LSM operators are using the system for the creation of on-the-fly highlights and closers played during slack periods or to illustrate interesting actions happening during the game (e.g. goal, tackle, public emotion).
Spotlight: Ultra-Motion Cameras
The legendary Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough once said “it only takes a second to score a goal.” Fortunately, for MRLs at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, two Ultra Motion Cameras make up part of the Multilateral Camera Plan at all 64 matches. With a long-lens camera at each goal-side, close to the corner flag and at pitch level, these high speed cameras are able to capture between 300 and 1,000 frames per second in High Definition – between 20 to 40 times more frames compared to a standard camera. These cameras provide stunning images of action and emotion during normal match coverage as a replay, benefitting post-match analysis and ensuring that MRLs capture those all-important seconds in a game.
Best Clip Compilation and Near-Live Timeline Editing
HBS is in charge of compiling all the best sequences and replays at the venues during the matches. These sequences compiled as one single feed (known in the FIFA jargon as “Clip Compilation”), are transferred to the IBC and ingested to the media server to be available to all HBS and MRL production teams. The creation and gathering of clips by the HBS teams at the Broadcast Compound Facilities at each venue are managed with EVS MulticamLSM and IPDirector clipping and playlist management tools. The clip compilation is gathering the best actions recorded on the XT servers during the match, such as multi-camera angles of goals, public reactions, super-motion and ultra-motion sequences.
In order to facilitate the compilation of the best actions, replays, and clips, HBS teams working at the Broadcast Compound Facilities with IPDirector software will have access in real-time to all logs created by HBS teams using the logging interface of IPDirector at the IBC in Johannesburg. EVS IPEdit (the new timeline editor of the IPDirector) is managed by the teams at the Broadcast Compound Facilities for the production of highlights and pre-game sequences with transition effects based on full timeline editing solutions. Due to its direct integration and control of the XT servers, editors are able to access multi-camera feeds instantly and to add sequences and clips on their timeline with simple drag and drop operations. IPEdit is used for short form editing, such as highlight and closer creations. Because IPEdit also allows access to multiple channels across the entire media network (up to two simultaneous timelines can be created per XT server), HBS gains speed and efficiency.
Live Virtual Offside Line Creation
For the first time HBS has introduced the creation of virtual offside line graphics to the international feed. The offside line graphic overlay creation is managed using the EVS Epsio system. This new solution allows LSM operators (using standard EVS LSM Remote Controllers) to instantly generate a virtual graphic overlay with automatic recognition of the playing field’s limits.
The operator has simply to manually trigger the offside line with the jog wheel of the LSM remote to adjust it properly. Due to a one-time-per-event calibration wizard, where each camera sends images of the playing field with pre-defined angles into the system, Epsio is able to instantly and automatically recognize the playing field during actions and virtually draw the offside line along the borders of the playing field. This one-second operation is selectable with just one button. The special preview of the graphic overlay guarantees the availability of the offside line effects when the director decides to replay the action.
Remote Browsing and Transfer from/to IBC
In order to increase the availability of multi-camera angles to the MRL production teams located in the IBC, additional IPDirector browsing stations (IPBrowser) have been added to allow browsing and reviewing of unseen camera angles right after each match. The IPBrowser located in the IBC is connected to the IPDirector database located at the Broadcast Compound Facilities at each venue via an Ethernet line. Operators at the IBC are able the review each clip, as well as their related (unseen) camera angles.
The Multi-Feed concept of combining different packages of feeds was first used for the 2002 FIFA World Cup™, further enhanced for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ and has been adopted, on a smaller scale, for other major football competitions. Following its success amongst MRLs and acclaim from within the broadcast world, the concept is implemented also for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. In addition FIFA incorporates non-match footage and FIFA archive footage in the Multi-Feeds.
The Multi-Feed concept gives MRLs access to both the traditional match coverage and a full range of Multi-Feeds including:
• The Broadcast International Feed (BIF) / Extended Stadium Feed (ESF)
• The Extended Broadcast International Feed (EBIF) show - a turnkey program
• A range of Multi-Feeds (Permanent Highlights Feed, Tactical Feed, PlayerCam A & B Feeds, Team A & B Feeds, Isolated Feeds)
• Clips Compilation Channel
• Mobile Match Feed
The Multi-Feed concept provides MRLs with extra flexibility:
• ‘Small’ MRLs have access to normally unaffordable coverage.
• ‘Big’ MRLs can focus their efforts and resources on producing additional features about the competition and their respective national teams.
• Digital TV MRLs can broadcast several feeds live and make them available to their subscribers on additional channels. The Multi-Feed concept benefits both analogue and digital TV MRLs.
• Pre-match: much more material is available for use in the build-up to the game – extending the ‘live’ duration of the match.
• Live coverage: MRLs can enhance the ESF or tailor it to their specific audience by using Multi-Feeds.
• Post-match shows: MRLs can record the Multi-Feeds, which will provide them with extensive extra coverage, including highlights, more interview inventory and analysis. MRLs with highlights rights are also benefiting from this additional footage as it can be used to supplement the updated highlights available via the Permanent Highlights Feed.
English Guide Commentary
Live English Guide commentary and separate English Guide voice-over (for the EBIF Show) is provided for all 64 matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
The English Guide commentator is providing the live commentary of the match from the stadium. The English Guide commentary is used on the BIF/ESF, EBIF Show and Mobile Match Feed. In principle live match commentary from the stadium begins 12 minutes before kick-off and end ten (10) minutes after the final whistle. The English Guide commentator is receiving team, player and match information and statistics prior to and throughout the match.
Main Elements of the Audio Production
Television International Stereo Soundtrack (TVIS)
The TVIS is a broadcast-quality stereo television sound mix to accompany each match. The TVIS is a mix of at least 12 pitch microphones and will be mono compatible. The TVIS mix combines the sound of the crowd (including Vuvuzelas), stadium atmosphere, anthems, the sound of the ball, and incidental camera coverage, including sound from Steadicams, pitch cameras, tunnel coverage and benches. This mix is satisfying the majority of MRLs who simply want to add their own commentary and presentation to each game.
Radio International Stereo Soundtrack (RIS)
The RIS is a broadcast-quality stereo radio sound mix that accompanies each match. The RIS is a mix of stadium atmosphere microphones. The RIS sound mix aims to provide coverage of the crowd reactions (including Vuvuzelas), anthems and stadium sound suitable for live radio transmission rather than reflecting the camera shots. It is mono compatible. MRLs only need to add their own radio commentary and presentation.
For simplicity, this feed is also available via the commentary contribution matrix for distribution at the IBC.
Multi-Channel International Television Soundtrack (MCIS)
The MCIS is a broadcast-quality 5.1 television sound mix that is produced to accompany the coverage of each match. The MCIS is a mix of at least 12 pitch microphones providing ball sounds, atmosphere microphones including special Surround microphone arrays and ORTF Stereo sources from Schoeps. The MCIS sound mix is providing exciting and immediate coverage of the game and crowd reactions, closely reflecting the picture coverage, but with the added enhancement and involvement that multi-channel audio brings to the coverage alongside HD pictures. The MCIS achieves to put the viewer inside the stadium ambience. The complete surround feed is created at the IBC using two latest-generation Lawo mc²66. A surround program is preferred by many broadcasters, rather than stereo, in order to deliver the atmosphere inside the stadiums to the domestic audience with more reality and transparency. A Dolby® E encoded multi-channel audio mix is available at the IBC and at each venue. The Dolby® E stream also contains an English Guide commentary.
Multilateral Microphone Placement
The key features of the multilateral microphone placement are:
• 12 identical short gun microphones (Schoeps SuperCMIT) are arranged around the pitch in the FIFA approved positions.
• Schoeps is also providing a combination of a point-source 5.1 cluster mic (SoundField) and two ORTF stereo microphone sets.
• All handheld cameras have associated microphones from Sennheiser.
HBS is working with deltatre Informatica to establish the on-screen graphics implementation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. An immense amount of data is produced during the 64 games of the World Cup, and, for the third straight tournament, deltatre is supplying the technology to gather and manage that information. A staff of 90 from deltatre, a sports-media-services company based in Torino, Italy, is on-site in South Africa to manage live match-data gathering and player tracking and provide the official statistics to FIFA and other outlets.
The heart of the data-management system is deltatre’s MaTRICS platform, which is divided into two major components: Local Results System (LRS) and Central Results System (CRS).
The CRS, which is fully integrated with the LRS, is hosted at the International Broadcast Center in Johannesburg. Serving as the central repository for all results data, it automatically aggregates data from the LRS in real time; takes data from other sources, such as historical results databases; and manages the distribution of that data to external services. The LRS is connected to the CRS through ISDN/ADSL lines.
Once the MaTRICS platform has aggregated the data, it provides the official statistics to FIFA, which are then fed to FIFA.com and other relevant Websites.
The LRS and CRS are set up to be completely autonomous, so that, if there is a failure to the network connection used to transfer information to the CRS, the LRS can continue working locally, providing all the local services that do not require data (such as tournament statistics) from the CRS.In addition to providing statistical information, MaTRICS also integrates competition data into deltatre’s d3D graphics server; Stereo-d3D, the company’s stereoscopic graphics engine; and third-party engines to provide real-time 3D graphic outputs for live or postproduction graphics in a variety of languages.
Multilateral On-Screen Graphics
The multilateral graphics inserted during the match are integrated only onto the lower half of the frame to keep the upper half free for MRL’s own graphic insertions. However, certain pre- and post-match graphics (e.g. starting line-ups) are extending into the upper half of the frame. Accordingly, there is no permanent match score/running clock as part of the multilateral graphics; the running clock is inserted periodically into the scoreline graphics (with on-screen credits) in the lower half of the frame.
Player Tracking is provided at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. The 22 active players on the pitch, the three match officials and the ball is tracked in near real time. This data is sent to the Central Results System (CRS) where it is available for TV, media and multiple statistical users, subject to the relevant provision and possible restrictions in the MRLs Media Rights Agreement.
A dedicated unit at the IBC has access to the FIFA player tracking data. By analysing the data, this unit is producing a selection of animated graphics that are displaying the most interesting and relevant facts about the player and team performance during the competition.
These animated graphics are produced on each match day and are available on the FIFA MAX (Media Asset Exchange) Server and used during the EBIF Show.
The main match coverage contains virtual offside lines, but sparingly and only when editorially relevant. The software for the display of the virtual offside lines is integrated in some of the EVS LSMs (Live SloMo Controllers) at the production venues at the ten stadiums. No other virtual graphics is inserted on the main match feed. MRLs are not allowed to place their virtual systems alongside the 16m multilateral cameras, but may operate systems via picture recognition at the venue (Broadcast Compound) or at their premises at the IBC.
HBS has implemented virtual modeling for the event. At a special unit, operating at the IBC, selected key moments from matches are producing enhanced animated sequences, using the latest technology. These sequences are available on the FIFA MAX Server and during the EBIF Show.
On-Screen Design Package
The on-screen design package includes the following pre-designed elements:
• Title sequences/break bumpers
• Program tool kit including moving backgrounds/menu beds, etc.
• On-screen graphics package
• Music (including titles and programming/features/promo, etc.)
• Replay wipe(s)
A replay animation is created in line with the design of the on-screen graphics and titles animation package. It is available in HD and SD. The design of the HD replay animation ensures that any down resolution of the design is suitable for use in the SD television environment. The replay wipe is designed in 16/9. It includes an embedded alpha channel and can be played back from videotape or disc (EVS LSM).
Unilateral On-Screen Graphics
A range of unilateral graphics and data services are available to MRLs as part of the HBS Catalogue of Services (COS).
HD City Profile features and rushes have been produced for the event. They are host city-specific and include images of the city, architecture, people, food, lifestyle, natural beauty and aerial coverage.Rushes were distributed to interested MRLs before the Final Draw in December 2009 already. The edited City Profile features have been distributed in March 2010 and are also available on the FIFA MAX server. The City Profiles include a map locator and music.
FIFA MAX Server
The FIFA MAX (Media Asset Exchange) Server, consisting of 11 EVS XT+ servers with a capacity of 3000 hours of media in HD, enables MRLs to access 2010 FIFA World Cup™ footage from a dedicated library. This service was offered for the first time at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™. Material was uploaded and logged onto the Media Server, which MRLs were able to search via dedicated browsing stations before transferring the material directly to their own systems. This service has been greatly expanded in 2010 largely due to the increased content to be produced by the 40 FIFA TV ENG crews.
The FIFA MAX Server, an entirely tapeless operation and powerful post-production tool, is the hub of all production operations; as such MRLs are able to access the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ footage from this point. Material is uploaded and logged onto the FIFA MAX Server and users connected to the system are able to search via dedicated browsing stations and transfer the material into their system for their unilateral programming requirements.
The production of 2 simultaneous matches at the end of the group rounds of the competition means that the system has had to be optimized to support the ingest of 2 x 9 feeds simultaneously. Also the logging team was expanded to deal with the increased volume of material, the editorial content management as well as the liaison process with end users to ensure that all users are aware of new content as soon as it becomes available. Within the walls of the IBC and at broadcast facilities around the country, hundreds of EVS IP Director systems allow broadcast production staffers to view and listen to clips for radio, TV, or Internet broadcasts.
The content recorded on the EVS media server is logged by HBS teams using EVS IPDirector systems. In total 8 logging stations are used to add descriptive tags (logs) to the audio/video feeds recorded on the FIFA MAX media server. Two loggers are dedicated to the Clean Extended Stadium Feed (CSF) logging and to the clip compilation per match (in the case of 2 simultaneous matches 4 in total). Three stations are dedicated to the logging of ENG material and the MRL content contribution imported onto the system. One additional station is used for supervision.
Should an MRL quickly need a specific shot they can thank the HBS Logging team for the ease at which the images are at their fingertips. Putting in up to 16 hours per day, the 18-strong crew have been logging every second of footage captured at the event so far.
“The ante has been upped from the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, HBS has been massively ambitious with what we are doing,” explained Garry Barfoot and Gary Davies, Senior Media Server Content Managers, of the volume of footage that needs to be logged for the FIFA MAX Server – a dedicated searchable library which is an invaluable post-production tool.
“As much is being done ‘as live’ as possible,” explains Garry Barfoot, “but with the amount of ENG material coming in, we have something like 400 clips a day, the workload is very intense. HBS has taken a real step up from four years ago.”
With so many nationalities and languages represented it has also been vital to have a system that everyone understands. “All the matches are logged on a defined keyword dictionary and there are different keywords for pre-match, match action, post-match, ENG etc,” Gary and Garry continued. “We have around 250 keywords and the idea is to have no free text whatsoever so anyone can understand it from the catalogue of keywords.”
With the ability to search logs as the game progresses it really is a case of having everything instantaneously a few clicks away. The logging of a typical match will be completed within ten minutes of the final whistle and then the team moves on to the other match feeds. A remote IP connected to the network at the venues also downloads unused clips for logging.
On top of all this there is the MRL Content Exchange on the FIFA Max Server to deal with. “I think people have really embraced the service this time and are happy to share their material,”Garry Barfoot concluded. “There is so much content coming through that you sometimes wonder where it is all being used, but when you see footage you have logged being broadcast by MRLs it makes all the hard work worthwhile.”
FIFA MAX Server Off-Site Access
Off-site access to the FIFA MAX Server is possible during the event. Due to technical limitations a restricted amount of material will be offered and no match action is available. Relevant footage is available on a web server providing video file browsing and low resolution viewing.
FIFA and HBS endeavor to provide as much content as possible. Content, in principle, includes daily packages of approximately eight (8) to ten (10) minutes each gathered by the FIFA TV Team crews, including one daily package for each of the teams in the competition. On non-match days the content includes team trainings, press conferences and interviews and on match days, post match interviews of each team playing, edited match related features and one 30-second promo.
The materials on the EVS XT+ servers are available in two file formats - HD: DVCPRO HD (100 Mbps) and SD: DVCPRO 25 (25 Mbps). First content was available four days before the opening match.
MRL Stock Exchange
This is a contributory service offering MRLs who subscribe to the Content Exchange the ability to easily share their own media with others using the system without having to dub multiple copies of material or release tapes.
The ingestion is handled by HBS and includes any material that MRLs believe to be of interest to fellow MRLs. This material is loosely logged with information identifying the MRLs who supplied the material, plus any rights restrictions that may apply. All material is up-converted to HD format.
Match Day-1 Material
Match Day-1 material will be produced throughout the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. On Match Day-1 (MD-1) team training as well as an associated press conference and other interviews will take place at the stadiums where the teams will be playing the following day.
The Match Day-1 content is available live at the venue where the MD-1 activity is taking place. This is via the venue TOC and played out on the BIF/ESF feed (Team A/B feeds are also active to cover the mixed zone interviews). At the end of each MD-1 edited highlights are available on the FIFA MAX Server.
The MD-1 feed at the IBC is a bookable dedicated feed. It is a compilation of all active venues on MD-1 which are played out in HD-SDI and SD-SDI format and are available on the FIFA MAX Server.
Feeds Available at the Venues
• Team training
• Press conference
• Mixed zone
Feeds Available at the IBC
• MD-1 highlights including press conference, interviews and team training produced onsite but made available to MRLs at selected times at the end of MD-1.
Staying in Control – The Production Control Room
As the central distribution point for all incoming and outgoing feeds and material between the MCR and IBC Production Centre, the Production Control Room (PCR) is rightly regarded as the hub of production operations. “We are the Master Control Room for all the production areas,” summarised Media Operations Manager Brian Cutts and PCR Supervisor Julian Bennett.
“We have all the incoming multilateral circuits from the MCR coming in here,” explained Julian, “so we can distribute them to all the production areas and make sure that they have all the feeds they need to work with to make the EBIF Show and Permanent Highlights Feed.”
“There are actually two sides to the PCR working together as a team,” added Julian, “the MCR side and the Media side. We call the MCR one the ‘BNC’ team – after a BNC RF connector – and the Media the ‘RJ45’ team – after the RJ45 network connector.”
The expanded content of the FIFA Max Server has certainly increased the productivity of the PCR crew, as has the larger number of ENG crews compared to the 2006 FIFA World Cup™. “Things have moved on substantially in terms of the Media Server [now FIFA MAX], the operation is significantly larger than 2006,” continued Julian.
The increased volume of material coming in means there is rarely a let-up in a typical PCR day. “On a standard morning the RJ45 team checks for SmartJog material that has been delivered by the ENG crews,” said Julian. “We then have to play out Infotainment packages to the stadiums, for use on the giant screens at the games later that day. We have a non-voiced play-out of the EBIF feature at the end of the day, followed by a voiced version at 11:00 the next morning. The biggest challenge we face is probably on Match Day-1, when we take in all the press conferences and training sessions. On a day with four matches we can be handling material relating to eight teams.”
On top of this there is a tape archive which stores a hard copy of the EBIF Show and Permanent Highlights Feed, as well as managing the impressive FIFA HD Cinema
FIFA TV ENG Crews
At the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ there were fourteen (14) ENG teams around Germany to gather material that was sent back to the IBC to be uploaded for MRL usage onto the Media Server. Material such as training sessions, coach/player interviews, press conferences, team-related stories as well as FIFA World Cup™ and host country-related stories, etc. was used to produce the EBIF Show features and was also made available to MRLs for their further production needs.
At the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ this service is greatly expanded and the following method is adopted: eight (8) FIFA TV Features Crews and thirty-two (32) FIFA TV Team Crews.
Each competing team has an assigned fixed crew to increase the quality and quantity of the material gathered. This material will be covered in HD on Panasonic P2 camcorders.
Eight (8) FIFA TV Features Crews
The FIFA TV Features Crews are traveling throughout South Africa during the competition to shoot and gather footage and produce pre-edited elements and feature rough-cuts for use by the MRLs, FIFA.com, mobile content production and EBIF Show programming. The pre-edited material and footage is used by the HBS production teams at the IBC Production Centre to produce and finalise FIFA World Cup™ features. Each crew is made up of three members: a producer, a cameraperson, and a driver/assistant.
The ENG material is sent to the IBC to be ingested and logged in the FIFA MAX Server. All associated production information is sent in the form of shot lists and scripts.
For each match two fully edited generic ‘FIFA World Cup™ features’ are produced. In principle these are not featureing the competing teams and instead are focusing on fans, cities, general FIFA World Cup™ stories and how the event is affecting South Africa. These features are made available on the FIFA MAX Server and distributed as part of the daily HD-SDI and SD-SDI play-out of edited features at midnight, without voice-over, the day before the featured match and on match day with voice-over. These features arel also be used as part of the EBIF Show.
Thirty-Two (32) FIFA TV Team Crews
Following the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, FIFA has responded to the MRLs’ needs regarding non-match footage and has decided to fund 32 crews for the collection of material. Each competing team has an assigned crew – the FIFA TV Team Crew - to cover all their official media events as well as specific interviews. This material is then be available either live or near-live for distribution to the various organisations. A full list of events/interviews is listed below, but in principle will include all training ground, Match Day -1 and match day press conferences, along with other official interview opportunities. While such footage is of a non-exclusive nature, FIFA hopes to complement the MRLs’ productions with this additional service.
32 crews – one for each of the qualifying teams in South Africa – and moving forward or dropping off with teams as they do or do not progress through the competition. Within these crews there is always someone who speaks the language of the team they are following. The aim is to have a crew as close to the team as possible. “I think this is one of the keys which is allowing the project to succeed,” explains Julien Bertin, Producer. “It has not always been easy as it is the first time it has been undertaken, and new things don’t always click. But the response has been great – thanks to the many people involved really working hard to make it a success.”
When all the teams were still in the tournament, these crews were producing an average of 17 hours of fresh content per day, an extremely impressive level of material. “One innovation which has really helped us deal with the volume of material we are getting is the use of the EVS Xedio Media Dispatcher,” says Gareth of the system the crews are using to edit and log their daily rushes on the fly.
“The whole operation is in full HD for the first time,” says Gareth, “something which better complements the live-match coverage. Of course, this increases the scale of memory we are using too.” For transfers of data from around the country, the FIFA TV ENG crews are using the SmartJog File Transfer system. At each venue and at the IBC is a dedicated 200mb high speed server. Together with the Xedio system, SmartJog provides 100% delivery of content at almost faster than real-time. The content, having already been cut and logged, is ready to be put directly onto the FIFA MAX Server for use by MRLs. “The project has been an amazing technological achievement,” concludes Julien. “The broadcasters have been very happy, as are we knowing that many of them are taking the features as presented. If people are happy, well, then that is a real victory.”
Play-Out of Features
At midnight the day before each match day the following content per match is played out at the IBC in HD-SDI and SD-SDI format:
2 x FIFA World Cup™ features (without voice-over)
2 x Team-specific features (without voice-over)
1 x Match promo
On the morning of each match day the following content is played out at the IBC in HD-SDI and SD-SDI format:
1 x Team news feature (with voice-over)
2 x FIFA World Cup™ features (with voice-over)
2 x Team-specific features (with voice-over)
1 x Match Promo
Live Feeds Information Website
In order to fully optimise programming, MRLs are provided with online access to detailed production information via the Live Feeds information website. The goal is to provide MRLs with an ideal environment for the preparation and production of their unilateral coverage. During the competition, MRLs are able to use the site as a live source of information as well as benefit from production information posted in advance.
The information, documentation, messages and alerts the website is delivering can be categorised in the following areas:
• EBIF Show production: programme running orders, feature scripts, etc.
• ENG materials: upcoming plans for content, ‘news’ update, etc.
• Media Server: content updates, tree structure, match feeds browsing, updates, etc.
• MRLs Stock Exchange (content, process, etc.)
• Music details (music cue sheets, etc.)
• Graphics (templates, etc.)
• Mobile content information
• MD-1 content
To increase the availability of ENG cuts to MRLs, HBS together with EVS developed a new web-based solution offering web browsing and downloading capabilities for broadcasters. The so-called “TV MRLs” and “Radio MRLs” are brand new customers who are using the new services on the EVS XTWeb platform. This platform combines broadcast technology with a web-server system.
The XTWeb system offers remote video and/or audio web browsing and downloading of ENG edits to broadcasters that have opted for either the TV MRLs or Radio MRLs services. Once ingested onto the media server, ENG edits and their associated metadata (logs) are automatically sent onto a secured web-server in proxy format (MPEG4 H264). MRLs that are abroad can browse hours of ENG edited content using keywords and descriptive metadata to facilitate their search. Once they have found and selected the media (audio/video or audio only) and dropped it into their baskets, MRLs then have the possibility to order the Hi-Res file either in SD or HD. The transfer operation is automatically managed using the SmartJog system linked to the EVS database and media server. The system is finding believers, especially among smaller MRLs who don’t have the large capital budgets to field massive production teams.
EBIF - Your Feature Presentation
So you need an entire production of a FIFA World Cup™ match that is good to air unedited? That’s the EBIF Show. “MRLs can take this product and put something out that is as high a standard as you would expect from a top level broadcaster,” explained Jamie Aitchison, EBIF Executive Producer.
What sets the EBIF Show apart is the quality and range of features. “It was decided for 2010 that the focus of the pre-match features had to have a relevance to the game,” adds Jamie. “We try and get a real variety of stories, some nice fan pieces and cultural stories related to the venues, filming something that looks visually amazing but also gives people a bit of historical background.”
It has been a challenge preparing a constant stream of material, but one that has been a team effort between the producers and the crews on the road. “We are in a bubble in Johannesburg while they are out in the field, but once they got their teeth into it they came up with a lot of ideas themselves,” Jamie added.
Looking after the sheer volume of content produced on the road is the HBS Production Centre, responsible for processing and managing this material. “The EBIF Show is the primary source for the HD and SD World Feed,” explains HBS Senior Production Manager Olivier Meaux Saint Marc, “and is the result of the hard work of many people - such as IBC-based editors, graphics and feature producers and voiceover artists and all part of a detailed planning and workflow implemented by HBS Production and Engineering.”
Leading in with 30 minutes of pre-game coverage and another 30 post-game, the EBIF Show provides over two and a half hours of material for each of the 64 matches. However, there is always a new angle. “It is a challenge without people in a studio to go back to, but the Piero analysis system [Magma Pro] and enhanced graphics have added another level to our production.”
Yet, the best elements are often those caught on the fly. “We can’t plan in advance, we have to react to the teams that progress,” Jamie explained of the content for today’s Argentina-Germany match. “One of our team went to the last Argentina game and waited outside the stadium looking for interesting people. He found a family of three generations, the grandfather had been to the 1978 Final, the father to the 1986 Final and now the eight-year-old son was here for this tournament. It was a really nice human interest story.”
Mobile Content Production
FIFA wanted to set new standards with regards to the mobile medium, and thus created the FIFA Mobile Project. The 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ brings with it the chance to deliver the most comprehensive mobile content package ever. The main objective with the project was to structure the mobile rights, products and services around the event which would generate a chance for fans to follow the event also “on the move” (from early in the morning to late at night throughout the event) but also to push the use of this medium in general. This content is tailored to the needs of the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), the mobile markets around the world and the fans.
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ Mobile Project
The mobile content for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ was made up entirely of in-match clips (such as short goal videos) and did much to highlight the possibilities for mobile video at major sporting events. 2010 is revealing a different landscape. Global 3G proliferation and video-friendly handsets mean a large number of markets will be in a good position to take up this new mobile package.
FIFA has worked with MNOs and MRLs to create content models that answer the needs of users on a territory-by-territory basis. The centre piece of this is the mobile-specific live match feed and the formation of production units that create daily news and feature content based around individual national teams.
The mobile packages are containing more than just re-versioned broadcast content, and technical innovations will ensure the images used are suitable for the small screen. Match-time content is produced from a specific mobile match feed. The content includes team arrivals, dressing room, team line-ups, goals, action, highlights, interviews and music sequences. In addition production units, with the brief of covering one national team, arel delivering daily reports focusing on the stories around that team.
A designated ‘Mobile Camera 1’ (referenced as Camera M in the multilateral camera plans) is providing live match coverage, using tighter framing than the traditional television camera 1. A mobile-specific graphics package is created with large text, readable on even the smallest handset.
The HBS mobile production includes:
• A clean feed produced at the venue
-Via a specific mobile camera mixed with other angles
-With an angle that suits small mobile screens
• A Feed sent to the IBC
-A Clean feed used for the dedicated production of mobile packages
-A Dirty version produced for distribution
• With Mobile-specific graphics
• For dedicated distribution
FIFA has mandated HBS to develop the mobile content production plan in consultation with Ericsson (contracted by FIFA to provide the mobile content distribution).
Riedel - The Communication between all the Venues and the IBC
When it comes to large events like the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa, efficient communications are the key to producing smoothly-run and well-coordinated operations. With a long history of equipping large-scale events, including the 2006 Winter Games in Torino and the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, Riedel Communications was well prepared for the task of installing a similar infrastructure for the FIFA World Cup 2010. With more than 3.000 digital wireless radios and the necessary matrix intercom systems Riedel provides the communications backbone for HBS at the IBC and the ten Technical Operation Centers at the stadiums.
Power Farm and Satellite Farm
Aggreko plc along with its joint venture partner Shanduka Group provides temporary power and temperature control for broadcast and technical services for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.The contract involves providing broadcasting power in all 10 World Cup Stadium Venues, the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) and FIFA headquarters, as well as temperature control at the IBC. This will support the broadcasting of the 64 matches of the competition to over 3 billion people world-wide. The installation of some 300 kilometres of cable and 30 megawatts of generating capacity was necessary to power up all broadcast installations.
Six dishes are for multilateral use (World Feed satellite distribution uplink and venue back-up reception). 33 dishes are operated by 24 MRLs, used for both the transmission of unilateral content and for receiving contributions from their SNG crews at team bases or training camps, as well as for program returns. Linked to the unilateral areas via an extensive dark fibre network of cabling, and powered by the delivery of uninterrupted technical power, the dishes come in various sizes, with the smallest diameter at 1.5m, and the largest at 7.5m.
MEDIA BROADCAST is broadcasting the African football tournament to the whole world. For the 2010 World Cup, MEDIA BROADCAST, together with local partners, is realising the TV broadcasts in South Africa and is also sending some of these broadcasts to other countries. To do this, all the matches in South Africa are being transmitted to the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) over one of the advanced IP platforms planned and realised by MEDIA BROADCAST.
MEDIA BROADCAST ensures that the high-resolution TV signals from the venues arrive at the IBC. To that end, the nationwide fibre optic network with a total length of several thousand kilometers was developed for large amounts of data and high transmission rates in advance of the football mega-event by Telkom SA. The highest possible reliability is of primary concern. MEDIA BROADCAST connected the IBC and all stadiums via two separate and independently laid out transmission paths.
If in the highly unlikely event both cables are damaged, an additional back-up solution stands ready to jump in within a few milliseconds. The signals then are transmitted via satellite to the IBC. Therefore every stadium has a satellite system available as a permanent uplink to the satellite. The reception at the IBC in Johannesburg is carried via satellite downlink.