BBC to deliver World Cup HD, multiplatform coverage

BBC Studios and Post Production (BBCSPP) is designing and building a post-production operation and HD studio for BBC Sport to deliver HD, multiplatform coverage of the 2010 World Cup.

The post-production system located within the Johannesburg international broadcast center is built around an EVS network with LSM servers and IPDirector servicing media acquisition and quick replay workflows. An Avid Unity system with five edit clients supports fast-turnaround editing. There also will be a compositing operation for graphics creation. BBC Sport will supplement the HD coverage from the host broadcaster, HBS, with its own coverage of England team matches and local color material from a roving HD crew. An additional crew will follow the England team. BBC Sport is using flyaway kits, rather than OB trucks, and is sharing some satellite uplink facilities with ITV, both of which will save on costs.

The Johannesburg facilities and an HD studio in Cape Town are being installed by Presteigne Charter and will be supported by BBCSPP. The Cape Town facility will also house an additional HD edit suite, to support stories and features cut in Cape Town, and a complex analysis and LSM TX operation. The analysis setup will utilize Piero and LiberoVision DiscoverEye, a new 3-D fly-through tool that enables viewers to see the action from any angle in the replay, fading out goal posts and goal keepers where necessary to improve the view.

The broadcaster plans 110 hours of coverage on BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Three plus more than 100 hours of BBC Red Button coverage and 100 hours on the BBC website. A BBC bus equipped with simple editing facilities will travel around South Africa and provide live reports for CBBC and BBC News. It will also host broadcasts from the BBC World Service and Radio 5 Live.

Other technical partners include SIS Live, Siemens, Broadcast Media Communications and Telkom South Africa.

SD content is minimal, with the HD/SD split being 90/10. HD and SD circuits will enable material to be moved very quickly from any platform between Johannesburg and Cape Town. There is also a circuit from Johannesburg back to London for HD transmission supplemented by a number of SD circuits to provide material for Red Button and BBC News outlets. Both locations have been designed to have backup transmission capabilities.

Adrian Pennington

Adrian Pennington is a journalist specialising in film and TV production. His work has appeared in The Guardian, RTS Television, Variety, British Cinematographer, Premiere and The Hollywood Reporter. Adrian has edited several publications, co-written a book on stereoscopic 3D and is copywriter of marketing materials for the industry. Follow him @pennington1