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BBC builds post, studio facilities in South Africa

BBC Studios and Post Production (BBCS&PP) has partnered with BBC Sport to build a post-production and studio operation to augment host coverage of the 2010 World Cup. The system is configured 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.

According to the BBCS&PP, “The ability to move files quickly between any systems will greatly aid BBC Sport in achieving their aspirations for rapid production of high-quality content. In addition, there is a compositing operation to service high-end graphic workflows, which will also interface with the post-production media systems.”

The BBC production team has access to a vast amount of coverage on the host server, which is all in HD, including a range of additional isolated match camera angles and footage from the host crews embedded with each of the 32 teams. BBC Sport is supplementing this material with its own coverage of the England team matches and local color material from a roving HD crew.

BBC Sport is using flyaway kits, rather than OB trucks, and is sharing some satellite uplinking facilities with ITV, both of which will save on costs. SD content is minimal with the HD/SD split being 90/10.

The BBC Sport studio is based in Cape Town, providing views of the newly built Green Point Stadium, the iconic Table Mountain and Robben Island.
The HD studio and BBC Johannesburg international broadcast center facilities were installed by Presteigne Charter and supported by BBCS&PP. Cape Town 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 uses 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.

HD and SD circuits enable material to be moved 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.

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

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