SVG’s FutureSPORT Plots Tech Roadmap Ahead

On Wednesday, more than 200 sports-production pros gathered at the New York Hilton Hotel for SVG’s annual FutureSPORT, which once again focused on next-gen technologies and bleeding-edge innovations on the horizon in the live-sports-production market.

FUTURESPORTlogo20151-1024x287The full-day event was title sponsored by Sony and also supported by gold sponsors Evertz, Grass Valley, Hitachi, and VER and event sponsors FOR-A, Harmonic, Quantum, and ThinkLogical.

The day kicked off with one of the industry’s hottest topics: drones. Last week, the FAA granted NFL Films permission to use drones and allow teams to film their own practices if they comply with local, state and federal guidelines. This big news, as well as the increasing use of drones on events like the U.S. Open, X Games, and other closed-environment events, was among the topics discussed with Unmanned Aerial Systems Development’s Jeff Adams and Yeah Drones’ Randy Scott Slavin.

Next up was an update on the latest tech developments in the world of slow-motion cameras and POV’s. Featuring Fletcher Chicago’s Dan Grange, BSI’s Peter Larsson, and Inertia Unlimited’s Jeff Silverman, the session addressed how more of these tools are finding their way into nearly every live sports production – both big and small.

Ericsson’s Matthew Goldman and Harmonic’s Tom Lattie took the stage next for a pair of tech presentations titled “Embracing High Dynamic Range and Wider Color Gamut” and “Progressive Approach to Ultra HD and HDR.”

The next two sessions targeted the rise of IP-based tools in the world of live production. First up was a session on IP-based routing that addressed the growing number of mobile units and fixed facilities opting to build their facilities around IP routers in hopes of increasing efficiency and future-proofing. The panel featured Media180’s Eric Eric Dufosse, Grass Valley’s Mark Hilton, Imagine Communications’ John Mailhot, Evertz Microsystems’ Vince Silvestri, and Lawo’s Forrest Sussman. The following session, moderated by NEP Broadcasting CTO and Sports Broadcasting Hall of Famer George Hoover, provided an overview of other IP-based production tools such as cameras, switchers, replay devices and more. The session featured Sony’s Hugo Gaggioni, NEP Broadcasting’s Joe Signorino, EVS’s James Stellpflug, and WJHW’s Chris Williams.

Virtual reality has proven to be another buzzy topic in recent months, as Facebook, Netflix, and Hulu each launch their own virtual reality production/programming efforts and Fox Sports experimented with VR at the U.S. Open this past summer. The session, featuring Virtually Live’s Tom Impallomeni – BigLook360’s Lance Loesberg, LiveLike’s Andre Lorenceau, and industry legend and consultant Jerry Steinberg – addressed what VR will mean for sports production and distribution, the hurdles it faces, and whether there is a viable business model.

The day closed out with a roadmap to the future when it comes to 4K, 8K, and HDR sports production. As the push for higher resolution, higher dynamic range, and wider color gamut continues, sports content is expected to lead the way. Panelists Tom Lattie of Harmonic, Matthew Goldman of Ericsson, Phil Goswitz of DirecTV, and Stan Moote of IABM provided a look how the industry can move forward collectively and how to navigate the litany of possible tech paths ahead.

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