“New” SIS Outside Broadcast helps deliver FA Cup in HD to UK

By Kevin Hilton

SVG Europe editor

Tomorrow’s FA Cup Final (May 17) is the first time this key event in the English football calendar will be widely available in high definition to a UK television audience. The match, between Portsmouth and Cardiff City, is also among the first major outings for SIS Outside Broadcasts, formerly BBC OBs.

The game will be shown live on BBC1 in standard definition but will be a major draw for the BBC’s HD channel, carried on the recently launched Freesat platform and cable networks. Last year’s match was originated in HD but with restricted distribution on the public service broadcaster’s test service.

This year’s coverage is being produced using two HD trucks; SIS’ Unit 12 will handle the main match feed, while Unit 10 is to be used for the presentation segments. A total of 38 cameras has been designated for the broadcast. These are primarily Sony HDC1500s, supplemented by two high motion cameras hired from Arri, two HD radio-cams, two HD Polecams provided by ACS and two crowd cameras.

The crowd cams were developed by the Special Camera department of SIS in its BBC days and are stripped down versions of conventional units that allow the operators to get amongst large groups of people. Four HD goal cameras have also been installed and “beauty shots” will be provided by a Heli Telly, a camera mounted on a helicopter, and another fitted to a blimp. The presentation studio will run with an additional four HDC1500s.

There will be 15 EVS digital servers: three super slo-mos and 12 for general replay, analysis and ISO feeds. Units 10 and 12 will each have a Final Cut Pro workstation on board for the assembly of transmission footage. SIS is providing the commentary positions for BBC1 and BBC Wales, while CSI Sport, the Football Association’s international rights agent, is organising these facilities for overseas broadcasters.

The Calrec Sigma mixing console in Unit 12 has recently been upgraded with Bluefin processing, extending its 5.1 capabilities. SIS will be capturing the game in 5.1 for future use and archive purposes but the broadcast sound will be mixed in stereo.

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