Changes Ahead for Coverage of RBS 6 Nations Rugby Tourney

By Kevin Hilton

This year’s RBS 6 Nations rugby union tournament reaches its climax this weekend, with all matches played on “Super Saturday” and culminating in the deciding game between unbeaten Ireland, chasing the Grand Slam, and Wales. The BBC is host broadcaster for five of the six venues used during the competition but, starting next year, will provide the main feeds from only three venues.

Under a new broadcasting contract agreed to for the 2010 competition, the BBC will continue to produce the host feeds for the home games of England, Scotland, and Wales, all now in HD. The BBC has been in charge for Ireland’s matches in Dublin and Italy’s in Rome, but, beginning next year, Irish national broadcaster RTE and Italian commercial station Sky Italia, respectively, will cover the games. France 2 will continue to cover its national team’s fixtures in Paris.

The main innovation for this year’s 6 Nations was the first-ever staging of a match on a Friday evening, which did not go down well with many fans. The technical facilities have been little different from the 2008 event, with SIS LIVE sub-contracted to the BBC. It has been using the newest member of its fleet, OB3, at Twickenham and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff for the home games of England and Wales, respectively.

SIS LIVE has also been working at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, home ground for Scotland. At all three British venues, SIS LIVE has supplied up to 24 HD cameras, predominately Sony HDC-1500s. Specialized vision and support equipment includes Steadicams, jibs, and track-mounted cameras, all intended to get viewers as close to the action as possible.

An important part in achieving this aim has been played in recent years by the Postcam, designed by SIS LIVE’s Special Cameras department. The wireless HD cameras are positioned high up on the goal posts and can be controlled remotely to give 360-degree shots, with full pan, tilt, and zoom.

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