Talking to a packed RTS Thames Valley event at Henley Rugby Club in March, Richard Bagnall and Charles Balchin from global sports outfit IMG revealed how technology is enabling state-of-the-art television production.
Diving deep into the technology, IMG Media head of engineering Bagnall gave a description of how IP (internet protocol) has changed the face of outside broadcasts, with SDI (serial digital interface) circuits being enhanced by IT communication. As well as providing a fully uncompressed service to traditional broadcasters, Bagnall demonstrated how OTT (over-the top) internet delivery was being achieved.
Balchin, who is head of programmes at IMG Productions, discussed the analysis tools now available to sports presenters. He said that remote minicams and drones have added significantly to production values, although he warned that they could be over-used.
Although the internet has brought sport to millions on mobile devices, Balchin claimed that there was the potential for production quality to be eroded. Internet-delivery-only productions tend to be much cheaper than their broadcast counterparts, he said, adding that, because the internet model does not ‘scale” to the same degree, broadcast television productions offer much richer viewing experience.
Balchin spoke of how electronic or esports are gaining ground with many traditional sports production providers now taking a keen interest. The esports market is forecast to be worth $1.4bn worldwide by 2020, he said.