Executives from Fox Sports and CBS Sports are among those predicting a sports production future with dramatically reduced onsite staff, greater operational efficiencies and cost savings, though with a fallout of job losses for mobile production personnel.
Networks, mobile truck companies and tech vendors agree the pandemic will impact HDR and UHD production through this year through a combination of equipment availability, complex new remote workflows and financial constraints.
The pandemic created an opportunity to stress-test distributed and virtualized workflows right now that stations and networks were already considering for the future. The industry’s shift may now be ahead of schedule because of it. Above, NBC Universal’s Boston Media Center is one of the latest all-IP broadcast facilities.
Costs are inhibiting a flood of 4K sports production, but 1080p HDR offers numerous practical advantages, among them that the improvement in picture quality is more readily apparent to consumers than the gain from 4K resolution. Above, Sony tested an 8K camera at the Sony Open in Hawaii last year, but doesn’t expect 8K to be used for regular sports production for several years.
NEP Chief Technology Officer George Hoover says modern computer design techniques have helped the mobile TV production facilities provider roll out a new generation of “super trucks” that offer much greater efficiency in terms of production capability per pound, maintenance and workflow.