FIFA working with NHK for 8K World Cup capture

Limited cameras but big ideas

by Phil Hinton Apr 11, 2014 at 10:10 AM

  • At the recent MIPTV event in Cannes, Niclas Ericson, head of FIFA’s TV Division said that football’s governing body was working 24/7 to capture this year’s World Cup event, not only in HD and 4K, but in 8K as well.
    Although some contracts are not yet in place for certain aspects of coverage, there are now solid plans to offer 4K footage of three matches to those broadcasters who are interested in taking the material. Ericson explained that there were still major challenges and lots of discussions to take place with broadcasting partners on the technical needs and how to supply the 4K footage in a cost effective manner. However, there is a willingness from Asian broadcasters to get on-board and use a ‘world feed’ to take 4K images for broadcast.

    FIFA has structured the TV rights to make it as easy as possible for would-be 4K broadcasters to take the matches. If they want to cover the games then it is not about rights, but simply about the technical aspects. As well as this FIFA are also making delayed images available and they will also be producing two 4K movies of the events.

    Ericson explained that FIFA will also be working closely with Japanese broadcaster NHK on 8K production. This will include a few matches being shot in the format but with limited cameras. Only a few 8K capable broadcast cameras exist at this moment in time, almost all owned and developed by NHK, so that will make positioning at matches critical to get the best footage.

    The 8K captured footage can also be down converted to 4K for use in those productions as well. There are still massive technical hurdles to overcome with the 8K format which requires monumental data speeds and capacity to capture correctly, never mind broadcast. Plus, there are no commercially available 8K monitors or TVs, so this side venture in broadcast testing is just that, a future proofing test. Just getting 4K images captured and sent to broadcasters is a very real challenge technically, so 8K is very much an experiment.

    FIFA also explained that whilst Sony was their marketing partner, the actual broadcast of 4K is not part of the core agreement, but they are happy to be able to work with Sony to stay in front of developments and have the games projected around the world in the best state possible.

    Ericson was also quick to point out that the World Cup events have helped to spearhead other broadcast technologies early in their product cycle, such as HDTV and 3D.

    There are no firm plans from any UK broadcasters to take and broadcast the games in 4K at this time. There should be events at various locations such as cinemas in the UK which might show the highlighted 4K games, but again there is no confirmation at this stage.

    Source: Advanced Television
    Image copyright: Adidas

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