2022-12-08 World Cup
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is nearly over, and the FIFA World Cup Division, which is responsible for the broadcast production, and Host Broadcast Services ( HBS ) produce a remarkable worldwide coverage, which include traditional broadcasting, OTT broadband and mobile streaming.
If we leave the art of the game itself and look in to the technology of the spectacle, we can see a huge jump forwards in creating a single, unified, UHD/HDR capture-transmission workflow for all 64 matches. This approach allows all distribution formats to be generated in a single workflow, greatly streamlining operations and setup.
For HDR (High Dynamic Range), hybrid log gamma (HLG) format is used to provide a standardized and easy-to-manage set of colour transformations between SDR and HDR. UHD/HDR capture coming from selected standard cameras at 50 fps, but mostly 1080p from cameras shooting at 150 fps and higher. Replay and recording is in HDR, and a common HDR opto-electronic transfer function is used for all cameras. If you ask me about metadata in this setup, I would not be able to give you a positive answer, I am afraid that many useful metadata elements were not considered at all because of the difficulty of integrating the annotation / metadata systems with the live production systmes.
The standard camera plan has 42 cameras, and both super-slo-mo and ultra-slo-mo are in the mix, covering key players. Several RF cameras will also be used to capture activities — fan coverage, team arrivals, VIP and player interviews — in and around the stadium. (By Sports Video Group material)
At the core of live content distribution are the multi-feeds allowing FIFA to provide a wide range of match, pre- and post-match, and other content to rights holders. Multilateral feeds and selected isolated cameras will also be available in different formats, including 12G-SDI UHD/HDR BT.2020 at 2160p/50 for selected isolated cameras and the Extended Stadium Feed. All multi-feeds will be available to rights holders in 3G SDI-HDR (BT.2020), 3G-SDI SDI (REC.709), and HD-SDI SDI (REC.709). Each one will have up to 16 embedded audio channels.
The lineup of feeds:
- Extended Stadium Feed
- Extended Basic International Feed
- Tactical and Additional Content Fee
- Team A and B Feeds
- Player A and B Feeds
- Fan feed
- Action clips
- Emotion clips
- Permanent highlights
One of the features of this year broadcasting setup has been the cloud-based media server, FIFA MAX (Media Asset Exchange), which allows rights holders to search for and find find a treasure trove of content. The 2022 version will be capable of holding 6,000 hours of content, all of which can be accessed via the FIFA Content Interface. Best of all, rights holders can access it whether or not they are based at the IBC, giving production professionals thousands of miles away a chance to boost content creation and output. Content will be stored via XAVC-I at 1080p/50, and the server also supports ingest and delivery in HDR (with SDR preview). If only we knew and could measure what portion of the live, time based metadata associated with the media found its way to the cloud based storage. A MetaRex fire-hose of metadata might have enriched the quality, quantity and searchability of assets.
The same could be applied to the audio. Rights holders will have a choice of a basic-stereo mix, 5.1 surround-sound mix and also a 5.1.4 immersive mix produced in two immersive-sound galleries at the IBC. At the center of those efforts, an eight-capsule microphone array at each stadium is supported by additional three-dimensional microphone arrays located closer to the spectators.