06/26/2021 at 10:40 AM CEST
In a discreet building on the outskirts of Madrid, on the banks of the N-II, the star menu of the next Games has been cooked to serve it from Tokyo: the production of television images of the Olympic competition.
With international audiences held at home in front of their devices and with local fans subject to limited capacity, the screens will be transformed into the great universal stadium for monitoring the Games. And OBS (Olympic Brodcasting Services), the Madrid-based IOC company that produces the coverage, promises strong emotions.
Among others, “repetitions to the style of Matrix of 360 degrees”, “virtual reality in live”, 9,500 hours of content or the monitoring of the heart rate of some athletes.
The context of the pandemic has forced OBS to devise “an innovative content production ecosystem” that, it says, “will set an unprecedented precedent for future sports competitions.”
The Games will open on July 23, subject to strict regulations to prevent the spread of covid among athletes and the Japanese population.
From a distance, during the 19 days of competition the audience “will enjoy camera angles never seen before” and will have “more analytical data than in previous Olympic Games”.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology will make the difference in image quality: thanks to it, the image is closer than ever to reality, by adding a greater range of light and colors. The brightness values are adjusted frame by frame, the different areas of the screen are illuminated individually, the whites are whiter and the blacks are blacker, there is a distinction between different shades of shade and the colors are more varied.
At the opening and closing ceremonies and select sessions in track and field, badminton, soccer, judo, swimming, table tennis and volleyball, OBS and NHK public broadcaster will cast the rest with coverage on 8K Super High Vision.
Another technology that will be put at the service of the enjoyment of viewers is 3D Athlete Tracking (3DAT), developed by Intel and Alibaba, which uses artificial intelligence to improve the viewing experience and has a massive data processing capacity. Thanks to it, for example, spectators will know exactly when a runner reaches his maximum speed and will be able to analyze the different phases of the race with a color display of the changes in pace.
The Saitama basketball court will be surrounded by 35 4K cameras to capture volumetric video that, once processed, will reproduce 360-degree replays. Plus, with Intel True View technology, OBS will deliver immersive replays of the best plays.
Another sport with new coverage will be archery: in collaboration with Panasonic, remote vital sign detection technology will allow the heart rate of archers to be monitored. Four cameras located 12 meters from them will make it possible to analyze even the slightest changes in skin color generated by the contraction of blood vessels.
“The public will be able to know, through graphics on the screens, the variations of the heartbeat and the adrenaline experienced by the body of the archers”, OBS has anticipated.
As for sound, the Games will use state-of-the-art immersive audio, with 85 independent 5.1.4 audio channels.
The production of images will not be limited to what happens in competition, but there will be teams dedicated to revealing what happens behind the scenes in the stadiums, in the Olympic Village and in the city.
The OBS staff, the company influences, will strictly adhere to the sanitary regulations established by the organizing committee so as never to put the health of the participants in the Games or the local population at risk.
Thanks to a cloud platform that will allow the digitization of workflows, the impact of transmissions will be reduced by 24% compared to Rio 2016.
“We are introducing OBS Cloud in partnership with Alibaba as a way to transfer many of the operations where chains typically use equipment to the cloud. This will make their operations much more efficient, much more productive, less expensive and will mean that they will need fewer people in Tokyo. It’s a great innovation, “he said. Yiannis Exarchos, CEO of OBS.
The broadcast of the Tokyo Games will be a test bed for a myriad of technological innovations that, however, are designed with a single objective: to be “at the service of storytelling.”
“I love technology, but I like more to tell stories,” he said. Exarchos.