Olympic Video games broadcasting by way of the cloud: know-how on the service of storytelling


In easy phrases, the published footprint on the Olympic Video games Tokyo 2020 shall be 30 per cent smaller than it was at Rio 2016, whereas content material manufacturing shall be up by about 30 per cent. Add the truth that know-how is enabling a bunch of latest methods to inform the tales of the Video games and you’ll see that OBS boss Yiannis Exarchos is happy about uncovering new alternatives.

The problem of manufacturing greater than 9,000 hours of sports activities content material over 17 days within the present local weather is clearly very actual. However for Olympic Broadcasting Providers (OBS) Chief Govt Yiannis Exarchos, it’s all about approaching it from a special angle.

“You need to by no means let the chance of a significant disaster go unused and unexploited,” Exarchos mentioned. “Take a look at the learnings and uncover each alternative in order that we do what we do in a method that’s far much less impactful for the setting and the host cities, however on the identical time is thrilling.”

“For me, it’s not simply in regards to the defensive method, it’s in regards to the very aggressive method. We need to do extra with much less. We need to do extra thrilling content material, we need to redirect assets the place it is sensible in innovation, in new methods the Video games and sports activities might be skilled slightly than spending on and investing in conventional broadcast workflow. So any resolution that helps that actually will get me excited. However on the finish of the day, as a broadcaster and producer what actually will get me excited is while you see know-how being on the service of storytelling. I really like know-how however I really like storytelling extra.”

It is a fascinating manifesto, notably when it’s translated into motion.

“Know-how supplies this by means of the world of information, by means of the world of augmented actuality, by means of the world doubtlessly of digital actuality – all issues we’ll try to begin introducing in Tokyo and within the subsequent Video games,” Exarchos defined.

In content material phrases this implies extra protection in numerous codecs, with the wants of social media and digital retailers excessive on the agenda. As an example, Content material+, a web-based platform primarily devoted to short-form and digital content material, shall be way more distinguished in Tokyo than ever earlier than. “Broadcasters can use this content material, repurpose it; they’ll virtually do it from their cell phones behind a automobile,” Exarchos mentioned, smiling.

This focus will imply there shall be way more behind-the-scenes protection than ever earlier than, with customers getting an actual perception into what it means to be an Olympic athlete. Not that improvements are restricted to off-field motion – Tokyo 2020 can even be the primary Video games protection to be natively produced in 4K HDR, one thing Exarchos was “unsure may really be achieved” only a matter of months in the past. 

“It’s not about consumption of know-how,” the OBS boss defined. “It’s about experiencing a greater method of telling the tales of the best athletes of the world.” Yiannis Exarchos

Crucially, know-how is making an enormous distinction behind the scenes too. Pop the bonnet of manufacturing at Tokyo 2020 and you will notice main adjustments to how the world’s greatest broadcasters are planning to cowl the world’s greatest sporting occasion. And it’s all to marry the need for extra content material and several types of content material with the necessity to drastically scale back the footprint and complexity of the published operation, whereas respecting the calls for of working through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It has been attainable by means of large adoption on the aspect of OBS of IP applied sciences, and I’d say particularly by the huge adoption of cloud companies,” Exarchos mentioned.

“We had been fortunate within the sense that we now have the TOP partnership with Alibaba. Alibaba is among the key gamers on this planet in cloud know-how, and along with them we developed what we name the OBS Cloud, which is a platform which permits broadcasters to obtain content material remotely on the cloud and even to work on this content material remotely on a cloud foundation.”

Alongside different improvements this, in essence, implies that broadcasters can do a major proportion of their jobs – from post-production to commentary – from their very own nations. A win in each sense.

“The foremost pondering, and what we wish them to do and assist them to do, is scale back the presence [of broadcast staff performing work] that may occur anyplace on this planet,” Exarchos burdened. “To be transport servers and organising gear in a metropolis for issues that may occur on the cloud is among the issues we need to keep away from.”

And so they have been profitable in doing so. The Worldwide Broadcast Centre (IBC) in Tokyo goes to be 25 per cent smaller than the Rio IBC, with 27 per cent fewer broadcasters current. This pattern goes just one method. The IBC for the Olympic Winter Video games Beijing 2022 is already sufficiently small for the Organising Committee to have mixed it with the Primary Press Centre.

All of this, at the side of additional measures such because the centralisation of technical gear within the IBC away from every venue, means much less energy, much less transport, much less lodging and finally decrease CO2 emissions.

“In case you have a journalist within the combined zone you’ll be able to obtain every part [else] again in your house nation,” Exarchos confirmed.

That is the important thing. The OBS man is aware of there’s a restrict – human connection between the game and the athletes will at all times stay paramount – however it’s the paraphernalia that may be tinkered with.

There isn’t any doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the widespread adoption of distant manufacturing, with broadcasters being compelled to innovate every day again residence. The potential want for social distancing on website in Tokyo has additionally meant that venues comprise 30 per cent much less house for broadcasters than initially deliberate – once more, one thing most are used to.

Having the Japanese as hosts for the following Video games and the Chinese language for the one after has, in Exarchos’ phrases, “helped rather a lot”, with each “extraordinarily eager on adopting new know-how”. With NHK, Japan’s host broadcaster, producing a complete broadcast bundle in 8K – a format that “reaches the restrict of the human eye” – and 5G looming ever bigger for Beijing 2022 and past, the Video games ought to look higher than ever.

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