FEED Issue 26 Web

19 SPORTS FOCUS The Olympic Games

producing supplementary content for delivery across multiple channels, including social media. As Salamouris points out: “These organisations now have many, many ways of delivering this content. They have traditional linear TV, but also a huge amount of digital – live, VOD, highlights, and delivered on smart phones, smart TVs and so on.” Not surprisingly, OBS is pushing out into newer technologies, too. It is doing VR coverage for some of the sports – both live and post-produced, in partnership with IOC technology partner, Intel. This VR content is downloadable through a VR app made available to the broadcasters. Immersive audio is also supported for certain broadcasters. OBS is also experimenting with volumetric capture for some events, which will allow viewing a sport via virtual camera that can be positioned anywhere in the arena – a true ‘bullet time’ look at Olympic competition. CONTENT PLUS Broadcasters are also being supplied with improved ways to access all that content. Content Plus is a tool that allows broadcasters to get hold of OBS content via the cloud anywhere they are in the world. In addition to the live events, other produced content is also available on Content Plus. These include a MCF – multi-clip feed – which is a parallel stream generated while the competition is on and contains additional content not directly related to the event. This could be footage of back-of-house preparations or warm-ups that can be distributed in parallel. Content Plus also allows users to clip footage and post it directly to social media from within the application. broadcasters to find what they want in the endless sea of content produced during the games. “For years, we have been predominantly doing this metadata tagging manually while it is being produced live,” says Salamouris. “But we have been doing a pilot for these games, called AMD (automatic metadata discovery), that allows automatic metadata tagging using AI. This is especially useful not so much in our live content, but in the huge amount of rushes we have, the recordings from the coverage of the events. The amount of footage we have from these is many times more than the 8500 hours I mentioned earlier.” Cloud will be employed widely in the production of this Olympics. Chinese e-commerce and cloud company, Alibaba, OBS content is tagged with an abundance of metadata to allow

IN IT TO WIN IT OBS is preparing to produce 8500 hours of live content for the Olympics, along with content for social media

is the official cloud partner of the games. “We are already hybrid in many of our systems – a lot of the systems that we use are essentially virtualised hardware in our own, if you like, on-premises cloud. But more and more we rely on public cloud.” OBS Cloud is a ring-fenced subset of Alibaba cloud services, which OBS connects directly to the International Broadcast Centre and, using fast, dedicated links, connects to several other points of presence around the world. “It allows us to send our content to these locations in a very fast and efficient manner,” says Salamouris. OLYMPIC VIDEO PLAYER Olympic Broadcast Services has embraced VOD and OTT content by rolling out what it calls OVP – not ‘online video platform’, but ‘Olympic Video Player’. The Olympic Video Player is a modular, white-label platform that allows rights-holders to easily set up a digital, online video service for the Games. The system is modular and can be skinned to integrate with a broadcaster’s own brand. The OVP offers access to the more than 40 concurrent live feeds produced at the Games, as well as extra VOD content, including highlights, interviews and features. “An app can be downloaded and, although we’re doing everything on

the back end, it will act as if it’s the broadcaster’s own app.” For those rights-holders who have already developed their online offerings entirely in-house, OBS can offer modules and widgets of the various streams and data, which can be integrated ad hoc into their own platforms. “They can integrate the content into their own platforms without having to get into this very complex process by themselves. Starting from scratch would be very complex and very expensive,” adds Salamouris. OBS also offers raw data to broadcasters via two sources – the Olympic Data Feed (ODF) and the Broadcast Data Feed (BDF). These are rich XML-type data feeds that provide access to all the sports-related data for the games, including scheduling information, live and final results, and even athlete bios. The ODF is also used to produce the widgets for the OVP platform. There is also data made available about athlete performance, speed, location and height (which differ sport by sport) that are not available in the ODF, but are used to enrich content and storytelling. The Olympic Games are an amazing spectacle, enacted by seasoned talents working at the top of their game – and Olympic Broadcast Services is very much a part of that. We look forward to seeing its performance this summer.

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