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The World’s First 4K FIFA World Cup™

You’ve never seen football in so much detail. Three matches at this summer’s 2014 FIFA World Cup™ are being captured in 4K for a thrilling view of the ultimate sporting challenge.

Match-winning detail. Delivered in 4K.

Nothing else comes close. Watching football in 4K is the closest thing to being right there in the Estádio do Maracanã with 78,000 other fans.

From explosive on-pitch action to the elation lighting up a player’s face, 4K draws viewers into the experience of live football with unforgettable depth, colour, contrast and detail. Combined with 5.1 channel surround sound, 4K will tell the story of this summer’s FIFA World Cup as it’s never been told before.

Match talk

“We’re excited by the prospect of working with Sony to incorporate 4K technology in our production plans. 4K will propel fans around the globe into a whole new viewing dimension, and it marks the dawning of a new era in the broadcasting of sport.”

Niclas Ericson, FIFA Director of TV

This summer’s FIFA World Cup is the first ever multi-camera ‘4K World Cup’. Three carefully-chosen fixtures – a first-round knockout tie, a quarter final and the final itself on July 13 – are being captured in their entirety in 4K with four times the resolution of Full HD. Promotional footage will be compiled into the Official 4K Film, produced by FIFA for later distribution.

Match fact

Three of the FIFA World Cup games hosted at Estádio do Maracanã, in Rio de Janeiro, are being captured live in 4K - specifically the second round knock out match on June 28th, the Quarter Final on July 4th and the Final itself on July 13th.

Taking live football to the next level

This summer marks the first time a sporting event has been covered in 4K to this extent for worldwide distribution.

From a live production point of view, 4K builds on lessons learnt with 3D. As Sony’s David Bush points out, 4K gives viewers a dramatically different viewing experience compared to standard HD.

“You’re shooting with a much wider canvas, and that makes viewers feel like they’re right there in the stadium. Your eyes dart around every part of the picture, taking in subtle details at different points in the frame. And you’re much more aware of what’s happening in the team’s backline and up at the front simultaneously.”

This altered perspective opens up exciting new opportunities for director and crew. To fully exploit 4K’s extra depth and perspective, pitch-side cameras are positioned lower down to capture wide, sweeping pans – the killer shots that are the unmistakeable visual signature of 4K.

Match talk

“4K literally moves the goalposts for live sports. All that extra detail makes it a lot less forgiving than HD. Focus issues show up immediately if you’re not spot on. Fortunately we’ve got a lot of daylight to play with in Brazil. That’s going to make things easier for camera crews to stop down and get a more forgiving depth of field.”

Mark Grinyer, Sony

Match Facts

Major supporters

Working for FIFA TV, Sony is supporting the overall delivery of live 4K production facilities in Brazil this summer and providing the production know-how and resources to make the first-ever 4K World Cup a spectacular success. A specially-assembled 4K production squad numbering approximately 50 personnel is being deployed at the three matches.

Besides the 4K match coverage in Rio, FIFA TV has five crews with PMW-F55 cameras as part of its FIFA Films project. In addition, there is another HBS crew with a F55. There are also F55 crews with Sony to create content for the FIFA Films project, these crews are travelling around the venues in Brazil to capture more action and interviews.

Helping to deliver the live 2014 FIFA World Cup™ 4K production is a highly experienced HBS team, with Sony selecting UK-based OB specialists Telegenic to provide 4K technical expertise and outside broadcast and programming company GloboSat, part of TV Globo Group, to provide the main OB operations.

Telegenic is widely respected for being on the leading edge for high-profile sports and other live events. Sony enjoys a long-standing relationship with Telegenic, having successfully performed technical trails at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013 together both parties are keen to progress to the next stage.

TV Globo operates several TV channels and specialises in sports, particularly football. Their Globosat technical facilities company has a wealth of live production expertise, supported by a robust technical infrastructure and expert crews.

In addition, Quantel has supplied Genetic Engineering 2 (GE2) system for the production of fast turnaround 4K highlights packages. It is also being used for the post-production of the Official FIFA World Cup film in 4K.

Another important partner is Fujifilm, which is supplying cinematographic 4K lenses for the cameras.

Capturing the action in 4K

All three 4K matches at the Estádio do Maracanã will be captured using twelve Sony PMW-F55 Super 35mm cameras. Each 4K F55 is deployed in live configuration with a CA-4000 Camera System Adapter. This allows 4K RAW information to be transmitted via fibre from F55 positions around the stadium to Globosat’s dedicated OB vehicle.

Each 4K F55 camera outputs 4K RAW at a bit-rate of almost 12 Gbit/s. Sony BPU-4000 Baseband Processor Units convert this 4K RAW data to 4K QFHD 3840 x 2160@60P.

The man calling the shots in Rio is Ben Miller, who will be directing all three 4K match productions on behalf ofFIFA TV. A veteran of live sports production, UK-based Ben oversaw last year’s 4K trials for Sony at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. Previously, he also directed Sony’s 3D productions at the Wimbledon lawn tennis championships from 2011-2013 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Ben and his team will cut the show live in the truck, selecting shots using the MVS-8000X multi-format switcher. 4K images from each camera – and the resulting live vision mix – will be critically assessed via Sony’s PVM-X300 30-inch TRIMASTER™ LCD professional monitors.

At the same time, all camera signals are recorded simultaneously to EVS Servers for the live production and to an array of Sony PWS-4400 multi-port video servers for archiving. Capable of recording up to four 4K or HD streams simultaneously, the 2TB standard storage capacity (expandable to 8TB) of each PWS-4400 can accommodate around 5 hours of 4K content generated by one 4K camera.

Overall storage needs mount up quickly. Each match is live for 2.5 hours, with team arrivals and post-match follow-up.

For editing and post-production, all material is offloaded for long term storage onto an array of high-capacity hard drives.

While 4K and HD productions are wholly separate from a picture standpoint, audio is one significant area of overlap. Common to both workflows, 5.1 channel ‘clean’ sound from the stadium is overlaid with a special commentary for broadcaster rights holders taking the 4K package.

Match Facts

4K acquisition at a world-class sporting event demands a lens that’s up to the job.

Sony’s 12 F55 Super 35mm cameras are partnered in Brazil with specially-cast wide aperture Fujinon lenses provided by optical specialists Fujifilm.

Developed for no-compromise 4K cinematographic applications, the larger PL Mount lens tips the scales at an impressive 10kg, several times the weight of the camera itself. Superlative corner-to-corner sharpness and virtually immeasurable distortion assure premium image quality – a worthy match for the sheer resolving power and dynamic range of the F55 camera’s 8.9 effective megapixel 35mm sensor.

Proof of concept: 4K trialled at 2013
FIFA Confederations Cup

In June 2013, Sony successfully conducted the first live 4K production trials at the 7th FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil. The trial was conducted at the Mineirão stadium in Belo Horizonte, one of six venues in the 2013 tournament. The Sony/FIFA team produced three matches, using the world's first purpose-built 4K mobile production unit supplied by UK-based Telegenic.

2014 FIFA World Cup™:
4K White Paper & Webinar

The full inside story on the most ambitious live 4K production to date will be made available shortly aer the World Cup Final. Key participants will be interviewed to discover all the lessons learnt applying the latest, cutting edge live production technology in Brazil. There will also be a Webinar which you can attend and ask your own questions of the production team. Simply register your details now to ensure you receive the 4K White Paper and your personal Webinar invitation.

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