Leading Turkish satellite broadcaster Digiturk broke new ground in 2014 when it showed the Galatasaray-Besiktas derby football match live in 4K, sponsored by Sony.
Intro and the screening
The match took place on Saturday, February 22nd, 2014, and was relayed to an audience of just over 100 journalists and VIPs in Istanbul’s W hotel in a 4K point to point transmission. The production was created using Sony’s total 4K live production solution, capturing and processing in stunning 4K. The production team works in the same way as HD, but has additional functionality from the 4K images, which shows four times the detail of 2K or conventional HD television pictures.
Digiturk has a history of leading the field, introducing new technology in Turkey to make the highest quality experience available to viewers. In recent years it has worked with Sony to provide regular 3D broadcasts and it has been preparing for 4K standards, building an infrastructure for the new format.
Emre Uysal, Digiturk’s product development and broadcasting systems operations manager, describes how the successful test transmission of the Galatasaray-Besiktas game had an even better reception than they expected. “Because most of the viewers were journalists, we could see their comments after the game. Everyone was really amazed, they didn’t think it was going to be that successful. For them it was just a quality issue, but when they saw it they found something different. You could see all the detail.”
The VIP viewers watched the action, shot at 3840×2160 resolution at 50fps, projected through 4K Bravia TV sets and the VPL-VW500ES 4K home cinema projector.
The match was captured with four PMW-F55 Super 35mm CineAlta cameras which, together with footage from two up-converted HDC Series HD system cameras, were fed through an MVS-7000X switcher.
Two of the F55s were provided by Sony, with camera system adaptors for live recording and HDCU-2000 Camera Control Units (CCUs). Two further F55s were provided by local rental company Arttek. These were adapted to allow them to fit into the 4K live production workflow.
As well as providing cameras, Sony supported the production with product specialists and technical consultancy. “Sony was very, very supportive,” says Uysal. “They helped us a lot. We have a long relationship with Sony Broadcast, which goes back to the beginning of our company. They have always been supportive, as they were for this event.”
For slow motion footage, Digiturk used an EVS slow motion system. “We had demo sets for four-camera recording in 4K,” says Uysal. “As it was the first time we were using the system, it took a while to get it right, but we succeeded in recording and repeating in slow motion.”
The graphics for the match were created using an ORAD system, which supplied statistics and scoreboards throughout the match, as well as logos.
Arttek provided the two locally acquired F55s, as well as the EVS, while Teratek provided the switcher. Ericsson and its local partner Broadcast Engineering were responsible for the live feed.
Digiturk and new technology
This was the latest in Digiturk’s pioneering moves into new technology. In 2007 Sony delivered high end HD products to Digiturk for their first HD OB van. Then, in March 2011, Digiturk aired the first 3D football game and, later that year, it became one of the first European broadcasters to air at least one 3D match every week during the 2011-2012 season.
Before the Galatasaray-Besiktas match in February 2014, Sony had worked with Digiturk to pre-test live 4K transmission. In late December 2013, they rehearsed a live 4K production that also used six cameras. As well as supplying cameras, switchers and monitors, Sony product specialists were on the ground to ensure the smooth running of the production.
“The 4K trial of the Galatasaray-Besiktas was a kind of commercial for us,” says Uysal. “So having a trial one month before the event with more or less the same system, gave us confidence.”
The screening on 22nd February still provided a series of challenges, says Uysal. “Of course, on the day as it is a live event, with all the broadcasting paths as well as the shooting and production, we had to overcome some difficulties, but we were able to have nice, clean pictures.”
Uysal confirms that Digiturk is committed to 4K going forward: “We’re the leading DTH platform in Turkey and it’s important to us to be competitive. Our target is to have regular transmission for 4K next year for end users, through set top boxes.”
The Sony solution
Sony has been leading the way with 4K technology and since 2014 it has introduced a range of new 4K products and capabilities.
With the CA-4000 4K fibre transmission camera adaptor and BPU-4000 baseband processor unit, the 4K PMW-F55 camera is turned into a 4K Live System camera. The system works across standard SMPTE fibre cables for transmission distances up to 2,000 metres and utilises the same range of CCUs, Remote Control Panels and Master Setup Units as current HDC Series system cameras. This allows for seamless integration with existing production infrastructure and provides simultaneous real-time 4K digital signal processing and an optional down-converted HD output.
The MVS-7000X multi-format production switcher can also be fully integrated into the 4K live production environment, providing real-time 4K processing and effects. Available effects include mix and wipe transitions, keying with 2.5D key resizer, chromakey, and more.
The PWS-4400 multi-port server can record a production in full 4K resolution. The unit can record 4K and HD video, with the capacity to handle as many as four 4K channels through the use of the very efficient XAVC video codec. In the 4K workflow, a single 4K XAVC file is generated and is easily handled in non-linear editing systems.
In Europe, Sony’s live 4K technology has so far been used successfully for a small number of events. In the same week that Digiturk recorded the Galatasaray-Besiktas game, six PMW-F55s 4K cameras and other 4K production equipment were used for a live transmission of the theatrical production War Horse in London’s West End.