FIFA Women’s World Cup Production Teams Ready for Kick Off

The FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 kick off in Edmonton, Canada is this Saturday and it will be the largest production ever for the event, pushing the TV production teams from FIFA TV and HBS, and world broadcasters on site more than ever.

“FIFA expects hundreds of millions of fans around the world to tune in to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada and we are committed to ensuring that broadcasters and fans everywhere experience the tournament in the best way possible,” says Niclas Ericson, director of FIFA TV, “This is the biggest broadcast production we have invested in so far for a women’s football tournament.”

Like all World Cups the production will include top match directors although they will be working with a slightly scaled down production compared to the Men’s World Cup. But it will still be the largest production for a Women’s World Cup to date with up to 22 state-of-the-art cameras and even ultra-high definition visuals.

A selection of the best European football directors will spearhead “Dream Team” production teams at every match to ensure the very best coverage of all the action, emotion, and drama during the competition. As is usual for FIFA’s flagship competitions, FIFA TV’s broadcast production will be transmitted to territories all over the world.

A standard minimum set-up of 20 cameras per match will provide fans with a viewing experience on a par with top European league coverage, with an enhanced camera plan of 22 cameras for the Opening Match, Semi-Finals and the Final Match. This compares with a standard plan of 16 cameras at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011.

FIFA and Japanese broadcaster NHK will also work together to produce 10 matches in ultra-high definition 8K visuals, including the Final Match on July 5.

Stefan-Eric Wildemann, Manager Sales and Distribution FIFA TV, earlier this year detailed the 8K production at SVG Europe’s Football Production Summit in Barcelona, Spain.

“It’s going to be a six-camera production in three venues, and obviously the final is part of that, plus the Japan matches,” he said. “NKH will then transfer the signal to two public viewings in the USA, in cooperation with the local media rights licensees, and there will be local streaming at the IBCC or elsewhere in Vancouver, along with some screening in Japan. The distribution of the signal will be done by NHK.”

In terms of the overall broadcast production plan for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada, HBS Director of Production Dan Miodownik said, “It’s easily the second biggest production now, after the FIFA World Cup – it’s bigger than the Confederations Cup both in terms of scope of services but also in terms of interest from broadcasters, which is significantly larger than we expected coming out of 2011. The match production plan is, I would say, on a par with big matches at the domestic level, which indicates the interest in this competition.”

The matches will be played across Canada, providing a logistical challenge as it is a large country and it also has different time zones. Matches will be played in six cities: Edmonton, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Winnipeg. As a result six production trucks from Dome Productions will play a key role in the efforts at those venues. The International Broadcast Center is located in Vancouver.

“In terms of specialty companies,” said Miodownik. “Broadcast RF will do our RF solution; remote cameras will come from TV Skyline and Plazamedia — both of those worked with those in Brazil, as did Fletcher in relation to ultra motion. PMT will provide the Spidercam, and ACS Helicopters [will also be involved].”

In recent years World Cup coverage has evolved to be about much more than just the matches as FIFA TV provides in-depth coverage of press conferences, practices, interviews, and team arrivals.

“It is important that you are offering more than just a match feed, and again that’s replicated here,” said Miodownik. “A slight variation on what we’ve done in having a clips compilation, for Canada we have what’s called an Additional Content Channel (ACC). The idea of that is to output as much content as we possibly can – pre-match, post match and during the game – so that the broadcasters on-site can really take advantage as quickly as possible. That’s replicated by the high-end technical platform we need, both on the trucks at the venues and at the IBC.”

One major operational difference from the men’s World Cup is that the group stage involves “double headers” with back-to-back matches at a given stadium.

“This is now a 24 team competition, with double-headers, so you’ve got a lot going on on Match Day Minus One,” says Miodownik. “You’ve got even more going on on Match Day, with teams arriving while another match is taking place.

“But what this shows you is that we are starting to be able to use this event as a stepping stone, not just coming off the 2014 World Cup but we can also start thinking ahead to what we would want to be doing for the Confederations Cup and World Cup. That has an impact as well on things like digital services and where we’re going with UHD – whether it’s 4K, 8K or somewhere else,” said Miodownik.

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