Paris 2024

Paris 2024: NBC Olympics' Technical Efforts Will Be Four Times Larger Than the Tokyo 2020 Games’

A team of 3,000 will deliver content to U.S. viewers; Peacock will be major content hub for 329 events

With less than three weeks until the start of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, the production team at NBC Olympics is hard at work on both sides of the Atlantic, getting operations and workflows nailed down. With approximately 3,000 people set to work on delivering 329 events via NBC, Peacock, Telemundo, and related cable networks, the team is applying the finishing touches.

Here is a preview of NBC’s plans (and a hint to some of the stories we here at SVG will be diving into when we head to Paris).

In terms of scale, NBC Olympics says the technical transformation from the Tokyo Games has been massive, quadrupling in size. And, although the broadcaster will have a smaller presence at the IBC, the effort at its Stamford, CT, facility will be larger, and it will have eight studio locations throughout Paris.

An Opening Ceremony Unlike Any Other

The Olympics Opening Ceremony always makes a big splash, but this year that splash is literal: the parade of athletes will take place on 92 boats floating down the Seine. More than 10,000 athletes, dancers, and even a few international musical acts will be involved. It could easily be the largest televised event in history, with OBS (Olympic Broadcast Services) deploying more than 100 cameras to create the world feed and NBC Olympics adding in 45 of its unilateral cameras. Jibs, cranes, cable cams, eight drones, three helicopters, and four boats with stabilized cameras and jibs are in the OBS mix, and 200 camera phones will be deployed to cover the country teams during the parade. All told, the full camera complement from all entities is expected to near 1,000.

NBC Olympics in Paris

The IBC will be at the 80,000-sq.-meter Paris Le Bourget Exhibition Centre. NBC’s presence will be smaller than in previous years, housing camera shading, two announce booths, and a midsize studio that will be at the center of Peacock programming. The focus there will be on gathering signals and ensuring that they are normalized and corrected before being sent to Stamford, where control rooms, record wall, edit rooms, playback, and graphics will be housed. The production format of choice is 1080p HDR at 50 Hz with 10 channels of Dolby Atmos. In addition, the entire operation will rely on SMPTE ST 2110 for video and Dante for audio.

The eight studio locations, meanwhile, will be spread across Paris, bringing the City of Lights to viewers in the U.S. The most important, Studio A, on the Place du Trocadéro overlooking the Eiffel Tower, will be home to Mike Tirico for part of the daytime show. The full 360-degree shooting environment will feature wrought-iron gates and multiple locations for interviews, highlights, and standups. Studio B, meanwhile, will be home to the Today show.

Both studios will have four pedestal cameras, a Steadicam, and a Technocrane, and Studio A will also have a cable cam running to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

NBC is leaning into TikTok with a set at the Team USA house, which is at the Palais Brongniart. Most nights during the Games, a live TikTok show in front of an audience will likely air from the Palais.

Telemundo will have its own studio location, overlooking the Arc de Triomphe (a location it will share with NBC Evening News).

Of course, studio locations are only part of the plan for Paris 2024, and NBC Olympics will have a big ENG presence across the city. Five ENG crews will capture footage and interviews with athletes’ families and more, with the elements pulled together for air in Control Room C in Stamford. In addition, nine NBC Sports crews will be capturing content for the nightly Olympic Zone on NBC as well as covering breaking news from the various mixed zones.

At the venues, NBC Olympics will have different levels of production. The big three — athletics, gymnastics, and swimming — will have the most dedicated resources, including mobile units, allowing NBC to enhance the OBS production. Production trucks will be onsite at Stade de France, which will host athletics; Bercy Arena, home to gymnastics; and Paris La Defense Arena, the swimming events. Each venue will also have an instrumented jib camera to enable larger-than-life graphics and — with the help of SMT, Piero, Fingerworks, and Dartfish — plenty of virtual graphics and analysis.

NBC Olympics will also have a unilateral presence for diving, golf, beach and indoor volleyball, tennis, wrestling, the urban sports, the outside races, basketball prelims, and soccer.

To enhance coverage, multiple venues will have 360° 3D replay capabilities and cinematic cameras.

Meanwhile, the Stateside Effort Is Larger Than Ever

The Stamford facility will be very much at the center of NBC Olympics efforts. Twelve control rooms will be dedicated to Paris 2024 (there will be only one truck at the loading dock). NBC Stamford will also fire up Riedel Simplylive rooms, where content creation will be enhanced for a wide range of production needs. In addition, 28 off-tube announce booths offer three levels of capabilities: eight booths are enhanced, featuring a producer who handles graphics creation and insertion; four “super booths” provide telestration capabilities as well as remotely controlled cameras, allowing talent to appear on screen.

Also at Stamford, a tape facility will operate 24 hours a day. EVS and Avid editing stations (five dedicated to cutting events down) and media-management operations will be overseen by a team of more than 60 operators and 40 production staffers, including more than 20 turnaround producers. They will work closely with the venue producers and announce booths in Paris, and the venue producers will have access to an Avid edit station to produce flashbacks and other elements. The Stamford team will also ensure that all the 100-plus recordings are properly archived.

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