Tokyo Olympics

Live From Tokyo Olympics: YLE Focuses on Athletics, Expands Remote-Production Efforts

Finland’s YLE was planning a mostly hybrid production model, with a team here in Tokyo producing the athletics coverage for viewers back home, but the COVID pandemic required a shift in plans and an increase in signals being sent home: there are 20 lines connecting the IBC in Tokyo to the OB1 production truck and a flypack parked outside YLE headquarters in Helsinki.

Kaj Flood, YLE, senior technical advisor

“We need roughly eight to 10 lines for athletics back to Helsinki, and we also have 76 EVS ports in OB1,” says Kaj Flood, YLE, senior technical advisor. “It’s completely full right now.”

A Lawo VSM control system in Tokyo allows the team in Finland to automatically get the source they desire.

“With automated switching,” adds Flood, “everything is fine. The VSM takes care of the switching or fast changes.”

The onsite production presence includes seven ENG crews with LiveU units, two crews in mixed zones (at athletics and Olympic Stadium), and a hard camera on the main camera platform at Olympic Stadium to follow Finnish athletes.

“We have commentators onsite at athletics,” Flood notes, “but the rest of the sports are called off-tube in Helsinki, where we have 25 off-tube positions.”

The OBS Content+ system is making a difference, allowing both the team in Tokyo, where there are three editing suites, and the team back home to find the content they need.

“We’re IP,” Flood points out, “so we have Lawo, vMix, and Arista switchers and NTT encoders and decoders.”

YLE’s Olympics broadcast begins around 8:30 a.m. and continues to 11 p.m. It’s complemented by five live streams of content.

“The ratings have been quite good,” says Flood. “Finnish people just like to watch sports.”

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