[Tig] World Cup in HD

Dick Hobbs dick
Tue Jul 2 11:20:41 BST 2002

In answer to Peter Swinson's question, there were probably about 100 of us
in London watching the high definition relay of the World Cup final
yesterday. In a late change to the arrangements, we were in a studio at BBC
Television Centre.

The pictures came from NHK Japan, which was covering it for its domestic HD
service. Mercifully, the BBC added its own commentary for us.

The most interesting thing for me was that working in HD was clearly quite a
challenge for the camera operators. There were some stunning close-ups of
players, but depth of field was a real problem and many times we had to wait
for the operator to pull focus. That apart, the high definition wide shots
were crystal clear and very involving, and close-ups were simply stunning.
My guess was that there were around 12 cameras, some recorded iso for slow
motion replay.

For the geeks amongst us, the signal, compressed to 45Mbits went (for
political reasons) from Yokohama in Japan to the World Cup broadcast
headquarters in Seoul, Korea, then back to Tokyo (!), Los Angeles and
Washington to London, fibre all the way.

Two JVC QX1 projectors were used, masked to 1920 x 1080 and back projected
onto a 16' x 9' (around 5m x 3m) screen. There was some fixed interference
patterning, which was probably caused by interference with the studio
lighting. That apart, the pictures were excellent. If this is the future of
digital presentation, then I am all for it.

Dick Hobbs

PS Great game, and the best team definitely won.

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