The best football league in the world deserves a television broadcast at the same height. Melcior Soler, director of Audiovisual Department at LaLiga, highlights that the championship is now able to compete for global leadership in sports productions. He doesn’t hide his optimism. LaLiga is working closely both with teams and technical production staff for the first time ever to bring the TV product to the highest level, as Soler claims.
Interview with Melcior Soler, director of LaLiga’s Audiovisual Department
1.- LaLiga is a pioneer in 4K sports productions. What challenges does the broadcasting of a football match in this technology pose?
The main obstacles that lie between us and the definitive implementation of 4K technology in our country have a lot to do with its distribution and production. As far as distribution is concerned, television channels equipped with this technology penetrates in the residential channel more so each day, although there are still many homes yet to incorporate it. Moreover, not all operators have decoders adapted to this technology. Having said this, some companies such as Movistar or Vodafone have already opted for it and offer this possibility in their new decoders.
On the other hand, the 4K production also posed some production challenges. During the 2015/2016 season, HD and 4K signals were running in parallel, but from the second round of 2016/2017 onward, we now offer a single native signal and dedicate the same resources to both HD and 4K production in terms of the number of cameras.
2.- What new equipment needs does your decision to broadcast up to two games per day in 4K this season entail?
LaLiga’s commitment to 4K technology implies dedicating a greater number of resources in all senses; at the level of personnel, infrastructure or software, which translates into an all-round higher investment. In addition, the quality of our technology is 4K HDR, which means an even better viewer experience in terms of colours, lights, contrasts… It is important to note that LaLiga is currently the only regular competition that produces matches in 4K HDR each day with the same number of cameras, repeats and graphics as in HD version. Viewers appreciate the better technical quality provided the production uses the same amount of resources.
Working at 4K-HDR does not necessarily mean increasing the human team, but rather expanding its capabilities. But, what’s more, in terms of technical resources, Mediapro enables us to produce two games per day in 4K-HDR from their best OB Vans. Obviously, they are quite new and equipped with the latest technology to reach the required level: 20 cameras, including 2 SuperSlow, 1 High Speed, 2 NetCam, 1 PoleCam and 1 Omni4Sky, 22 EVS recording channels and 2 augmented reality systems; Chyron Hego in real time and Viz Libero for replays.
3.- When can 4K production be extended to all matches?
We are studying how we can expand the production of this technology to more sporting events. Now, we can watch all the FC Barcelona and Real Madrid matches in this quality, and the ide is that more and more LaLiga matches implement this technology in the future. As soon as we have more OB Vans available, we will go through with it.
Read the whole interview: