FIFA will continue its run of production innovation at the World Cup next year as it will work alongside Sony and HBS to produce the World Cup Final in the Ultra HD 4K format. The announcement was made during the Sony IBC press event today and while production details were unavailable the move will give potential buyers of Ultra HD sets a new reason to consider a purchase in the next nine months and World Cup rights holders a reason to figure out how to distribute 4K content to their viewers.
While any plans to broadcast the 4K production remain a work in progress that decision to produce the event in 4K is confirmation that a 4K trial this summer Sony, Telegenic, HBS, and FIFA TV of three Confederations Cup matches at Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte in 4K were deemed a success. Other industry entities also continue to advance 4K workflows, as last month Sky Sports in the UK proved the viability of backhauling 4K via satellite, another step in the continued (and quickening) evolution of 4K production and distribution workflows.
At the time of the Confederations Cup trials Mark Grinyer, Sony Professionals Europe, World Cup 2014 programme manager, said: “We are showing that we can take a 4K operation into a true live production environment and are answering questions around things like depth of field, data handling, recording, and production values. There are a whole raft of questions we are answering so that we can offer FIFA the option to take 4K into the 2014 World Cup. But that decision is for FIFA and the broadcasters.”
With that decision now made the hard work of finalizing technical details related to the production can be made as no doubt the next six months will continue to see a host of refinements in product areas like replay servers, cameras and lenses, and vision mixers that will make them all more 4K friendly. “Unlike 3D, where there were only bits and pieces of production equipment in the market, 4K exists in the high-end market and we can tap into the pool of equipment that is in use in the cinema world,” says Grinyer.