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Cost of live TV plummets for sports & events

Eye-watering production costs have always been a big barrier to live broadcast for events and sports.

But now there’s hope for the Kiwi fans and promoters of sports events, festivals and concerts.

NZ Live sales and operations director Ray Standidge says the arrival of Hawk-Eye in New Zealand effectively revolutionises live action television here. He says because of the system, live TV can be produced at lower cost and more efficiently.

As a result, lower-tier games, concerts and other events can be aired traditionally or delivered over the internet as a steaming service at more realistic prices.

“Hawk-eye is more portable than a traditional outdoor broadcasting rig, easier and faster to set up and requires just a handful of people to produce a professional live broadcast.”

Software is at the heart of the system. Hawk-Eye runs on high-end IT servers with the software controlling any number – usually six to eight – HD or ultra-high definition (4K) cameras set up around a live event.

The software is programmed to follow the action, and provide automated switching between camera angles as is commonly seen in cricket’s UDRS.

All cameras and production elements are controlled by Hawk-Eye with graphics overlays and replays – features viewers have come to expect from a live broadcast – fully automated.

Standidge says there is no compromise in the viewing experience and audiences won’t know the production is automated.

“If anything, with 4k ultra high definition and the elimination of human error such as focus or camera wobble, Hawk-Eye is in many respects a step up.”

He says content owners now have realistic options to get their events produced and broadcast in a market previously characterised by little choice.

Standidge won’t reveal exact savings because “every event is different” but says Hawk-eye brings the live option to a much wider range of activities.

The optimism lies in technology developed almost 15 years ago to help TV viewers decide if a cricket batsman had or had not been dismissed by any particular ball.

The Hawk-Eye SMART Production system was developed in the UK in the early 21st century, the system is uniquely licensed in New Zealand to TV production company NZ Live but in all other territories is the property of Japan’s Sony Corporation.

NZ Live is an independent broadcast and production services company that specialises in broadcast playout and live production services from small to large-scale live events including sports, entertainment and live studio production.

About Hawk-Eye by Sony
Hawk-Eye, which is owned by Sony, is a leading innovator in sports production and officiating technology. First used as a broadcast tool to analyse decisions in cricket, Hawk-Eye has now become an integral part of over 17 sports and every year covers 3,600 games or events across 400+ stadiums in over 50 countries. Hawk-Eye uses sophisticated vision processing technology that enables broadcasters to intelligently stream live sport and significantly reduce the cost of live sports production – without impacting the quality of the output.

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