BT and BT Sport is the most technological progressive broadcaster in the world. It launched Europe’s first live sports Ultra HD channel, BT Sport Ultra HD and the world’s first regular UHD High Dynamic Range (HDR) live broadcasts. It continues to pioneer trials for production and presentation of content using Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, enhanced audio, 8K UHD and 5G – priding itself on always putting the quality of experience for its viewers first.
The ethos guiding production of its impressive portfolio of live events is to get fans closer to the action. Delivering an immersive experience for its audience means taking a lead on applying new technologies, workflows and tools across content production to distribution.
Over the past year, these efforts have dovetailed with an accelerated build out of remote production operations. During the pandemic the broadcaster derigged virtually its entire production set-up and rearranged equipment and workflow into a decentralised gallery operation from crew and talent homes.
Remote and scalable browser based pro editing
Continuing this initiative, BT is deploying ultra-fast pure browser-based production solution Blackbird for the high performance, scalable cloud native editing and publishing of content for its media operations.
Working in conjunction with the Head of Content Operations, Pete Harvey, the Content Operations team at BT use Blackbird to access and edit multiple live broadcast streams of sports and other content for the rapid production of assets for downstream distribution to over the top (OTT) and video on demand (VOD) channels for its viewers to enjoy.
The focus for BT is on the fast turnaround of VOD content produced from its live broadcasts where Blackbird significantly improves speed and efficiency of content to consumers.
Remote production is now BT’s preferred and standard operating model, according to Chief Operating Officer Jamie Hindhaugh and sustainability is embedded in its agenda.
By rolling out an IP core at its studios in Stratford and with increasing focus on migration to cloud architecture, the flexibility, resilience and carbon efficiency of the Blackbird technology is the future proofed fit.
With these foundational technologies BT Sport is able to transition from delivering the decades-old broadcaster-directed view of a live event to one in which it will offer viewers the chance to immerse themselves in the action with rich and personalized interactive experiences.
“We’ve got an initiative that I’m leading at the moment called Staying Smart, which is about actually how we operate post-COVID-19,” stated Hindhaugh. “We called it Staying Smart because we’re already working smart. What we’ve found is by having proper connectivity you can change the model long term for how you work.”
He added: “We will never go back to how we worked before. If you give people the right tools and the right set up, then allowing them to work in the best way for how they want to work has got to enhance your product.”
Blackbird is best-of-breed
Jon Hanford - Group CTO, Deltatre