Formula One Goes UHD – Part I: FOM’s Trevor Turner and Sky Sports’ Robin Broomfield discuss workflow changes and challenges
Earlier this year Sky Sports announced that it would make every race of the 2017 Formula One Championship season available in UHD. When the first event, the Australia Grand Prix, took place on Sunday 26 March, it was the culmination of a huge effort spearheaded by Formula One Management that involved the replacement of around 80% of its on-location broadcasting infrastructure during a compressed timescale of 11 months.
With F1 subsequently visiting China, Bahrain, Russia, Spain and Monaco this season – with Montreal the next destination on the schedule on June 11 – the process of refining both the core workflow and the broadcast production is very much ongoing. In the first of a two-part feature, SVG Europe speaks to Formula One Management group manager TV systems Trevor Turner and Sky Sports technical manager Robin Broomfield about this ambitious undertaking, commencing – logically enough! – with the origins of this huge technological transition…
After careful consideration we opted for the Snell Advanced Media Kahuna 9600. The Kahuna architecture allows for HD sources to be used in a UHD environment without each HD source consuming 4 physical inputs of the device. Combining the Kahuna with upstream switching meant that we achieved better input flexibility between 720p, 1080p and UHD sources. The Kahuna’s ‘Format Fusion’ functionality afforded even greater flexibility over its competitors. For example, with graphics we have two feeds – UHD and 1080p – and the option to switch between them if there is a problem.