Covering the Games
The 2014 Commonwealth Games was covered by sports broadcast producers Sunset + Vine and Global Television, after being jointly appointed as host broadcasters in December 2011 after a successful competitive tender. It was the first time that London-based sports producer Sunset+Vine and Australian TV production services provider Global TV partnered up as SVGTV on a major event.
S+V was responsible for producing what viewers saw on screen whilst overseeing the filming, camera placement, direction and lighting. Global's job was to build and run the International Broadcast Centre and ensure the technology was in place to get the feed from venues to rights holding broadcasters around the world. An estimated one billion viewers watched the pictures produced by SVGTV.
S+V chairman Jeff Foulser pointed out that the company has covered a string of high profile events, including Test Cricket, Premier League football, and the Aviva Rugby Premiership. So stepping up to produce a multisport event “was a natural extension for us,” he says. It had bid before, on the Asian Games in Qatar and Doha, and got very close to winning the contract. For the Commonwealth Games, S+V decided it needed to partner with another company and got talking to Global. “We felt the skills between the two companies were complementary”, says Foulser. Global had worked on two previous Commonwealth Games, providing facilities and technology expertise at Melbourne in 2006 and Delhi in 2010.
For the Games, the SVGTV operation employed over 1,200 people.
“It’s been a steep learning curve,” says Foulser. “But ultimately if you break it down to 17 different sports, and you cover each one of them well and make sure the broadcasters get what they want, it is not that much different from what we normally do, just on a bigger scale.”
He says S+V sought to hire the best staff from the UK but also Commonwealth countries including Australia and South Africa. Hiring the best was crucial on such a major event, believes Foulser. “I’ve always worked on the basis that you are only as strong in a major production as the weakest link in the chain. If you don’t have any weak links, you should end up with a decent product.”
The operation has run an office in Glasgow since August 2012, building up over time. Pacing the work has been crucial says Gary Lovejoy, the host broadcast deputy head of production, who explains that he’s striven to hit deadlines as early as possible on the project. It means, he says, “you can then work on the odd late things because you have got other things hopefully done and dusted.”
For example, S+V started recruiting camera and EVS operators as early as February last year.
Covering the venues
The host broadcaster covered 14 venues. The main one being the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) Precinct, close to Glasgow city centre on the north bank of the River Clyde. SVGTV hosted the competitions of six sports – gymnastics, boxing, judo, netball, wrestling and weightlifting. Throughout the Games it was also the home of the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) and Main Press Centre. Hampden Park was also adapted so it could host the Track and Field Athletics competitions.
SVGTV began the installation of the IBC in May, while installation work started at the venues in June.
Over 280 cameras were used in total to capture the Games. SVGTV says that no standard manufacturer was selected to supply equipment such as cameras or vision mixers. Graphics, however, all come from one supplier – Swiss Timing. Meanwhile some 25 OB units were in operation to deliver the footage. NEP Visions was the largest by volume, covering the athletics and other events. Telegenic and CTV Group were joint-second in terms of contribution, while Arena handled the squash and table tennis. Aerial Camera Systems provided the speciality cameras.
Sunset+Vine was established in 1983 and is a leading independent supplier of sports programming to broadcasters in the UK and around the world. It is also a world leader in international Advertiser Funded Programming. They pride themselves on a creative and collaborative approach and have long term relationships with many of their clients. S+V have won over 40 broadcast awards for production excellence including 6 BAFTA's and 9 Royal Television Society awards.
Sunset+Vine produced Channel 4's award winning 2012 Paralympic Games output - all day coverage, 14 hours a day for 11 days - from the Breakfast Show to late night's The Last Leg - transforming the way disability sport has been produced and presented. They were the only independent production company appointed by the BBC for their 2012 Olympics coverage, producing the sailing from Weymouth.
Sunset+Vine Digital also provides management and content services for the IOC's YouTube Channel.
Early in 2013 Sunset+Vine was selected as BT Sports channels premier production partner to produce all of their Premier League football and Premiership rugby coverage plus a raft of other high profile sports.
visit the sunset+vine website