Wimbledon 2018 Tech Innovations Revealed

This year’s tournament will provide coverage from all 18 courts for the first time, matches captured in 4K HDR, a new host broadcaster and AI-created highlight clips.

London, United Kingdom

Wimbledon kicked off this week with a raft of new broadcast technology delivering coverage of The Championships.

This year’s event marks the debut of Wimbledon Broadcast Services (WBS), which has taken over from the BBC as the new host broadcast operation of All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC).

WBS is providing multi-camera coverage of all 18 Championships courts for the first time, a net-cam on both Centre Court and No.1 Court, and coverage of Centre Court in 4K HDR.

It is also the first Championships to be broadcast using SMPTE ST 2110 compliant fully redundant IP technology.

WBS is working with NEP UK, which is providing technical Host Broadcast Services.

NEP UK is deploying its new IP-based outside broadcast trucks, which reduce the expense and use of cabling throughout the grounds.

The IP infrastructure simultaneously provides UHD (SDR and HDR versions) and HD-SDI, and is controlled by Axon’s Cerebrum platform, which integrates and manages a range of producs from Grass Valley, EVS, Phabrix, Calrec, Evertz and other manufacturers in a unified IP workflow.

“Cerebrum provides both power and flexibility and scales effectively to allow multiple users on the system,” says Gareth Phillips, head of Vision and VT for NEP UK. “It simplifies our workflow by minimising engineering bottlenecks and is easy to configure at speed.”

“Both the scale and range of requirements for this project are immense. Compared to previous years our coverage has grown considerably,” added NEP UK technical project manager Richard Lancaster.

NEP has also partnered with Fletcher Group to install a robotic camera system to provide coverage of seven of the outside courts for The Championships - ensuring coverage of every court for the first time.

This year, the number of custom-built galleries has almost doubled with 21 control rooms for the host broadcaster plus three for the Wimbledon Channel to serve the World Feed and archive.

NEP is employing 118+ camera positions and 41+ EVS servers, plus three major OB units and a large fly-pack core to broadcast the event.

AELTC head of broadcast & production Paul Davies said: “This is the first year Wimbledon Broadcast Services comes into operation and we are delighted to continue to partner with NEP for a further four years and are very excited to be covering Centre Court in 4K HDR.”

As well as the innovations in extending the live coverage from Wimbledon, IBM’s Watson will once again be used to auto edit and cut 5-10 minute highlight clips, created through AI analysis of facial expressions, player movements, noises, match data and more.

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