UK football fans, OB providers descend on Moscow for UEFA Champions League Final

By Kevin Hilton SVG Europe Editor

Moscow is crowded with English football fans for tonight’s (May 21)
UEFA Champions League final between Manchester United and Chelsea. For
those that could not get tickets or saw the trip to Russia as too
daunting the game is being televised live, with many broadcasters
taking the main high definition and 5.1 feed.

This is the first time the Champions League title has been contested by
two teams from England and there is a strong English influence on the
TV coverage as well. Russian stations NTV and RTR are the joint host
broadcasters but UEFA appointed Sky Sports to handle the production
arrangements.

Sky has brought in NEP Visions, a regular OB contractor for its Premier
League broadcasts, to provide the technical facilities. Trucks left
Vision’s depot on May 8, took the ferry from the UK and then drove in
convoy through Finland to Russia, where they were given a police escort
to the Luznhiki Stadium in Moscow.

Visions’ HD3 truck is handling the international match feed, with VT
support from HDR3. A total of 24 cameras is being used to capture the
action; 17 are Grass Valley LDK6000s, with four triple speed units, two
Arri Hi Motions and one Spidercam. Sky’s coverage will be augmented by
new HD minicams mounted in the goal to give a goalkeeper’s eye view of
proceedings.

Surround sound is being mixed on HD3’s Calrec Alpha digital console,
while HDR3 is providing multiple EVS servers and HDcam VTs for slow
motion and replays. Visions is also providing an additional two
vehicles, HD4 and D10, for Sky Sports’ presentation of the event for
its UK audience. This involves a further 10 cameras for the studio,
interviews and highlighting star players.

Another UK OB company in Moscow tonight is O21 Television, which has
sent over its Unit 7 for ITV’s live coverage of the game. ITV is
broadcasting a SDI version of the match but as the broadcaster is
launching a HD channel during the summer this will probably be the last
time it will need to convert the main feed in this way.

The O21 truck went over to Russia on May 7 and is providing eight Sony
E30s for studio, interview and player shots, plus three six-channel
EVSs, a Piero graphics analysis system and an Apple Final Cut Pro for
assembling highlight packages. Although ITV’s broadcast will be in SD a
HD rack in Unit 7 will be used to record the match for the archives.

With an estimated worldwide TV audience of 100 million the organisers
and broadcasters must be hoping the scenes that marred last week’s UEFA
Cup Final in Manchester are not repeated in Moscow.