World Darts Championship Scores HD Bullseye

By Kevin Hilton

SVG Europe Editor

Large men in loud shirts, cheered on excessively by over-enthusiastic family and supporters, will be taking over Alexandra Palace in north London until Jan. 4 as the World Darts Championship gets under way. Every drop of sweat, every dart hitting home, and all expressions of victory and defeat will be captured in HD on Sky Sports, supported by a new high-motion camera and the first outing of what is claimed to be the biggest OB truck in Europe.

This is the first time Sky has broadcast the World Darts Championship in HD, and it’s using a wide range of technology to capture the action. The Flight Cam 1000 is a super-slow-motion camera that records at 1,000 frames per second. It is positioned at the side of the stage to show players taking their shots and where the darts land. A spokeswoman for Sky Sports said viewers would be able to see players’ muscles moving as they let a dart fly and chalk coming out of the board as hits its mark.

Facilities for the broadcast are provided by Arena Television, using OB7 as the main control scanner and VT6, which went on the road in the past few weeks. The new HD truck is thought to be the biggest of its kind in Europe, being a 17.5-meter-long articulated vehicle with a single extra-width expanding side. It houses 12 videotape machines and 12 LSMs, with two edit suites. As OB7 is roughly the same size and can accommodate up to 12 VTRs (HDCAM, DigiBeta, or LSMs), the scale of the live darts production becomes clear.

VT6 is the third new vehicle that Arena has brought into operation this year, following the double-expander OB10 and OB12, a rigid-axle truck intended for events where space is limited or access restricted. Arena Managing Director Richard Yeowart says such events include light entertainment and music recording, as well as sporting events like Wimbledon, where OB facilities have to fit into narrow public roads.