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FIFA Women's World Cup: Telemundo Deportes Enhances 4K HDR Coverage With 5.1 Audio, Virtual Studio


FIFA Women's World Cup: Telemundo Deportes Enhances 4K HDR Coverage With 5.1 Audio, Virtual Studio Operation relies on improved connection between facility in Miami and the IBC in Sydney By Kristian Hern ndez, Senior Editor

Thursday, August 17, 2023 - 10:47 am

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Heading into a tantalizing 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup Final between Spain and England, Telemundo Deportes is nearing the conclusion of a month-long stretch of native-HDR productions from its base in Telemundo Center. Besides deploying 5.1 audio as well as programming with an updated virtual studio, the broadcaster's engineering team has done an impressive job seamlessly connecting their Miami-based facility and their setup in the IBC in Australia.

Our biggest driver was to treat the IBC as an extension of Miami, says Jorge Duarte, senior director, production engineering, Telemundo Deportes. It's a small yet efficient footprint, so we've kept the workflows as straightforward as possible since a 14-hour time difference and being halfway around the world has its own challenges that we've had to overcome.

Football in HDR: Telemundo's First Women's World Cup in Native High Dynamic Range After debuting HDR productions for two opening matches - New Zealand vs. Norway and Australia vs. Ireland - on July 20, Telemundo Deportes has refined its new technological workflow. Prior to the start of the tournament, Duarte and his crew - Senior Engineer, Production Engineering, Rene Rattia; Manager, Production Engineering, Luis Schneider; Architect, Production Engineering, Ricardo Novas; Director, Post-Production Engineering, Joel Rulan; and Senior Network Architect Ramon Munoz - used other international and large-scale competitions to test out this production wrinkle, including the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics and the 2022 FIFA Men's World Cup in Qatar. The team was supported by Director, Control Room Operations, Rey Carrasquillo; Manager, Control Room Operations, George Rodriguez; and Technical Project Manager Odair Auger.

From left: Telemundo Deportes' Rene Rattia, Luis Schneider, Jorge Duarte, and Ricardo Novas produce the FIFA Women's World Cup from Telemundo Center in Miami.

Over the past month, Duarte's staff working in Miami has teamed with SVP, Content Operations, Chris Suarez-Meyers and the crew at the IBC to receive the necessary video feeds from HBS and send out the finished product. This comprises nearly 30 live game feeds as well as various signals captured around the two host nations via LiveU and sent directly to Miami. The game feeds are natively produced in the HLG HDR format and distributed as 4K PQ/HDR. In the control room, the feeds are managed by Technical Directors Red Osejo and Adrian Izquierdo, with the assistance of Manager, Technical Operations, John Moneyhun and Senior Network Operations Coordinator Yerica Areas in the Telemundo Technical Operations Center coordinating all feeds originating in Australia and New Zealand.

Although the Women's World Cup is one of the main priorities, Telemundo Center is always producing other news, sports, and entertainment. Since all other Telemundo programming is sent out in standard 1080i SDR format, one of the biggest challenges has been to retrofit the live-production infrastructure to seamlessly support the two production formats on demand.

Being able to keep our standard 1080i SDR workflows in place when we're not doing Women's World Cup was very important, says Duarte. After working overnight for eight to 10 hours and two games, we needed a reliable method of switching between HDR and SDR productions easily. That meant having the production team do it themselves in 15 minutes rather than four hours.

Nearly 30 live game feeds are sent to Telemundo Center from HBS in Sydney.

This 4K HDR operation is raising the visual quality of Telemundo Deportes' World Cup coverage overall.

We've taken notice that our downconverted 1080i SDR has also looked much better, says Duarte. He credits NBCU Operations and Technology Director, Advanced Content Production, Chris Seeger: We've relied on Chris's expertise in live HDR production workflows to optimize our HDR and SDR production paths and conversions between those formats.

Immersive Audio: 5.1 Brings Sounds of the Game Closer to Viewers It's a treat for supporters at each venue to hear the chants, the sound of the ball being kicked, the roar when a country scores. For fans watching from home, Telemundo Deportes is capturing and reproducing that live in-venue experience with 5.1 immersive sound. This aspect of the production is led by Manager, Audio Operations, Pedro Hernandez and Audio Specialists Manuel Funcia and Luis Diaz. The 5.1 surround sound is mixed at Telemundo Center and sent to all local networks and to Peacock, which is setting daily streaming records with the Women's World Cup.

Telemundo Deportes sibling NBC Sports has supplied 5.1 sound and Dolby Atmos audio to viewers for multiple events. One of the most recent global events under the NBC Sports umbrella, the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, was a master class in audio production. It was so well-received and applauded by the sports-broadcasting industry that the broadcaster brought home the 2023 Sports Emmy for Outstanding Audio/Sound - Live Event. Coming off this win and another successful execution of this strategy, Telemundo Deportes tapped the expertise of NBC Sports Senior Director, Audio Engineering, Karl Malone.

We kicked [this idea] off internally, says Duarte, but, since we're a big company, we try to leverage each other. We leaned on Karl quite a bit. He came down in February (with NBC Sports A1s Mike DiCrescenzo and Rick Bernier) to meet with our audio team.

Most of the games produced by Telemundo Deportes rely on
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