Super Hi Vision TV Screenings

Monday 16 July 2012, 12:10

Tim Plyming Tim Plyming Executive Producer

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Hi. I'm Tim Plyming and I'm the project lead for the BBC's Super Hi-Vision trials taking place during the London 2012 Olympics.

As I spoke about in the video above, I've just finished a fantastic week of Super Hi-Vision filming in London with a crew made up of staff from Japanese broadcaster NHK and the BBC. Given this and the fact we're now 11 days before the start of the Games, I thought this would be a great opportunity to tell you a bit more about the BBC's Super Hi Vision trials.

So, what is Super Hi-Vision?

Developed by NHK, Super Hi-Vision is an Ultra High Definition television format combining images 16 times the resolution of High Definition television with a 22.2 multichannel surround sound. Experienced on a big screen, the effect is of feeling like actually being at an event.

The London 2012 Olympics will be the first time this ground-breaking technology will be used to deliver exceptional quality content in the UK, so I'm extremely excited that you will be able to experience it for the very first time.

Building up to Games Time

As mentioned earlier, we've been filming at a range of iconic London landmarks over the last couple of weeks for a special film which will play ahead of the start of the Olympic Games. It was particularly exciting to capture what I think will be one of the iconic Olympic images of Tower Bridge, dressing with the Olympic rings, in Super Hi-Vision.

We have been using a brand new Super Hi-Vision camera and microphone and a specially adapted outside broadcast truck which have all been shipped from Japan to the UK.

At the same time in our R&D test studio (TC0) at BBC Television Centre in west London, a talented group of colleagues from the BBC's Research & Development have been working with NHK to build the first Olympic Super Hi-Vision production studio.

A history of innovative partnerships

Our Super Hi-Vision trials build on the BBC's history of innovation - experimenting with new broadcasting technologies and looking at new ways to bring quality BBC content to audiences in the future.

The Olympics has always been one of those moments where the BBC showcases new broadcast technology - due to the size and scale of this momentous event. Looking back at past Games:

  • First TV broadcast - at the last Olympic Games in London in 1948, the BBC used specially built outside broadcast trucks and cameras to bring all the excitement of an Olympic Games to audiences at home on TV for the first time.
  • First live colour transmission - in 1968 the Olympic Games was transmitted live in colour for the first time across the Pacific ocean to audiences in the United States
  • First HD broadcast - in 1984 experimental High Definition cameras were used for the first time to capture an Olympic Games

The London 2012 Olympic Games will be the first to be captured in Super Hi-Vision - using the only Super Hi-Vision equipment in the world.

Three cameras will capture sporting action from the Olympic Stadium, Aquatic Centre, Velodrome and Basketball Arena. Alongside highlight packages, we will be showing live coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies, the 100m final live as well as a whole day of action from the Aquatic Centre.

Working with over ten global partners, the Super Hi-Vision signal is being sent around the world. In the UK we are working in partnership with the JANET high bandwidth academic network to bring Olympic content to our audiences at our public viewing venues.

Where can you experience Super Hi Vision?

Working with teams at three venues across the UK, we are also building special public viewing theatres which will present Super Hi-Vision on giant screens with special speaker rigs to recreate the 22.2. multichannel sound.

Our viewing theatres are:

  1. London: BBC Broadcasting House
  2. Glasgow: BBC Pacific Quay
  3. Bradford: National Media Museum

Regular screenings take place Monday 23rd July - Sunday 12th August. We've also just released tickets for another six sessions to come and see (and hear) this amazing technology for yourself - but be quick as they sell out fast.

Screenings in London and Glasgow can be booked through the BBC ticketing website at Screenings in Bradford can be booked through

Viewing theatres are also being set up in Tokyo and Fukushima in Japan and Washington DC in the United States.

I really hope you get the chance to experience Super Hi-Vision for yourself and look forward to hearing about your experience or what you think of our plans.

We'll keep you updated in the build up to the Games - and look forward to sharing our learnings with you from this exciting trial.

Tim Plyming is the project executive for digital services, Editor Live Sites and leading the partnership between BBC, NHK and OBS to capture the Olympic Games in Super Hi-Vision.

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    Comment number 1.

    We have applied for tickets, it would be very interesting to see this new technology at work and i'm even more interested in how the 22.2 Surround will sound

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    Comment number 2.

    Keeping up with technology is important but there is a limit. It must be a long way off before a delivery system is available that would allow the benefits of SHV to be delivered to the home viewer.

    What I cannot believe will ever happen is the granting of production budgets that allow this to proceed. Most TV is made unbelievably cheaply (by poorly paid junior staff) with reasonable budgets for a few flagship projects (made by grown-ups).

    Hardly any UK TV production can afford 5.1 surround audio so how will they manage with 22.1?

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    Comment number 3.

    Kit, this is all about future proofing the footage. The LA games were the first to be filmed in Super-HD, which until recently has not been able to be watched in a domestic situation. Given that The Hobbit has been filmed on 5k cameras and these operate at 8K you can imagine how pristine the footage captured will be. Technology will never stop developing so to complain that it is going too far is ridiculous. Look how cheap you can buy a 1080p TV set now, as opposed to how expensive they were initially, the same will eventually come to pass for this technology. Firstly though you need these kind of prototypes capturing landmark events for the technology to develop.
    This footage will be viewable in amazing quality for many decades to come I for one applaud the efforts being made to utilise this.

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    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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    Comment number 5.

    There are people in the licence fee BBC who are allowed to live in a comfortable world of their own. I would love super TV! (or just workable) Aerial reception rubbish where I reside (esp now only digital) Can only watch online when it works-I am aware of the variety of vald excuses-but come on spending dosh on super hd to watch the "super" olympics-improve basic online delivery!!!!


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