Get Your Own TV Channel!

I was in Amsterdam last month for the IBC (International Broadcasting Convention). Basically its a show of all the latest equipment and everything you would need, to get into broadcasting. If you are anyone in the production side of broadcasting in Europe then you turn up for this event like the top dogs at BBC and Sky Sports for example, who I know were there. So I thought I would take a look at what you would need to start up your own TV sports channel… That said I will not go into the every nut, bolt or wire you will need, plus this is all assuming you have millions or billions worth of pounds to invest!

I will be assuming you already have premises, it would help if you had a few if you are going to do broadcasts from matches all over Europe. All you could rent out equipment from local stations around Europe.

Now as it is a TV channel, a camera is pretty important. If there is a gantry then a robust unit that can cover the full pitch is a must. Gantries are usually found up at the top of stadiums for the best unrestricted views. To be honest they can be pretty scary places, especially in stadiums with loud atmospheres… Rocking.

Although some can also be found at ground level like so.

The above photo is of me using a steady-cam which you see the cameramen use on the touchlines at big matches. Its all in the title, the metal jacket and arm holding the camera is used so that you can use the steadiest shot possible. Now cameramen can wear these for up to two hours and I can tell you after ten minutes they can hurt the bottom of your back! Although that may be down to my posture, but I would still not thank you for that job on a full time basis.

The above picture is a broadcast 3D Sony camera, if your channel is going to be all fancy you will need a similar camera to this for 3D footage. Basically the main thing to these cameras is that you have two lenses to get that 3D image.

Now if your are covering football games live then you will need an outside broadcasting unit like the one above. That will receive all of your cameras images and beam them live. In the live game I was at in Breda the Dutch TV station used over 30 cameras!

This is what it looks like inside the outside broadcasting truck. This was inside the one used at the Breda Feyenoord game. As you can see the editor, director and producer can see all the camera’s that are currently shooting live, in and around the ground and they can see which one to go to next. You can also edit the graphics here before sending the images to the TV station and onto a transmitter then into peoples living rooms.

If you have a sister sports news channel then the need for a truck isn’t great as you will want something smaller. So why not instead use a van or even a 4×4 as long as it has a huge satellite dish on top of it!

Now for a studio… Well at a game you can always use a cheap option and use the side of the pitch like the Dutch did here, it is also a favourite of ESPN at Scottish grounds. Plus we all know that Sky love a a studio inside the stadium that look on to the pitch.

For a nice glossy in-house studio you don’t always need a great location or even a great amount of space. Look at the pic above, the green screen is hugely important here. With the right kind of editing equipment you can then have your presenter in a virtual studio, might not save time but it can save money. Look at the TV screen above this gentleman and you see what the final product looks like.

Talking of editing their is plenty of software available to help with footballing graphics like lines to prove players are offside, distances between free-kicks and the goals and technology to prove the ball has crossed the line. Plus live super slow mo. Technology that not just TV stations should be looking at but also FIFA and UEFA.

We all saw the fun new table ESPN had this weekend… Well look here I spotted it last month possibly at the same time as an ESPN big wig seen it!

TV execs love nothing more than these sorts of fancy gadgets even if it means that former Pro footballers humiliate themselves by struggling with these new items. They love to give the viewer something new, some work and others like player-cam don’t.

I really like the Sky Sports touchscreen seen here, it is full of great stuff like stats provided by OPTA, previous game footage and a easy to move tactics board. You can see a live demonstration of it at work HERE. Also in that clip is me showing off my skills as Gary Neville’s understudy.

The above mic was being advertised as the ideal mic for a sports commentator. Whether or not this is true you should ask a sound engineer or a top commentator like Derek Rae. For our interview with Derek view it HERE. For the presenters in studios radio mics would be ideally used.

If you have outside interviews then you will want your reporters to have good mics. You can also advertise your station with personalised mic windshields and windscreens like the ones above. I am actually hoping for a TV windscreen. These are usually expensive as they are handmade.

Now this is just a wee insight as to what it would take to become the new Sky Sports or ESPN. There are so much more things to consider like boom mics, cables, lighting and the like but if you have a spare few million or billion pounds and want to start then I can be hired!

One Response to “Get Your Own TV Channel!”

  1. Hey !
    Im hamza from morocco ,
    I have a NEWS CHANNEL
    For that i want to personalised mic windshields and windscreens,
    But what about the price and the shipping methode ..

    Thanks a lot

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