Whisper’s Sunil Patel and Timeline’s Dan McDonnell on teaming up on one of the industry’s most complex remote productions to date

C4 paralympic line up

The first production to use Timeline’s new Ealing Broadcast Centre was Channel 4 and Whisper’s live coverage of the Paralympics.

While the production didn’t use the virtual studio at the facility, the EBC enabled a complex, multi-site live remote production to take place, including camera feeds from studios in Tokyo and Leeds and roving cameras across Tokyo and the UK.

Whisper CEO Sunil Patel told Broadcast Sport: “We started talking to Timeline the moment we won the production, as they are always so forward-thinking and innovative and the first to market with ideas. Dan and his team have a very can-do attitude and get things done. But they’ve outdone themselves on this facility, particularly in terms of the speed of action and enabling us to do such a complex remote production.

“When we first went to see the facility, about four months ago, it was a complete shell, with no infrastructure or power. A few months later and we were able to deliver the most complex Games ever from there.”

Patel continues: “For the Paralympics, we had a presentation studio in Leeds, with eight feeds from there going direct to Ealing. We also had an athletics studio in Tokyo and one at the aquatics centre to cover the swimming, and all those feeds also came into Ealing. On top of this, there were six roving Mobile Viewpoint kits in Tokyo to get into the action wherever it was happening. And we also had roving crews with the families of athletes across the UK to get their reactions and pulled that into the coverage too. We got all the camera feeds in Ealing and made the full programme there, with EVS, Piero and commentary teams also based in Ealing.”

Dan McDonnell, CEO, Timeline, also spoke to Broadcast Sport about working on the Paralympics: “During the Paralympics, 300 hours of linear television and 1,000 hours of streaming content came out of here. The technical backbone we put in place has been the reason we’ve been able to do it.

”The gap we’re trying to fill with Ealing is to provide a reasonable size studio with lots of connectivity. Our USP is the studio being fully rigged with a high-end VR system. This is usually out the reach for a lot of productions. We think it’ll be well suited for sport, corporates and LE. We’ve designed multiple sets to suit different productions. Everything is set up so you can do the show and move on. It’s very high-end VR that’s all ready to go.”