Official Worldwide Olympic Partner Panasonic

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Behind the Scenes 2004 Athens Episode2


Fresh Excitement from Athens to the World!

Panasonic Digital Broadcast System

  The world's broadcasters converged on Athens.

The world's broadcasters converged on Athens.

The Opening Ceremony of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games showcased the history and culture of Greece on a colossal scale. Almost four billion people worldwide watched the event live on TV, imbuing the sight of the Olympic Flame shimmering in the night air with new awe and wonder.

To relay the best performances of their nations' greatest athletes to their home viewers, a 10,000-strong host of broadcasting personnel converged on Athens from 180 broadcasters worldwide. Home base for these broadcasters was the broadcasting hub of the Olympic Games, the International Broadcast Center (IBC).

The IBC was the nerve center of Olympic broadcasting.

The IBC was the nerve center of Olympic broadcasting.

The IBC was fitted out with the latest Panasonic equipment, supporting official filming as well as broadcasts to each broadcaster's home country. Panasonic's DVCPRO digital video format was deployed in all official filming. This daring innovation was one more laurel for Panasonic's engineers, who have brought leading-edge digital technology to every Olympic games since the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, when Panasonic introduced digital video to Olympic broadcasting.

Panasonic's digital broadcasting system was used by broadcasters from every country and region.

Panasonic's digital broadcasting system was used by broadcasters from every country and region.

Athens was the scene of the world's first Olympic broadcast using Panasonic's P2 video recording system.

Athens was the scene of the world's first Olympic broadcast using Panasonic's P2 video recording system.

At the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, over 400 digital video cameras, more than 200 system cameras, and some 2,100 monitors, including plasma and LCD monitors, were in operation at the IBC and stadiums. This equipment had to be ready for operation every minute by broadcasters of the 17-day Games. With its many years of experience in bringing state-of-the-art video technology to the Olympic Games, Panasonic enjoys the steadfast confidence of the broadcasters of every country and region.

One such broadcaster is Televisa, a Mexican TV broadcaster with its own fully equipped studio at the IBC. Using nothing but Panasonic products for everything from live news broadcasts to special features, Televisa provided the most extensive Olympic broadcast partners except the USA and Japanese networks. As one Televisa staff member explained:

"At an event like the Olympic Games, there's no time to fix it if something goes wrong. That's why we really depend on top-quality equipment. Panasonic gear works without a hitch, every time. That's really vital."

Rebuilt anew for each Olympic Games, the IBC always includes a Panasonic support office. This office is staffed with engineers 24 hours a day, available to respond immediately in the event of any trouble. With the support of these seasoned professionals, Olympic broadcasting who use Panasonic equipment can concentrate on the hard work of covering the Olympic Games.

What makes the broadcasts of the Olympic Games so compelling to billions of people worldwide? Answer: the thrill of feeling part of the action. It's a unique opportunity to watch up-to-the-minute footage of top athletes performing feats of breathtaking skill, in a drama that often exceeds the wildest expectations, unfolding moment by moment in a faraway stadium.

As broadcasting technology advances, the images of each TV broadcast of the Olympic Games are more vivid and full of impact than the last. When the world's broadcasters gather to cover the Olympic Games, they bring the latest equipment and technology with them, and put it to the test. The Athens 2004 Olympic Games were no exception, as the latest digital equipment from Panasonic ushered in the new age of digital video.

Countless monitors line the main control room.

Countless monitors line the main control room.

With its banks of monitors lining every wall, the main control room provides the most enduring image of the IBC. At the Athens 2004 Olympic Games , the conventional CRT screens were entirely placed by plasma and LCD monitors from Panasonic. In a special area set up for high-definition broadcasting, camera crews produced video feed using DVCPRO HD digital high-definition systems. Panasonic VIERA TVs served as monitors, sending brilliant digital high-definition images out to an eager every staffs.

Fresh from recording the action using DVCPRO P2 video recorders, the BTV crew edited the footage.

Fresh from recording the action using DVCPRO P2 video recorders, the BTV crew edited the footage.

Broadcasters from China, the next country to host the Olympic Games, were enthusiastic adopters of digital video production. BTV, China's No. 2 TV broadcaster, has embraced a new digital video system that Panasonic unveiled only at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games: the DVCPRO P2 series.

Instead of recording on tape, the P2 camera captures digital data directly to a memory card. Editing footage no longer means rewinding and fast-forwarding through reams of tape. Instead, camera operators can simply remove the memory cards and edit the video themselves.

Using P2, the BTV crew was able to edit its footage quickly on-site and send it straight out for broadcast.

Using P2, the BTV crew was able to edit its footage quickly on-site and send it straight out for broadcast.

The camera holds up to five memory cards, storing up to 40 minutes of video at the highest-quality setting (in DVCPRO 50 mode). The editing device holds memory-card slots and incorporates a hard disk, so editors can quickly store and edit only the images they need. Digital data can be transferred directly from memory cards to a PC.

"Getting the footage broadcasters want has never been easier. We could never do this with the old equipment. With practice, I'm sure we'll be able to edit even faster."

By the time the summer Olympic Games arrive in Beijing, these broadcasters will be masters of the P2 system, bringing high-quality, digital high-definition coverage of the Olympic Games to more people than ever before.


Episodes

Equipment supplied by Panasonic
Panasonic's contribution to the Athens 2004 Olympic Games
The host Olympic Games broadcaster, Athens Olympic Broadcasting (AOB) has adopted DVCPRO50 as its official video recording format.
The full complement of Panasonic's broadcasting equipment is used at the International Broadcast Center (IBC) and at 28 venues.
There are a total of over 15,000 different kinds of TV screens in use, including the 14 outdoor ASTROVISION screens, the 10 indoor DLP projectors, and large plasma televisions.
The RAMSA sound system is used in 33 venues including the Olympic stadium, the International Broadcast Center, and the Olympic village.
Panasonic has installed its wind and solar powered 'Kaze Kamome' lighting and surveillance cameras.
  • DVCPRO digital VTRs: 400
  • Digital cameras and camera recorders: 200
  • Monitor cameras: 2,100
  • ASTROVISION screens: 14
  • DLP projectors: 10
  • TVs, including large-scale plasma screens: 15,000
  • RAMSA sound systems: 165
  • Speakers: 1,800
  • 'Kaze Kamome' wind and solar powered systems: 50