20 February 2012
Multi-view, surround sound for Sky F1 coverage
Sky Sports adds surround sound to plans to bring multiple viewing options to both TV and iPad.
Sky Sports continues to reveal details of its 2012 venture into F1 broadcasting, with the announcement of Dolby digital sound following hot on the heels of other innovations on both its television and online coverage.
The inclusion of Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound will be available to viewers watching via the high-definition version of Sky Sports coverage when the dedicated F1 channel launches in March. The use of Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound - an audio feed using six different channels to provide a cinematic style experience - will represent the first time that live F1 broadcasts have been offered to viewers in the UK and Ireland in surround sound, and will cover all practice and qualifying sessions, as well as the 20 races.
"For the first time, viewers can hear the drama of F1 as well as see it," executive producer Martin Turner commented, "The stunning HD pictures will now be matched by stunning Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound audio that will help take our viewers trackside. This is another example of us giving F1 the Sky Sports treatment and I know those that hear the coverage will be amazed by it."
Sky will take a purpose-built mobile audio control room to the F1 television compound in order to receive the 5.1 audio produced by Formula One Management's host broadcast coverage. The commentary feed will then be added before the signal is beamed back to HD viewers in the UK and Ireland.
"F1 in Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound is seriously impressive, it's so much closer to the real experience from inside the cockpit or being at the side of the racetrack," driver-turned-commentator Martin Brundle noted, "It even picks up atmosphere from the crowd and I'm confident the viewer will notice a much greater intensity and spectacle."
In addition to the surround sound experience, Sky has recently announced a number of innovations it expects to set its television and online viewing experiences apart from its rivals.
Already christened 'Sky Race Control', interactive services on the broadcaster's F1 channel will feature as many as nine viewing options, with viewers given the opportunity to choose which camera they watch, while a similar facility is expected to be announced for Apple's iPad. Turner has already claimed that Sky Sports' coverage will 'reinvent interactive television'.
“The most powerful and interactive use of the 'Red Button' in the last few years has not been to show different angles and cameras, it's been to show you a different game," he pointed out, “What we are going to do is take F1 as a sport and offer different ways of seeing it, be it by on-board cameras or with the data tracker that tells you where the cars are.
“We will also be offering a live 'Pit Channel', [as] Sky will be covering the pits as its own channel to see what's going on there, because there's always something going on in the pits even without the cars being there.
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