DFL trials 9:16 vertical broadcast production designed for social media

A ‘9:16’ aspect ratio production format designed particularly for smartphones and social media dissemination is the latest broadcast technology feature to have been trialled in German football’s Bundesliga.

The 9:16 format, which was used instead of the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio, was trialled during the match between VfL Wolfsburg and Werder Bremen last weekend.

The German Football League (DFL) said that the “successful” test had been carried out in response to “the changing media usage behaviour and the increasing consumption of videos on mobile devices”.

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Sportcast, the league’s host broadcast subsidiary, and DFL Digital Sports, the league subsidiary responsible for the distribution of digital content, carried out the project.

The DFL specified: “During the test transmission in Wolfsburg, the special 9:16 feed was produced with additional technology independent of the base signal. While the spectators in front of the screens did not notice a change, five additional cameras were used in the stadium for the 9:16 production.

“These professional broadcast cameras were tilted using a special tripod to achieve top quality results and in a separate control room the monitors were also rotated by 90 degrees. With this technical set-up, the DFL’s high quality standard was also ensured in 9:16 – even in Ultra HD.”

Andreas Heyden, executive vice-president of digital innovations at the DFL Group, remarked: “We are very satisfied with the test. As always, we develop innovations by adopting the fan’s perspective. We see that vertical videos in social media on mobile devices are better received than ones in horizontal orientation.

“The successful test in Wolfsburg provides us with a good basis for further considerations as to how we can do even better justice to this usage behaviour in the future.”

Sportcast, which was created in 2006, has introduced an array of innovative production features over the years. Aerial camera systems, drones, a corner flag camera, AR-powered graphics and a “mini ultra slow-motion camera” have all been deployed recently. Bundesliga matches are currently produced with up to 25 cameras.