Bigger, better. Those words keep popping up every time broadcasting plans for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics are mentioned.

And while you might think this is all pre-Olympic hype and that “bigger and better” have officially been added to the Games’ “higher, faster, stronger” motto, the fact is that from a Canadian perspective Vancouver will definitely be a high-water mark for television.

It certainly will be bigger. As for the better part, that remains to be seen. Last week, a convoy of up to 20 18-wheelers hit the road, loaded down with tonnes of the most sophisticated TV equipment in the world and more than a million feet of cable. The convoy contained the guts of the largest broadcasting production ever undertaken in Canada.

It will help the CTV Olympic consortium to produce an unprecedented 4,500 hours of everything that happens during this country’s third Games on 10 television channels, two radio stations and two websites.

“This is five times bigger than anything else we’ve ever done,” says Rick Chisholm, the consortium’s executive vice-president of broadcast.

The destination for all this high-tech wizardry is the International Broadcast Centre in Vancouver, which will be the heart of all TV production during the Games. While the CTV group is determined to provide the most comprehensive coverage seen in this country, the broadcast centre is focused on giving broadcasters from around the world the best coverage ever.

“Our goal was to bring the best producers, directors and staff from around the world,” says Nancy Lee, who left her post as head of CBC sports to become chief operating officer of Olympic Broadcasting Services Vancouver.

“I think we’ve done that, as well as enhancing coverage.”

Television ‘firsts’
• Olympic Broadcasting Services Vancouver is set to produce many images that’ll be firsts for the Winter Games:

• All coverage will be in high definition, with 5.1 sound.

• Ski coverage will include “ghost images” that will allow viewers to see how each skier is faring against a computer-enhanced image of the leader.

• Super slow-motion cameras will slow down pucks and sticks almost to the point of stop action.

• Some skiers and snowboard cross competitors will be fitted with helmet cameras.

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