F1 being filmed in HD this year

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

The BBC has confirmed F1 is being filmed in HD this year.

But Formula One Management is not making the high definition feed available to broadcasters.

Danielle Nagler, the BBC’s head of HD, wrote on her blog today:

The events are being filmed in HD (as far as we know) but they are not made available by F1 to broadcasters in HD.
Danielle Nagler

Earlier this year Lee McKenzie from BBC’s F1 team said HD would be offered to F1 broadcasters in 2011. It may be that FOM wishes to get a year’s experience of filming in HD under its belt before committing to a live feed in high definition.

Hopefully they will release the HD footage shot this year in some form, either via their website or perhaps the end-of-season video review.

Meanwhile, NASCAR is being broadcast in HD for the sixth year in 2010.

Thanks to Mikesrandall for the tip

88 comments on “F1 being filmed in HD this year”

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  1. Damn… that wasn’t quite what I expected to read, but at least its happening!

    1. I smell season review on BluRay.

      1. That’s enough to make one drool slightly…;-)

  2. MikeSRandall
    3rd March 2010, 12:21

    Well, that is (sort of) good news – a step in the right direction. The question now is: What are they going to do with this footage that they’re shooting? It seems an incredible waste to invest in the technology and then just use it to fill Bernie’s video shelf, never to see the light of day.

    Personally, about the only thing which could persuade me to bite the bullet and go for an HD TV would be F1 in HD. I hope the BBC can take a lead in persuading FOM to hand over the footage as soon as possible.

    1. José Baudaier
      3rd March 2010, 21:59

      They’ll probably use it to sell some season 2010 highlights/best moments Blu-Ray.

    2. Malcolm Clark
      5th March 2010, 14:03

      How long have you been following Formula 1? Bernie will use it to make himself more money. [Remember when he completed a deal with BBC for race coverage but they forgot to include ‘practice’ and ‘qualifying’ in the contract – so couldn’t show it until they’d renegotiated?]

      PS HDTV is great; I got it for watching lions eat antelopes, very much like F1 really.

  3. It’s moving in the right direcion!

    Heres hoping for a end of season bluray edition!!!!

    1. seconding this.

  4. Christian Biddon
    3rd March 2010, 12:40

    WTCC is broadcast in HD, as is Formula 2. I am willing to bet that the same group of people will be manning the cameras etc when F1 is filmed in HD so why not repease it to the broadcasters.

    This reluctance to bring HD to the top level of motorsport is pathetic, just like most other things controlled by the powers that be in F1.

  5. i can understand this but after 3 race you can push it to the live feed

    madness i tell ye

    1. I agree – a whole season’s practice? Pull the other one.

      If I was the BBC I’d be getting very angry about them not getting the HD feed.

      Speaking as someone with a nice big TV and SkyHD. ;)

  6. Anybody know the reason why FOM aren’t releasing the feed in HD? From what I can tell, they can do it, everything technical is in place – they just aren’t doing it.

    1. Sounds like a way for Bernie to extract more money out of broadcasters.

  7. It’s about money: B.C. Ecclestone wants the broadcasters to pay extra for the HD-feed.

  8. This is absolutely ridiculous. I know it’s been said many times before, but in this day and age for F1, the supposed pinnacle of motor sport, not to be in HD is a farce. The world cup being in 3D makes F1 look even sillier.

  9. From what I have read elsewhere its been filmed in HD for some years. I actually got HD this time last year fully expecting the BBC to be able to air F1 in it, as around Xmas 2008 Bernie said “if the BBC want HD they can have it”. As ever we dont know whats going on in the background, nothing in this world is ever as it seems.

    I watched the WTCC and F2 in HD last season on eurosport which was amazing (with the exception of that tragic race at Brands, for obvious reasons I didnt enjoy that live experience at all) But it begs the question if by comparison a small time TV production can do it what is FOM messing about at.

    I think there is also an issue with the term HD. What I do believe is that F1 was being filmed in 720p which is not full HD. The BBC has a trust commitment to only airing content on BBC HD which is native 1080(i). Which is why there is not a lot on it, but what is on it looks so much better than the sky service channels that upscale and so forth.

    High speed sporting events are often filmed in p (progressive) as it offers better capture than i (interlaced) of fast moving images. 720p broadcasts take approximately the same bandwidth as 1080i streams. which explains why F1 has been done in 720 in the past. Maybe 2010 sees the filming go to 1080p (bluray quality) and maybe then we might see the interlaced equivilent broardcast on air. fingers crossed but I am not convinced we will see anything until 2011.

    in short – what a joke…

    1. MuzzleFlash
      3rd March 2010, 13:24

      So even if F1 is broadcast in HD it won’t be full 1080p? Formula One is the only reason I’d want to get HD.

      Mind you I live in the middle of the Irish countryside so I was happy enough with the quality increase I got with Digital.

    2. JaffaTheCake
      3rd March 2010, 15:55

      Actually, interlaced footage is better for sport. You get double the frame rate at the expense of halving the vertical resolution (because 2 frames are interlaced together).

      1080i is 50/60fps, whereas 1080p is usually 24/25/30fps.

      1080p is better for films, as films are typically shot in 24fps, so they make full use of the vertical resolution.

      1. 1080p can be 50 or 60 fps too. But nothing aside from games consoles use it yet because of the bandwidth hogging.

        I’d have thought Bernie’s sponsors would quite like people to see their brands and logos clearly instead of the disgraceful fuzzovision we get at the moment. Him holding out for yet more cash from broadcasters is doing yet more damage to the reputation of F1.

      2. No.

        Progressive is better for sport as the whole screen refreshes at once allowing for a smoother picture and less strain on your eyes.

        There is as much information in a 720P image as there is in a 1080i image. Put the same image next to each other and you should pick the 720P as being better due to the progressive refreshing.

        Then there is the compression and processing to take into account which further provides an advantage to a progressive image.

  10. Do the camera’s on the cars film in HD?

    1. Last year there was one HD onboard camera in each race. You could usually tell which one it was even when watching in SD. Don’t know what the setup will be for this year though.

  11. hmm Pay-Per-View maybe?

    1. No thanks…

  12. the in-car cameras are not HD, the newer ones they begain using last year are higher resolution SD.

    bbc made a mistake, there will be nothing shot in hd this year as all the equipment isnt hd ready just yet and fom are waiting for the next upgrade cycle to buy fully hd cameras and other little bits.

    the cameras they have at present are GrassValley LDK5000 models and are SD but can be upgraded to produce in HD. However even once upgraded they don’t give the best picture quality compared to newer products. formula one management brought these cameras in April 2006 & they were first used at montreal that year so there a couple years old now.

    biggest reason they have yet to go hd is the cost involved and the limited number of broadcasters that would use the hd broadcast. thers only something like 10 worldwide that would pick up a hd broadcast and that woudnt cover the cost of either upgrading the equipment or producing the broadcast.

    for now if you want to see f1 in hd you will just have to find the japanese broadcast of suzuka which has been in hd since 2006.

    1. the cameras they have at present are GrassValley LDK5000 models and are SD but can be upgraded to produce in HD. However even once upgraded they don’t give the best picture quality compared to newer products. formula one management brought these cameras in April 2006 & they were first used at montreal that year so there a couple years old now.

      Very interesting, where’d you find this out?

      1. have seen this info posted on several message boards by some people ‘in the know’ so to speak.
        the digitalspy f1 tv discussion often sees some very knowledgeable peopole post there, but i’ve also seen the same info as well as more posted elsewhere.

    2. Anyone know what make and model the onboard cams are on the F1 cars? F1 Dave mentioned the GrassValley LDK5000 – I thought he was referring to the onboard cams but these are the broadcast cams.

  13. who knows, maybe half way through the year they’ll like it and release it to the broadcasters.

  14. Hmm is the technically advanced world of F1 being out done by back woods circle racing? LOL by 7 years to boot as well.

    1. Sky didnt show it in HD last year but there was a series of documentaries that followed non-stockcar racers trying to make it in Nascar such as montoya, JV, Dario etc and the racing footage used was the HD version, boy it looked good. The increased quality made a huge difference. Now its shown on Open access the picture is awful!!!

      With regards to the onboard shots, they started using HD cams at some point last year. Those that watch the read button will nodoubt of heard AD banging on about how great it was on their feed and how he wishes those at home could see it.

      1. p.s. I wouldnt be too keen to knock nascar, its probably the second biggest 4 wheel sport in the world. I am a casual viewer and will never get the obsessive appeal of it but it must be doing something right. The restrictor plate racing is a must see though for something completely different to anything else in the world.

        For those unfamiliar… on the super high speed flat out tracks such as talledaga and Daytona they fit restrictors on the cars so they all max out at the same top speed, you then get 43 cars 3 wide nose to tail topping 220mph in a massive pack, before they banned bump drafting on corners you would see people working together which the car in the draft physically pushing the car in front. Its a real treat for those that are interested in aerodynamics and the draft effect etc.

        1. I don’t knock Nascar, I think it’s a fun sport to watch and attend. However, I have to correct you, they go roughly 193-196 mph. 220 is a little fast at any track for Nascar, you might see 208 mph at California, Michigan, or Atlanta.

          1. If they would remove the restrictor plate then you might see 220-230mph, as Rusty Wallace did a test a couple years back. He was testing the new transponders (for timing the cars) at very high speeds to see just how much high speed/vibrations the transponders could handle. He just nicked aboved 225mph.

  15. I’d take 720p or HD-ready over SD any time. Of course, only 1080p is true HD.

    1. I might be wrong… but I believe 1080i is the best that can currently be pushed over satellite.

  16. what a crock!
    just release the HD feed already

    Surely they (FOM) dont need a full season to try it out, at the very most they could test it in the first race and then release the feed for the remaining races

  17. Only F1 could have an HDTV manufacturer sponsor the live timing and not broadcast the coverage in HD. This is all about the cost of sending an HD uplink truck to each event. Pure and Simple. Bernie won’t pay, the broadcasters won’t pay – the viewers suffer. I hope they put that in the “Fan Survey”.

  18. As usual, where Dear Bernard is concerned, it’s all about the money.

    The 2010 season will be recorded in HD, for release on the 2010 Season Review DVD. Folks will see that and demand of their cable and satellite providers that they provide the HD feed that F1 already has. They will be outraged that F1 had it a whole season and the provider never offered it. (Machiavelli had nothing on Bernie, lol.)

    Bernie will now be able to name his price, which of course will be exhorbidant. In the end, the cable/sat providers will in effect pay Bernie’s entire cost of upgrading his operation to HD.

    Cable/sat providers will be paying so much for the HD feed that I expect many/most of them to move the F! broadcast up to a higher tier on their packages, meaning of course we will have to pay some outlandish price to get a Sports Tier full of a ton of things we care nothing about, just to get F1 in HD.

    For many of us, this means the cost would be prohibitive and we still won’t have F1 in HD. In some cases, it might mean one won’t see F1 at all. Sometimes I really hate Dear Bernard.

  19. It’s another semantic argument for those who think they can see the difference between 720p and 1080p, or as the US satellite companies have started saying ‘full HD.’ ESPN, one of the biggest users of HD, have said the costs involved to go to 1080p just isn’t worth it and if they ave decided that 3D is more important than 1080p that might say something. 1080p is just an excuse to sell new tvs to those of us that have had HD sets for close to a decade now. And I don’t know how FOM films each race now but it looks DAMN good on SPEED-HD here in the US. It is a beautiful widescreen feed, and is not stretched, have compared the sd and hd feeds and hd shows more.
    I’m kinda surprised that LG hasn’t pushed FOM or picked up some of the cost to get their name on the feed. They have a pretty big presence on US sports in hd.

    1. i can tell the difference… of course it depends on the screen size. anything larger than 40inch the difference is quite noticable. and of course that depends on the viewing distance. comparing 1080i to 1080p is a tad trickier. but yeh, if it’s too expensive, just settle for 1080i.

  20. This is absolutely pathetic. Every major sporting event these days is broadcast in HD. Hell, so is pretty much everything else on TV that’s worth watching. I probably watch 95% of content in HD these days. There’s just no excuse.

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