Baku 2017 to launch innovative 'Skype zone'

3 May 2017

Media coverage of this month's Islamic Solidarity Games will include a pioneering athletes' 'Skype zone', to help bring viewers closer to the most interesting personal stories of the event.

Medal winners and other competitors in Baku will be invited to speak to anyone of their choice over Skype in a room at the athletes' village, with three cameras recording their every reaction.

Organisers hope that adding this personal aspect, rather than only the standard post-match/competition interview, will help provide more intimate footage for people watching at home.

"It's all about emotive content," said the Games' head of special projects Bert van Horck on Thursday.

"The philosophy behind it was, is that people like to see the emotion of the athlete as much as the sport, and the question was how we could innovate in the emotive parts of these multisport events. We only take the really emotive part. It's not overly-complicated, but it's the simplicity of it that I think should work."

The conversations will be recorded by the computer webcam, as well as cameras from behind the laptop screen and behind the athlete's shoulder.
The initial 10-minute videos will be cut down to 90-second clips and made available on an online portal.

Van Horck also said that he hopes the use of a Chroma key wall behind the athlete will help grab the viewer's attention.

"One of the things we will be looking to do will be to show the medal ceremony of the athlete himself whilst he's talking to his family," he said.

With around 3,500 athletes from 57 countries spanning four continents competing in Baku, one of the challenges facing the 'Skype zone' is translating the clips to help decide what to use.

But interpreters have been brought in, and now all Skype videos can be translated for 46 of the teams taking part.

With such a packed sporting calendar to compete with, the social media team in Baku will be hoping to find the special moment that can capture peoples' hearts all over the globe.

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