What was the first FIFA World Cup to be fully filmed in 4K?

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The 2018 FIFA World Cup marked the first time all 64 matches were recorded and produced in 4K UHD with HDR (High Dynamic Range). FIFA came out with all guns blazing for Russia 2018 where every match was covered by a whooping 37 cameras.

The filming setup consisted of a hybrid UHD/HDR/1080p array with multiple choice of video formats (1080i, 1080p or UHD HDR) at the back of a single production chain.

  • Eight cameras were equipped for UHD/HDR and 1080p/SDR dual output
  • A second set of eight had 1080p/HDR and 1080p/SDR dual output
  • A third set of eight cameras recorded super-slow-motion and two ultra-motion cameras
  • A cable-cam and a cineflex heli-cam to ensure high-class pictures would be available from every angle in each stadium.

Russia 2018 also hosted the first World Cup to use VAR, a.k.a. the video assistant referee. This had been a long-time request, with advocates pointing out the success of similar systems in the NFL and tennis tournaments. VAR was tested in previous competitions but Russia was the first big tournament where it was present in all matches.

Back in 2014…

Even though 4K TVs were becoming mainstream in some markets when Brazil hosted the 2014 World Cup, there were no live 4K broadcasts (except for some limited-run tests) and 4K filming was performed on an experimental basis. Sony was in charge of production at Brazil for three matches which later formed part of the official World Cup documentary movie.

Japanese broadcaster NHK also ran some high-tech filming in Brazil, recording nine matches in 8K resolution (7680 x 4320) — known in Japan as Super Hi-Vision — which they later broadcasted to the public in select Brazil and Japan cities using massive 330-inch screens.

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