Facilitating Live Footage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics

Al Jazeera Sports, SuperSport, ARD/ZDF

What we do

The Olympic Games have always presented unique challenges for broadcasters and Beijing 2008 was no exception. For 17 days, the world’s attention focused on China, where a total of 10,942 athletes from 28 different sporting codes convened to compete across 302 separate events at multiple venues.

Multiple broadcasters worked around the clock to deliver footage – much of it live  –  to a combined worldwide audience of billions.

Leading broadcast solutions and equipment provider Gearhouse Broadcast was kept busy both during the run-up to, and during the 2008 Olympic Games. As well as winning a major contract to provide systems integration for BBC Sport, Gearhouse Broadcast also provided innovative & reliable, cost-effective solutions for the aforementioned customers.

What we used

In order to successfully bring all the action and excitement of the Olympics home to their viewers, Al Jazeera Sport, SuperSport & ARD/ZDF each had their own unique, specific project requirements and budget. The approach taken by Gearhouse Broadcast thus involved devising bespoke solutions that were both reliable & cost-effective.

A market leader with a proven track record working on major world sporting events, Gearhouse Broadcast drew on its vast degree of experience and access to the very latest in technological advancements to create innovative, flexible solutions for the trio of broadcasters.



Qatar’s most popular sports channel, Al Jazeera Sports, contracted Gearhouse Broadcast to design, install and operate their entire broadcast operation in Beijing. The broadcaster shot the games in SDI and Gearhouse Broadcast supplied a Production, Editing and Switching facility along with a 4 camera studio. Two specialist engineers were provided  for the installation and setup.



Gearhouse Broadcast supplied leading South African satellite channel SuperSport with a high definition (HD) broadcast facility for the 2008 Games. Gearhouse designed, installed and operated a facility which included Switching, Editing and Production. This was located in the main International Broadcast Centre (IBC) in Beijing. The crew covered two VTR Operators, one Audio Engineer and two Video Engineers. Shift patterns were planned and scheduled for sixteen hours of transmission every day.



German broadcaster ARD/ZDF also selected Gearhouse Broadcast to design and install its facilities for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Gearhouse Broadcast provided broadcast coverage facilities at the National Sports Stadium (NST), the National Aquatics Centre (NAC), the Rowing area (SRF), and the Equestrian Centre (HKS), which was situated in Hong Kong.


The 2008 Olympic Games attracted an estimated worldwide viewing audience of 4.7 billion. The record-breaking result is attributable to significant “new media” advancements made during the four years between Olympic Games events, allowing viewers to watch across multiple platforms, or while on-the-go, from just about anywhere.

Adapting to the new multimedia broadcasting landscape meant networks needed to expand their coverage, as by 2008, consumers had come to expect dedicated content for the likes of social media platforms, the mobile web & catch-up services.

Those working behind-the-scenes to deliver footage of the Games were thus met with a more complex logistical challenge.

Thankfully, Gearhouse Broadcast has a proven track record delivering solutions for the most logistically complex projects on the calendar. So its experienced specialists were well-equipped to identify the best & most innovative ways to ensure every requirement of each individual broadcaster was met, allowing for seamless, reliable coverage.

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