More than 40,000 people will be able to watch live coverage of this year’s Pitlochry Highland Games.
The event, which takes place in the Perthshire town on Saturday, September 10, is being used in a trial for future broadcast production in remote locations using 5G.
While the games are underway action will be broadcast live to the four-day International Broadcasting Conference (IBC) taking place in Amsterdam with an estimated audience of 40,000.
The 5G private network has been developed at the University of Strathclyde.
Mark Smith, the head of IBC’s accelerator media innovation programme, said: “Pitlochry will help us show that 5G remote production can happen in many remote places and even in the middle of nowhere.
“We are trialling in four remote areas of the world, in Ireland, in Kenya, New Zealand and in Pitlochry.
Video available ‘post-show’
Replacing usual broadcasting infrastructure such as wiring, cabling and transmission vans will be an unassuming box with an aerial, situated in a corner of the balcony at the pavilion in Pitlochry’s recreation ground.
Meanwhile, a number of cameras and microphones will be supplied and operated by production company QTV.
The setup should provide a dedicated bandwidth with no interference or capacity issues affecting the quality of transmission, despite an expected 6,000 in-person visitors to Pitlochry’s first Highland games since 2019.
“Selected shots of some of the activities will be screened,” said Professor Bob Stewart of the University of Strathclyde.
“The link is a technical demo that will be run and shown at different times throughout the four days of the event.
“40,000 is the potential audience at the show that will have the opportunity to see and hear about the project and trial at the games – some video of it will also be also available on-demand post-show.
“In the long-term there may not be a need for outside broadcast trucks, huge resources and travel and miles of cabling for cultural and sports events.”
Pipe bands lead Highland return
Video coverage will capture the pipe bands in action in the recreation ground but not the march along Atholl Road.
George Cunningham, who has helped organise the event, said: “This will be the first games here since 2019, before Covid, and on a good day we can attract 6,000 people.
“One of the big attractions is the march of the pipe bands. They are bussed to the railway station and they then march to Atholl Road and then the recreation ground.
“These are the last games of the season, when professional athletes can add to their points total. So we get some very good athletes doing caber tossing and things like that.”
Games Chieftain Charles Butter said the 5G trial shows “the high regard in which Pitlochry Highland Games are held, not just from the point of sporting excellence but also our wonderful location.”