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Sky Sports Racing

The brief:
We were asked to deliver Sky Sports Racing, a new channel in the Sky Sports family dedicated to horse racing. Within a strict 6-month timeframe, we had to design, build and handover a complete solution including: a new automated production facility, set and offices; integrated graphics and data; post production infrastructure; playout; operational workflow; training and support.

The scope:

Workflow evaluation Operational scope and requirements gathering
Workflow design Facilities design
Operational project management Automation design and build
Graphics application development support and delivery Post production workflow design and implementation
Set build and installation Training
Facilities handover Launch support
Ongoing support and development

Understanding the requirements:
We worked closely with the Sky Sports racing team to understand how the legacy racing production had functioned and how they wanted to operate in the future. With a clear picture painted, we translated this into technical building blocks and divided into small, agile teams, each working to deliver a specific requirement: gallery, set, GFX, post production and playout.

Challenged with making the production as efficient as possible, we opted for production automation as primary control of the gallery, with sound supervisors and replay operators joining production at specific points in the day as required. To further enhance efficiency, we added robotic cameras, designing a fixed three-position set to fit the studio space.

The build:
With the key requirements in place, we worked alongside design and engineering teams in Sky to decommission an existing gallery and its infrastructure, making way for the all-new production facility.

Our automation specialist worked closely with production to develop the initial programming sets and build the automation shows.

With much of the channel output data driven, we worked closely with our in-house graphics and data development teams to deliver automated Realtime GFX and Stats applications. These integrated with our automation system and studio graphics platform and could be deployed by production to control their onscreen GFX.

We designed and installed an edit and replay platform and transferred the existing Sky Sports racing archive to the central server in SPS.

Lastly, we trained the new directors and production team, supporting them through the launch.

The channel launched, as planned, on 1st January 2019 and has since been on air up to 16 hours a day, seven days a week. Testimony to the project’s huge success, operations quickly transitioned to business as usual.

Design options
Replay room in truck onsite
Replay room at Sky
Monitor stack design planning
New stack design
New remote OB truck

English Football League

The brief:
The team were asked to transition EFL from traditional OB to remote production, enabling Sky Sports to produce over 100 UHD football presentations and match productions remotely per season. MCR, sound, vision and VT replay facilities were needed.

The scope:

Workflow evaluation Operational scope and requirements gathering
Workflow design Facilities design
Operational project management Facilities handover
Launch support

Understanding the requirements:
Our first aim was to understand the existing operational workflow and the familiar production environment for the team. We designed a remote production facility at Sky’s broadcast centre, mapping the gallery layout, operational workflow, technical and production requirements. The detail of that design, hand-in-hand with its implementation, would mean the difference between success and failure. We worked closely with Sky Sports refining that detail and building 1:1 scale models of the operational spaces.

The build:
With a clear view of what was needed, we started to build. Engaging Sky’s design and engineering teams, we worked with technical architects on the gallery, sound and replay areas; supported installation; commissioned hardware and honed the technical end-to-end workflows.

There every step of the way, we coordinated acceptance testing, operational training and the launch. We supported the client through transition and managed the inevitable modifications required to establish the facility and workflow moving forward.

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