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April 2012

TVBEurope 19 News & Analysis

Above: Gearhouse-built sound pod, specially insulated so that the team can mix audio close to the track on race days

Sky Sports’ new Formula One on-air presenting team

the race venues around the world. “These location studios are 6m x 5m with a ceiling height of 6m,” reveals Long. “Their design allows us to have a vista on what is going on outside the studio to let viewers experience the race atmosphere. Inside the studios, alongside the presentation set, there is an analysis spot with touchscreens and an interview area for guests.”

compound areas are very close to the track where the ambient sound is just so high that to mix audio in the regular cabins is just about impossible. So we built a sound pod that is insulated as well as possible in order to concentrate on the 5.1 audio output.”

Another pod holds the EVS XT servers that will enable Sky Sports to use five edit suites at each location for cutting

distributing our content, which means our circuits are up and running even before we arrive on site. “That allows our staff to become operational very quickly. In fact, we have a great number of circuits for material to be fed to Sky centre — and back to the venue — so there is never a shortage of material for the channel. These are fibre circuits that are operational

Although these cameras cannot be used for actual race coverage — broadcasters are required to take the signals from Formula One Management (FOM) — Long reports that Sky Sports has been given permission to use its P2s during practice sessions. “We are working with Broadcast Sports Inc (BSI) to provide a system that involves a broadcast frequency of

“The edit pod will be the first to be put in place when we arrive on site. We have a deal with the EBU to distribute our content — which means our circuits are up and running even before we arrive at the track”

These studios are equipped with three Sony 1500 cameras. The production gallery is located within on-site portable cabins, and this is supplemented by four specially built technical ‘pods’. “One is an innovative sound pod that has been built by Gearhouse Broadcast and which really allows us to focus on the audio. Generally, TV

package and other material. This pod also contains the Omneon MediaGrid shared storage systems that are linked to the Avid ISIS for media management.

“The edit pod will be the first to be put in place when we arrive on site at a race venue,” states Long. “We have a deal with the EBU, who will be

24 hours a day and we are not utilising satellites.” Back at Sky Studios, a replica editing and storage system has been installed that allows material to be handled in a similar way to the location facility. Four Panasonic P2 cameras fitted with specialist radio links are used for track-side interviews and pits and paddock activities.

required with its own on-site Vizrt system. With such a massive undertaking, what does Long feel was the greatest challenge in the project? “Without a doubt, logistics! Moving technical equipment – there’s about 17 tonnes involved – and then 10 tonnes of studio equipment, plus all the personnel is a huge activity.” Summing up, Long says the

Darren Long

seven gigs. This allows us to stay away from all the other radio traffic in the area. It does mean that we have to erect a few more antennas than usual as line-of-sight becomes very important on that frequency.” Graphics for the race statistics

originate from the FOM output, but Sky will supplement those as

project has involved every aspect of the overall Sky operation. “This is a truly multi-platform proposition and we will offer extensive and innovative coverage across mobile and tablet, online and via interactive TV. Ensuring that wherever our customers are they can watch and interact with our F1 coverage like never before."

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