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46 TVBEurope The Workflow

Innovation at heart of HD news channel launch

Philip Stevens takes a look at Sky Deutschland’s new facility –with no spatial separation of editorial, production and studio April 2012

Prompt: Vinten Radamec pedestals and Panasonic video wall in place in the Sky Sports studio

DECEMBER 2011 saw Sky Deutschland launch its Sky Sports News channel in high definition. To coincide with the new format, the production and editorial operation moved into a purpose-built 400sqm studio in the German town of Unterfoehring, a suburb of Munich. According to Bill Browning,

vice president of Creative Services at Sky Deutschland, the studio with its views of the newsroom behind the presenters represents the very heart of the operation. “We have striven to be innovative. Information is constantly coming into the large hub, and streaming out again in the form of news. The design helps us process this to the public. At Sky Sports News HD there is no spatial separation of editorial, production, presentation. At Sky Sports News HD, the news is the star, not the technology.”

The studio is equipped with

Sony HDC-P1 cameras, allowing the use of six different

positions from which show hosts can present. Six robotic camera systems from Vinten Radamec are employed, each using the Fusion FHR-100 pan and tilt head. Five use the fully robotic Fusion FP-188 pedestals, which move independently around the studio floor. The sixth uses a

“Compared with traditional tungsten lighting, savings of

85-95% in direct energy usage are anticipated”

Vinten Osprey Elite lightweight pedestal, with a Vinten Radamec Fusion FBH-175 bolt-on height system. These pedestals, and other robotic cameras, are controlled from a Vinten Radamec HD-VRC control system. Two other cameras are attached to Telemetrics ceiling-suspended rigs with height drives.

Studio reverse: From the presenters’ perspective, this view shows the Litepanels and portrait format video wall “The control system is linked

directly to the playout automation system, so camera choices and positions are part of the running order for each programme,” says Karen Walker, commercial robotics manager, Vinten Radamec. “In addition, no modifications were necessary to our equipment in order to accommodate the Telemetrics system. Camera positions, moves and selections are plotted, selected and refined for the Telemetrics camera in exactly the same way as for the Vinten Radamec robotics.” Browning says, “We opted for

the Vinten Radamec system because of the positive experience with Sky Italia and in the UK operation. And being able to control the Telemetrics cameras from the same system is an obvious advantage.” The prompts mounted on

the Sony cameras come from Autoscript. Its WinPlus Xbox UltraNews system links directly to Sky’s own iNews newsroom

“We are especially proud of our touchscreens. This is sophisticated technology, created without post production, perfect for quick visualisation”

Bill Browning, Sky Deutschland

computer system. Any changes to the running order, such as moving or dropping a story, are instantly updated on the prompter via the FTP connection. The WinPlus software provides dual FTP connections, allowing updates and changes to be made even while running orders are downloaded.

Energy efficient Lighting for the studio is provided by a total of 35 Litepanels LED panels comprising both bi-focus and flood sources. “Energy saving is always our consideration, but in this case it was more of an added bonus than a driver of the decision to go with LED lighting. The main considerations were heat and the low studio ceiling of just four metres,” states Pat McGuinness, consultant project manager at Sky Deutschland. But is there a specific

challenge in lighting a combined studio and newsroom environment? “Not really, as the 'studio' is mostly confined to a wedge of the 360˚ studio/newsroom. We think of it as an 80˚ studio,” says McGuiness. He goes on, “There were challenges though, as the room must be lit to allow full studio camera requirements, accommodate a comfortable working environment for at least 25 people and support standing positions in and around

journalist news desks all at the same time.” Pat Grosswendt, technical

director at Litepanels, adds, “Compared with traditional tungsten lighting, savings of 85 to 95% in direct energy usage are anticipated, plus a comparable benefit in reduced air conditioning because the Litepanels generate virtually no heat.”

Other studio installations include three of the latest 103-inch Panasonic plasma touchscreens, one in portrait format and two in landscape. As well as normal broadcast signals, these screens can be used to display information from iPads. “Those presenters who utilise the videowall use the iPad to drive content via AppleTV,” explains McGuiness. “In addition, the show presenters have iPads for iNews and the web. The portrait format screen is being used, for example, to view relevant internet sites and for our daily press review section.”

Gallery automation In the production gallery, vision mixing is carried out with a Snell Kahuna 360. “Again, we have drawn on the experience of our sister network — Sky Italia,” says McGuiness. “Our workflow is built upon a comprehensive news studio automation system called Mosart. It controls every device in the production chain,

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