In Broadcast - September 2013 - 54

I N T E R N A T I O N A L

WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | ISSUE 23 - SEPTEMBER 2013

N E W S

InSTUDIO

Success For Modern BT Sport Facility
BT Sport launched in August and already the facility is hailed to be both the biggest
L-shaped studio and one of the largest LED lighting installations in the world...

By Kevin Hilton
Contributing Editor

T

54

he channel launched just three
months after announcing its
line-up of presenters and what live
events they would be introducing,
or commentating on, and only six
months since building work began
on its new studios complex in east
London.
The facility is supported by a range
of equipment and technologies
from Aspera, Avid, Calrec, EVS,
Harmonic and Sony.
The new broadcaster is taking on
market leader Sky with live coverage
of English and Scottish Premier
League football, Premiership rugby
union and tennis, among other sports
and tournaments in both standard
and high-definition. The big selling
point is the three channels–BT Sport
1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN–will be free
to BT broadband customers but there
is also an attempt to create a different
style to Sky, the BBC, ITV and other
sports channels. “We wanted to
create an environment that met our

The possibilities for simultaneous
use also include a mezzanine studio
within Studio 1. This is big enough
to accommodate three cameras and
two people on-air, with the bigger
studio providing a backdrop. In the
middle of Studio 1 is a circular metal
construction designed as a “tribute”
to the BT Tower.
But even this is overshadowed
by the glass floor at the far end of
Studio 1. It was supplied by German
squash court manufacturer ASB and
can be illuminated using LED lights
in different configurations to create
half-size football or rugby pitches
and tennis courts. This allows pundits
to recreate and analyse specific
moments in a game.
Presenters are able to move
freely round the studios and office
areas through a system comprising
Cobham RF arrays, Wisycom
wireless microphone and in-ear
monitoring systems and Boxx radio
camera converters.

Live action in the BT Sport gallery

editorial requirements, which are
about being live and having more
than one channel on air at a time,”
comments Jamie Hindhaugh, Chief
Operating Officer of BT Sport.
The broadcast centre, which is
part of the iCity development on
the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park
in east London, houses three main
studios. The biggest of these spaces
comprises Studios 1 and 2 in a 14,000
square feet ‘L’ shape. “You can move
into a traditional box studio and make
great programmes from it but we had
the opportunity to build a studio of
the shape, size and scale that we’d
already identified we needed for our
programming,” explains Hindhaugh.
“But Studio 1/2 is not an easy space to
use because it’s a big space and you
could potentially be live on air while
somebody is rehearsing in another
part, which is scary.”

The design and build of the studios,
galleries, post-production suites,
master control room, which can
handle over 100 incoming HD lines
at a time, and other technical rooms,
was managed by facilities company
Timeline Television. It now has a
five-year managed service contract
to oversee technical operations,
providing support for the workflow
and different departments. “We’ve
assembled a team of 70 people
to run the facility 24 hours a day,”
comments Dan McDonnell, Managing
Director of Timeline TV. “It has been
designed as digital and file-based
end-to-end but we can ingest tape,
although we’d prefer not to.”
Timeline TV subcontracted the
building of the studios and technical
areas to Studio Schemes and the
technical installation to systems
integrator Megahertz Broadcast

The glass studio floor in football mode with pundit Steve McManaman

Systems. Greg Hoskin, Managing
Director of Megahertz, says tight or
changing timescales are common
to all facility builds today, so the
general approach is to set the
technical parameters, develop the
central apparatus area (CAR) and
work out from there. “It’s a building
blocks approach,” he explains. “Once
we have the CAR and the routing
established, the individual rooms can
be designed almost in isolation.”
The equipment selected for the
production hub is a mixture of solid,
traditional broadcast hardware and
IT-based technologies. Fifteen Sony
HDC-2400 cameras, including crane
mounted models as well as those on
pedestals, are used in the studios,
while vision control involves three
Sony MVS-7000X and five MVS3000 mixers, with TriMaster OLED
monitors also in the galleries. The
sound control rooms feature 40-fader
Calrec Audio Artemis Light desks,
connected to an Artemis Beam rack
as a routing core to create a Hydra2
network. BT Sport Chief Engineer
Andy Beale explains that the Hydra is
used to feed wall boxes in the studios,
as well as connecting to the main
Snell 850 hybrid router.
The post-production department
includes 20 video editing suites,
with 25 Avid Symphony Nitris
DX workstations. These run on a
network controlled by the Interplay
Production asset management
system running into ISIS 7000 shared
storage. Audio post is based on
Avid Pro Tools HDX and includes
a dubbing theatre with a 32-fader
ICON D-Control mixing console. A
QC (quality control) suite features an
eight-channel D-Command controller.
Eight voice booths are used for “off
screen” commentary on incoming
Italian Serie A and French Ligue 1
football matches.
With short turnarounds on
live footage, an extensive video
infrastructure has been installed to
ensure material gets on air quickly.

This set-up includes Harmonic’s
Spectrum playout servers, Spectrum
MediaPort video encoders/decoders
and SAR-based MediaStore storage
arrays; Aspera Faspex for file receipt
and delivery and Orchestrator
handling automation; and EVS XT3
and XS studio servers for ingest and
playing out highlights.
All this is fully integrated, with
Aspera’s Orchestrator workflow
automation connecting to EVS
IP Director production asset
management suites, which also links
to Avid Interplay, while the overall EVS
system in turn links with the Harmonic
nearline storage system.
This level of interconnection has
been used to make what Jamie
Hindhaugh describes as “one big
creative space” for the programme
production area. Producers from
different independent companies
have access to all material on the filebased system through their desktops
using EVS IPBrowse terminals. Alex
Redfern, Project Solution Architect
with EVS, says BT Sport has 200
licences for IPBrowse, with the
large amount of desktop working
making for “a different feel from other
broadcasters”.
The studios at iCity are connected
to BT’s Madley earth station and BT
Tower, which has a fully mirrored
system so that if there are any
circuit failures programmes can
continue from stand-by studios. Final
distribution is from Red Bee Media’s
playout centre in west London.

An extensive video infrastructure
has been installed to ensure material
gets on air quickly


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In Broadcast - September 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - September 2013

In Broadcast - September 2013
Contents
InNews: Prime Focus Selects Avid Workflow
InNews: Elysium Workflow Centres on Aces
InReply: IO Gates Platform ‘keeps It Simple’
InTech: When Does Clean Switching Matter?
InGear: IBC Debut for Gepco’s Hybrid Fibre Cables
InFile: BFI Adopts Filecatalyst Transfer Workflow
InAudio: TSL Products’ Madi Capable Solutions
In Broadcast - September 2013 - Intro
In Broadcast - September 2013 - In Broadcast - September 2013
In Broadcast - September 2013 - Cover2
In Broadcast - September 2013 - Contents
In Broadcast - September 2013 - InNews: Prime Focus Selects Avid Workflow
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 5
In Broadcast - September 2013 - InNews: Elysium Workflow Centres on Aces
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 7
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 8
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 9
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 10
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 11
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 12
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 13
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 14
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 15
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 16
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 17
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 18
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 19
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 20
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 21
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 22
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 23
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 24
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 25
In Broadcast - September 2013 - InReply: IO Gates Platform ‘keeps It Simple’
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 27
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 28
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 29
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 30
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 31
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 32
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 33
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 34
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 35
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 36
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 37
In Broadcast - September 2013 - InTech: When Does Clean Switching Matter?
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 39
In Broadcast - September 2013 - InGear: IBC Debut for Gepco’s Hybrid Fibre Cables
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 41
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 42
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 43
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 44
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 45
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 46
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 47
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 48
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 49
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In Broadcast - September 2013 - 55
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 56
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 57
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 58
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 59
In Broadcast - September 2013 - InFile: BFI Adopts Filecatalyst Transfer Workflow
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 61
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 62
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 63
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 64
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 65
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 66
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In Broadcast - September 2013 - 79
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 80
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 81
In Broadcast - September 2013 - InAudio: TSL Products’ Madi Capable Solutions
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 83
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 84
In Broadcast - September 2013 - Cover4
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S1
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S2
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S3
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S4
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S5
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S6
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S7
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S8
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S9
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S10
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S11
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