Channel Creation

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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.

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 Solution:
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 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.