Sinclair Broadcast Group – Bally Sports

Sinclair Broadcast Group: Bally Sports

Preparing for the Future with New, IP-based Media Operations Center to Support RSNs

After successfully rebranding 21 Fox RSNs acquired from Disney to Bally Sports—which alone was among the largest undertakings in the history of the RSN business—Sinclair Broadcast Group faced the added challenge of building a backend technical infrastructure to support the needs of its 19 Bally Sports RSNs as well as YES Network and Marquee Sports Network. Partnering with Encompass Digital Media to house the new media operations center in its Atlanta HQ, Sinclair turned to Diversified to help design and build the 25,000-sq.-ft., native end-to-end SMPTE ST 2110 facility.

While the logistical challenges of transitioning so many RSNs to a new IP-based media operations center in just a few short months would be complex under normal circumstances, conducting this multi-network, multi-venue transformation across the country during a pandemic presented larger and unprecedented hurdles. Still, Diversified was able to leverage talent from its Intelligent Technology, Media Production, Media Workflow and Emerging Technology teams to provide a well-rounded solution from all angles.

The primary operating area is the multichannel monitoring room, where operators monitor feeds coming into master control. Around the outside of this room are 52 live-event pods (40 fully equipped, with room to expand to 12 more in the future). Inside the central equipment room are 84 racks of gear, a much smaller footprint than what would have been needed for HD-SDI, including 104 playout servers (10 UHD) controlled by ADC automation and orchestration and leveraging a red and blue spine-and-leaf IP network. A software-defined media platform manages 71 channels of IP decoding and 24 channels of encoding with video control. Among other key gear are 52 network processors for multiformat conversion and multiviewers; two fully redundant C-band transmission chains with encoders, muxes and control; primary PTP sync with backup; and compliance recording.

Diversified pushed hard to have an organized, efficient project approach that allowed the team to identify blockers that could prevent them from meeting critical deadlines. The company’s approach and collaboration with its vendor partners and clients made this project a resounding success for all.

Sky News

Sky News

BUILDING THE LARGEST AND MOST ADVANCED NEWS CENTRE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Sky News Arabia brings world class news coverage to the Middle East, in the Arabic language, 24/7 online, via tablets and on smartphones.  As a start-up, its production facilities represent the state of the art in television and online news, and building its new centre was one of the largest undertaken in the region.

Newsgathering is expensive, and Sky News Arabia wanted a broadcast system which worked smoothly and reliably, and used automation to minimise the requirement for operational staff. The design required the latest thinking in workflow to achieve this seamless automation, and best of breed products to maximise quality and flexibility.

A project of this scale, which looks to achieve efficiency through automation, calls for the integration of systems from a number of manufacturers, which in turn requires new developments in those products and to create an open interface between them. Designing these interfaces and promoting the development of the additional functionality was a critical aspect of Diversified’s task.

An excellent example is in the unified bookings system required by Sky News Arabia for its communications systems around the world. In the traditional television news operation, each element required is booked separately, calling for a lot of manual co-ordination. Sky News Arabia wanted to be able to make a single booking for all functionality. Diversifed drove the development of new functionality for the Broadcast Bionics PhoneBox system. It is now capable of controlling the Riedel intercom infrastructure, so that as well as setting up the complete signal path a ScheduAll booking also sets up the talkback paths between the appropriate locations.

The result is that a single booking can set up an encoder in, say, Cairo, and connect it via MPLS or satellite path to Sky News Arabia; route it to a decoder, frame rate convertor or audio shuffler as required; record it to the server and update the asset management; and ensure that all participants are connected on talkback. All the elements are automated, so the booking merely requires source, destination file and time.




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University of New Haven Broadcast Studio

University of New Haven

Upgraded Broadcast Studio Transforms Student Learning Experience

The University of New Haven (UNH) Department of Communication, Film & Media Studies teaches highly sought-after television and film production skills for an evolving media and entertainment industry, not only teaching students how to frame a message but also to master the technology that delivers it. When renovating their Communication Center, it was the perfect opportunity to also increase the square footage of its broadcast studio space and upgrade the technology. “We had to replace virtually every piece of equipment and update and upgrade it to current standards,” said Paul Falcone, UNH Director of Media Services. “Students need to learn in a state-of-the-art environment. Furthermore, the school must demonstrate to prospective students that [we are] on the cutting edge of broadcast technology and can offer a curriculum designed to emulate the way broadcast businesses actually work.” 

The current studio was outdated, with SD rather than HD cameras, old broadcast switchers and aging recording gear. With considerable expertise within the department, UNH came to Diversified with a list of requirements for a new and larger broadcast studio including a control room, audio booth and machine room. In addition, they needed a streamlined post-production system to manage data traffic and storage. Diversified focused on the size of the control room and quality of equipment, the lack of HD standardization and the need for additional post-production data management. 

The broadcast set was centered on a video wall consisting of four 46” NEC monitors. New cameras, control units, remote-control units, a new server in the control room and editing suites, video monitoring solutions to analyze data streams and waveforms, a control room console, graphics equipment and prompters were all installed. A video server manages feeds, live acquisition, content production and play-to-air demands. With the Broadcast Center’s post-production suites connected more efficiently to the newly designed control room and studio, students are given a new hands-on learning experience as they master broadcast production workflows from start to finish and prepare for their future in the industry.




KHET PBS Hawaii

KHET PBS Hawaii

Redesigning Media Workflow for Growth andContinuity in New Broadcast Media Facility

KHET PBS Hawaii selected Diversified as the technical and design consultant for its new broadcast media facility. The facility, previously designed by two other companies, needed to be redesigned so that existing and new technology would ensure continuity between the old and new sites. PBS desired a flexible broadcast media center with extended capabilities for future endeavors. The design also had to provide familiarity of workflows for their staff engineers plus ease of maintenance.

Establishing design guidelines to better accommodate workflows within the outsourced Master Control and production areas was critical. Accomplishing this was further complicated by the impending construction schedule. Fortunately, the timeline allotted the necessary time and attention required to re-work the original design. This was necessary since the project was highly technical and a complicated solution that relied heavily on equipment unfamiliar to KHET staff.

Extensive meetings were conducted, outlining Diversified’s processes, exploring workflows and evaluating staff capabilities. Diversified value-engineered a system which would easily transfer to their knowledge base and ease the PBS staff into this transition with minimal downtime and training.

Challenges were addressed in a series of value-engineering sessions by Diversified’s collective teams. The areas affected included IT-Centric Infrastructure necessitated by the overarching originally proposed solution, studio lighting, ingest and master control. Centralized network storage and archiving infrastructure provides PBS staff with the ability to manage media assets and provide an efficient, seamless workflow for sharing media between all groups, inclusive of the out-sourced Master Control.

PBS Hawaii has a flexible, new broadcast media center as a result of Diversified’s dedication to listening to the input, insight and feedback from the KHET staff. A simpler, but higher-quality and fine-tuned design replaced the unfamiliar workflow and technologies from the previous designs, and allowed for a new facility outfitted with a dynamic and value-engineered system.




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NBC 30 Rockefeller Plaza

NBC 30 Rockefeller Plaza

Lobby Digital Displays Modernize Visitor Experience and Pay Homage to Legendary Broadcast Complex

An homage to the original designers of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, NBC sought to redevelop its iconic Grand Stair and Mezzanine Rotunda, and modernize its studios, to burnish the history and shape the future of the legendary broadcast complex. Diversified was chosen to provide stunning lobby digital displays and content management coordination throughout the renovation’s large, four-feature exhibit areas.

As guests ascend the Grand Stair and enter the Mezzanine Rotunda, they are drawn around the massive, luxurious space by dynamic imagery displayed along two, 60- foot long by five-foot high curved-front LED video walls. RPVisuals custom mounting solutions allowed for precision placement of the units. Audiences for NBCUniversal shows will gather in the Peacock Lounge which boasts ceiling-to-floor illuminated columns, each paneled with five large displays on each side. Dynamic content is tailored with multiple scenes for special events and pre-show gatherings. This waiting area also features a Planar Mosaic with numerous displays at varying depths and orientations, stacked across a shelf to resemble framed portraits.

The Greeter Stand/Guest Reception Area has been reinstated and serves as a home base for NBC Pages who welcome visitors. This intimate, nostalgic space surrounds visitors with 19 portrait-mounted displays featuring NBC celebrities, wrapped along three walls, including a fully redundant 4K theater with 7.1 surround. The Shop at NBC Studios has become another source of entertainment as shoppers access interactive content which feature Planar Mosaic shelves similar to that of the Peacock lounge.

Content across the project is driven by a comprehensive zoned content management system. Diversified created all control and DSP to run a seamless show throughout the everchanging scenes in the exhibits.

Lastly, IT coordination was pivotal to the project’s success. Diversified was responsible for all coordination of IP throughout and developing the redundancies and failover strategies on this very successful project.




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Fox News

Fox News

Fox News Keeps Up with Changing Times, Revolutionizing Broadcast News Production and Presentation

Fox News recognized a dramatic shift in the way people were consuming news. Linear viewing patterns had given way to mobile and on-demand consumption. Fox sought to revolutionize the way broadcast news production was presented and chose Smith’s News Deck as its platform. This involved a complete overhaul in the way news gathering worked and, subsequently, a complete overhaul of the studio in an accelerated timeline.

While the studio was being built, journalists were training on the state-of-the-art technologies that would fuse incoming news feeds to digital and social media.

The signature studio would serve as the command center for breaking news, capable of interrupting programming to bring viewers news as it happens. Journalists were thrust into an on-camera environment, working on BATs (55” Big Area Touchscreens) that could be put on air at a moment’s notice.

Smith has complete control of the specialists’ workstations for true collaboration in news-gathering. He can move images across the 38-foot video wall that he calls “Monster” while “The Ribbon”, a string of suspended monitors, tracks videos, photos, news feeds, weather and stock prices. Additional content is displayed on “The Wall”, an enormous floor-to-ceiling grid of monitors that can route live and pretaped feeds.

A true first in broadcast news, Shepard Smith’s team can now sift through and vet a multitude of news feeds, compiling them onto one platform that can be called up on the fly. Viewers are able to get their news as it happens and however they choose to get it.




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Denali Media Holdings

Denali Media Holdings

Anchorage TV Station Turns Up the Heat with New Broadcast Facility

When Denali Media Holdings—KTVA, operating a CBS affiliate station, wanted to relocate and build a new customized facility from the ground up, they partnered with Diversified experts more than 4,000 miles away to make sure the job was done right. They desired a lightweight, flexible model media center that would function as a cohesive, non-traditional system, maximizing flexibility while providing for ease of maintenance and speed of recovery.

Centralized network storage and archiving infrastructure would service all technical groups. This centralized storage system would provide the ability to manage media assets, optimize workflows and provide an efficient mechanism for sharing media between all groups. Another core foundation for this flexible system would be a large, high-definition house routing system, including all necessary conversion and support electronics.

“The only way to accomplish this project with a successful outcome was to bring in an overarching layer of engineering. Additionally, we needed a driven Program Manager capable of managing a project this size while keeping an eye on the ‘On Air’ date, letting nothing drop and rolling with the changes as they come up,” says Kevin Garguilo, Director of Strategic Accounts for Diversified. “At the end of the day, the success was the result of a true team effort. This team has worked together on many large projects and generally anticipates each other’s moves before they happen, allowing a very fast design and review process.” Garguilo concluded that, “The team made the difference.”

The new facility provided the client the technology and ability to become number one in their market for News. They clearly have a better picture on the air than their local competitors and will be the market leader as a result of this project.




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PAC12 Network

PAC-12 Network

Broadcast Studio Control Room Delivers High Impact

The Pac-12 Network, the diversified and integrated content and media parent company of the Pac-12 Conference, was built from the ground-up as a new network. Like the universities and Division I college sports teams this network represents, they wanted an innovative, tech savvy and sports driven headquarter facility as the physical embodiment of their brand.

Diversified partnered with the PAC-12 Network for the design and implementation of their 24/7 digital media and TV broadcast studio control room. The technical systems are designed to leverage the combined assets of each member school with multiple facilities on each campus networked to the broadcast studio control room in their San Francisco headquarters. Equipped with multiple studios, production, post production and broadcast equipment, executive, departmental, administrative offices and work spaces as well as rack and mechanical rooms; this facility is capable of handling multiple live or recorded events simultaneously.

Due to the nature of college sports the acquisition system had to be properly sized for the large amount of traffic on the weekends. The assets then have to be produced, entered into the asset management system, and scheduled for distribution via both traditional broadcast and over the internet. The finished project delivers high impact for viewers and optimized workflows driving efficiency for the PAC-12 technical team.




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Oregon State University

Oregon State University

Educating the Next Generation of Broadcast Professionals Through Integrated TV and Radio Production Studios and Control Rooms

Diversified won the competitive bid for integrated TV and radio production studios and control rooms for Oregon State University’s (OSU) student media group, the Orange Media Network (OMN). OMN’s mission is to educate and prepare students to inform, record, inspire and engage the community through convergence of print, television, radio and the web.

The new facilities encompass the entire 4th floor of the new Student Experience Center. Diversified worked closely with Utter Associates, who provided consulting, design and construction administration services, as well as the general contractor, Andersen Construction, to keep the integration on track. Diversified’s integration on this project consisted of:

  • Two video production studios centered around Ross XPression production switchers and graphics engines; Studio A is a large sound stage with full lighting grid and Studio B a green screen room.
  • A Newsroom using Ross Inception NRCS, which allows generation, sharing and managing content across TV, print and online social media accounts.
  • Two radio control rooms providing audio routing, mixing, processing, silence detection and logic control. Choosing this technology offered OSU a reliable network, easy third-party integration, and scalability for the future.
  • A centralized equipment room, which houses all the terminal and production equipment for the entire facility.

The biggest challenge in this project was managing the integration of broadcast systems during on-site construction—often difficult and not conducive to optimal efficiency. The project took longer than anticipated, yet all necessary deadlines were met. The OMN project is a perfect example of our diverse client-base, providing the opportunity to utilize the latest technologies from a broad spectrum of vendors. It is a showcase for media convergence and is likely to be a model for other universities in years to come.



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