Swiss sports channel MySports operates second studio by remote production

Inside the Zurich MCR of MySports

When a Swiss ice hockey player is showing why it may qualify for the Swiss team at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, the live event can be seen at the new Swiss sports channel My Sports. MySports is presenting live broadcasts of all ice hockey matches of the Swiss National League, the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and Swedish Hockey League as well as Bundesliga, handball, basket ball, winter sports and other major sports events. The content of MySports is produced in the new broadcast centre in Erlenbach near Zurich, while a second studio for French-language programming is located in Rossens in the Western part of Switzerland. Both studio facilities have been equipped by NEP Switzerland, which is also the service provider for the operational production.

In Erlenbach, a state-of-the-art 4K/UHD studio and playout complex of 1,000 sqm in size was constructed in collaboration with German systems integrator Broadcast Solutions. The playout centre delivers some 20 live channels, among them four in 24/7 operation and two 4K/UHD channels. Physically located in Rossens, the second identical studio for the production of the French programme is operated remotely in Erlenbach.  The signals between the sites are transmitted via an IP-based network and production infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the broadcast centre in Erlenbach is equipped with a four-camera studio, production and editing suites, commentary cabins, and playout centre. The video and audio control rooms for the four camera studio in Rossens are also located in Erlenbach. In Rossens there are additional commentary cabins and editing suites.

Optimum connectivity

The video, audio and intercom signals between the two sites are transmitted via a WAN connection. While the French programme version is produced in Rossens and sent to Erlenbach, the signals of the stadiums are coming from Erlenbach. That way, the video wall in the studio in Rossens is getting its signals from Erlenbach and the produced programme is sent back to the main control room in Erlenbach. Even the cameras in the studio in Rossens are operated remotely. For the production of the MySports broadcasts 40 HD-SDI and four UHD streams are sent between both sites via a multi-cast network. The storage units in both studios are permanently synchronised. Each studio is equipped with an EVS server that is located in Erlenbach and synchronised by a central unit. Both sites are also connected by a Ravenna/AES67 audio network for the transportation of the audio signals.

The WAN that ensures the smooth data transfer between both sites is consisting of two redundant 100 GigE fiber optic cables. Due to the two 4K/UHD production sites, MySports has the most advanced production infrastructure in Switzerland. This broadcast and IT technology, in combination with two sites that are combined by a network infrastructure and can be operated remotely, is currently unique in Switzerland.

For the studio and playout installation NEP Switzerland has chosen 4H cameras, switcher, router, multi viewer and playout solutions from Grass Valley. The playout centre is equipped with Grass Valley’s integrated iTX platform while Grass Valley Densité IP gateways are handling the SDI/IP conversion during the signal transportation between both sites.

One of the audio production suites at MySports’ Zurich facilities

For the audio production in the studios as well the transportation of the audio signals between  Erlenbach and Rossens, NEP Switzerland selected an IP-based Ravenna/AES67 network, Lawo audio cores, Lawo audio consoles and Lawo commentary units. The entire signal routing is controlled by a VSM (Virtual Studio Manager) system. Riedel Bolero, Artist and MediorNet systems are provided to ensure robust communications inside the studios and control rooms as well as between the two sites. In order to control the network, Broadcast Solutions developed  various controlling and monitoring tools that make it possible to manage the network via remote connection.

For the implementation of the MySports infrastructure, NEP Switzerland was looking for a state-of-the-art 4K/UHD and innovative control and production technology that provides secure workflows but also has the flexibility to fulfil the customer requirements. The basic system design of the broadcast centres in Erlenbach and Rossens has a hybrid approach that consists of SDI and IP technology. The studios are working with a mix of well-known components and IT infrastructure.

The reliability is guaranteed due to a redundant storage, production and network infrastructure, while the content and the status are permanently synchronised between both sites. The connection of the studio and playout centre in Erlenbach with the studio in Rossens gives MySports comprehensive opportunities for collaboration via remote production.

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