Lawo - Sky Sport Alemania Germany - Christian Barth - Florian Hennig - Chris Hermann

12 diamond IP consoles, Power Core units and VSM system by Lawo are the backbone of the Sky Sport Germany commitment to the benefits of IP-based infrastructures.

Christian Barth (director of production platforms, origination and distribution), Florian Hennig (head of production architecture) and Chris Hermann (senior manager of production architecture) are the key names behind the Sky Sport Germany move to IP. Also useful has been the assistance of Wolfgang Götz of promediatools, who provided consulting services on behalf of Lawo that have ultimately materialized in the acquisition of several of the company’s products.

Specifically, Sky Sports Germany is installing a total of twelve Lawo diamond IP broadcast mixing consoles to optimize its sports coverage and TV workflows. Based on AES67/RAVENNA AoIP open network standards, the diamond consoles are also intrinsically compliant with ST2110-30/-31 and ST2022-7. The configuration also includes Lawo Power Core units as DSP engines and to provide the diamond consoles with expandable I/O connectivity for AES67, MADI, analog, AES3 and Dante sources and destinations. For broadcast control, SKY uses the VSM (Virtual Studio Manager) system, a control and workflow solution for IP-based broadcast infrastructures that offers seamless integration and support for custom workflows.

Lawo - Sky Sport Alemania Deutschland - Christian Barth - Florian Hennig - Chris Hermann power coreSky Sport’s transition to IP

The selection process was based on a proof-of-concept session to which several manufacturers had been invited. In the end, the Sky team settled on the diamond broadcast console for radio and TV applications launched in late 2021, along with the VisTool and VSM software GUI. The reason for this decision was based in part on Sky’s desire to implement more efficient workflows, as well as the fact that a newly installed backbone infrastructure allows the full potential of VSM to be exploited. Christian Barth explains the constraints of this project: “The infrastructure needs to provide the highest possible degree of technological integration. Scalability also played an important role, as the envisaged mixing consoles needed to cover anything between mono voice-over assignments and Dolby Atmos productions while being easy to operate. The diamond makes it easy to map Sky’s custom workflows.”

“The Lawo mixing console is a good fit for our technological landscape. Sky has developed a tightly integrated audio-processing stack. It therefore makes sense, for example, for the sound engineer to hear the effect of how their mixes hit subsequent audio processing stages in the monitoring chain, and to tweak the settings accordingly on the mixing console. With its versatile DSP offering, the diamond eliminates erstwhile audio workflow limitations. Also, in light of the migration towards more and more remote production scenarios, different timing planes with sometimes significant offsets need to be aligned – and the diamond does this very well,” adds colleague Florian Hennig.

Lawo - Sky Sport Alemania Germany - Florian Hennig - Chris HermannOptimized efficiency to be fully delivered in 2024

The new infrastructure, designed by Chris Hermann’s team in collaboration with Wolfgang Götz, is intended to optimize several of the German chain’s processes. Hennig himself explains: “In addition to functionality, efficiency was another major consideration. Whereas previously only one type of sport could be broadcast per console, the diamond accommodates up to four sporting events per console.”

In addition to the classic control rooms, Sky Sport Germany will install a monitoring control room. Equipped with a Power Core as a monitoring and conversion unit, it will be used to level and control all other control rooms, as Chris Hermann describes: “This means that a lot of information can be viewed or retrieved centrally as a ‘single point of truth’; in addition, the intercom system will be operated from here”.

After deciding on the system, defining workflows, completing the technical implementation and conducting extensive training sessions at the end of 2023, installation and commissioning are planned for 2024. Until the technical transformation is complete, the new configuration will run in parallel with the existing infrastructure.

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By • 25 Jan, 2024
• Section: Audio, Study, IP