Sky Sport Germany broadcasting, empowered by Lawo’s technology

Sky Sport Deutschland, a prominent player in the realm of sports broadcasts in Germany, has initiated a comprehensive technological upgrade, with the core of this transformative endeavor being powered by cutting-edge Lawo equipment. Spearheading the Sky project team are key figures Christian Barth (Director Production Platforms, Origination & Distribution), Florian Hennig (Head of Production Architecture), and Chris Hermann (Senior Manager Production Architecture), responsible for the meticulous selection and implementation of the innovative infrastructure. Wolfgang Götz from promediatools provided valuable consulting services on behalf of Lawo.

In a strategic move toward optimized workflows, Sky Sport is set to deploy twelve state-of-the-art IP-native Lawo diamond broadcast mixing consoles. These consoles, operating on the open AES67/RAVENNA Audio-over-IP network standards, inherently comply with ST2110-30/-31 and ST2022-7 standards. The setup also includes Lawo Power Core units as DSP engines, offering expandable I/O connectivity for AES67, MADI, analog, AES3, and Dante® sources and destinations. To oversee broadcast control, Sky has opted for the renowned VSM system (Virtual Studio Manager), a comprehensive control and workflow solution for IP-based broadcast infrastructures, ensuring seamless integration and support for custom workflows.

The inception of this transformative journey involved a rigorous proof-of-concept session, where multiple manufacturers showcased their offerings. The Sky team ultimately chose the diamond broadcast console, VisTool graphical software interface, and VSM, launched in late 2021, citing the desire for more efficient workflows and the ability to leverage the full potential of VSM with the newly installed backbone infrastructure.

Christian Barth sheds light on the initial situation, stating, ‘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.’ Florian Hennig adds, ‘The Lawo mixing console is a good fit for our technological landscape,’ highlighting the diamond’s versatile DSP offering and its ability to eliminate audio workflow limitations.

The new infrastructure, designed collaboratively by Chris Hermann’s team and Wolfgang Götz, aims to consolidate several positions. Florian Hennig notes, “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.” A monitoring control room, equipped with a Power Core as a monitoring and conversion unit, will be established to level and monitor all other control rooms.

The phased implementation includes defining workflows, completing technical implementation, and extensive training sessions in late 2023, with installation and commissioning scheduled for 2024. During this transitional period, the new setup will run parallelly with the existing infrastructure.

Reviewing how the project went so far, Christian Barth reports: “Preparations for the installation took around a year, during which all workflows were scrutinized and the complete infrastructure and functionality as well as VSM control were set up from scratch. During this time, our team got to know the system so well that it is now able to manage the entire setup on its own.” Wolfgang Götz adds: “Sky Sport wanted to have the expertise in-house, which is why Lawo placed great emphasis on training and support during the project’s implementation.” Christian Barth concludes: “Our diamond/Power Core solution now perfectly reflects and serves our requirements.”

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