Timeline Television, a provider of post production, outside broadcast and studio-based facilities for every major UK network, was selected by BT Sport to lead on the transformation of part of the former International Broadcast Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, into the new home of BT’s sports channels, BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN in readiness for their August 1st Launch. Working as a lead partner for BT Sport, managing the end-to-end design and build of the BT Sport production hub, including building infrastructure and broadcast systems integration, with services going live in time for BT Sport’s launch in August.
Timeline Television project managed the IBC build to house three large fully flexible TV studios, sports production galleries, a master control room, 20 edit suites, dubbing theatre and an audience holding area. Having only gained access to the building on the 4th February, the design, build and commissioning took just six months and is one of the largest and quickest broadcast installations in the industry.
Timeline Television has also been awarded a five year managed service contract for technical operations including studios, MCR, post production and end-to-end workflow support. Timeline’s team of engineers, technical operators and administrators will keep the state of the art facility running 24 hours a day. Timeline will supplement their core staff with a comprehensive team of freelance editors, cameramen, sound operators and EVS operators to provide the full gamut of craft skills to BT’s production teams and production partners where required.
The three studios, provide agile space that can be operated collaboratively or independently as required for different production requirements. A complex routing and control infrastructure allows the 24 Sony 2400 HD cameras channels and 32 radio microphones that have been installed to work with any of the seven production galleries. Studio’s 1 and 2 combined is one of the largest LED lit studios in the world.
An end to end tapeless workflow, built on tightly integrated EVS, harmonic and Avid technology has been implemented. 32 ports of ingest allow immediate access to incoming feeds in any of the 21 edit suites or on any of the 200 producer desktops. IP Director logging stations allow live feeds and rushes to be tagged with appropriate keywords and metadata. Production staff can browse the archive and live feeds, make playlists and send the content to a variety of destinations including the high end edit suites for finishing, TX for play-out, distribution partners or archive. In addition to the craft edit suits, there are eight voiceover booths, a dubbing theatre and a QC suite. The entire tapeless system is mirrored at a standalone BT disaster recovery site.
Master Control Room
The Master Control room will manage over 150 incoming and outgoing HD vision lines and well as inbound satellite traffic from BT’s Madley earth station, one of Europe’s biggest satellite earth stations, located in Herefordshire. This makes the BT Sport Production Hub one of the most connected buildings in Europe.
Dan McDonnell, Managing Director of Timeline Television, said: “The sheer scale and timeframe of this project has been an incredible challenge but we have worked closely with BT Sport to design and build a real state of the art and flexible broadcast facility matched to their exciting production ambitions. Our careful choice of suppliers and equipment manufacturers has enabled us to meet the tight deadlines and I’m really looking forward to seeing BT Sport go live on 1 August.”
Jamie Hindhaugh, Chief Operating Officer of BT Sport said “At the core of our new studios build is a spirit of collaboration that brings the best of industry – and sometimes competitors – working together toward a common aim: to make the BT Sport studios a world-class hub for the best ideas and talent. We believe talent attracts talent and our partnership with Timeline Television as a partner has helped us to foster that mind-set.”