, a unit of the Vitec Group
's Services Division and a leading worldwide provider of broadcast services and solutions, recently built, tested, shipped, and installed 16 self-contained, crewless home studios for some of FOX Sports 1's top talent. The innovative systems are permanently installed in the analysts' homes, allowing them to go on air immediately when something pertaining to their specialty occurs.
"We had less than 30 days to procure, build, test and distribute all 16 systems, but we were more than ready for the challenge," said Senior Vice President of Bexel ESS Scott Nardelli. "We were able to manage logistics and get the gear needed, where they needed it. From staging the units in various holding locations around the country before deployment, to installing the bonded T1s from the point of presence to the interior of the homes, to running the cables in a way that hid them from view and worked within the existing décor and framework of the houses, our team delivered at every step in the process."
Since the network's August launch, the in-home location segments have become staples of FOX SPORTS LIVE, FOX FOOTBALL DAILY and other FOX Sports 1 programming. Brian Billick in Queenstown, Md., Ken Rosenthal in New York, N.Y., Mike Garafolo in Hoboken, N.J., Jon Paul Morosi in Ann Arbor, Mich., Reid Forgrave in Des Moines, Iowa, and Alex Marvez in Miami, Fla., are among the analysts who have been prominently featured from the new installations. FOX Sports 1 simply connects into any of the in-home studios via a bonded T1 pair, and goes live with HD quality video.
The systems include AW-HE60SN Panasonic cameras that can be manned remotely from the FOX Sports 1 control room in Los Angeles, allowing them to pan, tilt, zoom or adjust color and saturation. Litepanels 1x1 Bi-Color panels were chosen to provide key light, fill light, and back light on stands, and can also be controlled remotely. The backdrops, approximately 6-by-6 feet and featuring the FOX Sports 1 logo, are customized to the individual home locations. Beyond the standard backdrops are smaller pull-up devices, and in one case, a motorized unit that comes down from the ceiling.
Rack mounted cases, approximately 48-by-24-by-30 inches, are at the core of the systems. Their contents include a UPS that controls power, an IP Power Switch which allows the system to be turned on and off remotely from Los Angeles, a network switch that keeps the circuit open, a Haivision Mako encoder, and audio and video support that provides the IFB and camera feeds.
While most functions of the in-home studios are controlled remotely, the units were designed to make it easy for the on-location users to complete the tasks they do have to perform. "We used a very straight forward audio system, so the talent doesn't really have to do anything beyond plugging in their microphone," adds Nardelli. "They also have a volume control for their earpiece right on the desk, so they can control the volume of the IFB easily, without having to go to the rack and figure out which knob to turn. We worked closely with the FOX team to create clear and concise 'cheat sheets' for the talent, so they'd be comfortable with the technology around them."
"Speed to market is crucial in the world of sports news, and these in-home studios have been very effective for us in delivering breaking news," notes Doug Levy, VP of post production for Fox Networks Engineering and Operations. "In approach, it really represents a sea change. Everyone worked incredibly hard to make this work, and it was a unique learning process for all those involved. We felt from the beginning that Bexel was the most appropriate choice for this project. They have a long and extremely good track record as both a rental house and an integration company, and we knew their team could get the job done."
Bexel is the pre-eminent worldwide provider of broadcast services including video and audio equipment rentals, fiber services, new audio sales, used equipment sales, and repairs/maintenance. Bexel provides brilliantly designed and flawlessly executed systems and solutions to all customers - including producers of the biggest and most important televised events in the world. For more information, visit http://www.bexel.com, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
Litepanels was founded in 2001 by five professional gaffers and engineers who saw the future and pioneered LED (light emitting diode) lighting for motion pictures, television and the audio-visual industry. Their Emmy(r) award-winning technology has now been used on thousands of productions worldwide and is trusted by the world's leading broadcast organizations. Backed by the Vitec Group's legacy of 100+ years in the broadcast and production industry, Litepanels continues to expand its suite of flicker free, color accurate, fully-dimmable soft lights that talent and lighting directors admire. These environmentally friendly fixtures practically pay for themselves with power savings and long life, setting a new standard in professional lighting. Along with other leading brands in the broadcast and professional videographer industry, Litepanels is part of Vitec Videocom, a Vitec Group company. For more information on Litepanels, visit www.litepanels.com.
About the Vitec Group
Capture the moment(tm)
For over 100 years, through every innovation in photography, film and digital image-making, Vitec businesses have developed a powerful portfolio of brand and products that have enabled some of the most amazing moments to be captured under some of the most challenging conditions. Vitec is an international Group principally serving customers in the broadcast photographic and military aerospace and government (MAG) markets. Vitec is based on strong, well-known premium brands on which its customers worldwide rely. Vitec is organized in three divisions: Videocom, Imaging and Services. Videocom designs and distributes systems and products used in broadcasting and live entertainment, film and video production and MAG. Imaging designs, manufactures and distributes equipment and accessories for photography, video and events. Services provides equipment rental, workflow design and technical support for camera, video, audio, fiber optic and wireless technology used by TV production and film crews. More information can be found at www.vitecgroup.com.
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