After competing in a fully competitive tendering process, Gearhouse Broadcast’s Projects Solutions division was awarded the contract to build a series of interconnecting Flyaway Pods for satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting for their coverage of Formula 1 motor racing. Since the award of the contract in late October 2011, the design, build and integration of the Pods took four months to complete.
Sky Sports are broadcasting Formula 1 races for the first time in a deal which started in March 2012 and will run until 2018. Sky Sports are broadcasting all the races, qualifying and practice sessions live and uninterrupted on their dedicated HD satellite channel Sky Sports F1 HD. All races are being produced in HD and 5.1 audio which has added a new dimension to Sky Sports coverage.
Sky Sports full onsite broadcast specification is a mixture of portacabins linked into the Flyaway Pods which contain the servers, audio facilities and all the technical equipment needed to support the production. The portacabins house the main production gallery, on air EVS, editing, logging and the production office.
The bespoke Flyaways, built and integrated by Gearhouse Broadcast, comprise of four 17 tonne interconnecting airline Pods that are standard Q6 construction with aviation bases. They are made up of a MCR Pod housing all the distribution, routing and camera control, a Server Pod housing all the EVS, Avid and SAN storage, an Audio Pod which houses the 5.1 audio control room and a Stowage Pod which is used to store all the loose equipment.
When the F1 races are in Europe the Pods will travel on flatbed trucks and when the races are taking place outside of Europe they will fly as cargo on Boeing 747’s.
An overview of the equipment chosen for the project includes EVS XT3 Servers, Omneon MediaGrid storage, Avid, Imagine Communications Glue, Pro-Bel Routers, Grass Valley Kayenne Mixer, Grass Valley Karrera HD Vision Mixer, Lawo Audio Console, Riedel Communications System, a mixture of Panasonic 3100 and Sony HDC-1500’s Cameras and Fujinon Lenses.
“Gearhouse Broadcast’s Flyaway Pods are the perfect solution for Sky Sports F1 needs; the Sky team will have an identical production facility at all 20 races. This is vitally important to the success of their broadcast as the production team can focus on their roles without having to find their way around different facilities around the globe” explained Kevin Moorhouse, Chief Operating Officer at Gearhouse Broadcast.
Darren Long, Sky Director of Operations said “We chose Gearhouse Broadcast because we needed a very specialist facility company that had the experience to understand the complexity of how to build and then deploy one of the most complex broadcast systems to 20 racetracks around the world”.