Sky Production Services (SPS) is nestled in the heart of Sky’s West London campus. From the outside, the wildflower gardens, state-of-the-art gym, hair and beauty salons, cafes and co-working spaces hint at a tidy corporate world – but once you go through the studio gates and go behind the scenes, it quickly becomes apparent that you are not.
With 12 studios ranging from 1,200 to 5,500 square feet, multiple galleries equipped with Vizrt graphics, EVS servers and direct acquisition capability, unlimited virtual production suites linked to Sky’s MCR and integrated with Sky’s MAM , a variety of dressings, makeup and greenery for the guests. rooms, SPS Studios is a firecracker of a sustainably fueled operation and built on state of the art facilities.
People are at the heart of SPS Studios, however, with a large and talented staff capable of providing key operational functions (including makeup, floor management, sets, lighting, cameras, graphics, mixing vision, sound and technical management) and who are eager for innovation.
Due to the pandemic, the need for innovation has only increased. Remote production, decentralized production and cloud production have always been part of a long-term plan, but these advancements have leapt forward to overcome new and potentially long-standing obstacles to conventional production.
“We are determined to keep pushing the boundaries”
Kevin Ramsey, Studio Director, Sky Production Services
Kevin Ramsey, SPS Studio Director, says, âThe world has changed and we have learned a lot over the past 18 months. The acceleration of changes in technology, workflow and skills has been both exhilarating and challenging, and it has led to various developments in our technical infrastructure. We are determined to continue to push the boundaries and stay on the path we are currently on.
In addition to providing studio output for Sky Sports, Sky Sports News and Sky News, as well as several productions from Sky Entertainment and external clients, SPS Studios has been at the forefront of key projects that accelerated the vision of Sky for the future of television production.
Amanda Tully, Senior Manager, Sound Management and Engineering, for SPS, says: (fully remote UHD capability), but also the new workflows have resulted in the change in the skills now required of our staff.
The exploitation of the remote production has placed great demands on the sound and technical management of SPS Studios. As a result, the work of the two teams was transformed, with the sound teams doubling down to provide increased cross-communications between Osterley and OB vans, while technical supervisors handled the complexities of remote productions and in-line feeds through galleries, replay rooms and studios.
These technical teams are constantly evolving, starting with a cloud production environment, introducing new production platforms to support different areas of the business, such as Sky Sports and Sky VIP.
Then this expanded to provide on-premise multi-camera and audio distribution services in the cloud, live synchronous cutting of match coverage and the addition of Sky’s house-style graphics (as seen on England Netball Super League). The current development has led to the production of multiple simultaneous versions of cloud-powered live sports, including the English Football League, via the red button service.
Cloud-based platforms will be at the heart of SPS studios and technical operations, and made available in a set of remote production tools deployed across a larger portion of SPS ‘production roster.