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WTS completes studio complex for MNET drama-serial and SuperSport live sports

22 April 2013

SuperSport Kenya Broadcast Studios

WTS has completed the systems integration and installation of a new studio complex with post production facilities in Nairobi for SuperSport and MNET in Kenya.

The four-studio complex has been designed for flexibility to support production both of MNET’s new prime-time boxing drama-serial  Kona, and of SuperSport’s front-end presentation coverage of east African sports events.

With completely file-based production workflows, in two very different and separate production environments, there were some considerable technical challenges in the integration.

EVS IP Director was used to provide asset control, and a WTS-designed touch-screen router control helped simplify routing operations for studio staff whilst allowing instant status of all paths.

Twelve camera channels were installed across the studios – eight for the SuperSport studios and four for Kona, with provision for an additional four in future.

Two control rooms designed for flexibility

The two control rooms were carefully designed to meet the challenging brief, providing both flexibility and suitability for the different types of production.

Control One included a tiered layout for a production team of up to 18 people, working with five VTR/SSD decks, eight HD Sony camera channels, an eight-channel EVS XT3 with two EVS IP Director production positions, two channels of production graphics, and a separate audio control area and work-stations for two producers.

From here, studios 1,2 and 3B can be controlled, depending on the requirements of a production.

Control Two is the main control area for Kona and controls studios 3A, 3B and a number of exterior sets.

The space was designed specifically for a drama team and split into three areas for production, vision and audio. It includes control of three VTR/SSD decks, four HD camera channels and a four-channel EVS NANO XS with two EVS IP Director production positions.

Preassembled parts reduced time on-site

Jonathan Lyth, Systems Manager for WTS explained: “The challenges of this project came from logistical considerations and the building refurbishments which were taking place at the same time.

“In any project there will always be limitations of some form, be it access, speed, timing, communication, technology or personnel, and these need to be prepared for.

“We were able to pre-assemble parts of the system in our Leeds workshop prior to shipping to Kenya, which meant we needed less time on-site and could stay out of the way of the building works.”

Challenges of tapeless production-to-TX workflow

On the technical side, Lyth added: “Designing studios for two different types of production made the system quite complex.

“Three different post-production platforms were needed, and the tapeless production-to-TX workflow meant that each production needed its own asset control system to be integrated under a single workflow, so there were a few considerations to take into account.”

“The WTS team has a talent for working under restricted conditions and we’ve always found they rise to a challenge”

– Andre Venter, SuperSport

Head of SuperSport Andre Venter said: “WTS built a similar studio complex for us in 2011 in Lagos, Nigeria – for MNET’s drama-serial Tinsel and SuperSport coverage – so it made sense to commission them again for this Kenyan project.

“The WTS team has a talent for working under restricted conditions and we’ve always found they rise to a challenge. The build was completed on time and production commenced in early June. We’re very happy with it.”