At IBC 2010, Calrec and ATG Broadcast Reveal Their Efforts on Sky’s Harlequin 1

Talk of new broadcast centres being built is always encouraging at trade shows, and the progress of Sky’s Harlequin 1 centre was common gossip round IBC 2010 in Amsterdam last week. Calrec Audio and systems integrator ATG Broadcast are two companies fortunate enough to have got past the nondisclosure agreements so that they could announce their involvement in the project.

Harlequin 1 is in Phase 1 of its build, close to Sky’s existing headquarters in West London. Slated to be running by the end of next year, it will have a fully HD, tapeless production chain. Five Calrec Apollo consoles, each with 88 faders, will be installed in the studios and run on the Hydra2 networking system.

This will make the centre fully compatible with the new Gemini 1 truck put on the road by NEP Visions at the start of the new Premier League football season. The audio and production vehicle has two sound areas, each with an Apollo desk.

Calrec is also working with Sky engineers to develop protocols to integrate the audio network into Harlequin 1’s broadcast-control structure. This will cover studios and production areas on all five of the centre’s floors.

“Together, we’re building many of the protocols, workflows, and technology that will drive this facility for the next few years,” says Martin Black, senior sound supervisor at Sky.

ATG Broadcast has been contracted to work on three primary technical aspects of Harlequin 1 and has started work on two of these: the five-studio production centre and a large postproduction facility.

The post department will have 23 video-editing suites, 11 edit rooms for the fast turnaround of material, five playout-editing areas, six cutting facilities for Sky Sports News, and six desktop craft workstations.

Associated with this are a Content Handling facility, two graphics-preparation areas, and an international commentary suite.

“The systems being installed meet the highest standards of 1080i studio operation and file-based postproduction,” says ATG Managing Director Graham Day. “This facility is an impressive addition to the London skyline and proof of BSkyB’s commitment to efficiency.”

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