FX Design Group and Hybrid TV Collaborate With Back9Network On New Studio

BACK9NETWORK, the newly launched golf lifestyle network located in Hartford, Connecticut, is leading the way in how television studios are designed and integrated, with the help of FX Design Group and Hybrid TV.

BACK9NETWORK’s new Connecticut-based studios were designed in collaboration by FX Design Group and Hybrid TV.

BACK9NETWORK’s new Connecticut-based studios were designed in collaboration by FX Design Group and Hybrid TV.

BACK9NETWORK’s newly minted studios are a unique combination of “actual” and “virtual” sets that play a critical role in the network’s daily studio programming lineup, which includes “The Turn” (Noon, 3 & 7 PM ET), “Off Par (8 PM ET) and “The Clubhouse” (10 PM ET).

“We wanted our set design partner to understand the atmosphere we were looking for to provide a balance to both enhance our storytelling and yet present an environment that reflects our home in Hartford,” said Carlos Silva, President and COO of BACK9NETWORK.

Though FX started on initial designs in 2012, various challenges and changes cropped up throughout the process to meet the September 29, 2014 launch date.  Collectively FX and BACK9NETWORK decided that versatility and variety had to be key components in building a set to accommodate different elements, different talent, and quick turnarounds.  This resulted in designing and installing both a hard set and a virtual set.

Hybrid TV, a leading provider of virtual studio technology, augmented reality and camera robotics for the production and broadcast arenas, was the perfect solution to build the virtual set around.  Hybrid’s Tracking solutions provide real-time, precise camera motion within 2D or 3D computer-generated environments.   The cameras chosen were Grass Valley, LDX Compact Premieres.

“The large set and the small set had a continuous theme,” said Kevin Vickers, FX Sr. Design Manager.  “The dark, rich woods, the rustic brick the lighting and reclaimed wood floors.  It’s all there.”

BACK9NETWORK is truly on the cutting edge of serving up fresh content in record speed, utilizing the virtual set.  To start, they launched three different daily programs, each requiring different on-set technology to deliver the story.  The solution had to be quick and sure-fire, as they have to turn the studio over in less than 30 minutes between some shows.  Because BACK9NETWORK opted to go with Hybrid’s camera robotics, as well as their Krypton system, BACK9NETWORK was able to produce their virtual content with “Zero Delay.”  Hybrid’s famed Zero Delay is something that no one else can presently deliver.

This particular configuration for BACK9NETWORK has three HD LDX cameras from Grass Valley, two of which are mounted on Hybrid’s robotic P/T/Z/F Titanium heads.  It also features Hybrid’s Chrome robotic jib, which offers six axes of movement and is controlled by Hybrid’s Cobalt control console. This system will be the exact system to be emulated in similar live, studio situations

“Through the many advancements in television production, it is evident that virtually created environments have gained acceptance from viewers.  Additionally, we found several efficiencies through such solutions, and it was a clear choice to implement such a design within our studio,” said Harry Goldberg, VP of Engineering and Operations of BACK9NETWORK.  “It’s a stunning integration and provides us with the opportunity to develop further environments around new programming in the future.”

“Working with BACK9NETWORK and FX was a major success from start to finish,” said Olivier Cohen Hybrid TV’s CEO.  “Because we have an end-to-end solution, from tracking to rendering engine, we were able to deliver a solution that allowed BACK9NETWORK’s challenging timeframe to be achieved.”

Watch BACK9NETWORK showcase its real and virtual sets on DIRECTV Channel 262.

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