Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


The technical side of Sky News

Ahead of Sky News' 30th anniversary on 5th February, Philip Stevens looks at the technology bringing the latest news to air

In January 2018, Sky News launched a new newsroom, with an integrated approach to newsgathering, bringing together TV, digital and radio input and output. Annova Open Media is the newsroom system in use across the channel.

Alongside that, Sky News moved their gallery systems to Ross Overdrive automation, to increase its ability to respond to live breaking news stories, while also increasing the reliability and consistency of the TV channel output.

At present in Studio 6, which is the Sunrise/VR Studio, four Grass Valley LDK 8000 Elite WorldCams are used with a selection of Cannon HJ Eng lightweight lenses. These are controlled by GVG OCP400/00 with LDK 4582/10 base stations.

“We use a jib in our Sunrise Studio, with an operator on the studio floor, and all cameras are remotely manned in the Osterley gallery,” says Ben Wickham, head of studio output.

During 2018, Sky News integrated a series of Blackmagic Design Ultimatte 12 compositing processors and an Ultimatte Smart Remote 4 to produce virtual studio segments for its Sunrise breakfast programming.

“Our key aim was not only to retain the extremely high-quality production values that Sky News is renowned for, but also to ensure that we were able to create depth, scale and variety when presenting news output,” explains Wickham.

The three walled green screen takes up around half of the studio, and is predominantly used for Sky News’ virtual news studio, built within a realistic 3D VR environment. Within the virtual set, a video wall can be deployed for welcome sequences, lead item discussions, correspondent reports, sports bulletins and weather forecasts.

Wickham continues, “Studio 21 – known as the Glass Box Studio – is equipped with five Sony HDC 4300 with a selection of Cannon HJ Eng lightweight lenses. Control is via Sony RCP 1530 with HDCU2500 base stations. Shotoku robotics are used throughout.”

Vision mixing is under the control of a Kayenne with Karrera panel with four and a half ME banks.

“When it comes to audio, Sky News launched on a basic, analogue, 48 channel Sony desk, but we now have a Calrec Artemis 80 channel digital desk, two layers on each channel and 12 layers deep,” explains Wickham.

“For graphics we have opted for VizRT for onscreen graphics, and Viz Studio for our virtual studio.”

Editing is handled by SQ and Rio in the Osterley facility and for the Westminster studio, which is mainly used for political coverage. Adobe (Mac) is employed for the channel’s global bureaux.

To read Philip’s exclusive interview with Sky News head John Ryley, check out the January/February issue of TVBEurope.