Fox Sports South Achieves National-Network Feel With Revamped Studio
Drawing inspiration from its parent company, Fox Sports South recently unveiled a state-of-the-art production studio that rivals any on the national stage. Home to Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks pre/postgame coverage — not to mention a wealth of college-football programming — Fox Sports South transformed its midtown-Atlanta location into one of the country’s most technologically advanced facilities.
The regional sports network broke ground on the renovation in April, gutting the entire second floor of its Colony Square facility in order to expand the footprint of the studio and equipment room, build out individual edit suites, and shift office space to the third floor. Working with Turner Construction and systems integrator Texolve, Fox Sports South completed construction in September.
The 1,800-sq.-ft. studio features four separate production areas. In the main section, a four-person anchor desk was modeled after Fox Sports’ Super Bowl and World Series desks — complete with interchangeable LED lighting — which is a first for a Fox Sports regional-network studio. The studio also includes a seated interview area, green-screen wall, and — taking a cue from national-network studio designs — a demonstration area with multiple floor options.
“The studio is very flexible in that the producers and engineers can very readily switch out from a Braves LIVE! look to a Hawks LIVE! look or a college-football look,” says Rolanda Gaines, director of marketing and communications, Fox Sports South. “The addition of the demo area in the studio is also an added bonus: we actually have a mini baseball field, a mini basketball court, and turf for our college-football shows so that the analysts can go over and demonstrate certain aspects of whatever they’re trying to talk about during the show.”
Eleven monitors surround the space: five 75-in. monitors and two stacked columns each with two 55-in. monitors around the news desk, one 46-in. monitor in the interview area, and one 55-in. monitor in the anchor desk for interchangeable program titles and sponsor branding.
To power the monitors, Fox Sports South added a Vizrt Multiplay system, which enables the team to control content to the various displays from a single interface. “Having the Multiplay device lets you spread one image across multiple screens,” says Rob Mezey, VP of regional engineering, Fox Sports Media Group. “It gives us a lot more variety when it comes to graphics.”
In addition, Fox Sports South expanded its Evertz EQX router to 168×168 and overhauled its Avid infrastructure with Interplay, Media Composer 7, and LTO archive. The network added an Ikegami camera for a total of four in the studio: three on pedestals and one on a jib.
“We created an ingest room, an area where the editors can bring in their media from out of house and plug it in the computers that can scan the drives and take the media over and put it in a shared drive,” says Mezey. “They can sit down with their editors and pull [content] without ever a USB stick hitting the computer.”
The network replaced existing incandescent and fluorescent lighting with LED lighting, which reduces room heating and requires less electricity. Fox Sports South is the first of Fox Sports’ RSNs to use LED lighting.
The studio debuted on Oct. 14 and is now responsible for ACC All-Access, ACC Gridiron LIVE!, Braves LIVE! pre/postgame shows, Hawks LIVE! pre/postgame shows, The New College Football Show, and The New College Football Show: Next Class.