Fox Sports Florida’s New Studio To Serve a Multitude of Pre/Postgame Shows
The multi-use space will help Fox Sports Florida, Fox Sports Sun handle studio programming for six sports franchises
Few RSNs’ studio operations are as busy as that of Fox Sports Florida and Fox Sports Sun, whose Fort Lauderdale production facility produces more than 225 live shows a year covering the six pro-sports franchises for which they hold broadcast rights. In addition to producing pre/post-game shows for nearly all the teams’ regular-season road games, the RSNs deliver postgame shows for all playoff games (both home and away). That live studio programming received a facelift this month, when Fox Sports Florida launched a brand-new multi-faceted studio just before the MLB All-Star break.
“The previous studio we had served us well but was very one-dimensional with a standard studio desk and a back wall with several monitors,” says Brett Opdyke, executive producer, Fox Sports Florida/Fox Sports Sun. “As the scope of our productions continued to grow and our producers pushed the limits of the space, we realized that we needed something that gave us more flexibility to use the entire studio area. We needed our studio space to match the level of content we were looking to create for our pre- and post-game shows.”
Inside the Studio: Setting On-Air Talent Free
Opdyke and company approached Fox Sports EVP/Creative Director Gary Hartley, who leads set-design efforts for Fox Sports and its RSNs around the country, about revamping the studio facility in Fort Lauderdale. The resulting concept was a multi-use space that features not only a traditional studio desk but also a one-on-one sit-down interview area and an area featuring a touchscreen analysis monitor.
“It is a dynamic space that gives us a lot more options and gives us a [facility] that matches the quality of content that our producers want to create,” says Opdyke. “It gives our producers an opportunity to push content to a new level and be creative with the space. We can get our talent up off the desk and create more movement and freedom. It just provides us with a lot more flexibility for storytelling and analysis in our pre- and post-game shows.”
In all, the new studio features nine LED monitors (primarily Samsung) and four Ikegami HDK-77EC cameras: one on a jib, two on dollies, and one on a tripod for optional placement. In addition, there is a green screen that can be used when needed by the production or marketing teams. The upgraded lighting-grid system features an ETC Ion lighting board, 15 DeSisti MAGIS super-daylight-balanced LED Fresnel lights, and 20 DeSisti De-Lux fixtures (converted from 23K to 56K as part of the refurbishing).
“The lighting grid is designed to hit all locations at the same time or individually, so we can have our host stand up, walk over to the two-monitor–wall interview area, and then turn to the camera seamlessly,” says Opdyke. “We have a jib that allows us to follow our analysts around, so we can swing around and get a single shot of [analyst Orestes Destrade] standing up [from the desk] and walking over to the touchscreen wall.”
IDF Studio Scenery completed the set construction, assisted by Ikegami Field Engineer Dennis Disinger on the camera setup and Lighting Director Eric Castagne on the lighting setup. The Fox Sports team also created all-new graphics for the enhanced studio. The control room was not upgraded as part of the project, but workflows were modified by Fox Sports Florida’s operations team to drive the new studio monitors.
The Primary Desk: Bigger Footprint, Sleeker Look
The primary studio desk, which has a Samsung UE55A LED display embedded in it, differs from the desks used by the majority of Fox RSNs, according to Opdyke. Its 12- x 6- x 40-ft. footprint is larger than its predecessor and can accommodate four people.
“The desk set has a much cooler, more distinct shape [than our previous desk] and some very unique lighting,” he says. “The desk is also bigger, so it gives us more options. Our previous desk was really designed for two people, and we will still primarily have two [on-air talent], but it gives us the option to add more people. And it fits with the set’s [monitor] walls very well. [They] all complement each other perfectly.”
The set’s monitor wall, which features five 82-in. Samsung DM82D LED displays, provides the flexibility to display a live look-in from the stadium, player images, logos, and more.
The Touchscreen and Interview Area: Taking Analysis to the Next Level
The touchscreen area was of particular importance to Fox Sports Florida, which aimed to enhance its pre/postgame analysis tools. The 65-in. Optika monitor is powered by Vizrt graphics and Multi-Touch software.
“The area that we’re really excited about is the touchscreen monitor,” Opdyke explains. “This will give our analysts and hosts an opportunity to move teams around in the standings or draw directly on the screen, as well as integrate some of our other three-dimensional editing devices, such as Viz Libero, into the analysis.”
In addition, the interview area, outfitted with a high-top table and chairs and two Samsung DM65E LED displays, will be used for standups, player and sponsored interviews, game breaks, and more.
The touchscreen and interview area are in the testing phase right now and will debut later this year.
“We are crawling before we walk before we run,” says Opdyke, “We will slowly start rolling out all the fun new pieces in the coming weeks.”