Custom Software & Media System Integration

ESPN Studio-X

Scope: Custom Software

Three Byte recently helped complete the build out of Studio-X located in ESPN's much celebrated new Digital Center 2.  The new state-of-the-art broadcast studio is the home of SportsCenter, ESPN's premier sports commentary show.  Studio-X represents a quantum leap in interactive studio environments, incorporating over 114 monitors, 10 independently automated moving scenic components, 8 custom 3D video wall processors each with 8 outputs, and 6 remote production control rooms.

Software Challenges

The system integrator, WorldStage asked Three Byte Intermedia to help specify, design and implement a Medialon show control system to bring all of the various studio components under centralized monitoring and management.  The system facilitates faster setup, calibration and troubleshooting of each subsystem as well as more reliable and repeatable cueing while on air.  In coordination with WorldStage and the operators at ESPN, Three Byte built a flexible preset and cueing system that is tailored to fit the daily workflows that ESPN expects when getting ready for a filming a segment.  The primary goal achieved is massive amount of technology across 5 major sub-systems can easily be managed by one operator and ultimately run under completely autonomous control during broadcasts.

In the process, Three Byte leveraged Medialon's low-level SDKs to create a custom MxM which implements the PBus II protocol for receiving frame-accurate trigger signals from video production switchers.  Three Byte used Medialon's Web Panels feature to allow distributed access to the control interface from any of the production control rooms.

Tying it together

When the monitors are rotated to face backwards, those that were once on the right end of the video wall are now on the left. To handle such discrepancies, the Control System detects the orientation of each column of monitors as it rotates around its pole, and directs it to play different video content, depending on which way it is facing. The Control System also includes a flexible schedule for managing email error reporting and daily system startup and shutdown.

Tech Stack
  • Medialon Show Controller
  • PBBus II SDK Helper (C++)

Project Team
  • Olaaf
  • Chris
  • Karen