Creating ESPN's new Digital Center 2 - the world's first fully ethernet connected production studio

The ethernet connected studio enabled ESPN to display real-time clips and graphics in any configuration with 127 on-set monitors.

ESPN recently completed construction on the Digital Center 2 (DC2), their latest state-of-the-art production center. The DC2 includes several studios with over 1100 miles (1770 km) of fiber and is designed to be format agnostic allowing ESPN to easily grow as formats change in the future. The flagship production "SportsCenter" is produced in the new center as well as  several other shows.

A unique feature of the Digital Center 2 is the heavy use of monitors in the studio. 127 monitors are used between the two main studios and driving content for those monitors are multiple Viz Engines, specially designed by ESPN working with Vizrt, with eight output channels each.  Dubbed "Octoviz", the system controls the displays of real-time graphics across any combination of on-set monitors in their native resolutions and aspect ratios. It is a cutting-edge studio design that supports more powerful storytelling and imagery splaches from 127 monitors across walls, floor and banner displays.

TVTechnology published a detailed case study on the creation of the DC2 and "Octoviz".

"When we were planning this cutting-edge SportsCenter studio design, there was nothing on the market capable of putting live graphics into 127 monitors cost-effectively", says Stefanie Gjørven, senior director, technical operations and engineering for ESPN.

"Since the existing graphics workflow lets us search and utilize our extensive media asset library, being able to quickly deliver that content to the 127 monitors would be vital to creating a valuable user experience, especially in a breaking news situation. So we asked Vizrt if they would help us create a custom solution to solve this technical display challenge in a way that seamlessly interfaces with our existing workflow."

Stefanie Gjørven presented the workflow at Vizrt Days 2015 in Bergen, Norway and the DC 2 IP-based broadcast facility has been shortlisted  for the IBC 2015 Innovation awards.