“The impetus was hockey coverage, but we knew the studio needed to be multi-faceted for internal or other broadcasts, like the Raptors, for example,” says Downey. “Rogers had owned the right to hockey for several years, so there was a template from the existing studio. But this was an opportunity to do a refresh and a rethink, to create a more versatile and dynamic studio designed for a variety of coverage across the country. So we had a rough idea of what the set would look like, where the desks would fit and how the lights and camera would work together.”
The space is divided into two studios—Studio 31 and 32, which share a wall. Everything down to the glossy black floor has been thought out to provide maximum flexibility and efficiency.
“It’s a very well-built space—they can shoot almost 360 degrees in one studio and about 270 in the other, with some kind of lighting technology is the frame from every angle,” he says. “At any given time, there are usually four or five main desk positions, as well as stand-up positions, which can be migrated to different positions or looks within that set depending on the application. There’s a ton of brand-new lighting technology involved, along with numerous video walls, and there’s LED lighting in the desks and in the walls, which is extremely versatile and looks great on camera.”
The Cove is a 50-foot floor-to-ceiling LED wall, one of a number of video walls used for a wide array of applications—stats, players, sponsorship, et cetera. “The graphics team is busy as can be, making content to fill it all,” says Downey. “And they’re doing an amazing job.”