The Sun+ subscription service required a virtual studio and newsdesk for Sun FC to show a selection of two minute clips of Premier League highlights on the Sun newspaper’s web channel.
Our brief was to design and prepare a virtual studio overlooking a football pitch. Filmed in a studio fitted with Reflecmedia and equipped with VR Soft’s tOG-VR, Sun+ requested a desk based presentation. For us, the challenge was that the available budget would ordinarily have afforded only a very basic design.
We addressed this challenge when preparing designs for the desk. We gave it a physical back, so presenters and guests could sit and interact. It was then cloaked with a virtual desk front. Featuring a virtual LED screen playing logos and footage, which allowed for a sophisticated design at minimal cost.
We then designed the studio as a space within the terraces. Avoiding Directors Box refinement, we included concrete construction, grounding the show in terrace culture. The 40,000 seater stadium itself was a bespoke design, inspired by global stadia and informed by our architectural knowledge, and could be lit for day and night broadcasts. Advertising boards carried Sun+ branding and sightlines for every seat position, providing realistic detail.
The show went live at the start of the Premier League season in 2013, hosted by Ian Wright and Samantha Johnson. Our hybrid desk solution delivered a functioning desk with a sophisticated visual appearance – which could be changed for different shows – for a minimal cost, saving Sun+ a fortune. While virtual desks are often poorly integrated with presenters, who look uncomfortable without anything to lean on, our solution meant the presenters were actually sat at the desk, so looked at ease.