Issue 18 |DECEMBER 2011
Technology intelligence for TV, film and radio
MENA's crème de la crème TECH SPEAK BroadcastPro Summit attracts top TV experts
48-HOUR FILM PROJECT
An exclusive first-person account from one of the winners
STAR OF HOLLYWOOD Canon EOS C300 digital cinema camera unveiled
PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ
From left: David Shepheard, Marcelle Aleid (seated), Ahmad Ibrahem (behind), David Butorac, Dr. Riyadh Najm, Ahmad Hadi Alkayal, Ammar Hina, Siobhan Berry, Aiham Ajib (seated), Naim Saidi (behind), Hassan Chahine, Ibrahim Al Rowaitie, Irshad Contractor (seated), Nick Barratt, Hasan Sayed Hasan, Andrew Davies and Muhammad Irfan.
Contact Dayang Dealer in the U.A.E for More Information
BroadcastPro ME was the only magazine from the MENA region to attend the launch of the Canon EOS C300 cinema camera in Hollywood (Turn to page 38) For exclusive video highlights from the event, visit www.broadcastprome.com
Welcome BroadcastPro Middle East experienced its biggest success ever at its inaugural Summit and Awards that was organised in partnership with the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) on 23rd November in Dubai. More than 200 people attended the summit and around 300 people joined us for the gala awards on the same night. We are proud to have partnered with an entity such as ASBU that is genuinely committed to the cause of improving broadcasting standards in the Arab world. ASBU played an active role in the event rather than merely lending its name to the Summit and Awards. I believe that at the end of the CTO panel discussion, when Dr. Riyadh, VP of ASBU and Deputy Minister of Technical
Affairs, Saudi MOCI, shared his thoughts along with the rest of the panelists, there was a new found respect for ASBU and the Arab HDTV Group, some of the entities he represents and for the efforts he was making to encourage greater collaboration in this region. Even the usual sceptics had a word of praise this time. If there was one big concern for me at the conference, it was the lack of Emirati players both in the audience as well as in the panel discussions. This is unfortunate given that we had attendees who had flown in from other parts of the GCC to join us for the conference. If there was an opportunity to wave the magic wand today and wish for something, it would be to bring more nationals into the audience and into the
panel discussions, not to make a token appearance but to genuinely participate in debates that seriously impact the future of the Arab broadcasting industry. Footage from the event will be shared in a couple of weeks on www.broadcastprome.com. In the meantime, in the true spirit of innovation and to celebrate the top 15 winners of the ASBU BroadcastPro Awards 2011, we have created a special cover for this issue. A special thank you to UBMS for obliging to shift its Inside Front Cover ad slot for this issue.
VIjaya Cherian, Group Editor, Broadcast Division
ISSUE 18 |DECEMBER 2011
TECHNOLOGY INTELLIGENCE FOR T V, FILM AND RADIO
MENA's crème de la crème TECH SPEAK BroadcastPro Summit attracts top TV experts
48-HOUR FILM PROJECT
An exclusive first-person account from one of the winners
Publisher Dominic De Sousa
STAR OF HOLLYWOOD Canon EOS C300 digital cinema camera unveiled
PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ
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The switcher for small studios with big ambitions The Sony MCS-8M is a multi-format, all-in-one HD/SD Switcher with a built-in audio mixer and frame synchronizer. Simple to operate, the MCS-8M is a compact, cost-effective switcher packed with a great range of features. The MCS-8M is ideal for handling live event programming, wedding functions, product promotions, music video creation, business conferences and seminars. • All-in-One Multi Format Video Switcher • 6-channel Audio Mixer and Frame Synchronizer • Video Interface - 8 Inputs (SDI/HMDI/DVI-I/Analog Composite) - 4 Outputs (SDI/DVI-D/Analog Composite) • Easy Operation with Preset Pattern DME Wipe • Multi Viewing Function - View Several Sources Live on a Single Monitor • Frame Memory 1CH Output • Input Freeze for Each Source • Import Still Images via USB port • Preset Effect Buttons • 3D Mode Function (L/R Link Cut, Mix, SideBySide Output)
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in this issue DECEMBER 2011
MENAâ€™s top tech experts share their views and offer advice
AND THE WINNERS ARE...
A look at the winners of the ASBU BroadcastPro Awards 2011 REPORTING FROM HOLLYWOOD
Canon enters movie business with launch of C300 cinema camera
Behind-the-scenes with one of the winners of the project TECH UPDATE
A look at the three main players in the adaptive rate streaming space
ASBU BroadcastPro Summit
48-HOUR FILM PROJECT
SONY STEPS UP TRAINING
Special focus on 3D, cinematography and OLED technologies at step metadata is key in archiving
Dorothy Donnan, head of Libraries, MBC Group
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Customers noted in this release participated in the Avid beta program. As part of this program, active participants may receive consideration in the form of a product. © 2011 Avid Technology, Inc. All rights reserved. Promotions and discounts are subject to availability and change without notice. Product features, specifications, system requirements and availability are subject to change without| notice. Avid, the 2011 Avid logo and Media Composer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Avid Technology, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the www.broadcastprome.com December United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
YahLive secures deal with MBC Group YahLive, the commercial arm of UAE-based satellite operator Yahsat has signed a partnership agreement with MBC Group. According to the deal, MBC’s HD bouquet is now available on YahLive. The deal is not exclusive to YahLive. MBC is the first broadcaster to utilise YahLive’s services. The agreement was signed by MBC Group’s CEO Sam Barnett, and Mohamed Youssif, CEO of YahLive. Commenting on the partnership, Sam Barnett, MBC Group CEO, said: “YahLive is building a proposition based on High Definition (HD) television and aims to attract audiences from across the region. Our channels are ‘required viewing’ for many in the Middle East and the ability to watch them in HD is becoming increasingly attractive. This deal should create a strong partnership.” Mohamed Youssif, CEO of YahLive called the partnership
From left: Mohamed Youssif, CEO of YahLive and Sam Barnett, CEO of MBC Group sign the deal at an official ceremony at MBC’s HQ in Dubai.
“another example of our strategic vision to become the HD Hotspot for the region”. “We are embarking on an extremely important stage in our development to become the region’s satellite broadcaster
of choice and are preparing to make more announcements shortly, which will continue to strengthen our customer offering,” he stated. Viewers of YahLive must position their dish to 52.5ºE to
view channels on the satellite. YahLive works closely with its shareholder and satellite operator SES and has used its HDTV expertise to develop a secure HD TV standard for its services in the region.
Egyptian broadcaster opts for RTS/Telex intercom system Egyptian state television ERTU has installed RTS/TELEX’s intercom system at two of its studios that were recently refurbished for HD production and transmission. Egypt-based Systems Design undertook the systems integration in cooperation with Egyptian partner Manial Business Center. Egyptian TV’s new reference studios feature a variety of intercom systems from RTS/ TELEX. At the core of the command centre are two modular Cronus matrices – each with 32 channels. Although connected with
one another, and therefore forming a logical matrix, the two devices are autonomous and capable of being operated independently. Other components installed include 15 KP-32-16 and three KP-32 key panels, a full-duplex BTR-800 wireless station, and a large number of TELEX TR800-C6 belt packs and TELEX PH-44R headsets. A TIF-2000 digital hybrid telephone line interface from RTS, which is compatible with Cronus, ADAM, and Zeus matrices, completes the installation. “These products are simple
Ammar Fawzy, regional sales manager of RTS/Telex with Ahmed Gamal, MD of Systems Design.
to use and configure and that was key,” Ahmed Gamal Saleh, managing director of Systems Design claimed.
“However, we have also received a lot of support from the RTS/TELEX team. Their aftersales service is remarkable.”
December 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 7
Gulf News Broadcasting installs NeoWinners for radio competitions
Qatar Foundation Radio launches mobile app
Gulf News Broadcasting L.L.C. (GNB) has installed NeoWinners software to deal with SMS competitions and correspondence across its two stations, Radio 1 and Radio 2. Both stations broadcast music, news, and entertainment in English across the UAE. The installation of NeoGroupe’s NeoWinners software is the first in the Gulf, and a step forward for GNB’s administration system, which is now streamlined and centrally accessed.
Qatar Foundation Radio has launched a mobile application on both the iPhone and iPod devices to enable users to listen to live streams of its radio programmes alongwith other on-demand content. This includes events covered by the Radio and the radio programming list. It will also allow users to interact with the radio programmes and presenters via social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Saad al-Hudaifi, QF Radio Media Centre Manager, said the application aimed to make its audience closer to what is going on as well as give a voice to them, especially in its live stream shows. “This service comes as part of delivering what QF radio promised its listeners. This app has been in huge demand and makes our radio streams easily available on smart devices like the iPhone and iPod.”
“Since we started using NeoWinners on Radio 1 and Radio 2, we have seen a huge improvement in the efficiency of our daily prize giveaway procedures,” Fiona Winterburn, head of programming at GNB said. “It is easy to use and has given us the reassurance of a central database to refer to, and we have eradicated the paperwork involved in competitions management.” NeoWinners enhances the organisation and follow-up of competitions and promotional
events, making it easy for broadcasters to go paperless for contests, track and follow up with winners and their prizes, and refer to a centralised database for both follow-up and on-air tasks. The system allows broadcasters to work more efficiently on the daily management of competitions and provides details and statistics on listeners who have called the station, with detailed information on the content and cost of promotions.
Dolby opens new MEA HQ in Dubai Dolby has expanded its operations in the MEA reigon with a new office in Dubai Media City. Tarif Sayed, regional director, Dolby MEA said the new office is aimed at “effectively supporting” the company’s “customers in the broadcast, cinema, mobile and content industries”. “We are responsible for the surround sound experience in cinemas and homes. Now we’re bringing the same cinematic experience to smartphones, laptops and tablets.”
Mediasys organises Autodesk workshop
From left: Andreas Spechtler, Ramzi Haidamus and Tarif Sayed at the launch of Dolby’s ME office.
Abu Dhabi TV expands pay TV offering Abu Dhabi TV Network is upgrading the software of all Ad Sports Humax IR 2020 HD set-top boxes to allow subscribers to visit websites through its set-top-boxes. Now viewers will be able to visit sites such as YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Picasa and
WikiTV from the same device. Dennis Lehtinen, head of Pay TV operations, explained: “With this additional service, our subscribers can now access these websites through their STB at no additional charge to their subscription. ADTV Network is the first DTH (Direct-
8 | www.broadcastprome.com | December 2011
to-Home) platform in the region to offer this capability and we look forward to adding more sites and content in the coming months.” Those who own the Adsports Humax IR 2020 HD STBs will be automatically upgraded to receive this feature.
Dubai-based distributor Mediasys hosted the “Autodesk Conference 2011” for the 3D community in the region in association with its partners Autodesk, BOXX technologies, PNY–Nvidia and Chaosgroup. The main aim of the event was to showcase the latest trends in the 3D industry; demonstrate new products from Autodesk and take attendees through the new workflow. More than 120 end users participated in the event. Mediasys plans to create an online forum that will enable the user community to interact with each other and experts from Autodesk.
Al Jazeera English enables social TV with never.no Al Jazeera English has used never.no’s Interactivity Suite (IS) to enable social TV by taking viewer questions; displaying Twitter, Facebook, and email comments; and conducting on-air polling during live coverage of the 9/11 memorial broadcast. The real-time flow of social commentary and polling input allowed presenters to adjust their questions accordingly during live interviews. never.no’s technology allowed viewers to become a social part of the programming, which, in turn, helped Al Jazeera present content that was most relevant to them.
With IS, Al Jazeera’s production crew could take viewer questions or ask questions by publishing them to Facebook and presenting them on air. Viewers could then vote using Facebook or email. From there, the crew would publish the results, change the course of on-air interviews, and push questions back to the audience in real time — a social TV programming feedback loop that never.no claims built strong viewership and ratings for Al Jazeera. “IS features, such as real-time social media integration, live editorial control, and instant
publishing to on-air graphics systems, gave us new ways of interacting with the audience without any complicated issues of ingesting dynamic data into our live production environment,” said Sarah Worthington, head of output at Al Jazeera English. “Being able to incorporate the social experience into our live 9/11 memorial coverage enriched the broadcast and brought an irreplaceable personal perspective to our coverage.,” she added. Al Jazeera English used never.no’s cloud-based IS service during 9/11 memorial weekend, and it has now
extended the IS installation for an even more thorough integration with its broadcast systems, enabling increased control and seamless live Social TV workflows. Lars Lauritzsen, CEO of never. no said “major broadcasters such as Al Jazeera English are recognising the importance of engaging their audiences during such important events as the 9/11 anniversary”. “The Al Jazeera team was very quick to understand the potential of social TV. We are happy to see our Interactivity Suite serving as their tool of choice in this highly dynamic and emerging space.”
December 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 9
World debut of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol at DIFF 2011 Dubai will reprise its own starring role in the film when Tom Cruise takes to the Festival’s opening night red carpet alongside the city’s leadership at the Madinat Jumeirah, The Arabian Resort – Dubai, home to the Dubai International Film Festival. The joint announcement from Paramount Pictures and DIFF celebrates the Mission: Impossible team’s return to Dubai after extensive filming in the city, including shoots spanning its old town, downtown financial hub and offshore Palm island development. With incredible stunt sequences featured throughout the movie, including the now iconic scene of Cruise scaling the world’s tallest tower, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the movie also features Dubai footage shot in HD
IMAX, promising crystal-clear imagery, powerful audio and an immersive experience. The film’s return to Dubai, following shoots done in Prague, Moscow, Mumbai and Vancouver, is a coup for the emirate, its film festival and the region’s film industry. Ahmad Abdulla Al Shaikh, Director General of the Dubai Government Media Office, said: “Dubai continues to welcome serious filmmakers from around the world, and remains ready to extend all assistance and support necessary to ensure the success of their films. Dubai reaffirms its commitment to the advancement of the local, regional, and international film industries.” The developments also mark a coming of age for the first festival in the Gulf region and arguably the most successful
One of the highlights of the movie is Tom Cruise scaling the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower.
in the Arab world and near Asia-Africa. Abdulhamid Juma, chairman of DIFF added: “This film will have a transformative effect on the region’s film industry, through knowledge transfer, inspiring emerging filmmakers, paving the way for many more
Avid releases showcased in Dubai At an all-day presentation by Avid product specialists at Radisson Blu-Hotel-Media City for industry professionals, the manufacturer launched Media Composer 6, Pro Tools 10 and Avid Motion Graphics. The event was attended by more than 100 broadcast professionals including audio engineers, sound technicians, editors, broadcast engineers and production managers. The event was hosted by Avid along with its Dubaibased distribution partner MediaCast.
Media Composer 6 is a versatile tool for professional video editing. With four flavours to choose from, Pro Tools is a widely used digital audio workstation in the industry and the Pro Tools 10 software enables the user to compose, record, edit, and mix to a high quality. Pro Tools|HDX allows more tracks, more headroom, and up to 5x more dedicated DSP power to tackle large music and postproduction projects. Veronika Lode, Field Marketing Manager|Emerging
10 | www.broadcastprome.com | December 2011
Markets at Avid stated that the company "is constantly developing its diverse product lines to meet the needs of the broadest range of professional workflows". "Looking at our editing solution for example. Media Composer 6 is the sixth release in almost three years, showing our consistent commitment to promote innovation. We are pleased to find such a creative and powerful community here in the Middle East and are looking forward to a strongly growing market," she added.
collaborations and drawing attention to cinema from this part of the world.” More than 5,000 Dubai residents vied to serve as extras for the Dubai shoot. In addition, more than 400 crewmembers were part of this project when shot in Dubai.
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PBI conference in Singapore addresses broadcasting issues PBI marked its 20th anniversary and held its conference for the first time in Singapore this year. The conference, which brings together public broadcasters from all over the world to discuss issues and challenges confronting the broadcasting industry, attracted more than 200 delegates. This year’s topics revolved around the impact of new media, the digital switchover and the role of public broadcasters’ extreme situations such as earthquake and other natural disasters. Changing Financial Models was also one of the highlights as funding is still one of the challenges faced by broadcasters. The keynote speaker for the event was Paula A. Kerger, President and CEO of PBS (USA), who spoke on “Innovation and Collaboration: Public Media for the Digital Age”. President of
NHK, Masayuki Matsumoto also delivered a special presentation on how NHK dealt with the Great East Japan Earthquake earlier this year. Representatives from Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) and Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcaster (IRIB) participated in this year’s PBI. At the event, Matteo Maggiore, controller of International Policy, BBC said: “The problem is ... the financial straits that all public sectors in the UK and elsewhere are facing these days, and that puts a lot of financial pressure on the BBC. The main challenge will be to sustain the resources for an investment that has to grow in time rather than decrease”. Yves Rolland, Secretary General & VP of France Télévisions added that public service broadcasters must “adapt to a new era and innovate to new formats and technology” if they are to survive.
Keynote speaker Paula Kerger, CEO of PBS (USA) above and a panel discussion in progress below.
YahLive and du collaborate on uplink services YahLive and du will collaborate on satellite broadcasting services according to a new agreement. du will establish uplink services to YahLive’s Y1A satellite which broadcasts at 52.5ºE. This is key to UAE-based TV broadcasters as it will establish easy access to YahLive’s HD satellite offering. Mohamed Youssif, CEO of YahLive, stated that “it was extremely important that we offer an uplink service towards YahLive satellite to UAE-based TV channels” as the UAE “is one of the leading media markets in
the Middle East and North Africa region” for the company. Commenting on this development, Mohamed Al Shahi, senior director of Broadcasting, du, said: “This partnership will enable YahLive to be available to all broadcasters connected to du in the UAE and regionally. With the addition of YahLive, our satellite offerings will be strengthened as it will provide broadcasters with a new option over the Middle East, Europe and African regions.”
12 | www.broadcastprome.com | December 2011
Peyman Dadpanah, MediaCast.
Ihab El Baba.
Blackmagic Design and its Middle East distribution partner MediaCast held their first joint workshop in Dubai to showcase various solutions for production, post, internet and TV workflows. Attendees were taken through demos of the ATEM production switcher, DaVinci Resolve, Hyper Deck Shuttle, Hyper Deck Studio and Ultra Studio 3D solutions. The event hosted more than 100 attendees, including editors, broadcast engineers and production managers, according to MediaCast. We also spotted the new Prysm Laser Phosphor Display technology at the event. Ihab El Baba from Baba Broadcasting Services, distributor of Prysm stated that there was a lot of interest in the technology following its recent installation at Dubai TV.
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ASBU BroadcastPro Summit 2011
More than 200 industry professionals attended the inaugural ASBU BroadcastPro Summit that was hosted in Dubai last month. We bring you the highlights from each of the presentations and the panel discussions 23rd November was a day to remember for BroadcastPro Middle East, which held its inaugural summit and awards in partnership with the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai. By 9.30 am, the venue was buzzing with industry talk. I don’t recall the last time I saw such a large gathering of the local broadcasting industry except at a show like CABSAT. The event began with a short welcome note from Dr. Riyadh Najm, vice president of ASBU and Deputy Minister of Information Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Information, Saudi Arabia following
14 | www.broadcastprome.com | December 2011
which, Bevan Gibson, Technical Launch Director of Sky News Arabia, took us through some of the key factors in digital newsgathering today. Some of the points discussed included the need to get content across to the market with “speed”, the ability to deliver “rich content” across “multiple platforms” and the ability to “respond quickly to any challenges”. He took us through some of the key technologies that are driving digital newsgathering today including MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) networks, IP codecs, workflow management and the effective acceleration of files over high-latency networks.
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Speaking about MPLS, Gibson stated that this high bandwidth solution is used across BSkyB’s network, in all cities where it gathers news. “We have MPLS connectivity from Beijing to New York and at all our key locations. We will also have this in the Middle East and North Africa when we launch next year. It allows huge flexibility in what we do as a newsgathering operation. We can flex our network and newsgathering ability as the news gender dictates,” Gibson stated, citing examples of how the coverage of the
Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama required different approaches. Besides this, Gibson discussed the significance of modernising contribution techniques. He ended with a short video of what Sky News Arabia would look like once it was ready to go on air. Gibson was asked questions by the audience about some key solutions that Sky News Arabia would use (“Miranda and ScheduAll”); whether virtual sets would be part of the news operation (“not at the
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December 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 15
CTO Summit speakers
Dr. Riyadh Najm, Deputy Minister of Information Affairs, Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information.
Mark Billinge, SVP of Operations, OSN.
Hasan Sayed Hasan, Head of twofour54 intaj.
Nick Barratt, Senior Broadcast Manager, MBC Group.
moment”); bandwidth issues (“negotiating with local telcos”); user generated content (“Sky’s NOC – [News Operation Centre] spends majority of its time processing content sent by users, through MMS, email and so on”); who would be a potential CDN provider for Sky Arabia (“looking at CDNs that are world providers as local choice is limited”); and whether Sky’s contribution feeds are encrypted (“not unless content is sensitive”). Dorothy Donnan, head of Libraries at MBC was next up and spoke at length about archiving at MBC Group. She also screened a documentary that was sourced from the broadcaster’s archives. Donan has authored our Guest Column this month. Andrew Davies, who comes highly recommended from the industry, as one of the few men who genuinely understand the Cloud had the techies listening carefully as he took them through the basics of the technology and where it is headed. Davies wrote a special series of articles on the Cloud exclusively for BroadcastPro this year. The afernoon session after lunch began with the Dolby Middle East team, Tarif Sayed and Andrea Borgato entertaining the audience and giving away a few ipod shuffles. Dolby also officially launched its Middle East office on November 22nd at the same venue. BroadcastPro ME also hosted two panel discusssions that brought together some of the heavyweights in the region from both the technical and senior executive levels.
Dominic Baillie, CTO, Sky News Arabia.
Tarif Sayed, Regional Manager, Dolby MEA.
Hassan Chahine, Tech Advisor, DMI.
16 | www.broadcastprome.com | December 2011
“[MPLS connectivity] allows huge flexibility in what we do as a newsgathering operation. We can flex our network and newsgathering ability as the news gender dictates” Bevan Gibson, Technical Launch Director, Sky News Arabia
Panelists for the discussion on The Future of TV Broadcasting included technology heads from the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information, Sky News Arabia, twofour54 intaj, MBC, OSN, DMI and Dolby. The panel discussion on Business Intelligence for Broadcasters again brought together senior executives and consultants who are in the business of strategising for their companies or their clients and trying to come up with “sustainable business models” in a broadcasting environment that is like no other in the world. Both panels were moderated by Christopher O’Hearn, broadcast projects manager at Abu Dhabi Media and the man who has been tasked with the people metering project in the UAE. The panel discussion of The Future of TV Broadcasting saw tech heads discuss several issues including the migration to HD, IPTV and OTT, the need to invest in formatagnostic solutions, cloud and the issues
Bevan Gibson, Technical Launch Director, Sky News Arabia.
Andrew Davies, Business Development Manager, TSL Middle East.
Dorothy Donnan, Head of Libraries, MBC Group.
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NEW around it, 3D and so on. Within HD, several issues including production, aspect ratio and loudness were discussed. Dr. Riyadh Najm spoke about the challenges of aspect ratio when moving to HD in Saudi Arabia and specific issues that needed to be addressed to broadcast the Saudi football league this year. He spoke about the Arab HDTV Group and ASBU and the efforts made by both entities to bring private and public broadcasters together to collaborate on certain technical standards and formats. MBC and OSN highlighted production challenges. As MBC had recently moved to HD, Nick Barratt, senior broadcast manager stated that MBC had to acquire a significant amount of HD content from American studios as the broadcaster didn’t have much time to build its own HD archives. “We have quite a large sway over the production houses we work with so we’ve upgraded them because we own them or we’ve managed to assist them in making the transition. During Ramadan, we showed
HD productions and our future catalogue is in HD now,” he added. Mark Billinge added that OSN built up its archive substantially before making the switch, thereby, addressing aspect ratio issues. “We had enough 1080i content,” he stated. Moving on from HD, Dominic Baillie, CTO of Sky News Arabia questioned: “What are we doing to push the envelope?” He urged the audience to focus on the content and build their TV stations around a format agnostic infrastructure than getting entangled in a web of formats and standards. “Invest your money in content. Invest in technology that is growing and will expand. Explore cheaper options on the video side. The technology is out there. Invest in content rather than formats.” There were many different opinions about the Cloud but everyone seemed to agree that it is the future. “Where you can virtualise, virtualise” seemed to be the general opinion. Baillie said “vendors were not delivering
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December 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 17
CEO Summit speakers
Chris O'Hearn, Broadcast Projects Manager, ADM.
David Butorac, CEO, OSN.
Irshad Contractor, Chairman, ICHD.
Karim Sarkis, Executive Director of TV & Radio, ADM.
Magnus Simons, Director of Sales, YahLive.
Nick Grande, MD, ChannelSculptor.
Cloud solutions quickly enough because they were not making enough money on it”. One of the major worries for any broadcaster about cloud is “security”, Barratt pointed out. “For reducing costs and adding resilience to a system, the cloud is fantastic,” he stated. Mark Billinge and Dr. Najm agreed that cloud was ideal for disaster recovery. “An archive in the cloud is ideal,” Billinge pointed out. “Cloud is good for disaster recovery but will any broadcaster put premium content on the cloud at this point is open to question,” added Dr. Najm. He also gave some sound advice to the audience with regards to undertaking major changes at their facility. “Manage your forecast right. Is your change to a new format inevitable? Then maybe, it’s time to move from SD to HD but do you really need to move to 3D? Are you a broadcaster who wants to broadcast in the conventional way or do you want to broadcast content on different platforms?
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When you invest, think of yourself in five years time. What is more important? Content? Then invest in that. Do you plan to go across different platforms? Then, plan accordingly because you can’t turn back what you have done.” On the question of 3D, most broadcasters were in agreement that the technology wasn’t mature enough to merit transmission. “Wildlife, drama and so on will be in 3D but this technology will not dominate. You will probably have one channel out of 50 that broadcasts 3D,” stated Tarif Sayed, regional manager, Dolby MEA. Billinge agreed that although OSN offers 3D movies on its platform, “a linear 3D service is not going to happen in the region”. According to Dr. Najm, screen manufacturers were pushing 3D. “It offers an enjoyable experience in the theatre but do we really want to have a 3D experience in the living room and do we appreciate it?,” he questioned. Barratt pointed out that if tomorrow,
customers do demand 3D, “the technical investment is negligible” for those who have invested in HD. Several people in the audience had questions for the panelists. The discussion finally concluded with the panelists agreeing that there was a serious need for a formal set of standards and BroadcastPro hopes to get them together to begin the first round of discussions soon. Business Intelligence for Broadcasters This was a panel discussion that the audience and the broadcasters enjoyed hugely. The discussions ranged from questions on collaboration and cooperation, conditional access, the unique nature of the MENA TV market, free TV versus pay TV and their respective business models. At the outset, each senior executive was asked to express a wish. David Butorac, CEO of OSN said he would like to address the issue of piracy in terms of illegal reception and most importantly, the illegal redistribution of content. Karim Sarkis, executive director of TV and radio, Abu Dhabi Media, said he would like to wake up and find that TV broadcasting has a
Invest your money in content. Invest in technology that is growing and will expand. Explore cheaper options on the video side. The technology is out there. Invest in content rather than formats” Dominic Baillie, CTO, Sky News Arabia
sustainable business model in the region. Irshad Contractor, chairman of ICHD said he hoped all channels would change to MPEG4 because it gave him an opportunity to sell 45 million boxes in the market. Nick Grande, MD of ChannelSculptor called for more support for entrepreneurship in the region while Magnus Simons, sales director of YahLive said if everyone moved to HD, it would be a huge opportunity for the satellite company.
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December 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 19
“We are rushing to put our channels in HD and ... on phones and sadly, we have begun by giving it off for free. We are making the same mistakes with new technology. We need to be more cautious ... when we start giving away the content for free” Karim Sarkis, Abu Dhabi Media
“Instead of seeing the region as one amorphous blob, it would be best to see each country as a desirable and distinct market.” Nick Grande, MD, ChannelSculptor
During the discussion, OSN revealed that it had invested US $55 million to undertake a complete card swap so as to eradicate the illegal reception of its signals. CEO Butorac claimed that OSN had seen the biggest increase in its subscriptions this year, which was up by 34% from the previous year. He pointed out that if there were stricter rulings against illegal redistribution and the stealing of Intellectual property, more broadcasters would see benefit in investing money into original productions and, in turn, advancing the creative industry and local skill sets. Karim Sarkis was outspoken and raised several significant points regarding the way broadcast rights are handled, the need for more cooperation, appreciating individual markets, each broadcaster focusing on their respective objectives, and more importantly, he reiterated the need to create a sustainable business model. “If everyone ... governments and individuals that are willing to lose money in the media woke up one day and decided that they have had enough, you would not have any quality content on the screen anymore. Although broadcasting is a very bad business to be in at present, it does support a very large ecosystem of profitable
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businesses including ad agencies, media buying, content producers, actors and so on. So it’s very important that we have a healthy business model so the rest of the ecosystem does not suffer,” he pointed out. Nick Grande spoke about seeing more opennesss to entrepreneurs and fewer barriers to entry for them. “We must cease to see the Middle East as 22 or 23 markets and begin to view them as a series of markets so content owners can sell their product to those individual markets and more importantly, advertisers can target those markets without worrying about the overspill. You shouldn’t have to worry about Egypt in order to get to Saudi viewers. Instead of seeing the region as one amorphous blob, it would be best to see each country as a desirable and distinct market.” On another note, Sarkis added that broadcasters in the region were not operating on a level playing field. “If you are competing with players who compete for profit, you have a different set of assumptions and hurdles to address as opposed to not knowing what to expect from entities that decide one day that they want something and will do everything to get it.” He also added that broadcasters were repeating their mistakes.
“There are only two kinds of CAs in the world. The ones that are hacked and the ones that are going to be hacked” David Butorac, CEO, OSN
“We are making the same mistake with new technology as we did before. We are rushing to put our channels in HD and put it on phones and have started off by giving it off for free. We need to be more cautious and considerate when we start giving away our content for free,” he stated. The question of pay TV was next. Contractor pointed out that even in countries such as India and China where disposable incomes were lower, people paid to watch TV because pay TV was potentially cheaper and stated that he was exploring this potential further in the MENA region.
The First Gulf Company For Supplies & Contracting LTD (FGC) was established in 2001. The company has diversified into many industries such as Electronics, General Contracting and Trading. Over the past years, the company has built a good reputation supported by highly qualified professionals. The Company was formed to create its business with a commitment to quality
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On the question of security, OSN was clear that it would never undertake any collaboration that increased the risk of its content being pirated or being received illegally although it does have a cam facility on its PVR boxes. “The OSN box today does have a cam slot to allow other broadcasters to use it should they wish to do so. We believe there is inherent risk in that cam because it decodes out of the CA system off the platform and
then provides an unencoded signal back to that box. We are happy to provide a box with a cam facility and there are some broadcasters that do not mind their content being compromised but we would never put our content on that cam,” he pointed out. These are but a few highlights from the panel discussions. Footage from the event will be streamed online in a couple of weeks. Please visit www.broadcastprome.com for more details. PRO
in order to provide the ideal solutions for each project. The staff of well qualified and trained engineers and technicians come together to produce significant and high quality engineering work. Today, FGC dominates the broadcast Systems Integration business in Saudi Arabia, and is rapidly growing in its other business of General Contracting and Telecom Value Added Services (VAS).
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December 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 21
From creating landmark regional productions and covering news amidst political turmoil, to building iconic studios and driving policy to positively impact the industry, the MENA Broadcast industry was, throughout 2011, nothing short of heroic. At BroadcastPro Middle East, we have helped unravel those pioneering efforts and on November 23, 2011, we had the opportunity to salute your efforts. There were 15 heroes in all. To applaud their efforts, more than 300 industry peers gathered at the glittering awards’ night, at the Safinah Ballroom, Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Nominations for each category were read out, complete with the opinion of the jury, giving the audience a rare glimpse into the behind-the-scenes ‘tussles’ around most categories and reflecting the top-notch quality of the work submitted. Amidst some loud cheering, winners received the distinctly-shaped award depicting a crystal globe and broadcast signals, in a striking shade of yellow. Corporate rivalry notwithstanding, the evening was also a celebration of the great friendships that the industry is all about. We take this opportunity to thank Gold sponsor First Gulf Company, and category sponsors Harris, Hitachi, Sony, BBH, Axon, Déjà vu Productions and Glow Productions for their support at the ASBU BroadcastPro Summit and Awards. For their valuable time and effort, we thank the members of the jury: Eng. Ines Jebali Gdoura, Head of Operations and Production, ASBU, Tunisia; Mounir Dhouib, Head of Marketing and Sales, ASBU; Eng. Abdallah al Baloushi, Director Technical Affairs, Information Affairs Authority (IAA), Bahrain and Vijaya Cherian, Group Editor, Broadcast Division, CPI.
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PROAWARDS Dubai Media Inc. has been an unlikely candidate in the past for any pathbreaking efforts but this year, the state-backed broadcaster stumped the jury by showcasing a range of solutions it had created to deliver content to mobile viewers. Besides creating apps to watch DMIâ€™s programmes on the iphone and ipad, and more recently, the Blackberry, the state broadcaster has also streamed most of its local productions online. DMI launched its smart TV application, developed by its in-house IT engineers, during GITEX. Without any doubt, this broadcaster offered the most uncomplicated and user-friendly way of viewing its productions and has delivered on the promise of anytime, anywhere. Hassan Chahine, tech advisor at Dubai Media Inc. received the award.
MENA Broadcast Trendsetter dubai media inc
Best Entity Promoting Local Film Production Abu Dhabi Film Commission This award was created essentially to salute any media entity that had gone out of its way to invest in this region and its people and undertaken initiatives that would help improve peopleâ€™s skill sets while also gearing them up to be part of the international filmmaking arena. The Abu Dhabi Film Commission fit this slot better than anyone else for backing local filmmakers, taking them to international film festivals, establishing grants and more importantly, investing continuously in training and mentorship opportunities that are essential to empower aspiring filmmakers with techniques and skills to make sophisticated films. Pictured here is David Shepheard, Abu Dhabi Film Commissioner and Marcelle Aleid, deputy director of Abu Dhabi Film Commission.
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PROAWARDS We do not hear of many broadcasters investing in radio in the region anymore although it continues perhaps, to be the most popular medium of entertainment here. The jury upheld that the newly launched Jeddah Radio Complex was the most deserving of this award for several reasons. Besides the fact that it comprises 19 studios and 21 control rooms, it also incorporates the MENOS exchange system, a satellite receiver and a fantastic central archive. In addition, this building has been prepared to have a direct link with Riyadh Radio. The sophistication of the solution at the Radio Complex impressed the jury. The award was handed over by Mohammed Al Marhouby, Director General of Engineering, Oman MOI (2nd from left) to the Saudi MOCI team.
Innovative Project Award Jeddah Radio Complex
Although the jury deliberated for a long time about this nomination for Innovative Project, it felt that there was not enough 3D activity in the region to merit recognition in this category. At the same time, the jury felt that front runners were essential in all fields to ensure that someone took the risk to invest in a technology that had great potential. Twofour54 has done that. Despite knowing that 3D does not yet have a future in broadcast transmission, the media entity has invested in a 3D lab that enables industry professionals to learn, test and experience production in stereoscopic 3D. This, according to the jury, deserved the Special Recognition Award. Hasan Sayed Hasan, head of twofour54 intaj received the award.
MENA Special Recognition Award intaj, twofour54
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December 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 25
Best Tech Production
Real image tv production
By integrating 3D computer animation and live action into a hybrid two-minute film, Real Image has produced a HDTV hybrid stereoscopic film in the UAE. For this TVC. A combination of specialised stereoscopic camera equipment, 3D graphics, compositing, editing software and hardware were used to finalise the picture for large screen projection. The production workflow included using the Phantom camera system with stereoscopic lens adapters for high speed sequences, and using traditional tracks and cranes to mobilise the camera Bijou. A 3D tracking software was employed during post to match the 3D animated camera with the live action camera for both left and right eye. Several different software apps were used in post to achieve the final result. The live action film was digitised and colour graded at PACE, which also graded Avatar for stereo projection. Pictured here is Aiham Ajib, CEO of Real Image TV Production.
Although we received quite a few nominations in this category, the works of two directors stood out and if we had the ability to give away two awards, we would have given one to Mahmoud Kaabour, director of Teta Alf Marra as well. What a unique style of presentation! The jury insisted that we make a special mention of Kaabourâ€™s work. However, the winner of the night was Ahmad Ibrahem, director at Ashorooq TV, whose special documentary on Sudan was very impressive and well received by the jury. Michele Dwayk, head of Marketing and Operations, Harris Broadcast Division Middle East and South Asia (MESA) gave the award away on behalf of Said Bacho, VP of Harris MESA to Ahmad Ibrahem, Ashorooq TV.
Best Director of the Year Ahmad Ibrahem, ashorooq tv
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What a riot of colours, what outstanding dances, what gorgeous women and what a story! Hindistani, a comedy shot mostly in India but based in Saudi Arabia and on the lives of people in the GCC, won the best Arabic Drama Production of the Year. OSN recently launched Yahala, an Arabic language channel and invested in 300 hours of Arabic content to populate the channel. The award salutes the broadcasterâ€™s investment into highquality Arabic content that has been produced in the region for this region. Receiving the award from Paddy Roach (right), general manager and director of Hitachi Kokusai Europe is David Butorac (left), CEO of OSN.
Best Arabic Drama Production Hindistani, osn
Best Sports COVERAGE Abu Dhabi Media
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The ability to acquire the rights to one of the worldâ€™s most sought-after games is one thing. The ability to put up a good how after that is quite another. But Abu Dhabi Media, in partnership with Endemol Middle East, brought for the first time to the region an EPL programme tailored to the Arabic audience. Rather than resting on the laurels of international feeds, the team created a beautiful set in house, did live studio productions every day including chat shows, entertainment, live wraparounds and more importantly, ensured that there was a team on site to provide Arabic reportage. Some of the best EPL talent was interviewed and all of this made the production very rich and provided a unique coverage for this region. The award was given away by Tarif Sayed, regional manager Dolby MEA to Siobhan Berry, head of production, Endemol Middle East, who is production partner with Abu Dhabi Media for the English Premier League.
Filmworks would like to congratulate our friends at Paramount Pictures, Bad Robot and Dubai Media Incorporated on the world premiere of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol at Dubai International Film Festival. We are proud to have been part of this spectacular production.
The Trusted Film Service www.filmworksdubai.com
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Best systems integrator qvest media
This award was one of the most hotlycontested categories. After much discussion and debate, the jury decided that two companies deserved to share this award as both had gained a reputation in the MENA region for bringing not just excellence in terms of consultancy but also providing workflows and after service support. Dubai-based systems integrator Qvest Media received the award for undertaking to build an entirely tapeless editorial newsroom system for Al Jazeera Sport. The project included the upgrade of the tapeless and HD-capable ingest, editing and playout capacities. In close cooperation with the specialists from Al Jazeera, Qvest Media was responsible for all stages of the project such as analysis of the existing technical infrastructure, consulting, development of an overall concept with the specification of workflows, product sourcing as well as integration, commissioning and on-site support for the on-air phase. The award was received by Ahmad Hadi Alkayal, executive sales manager of Qvest Media.
No endorsement is perhaps more commendable than those that come from customers. TSL Middle East could not be ignored as all of the nominations that came in for this company came from end users it had serviced including twofour54, First Media and OSN. Most of the endorsements seem to suggest that a certain challenge or issue needed to be addressed and TSL came in as a consultant, looked at the issue, suggested possible remedies, got the work done, did a post analysis report and in some cases, was retained to provide after service support. Andrew Davies, business development manager at TSL Middle East received the award from Richard Judd, managing director of CPI.
Best systems integrator TSL middle east
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Technical Achiever of the year Nick Barratt, MBC
Although MBC was looking to mirgate to a tapeless environment, it wasn’t until late 2010 that the project started in earnest. Nick Barratt, senior broadcast manager, was tasked with re-engineering the workflows of the many MBC departments and functions, and with leading the broadcaster’s technical team to meet a very tough deadline. And, he delivered. On July 1, 2011, MBC HD was born. MBC repeatedly delayed making a full transition to tapeless architecture for fear of the risk and disruption it would create. Many areas within the business were dependent on linear tape-based environments. Nick’s most significant contribution was his ability to convince end-users of the value of the project, design workflows tailored to their needs, and to manage their transition to these new workflows. Nick Barratt (r) received the award from Ulrik Samuelsen, MD of Best Broadcast Hire.
The jury felt that the nominations in favour of this company showed that it had delivered a range of projects in Saudi Arabia that required varying skill sets within broadcast. First Gulf Company was commended for securing more than 80% of the business in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for partnering with the right companies and bringing the right skills to the table for each of the projects it worked on whether they were OB vans or OB SNG vans, HD studios, the MENOS project in the Kingdom or transmission facilities. The award was received by Naim Saidi, CEO of First Gulf Company and Habib Kazan, marketing officer, FGC.
MENA Business Excellence Award first gulf company, saudi arabia
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Irshad Contractor, chairman, ichd This is an Editor’s Choice Award and was awarded to Irshad Contractor, chairman of ICHD this year for conceiving and putting in place an infrastructure that could potentially expand the pay TV market in the Middle East and North Africa. He has always pointed out that if countries like India and China, where disposable incomes are a lot lower, can invest in pay TV, surely the MENA region can do the same if the pricing and offering is right. As part of those efforts, he has secured his first deal with MBC Group that allows people to watch the broadcaster’s HD channels only on Technosat boxes. His intention is to ensure that more HD content becomes available on the ICHD card so that eventually there will be enough premium content to woo viewers away from the free TV model to a more affordable and low pay TV platform in the region.
Broadcast Achievement Award al aan tv, dubai
Al Aan TV has been deploying several new technologies and undertaking initiatives that continue to increase its customer base in the region. Besides its broadcast-to-web deployment last year, the broadcaster was one of the first to step into Libya and launch a radio service from scratch with the fall of the Gaddafi regime. The behind-the-scenes story was not just remarkable and impressive; they were almost heroic.. Receiving the award from Raz Islam (l), commercial director of CPI is Muhammad Irfan, who saw the projects through from start to finish.
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December 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com18.11.11 | 35
Broadcast Visionary of the Year
dr. riyadh najm, deputy minister of information affairs, ministry of culture & information, saudi arabia This again was an Editor’s Choice Award. Never in my editorial career have I met a dignitary who is as well versed with the technical side of programming and broadcast, and international regulatory policies as he is with regional government affairs. Dr. Riyadh Najm, Deputy Minister of Information Affairs at the Ministry of Culture and Information, Saudi Arabia and
Vice President of the Arab States Broadcasting Union has gone the extra mile to encourage more dialogue and collaboration between broadcasters in the region in terms of both technology and content practices. Even as he remains committed to encouraging these practices through the Arab HDTV Group and ASBU, he continues
to remain faithful to the Kingdom’s greater objective of using technology and mass media to reach out to the masses. This award pays tribute to the remarkable way in which Dr. Najm has handled the multi-faceted nature of his work in the Ministry while also remaining committed to the cause of building a more robust broadcast industry in the pan Arab market.
A Fitting Conclusion to 2011 In the post-awards’ interviews, the winners unanimously thanked their respective teams. As we conclude the 2011 edition of the BroadcastPro Summit and Awards, we pay tribute to the teams. We’ve always known that it takes the creative and technical prowess of a group of men and women to produce the quality of work that we have had the privilege to witness this year. Each of the nominees for the evening spoke to us about the shared values,
mutual trust and complementary skills of their team members that helped translate their vision in creating innovative projects. This is a fast-changing world and the accomplishments we laud today are becoming the norm as you read this. HDTV in the region has moved from being the new kid on the block to becoming de rigueur. Tapeless studios and 3D technology are a regular feature for most expanding broadcast operations. However, content, has always taken centrestage. The big
takeaway for 2011 is that our audiences have embraced the regional broadcast industry. This places enormous responsibility on the decision makers as they guide their teams towards reflecting the aspirations and diverse narratives of a young population across the MENA region. We look forward to featuring your case studies, analysing your strategies and lauding your innovations again next year. Let the battle begin for the ASBU BroadcastPro Awards 2012.
December 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 37
Canon EOS C300 camera – The Star of Hollywood It was a launch worthy of the venue – Hollywood. BroadcastPro Middle East had a ringside view of the launch of the Canon EOS C300 and the manufacturer’s seven EF Cinema lens series In the 500-seater theatre in Hollywood, the sense of anticipation was palpable. Teri Schwartz, the Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, set the stage for the launch as she spoke of the need to help her students learn visual storytelling and how Canon was going to help them tell their tales. Then the man of the evening took centre stage – chairman and CEO of Canon Inc. Fujio Mitarai.
“As a leader in digital imaging, Canon’s debut in the film and TV production industry provides a tremendous opportunity to enter into a thriving market,” Mitarai stated. “Reflecting upon the achievements that Canon EOS Digital SLRs have had in the industry thus far, we are confident the new Cinema EOS series products will bring that success to a whole new level.” The launch then took a Hollywoodesque tone as the audience was treated to films
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shot using the camera. The filmmakers then spoke of their hands-on experiences with the camera. Vincent Laforet, who directed Mobius said, “The camera did its job, which was to get out of the way and produce great images.” Sam Nicholson, who directed Xxit spoke of the camera enabling the shooting of green screen shots at ISO 16,000, which is, in his words “revolutionary in terms of speed.”
The renowned filmmaker, Martin Scorsese, took us through an overview of the history of filmmaking and what it did for the human race. He spoke of how bulky, expensive equipment was an impediment to filmmaking in the past. “Now anyone can make a movie, and storytelling through video is easier than ever,” he said, giving the camera the ultimate stamp of approval. Alongside the EOS C300, Canon has launched seven EF Cinema lens series. They include four zoom lenses (two models each for EF and PL lens mounts) covering a zoom range from 14.5mm to 300mm, and three prime lenses for EF mounts. Each lens supports 4K (4096 x 2160 pixels) resolution, that delivers a pixel count four times that of full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), and offers compatibility with industry-standard Super 35 mm-equivalent cameras as well as APS-C cameras. The launch of the Cinema EOS System marks Canon’s full-fledged entry into the digital high-resolution production
Canon’s all-new interchangeable-lens digital cinema camera features a newly developed Super 35 mm-equivalent that has a CMOS sensor that is approximately 8.29-megapixels. The camera will be available in two models: the EOS C300 digital cinema camera equipped with an EF lens mount for compatibility with Canon’s current diverse lineup of interchangeable EF lenses for EOS single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras and new EF Cinema Lens lineup; and the EOS C300 PL digital cinema camera with a PL lens mount for use with industrystandard PL lenses. The introduction of the EOS C300/ C300 PL coincides with the launch of the Cinema EOS System, which marks Canon’s full-fledged entry into the video production industry. The new professional digital cinematography system includes the lens, digital cinema camera and
digital SLR camera product ranges. When outfitted with a Canon EF lens, the C300’s peripheral illumination correction automatically corrects for vignetting in accordance with each lens’s optical characteristics, and enables iris control from the camera. Canon EF lenses also enable the recording of metadata, aperture setting and shutter speed. The camera’s sensor reads full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) video signals for each of the three RGB primary colours, decreasing the incidence of moiré while realising high resolution with 1,000 horizontal TV lines. Supported by a heightened signal readout speed, the CMOS sensor reduces rolling shutter skews, a phenomenon prevalent with CMOS sensors in which fast-moving subjects may appear diagonally distorted. Additionally, the powerful combination of Continued on page 40 4
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“The CMOS sensor in the EOS C300 is a completely new design dedicated to video production. It’s actually 8.3 mega pixels but recording full HD resolution from the camera and the reason for that is so we can take full HD — red, green and blue information from the sensor like a three-chip system to create a high-quality, full HD movie at the end. The first camera should be available in 2012 and that’s a global release. This release marks Canon’s entry into the video business” Peter Yabsley, Canon
industry. The new professional digital cinematography system spans the lens, digital cinema camera and digital SLR camera product categories. The grand sentiment of the evening was: “This camera is the beginning of the future of filmmaking.”
At BroadcastPro ME, we hope to put the camera through its paces in our neck of the woods. Watch exclusive videos featuring a short discussion with the filmmakers, and speeches by Martin Scorsese and Fujio Mitarai at www.broadcastprome.com. PRO
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the sensor with Canon’s high-performance DIGIC DV III image processor facilitates high-precision gamma processing and smooth gradation expression. In addition to MPEG-2 full HD (MPEG2 422@HL compliant) compression, the EOS C300/C300 PL employs 4:2:2 colour sampling for high-resolution performance that minimises the appearance of “jaggies” at chroma edges. Additionally, with a maximum recording rate of 50 Mbps, the camera supports the recording of highquality video. The camera’s video and audio recording file format adopts the industry-standard MXF (Material eXchange Format), an open source file format ideally suited for non-linear editing systems. Recording to versatile, readily available CF cards, the EOS C300/C300 PL realises high cost-performance and, equipped with two CF card slots, makes possible the simultaneous recording of video data to two CF cards. With a compact body design measuring 5.2 (w) x 7.0 (h) x 6.7 (d) inches, the Canon EOS C300/C300 PL claims to deliver
manoeuverability, enabling shooting from vantage points that are inaccessible to large cinema cameras, such as close to the ground for high-impact low-angle shots, and alongside walls. In accordance with on-location shooting needs, the camera can be outfitted with a handle, grip, thumb rest and monitor unit, and offers an array of industry-standard terminals, including HD/SD-SDI video output for the external recording of high-quality video content. When using a WFT-E6B wireless file transmitter for EOS digital SLR cameras (sold separately), the EOS C300/C300 PL can be controlled remotely by means of such common devices as smartphones or tablet PCs. The camera is equipped with four start/ stop buttons positioned at various locations to satisfy any preferred camera-holding style, and can be outfitted with a variety of third-party accessories, including matte boxes, follow focuses and external video and audio recorders. The unit also achieves seamless integration with third-party editing systems
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and includes a dust-proof, drip-proof construction and built-in cooling system. The new camera allows users to adjust image quality to match that of professional camcorders and EOS-series digital SLR cameras. It offers Canon Log Gamma, enabling flat image quality with subdued contrast and sharpness for maximum freedom in post-production editing and processing. In addition to frame rates of 59.41i, 50.00i, 29.97P, 25.00P and 23.98P, the EOS C300/C300 PL features a 24.00p mode, matching the 24 frameper-second frame rate of film cameras for high compatibility with common filmproduction workflows. Other features include fast-motion shooting, achieved by capturing fewer frames per second to create action up to 60x normal speed, and slow-motion down to 1/2.5x made possible by capturing more frames per second. Frame rates between 1 and 60 frames per second (fps) can be adjusted in increments of 1 fps. Additionally, a selection of custom pictures lets users freely adjust image quality for greater control over how content looks.
From left: Harvey Glen with director Nizar Sfair.
The 48-hour film project saw aspiring filmmakers and industry professionals gather together on November 24 to celebrate the winning projects of this two-day endeavour. In the first part of this series, DoP and participant Harvey Glen gives us a n exclusive first-person account of conceptualising, writing and making a film in just 48 hours The 48-hour film festival has been running for 10 years. Last year, 45,000 filmmakers had made 3,000 films in 80 cities on five continents in just 48 hours. This was the first year the festival was brought to Dubai. The premise was simple â€” you have 48 hours to write, shoot, produce, edit, score and deliver a short film that has to be 4-7 minutes, plus you are allowed one minute of
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credits at the end. All over the globe, it takes place over different weekends. You have to pick a team leader who goes and collects the information at 7pm (on Thursday, in Dubaiâ€™s case) and the delivery of the film can be no later than 7pm, 48 hours later. I first heard about the project from a friend on Tuesday afternoon. Having had great success with the first ever user
generated film Ridley Scott produced titled Life in a Day in which I participated with a story about an Indian expatriate gardener living and working in Dubai, I thought this was an opportunity I simply shouldn’t miss. For Ridley Scott’s production, my submission was selected from more than 80,000 entries and I was one of the 25 filmmakers and contributors chosen to go to the world famous Sundance Film Festival. Professionally, I work as a cinematographer but to bring the 48-hour film project to fruition with only a 24-hour lead up, I needed to put my producer’s hat on. With the 48-hour film project, there is no budget so everyone who participates has to be a volunteer. I began by making calls to gather some crew and cast. I knew that I was going to shoot this film so I had the DOP in place, plus I was mainly going to use my own personal equipment – the Canon 5D MKII with 24-70mm and 70-200mm F2.8 lenses. Then I called director Nizar Sfair, whom I have loved working with and have successfully collaborated with previously to shoot some beautiful commercials and promos. Nizar had previously heard about the project and was keen to be part of it, so that was the director ticked off. The next step was to scout for cast. The challenge here was that you could not pin down your cast until you received your criteria from the organisers at 7pm. By this time, your 48 hours have started and
you have no idea of what your genre is, let alone your script. I got in touch with Miranda Davidson who owns Miranda Davidson Studios, an acting coaching facility. Miranda invited Nizar and me down to her class that evening to watch some of her students perform. I also got in touch with Bareface, which kindly got in touch with the actors on their books and put together a selection of people who might be interested to take part. So we had some actors on standby! Worse case scenario, we could actually make a film now, even if we had to shoot in my living room, which we actually did in the end. Three important elements were now out of the way. I next contacted a photographer friend of mine Michael J Mckelvie, who expressed interest in learning how to shoot video and the whole process of making a film. He came on board as second camera operator, location scout and later turned out to be the interviewer and voice-over artist. The only thing you can do before the 48 hours is scout your locations, set cast in place and prep your kit. Michael J McKelvie told Nizar and I about a location called Desert Springs. The location was perfect to set any story. Luckily, my friend and DIT Andrew Clemson knew a friend who lived there so we managed to secure permission to shoot there. Nizar and I had already arranged a steak dinner with Imad, GM from Optix Digital Post. We were fully prepared to cut
“The only thing you can do before the 48 hours is scout your locations, set cast in place and prep your kit” Harvey Glen, freelance DoP.
The team in action for Paradise Falls.
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the film on my Final Cut suite, but after casually mentioning the project, Imad said he’d ask the team if we could use the Optix facilities over the weekend. SWEET! Neda Ahmed came onboard as post producer, An Nguyen as editor and Diane Kuo as colourist. I was shooting that Thursday and was slightly concerned that we didn’t have a sound recordist. Taking on the role of sound recordist along with producer and cinematographer was irrational as sound is crucial and often overlooked in production. I often say if your picture goes slightly soft or over exposed for a second, the audience will rarely notice but if your audio is bad, they will notice. Great sound makes good picture great! Luckily, on Thursday morning I bumped into sound recordist David Thirion who agreed to join the team. Nizar was appointed as team leader and arrived at the Pavilion at 7pm to receive the criteria for the film. We were told we had to use a prop, which was a clock (any clock), a line of dialogue ‘you can’t leave without making a decision’, a character trait ‘human encylopaedia’ and had to pull a genre out of the hat – Nizar received Mockumentary. Our team, named ‘The Turtles’ arranged to meet at Optix at 8pm to start brainstorming.
“I often say if your picture goes slightly soft or over exposed for a second, the audience will rarely notice but if your audio is bad, they will notice. Great sound makes good picture great!”
Nizar contacted Micheal Fillon, someone we both respected and worked with on a Pepsi job. Micheal has a unique creative perspective and without knowing anything about the project, Nizar managed to persuade him to come onboard and write the script. While the rest of us went home to bed Micheal and Nizar stayed up through the night to develop the story about Karim Mushtak, played by Assem Kroma. Karim is a novelist who had a best-selling novel. 10 years on, he is the last remaining tenant in ‘Paradise Falls’, where he refuses to leave until completing his long-anticipated second novel The Time Traveler’s Diary. With an idea of the plot, Mike McKelvie and I met at 6am to start shooting some establishing shots of the location in the beautiful early morning light. We then regrouped at 8.30pm with makeup artist Marcia Santos, Miranda Davidson, lead actor Assem Kroma and love interest Jenny played by May El Calamawy to
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go through the script which was literally hot off the press. One of our biggest hurdles was printing out the script … such a simple task, but not one of us had a printer. However, as I like to say, ‘every problem is a solution opportunity’. We didn’t actually start shooting until around 1pm on the Friday, so with around only 30 hours left to completely finish our film, I knew we had to start production. Having donned the role of producer and with my eye on the clock, I felt it was my responsibility to push the production through and start shooting. I always find that shooting the first shot is always the hardest thing. As soon as that is under way, any production can move forward. I had decided right from the start that regardless of the genre we received, I would take a dogma style, literally because I didn’t have time to ask any hire companies or technical crew for big favours. Having shot so many different types of programming
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Paradise Falls won: 4 4 4 4 4
Audience Award (Group Screening) Best Director – (Nizar Sfair) Best Editing (An Nguyen) Best Actor (Assem Kroma) Best Use of Line (Michael Fillon)
(including 1x Promax winner, 2x Bafta, 1x Emmy), I know you can get great results and something aesthetically pleasing without all of the equipment we normally use on commercials. In fact, we didn’t even have a follow focus, or monitor. Having such a great bond with Nizar, he trusted me to take care of the visuals while he directed the talent. Actor Aseem Kroma fit into Karim’s role with ease. It was fantastic to watch him perform alongside JW Halloway, our human encylopaedia. It really did feel like a true documentary, almost in the vein of Louis Theroux. With short films or any unpaid work, people are there for the passion of making something special and I feel our team The Turtles did that. We had such an amazing bunch of very talented people both on and off the screen. We still cannot believe Ray Haddad managed to score the entire film in less than eight hours. Making a film in 48 hours restricts you heavily. I would have like to use all of the actors that were interested in taking part, but there just wasn’t time. The worst part of being a producer is having to settle for some personalities on the set, letting down actors you had hoped to use and continually answering the phone. I now realise why
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camera work is so much more appealing. You can just get deep in the zone and concentrate on delivering beautiful and creative visuals. During the shooting, we sent back batches of rushes where our post production team was ready to convert the files, digitise and start the rough cut over night. By 5.30pm the next day, the film was beginning to take shape, but we still needed to grade and export it and get it to the Pavilion in time to deliver it, all before 7pm. Luckily, I received an email saying we would get an additional half hour because of traffic so 7.30pm was acceptable but no later. We were literally burning DVDs in the car on the way. We arrived at 7.27pm and handed it in – phew! It wasn’t without its faults but for a film produced in 48 hours, it was a huge success. We won several awards that night but we did not win Best Film. It was announced at the awards that Paradise Falls would have won Best Film if we hadn’t got the human encyclopaedia’s name wrong, which was part of the mandate in the beginning. But the sheer passion of making this film will bring all of us together again next year. Watch a short exclusive video footage of the 48-hour film project awards night on www.broadcastprome.com, brought to you by BroadcastPro Middle East. PRO
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The key players in adaptive rate streaming – Part II The second part of this series looks at companies notable for their role in introducing and promoting adaptive rate streaming solutions and focuses primarily on the three main contenders for mass market adoption: Apple, Microsoft and Adobe Apple Apple’s public promotion of HTTP Live Streaming dates from March 2009, when the standard was introduced as a part of the iOS 3 and associated iPhone and iPod launch. It has since been enhanced and extended in iOS 4 and is central to streaming video support on the iPad and Apple TV. The continuing rapid uptake of these Apple devices and the introduction of QuickTime X on the Mac is certainly helping HLS gain traction as a key enabler of high-quality video delivery to this ecosystem, but uncharacteristically Apple has also published the HLS specification as an Internet Engineering Task Force
(IETF) draft and is pushing for broader adoption as a fully ratified standard. This openness has enabled a range of other device types to adopt the same standard infrastructure—notably a wide range of STBs and popular mobile devices. Until recently, a notable exception to this range of device support was the PC browser and plug-in marketplace, even when using Safari. As one aspect of the growing HTML 5 support initiative, HLS is very likely to rapidly grow in market significance and breadth of application. The ecosystem supporting headend components and other aspects of the video delivery value chain is also growing rapidly. Apple seems to have the most pragmatic
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technical approach, using the MPEG-2 TS structure for video encapsulation rather than the newer and less mature MPEG-4 structure used by other solutions. Each chunk is stored as a file with a ‘.ts’ extension and an index or playlist file is generated to link the different chunks. Apple’s solution will have to be updated to scale up to future requirements, as can be seen with the 1.6 Mbps limit on some streams. By leveraging the highly standardised and highly developed HTTP server and web delivery marketplace rather than focusing on a proprietary server product, important practical issues such as the service failover protection mechanism (potentially implementing a load balancer
throughout the delivery system) help the HLS perspective go way beyond simple bandwidth optimisation. Another critical aspect of the HLS architecture is the definition of a standardised stream encryption mechanism, describing the encryption algorithm and formatting of encrypted chunks. The standard also defines how references to the key file required for stream decryption should be included in the playlist or manifest file. This should be seen as a DRM-independent approach, because even with this level of detail on content protection, the standard is deliberately silent about how to authenticate devices or control which devices can obtain which stream keys. Security companies have the opportunity here to provide significant value to the ecosystem by overlaying the HLS protocol with a mechanism for registering and tracking individual devices, together with
a way to manage entitlement for content viewing. This type of security opens up the potential for flexible business models that can help up-sell OTT content for premium services and cross-sell over multi-layer, multi-device distribution. HLS has been successfully deployed to Apple’s iPhone, iPod, iPad and Mac (OS X), and is also being used for OTT set-top box (STB) and TV deployments. Microsoft Smooth Streaming is Microsoft’s IIS Media Services extension to enable HTTP adaptive rate streaming to Silverlight and other client devices. It commonly uses H.264 video encoding but can also use Microsoft’s VC-1 codec. From a workflow and architecture point of view, the Microsoft Smooth Streaming solution is similar to HLS, although initial feedback is that the use of MPEG-4 files makes it harder to implement in a
broadcast environment due to the difficulty of preserving metadata. Microsoft has already deployed Smooth Streaming to PCs and has high hopes that this video capability will help make its new Windows Phone 7 a success. Nokia has already announced its support for Smooth Streaming. Support for STBs and connected TVs is planned with PlayReady DRM. Microsoft, along with Apple and Cisco, is taking an active part in the MPEG Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (MPEG DASH) standardisation effort that aims to converge the different industry initiatives. Adobe Most recently, Adobe has implemented a variant of adaptive rate streaming within its Flash Player 10. The feature is called HTTP Dynamic Streaming and requires Flash Media Server 3.5. The initial release used RTMP to deliver the video, but since Flash Player 10.1, HTTP delivery is also
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supported. Current Flash deployments use RTMP, and it is expected that in 2011, Flash Dynamic Streaming will be available on PCs and mobile phones. Android has already announced support of HTTP Dynamic Streaming. Adobe’s Flash Player uses significantly more device resources than Apple’s solution but multiple parameters like chunk size (described below) differ considerably between Apple, Microsoft and Adobe solutions, making comparisons very hard to make. For completeness, it is worth noting that Google is backing WebM, an opensource initiative based on the VP8 and Vorbis codecs. As yet, WebM is a relatively untried technology. It uses a different approach for sending the video in a single file, encompassing variable bit-rates rather than chunks. It is much harder to benefit from caching with this approach and headend scalability might become an area of concern.
Implementing & Fine-Tuning HLS (Getting a Bit More Technical) Producing adaptive rate streaming requires a similar workflow, whoever the supplier: encode, segment (except for Google), encrypt, store, wait and deliver. Getting a headend together In a typical solution, both live linear content and on-demand file based content can be managed with the same delivery architecture. The video source is encoded in one pass for all different bit-rates and then segmented into chunks. The playlist/manifest file is created to tie all stream information together for the client devices. While the streams are being segmented, a closely integrated key
Video Bit-Rate (kbps)
320 x 180
480 x 270
480 x 270
480 x 270
1024 x 720
Table 2: Example of Apple’s HLS profiles using H.264 for the video and a fixed 16 kbps HE-AAC audio stream exchange process communicates with the security sub-system to provide a steady stream of encryption keys and reference identifiers. It’s worth noting that keys and keyfile references do not need to point to the same network resource as the URLs for the media chunks. Encoding and segmentation are somewhat linked processes and it is often a benefit to have these tightly integrated within a single hardware device. The segmenter must be able to begin and end each bit-rate chunk for each time period to an accuracy of just a few frames across all bit-rates, and must ensure that all chunks contain a close sequence of compressed video information. Any failure to create these accurate splices will undermine the smooth presentation of video as a device moves between bitrates. The number of bit-rates generated depends on the business case, as does the frequency of key rotation and any differences between keys applied to specific bit-rate versions of streams. A greater number of bit-rates enable a finer adaptation to the available resources – bandwidth and CPU. But all bit-rates have to be generated for the length of the content and subsequently stored. In some large-scale deployments, each different bit-rate version of a stream might need to be distributed in parallel over a core
HLS Device Groups iPad
Google Android HTC
Motorola Droid - WVGA resolution
PC - multiple sizes up to full resolution
OTT STB - multiple sizes up to full resolution (e.g. Netgem)
Table 3: HLS device groups
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network to a set of edge servers. Too many bit-rate profiles obviously have the potential to consume excessive resources at the headend or in the network, even while they may improve the end user experience or the reach of the content to different devices. Improvements in live transcoding, segmentation/encryption and storage architectures will tend to alleviate this problem. In most implementations, content is encrypted using the same key for each chunk that represents a specific time period, so protecting content doesn’t explode the amount of data involved or prevent caching. For a real-time stream, the so-called “cryptoperiod” is adjusted so that a given key is used for encryption of a number of chunk periods, which reduces the need for the client devices to frequently fetch new keys. Setting an appropriate cryptoperiod is the same as with any pay-TV environment – a compromise between key management overhead and appropriate protection of content from various types of attack. Typically, a key will be used to protect a few dozen chunks before being renewed. For on-demand content, the strategy is often to use a small number of keys since the length of the playlist/manifest file, read before any video is displayed, can grow very rapidly if it contains a large number of key references. Integration of security is also important at the headend when chunking and encrypting streams. The key exchange protocols are not yet fully standardised for this type of streaming in the same way they are for DVB delivery systems. The security of the exchange process and the flexibility to configure different protection mechanisms and client signaling schemes
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Number of Profiles
Number of Chunks
Table 4: Chunk size and profile figures for a 90-minute movie becomes more important as the OTT market matures. These mechanisms are not always fully defined in the different specifications and so it is important to work with a set of partners that have an appropriate level of experience. Packets and Chunks In RTSP, one of the traditional streaming protocols, 1.5 KB packets would represent about 10 milliseconds of video in a full SD format, so a 90-minute movie could require half-a-million packets. HLS was developed much more recently and the chunk size is typically set to hold between two seconds and ten seconds of video. Thus with HLS, a movie would require a few hundred to a few thousand chunks. This is then multiplied by the number of bit-rates being supported, with chunks of different bit-rates having frame accurate synchronisation at their start and end points. Each different bit-rate version of a chunk corresponds to a separate encoding profile. Profiles The number of video profiles being simultaneously generated for the service requires careful design. The more profiles, the greater range of devices that can be supported and the more those devices can maintain smooth presentation of video in
the face of changing network conditions. Apple recommends five profiles for their devices. Microsoft recommends just three. In some extreme cases, there can be up to eight profiles. This may become more common in the future when new full HD and 3D formats are supported. Table 2 shows an example of five typical Apple profiles using H.264 for the video and a fixed 16kbps HE-AAC audio stream. Profiles are defined by their bit-rate. To achieve a given bit-rate, the encoder will usually use video resolution, video format and frame-rate as variables. In current implementations, the audio bit-rate doesn’t usually vary. In sports, in particular, it is better to keep a continuous audio commentary even if the video becomes a slide show for a brief period (as can happen on mobile networks). Profiles are mainly chosen so as to target specific devices. Tradeoffs The chunk size will determine the speed at which a device can adapt the video bitrate. Smaller chunk sizes mean faster rate adaption and potentially faster channel changing. This implies that Apple’s outof-the-box configuration is best suited for streaming to different devices over stable network conditions. A two-second chunk size is better suited to playing in variable network conditions. However, smaller chunks mean more chunks, which is why Microsoft (with 2 second chunks)
Key Parameters Breadth of client implementations
Security and signaling support (e.g. output control options)
Subscriber’s user experience
Ease of future device integration
Cost (license fees implementation cost, maintenance)
Multi-vendor support (from encoders to CDNs to clients)
Roadmap & standards track support
Table 6: List of key parameters that need to be taken into account when selecting an adaptive rate streaming protocol
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suggests fewer profiles than Apple (with 10 second chunks) does. Smaller chunk size also requires longer playlist/manifest files, which then require more parsing and longer repeated fetches for live streams. Distributing many thousands of small files throughout a CDN can be challenging. As the protocols are state free, smaller chunk size requires more setup and tear down of TCP/IP connections for each individual chunk. This creates a higher load in the network, using more traffic for setup and so relatively less traffic for delivery. As they are made ready, chunks are encrypted and put on an HTTP server ready to be downloaded on the device’s request. Note that a two-second duration corresponds to a typical group of pictures (GOP) size so that video playback can start even if the client has only received a single chunk. The playback or download buffer’s parameters can be adapted to specific use cases. The client adapts the bit-rate by selecting the best possible profile given the available resources. Starting with the lowest profiles, the client may be tuned to move up to higher bit-rate profiles one by one, or possibly skip some on the way up. The client adapts the bit-rate by selecting the best possible profile given the available resources. Starting with the lowest profiles, the client may be tuned to move up to higher bit-rate profiles one by one, or possibly skip some on the way up. Playing with all the parameters described above will lead to technical trade-offs. Parameters for choosing a solution At this stage, it may still seem challenging to choose between the different implementation approaches. In most adaptive rate projects, the first choice must be which devices to target. The choice of delivery network will often be an external constraint to take into account in choosing the right solution. Bearing the whole ecosystem in mind, building or renting the headend is a key choice to make. PRO
Written by Benjamin Schwarz, owner of CTO Innovation Consulting. Jointly produced by Harmonic Inc. and Verimatrix
Sony steps up training We take a tour of the Sony Technology Event for Professionals and bring you the highlights Sony Professional Solutions MEA organised a special educational event titled step (Sony Technology Event for Professionals) that was aimed at informing customers about new technologies and also familiarising the market with the manufacturer’s new range of products including its 25” and 17” OLED monitors, 4K home cinema projector, 3D camcorders as well as its other series of cameras. Step, which is a successor to Sony’s annual events — Power of Images (2009) and Sony Open House (2010), welcomed visitors from various industries including broadcast, TV and film production, AV, universities as well as government entities this year. Explaining the idea behind broadening its target audience for the event, Awad Mousa, head of Product Marketing at Sony Professional Solutions MEA said: “Usually, we deal with broadcasters directly but to show our technologies to a broader base
such as videographers, filmmakers, media students and so on, it is easier to be located in a central area where we can showcase different technologies. Therefore, at step this year, we had equipment targeted at broadcasters as well as the broader range I mentioned earlier.” The step arena was split into different experience zones. In the display and monitors area, Sony had a special focus on OLED technology. The manufacturer also showcased several products in its cinematography section and three products in the 3D area. The seminars and workshops on 3D imaging, cinematography and OLED technology at the event were well attended. Workshops on 3D workflow and F3 4:4:4 workflows were conducted by Sony’s Independent Certified Expert (ICE) Alister Chapman. “Last year, we did something similar and
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found that there was a lot of interest from attendees,” added Mousa. “Our workshops proved popular again this year,” he added. Omran Abdallah, director of engineering at twofour54 intaj stated that the “event was very interesting because Sony showcased a lot of new technology in terms of 3D and cinematography”. “I was also particularly impressed with the 4K projector for digitial cinema and I believe greater focus on 4K will be imperative in the coming months.” Two technologies that BroadcastPro ME found impressive were the PMW-TD300 camera and the Sony OLED monitors. The PMW-TD300w uses dual 1/2” 3x CMOS sensors to offer 3D picture quality, even in dark environments. It can record over six hours on SxS cards by using 4x 64GB SxS cards. Supporting both 2D and 3D capabilities, the camcorder is designed for
Shuji Okada, GM, Content Creation and Systems Marketing, Sony.
Rob Sherman, MD, Sony Professional Solutions MEA.
production companies and freelancers making music, documentaries or short films. With a short inter-axial distance of only 45mm, the PMW-TD300 allows 3D shooting at close up distances of 1.2m. Sonyâ€™s BVM-F series opens up the possibility of OLED technology to a wider range of applications in the broadcast industry. The BVM-F series use Sonyâ€™s TRIMASTER EL
technology. They have full HD capability (1920x1080) and an RGB 10-bit driver, supporting a powerful 12-bit Professional Display Engine. While Omran Abdallah and 3D stereographer Clyde Desouza found the OLED workshops useful, DOP Harvey Glen and producer Ian Ross commented that the camera technologies were impressive. PRO
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“Metadata is a vital pre-requisite to successfully retrieving and utilising the media stored in the archives making it more critical ... without proper metadata, you could end up spending hours viewing the media just to find a specific shot”
Preserving the Future For years since the advent of mass communication, millions of hours of film, television and radio are produced globally every day, and they need to be preserved. History is no longer transmitted through word of mouth or recorded in long epic stories. Audiovisual archives will form the records of the future, preserve our cultural identities and propagate our value systems to future generations. Worn by time, eaten away by acidity, victims of wars, dictatorships, natural disasters or due to plain mismanagement, the audiovisual archives of humanity are continuously at the risk of destruction. We cannot resign ourselves to losing volumes and volumes of the worldwide audiovisual heritage. It remains imperative to ensure that we preserve these valuable archives and are able to transmit the audiovisual memory of our times to future generations. The place of the archive and of the archivist has changed dramatically in the television industry over the last decade. Because of the role in collecting, organising, preserving, and retrieving media, the archivist is a national asset. The growing criticality of the archivist’s role is evident from the fact that every year, a number of seminars and conferences are held about the preservation of archives and for the archivists to share their experiences and brainstorm new ideas. Organisations continue to invest in archiving and manufactures continue to develop newer
systems and technologies regularly to address the fundamental question — how to safely, securely and efficiently store and manage our archives. There are two universally accepted major players in managing the archives; the data itself which is media; and metadata which is indexing. Metadata is a vital pre-requisite to successfully retrieving and utilising the media stored in the archives making it more critical in the sense that without proper metadata, you could end up spending hours viewing the media just to find a specific shot. Therefore, it is vital that metadata is stored with pictures and relevant time codes for future use and future generations. News cannot be recreated. Television stations have a huge responsibility to protect the media in their archives. As a first step, it is critical to set out the correct workflow plan that works for the organisation and ensure that it is followed to the T. Remember it’s all about the workflow and not the technology. No matter how advanced the technology, it is still the professional archivist who holds the key to making digital asset management a success. One should not embark on any data management exercise without a clear picture, proper workflows and proper metadata to ensure investments in technology and time are not wasted. Broadcasters need to ensure that they do their homework, determine future requirements, and properly train their archivists if they wish to move ahead in the
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21st century. The determination of need and the roadmap to fulfillment of the need should be clear and one should avoid the temptation to change for the sake of change or just because others are changing. Broadcasters should also make available the use of their footages and techniques to schools teaching media studies to ensure availability of the right resources for the future. Another significant factor that is often overlooked is the content rights. This is a major stumbling block with broadcasters worldwide and in the Middle East, it is an even bigger problem. Metadata should be tagged from the beginning showing the original source of the footage i.e. relevant contract details that could be retrieved if required in the future. It is not fair to the producers of media to spend a lot of money, time and resources making programmes, when piracy is widespread. Broadcasting is an ever changing environment. The mindset of the audience is fluctuating and expectations are ever increasing; companies are looking at ways to stay ahead of the competition, so it is all the more important that the archives are preserved correctly and are accessible for own use or for sale to other broadcasters or independent producers. Dorothy Donnan is Head of Libraries at MBC Group.