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Issue 13 | JULY 2011

Technology intelligence for TV, film and radio


Anniversary Issue

GAME CHANGER Intigral pioneers use of adaptive bit rate technology to enable multi-platform content delivery

interview Mark Billinge on OSN’s dark night

case study Al Kass channel sports new wheels

tech update Ka-band — the future of satellite broadcasting

FIRST REVIEW EPIC put to the test in the UAE


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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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Globecast has acquired Jordan Media City. The deal was signed on June 30, we hear. For breaking news, visit

Welcome Editor’s Pick Who’s Who this month Malcolm Wall has been appointed CEO of Abu Dhabi Media. Ali Jaber has taken over from Tim Riordan as Group TV Director at MBC Group.. Tarif Sayed has been appointed regional director of Dolby MEA and Pakistan. Cliff Nelson, ex-SVP of OSN moves to ICHD as CEO. Charles Maasry has joined Harmonic Middle East as regional sales manager.

When OSN went off air for a short while in May, not many viewers may have noticed as it was very early in the morning on a week day. But it was a big wake-up call for the broadcast industry as Mark Billinge, OSN’s VP of Broadcast Operations and Technology rightly pointed out. There may be many reasons for a network to go off air. At OSN, it was only a small fire in the UPS room but over the last few months, the political unrest in different parts of the Middle East have caused a lot of disruptions in broadcast services across the region and many TV channels went off air. It was disconcerting to hear that very few TV broadcasters actually had contingency measures in place. In the May issue of BroadcastPro ME, Hasan Sayed Hasan, head of twofour54 intaj who writes a quarterly column for the magazine, stated that such situations were a reminder of “just how important it is for every broadcaster, regardless

of size, to put in place proper business continuity and disaster recovery plans”. The incident at OSN comes as an urgent wake-up call to all broadcasters in the region to revisit their continuity and disaster recovery plans. If they do not have one, it’s time to put one in place. In most cases, we hear that organisations have invested in disaster recovery plans but have never activated them. One good place to catch up with industry colleagues and discuss current developments will be at our Anniversary party at Calabar, The Address Downtown Dubai, on July 11. We will have some of our own news to share with you at the event including the expansion of our editorial team and new launches. We look forward to seeing you there. Vijaya Cherian, Senior Editor, BroadcastPro Middle East

Subscribe now Cover Mike Sneesby, VP, IPTV &Technology, Intigral.

Publisher Dominic De Sousa COO Nadeem Hood

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Group Sales Manager Sandip Virk +971 (0) 50 459 2653 Senior Editor Vijaya Cherian +971 (0) 50 768 3435 Circulation Database and Circulation Manager Rajeesh M +971 (0) 4 440 9147

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DIGITAL SERVICES Digital Services Manager Tristan Troy P Maagma

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Sony’s OLED. The New Black.

PVM Series – Broadcast OLED Picture Monitors For Critical Picture Viewing

Sony, the world leader in OLED displays, proudly presents the much-anticipated BVM-E Series OLED master monitors and PVM Series OLED picture monitors. Sony’s OLED panel can display a deeper black than any other display device, and each pixel can be turned completely off - a feature no other display technology can offer! The result is accurate black reproduction with each individual pixel, giving you the power to evaluate each picture image faithfully to the signal. Delivering deep black, high-contrast, accurate color reproduction, and quick response with virtually no motion blur, the BVM-E and PVM series are the new industry standard in professional monitors. • Sony OLED Self-emitting Display Device – RGB 10-bit, Full HD • Sony’s unique Super Top Emission technology for accurate color reproduction • Deep black with high dynamic range • Accurate signal processing across all signal levels • Quick response with virtually no motion blur • Wide color gamut and accurate color reproduction

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BVM-E Series – Broadcast OLED Master Monitors For Critical Picture Evaluation

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in this issue JULY 2011




Intigral reveals its technical and business model exclusively to BroadcastPro ME



Blink Studios expands post production setup

We bring you an exclusive review of the EPIC from RED expert Andrew Clemson of Alchemy Films, which recently took delivery of one of the first such cameras in the region

12 OSN reveals all OSN speaks about the impact of the fire that gutted its UPS room and measures it will adopt


28 workshop Axon, Dolby and Tektronix show the way at a Dubai event



A look at the two OB trucks built by Grass Valley for Al Kass Sports channel in Qatar

Designed for the rigors of real-world use on the road.  The VB12-RF is smaller, lighter and tougher than any  other comparable monitoring solution. It contains all  the interfaces needed for broadcast or IP analysis at  any location in the transmission chain of both cable  and terrestrial broadcast-ip digital media operations.  The VB12-RF requires no external equipment or power  supplies and is easy enough to withstand severe physical  shocks and harsh operating conditions.

42 3D IN POST production Clyde DeSouza on compositing and match moving in S3D

46 Ka-band This is the future of satellite broadcasting, says Newtec boss

56 OPINION Santino Saguto of Value Partners talks about monetising content and the challenges ahead for players


July 2011 | |



MBC’s COO Sam Barnett (extreme left) and Technosat boss Irshad Contractor (extreme right).

MBC Group offers sneak preview of HD channels ahead of July 1 launch

Mazen Hayek addresses the gathering (above). H.E. Sheikh Fawaz Al Khalifa, president of Information Affairs Authority, Bahrain.

Sony PSMEA secures HD contract in Bahrain Bahrain’s Information Affairs Authority (IAA) has invested in Sony XDCAM HD broadcast technology as part of its drive to deliver HD content to viewers throughout the Kingdom. Sony PSMEA will supply its PDW-F800 professional disc camcorders, PDWHD1500 studio recorders, HD monitors and a range of accessories including wireless microphones, LCD HD colour viewfinders, portable sound mixers, portable lighting

systems and recording media. The PDW-F800 camcorders are equipped with a 2/3” CCD and their XDCAM HD 422 recording format combines efficient workflow with data security and economy in a digital archive medium. Hideaki Nakamura, MD of Sony PSMEA, said the solutions will “assist the IAA’s migration to a tapeless format, providing a platform for high quality HD recording, editing, broadcast and archiving of TV

content in the Kingdom.” H.E. Sheikh Fawaz Al Khalifa, president of IAA, added: “The IAA is committed to improving the standard of content broadcast through our TV stations, providing citizens with better quality news and entertainment programmes. We are confident that we have invested in the right tools to improve skills and promote creative talent for quality enhancement in the resulting content.”

Malcolm wall appointed CEO of Abu Dhabi Media Former Virgin Media executive Malcolm Wall has been appointed CEO of Abu Dhabi Media (ADM) with effect from September 1. Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouie, chairman of ADM stated that Wall “brings a wealth of senior

4 | | July 2011

operational experience in advertising sales, broadcasting and content”. “He has worked globally within the print, research and news distribution sectors. We are confident that he will take Abu Dhabi Media to a new level.”

MBC showcased its HD offerings ahead of the official July 1 launch to industry professionals at its headquarters in Dubai along with Technosat, the partner company supplying the set up boxes. At the launch, Mazen Hayek, Group Director of PR and Commercial at MBC Group explained the importance of this move to MBC viewers, as well as to partners, advertisers, and producers. He also explained MBC’s partnership with Technosat, which supplies HD receivers. Technosat boss Irshad Contractor handed over a 24k gold plated set top box to Sam Barnett, COO of MBC at the event. Following the announcement, Technosat hosted a separate event at Atlantis, The Palm, to unveil its ICHD platform.

New TV channel from Wataniya Telecom to air during Ramadan Kuwait-based telecoms operator Wataniya Telecom has announced that it will launch its own satellite channel on July 15, 2011. The channel is aimed at Muslim viewers and will run only during Ramadan annually, Scott Gegenheimer, general manager and chief executive officer of Wataniya stated at a press conference in Kuwait last month. Content will include religious programmes, competitions and several drama series. The channel will be available on Nilesat.


The Blink Studios team at work.

Blink expands system set up Dubai-based post production house Blink Studios recently upgraded its facility with a number of solutions including 10 new HP workstations, Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer edit suites. The solutions were supplied and integrated by local distributor MediaCast. The expansion will enable Blink Studios to undertake more sophisticated 3D animation projects. The post production house presently produces 3D animation using 3DS Max and Maya and finalises the output using After Effects and FCP. It also produces 2D animation using Flash and Adobe Media packages.  However, its long-term vision

is to produce long-form 3D and 2D animation for feature films, shorts and TV series, also accommodating shortform 3D and 2D productions for both commercial and entertainment purposes. Speaking about the new investment, Nathalie Habib, general manager of Blink Studios said: “In addition to the 10 HP workstations, MediaCast had previously equipped Blink Studios with 13 HP workstations. It also installed and integrated the FCP and Avid edit suites.” Director and producer Hani Kichi added that the production house invested in Avid to “accommodate an international animated TV series production

currently running within Blink Studios’ pipeline”. “Blink Studios is one of the region’s first animation studios to produce a pre-school show for Cbeebies, the BBC’s pre-school channel as well as its Arabic adaptation for Baraem, the preschool arm of Al Jazeera Children’s Channel. Both of these are being done in partnership with twofour54 in Abu Dhabi. The 52-episode international version is being co-produced with a UKbased animation studio. “We invested in Avid to accommodate the requirements of long-distance production and to ensure equal and similar quality output throughout the production process,” stated Kichi.  

Blink Studios already has a fairly sophisticated setup in place to undertake major animation projects. It houses a series of iMac machines; includes render farm cubes with 384 processing cores to render high quality HD animation in a short time and has a main server with 20 terabytes storage as well as a back-up system that is scheduled to be expanded to accommodate a heavier production pipeline. Blink also recently made a large investment in external storage hard-disks ranging from 1 to 8 terabytes. This was procured from MediaCast. GM Habib says this investment “is part of a long term investment strategy”. “This entire highly-integrated set up is part of a long term investment strategy that Blink Studios has put in place and constantly revisits in order to ensure animation production of the highest quality for shortform commercial projects as well as long-form entertainment productions such as features films, shorts and TV series. The new system we have deployed guarantees the delivery of on-time and on-budget high quality production.”

Producer/director Hani Kichi (l) with GM Nathalie Habib (c) and managing partner Lea Badro (r).

NEW Tech specs HP 24-port Gigabyte switch HP Z800 Dual 4 core 2.40 (8 cores)/12Gb RAM/Nvidia quadro 600 1 Gb/ Additional internal HDDs - 10pcs 22” HP Monitor 22” ZR22w – 20 pcs Avid MediaComposer Mojo DX system 5TB external video RAID storage

July 2011 | |


PRONEWS In-house Film invests in Alexa and Panther Rental house In-house Film, which recently acquired an Arri Alexa camera and a set of Arri primes from Dubai-based distributor Amaranthine claims that it now has the potential to compete with other big rental houses in the region. Owned by Director of Photography (DoP) Joseph Hindy, In-house has a whole range of equipment including cameras, lenses, cranes, dollies, lights and so on to support a full-fledged production. “We have a full range of Arri lights and cine lenses, all kinds of cameras including Sony camera, Arri film cameras and the RED as well as cranes and dollies. We recently acquired a Panther Foxy Crane Advanced,” claimed Hindy. “We have been in the market for more than three years but now have the capacity to provide a comprehensive solution to any production company that comes to us from both an equipment as well as services point of view.”

Ex-Baynounah staff to join Abu Dhabi’s freelance scheme The Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority has offered exBaynounah staff the opportunity to join its freelance scheme at preferential rates, BroadcastPro ME has learnt. The scheme will enable exBaynounah staff, who lost their jobs at the beginning of this year when the TV station was closed down, to work in Abu Dhabi as freelancers with twofour54 and its partners. We also hear that although the freelance scheme was previously restricted to certain categories, the free zone is willing to accommodate people with skills that are not listed. The scheme is also primarily aimed at freelancers who want to work for twofour54, its partners or companies using twofour54 intaj’s facilities. Although not strictly enforced, freelancers who choose to carry out substantive work outside the free zone are expected to secure additional permissions. Those on the scheme are also entitled to a residence visa.

From left: Group director general of MBC Ali Al-Hedeithy flanked by Tim Riordan (l) and Ali Jaber (r).

Ali Jaber takes over from Tim Riordan at MBC Group MBC’s Group TV Director Tim Riordan, who is well known for negotiating many of the content acquisition deals with Hollywood Studios for the network, will retire from his position at the beginning of October. His position will be taken over by another high profile figure, Ali Jaber, who has held several simultaneous roles as advisor to the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Telecommunications, TV consultant at Dubai Media Incorporated and as Dean of The Mohammed Bin Rashid School for Communications (MBRSC) at the American University of Dubai. Riordan, who will continue to be a special advisor to MBC’s chairman and Board,

6 | | July 2011

caused a stir in the market two years ago when he stated that the free-to-air TV business model was the only profitable model in the Middle East. MBC Group has been the most successful television network in the region and its success has been attributed to the huge variety of content it provides across different genres. Ali Al-Hedeithy, MBC’s Group Director General called Riordan “a pillar of the MBC Group for many years”. “He made his mark particularly in the launch of MBC’s western content channels. However, we have also benefitted from his wide ranging experience across all areas of the Group. Tim’s

leadership, his ability to make things happen from studio deals to channel launches, and his readiness to innovate – have been a big asset for MBC. We’re delighted that Tim has agreed to stay in an advisory capacity to MBC Chairman and Board.” Ali Jaber will assume his new role at MBC from September. He will join MBC’s team of Group Directors that manage the Group’s activities across many different media and platforms. Ali Al-Hedeithy stated that Jaber’s “background, his wide ranging achievements in the industry and his years of experience will bring added value to the Group and will further enrich our team of Group Directors”.

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PRONEWS Twofour54 tadreeb pays US$7 million for SAE Dubai twofour54 tadreeb has acquired SAE Dubai for US $7 million from global education services provider Navitas. SAE, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Navitas, is recognised for delivering Higher Education and VET programmes across three major fields of study including audio production, film production and interactive media. A press release from Navitas says it will provide support to the Abu Dhabi Government, via twofour54, to establish new licensed SAE campuses in the United Arab Emirates as branches of SAE Dubai. “SAE Dubai and the future new campuses will be ideally placed to provide skilled graduates to the regional media hub and will further contribute to the Government’s goal of creating a centre of excellence in content creation across all media platforms, said Navitas CEO Rod Jones,” the statement said. The deal also enables twofour54 tadreeb to enter into a long term co-operation agreement that will enable it to access ASAE’s internationally accredited Diploma and Bachelor Degree programmes. The acquisition investment adds significant flexibility to twofour54 tadreeb’s existing structure of training programmes, which is provided by twofour54’s international partners including BBC, Thomson Reuters, Apple, Thomson Foundation, RFI, INA, Adobe, Cartoon Network and Bournemouth University. Importantly, the new portfolio of courses will allow twofour54 tadreeb to fast track UAE nationals into the job market by equipping them with the knowledge and skills they require to build a career in the region’s growing media industry. Speaking about the deal, Wayne Borg, Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer at twofour54 said “the investment and long term co-operation with the SAE Institute gives us access to over 30 years’ experience of providing educational services to students and professionals in creative media and workforce education”.

Sky News Arabia begins construction in Abu DhabI Sky News Arabia, which is scheduled for launch in Q3 2012, has begun construction work at its new headquarters at the twofour54 intaj facility in Abu Dhabi. The channel will be based in an expanded three-floor facility designed to house a multimedia newsroom, craft edit suites, live graphics production and the news operations centre which will manage Sky News Arabia’s international network of thirteen bureaux. The channel’s main studio will be in a completely redesigned space within the complex. Speaking about its facility, Nart Bouran, Director of News at Sky News Arabia said: “Sky News Arabia’s studios will offer stateof-the-art facilities. Our team will enjoy the most advanced infrastructure

available within the industry to ensure world-class news delivery to all our viewers across the MENA region.” Sky News Arabia will be using the latest in broadcast technologies to cater to the increasing demand in the region for a truly multiplatform news network across TV, mobile and online. The channel’s systems integration contractor, TSL, has already been appointed to deliver the technical fit-out of the studios, production and broadcasting functions. Other critical contracts will be announced in the coming months. Sky News Arabia will be available in both HD and SD formats. It will be broadcast free-to-air across 50 million households across the MENA region and will also be available on the Sky platform in the UK.

An artistic rendering of the Sky News Arabia studio in Abu Dhabi.

8 | | July 2011

Heather Maytham, Nicki Meyer and Karen Coetzee.

www.broadcastprome. com/category/videos/ Five brands including Alchemy, Bareface, Arabian Eye, The Studio and Corbit came under a holding company called Emicom Media BVI last month. View our interview with Nick Davidson, owner of Alchemy Films on why they collaborated and how it will help the industry.

Jesus Blanco (r), CEO of Emicom.


Egypt and Saudi host highest number of FTA channels Egypt & Saudi Arabia, followed by the UAE, host the highest number of FTA channels broadcasting in the Arab World, according to a report titled Satellite TV in the Arab World 2011 from Arab Advisors Group. The number of FTA satellite TV channels in the Arab World increased by 10.5% between April 2010 and April 2011 to reach 538 channels broadcast on Arabsat, Nilesat and Noorsat (fully operational channels reached 501) The highest number of channel types were the private-sector general channels followed by government-sector general channels. According to the research, the total number of distinct FTA satellite channels reached 538 on Arabsat, Nilesat and Noorsat by April 2011. This reflects an increase of 10.5% over the number of channels recorded in April 2010.

TBS Arabia announces new development studio Turner Broadcasting Systems Arabia (TBS Arabia) will launch a new Cartoon Network animation development studio, Cartoon Network Studios Arabia, as part of a new agreement signed with twofour54 Abu Dhabi. Last year, the Cartoon Network Animation Academy was launched in collaboration with twofour54; to provide training in 2D animation. The studio is aimed at supporting local talent from across the Middle East, and will help develop and distribute new productions to local and international markets. Graduates from the academy will be offered internships at The Cartoon Network animation development studio, where they will be guided by established professionals. Speaking about the new launch, Michael Carrington, GM of Cartoon Network Studios Arabia said: “It has been our goal for Cartoon Network Arabic to produce local content in collaboration with local people that can be enjoyed all over the region but that might also have the potential to enthrall our various global audiences.”

David Roberts, industry group manager, CABSAT.

CABSAT announces dedicated DSLR zone for 2012 exhibition CABSAT will introduce a new zone dedicated to DSLR cameras, technology and equipment as part of the annual exhibition, which will be held from February 28 to March 1, 2012 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, BroadcastPro ME has learnt. The zone will be located in Hall 4 at the Convention Centre during CABSAT while the main exhibition will be held at the Sheikh Saeed hall. Exhibitors in Hall 4 will also be permitted to sell their products over the counter. Speaking about the new zone, David Roberts, industry group manager, CABSAT told BroadcastPro ME: “There has been a lot of demand from the industry for a zone dedicated to DSLR technology both in terms of video production as well as related software and accessories. This is primarily because many still photographers are beginning to use the video feature on their DSLR cameras to develop films. The video production market has also been using

10 | | July 2011

DSLR technology extensive to create everything from TVCs to films. With the increasing use of this technology, it seemed appropriate for us to dedicate some space to this.” Roberts confirmed that some exhibitors who will be part of the main CABSAT hall have also booked a separate booth at the DSLR zone to showcase products specific to this market and also, take advantage of the ability to sell their products at the exhibition. “There will be a retail angle as well so every exhibitor who is part of this zone will have a quick ROI. Of course, the exhibitors must keep within the confines of the profile for this zone. We hope to be working in conjunction with Gulf PhotoPlus, a trade association that runs events related to high end photography at Knowledge Village in Dubai for this zone.” CABSAT also hopes to host a dedicated conference stream and interactive feature for this zone.

The Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), a state-backed entity engaged in monitoring and research activities for the UAE government, has issued a tender for the supply, installation and commissioning of a digital archive system, BroadcastPro ME has learnt. The project should include training and technical support. As ECSSR archives broadcast data from satellite TV channels, radio channels and news agencies, its aim is to build a database that enables easy access to the content at any given time. The statement from ECSSR added: “The project must include the installation of a digital camera network at ECSSR’s conference hall, which should, in turn, be connected with the monitoring and directing room. It is also required to improve the reception of wireless signals from various satellite channels. Therefore, the ECSSR expects to receive bids and quotations from experienced and professional companies.” The tender profile can be bought for US $815 from the purchase section at ECSSR between June 12 and June 19. Last date for bidding is July 10, 2011.

NEWTEC APPOINTS ME REPAIR CENTRE Turkey-based SVS Telekom has signed a landmark deal with Newtec to become its first third party repair centre in the Middle East. It will cover all repairs to Newtec equipment sold in the region. SVS Telekom also has a strong reputation as an integrator of SNG vehicles and fixed earth stations. Sander Boom, Newtec’s VP Customer Services and Production stated that a “centralised repair centre presented a suboptimal solution for customers in different regions, where there were often logistical difficulties”. “We, therefore, decided to seek partners to carry out in-region repairs and participate in the incident handling process.” The centre will guarantee reduced turnaround time for repairs and will optimise the entire logistic process as all repairs will be carried out in the region where they are used.

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Darkness at OSN - the inside story In an exclusive interview with Vijaya Cherian, Mark Billinge, VP of Broadcast Operations and Technology at OSN, sheds more light on the incident that caused OSN’s operations to shut down on May 29 and the long term strategy the pay TV operator will adopt to “never go dark again”

Mark Billinge, VP of Broadcast Operations and Technology, OSN.

12 | | July 2011


At 3 a.m. on May 29, technical staff at Orbit Showtime Network (OSN) received a call. A small fire had broken out at the pay TV network’s UPS room in Dubai Media City shutting off power to the entire facility. Many of OSN’s channels were off air for a period of time and it was running a skeleton schedule for 12 hours before service was fully restored. What happened that morning? We lost power just after 3 a.m. on Sunday, May 29. The cause is still being investigated but there was a small fire in the UPS room. The fact that the UPS room was affected meant that we lost power not just in some parts of the facility but in the entire building. The first thing to do then was to try and work out the quickest way to restore power to the building and get back on air. Fortunately, we still had a presence because we have two transponders serviced out of the UK by Globecast. That’s six High Definition channels plus 14 Standard Definition channels that remained on air unaffected. But all the transponders that played out of our broadcast centre in Dubai Media City were affected at this time. As part of our efforts to get back on air, we spoke with Samacom (Dubai’s satellite services provider) about how we could possibly build a mux. Fortunately, Glocom (Dubai-based SI) had a temporary mux at the site that we managed with their help to reconfigure. This, coupled with the four channels of Disaster Recovery (DR) that

“It took us a couple of days to stabilise. One of the big risks we had once we were on air was finding stability to stay on air not from a technical perspective but more from an operational media management perspective” Mark Billinge, VP of Broadcast Operations, OSN.

MBC let us access, meant that we got back on air by 10 a.m. in the morning with four channels. We also had a sports channel that was being played out from Ten Sports next door. So we initially had three movie channels and a sports channel being broadcast across the whole network. By 9 p.m. on Sunday, we had the entire bouquet back on air. From then, it took us a couple of days to stabilise. One of the big risks we had once we were on air was finding stability to stay on air, not from a technical perspective but more from an operational media management perspective as well. We had some issues with the archive and we had to get this back on line as quickly as we could to enable the media flow to transmission so as to run full schedules. Without the archive, we can run fresh schedules for approximately 48 hours. We managed to accomplish that by mid noon on May 30 (Monday) and from that point on, we were secure and back to a semi-normal operation. You mentioned that some of the broadcasters at Dubai Media City were very supportive? Yes, this is also a way for us to say thank you to some of the people around who helped us out massively. Ten Sports (our neighbours) were fantastic. Dominic Baillie (VP of operations) at Taj TV opened their doors to us so we based ourselves there in the morning which was excellent rather than standing in the car park in 45 degrees. MBC was brilliant. After speaking to Andy Palmer (Group tech director), they let us have access to their disaster recovery playout that they have up at Samacom. The team at Samacom supported us as well and let us move in there to get ourselves back on air. It was great to see the way everyone pulled together and it was really nice to have people calling from all over offering assistance. Once that first part was over, it was crucial to bring some longer term stability in terms of our power situation because at that time we were running entirely on DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) power, which is not an ideal situation. The next step, therefore, was to find someone who could supply a more robust power solution to us.

How did you manage to restore power to this building? We got in touch with the team at Aggreko. We are presently running all our technical power on their generators out of our cark park but we are also having a temporary UPS shipped in at the moment. The generators and soon-to -be-delivered UPS from Aggreko are a solid temporary solution until we can source and build a more robust permanent system. We also had temporary air conditioning set up by a company called Flow. They brought temporary air conditioning units to the site and this was a huge help to us. Who is Aggreko? They weren’t a familiar name to me but they are apparently the world’s largest supplier of temporary power and their track record is supplying to the Olympic Games, the World Cup and most of the big international events. Aggreko has provided OSN with 1.5Mva of power which provides the broadcast centre with an N+2 secured power supply, together with just under 2000m of temporary power cable and sub distribution. It also provides 24/7 engineering support with the package. The power package is made up of three 500Kva acoustically housed generators that are manufactured by Aggreko in the UK. What kind of power supply did you previously have? We had dual redundant 250KVA UPS units with around 10 minutes battery autonomy so we are looking at something similar to that. Will you have to rebuild your entire UPS room? Yes, the next part of our permanent recovery strategy is to source a new UPS. We do need to replace everything that we had so we need to source it. We are also simultaneously looking at the way we had things configured before and are looking at hopefully implementing a more robust solution.

July 2011 | |



The tech team at OSN.

“In a way, we were fortunate as the incident we had could have been a whole lot worse than it was and the potential impact could have lasted weeks rather than hours. It took an incident like this for everyone to realise that disaster recovery is crucial”

which is an unexpected local incident such as a fire in our HQ building. In a way, we were fortunate as the incident we had, could have been a whole lot worse than it was and the potential impact could have lasted weeks rather than hours. It took an incident like this for everyone to realise that DR is crucial.

Mark Billinge, VP of Broadcast Operations and Technology, OSN.

Will you source it from local or international suppliers? We are in the process of bringing in an external consultant to help us with the whole project management and selection of systems for this specific purpose. What’s a realistic time frame to put this in place? Realistically, I’d like to think we will have something in place in the next three months so that’s the reason for having a solid temporary solution which is the generators and temporary UPS supplied by Aggreko.

What does this incident mean to the industry? I think it’s been a huge wake up call for everyone in the industry. Everyone in the industry has been talking a lot about disaster recovery but no one’s really done much about it. It was on our agenda but at the time of the incident we had only recently started seriously considering our options. Disaster recovery is a huge project for any company and to scope what to protect against is the very first stage of that. I believe what happened has highlighted the most real threat to our business continuity,

What’s the long term challenge? The long term vision is to put in a more robust configuration to ensure that we don’t get ourselves in this situation again and to also look at a long-term DR measure. In the meantime, we’ve already installed transport stream recorders at Samacom so if we have an issue here in this building where we lose power again, we can immediately switch to these recorded transport streams. We are recording a daily eight hour block so we will never go dark again like we did on the 29th. PRO

July 2011 | |



Master monitor panels on the rise With the advent of the professional flat panel display, over the past decade, and its distribution in so many screen sizes ranges, the most hotly debated interest has been in the provision of a reliable category of master monitors to replace the aging, outmoded and rapidly failing box-type master CRTs. According to the latest display report from D. I. S. titled Professional Displays World 2011, this sub-set of the display market, the master monitors is finally beginning to satisfy the needs of demanding professionals, after a prolonged period of scepticism and complaints leveled at early arriving solutions. The study, conducted this winter and published in June, focused on gathering only professional grade displays information and excluded consumer and computer flat panels from consideration. 8% of all buyers of professional flat panels have indicated plans to purchase one or more master quality monitors in

2011, in the 17-26-inch range, making it one of the singularly most active screen size groups within all pro panels. With so many traditionally entrenched master-grade CRTs, the move away to embrace utilisation of flat panels for this purpose was slow, as many end-users felt that the early examples were lacking the quality and predictability of the boxier forebears. There were also concerns about how long the highest priced panels would last, as flat panels generally have a reputation for failure and thereby much shorter life spans than CRTs. Given the higher prices of these panels, professionals have held back until very recently and continued to use their aged CRTs. Professionals are particularly interested in the specifications and features of their flat panels and this is most true in those being depended upon for missioncritical master grade uses. This is also true as there are many more features in the master grade monitors than in

Percentages of screen sizes amongst planned purchases in 2011 All markets and regions 47 to 54 inches 4%

55 to 64 inches 3%

17 to 26 inches Presentation 4% 17 to 26 inches Master 8%

65 to 84 inches 1% 85 inches or larger 1%

their presentation grade counterparts. Master grade models are expected to have certain basic qualifications as well as performance abilities. And, they are expected to be more rugged and dependable than their presentation grade counterparts. But, they are also expected to contain waveform and vector-scope abilities as well as time-code displays and under-scan, multi-format inputs and HD/SDI, Composite, Component and YC in most cases. 12-bit processing is common along with 10-bit drivers. Wide color gamut, LED back-lighting and color management abilities. The ability to capture and store pre-sets is an essentially sought factor as well in most such displays. Auto-black and auto-white as well as various forms of auto-set-up calibrations are commonly sought and found features as well. . Top of the range master prices tend to fall in the US $25-30,000 range for a full fledged (24-inch or larger) panel and accommodate the full HD (or in specialized cases 2K, 4K or other resolutions this can escalate). Of course, not all master monitors cost that much money. Even in the 24-26-inch range, there are companies with models that fall below US $10,000 and sometimes far below that threshold. The good news is that with so much competition today, you can be a miser and still own a master. PRO

0 to 16 inches 31%


34 to 46 inches 12%

Not Specified by Size / Don't know 14%

16 | | July 2011

27 to 33 inches 22%

Douglas I. Sheer is CEO & Chief Analyst of DIS Consulting Corporation.


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CONTACT US PO Box 13700, Dubai, UAE T +971 4 440 9100 F + 971 4 447 2409

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Integrated future In an exclusive interview with Vijaya Cherian, Intigral’s team shares the reasons behind adopting an IP-based infrastructure and adaptive bit rate technologies to deliver content across multiple platforms in the Middle East

18 | | July 2011


Project Focus Company: Intigral SI: Glocom technologies spotted at Intigral: Harmonic, Miranda, Harris, Cisco switchers, Appear TV, Dell servers & MAM from Media Alliance

The rules of content delivery are changing. IP-based content delivery is quickly gaining favour with broadcasters worldwide and those that embrace the change will shape tomorrow’s media landscape. In the Middle East, Saudiowned content provider Intigral has taken the lead by not just developing an IP-based delivery platform but by also forging the long-awaited alliance between telcos and broadcasters in the region. Intigral, which is best described as a digital media content provider that customises, manages and delivers content across multiple screens is already working closely with telco operator Saudi Telecom Company (STC) in the Kingdom. In fact, it enabled STC to launch Invision, Saudi Arabia’s first interactive TV service based on its IPTV capabilities. The service also delivers live TV, Catch-Up TV and video on demand to the TV screens of STC’s broadband customers.

July 2011 | |



Streamline… “We are set up to work across the three screens – Web, IPTV and Mobile … Our technology strategy is designed basically to support the delivery of content across multiple platforms and multiple networks for telecommunications operators” Mike Sneesby, VP of IPTV and operations , Intigral.

In fact, Intigral’s VP of IPTV and operations Mike Sneesby, says the company was established “to specifically work with telecommunications operators”. “We are set up to work across the three screens – Web, IPTV and Mobile, but I think this terminology will disappear very soon with these screens diverging and converging and a whole array of different devices becoming available for people to consume content. So from our perspective, our technology strategy is designed basically to support the delivery of content across multiple platforms and multiple networks for telecommunications operators. “If you look at our business today, we have our broadcast headend in Dubai and are just about to expand from 50 to 180 channels. The broadcast headend has always been completely digital but is also specifically established to deliver video content in IP format,” explains Sneesby. Intigral’s IPTV operations are controlled

from Dubai, where it has a state-of-the-art broadcast, editing and post-production centre. Thus far, Intigral’s content package to STC has been limited to 50 TV channels, but it is now in the process of undertaking a massive upgrade that will enable it to deliver 180 channels, 30 of which will be HD. Along with the upgrade, Intigral’s 45 plus technical team in Dubai, will swell to almost 80 to cope with its IPTV operations. The expansion has been contracted to Dubai-based systems integrator Glocom, who successfully designed and integrated the headend for Intigral the first time. “In the initial build of our headend technology here, we worked in partnership with Glocom as our systems integrator. In the expansion going out from 50 channels to 180 channels, we went through another comprehensive vendor selection process; we trialled a number of different technologies and the

July 2011 | |



“Adaptive bit rate (ABR) streaming of video over unmanaged networks is an OTT technology that is being implemented in Europe but has not been implemented in this region as yet. [ABR} allows the consumer to watch live streaming content over the internet with a low bandwidth connection.” Sailesh Saxena, senior engineer, Intigral.

engineering team looked at a whole range of factors. In the end, we decided to extend our relationship with both Glocom and Harmonic again to expand our headend so today, we’re running Harmonic’s latest generation of encoders,” explains Sneesby. IPTV and managed TV services including operational strategy, Graphical User Interface (GUI) management, product management and marketing are only a part of what Intigral does. The company also has two technical teams that take care of content delivery to mobile devices and the Web. “Our mobile business is based out of Riyadh and we also have a platform for the Web. From a technology perspective, it is all about how these platforms talk to one another, and we have a plan already in place for a number of interfaces between our platforms that will allow us to deliver video content to our mobile consumers and deliver mobile content onto our web consumers. “The idea is to be able to share content across those delivery platforms but also share data across those platforms. Someday, in an ideal world, we hope there will be a single platform that can deliver to every device. But the reality is that it doesn’t exist today. So what we have instead is an IPTV headend and an IPTV content management system; a mobile content management system and

From left: Sailesh Saxena and Tony Saab, Intigral.

“Content owners and operators will be able to stream HD without worrying about excluding low bandwidth users. It is a win-win for all of the stakeholders with whom we work, namely, the consumer, the operator, and the content owners” Tony Saab, general manager of broadcast operations, Intigral.

22 | | July 2011

a web content management system. The challenge today is sharing content as well as data between those systems, which we are doing for STC with a number of initiatives,” adds Sneesby. One reason why Intigral’s method of content delivery is remarkable is because it is both futuristic and opens up a whole segment of the market that has, thus far, remained out of reach for most operators. Intigral employs broadband whereas most other traditional players rely on satellite to broadcast content. Here, it could be argued that bandwidth is a huge challenge for IPTV over managed networks. But Intigral has addressed this by adopting adaptive bit rate (ABR) technology, an alternative to providing content over unmanaged networks, where bandwidth is low and inconsistent. “Adaptive bit rate (ABR) streaming of video over unmanaged networks is an OTT


technology that is being implemented in Europe but has not been implemented in this region as yet,” explains Sailesh Saxena, senior engineer at Intigral. “This technology allows the consumer to watch live streaming content over the internet with a low bandwidth connection. Both Video on Demand and linear channels can be broadcast. The most popular is HTTP live streaming on Apple devices.”

Another reason why Intigral chose ABR is because it helps in monetising content, which is one of the company’s key goals. ABR technology enables people to view video even where a WiFi or 3G connection is available irrespective of bandwidth. “The concept is TV anywhere,” adds Tony Saab, general manager of broadcast operations at Intigral. “A key benefit of adaptive bit rate is that the content never resides on the customer’s set top box (STB), as it is streamed. This removes the need for local storage capacity in the STB, thus reducing the total cost of the STB for the end user and the operator. It also results in faster start times, extremely low buffering, and a great experience that is tailored to the user’s broadband connection speed. For the content owners, it is a secure way to deliver content that significantly reduces the piracy worries of our content partners; it is device independent and can be streamed to any device. Eventually, content owners and operators will be able to stream HD without worrying about excluding low bandwidth users. It is a win-win for all of the stakeholders with whom we work, namely, the consumer, the operator, and the content owners.” Sneesby explains that in a region like the Middle East, where broadband speeds are still hugely questionable, ABR offers a huge “competitive advantage”. “This is an opportunity that is going to develop in the region because adaptive bit rate streaming allows us to access the lower end bandwidth part of the consumer market. The other component you want to look at is covering the gap between devices because you want to have the capability to deliver to as many people as possible, and open up as much of the market as you possibly can. Obviously mobile networks again have a less reliable bandwidth capability in terms of delivering to mobile phones. So adaptive bit rate not only overcomes some of the fixed line limitations in delivering, say TV and broadcast kind of services to consumers, but they enable you to get to more devices as well. This means that you can serve

your infrastructure

July 2011 | |



Sailesh Saxena points out STC’s STBs in the central apparatus room at Intigral.

SOME FACTS Intigral was established in 2009 as a joint venture between Saudi Telecom Company (STC), All Asia Networks (ASTRO) and Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG). It was created to form a link between telecom operators, media content providers and end users in response to the unprecedented emergence of digital content in the region. The company delivers digital media content services and solutions to operators and serves as a one-stopshop for their growing digital media needs on different platforms: Mobile, Web and IPTV. The company presently has 150 employees, 95 in Dubai and more than 50 in Riyadh. The technical team comprises approximately half of the Dubai employees and this will double as the company expands from its current 50 channels to 180.

video content and a much better user experience to a mobile phone, to a tablet device or anything. For us, in the convergent world, it’s about maximising the market that we can access and giving ourselves technological capability to run across multiple platforms,” adds Sneesby. There are several other benefits to using broadband as well. For instance, broadband eliminates the need to hire a satellite transponder. The costs of servicing a customer are more

“In an IPTV system, the set top box will not boot up until it has been authenticated over the network by the encryption system. As such, without network connectivity to the content management and the encryption, the STB would be rendered useless. Thus only legitimate subscribers can access content over the network with an STB” Sailesh Saxena, senior engineer, Intigral.

24 | | July 2011

reduced as the set top box (STB) can be accessed online for troubleshooting. In addition, with the launch of Internet TV, IPTV allows the usage of internet and TV technology on the same network, reducing costs for the vendor in troubleshooting and monetising content by reducing piracy. Moreover, international studios would be more comfortable knowing that their content is safe thereby making theatrical releases a possibility in the home. But the biggest benefit Intigral enjoys today by adopting this technology is zero piracy. Here, senior engineer Saxena points out the number of STC Invision STBs that are lined up inside the racks at Intigral’s central apparatus room (CAR) and their role. “In an IPTV system, the set top box will not boot up until it has been authenticated over the network by the encryption system. As such, without network connectivity to the content management and the encryption, the STB would be rendered useless. Thus only legitimate subscribers can access content over the network with an STB,” he explains. One other unique feature that Intigral has incorporated at its facility is live censorship, where it can undertake various kinds of live censorship for telcos based on their respective guidelines.


MediorNet Compact Harmonic’s solutions are at the heart of the technology used at Intigral, Dubai.

“Broadband access is still a challenge in this region so adaptive bit rate and the technologies we’re employing and trialling fill the gap and give us significant competitive advantage for the interim five to 10 years before broadband speeds catch up”

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Mike Sneesby, VP of IPTV and operations , Intigral.

Although Intigral has addressed most of the technical challenges in the region with young technologies, there are other factors that make the Middle East a very complicated market, according to Sneesby. “The Middle East is a very complicated market. I, for instance, wear two hats as the vice president of IPTV operations. I am the business head and also oversee the technology across the company. If you look at it from that perspective, there’s no easy model to go and look at around the world and say we should follow what this country did because we have a very similar situation here. The reality is because of the difference in broadband penetration and the difference in the demographic of the marketplace and by this, I mean age as well as populations and nationalities, this is a very complicated market for TV. “The challenge, therefore, for us is finding the right business models and making sure we make the right

investments in technology because not only is it about the capital that we put into a technology decision but as you know, once you commit time in a particular direction, it’s like a ship you cannot turn around. So this is a market that needs you to understand it specifically without copying somebody else. It’s about understanding the market, making the right decisions and the right investments.” No doubt, the technologies the company is deploying are young and still relatively new. However, it is also a clear indication that Intigral is willing to take calculated risks and forge ahead to become a market leader. As Sneesby points out, “broadband access is still a challenge in this region so adaptive bit rate and the technologies we are employing and trialling fill the gap and give us significant competitive advantage for the interim five to 10 years before broadband speeds catch up.” PRO

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July 2011 | |


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PROTRAINING John Fee (l) with Marc Derks and Jean Pierre Nouws of Axon.

Andrea Borgato (r) talks to Ammar Fawzy.

The road to HD Axon recently organised a seminar in conjunction with Dolby and Tektronix in Dubai. The seminar focused on the migration to HD and its implications on the video and audio domains.  Jean Pierre Nouws, senior product manager at Axon outlined some of the challenges broadcasters face in terms of aspect ratio conversion. He took us through the history of cinema, the format wars and different possibilities for aspect ratio conversion. The discussion ended with everyone agreeing that all future productions must be undertaken in 16:9 assuming that HD is the future and 16:9 is a better format than 4:3 for future HD migration. This was followed by a talk from Richard Brooking, EMEA video marketing manager, Tektronix. He spoke extensively on some of the challenges facing the region’s broadcast industry as it adopts HD, where people can go wrong, where “tapeless” fits within the HD migration path, how cost savings and efficiencies can be achieved and what end users should ideally do if they plan to migrate to HD. Consultants who were quoted as part of Brooking’s session urged end users to view the transition to HD as a step in a new direction rather than as mere investment in equipment. They also recommended

including operational staff in the migration discussion and talking to early adopters. Dolby’s Andrea Borgato ended the workshop each day by talking about how 5.1 Surround Sound digital audio goes hand in hand with HD TV broadcast. His talk centered on how professionals could plan effectively to produce and deliver quality 5.1 surround sound audio for live and postproduced TV programmes. Borgato also looked at what professional tools are available to produce 5.1 audio; the importance of Dolby Audio Metadata and how this enables a more optimised experience in the consumer space. Dolby E was promoted as a convenient professional distribution format that enables the delivery and storage of up to 8 channels of audio with metadata that is totally synchronous with video frames. He also explained why Dolby Digital Plus was considered the most advanced and futureproofed final transmission codec – and how this technology is being increasingly adopted around the world for premium HD, IPTV and OTT consumer content delivery services. He ended the session by analysing some real-life international case-studies of 5.1 audio production and distribution. PRO

28 | | July 2011

Dave Mehta (c) from Tektronix with Muhammad Saleem Afzal (l) and another attendee from GV.

Hassan Chahine from DMI (l), Abdul Ghani (centre) and Swarup Mukherjee.

Axon’s Mark Barkey, Marc Derks and Jean Pierre Nouws.

Syed Ifthikar Ali, DMI (l) with Steve Halis of Moby Group and Afzal Lakdawala, DMI.

PROTRAINING Jean Pierre Nouws of Axon addresses the gathering.

Ihab El Baba of BBS.

Mohammed Bouita (l) from GV with Niaz Siddiqui(r).

Did you know? Giovanni Fraeyman with OSN staff.

Richard Brooking.

Abdul Ghani (l) with the Salam team (c) and Charles Maasry (r).

Charles Maasry Charles Maasry is regional sales manager of Omneon/Harmonic, which now has a local office in Dubai.

Parwaiz Anjum (r), Kit Digital with Mark Barkey.

Ihab El Baba (l) with Niaz Siddiqui (c) and Mufid Othman (r).

Tarif Sayed Tarif Sayed has been appointed regional director of Dolby Middle East, Africa and Pakistan.

Jack Detiger (l), Philips with Richard Brooking.

Reto Brader Reto Brader, EMEA general manager of Utah Scientific, was in Dubai recently and attended the workshop.

July 2011 | |



Project Focus Client: Al Kass, Qatar Supplier and SI: Grass Valley Budget: US $15 million Delivery: May 2011 and September 2011

Reels on Wheels Qatar-based sports broadcaster Al Kass has expanded its outside broadcast fleet with the addition of two new large trailers that include full-length expansion. The trailers, which are worth more than US $15 million, will enable Al Kass to undertake production capabilities on a much larger scale than it presently does. Although the vans (OB3 and OB4) will be based in Doha, the trucks will travel all around the region, particularly to neighbouring countries like the United Arab Emirates, where sport is constantly produced. GV often works with local systems integrators to build OB vans but these two trucks were specially built for Al Kass at Grass Valley’s OB facility in Weiterstadt, Germany. “Such OBs that include complex expansion over the full trailer length are always built at the GV

30 | | July 2011


Tech specs OB Van 03 10 x GV LDK 8000 Elite HD Cameras (prewired for 15 cameras) 5 x GV LDK 8300 High Speed HD Cameras 2 x GV LDK Wireless Camera System 1 x GV Kayak HD 4 M/E Video Switcher, equipped with 1 x GV Kayenne 4 M/E plus 1x 1 M/E Control Panel 1 x GV Trinix Video Matrix 224x288 (max. 256x512) 6-8 x EVS Video Servers VSM Control System OB Van 04 7 x GV LDK 8000 Elite HD Cameras (prewired for 15) 0 x GV LDK 8300 High Speed HD Cameras (prewired for 5) 0 x GV LDK Wireless Camera System (prewired for 2) 1 x GV Kayak HD 4 M/E Video Switcher, equipped with 1 x GV Kayenne 4 M/E plus 1x 1 M/E Control Panel 1 x GV Trinix Video Matrix 224x288 (max. 256x512)  6-8 x EVS Video Servers VSM Control System

One OB unit was delivered to Al Kass in May 2011.

Other key kit Lawo, mc² 56 Audio Mixer Riedel, Artist 128 Talkback System Canon Digi Super lenses               Tektronix video measurement systems Vinten tripod systems LSB, VSM control system Miranda Intuition character generators Albiral 24” displays HP 2610 network series Genelec 8040 loudspeakers Guntermann&Drunck, CatCenter KVM-system Sony HDW-M2000P recorders

July 2011 | |



“Each truck is pre-wired for 15 Grass Valley LDK 8000 Elite HD cameras and can accommodate two wireless cameras and an additional five LDK 8300 Live Super SloMo cameras for seamless action replays” Wolfgang Heil, head of OB Van Competence Centre, Grass Valley.

Riedel - The Missing Link The new OB vans for Al Kass have been fitted with a comprehensive intercom system from Riedel Solutions provided include:

competence centre in Germany,” explains Wolfgang Heil, head of OB Van Competence Centre, Grass Valley. He adds that air conditioning was one of the key design requirements for the OB vans. “Outside temperatures in Qatar in summer regularly exceed 50˚— we had to ensure that the staff remained cool and composed while presenting live sports action.” Both new units are trailers with the Grass Valley patented and full-length expansion to create the maximum internal working space. The layouts are similar, with a 4 M/E Kayak production switcher and Kayenne XL control panel at the heart of the workflow. The switchers are fitted with all of the workflow options, allowing one switcher to produce multiple versions of an event for local, regional, and international feeds, as well as feeds for instadium displays. Each truck is pre-wired for 15 Grass Valley LDK 8000 Elite HD cameras and can accommodate two wireless cameras and an additional five LDK 8300 Live Super SloMo cameras for seamless action replays. Unit OB 3 will presently carry 10 LDK 8000 cameras, five LDK8300 super SloMo cameras and two with Grass Valley wireless transmission systems while OB 4 will be equipped with nine cameras and two LDK 8300.

32 | | July 2011

 x Artist 128 Mainframe 2 56x Artist RCP-2016P4 LCD Rackmount Control Panel 8x Artist ECP-2016P Extension Panel 2x Artist DCP-2116P4 Desktop Control Panel 2x CSX-11 Commentary Extension for Artist control panels 24x Riedel RIFACE for integrating radios 28x GP344 radios 28x AIR-E1 Headsets One of the reasons why Riedel was chosen was because of the easy connectivity of its matrices and compatibility with Lawo consoles. With up to 128 intercom ports per matrix frame, Artist allows a high degree of decentralisation of the entire matrix in a very cost-effective way. As a result the matrix frames can be located near the intercom stations of a specific studio or production facility, saving a considerable amount of wiring and installation costs. Artist matrices can easily connect to other Artist system via a redundant fibre link. This is especially interesting

and comes in handy during operation in the field, where several trucks can easily join together to a single intercom infrastructure. Furthermore, the Artist system can easily be expanded to up to 1,024x1,024 non-blocking ports making installation a secure investment for future developments. Programming can also be done easily with Drag&Drop programming via Artist’s configuration software Director. It’s also interesting to note that Riedel’s CSX commentary system has been deployed in both vans. The CSX commentary unit allows for commentator functionality together with a simple Riedel Artist Desktop control panel. The unit is docked directly to the back of the Artist panel. This saves space and effort during installation. Furthermore, Riedel’s secondary audio channel over AES can also be utilised for commentary applications. As it provides digital audio in broadcast quality and can be used independently to the intercom application, it can be easily used for that purpose. In addition, Al Kass uses the RiFaces radio, which can easily be integrated into the wired intercom infrastructure.  Riedel is expected to train the end user on the intercom system soon.


“On the Al Kass project, we worked through every aspect of the environmental protection, for example, protecting the technology from desert sand and the crew from the ferocious summer heat.” Wolfgang Heil, head of OB Van Competence Centre, Grass Valley.

Productions, however, can draw on the existing pool of Grass Valley cameras available at Al Kass to create the capabilities required. Each new OB unit has a matching support truck. Although these are primarily designed to transport cameras, cables and other equipment, Grass Valley claims that its special design enables these to be used for additional production space as well. In fact, one of the support trucks will have an announcer studio with sliding glass doors. This is designed to conduct presentation and interviews on site. The support trucks, too, have excellent air conditioning to make this possible. Heil says the OB trucks are always customised. “While we have a series of ‘standard designs’ for outside broadcast trucks, in practice we never build them. They serve as the foundation of our

discussions, to allow us to tailor our designs precisely to the needs of the customer, including their tight schedules. That, in turn, means we can demonstrate our attention to detail. “On the Al Kass project, we worked through every aspect of the environmental protection, for example, protecting the technology from desert sand and the crew from the ferocious summer heat. It all adds up to a fleet that will deliver excellent service, a long life, and a real return on investment for Al Kass. And, I hope, a continuation of the strong working partnership between Al Kass and Grass Valley that will endure through the run-up to the World Cup and beyond.” One OB truck from GV was delivered in May and the other is scheduled for delivery in September 2011. PRO

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The Epic revolution Alchemy Films recently took delivery of the UAE’s first EPIC camera. RED camera specialist Andrew Clemson takes the camera through its paces

Ted Schilowitz (centre) with Nick Davidson (r) at the production of a TVC for Jumeirah Group.

The EPIC is the successor to the original RED ONE digital cinema camera, and offers many features that overshadow those of its predecessor. Due to their planned EPIC production schedule being hit hard by the events in Japan, camera manufacturer RED offered a limited edition, hand-built EPIC-M (Machined) to customers they felt could offer feedback on the system before its official release. We had the opportunity to use the EPIC a few months ago to shoot the TVC The Diver for Jumeirah Group at the Burj Al Arab, when RED spokesperson Ted Schilowitz visited Dubai. He was kind enough to let us use the camera on set at that time. We were astounded at the compact size, performance and image quality, and as such, when we were offered the chance to buy one of the early cameras, we grabbed the opportunity. The EPIC is capable of shooting RAW video at resolutions of up to 5K (5120x2700) at speeds between 1fps and 120fps. The cool thing about the EPIC though is that to reach the 120fps mark, the camera does not need to be dropped down to a lower resolution, instead it is available at full 5K. However, this is not to say that lowering the resolution will not equate to higher frame rates however, as future firmware builds are promising speeds of up to 360fps at 720P. This is more than

36 | | July 2011

enough for the average project. 5K slow motion recording can produce smooth, creamy, shallow Depth of Field (DOF) sequences that far surpass those available at 2K on the existing RED camera, which seems flat by comparison due to the sensor crop. At the moment, however, the EPIC is still limited to recording at 5K, albeit at various aspect ratios. The touchscreen LCD is intuitive and incredibly easy to use. Simply touch the function you wish to change, and a drop down menu appears with an iPhone style selection wheel. Touch the value you want, and it is automatically dialed into the camera. Alternatively, the cameraman can control the camera via the optional DSMC side handle. The side handle mimics the appearance and functionality of the traditional SLR. It adds multiple user programmable function keys, as well as two scroll wheels, an SLR style shutter release Nick Davidson, owner and DoP, Alchemy Films.


July 2011 | |



“The side handle mimics the appearance and functionality of the traditional SLR. It adds multiple user programmable function keys, as well as two scroll wheels, an SLR style shutter release and a light up LCD menu screen” Andrew Clemson, cameraman and RED expert, Alchemy Films.

and a light up LCD menu screen. The side-handle also acts as the housing for the internal REDvolt internal batteries. Each requires 30 minutes of charge. The final option for controlling the camera (and by far, the coolest) is the detachable REDmote. The REDmote connects to the back of the EPIC for charging, and can be used to control the camera whilst connected and also wirelessly, after it is detached. It offers the ability to control any function on the camera, including starting and stopping recording, and “traffic light” histogram monitoring, all wirelessly. This proves invaluable for use on cranes or car mounts. Future builds promise full histogram integration, and there is talk of a PRO version of the remote that will act as a wireless follow focus.

The “Clutch” rig from RED is an incredibly well designed handheld system that compliments the DSMC system perfectly. Offered pre-built from standard RED parts (available separately on the RED store), the clutch can be customised to each user within seconds and offers the ability to shoulder mount the camera effortlessly. It contains at its core a new RED quick release system, which allows the camera to go from handheld to tripod in seconds. Overall, like all of the new accessory offerings from RED, the clutch is an example of how far the company has come from the accessories it developed initially for the original RED ONE line. It is now far less essential to outfit

38 | | July 2011


The team on location at Burj Al Arab.

your camera with third party accessories from companies such as Element Technica than it was with the older camera. The most exciting feature that RED has added to the EPIC camera is a Video HDR mode, called HDRx. This function enables the camera to record two streams of video, both at different settings. Because of this, the user can expose for two scenes at once, most commonly shooting out of a dimly-lit interior to a

bright exterior. This function is also useful for filming subjects that move in and out of shadows, or, for example, a car driving through a tunnel. In previous cases, you would have had to shoot two passes and cut them together in post. Now, you have to simply dial in the settings of the two tracks and shoot once. This, in theory, effectively increases the dynamic range of the EPIC by at least a few stops, improving on an already impressive 13.5 stops of DR. In post production, you merely have to open the clip in RedcineX and blend the tracks together with the HDRx slider before exporting. The camera

does this by altering the camera shutter on the second (X) track. This makes the HDR useful for motion graphics as well, as the operator can shoot two tracks at once: the first with standard motion blur for the online edit, and the second can be a faster shutter pass useful for motion tracking. Later on, the tracking data from the x track can be applied to the first track. Like anything else from RED, these functions can (and will) change and improve as future firmware builds are released. However, even in its relative infancy, the EPIC is still miles ahead of its competitors. PRO

“5K slow motion recording can produce smooth, creamy, shallow Depth of Field (DOF) sequences that far surpass those available at 2K on the existing RED camera, which seems flat by comparison� Andrew Clemson, cameraman and RED expert, Alchemy Films.

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Compositing on location Stereographer Clyde DeSouza looks at existing software solutions for 3D and his wishlist for upcoming versions

Stereoscopic 3D LiveViz and Compositing on location

Blurring the Line between Post production and Production:

The Decade of Real-Time 3D Moviemaking:

Here’s the dilemma; many productions are now going stereoscopic 3D. (the term stereoscopic should suffice, but we add 3D to prevent ambiguity), and there is a need to preview a live chroma or green screen “key” in 3D, because compositing and match moving in S3D is a whole different beast, more challenging than doing the same in 2D. Simple “foot contact” of actors, with the ground gets even more complicated to composite in S3D than it is in 2D. A bad S3D composite will show up as people floating off the surface of the ground. In 2D, without stereoscopic depth cues such problems are rare and easy to cheat.

The practice of compositing used to be the exclusive domain of “post production”. In a typical movie, compositing is done in post. It still is today, but high performance (HP) computing coupled with the fall in prices of hardware and technology is making it feasible for desktop replacement laptops to be brought on location to give instant visual feedback. Industry standard software such as Maya, compositing sofware such as Nuke and AfterEffects, and realtime NLE software that can assemble and cut “dailies” as soon as they are shot in full stereoscopic 4K can now sit on a portable laptop and give the director and crew instant visual feedback.

Being based in the UAE, where temperatures sometime soar above 40 degrees (celcius), does not allow us the luxury of procrastinating and running multiple takes of scenes at many times. The need for realtime visualisation of final composites and other parameters while making a stereoscopic 3D movie makes us have to innovate and think up solutions that are still not de-facto even in Hollywood. I personally believe that this will be the decade of real-time 3D movie making: from 3D cameras becoming more self contained, to doing away with cumbersome Beam Splitter 3D

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rigs to lens metadata and camera orientation info driving realtime CG cameras for rendering in realtime. The holy grail of hybrid film making! But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s begin by looking at what we could ask of existing software developers to include in upcoming versions of their products.

Where’s the Live Green Screen Keyer in NUKE? Nuke is the industry leading compositing software for movies. On a recent shoot, I was exploring the option of feeding Nuke, running on a suitably high powered laptop or desktop, with a live stereoscopic 3D camera signal.

“I personally believe that this will be the decade of real-time 3D movie making: from 3D cameras becoming more self contained, to doing away with cumbersome Beam Splitter 3D rigs to lens metadata and camera orientation info driving realtime CG cameras for rendering in realtime. The holy grail of hybrid film making!”

The 3D camera would be aimed at a green screen set, and would thus allow the DoP to light the green screen stage, and we could be sure of the quality of the “key” in stereo 3D and much before it went to the post production studio. That was the idea. But I do not know of a live camera input node in Nuke. Granted it takes huge computing power to “render” final film quality output, so almost all compositing software is not realtime at this time. But with CPU and GPU compute power that is available today, it would be nice if the programmers of this software look into such an option in upcoming releases. Of course, a third party plugin node could do the job if developers look into it.

July 2011 | |



Where’s the Live Green Screen Keyer in After Effects? The next choice would be Adobe’s excellent CS5 Suite. However, both Adobe Premiere as well as After Effects do not have any facility to get in a live camera feed either! All is not lost though. Here’s a solution that we came across:

1) It’s best to work with a desktop for ease of use in this scenario as there are a few options for HDSDI or HDMI dual grabber cards available for getting the two camera feed into the computer. BlackMagic Intensity and AJA Kona are available 2) In keeping with my preference for shrinking the technology, I still prefer to use a high end laptop with the Black Magic Design Intensity Shuttle over USB 3.0 as a video grabber. 3) The all important ingredient to the mix:

Realtime Stereoscopic 3D Green screen Keying Methodology in AfterEffects:

the live 3D camera feed (muxed side by side if using an external mux unit)

1) Download the trial (or buy) the

6) Create a second solid layer and

Lensfeed plug-in for AfterEffects

drop another instance of the Lensfeed plug-in on it. (there are five instances of this plugin meant for capture cards that have more than one input).

2) Connect up the Intensity Shuttle grabber to a suitably qualified laptop (we are not grabbing actual video, merely previewing the signal, so it may work with Express Card to USB 3.0 cards). But this needs to be tried (if seeking a laptop-based solution) before buying.

the Lensfeed plug-in for After effects.

7) If using step 6 above, then arrange the two live camera feeds as in step 4.

8) Drop an instance of the Keylight effect on the solid(s) layers and key the green out.

3) Set up an AfterEffects composition 4) Rent a 3D multiplexing unit such as Inition’s StereoBrain that will take two HDSDI inputs and mux them side by side to give a single HDMI 3D output. 5) Choice of laptop: I’ve heard that the Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle works with the HP Envy 15 laptop very well. The new Sony F series 3D enabled VAIO also has USB 3.0 and a slew of other must haves, such as Nvidia CUDA enabled GPU that will allow Adobe CS5’s amazing Mercury Engine to take advantage of GPU acceleration etc.

that is 1920 x 1080 wide.

4) Create two AfterEffects layers and drop in the stereoscopic background “assets”. Squeeze them side by side in the composition window to fit (960×1080 each). In the example I was working on, it was to be a CG rendered “catwalk” for a 3D fashion show. The models were being filmed live on green screen and would be keyed over the CG stereo3D catwalk.

5) Create a solid layer and drop the Lensfeed plug-in on it. This should show

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This allows the DoP to adjust lighting for the green screen stage, and gives the director (and talent) and the “video village” or the client, a live preview of the final composite. Of course we would be “eye-balling” everything at this point, but it would aid in taking measurements, for later integration with CG cameras, or compositing cameras. It helps to have been doing live Stereoscopic 3D for over a decade. Stereoscopic 3D events encouraged out-of-the-box thinking. Mixing live

PRO3D “If there was an option for live video as a background (currently all 3D software has the option for AVI, image sequences or still images as background references)… basic matchmoving setups could easily be done” 3D camera feeds with pre “canned” S3D visuals were a common thing even in 2001. There is currently a very powerful node rendering compositor, Visual Jockey, optimised for Realtime visuals that can still be used today for the purpose that we want. The software itself has not been updated to take GPU processing etc into account, but the ease of use and powerful features make up for it. Best of all it’s Free. The screenshots in this article with the webcam show the interface. It can be easily setup for stereoscopic 3D Keying, (the screenshots here show a low-fi version of the setup for illustrative purposes using a webcam during a rehearsal for the 3D fashion show project) Stereoscopic webcams such as Minoru and/or stereoscopic DirectX Drivers can be used with any resolution Camera, limited only to the quality of the video capture board on the PC / Laptop.

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3D Vision Mixers: Finally, it is worth mentioning that there is the option of using (HD) vision mixers with chroma keyers such as the Panasonic AGHMX 100. I have not investigated this vision mixer first hand, so I do not know if there is a keyer, but chances are it would have one. The idea behind using a keying facility directly within compositing software versus an external green screen keyer is to minimise cost and/ or drop in any image quality. Software such as MAYA can also be taken to movie sets and on-location to preview or “eyeball” final composites. If there was an option for live video as a background (currently all 3D software has the option for AVI, image sequences or still images as background references)… basic Matchmoving setups could be easily done. This would, of course, only work for locked off live cameras but we

are only looking at scene setup in this article and not full fledged “Simulcam” setups (a term coined for the special system used in the making of Avatar). In the short term, if there was a fiducial marker tracking node in Nuke, that would lend itself well to realtime matchmoving as well. Augmented Reality movie making anyone? I hope we have seeded some ideas for software plugin developers, 3D hardware manufacturers and 3D movie-makers to keep in mind when developing new versions of their solutions.

Clyde DeSouza is a stereographer and technology advisor at Real Vision, a firm that uses stereoscopic 3D and augmented reality in visual communications.

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Ka-band leads the way Serge Van Herck, CEO of Newtec explains how Ka-band satellites will transform the business of satellite service providers, teleports and broadcasters Satellite operators around the world know it: the future of satellite communications is Ka-band. This is simply because the total capacity offered by other commercial frequency bands cannot possibly cope with the ever increasing bandwidth requirements of the cyber world, certainly not at a competitive price against terrestrial services. Relief will not come from the satellite broadcast industry, as new channels, HDTV and soon 3D TV claim increasing shares of the available Ku and C band capacity. In the long run, the only way for satellite operators and satellite services providers to stay in the game is therefore to launch or use new Ka-band satellites. Many launches are now planned around the globe for the coming years and although the main target of these launches is large-scale consumer broadband access networks, the availability of new Ka-band satellites is very likely to have a major impact on the rest of the satellite market, including broadcast and business applications.

The Transition Affect The roll-out of large Ka-band consumer access networks will take years as there will be an inevitable ramp up period necessary to acquire the hundreds of thousands of new consumers. It could take as long as five years for the filling rate of the transponders to reach the point of a positive return on investment for the satellite operators, yet the capacity will be available from day one, and since many operators will be launching Ka satellites at approximately the same time the excess capacity will have an impact for several years. Many professional satellite services have reached the point where it becomes impossible to stay profitable and competitive against fibre or other terrestrial technologies. To make things worse, these terrestrial networks are progressively increasing their reach to places where satellite was once the only possibility. Because Ka-band capacity will be both much cheaper and much more abundant, it will be

46 | | July 2011

seen as a life saver opportunity by many satellite services providers. There is, therefore, a common interest for satellite operators and service providers to rapidly develop new services using the new Ka satellite capacity. But this evolution will not be as straight forward as changing the RF part of the transmission chain. The operation of services utilising Ka-band requires a very specific ground infrastructure and also has an impact on the value chain for operating this infrastructure.

How will Ka-band affect the value chain? A Ka-band communication system is an integrated, closed network configuration, very different from the transparent pipe provided by Ku or C band satellites. Most Ka-band satellites use spot beams, which means that each antenna on the satellite transmits to a relatively small geographical area on the ground (typically a few hundred kilometres in radius). This allows transmissions with higher power levels


“Ka capacity will no longer be sold by satellite operators as naked capacity, but rather as managed services. For broadband access networks, the operation of the service by the satellite operator can go very deep in the value chain� than with wide beams, because the power is concentrated on a smaller area. However, this therefore means that to be able to communicate beyond the scope of the spot beam as is required with many applications including broadband access services, it is necessary for the other end of the satellite link to be situated outside of this beam. For obvious practical reasons, access to several spot beams is concentrated into a single transmission/reception location called a gateway and communication with a station in the spot beam is only possible through the gateway. In other words, satellite communication using a spot beam satellite utilises a star configuration, and communication between two remote stations in two different spot beams needs to transit through the gateway.

Because the operation of the gateway includes the careful management of power levels and frequencies among the feeds, spot beams and against fading, it is very likely that most satellite operators will want to operate the gateways themselves. An alternative scenario is for the satellite operator to outsource the operation of its entire gateways to larger independent teleport operators. Hence the impact on the value chain of the satellite business: Ka capacity will no longer be sold by satellite operators as naked capacity, but rather as managed services. For broadband access networks, the operation of the service by the satellite operator can go very deep in the value chain: the market will see some service operators becoming their own satellite operators, while some satellite operators

will venture into the service provider business. Fortunately for independent service operators, the integration does not need to be as pronounced for all applications. The role of teleports will however be very different during the era of spot beam Ka-band services.

What will the applications and impacts be... Professional VSAT Networks: The most obvious business application, after consumer broadband access, is professional and private VSAT networks. Ka-band technology will open the door to very large deployments and therefore the cost of terminals will further go down. The Ka-band satellites also offer higher and cheaper throughput. Because



July 2011 | |



of the gateway-centric star configuration however, it is not possible for a corporation to operate its own hub in its own facilities. Instead, the hub must be hosted in the gateway of the satellite operator. If the network spans across multiple spot beams addressed by different gateways, the network must also include the terrestrial connections among the gateways. Depending on the size of the private network and the type of infrastructure, two different business models can be applied for this kind of application. * The corporate user could operate its own VSAT hub infrastructure, hosted in the gateway of the satellite operator. The hosting services would include the management of the RF part of the hub. The VSAT hub would need to be fully certified by the satellite operator in order to ensure adequate integration in the closed star network configuration and avoid any interference with the functioning of other systems on the same satellite capacity. The integration and operation of different systems from different vendors on the same spot beam network could therefore prove very challenging. * The satellite operator could have a multi-ISP ground infrastructure. In this case the corporate user can rent a virtual private network on this infrastructure, and manage it as independently as possible from an IP access and user provisioning point of view (the management of the RF part being handled transparently by the satellite operator or service provider). Terrestrial connections among gateways could be part of the virtual network or taken care by the corporate user. This multi-ISP approach requires a higher initial ground infrastructure investment

“The main challenge in implementing high speed communication links on a Ka system will be to cope with fading� for the satellite or service operator, but a much easier and more flexible way to sell services to professional users of various natures and sizes. From a financial point of view, the investment in a multi-ISP ground infrastructure remains modest compared to the investment in the space segment, while ensuring a quicker return on investment on the total infrastructure.

2 - IP and Voice Trunking Satellite trunking is certainly one of the main challenges in the satellite communications industry. There is a constant battle between the increasing demand for bandwidth, limited capacity availability and high pressure on prices. The availability of Ka capacity could solve all of these problems at once, if the specific nature of its ground segment infrastructure can adapt to the application. The star configuration of the Ka network fits nicely with the requirements of point-to-multipoint trunking networks, provided there is a backbone access at the gateway, and/or if gateways are inter-connected via fibre (if the trunking

48 | | July 2011

network spans across multiple gateways). Here also, the trunking network could be implemented by hosting high speed equipment in the gateway or by providing access to a shared platform operated by the satellite or network operator. Unless one of the end-points is at the gateway, Ka-band networks are less suitable for point-to-point trunking links, since the connection can only be established by a double satellite hop via the gateway, or via two separate gateways connected by fibre. The main challenge in implementing high speed communication links on a Ka system will be to cope with fading while maintaining sufficient availability and throughput for this kind of services. Some of the techniques used to counter fading can result in making the throughput vary over time. Since most IP trunking customers are used to buying fixed-rate capacity, the shift to Ka-band could require some changes in the business model of trunking services, such as the introduction of committed and best effort capacity in the service contracts.


Video Contribution With the globalisation of media consuming habits, video contribution has become a matter of exchanging audiovisual content on a large scale. Most broadcasters are members of international TV and radio contribution platforms for the exchange of news, sport and live event broadcast. A decade ago these platforms were still mostly based on satellite links, even for transmissions from studio to studio. But since then, factors such as the cost of the bandwidth, the reach of the coverage and the availability of the capacity have pushed broadcasters to turn to fibre networks and even to the public internet to fulfil their media exchange needs. In fact, unless fibre is not yet available locally, satellite seems to be more and more confined to the only application fibre cannot address: mobile news gathering. The availability of Ka-band satellite networks could change this picture. Indeed, the capacity would not only be cheaper and more abundant, but the star configuration of the satellite network is perfect to centralise media content in order to better distribute it to multiple recipients, something which is more complicated and expensive to achieve with fibre. With

“The star configuration of the satellite network is perfect to centralise media content in order to better distribute it to multiple recipients, something which is more complicated and expensive to achieve with fibre� this idea, Ka-band gateways can become media gateways where the media content is made available for high speed realtime or on-demand access from multiple sites across large geographical areas. The implementation of such contribution networks however requires a very specific infrastructure in the hub and in the terminals in order to cope with the challenges of scheduling transmissions, reserving capacity, coping with rain fade, storing media content in the hub, interconnecting gateways with fibre, organising the media distribution and controlling the access rights to the media. The case of mobile news gathering is particularly tricky since the reservation

50 | | July 2011

and allocation of satellite capacity depends on where (which spot beam) the SNG is located. That said not only would the capacity be cheaper and more abundant using Ka-band but the star configuration of the satellite network is ideal to centralise media content in order to better distribute it to multiple recipients. We could therefore see a change in the hosting and operation of networks which could induce changes in the value chain and offer new business opportunities for service providers and operators.

Video Distribution Ka-band direct-to-home TV distribution already exists in the United States. It comes both with advantages and drawbacks. The advantages are the smaller antenna size and the possibility to broadcast regional content within a limited geographical area, using only one or several spot beams (for example over a large city). The drawbacks are the large number of uplink transmission systems that are needed (one for each beam) and the lower availability of the signal because of rain fade, which can’t be compensated by adaptive countermeasures in the case of one-way multicast applications.


The spot beam advantage could prove very interesting for TV distribution over regions such as Europe or the Middle East. Regional broadcasters or TV stations of smaller countries could consider broadcasting their TV programmes via satellite. This is because the limited foot print of the spot beam would avoid the current problem of prohibitive media content distribution rights (movies, music) when the content can be received in much larger geographical areas than the targeted country or region. Provided the signal availability is high enough, Ka spot beams could also be used for the primary distribution of digital terrestrial or mobile TV over smaller countries or regions, which is today economically impossible because of the high cost of the Ku or C-band capacity or because of other issues related to distribution rights outside of the country. Even if they have to uplink from the gateways, television distribution platforms are one-way transmission infrastructures that can

easily be added next to broadband access networks, on a hosting basis or as part of a shared platform operated by the satellite or service provider.

Will Ka-band change the industry landscape? Ka-band satellites are likely to change the circumstances for many different applications, and the companies involved with them enabling new and different business models. Ka-band satellite capacity will require new technical solutions. Kaband is already deployed for broadband access and for TV distribution, but not yet for the other types of applications yet the appropriate technologies exist and provided they are combined into a useful multipurpose platform, companies will be able to rapidly or progressively add value to Ka-band satellite networks and dramatically increase the return on investment for satellite and service operators. This is possible now, but only time will tell how the industry utilises the new applications. PRO

52 | | July 2011

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• agenda-setting conference with 300+ high-profile international speakers • world-class demonstrations of groundbreaking technology such as stereo 3D • IBC Certified Training Programme - hands on training for production and post production professionals

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PROPRODUCTS Sonnet Transposer Sonnet Technologies has unveiled its Transposer universal 2.5-inch SSD to 3.5-inch drive tray adapter. Transposer secures the smaller SSD drive to its heat-sinking aluminum frame, and the assembly is readily installed into any 3.5-inch drive tray. With a 2.5-inch SSD attached, the Transposer adapter mimics the geometry of a 3.5-inch drive and mounts equally well to trays that bottom-mount or side-mount 3.5inch drives. The Transposer adapter’s SATA connector is positioned to plug into a backplane as the tray is inserted. Transposer is compatible with 3 Gb/s and 6 Gb/s SATA (or single connection SAS) SSDs and hard disk drives. The Sonnet adapter supports 7mm to 15mm 2.5-inch drives. Standard position mounting holes on the bottom and side of Transposer give it the flexibility to be used anywhere a 3.5-inch drive is normally used, including computer drive bays and side- or bottommount trays for drive enclosures. Transposer’s specially engineered, open-frame aluminum heatsink design allows heat to be conducted and convected away, which is important to maintain the long-term reliability of high-performance SSDs and hard drives.

VISLINK FLA-120 Flyaway Antenna VISLINK has launched a new satellite antenna, the ADVENT FLA120 Flyaway, which is specifically designed for rapid deployment. It is aimed at users who want to transmit at low and medium data rates for live broadcast applications, IP data, as well as store and forward file transfers. This is the first antenna from VISLINK specifically aimed at this sector of the SatCom market. It is a compact, highly portable antenna designed to be easy to use and transport. When combined with ADVENT’s state-of-the-art 5000 series control electronics, the FLA120 Flyaway is an extremely cost effective combination that provides unmatched RF performance even when deployed to the world’s toughest environments. Using a six-piece, high-grade alloy reflector, this flyaway is suited for remote locations.

Broadcast Networks Systems integration specialist Broadcast Networks will showcase its latest ‘go anywhere’ live production vehicle at IBC 2011. Featuring Sony’s Media Backbone HDXchange server, the custom-built Land Rover Discovery is designed for a one or two-person team and will be on show at the Sony booth at IBC 2011. This collaboration is a direct response to market demand for small, durable live production vehicles that can be rapidly deployed with minimal crew, in situations where larger OB vehicles are either unsuitable or too costly to operate. Sony Media Backbone HDXchange offers a collaborative network-editing environment where material can be ingested, stored and edited on the fly. It allows a number of cameras to be linked to a server-based recording system that captures their output - without the need for a large production team. The Live Ingest system also enables a single operator to create a simple ‘cut edit’ list whilst the camera feeds are being recorded, effectively reducing overall editing time. Once the event is recorded, the data can be taken to the broadcaster’s facility and transferred onto the main post production server for final editing and transmission. Media Backbone HDXchange

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is quick to set up and easy to operate, thus also reducing training and operational costs. Broadcast Networks’ ‘live ingest’ solution features Media Backbone HDXchange contained within a Land Rover Discovery 4. Inside the vehicle, a central working area has been created that can be operated by a one or two-person production team. The rear interior has been stripped and fitted with a sliding custom-built rack (for ease of use and servicing) and features a 5KVA 240V generator. Tom Haye, MD of Broadcast Networks stated that this vehicle “is ideal for any media company involved in the rapid generation, editing and content delivery from regional TV companies to specialist production companies covering niche interest events, such as music and sport in difficult venues that larger OB rigs would find impossible to access”. “It is also well suited to content providers in emerging markets where there is minimal broadcast infrastructure, but where efficient fuel consumption and reliability in extreme terrains is essential.” Broadcast Networks has recently agreed a worldwide support deal with Land Rover to offer full vehicle warranty for DSNG and Live Production vehicles.

ACCESSORIES FOR Sony NEX-FS100 & F3 CAMS Manufacturer Chrosziel will make available special accessories for Sony‘s new camcorder NEX-FS100E between July and September 2011. The layout of the light-weight support for the Sony NEXFS100E (LWS 401-429) makes sure that a follow focus can be added to all relevant lenses. The platform has been adjusted to the camera base; it allows the camera to move as far as possible to the front edge of the supporting rods. A heavy-duty (HD) version will also be available, like all single-chip cameras featuring a PL lens mount. It is equipped with a double tube guide and 440 mm tubes with 15 mm diameter (LWS 401-429HD). An improved version lightweight support for Sony‘s PMW-F3 camcorder (LWS 401-415HD) has also been introduced by Chrosziel. Its platform stretches out as far as the camera base, making use of all points of support the camera body offers as well as the third thread in the back of the camera bottom. All of the heavy duty versions are designed to provide sufficient space for handles, shoulder pads as well as external view finders.


Monetising content The internet is growing at a phenomenal rate and is a major contributor to economic and GDP growth in the Middle East and across the world. Internet traffic in the region, delivered via fixed and mobile networks is on the rise and fueled by new, more capable devices and new high bandwidth services unleashed by a fresh wave of innovation. This will ultimately lead to telecom players looking to upgrade their infrastructure to maintain or increase their quality of service. The increase in internet connectivity presents telecom players with the perfect opportunity to look at monetising content for the value created over the Internet. Consequently, government and regulators are showing an increased interest in the development of the internet as a universal service. Areas for innovations in the Middle East remain in business, entertainment, communication, and for some applications that provide the future public services. The dilemmas of high internet traffic growth, limited revenues contribution to the telecom, and high CAPEX requirements are being debated in the Middle East along with solutions: * Telcos, media players and Over The Top Providers (OTTP) agreeing on regional collaborative models. For instance, OTTPs contributing to the CAPEX requirements through paying higher and traffic dependent figures to telcos. This has to be seen in light of the spirit of net neutrality and also of maintaining the innovative nature of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). * Traffic Optimisation - Traffic management techniques are being used to tackle network congestion at peak-hours. Such techniques are used to maximise the use of the

“constrained” available capacity and network resources and to use specific actions to limit the impact of the congestion on end users. Applying network management practices can lead to a “win-win” situation where Telcos optimise network resources and customers benefit from an effective service. * OTTPs and Telcos agreeing on traffic management techniques that would differentiate the network congestion based on Quality of Services or additional services is essential. There have been discussions between OTTPs (e.g., Google) and connectivity providers in USA. Regulators have intervened as the model should also take into consideration the concept of net neutrality, which has so far been one of the basic pillars for Internet in many geographies. * Increase in retail prices - End users being charged higher fees for higher bandwidth and higher quality of services. As is becoming more common on mobile tariffs, the monthly fee would be partly based on download bands/caps, for example, 1GB per month and a higher price for 5GB. Of course, being faced with new opportunities also presents new challenges. The end-game winning model and value chain players are still to be considered to take advantage of the new opportunities with the internet. Also, OTTPs are looking for ways to completely monetise the content they put on the internet (e.g., Google is still making most of its revenues from search rather than YouTube video traffic). Media players and content providers still need to fully utilise alternative digital platforms compared to their traditional ones. There is a significant role that digital platforms and new technology can play in the development

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of local content in the region. This includes the localisation of content, experimenting with ‘freemium’ models and the collaboration of broadcasters and Telco players. The wide digital space offers plentiful opportunities for media players in the region to both extend their existing content to new platforms and to develop new content for those platforms. Telcos, on one end, need to take full advantage of the internet for the creation of the national ICT ecosystem and on the other end, are trying to develop their content platforms as for IPTV, Mobile TV and so on. Regulators and Governments also have a role to play in identifying the most suitable national ICT and broadband plan, both for fixed and mobile. To summarise, it is clear that the internet explosion, will continue for the next decade over multiple fixed and mobile platforms. New players are entering the industry and new business models are being created. All industry players are looking for the proper balance in preserving the economics and growth of telecom providers and promoting innovation through the internet and other players in the ICT ecosystem. There lies a risk of overloading the network with data and services that are not monetised properly. Internet needs to proceed from a concept of being “Free content and services” to a concept of pay based on value and services, with monetisation directly from end users, advertisers and those who can seize the opportunity of the digital era. PRO Santino Saguto, a partner with Value Partners, Dubai, recently participated in a discussion on monestising content. at the the 8th Annual Media and Telecommunications Convergence Conference in Jordan.

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Also available - professional HD production monitors

For further information on the GY-HM790 studio camera and KA-F790 fibre solution, please visit or contact Oasis: P.O. Box 93, Dubai, U.A.E • Tel: +971 4 2821337 P.O. Box 35807, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E • Tel: +971 2 6217043

BroadcastPro Middle East - June 2011 Issue  
BroadcastPro Middle East - June 2011 Issue  

Broadcast Pro Middle East is a monthly publication covering television and radio broadcasting technology as well as filmmaking trends in the...