Issue 16 | OCTOBER 2011
Technology intelligence for TV, film and radio
Gaga over Gumball Exclusive notes from the creator of The Amazing World of Gumball
Dubai production house creates promos for Iranian channel
KUWAIT CUTS TAPE AL KOUT TV LEADS WITH TAPELESS FACILITY
QATAR CALLING Al Jazeera and the Arab Uprising
Tarif Sayed, Dolby Andrew Davies, TSL
Avid Studio V 1.0 appraised
Industry veterans give us the lowdown
PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ
2 | www.broadcastprome.com | October 2011
ISSUE 1 | OCTOBER 2011
A SUPPLEMENT OF BROADCASTPRO ME PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ
This month, we have launched AVPro Middle East, a bi-monthly supplement aimed at the audio-visual market in the MENA region
AV INTELLIGENCE FOR AN INTEGRATED MARKET
VISIT www.broadcastprome.com for AV-related stories
Welcome Why do governments in Dubai, Qatar and Abu Dhabi invest heaploads of money in developing local film festivals? I’m under the impression that Arab governments have invested in such initiatives to develop the local film industry; raise the profile of their filmmakers and extend their visibility in the TV and film production space where they have greater opportunities to develop their skills and make filmmaking a full time, income-generating job rather than a mere hobby. Of course, if it means you need some magnets such as Arab and international star material to bring in the audiences, so be it. And of course, if it provides the perfect bait to bring the dailies and the tabloids to the festivals’ doorstep to ensure adequate editorial space, so be it. In the midst of all that fanfare, however,
directors and covering local filmmakers. most of the organisers seem to have Trade magazines cut through the glam forgotten the core objective of these layers and talk to the people who make initiatives and the messengers — in this these movies happen. Industry titles reach case, industry titles — that can introduce A glitzy kaleidoscope at Dubai’s Chameleon Club producers and filmmakers in the region these filmmakers to their industry peers. anduniversities give local filmmakersIPan opportunityconcepts No doubt, a couple of local filmmakers are 2011 | AVPro | 1 Smart audio design October Much more than smart boards mosques, schools and other venues to know more about theirForindustry peers projected as heroes every year and gain while also perhaps introducing them to some editorial space but in most cases, like-minded people who can join hands it’s the celebrities that steal the limelight. to undertake regional ventures. Worse still, not even 2% of the editors, That is, of course, if film festivals hosted at such events, run industry titles. here are genuinely focused on That means, all of the festivals’ details growing the local film industry. are for mass consumption only. How do local filmmakers benefit after that first rush of excitement has passed? It’s important at this point to impress VIjaya Cherian, Senior Editor, BroadcastPro Middle East upon the organisers the importance of industry journalists covering such events, talking tech with producers and
issue 16 | ocToBer 2011
Technology inTelligence for T V, film and radio
Gaga over Gumball Exclusive notes from the creator of The Amazing World of Gumball
Dubai production house creates promos for Iranian channel
KUWAIT CUTS TAPE AL KOUT TV LEADS WITH TAPELESS FACILITY
QATAR CALLING Al Jazeera and the Arab Uprising
Tarif Sayed, Dolby Andrew Davies, TSL
Avid Studio V 1.0 appraised
Publisher Dominic De Sousa
Industry veterans give us the lowdown
PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ
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in this issue OCTOBER 2011
14 20 38
Al Kout TV goes tapeless PRODUCTION
4Gumball meets Arab world 4Muddville takes up Farsi challenge
4Andrew Davies, TSL 4Tarif Sayed, Dolby Middle East
Avid Studio Version 1.0 IBC wrapup
We bring you the highlights GUEST
Production notes from Airtime Dubai
Craig Moehl, CEO of SatStream on IBC this year.
Qvest wins Etisalat playout centre project Etisalat has commissioned systems integrator Qvest Media to undertake the construction of a multi-format playout centre for the production and transmission of nine playout channels. With this move, the telecoms operator, which owns a cellular network and one of the largest internet and IPTV networks in the Middle East, is leading the triple play strategy in the TV sector. With the expansion of its service spectrum, Etisalat will offer national and international TV stations as well as feed suppliers a fully equipped infrastructure for handling their broadcast management. The company will also reserve part of its SD/HD playout channels for customers
who not only want to distribute their signals but also want to edit their content. To achieve this, Etisalat will offer a fully equipped production and editing platform – comprising quality check for audio and video as well as on-air graphics together with transcoding and archiving systems. Qvest Media will be responsible for the planning, construction, commissioning and support of the on-air phase of the entire project. Key parts of the workflow will include a recording centre for ingest control, processing and monitoring, together with automated Baton content verification; a fully redundant Omneon video server system and a Pebble Beach
automation for playout; VPMS media asset management system from S4M; What’sON from MediaGeniX for channel management and scheduling; Apple Final Cut systems for non-linear editing; on-air graphics systems from Miranda and Vizrt; an Isilon archiving system with 10,000 hours of XDCAM HD storage capacity; a router system comprising Evertz EQX and Xenon cross-rails and Evertz VIP-range multi-viewers; a Rhozet transcoding system for the up/down conversion of various formats; a clustered IT architecture from Hewlett Packard (HP) as well as a fully redundant IT backbone for IP switching with Cisco core switches.
World premiere of Black Gold at Doha film festival The third edition of the Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF), which will be held from October 25-29, will open this year with the world premiere of Black Gold. Vocalist Fahad Al Kubaisi will sing Black Gold’s opening track, which was recorded with film-music legend, James Horner (Titanic, Troy, Avatar), at London’s famed Abbey Road Studios. Another of the film’s tracks, a traditional Bedouin song, was also recorded by Al Kubaisi with Qatari composer Abdulla Al Mannai. DFI Festival board member HE Sheikh Jabor Bin Yousuf Al Thani called Black Gold “an important step in strengthening foundations for a sustainable
The recording at Abbey Road.
film industry here in Qatar”. “From a business development perspective, the project gave local industry sectors a valuable opportunity to learn about film production from the ground-level up. We hope the exposure of the film before global audiences and
4 | www.broadcastprome.com | October 2011
industry professionals will pave the way for future coproductions that showcase Arab talent and creativity in the right spirit, and send a message to the world that there is a viable Arab film market here in Qatar, and throughout the Middle East, with engaged and audiences.”
US $13m win for Sony in Qatar TV Sony Professional Solutions MEA (PSMEA) has won a US $13 million deal to supply and integrate three full HD studios for Qatar TV at the state broadcaster’s facility. The studios will be designed to be 3G ready with Sony’s HDC-1500R fiber cameras, MVS-7000X switchers and BVM-E series OLED reference monitors. Samer Younes, who is part of consultant engineering at Qatar’s TV support and Development Committee stated that Sony was selected owing to the availability of a wide range of products from the manufacturer along with its ability to integrate similar projects in the past. The project is scheduled for completion in November 2011.
Al Jazeera boss resigns Wadah Khanfar has resigned as director general of Al Jazeera. He has been succeeded by Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, a member of Qatar’s royal family. Sheikh Ahmed held a senior position at Qatargas, and has gained industry experience in France and the USA. Additionally, he holds degrees from Imperial College London and the Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business.
INC wins US $4.5 million project in Kuwait Dubai-based INC Systems Inetgrations recently won a contract to refurbish Kuwait TV’s Studio 160 to a multiformat facility. The US $4.5 million project is part of KTV’s efforts to upgrade its entire facility to support HD. “This is the second phase of the plan following the successful delivery of the new HD production centre, located in Shuwikh which was fully supplied and integrated by INC,” Adeeb Abed, general manager of INC Systems Integrations told BroadcastPro ME . INC will refurbish the
studio fully and add a presentation facility to it. Key equipment that has been scheduled for Kuwait TV’s studio includes five Grass Valley LDK 8000 Elite cameras, the Sony 3.5ME MVS switcher and the Carlec Zeta digital audio console. The new setup will be integrated with the existing KTV archive system. “This a turnkey project where INC’s scope of work includes deploying new electrical and lighting infrastructure. The new facility will be equipped with the Strand EC21 dimmer
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system, lighting console and ADB luminaires,” he added. Work on the project is
scheduled to begin in mid October and be completed by February 2012.
in order to provide the ideal solutions for each project. The staff of well qualified and trained engineers and technicians come together to produce significant and high quality engineering work. Today, FGC dominates the broadcast Systems Integration business in Saudi Arabia, and is rapidly growing in its other business of General Contracting and Telecom Value Added Services (VAS).
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October 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 5
DMI invests in Prysm video walls Dubai Media Inc (DMI) has deployed a 4m x 1.2m Prysm Laser Phosphor Display (LPD) at its sports studio. The system, which went live on September 29, claims to offer a much wider viewing angle as well as crisp images while reducing power consumption. The deal was brokered by distributor and systems integrator Baba Broadcasting Services (BBS), headed by Ihab El Baba. Rashed Amiri, head of Dubai Sports Channel said the broadcaster “met with four other manufacturers of different videowall platforms before deciding that Prysm was the right
solution for the studio”. “The qualities and features of Laser Phosphor Display technology within the broadcast environment are in line with what we want to bring to the sports channel in the future,” he stated. El Baba of BBS added: “I first
became aware of this new technology platform at PALME Middle East exhibition. The crisp picture quality, low power consumption and long life span of 60.000 hours (seven years) are qualities that go above existing platforms so this is ideal as a studio backdrop.”
Arab film fest gears up for 15th anniversary The 15th annual Arab Film festival (AFF) is scheduled to take place between October 13-23 this year in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area in the US. The festival seeks to enhance public understanding of Arab culture, and to provide alternative representations of Arabs that contradict the stereotypical images frequently encountered in the American mass media. This year’s line up includes Habibti by UK-based filmmaker Nour Wazzi, Majid by Moroccan filmmaker Nassim Abassi, and Hawi by Egyptian filmmaker Ibrahim El Batout.
Harris and EVS part of TSL’s Sky News Arabia contract Harris Corporation has been awarded a contract to provide Sky News Arabia with an integrated solution for part of the playout automation facility at the broadcaster’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi while EVS will provide a fully integrated news production solution for the facility. The Harris and EVS solutions are part of a major integration project awarded to systems integration firm TSL earlier this year. The construction of a new service, the first of its kind for Sky News in the Middle East, is underway within twofour54 and will launch in spring 2012. The Harris order highlights
some of the latest individual product features from the Harris software portfolio including Harris ADC playout automation and Harris Broadcast Master scheduling and media management suite. Sky News Arabia will also install Harris Invenio Motion software for digital media management. EVS is also already working with the channel´s team to introduce the tapeless technology at Sky News Arabia’s studios. The project covers ingest, production and playout workflows, including on-the-fly timeline news editing, online storage and seamless integration with third-party systems (such as Avid’s iNews NRCS).
6 | www.broadcastprome.com | October 2011
Jordan’s Rubicon and Classic Media to bring Postman Pat to theatres Jordan’s Rubicon Group Holding (RGH) has teamed up with Classic Media, a media company with a portfolio of some of the world’s leading family entertainment brands to announce that Postman Pat will
be making his big screen debut in Postman Pat: The Movie – You Know You’re the One. The film will be released in CG 3D Stereoscopic in time to celebrate Postman Pat’s 30th birthday.
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Anevia leads Egyptian IPTV effort Egyptian Advanced Multimedia Systems (EAMS) has selected video streaming solutions provider Anevia’s IPTV head-end solution to deliver content to its entire IP network. The EAMS IPTV delivery system, Egypt’s first, includes a main national head-end and several regional head-ends. Anevia IPTV and VOD servers are enabling both live and on demand content in HD and SD formats to be delivered across the EAMS IP network.
Anevia’s system-ready technology supports multiple video formats and third-party network equipment allowing EAMS to integrate the IPTV servers as part of their multivendor eco-system. Mohamed Swidan, CTO of EAMS stated that the company chose Anevia for its DVB to IP gateways and VOD servers “because of its high reliability, rich set of features, and the fact that they could be integrated into our IPTV system”.
“Our focus on IPTV and VOD streaming allows us to develop head-end products that can deliver the very latest technological innovations while remaining fully compatible with industry standards,” added Lionel Bringuier, CTO of Anevia. “This allows IPTV leaders like EAMS to scale up their system in a cost-effective manner in order to continue meeting the needs of their growing business.”
OSN invests in 300 hours of original Arabic content OSN Yahala, a new Arabic entertainment channel from OSN is scheduled to debut on October 10. Speaking about the new launch, David Butorac, CEO of OSN said: “OSN Yahala is a new step for OSN to create their own Arabic language content and indeed, includes the first original OSN commission Hindistani, a sitcom that has been shot on location in India and Sharjah and revolves around a spice trader. The channel will showcase a whole new range of Arabic entertainment products and is a step for OSN into original
OSN CEO David Butorac with Khulood Abu Homos and Hamad Malik at the press conference.
production and into a whole new dawn of Arabic entertainment.” Butorac added that OSN has invested in creating in excess of 300 hours of original
content for OSN Yahala. Some of this content has been commissioned by the pay TV operator while some have been acquired and others produced.
Hughes ships Ka-band solution to YAHSAT Hughes Network Systems has made its first shipment of advanced Ka-band gateway equipment and satellite terminals to Yahsat. The shipment of four system gateways, Network Control Center (NCC), and initial order of Ka-band terminals will be used by Yahsat to provide its “YahClick” nextgeneration, high-speed satellite Internet service. Expected to launch in 2012, the new service has been developed to bring high-performance broadband access to unserved and underserved regions of the MEA and Southwest Asia, and is on target to reach 26 countries. In addition to providing gateways and terminals, Hughes is also under contract to deliver a complete OSS/BSS solution (Operational Support System and Business Support System), as well as to operate and maintain the network for a three-year period. Installation of the four gateways and Network Control Center (NCC) in Europe and the UAE is expected to be completed in November 2011.
Saudi MOCI invests in Jampro antennas Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and Information (MOCI) has selected Jampro Antennas of Sacramento, CA to furnish turnkey broadband DVB-T antenna solutions to a twelvesite network as well as supply FM antenna systems and related RF components.
The Ministry specified Jampro model JUHD UHF broadband antenna systems to accommodate the digital video broadcasting side of the project. Jampro Proline rigid transmission line and associated accessories round out the system.
8 | www.broadcastprome.com | October 2011
For FM transmissions, the MOCI chose Jampro model JFVD panel antennas in conjunction with Jampro RCCS Starpoint combiners, which are used to combine two or more highpower FM signals. “The MOCI’s prime purchasing considerations
were equipment reliability and durability, but they also insisted on the best performance. They learnt from our many other customers in the Middle East and North Africa that our products stand the test of time,” stated Alex M. Perchevitch, Jampro president.
October 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 9
HP recommends Windows® 7 Professional.
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Top 5 Reasons To GeT an Hp Mobile WoRksTaTions • Innovation: Enjoy next-generation technology, including a new line of 2D and 3D graphics cards to help you create and visualize even the most complex designs. These are housed in a Revolutionary designed tool-less chassis often powered by 89% efficient power supplies. • Performance: Advanced compute and visualization power help speed your work, beat deadlines, and meet expectations. At the heart of HP 8740w Mobile Workstation are the new Intel® processors with advanced processor performance technologies, such as Intel® QuickPath, Intel® Hyper-Threading1 and Intel® Turbo Boost2. • Reliability: HP product testing includes application performance, graphics and comprehensive ISV certification for maximum productivity. You can be confident in your HP and Autodesk solution. • Relationships: HP resources and our relationships with Autodesk, graphics vendors, chip suppliers, and Microsoft provide a consistent application, operating system, hardware, and graphics technical direction. This results in broader, more dependable 3D application-oriented technology choices. • Personal productivity: Only HP provides unique tools to improve workstation user productivity, including: HP Performance Advisor, a workstation software wizard with helpful advice on recommended settings and performance; HP SkyRoom, a client-to client video communications and desktop sharing collaboration tool; and HP Remote Graphics Software, a high-performance real-time 3D screen sharing and remote access application. 10 | www.broadcastprome.com | October 2011
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HP has a unique relationship with Autodesk, Inc., a world leader in 2D and 3D design software for the manufacturing, building and construction, and media and entertainment industries. More than nine million users rely on Autodesk tools to help them design, visualize, and simulate real-world performance early in the design process, save time and money, enhance quality, and foster innovation.
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October 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 11
Gauging the size of the broadcast market By Douglas I. Sheer Many research bodies and trade entities tend to count a narrow range of products and services as well as end users under the “broadcast” umbrella. But, truth be told, that professional market is composed of not only pure terrestrial broadcasting, but also of more products than are normally narrowly depicted. This understanding is critical as many decisions are made based on the scale of the universe of professionals and the size of the dollars purportedly spent worldwide on professional gear. Most researcher entities calculate their estimates based on about 20 to 25 categories of broadcast and professional products. However, there are several more. Amongst the plethora of products sold to broadcasters and professionals each year are: A-V furniture, audio-for-video, audio records/speakers/microphones, automation and control, accessories, camcorders and cameras, cables, cranes, clothing, connectors, displays, drives, dollies, editing systems, electrical systems, encoder/decoders, filters, film scanners and film-chains, film cameras and equipment, gaffer and grip equipment, generators, hand tools, helicopters, housings, lighting products, newsroom and weather systems, networking specialties, mounts, PA and intercom, packaging and shipping materials, prompters, safety materials, still camera systems, satellite and microwave systems, servers, slo-mo sports devices, speakers and monitors, standards converters, storage, software, streaming devices, switchers & routers, transmitters (radio and TV), test equipment, transit cases, tape & disk recording media, towers & antennas, trucks, vans, video printers, video recorders, video walls and video projectors to name a few of the many categories. Then there is the issue of which enduser segments get counted. Although
DIS Global 2011 Forecast in USD billions Broadcast and Professional Equipment worldwide
the ‘broadcast’ market is considered to be a very narrow series of market slices including terrestrial TV (broadcast), cable and satellite (and at times Telcos or PTTs), large production and post facilities, studies should ideally include Broadcast/Cable/Satellite, Production/Post Facilities, Mobile/OB (trucks), Event Videographers, Independent Video and Filmmakers, Institutional Facilities and Equipment Rental houses. Factor in the ever expanding role of freelancers one barometer of which is Apple’s Final Cut Pro, which they suggest is in the hands of more two million end users. While we are sure those seats are not all found within the professional market, the Apple claim does go to affirm the power of what we call the permanent freelance class of users and that pulls through to many categories of gear. Many staff were shed in the past five years in an effort to trim costs. So, what will the professional broadcast market be worth in 2011?
12 | www.broadcastprome.com | October 2011
Substantially more than the often estimated $25 billion dollars that is popularly believed. Counting the gross revenues of the 20 or so major manufacturers is not adequate to represent the full range of kit that moves into customer hands each year, so that method – ex-factory shipments counting – will not alone suffice until a full accounting of the output of all firms becomes feasible. Instead, gauging from proper analyst reports and from the largest estimates of major trade shows – those who track the purchase plans of their attendees – leads us to estimate the annual spend. As of the end of 2011, we expect that to be in the range of $43 billion, which is 6% rise over 2010. PRO
Douglas I. Sheer is CEO & Chief Analyst of DIS Consulting.
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October 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 13
Al Kout TV goes tapeless
Al Kout TV, Kuwait.
Kuwaiti channel Al Kout TV recently undertook a massive tapeless project with VSN. BroadcastPro Middle East brings you the details
14 | www.broadcastprome.com | October 2011
Al Kout TV, a privatelyowned general entertainment Client: Al Kout TV, Kuwait channel in Kuwait, Systems Integrator: MRSI, Lebanon recently completed Key kit: VSN, Evertz, Sony, Ross, Yamaha, the deployment of a Qualstar, Dexel lighting tapeless solution with key solutions from VSN. The project, which comprises a complete workflow for the channel including ingest, archive, news production, graphics, playout and compliance recording, was contracted to Lebanese systems integrator Media Research and System Integration (MRSI). Earlier this year, prior to this project, Al Kout TV put in place an entire production facility including four studios equipped with Sony cameras and Dexel lighting as well as the corresponding control rooms to operate two studios at a time. Now, with the inclusion of a tapeless workflow, Al Kout TV has a complete setup including a newsroom, archive and playout facilities as well as the central apparatus room (CAR), the master control room (MCR) and editing suites. The new project sees the Kuwaiti broadcaster equipped with two double VSNAUTOREC ingest systems and one complete VSNNEWS news production system with 12 journalist
Various areas of the Al Kout facility and one of its studios below.
workstations as well as a redundant VSNAIRNEWS playout server and two teleprompter systems. It also features one VSNMULTICOM system for master control automation based on the VMax server and is fully redundant. The VSNARCHIVE manages the media catalogue at three levels including online, nearline and offline. The workflow includes tight integration with a Xenon routing switcher from Evertz, an LTO4 (Xendata) Qualstar tape library, a 16TB FC storage system and four Edius broadcast NLE stations. The channel, which currently works with DV25 formats, has also invested in VSN’s graphics system, its render farm and its compliance recording system. “We have the first complete tapeless solution in Kuwait,” claims Mohammed Alsayegh, vice president of engineering, Al Kout TV. “We wanted a tapeless workflow all the way from the point of ingest to when it went on air. Other TV stations do have partial tapeless workflows but ours is an end-to-end tapeless workflow. The only place where we have retained tapes is in our archive library,” adds Alsayegh. One of the key reasons for choosing VSN, according to Engineer Abdulla Alattar, Al Kout’s president of engineering was “for its ability to provide solutions for a complete workflow, its flexibility and optimal quality/cost ratio”.
“Other TV stations do have partial tapeless workflows but ours is an endto-end tapeless workflow. The only place where we have retained tapes is in our archive library.” Mohammed Alsayegh, vice president of engineering, Al Kout TV
October 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 15
Fernando Carrasco (left) from VSN with Al Kout staff.
Staff at work at Al Kout TV.
“In addition, VSN’s ability to provide support in the Arabic language was a key reason for choosing them,” he adds. Besides providing full Arabic support for the MAM, archive, playlist and graphics solutions, the solution provides a complete tapeless system across the workflow including the ingest, storage, newsroom system, MCR playout and automation areas. Fernando Carrasco, sales director of VSN, Middle East and Asia adds that seamless integration with third-party equipment was an equally important part of the project. “The integration of our solutions with several third-party systems including the Evertz router, the Qualstar LTO4 library and other equipment was an important part of this project. We have also recently signed an OEM partnership with Dell that allows us to deliver the VSN solution and enjoy local HW support from Dell in most countries across the world. In addition, our own support team is available to provide software and systems integration support,” adds Carrasco. On-site training was provided to Al Kout TV’s staff by the systems integrator MRSI as well as various suppliers. The VSN system was assembled at the company’s factory in Barcelona and shipped to Kuwait. Presently, Al Kout TV transmits in Standard Definition (SD). However, the solution is scalable and upgradable both in terms of ingest and playout ports, storage capacity, number of terminals and so on.
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Other MRSI projects: 4 Al Hadath TV Channel, Egypt. 4 Al Hadath TV Channel production studio, Syria 4 Universal Studio in Beirut 4 United Centre for Media Training, Beirut 4 OB vans for Lebanese TV stations
Other VSN installations in Kuwait: 4 Al Sabah TV 4 Al Alyoum TV
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VSN’s Carrasco adds that the solution is also HD ready. “A software licence will suffice to switch Al Kout to HD,” he claims. Ten people including engineers and technicians from MRSI were involved in the project, explains Mohamed J. Majed, executive manager at MRSI. “This system was installed in two steps – prewiring for the main racks in our company in Lebanon and then, integrating these racks with other equipment and the news system in Kuwait,” he explains. Al Kout also has plans to invest in an SNG van in the near future. PRO
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Gumball meets Arab market Ben Bocquelet is a busy man. The second series of his animated show The Amazing World of Gumball is already in production and its first series is about to debut on Cartoon Network Arabia. Anuradha Mojumdar caught up with Bocquelet to find out more about the development and production of the award-winning series.
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The Amazing World of Gumball premieres on October 6 on Cartoon Network Arabia and arrives fresh after bagging a Cristal Award for Best Television Production at this year’s Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France. The new programme combines 2D and 3D animation in a liveaction setting and follows the misadventures of twelve-year-old Gumball and his unconventional family. Featuring a motley cast of characters, Gumball’s school friends include a Tyrannosaurus rex, a cheerleading peanut, and a banana. The Amazing World of Gumball came about while Bocquelet worked at The Cartoon Network Development Studio helping others to develop projects. When asked if he had any ideas to pitch, the series was conceived. Bocquelet says he “had previously created characters while ... working on commercials and hadn’t used some of them”. “I thought of placing them in a live action background and the result was ‘visually interesting’.” Bocquelet focused on creating unique, quirky characters in the town he conceptualised. “This town is an unknown place, where every character is unusual. For example, the sheriff is a doughnut because of the archetype that policemen love doughnuts, and the bully of the school is a dinosaur, a T-Rex. The series depicts a world of excitement and spectacular chase sequences,” he elaborates. Bocquelet’s name is stamped all over the production – he was involved in writing, animation and production of the programme. His experience producing commercials helped him hone his skills to work on the many different roles the project entailed. “When you work in commercials, you tend to work with a smaller crew than a TV series crew so you put your hands into everything. I used to direct, storyboard and animate myself. Since the show is a bit peculiar, it was difficult to find out how to achieve what we wanted. A lot of it was in my head and not obvious to explain. At the same time, I really enjoy working with the crew, being with the editors, designing with the designers and animating some shots with the animators.” The live action background of the series and the presence of so many characters clearly complicates the production process, according to Bocquelet. “The show is a mix of various techniques. It required a certain amount of preparation, which differs from a normal 2D or 3D production. We needed to make sure that everything fell into place starting from pre-production for each episode before it went into animation and background,” he says. One significant part of any pre-production is Final Animatic, which allows animators to gauge how the visuals of a programme
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“In a live-action environment or the kind of photo realistic environment used in the series, you would find a blue character drawn by hand and the T-Rex that is rendered realistically in 3D in addition to a character made of clay” Ben Bocquelet, the man behind The Amazing World of Gumball
such as The Amazing World of Gumball will appear. This was key to producing the desired results, according to Bocquelet . “In Final Animatic, we have 3D elements, photographs and mock-ups that we use for the background. We know all of the camera moves; the placement of the characters and so on. Basically, you are watching the show and you can really tell what is going on with the story. “This gives us an idea of how the show will appear including the expressions the characters are going to have at that point and the technical issues we will face. Therefore, we are able to refine the final product.” Final Animatic is a more complex process than the methods used for purely 2D animation, adds Bocquelet. “This differs from a 2D production where you just have the film storyboard, and that will be good enough to use in the production chain. Here, you need to put in extra effort into the preparation to ensure that all of the elements work together.” The team uses Maya for all 3D projects while Flash is the favourite for 2D animations. FCP is used for editing and After Effects for compositing. The storyboard driven element of the programme also allows for spontaneous humour to be incorporated. “Some of the artists on board had worked on shows like SpongeBob, where they use a type of storyboarding that begins with a loose outline, but you have a clear idea of your story and its elements. After that, when storyboarding, you create dialogues and add extra visual elements. When new jokes can be added, there is something very spontaneous and it creates great character moments.” Recent technological advances have made The Amazing World of Gumball possible, so much so that Bocquelet says the show could
not have been made two years ago. “The technology at the time was exactly what we needed to make and produce Gumball. The challenge is that it comes from a mixture of techniques. If you film a street and you need to include a character walking through it, that means you have to track the whole shot. A lot of it required cinema VFX techniques on a TV series scale, which made it quite challenging. You have much less time to do a lot more footage actually.” The mixture of techniques is also used because each character is created differently and then pulled into a single environment. Bocquelet points out that this variety makes the programme unique. “In a live-action environment or the kind of photo realistic environment used in the series, you would find a blue character drawn by hand and the T-Rex that is rendered realistically in 3D in addition to a character made of clay. All of these are very different styles and techniques. Visually, it looks like a big mash up of a lot of interesting factors that makes it stand out on its level.” One recent tool that has proven to be very useful to the Gumball team is Twixtor. “Twixtor allows you to retime a shot so if you don’t have enough frames to make a long shot, it interpolates from one frame to another and allows you to basically have the shot at a time you want it to be. It was really useful to stabilise jerky pictures as well. Apps like these are priceless,” explains Bocquelet. The show was released in the US and has been received warmly by viewers. “It looks like it has gone down really well with viewers. We even have a few fans on Facebook. In fact, I received my first fan mail today,” claims Bocquelet. If The Amazing World of Gumball continues on its upward trajectory, it will not be the only fan-mail Ben Bocquelet will get. PRO
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Al Jazeera and the Arab Uprising BroadcastPro Middle East brings you an exclusive story on Al Jazeera and the Arab Uprising, a documentary produced by a team of cinematographers at Airtime Dubai for German News Channel N24 Al Jazeera and the Arab Uprising is a dramatic behind-the-scenes reportage of Al Jazeera and its coverage of the Arab Spring. Produced for N24, the 45-minute television documentary analyses the influence of mass media on the protests. The Airtime team was given exclusive access to Al Jazeera to film at its studios, its control rooms and editorial conferences, where it interviewed dozens of key players. The production was filmed at Al Jazeera Arabic Channel during the uprising.
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“The uprisings sweeping the Arab world have been strongly influenced by the media,” explains director Jay Tuck, who is also a journalist, who started his career at CBS News in America. “As a major broadcaster in the region, Al Jazeera became a prime source of information for the protesters and for the world,” he says. Tuck has produced more than 600 television current affairs reports for German television, where he spent many years as an investigative reporter. He founded Airtime Dubai in 2004. The documentary portrays the revolutionary changes in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Libya from the perspective of the broadcaster’s reporters. It looks at some of the key players and their agenda. For the documentary team, it was a case of shooting on the run. “There was no fixed script. We had to be flexible, following developing events and moving people. You have to get to where the action is. And when people are in emotional
Airtime Dubai is an independent company in Dubai producing programming for TV networks in Germany and the Arab World. In addition to this 45-minute documentary for News Channel N24, Airtime cooperated with the German Federal Police (Bundeskriminalamt) on a six-part series about internet crime MDR Television. For five years, Airtime Dubai has been producing a weekly technology magazine for Al Jazeera Arabic News Channel.
situations, you can’t afford to fiddle with camera and lights,” explains Tuck. For German cinematographer Martin Schneider-Hillen, this shooting style presents serious technical challenges. “Often while setting up one shot, Jay would call me spontaneously to do another shot. I needed speed.” Schneider-Hillen, who has won numerous awards for his work, shot 1080p HD with a Canon 70D. The documentary was filmed almost entirely from the shoulder with an Artemis stabiliser from Sachtler. “This gives smooth, flying camera shots that are easy to set up,” explains Schneider-Hillen. His prime problem, however, was the lighting, which varied unexpectedly from studio lights to office neon to outdoor.
They worked with a three-man crew with Tuck, shooting occasional supplementary footage in HD on a small Panasonic. “The Al Jazeera office in Doha is staffed with a mix of Arabs and although they share a common language, they are very diverse in their roots, cultures and political views,” explains Tuck. “It was the perfect place to be during the Arab Uprising. Whatever the country, there was always expertise. Someone had friends and family, or sources inside or outside the government. Al Jazeera has very impressive political networking,” he adds. The film includes many emotional moments, reflected in the faces of the producers who were captured on camera. Although they tried to maintain professional objectivity, they were often emotionally swept by the events, says Tuck. “This documentary analyses critically the role of mass media in shaping events. It takes a closer look at their political agenda, including those who criticise the broadcaster. This is the inside story of a newsroom where history is being written.” Once the production was completed, the footage was edited in Hamburg at Agenda Media using Avid. “German audiences expect flying camera, fast cuts and quick story lines so that’s the way we have cut it. Incidentally, Al Jazeera and the Arab Uprising has already been nominated for the German media award “Otto-Brunner-Preis”.
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October 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 25
Jay Tuck, CEO of Airtime Dubai tells BroadcastPro ME about his special relationship with the Arab world Why did you produce this film? In Germany and around the world, there is huge interest in the Arab Uprising but very little understanding about it. I believe it is crucial to inform people in the West about developments here. There are so many misunderstandings. The need for competent and impartial information is huge. With this film, we wanted to make a significant contribution. Why Al Jazeera? Obviously, the media has played a major role in the Arab Uprising. Uncensored satellite television and new media such as Facebook and Youtube, Skype and Twitter have been crucial sources of information, both for protesters and for the world. But the major player is Al Jazeera. It is the largest network in the region and has earned strong credibility with some 60 million viewers. Al Jazeera has excellent sources, official and unofficial, in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen. For the most part, they are also very independent. How would you describe filming at Al Jazeera? It was a very emotional experience. These are dramatic times in the Arab World. The editors and producers at Al Jazeera come from dozens of different countries and backgrounds. They have very personal relationships to the news they are covering. Several have lost friends and colleagues during the Arab Uprising. It would be impossible to film with these people over a period of weeks and not be emotionally touched. Al Jazeera is known to be restrictive about visitors. How did you gain access? We have been working closely with Al Jazeera for many years now, first as consultants, later as programme producers. When the Al Jazeera Sports Channel was founded, we brought in their very first advertiser Adidas. For
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five years, we have produced a weekly technology magazine for the Arab News Channel. We know each other and we trust each other.
Were they restrictive to you and your camera crew? Not at all. The management was very open. They gave us access to working-level reporters and policy-making producers. We had a free run of the place. Tell us about your personal relationship with the Arab media? Unfortunately, it began with war. I was a combat correspondent for ARD German Television during both Gulf Wars. Under such conditions, journalists cooperate. I met many fine people and grew interested in Arab media. When Airtime Dubai was founded in 2002, we planned to be a service company for Arabic broadcasters. Since then, it has expanded far beyond that. What is your background? My father was a print journalist. I have been around newsrooms all my life. I spent 35 years at ARD German Television in Hamburg, mostly as an investigative reporter. I spent many years as executive news director of the daily news programme ARD-Tagesthemen. PRO
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October 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 27
TSL takes support seriously TSL’s business development manager for the Middle East Andrew Davies shares some interesting anecdotes about some of his projects in the region with BroadcastPro ME
TSL has been quite successful in winning projects in the Middle East this year. Can you share some details of your success? We are happy to have won Sky News Arabia, which is a very big and prestigious project for us. We are moving into a phase now where the local office starts to get more involved so Suhail, our technical operations manager is actually in the UK at the moment basically as part of the commissioning team. Ultimately, as manager of technical services, when the equipment arrives on site, it is his responsibility to make sure that the system does what it is supposed to do and then, of course, long term support would be something that will be managed from the local office. But of course, we can’t just rest on that. We
recently completed some upgrade work to twofour54’s Isilon system and have done a rebuild of two of OSN’s studios. When was that? We completed the project just before we went to IBC. OSN told us we had accomplished the impossible so I believe they were happy with our work. As you know, they had a small fire at their facility a couple of months ago and some things needed to be put back on track. They had recently acquired the broadcast rights to the Rugby World Cup and wanted to use the two studios they had fitted out during the English Premier League. Unfortunately, the cables in the studio went through the riser that acted like a chimney during the fire. So, we were pulling out lengths of cable which
28 | www.broadcastprome.com | October 2011
was just melted stuff at the end of them and all of it had to be taken out as they were rendered completely useless. Basically, we discovered that all the cables were gone. We’re talking about a cable run that is about 100 meters … about 200 AS coaxial cables, about 50 image 1000s, 12 hybrid fibers, cameras, control and more CAT5s than you can shake a stick at. It was like a tree trunk of cable. We removed 1.5 metric tons of cable, which is about 40 kms of cable in five days. That must have been a lot of hard work? Yes, indeed. In five days, we ripped it all out and then put it all back in. In another five days, we terminated it all. Basically, we spent a week helping them to commission the studio; making sure it was all working. I don’t really
know how Suhail managed to fit in all the hours as he did, but we did a few very late nights because the cables run through the offices. We couldn’t do it during office hours so every night we would take the carpet off, take the floor up and pull the cables out. How many people were working on this? Suhail was managing the site work. We had two wire people fly in from the UK plus some technicians. Tell us about some of your other projects. We have been on site in Qatar working at the Northwestern University in Qatar. This is actually a Tek Signals job. They are the main contractor but we were asked to do the filebased newsroom, the archives and the Isilon central storage. Why were you roped into this project? We have done a couple of projects with the Sienna newsroom system at First Media
“The cables in the [OSN] studio went through the riser that acted like a chimney during the fire. So, we were pulling out lengths of cable which was just melted stuff ... and all of it had to be taken out as they were rendered completely useless.” Andrew Davies, business development manager, TSL Middle East
and others in the UK and the customer was keen on having that system. Tek Signals did the ENPS bit as they are the dealer for the same in the region. We integrated the Sienna newsroom solution into their ENPS system. I suppose it’s time you now expanded your team in Dubai? Yes. Between now and Christmas, we have got a number of people we want to bring into the business, some for Sky News, and some for our own use in the office. The biggest problem I have got at the moment
is that I have got only about 12 visas for my office, which is based on the amount of floor space I have got. We have to think seriously about whether that is actually enough, based on the work that we have got and the commitments we have made over the next year. But I don’t know how many people I will require. It will depend on what kind of support agreements I sign with our clients. Can you take on any more projects, if you are doing so many at the same time? Yes, that is the beauty of the way we run our
October 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 29
Discuss. Debate. Disseminate BroadcastPro Middle Eastâ€™s inaugural Summit and Awards will be hosted on November 23, 2011 in association with the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), an IBC award winner, and the most innovative and dynamic pan-Arab organisation involved in establishing and maintaining best practices in the field of broadcasting. The Summit is a reflection of the commitment we first espoused at the launch of BroadcastPro Middle East â€“ to bring together industry peers regularly through workshops and conferences to share technology intelligence, debate best practices and standards in the industry, discuss international and regional case studies, and take home a wealth of knowledge that will enable
us to make more informed decisions at our work places. BroadcastPro Middle East is working alongside ASBU and a board of technical advisors to ensure that we offer a comprehensive one-day learning experience for the industry at the Summit. This conference is an extension of the WorkshopPro series we launched last year. The inaugural workshop was conducted in Dubai along with Dolby and partners, Axon, Tektronix and Thomson. The Summit will be designed by professionals for professionals. We will wrap up the event with a gala awards ceremony designed to recognise and acknowledge excellence in the industry. www.broadcastprome.com/summitandawards2011
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Innovation and excellence must be acknowledged and rewarded to encourage further innovation and excellence. The ASBU BroadcastPro Middle East Awards have been designed to reward excellence among individuals and end user companies who have deployed winning or innovative technologies or made significant contributions to the local broadcast industry.
ASBU, the most reputed and innovative non-profit broadcast organisation in the pan Arab world and an IBC award winner, joined hands with BroadcastPro Middle East as part of its efforts to tie with a partner that understands the market but also respects the need for integrity and credibility in choosing winners.
We will have several award categories that include contributions in fields across the broadcast workflow, from production and post production to traditional broadcast and new media platforms. Although most of our awards will seek to acknowledge technical excellence, we will also provide one award for commercial innovation in the region.
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office here. Basically, I win the business and Suhail delivers it. The UK office provides the support for it so we can scale that to whatever size we need. So, you know if we were just doing it in the way that a lot of the people in the local market do it, there’s no way we could have delivered a multi-million dollar, 100-rack system for Sky news Arabia. But how are you doing that? How many people do you have in the UK office? We have two factories — 2000sqm of pre-assembly space, which is huge and so basically, the Sky News project is using up one of our factories at the moment. At the same time, we can do four to five other big projects in our other factory. We also have 60 permanent staff, and then we take more people on according to our requirements. Any systems integrator has to use a certain number of contractors. What we do is slightly different from others in that we tend to contract the wiremen and so on, but keep the core skills like design in-house so, we
“If we were just doing it in the way that a lot of the people in the local market do it, there’s no way we could have delivered a multi-million dollar, 100-rack system for Sky news Arabia” Andrew Davies, business development manager, TSL Middle East.
have our own engineers, project managers and so on. Essentially, you subcontract wiring and other similar jobs. That’s right although having had to solder 64 XLR cables recently, I have a new found respect for wiremen. It was just one of those situations where I didn’t have anything to do so I said, ‘If I solder these, will it help?’ Four hours later, I had done 64 connectors or something like that and was proudly telling Julliete, our wire woman. “I did so much in four hours” and asked her how long it would take her to do that. She said very matter-offactly, ‘about 40 minutes’.
What else have you got in the pipeline? We are doing more in Qatar. Dubai is a huge market for us and Pakistan will be a bigger growth market in the coming years. I think in terms of our focus for the next year, we will look at winning small projects. The next big thing is to concentrate on support. We already provide support to OSN for the central storage. We have a three-year support contract for the Northwestern University in Qatar and we are looking at potentially offering further support to First Media and Sky News Arabia. We have won so many projects now and want to ensure we can deliver high-quality support. PRO
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32 | www.broadcastprome.com | October 2011
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Tarif Sayed, regional director of Dolby Middle East, Africa and Pakistan
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In an exclusive interview with BroadcastPro Middle East, Tarif Sayed, regional director of Dolby MEA and Pakistan talks about his new role, and the different elements that make the Arab world ready to adopt 5.1 surround sound
Q: What is your role at Dolby? My role will involve overseeing all aspects of the Dolby enterprise including sales, marketing and business development; identifying and evaluating business opportunities for Dolbyâ€™s product lines to enable the Dolby Eco System work in all market segments in this region; driving business growth in the local consumption market as providing a better entertainment experience is our top priority. We will also focus on strengthening our relationship with all major public and private TV broadcasters, mobile and broadband operators as well as local content and service providers across the region. What is the opportunity for Dolby in the Middle East? Our focus at Dolby is to provide a better entertainment experience across all five screens including cinema, TV, mobile PC and tablets. For one, the MEA region has a very large population of youth. As youth consume media more than any other age group, we believe this region offers great opportunities to the media and entertainment industry. Besides that, the migration undertaken by most broadcasters to HD; the high mobile penetration in the region; and the availability of fiber-to-the-home makes our solution attractive to the media players. This is why we want to get closer to the mobile operators, IPTV/OTT platforms,
broadcasters and content creators as this is where the action lies. There has always been the perception among broadcasters that migrating to 5.1 would be a huge technical challenge? Can you put it in perspective for us? When 5.1 was introduced to the broadcasting world, it was perceived to be a huge challenge. Now, I can confidently say that it is much easier for broadcasters. It is all about enabling the whole chain, starting with the content creators, the broadcasters and finally, the end-user at home. Content must be produced in 5.1 and this should be a given for premium content in this region whether it is movies, drama series or sport. Hollywood and European movies are produced in 5.1; the EPL, Italian League, Formula One, Olympics, World Cup, you name it, they are all produced in 5.1. In the case of broadcasters, they merely have to enable 5.1 on their audio feeds and this can be done by simply deploying the Dolby Digital Plus encoder. Dolby Digital is the standard followed in international markets with 100% penetration in the US and 80% in Europe. As far as end users are concerned, most STBs in the market, especially those from ADTV, Jazeera, OSN and so on are Dolby Digital Plus enabled. The main thing to remember is to ensure that receivers are Dolby formats capable as nearly all of the HD Integrated
TVs support Dolby Digital Plus. With regards to broadcast infrastructure, we need to make sure that it will be capable of passing six to eight channels of audio and ideally, adding audio metadata that helps in optimising the audio playback presentation in the homes. We offer a neat professional distribution solution based around our de-facto standard Dolby E technology that enables carrying up to eight channels of audio alongside Dolby audio metadata over a single AES/EBU pair (I.e. 2 Mbits/sec)totally synchronous with video frames. Such a format is widely supported by most professional video products manufacturers that integrate it within their products. It is rather easy to gear up to broadcast post-produced content such as movies, documentaries and dramas. The next level of complexity is to produce original live content such as sports and music in 5.1, and we can help a broadcaster make that transition. What do most broadcasters have in the region presently in terms of audio? In the Middle East, it ranges from very basic and sometimes, heavily compressed and poor mono audio to decent stereo and in very few cases, premium 5.1 audio on selective content. The region now has a vast opportunity to take audio to the next level. Migration from SD to HD is the key reason for this and with ADTV, Al Jazeera Sports, OSN and MBC offering HD services, the time
October 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 35
“Broadcasters in the region have big archives that have 1000s of hours of content and each of them has been recorded on a different level as they are on different formats and recorded at different times. If the broadcaster gives us access to this content, we can go and fix this to upmixing from stereo to 5.1, taming loudness, noise reduction and so on. There are at least 10 different elements that can be fixed on each sound track” Tarif Sayed, regional director of Dolby MEA and Pakistan Tarif Sayed and Andrea Borgato from Dolby.
is right to adopt 5.1 audio as part of that migration. Watching a movie or a football game or a concert with 5.1 surround sound is definitely a different entertainment experience. It brings life to the picture. We hear that you recently helped a couple of broadcasters in the region tweak their operations to transmit 5.1? Yes, of course. OSN and Abu Dhabi Media. At present, they are re-broadcasting existing 5.1 content, so they are at ‘stage 1’ of the surround chain. They may move on to start their own productions in native 5.1 surround sound. We assisted them to make sure that the receivers were compatible with Dolby Digital Plus; and then ensured that their infrastructure could pass Dolby E and then transmit in Dolby Digital plus at a later stage. We are now talking to other broadcasters to enable Dolby Digital Plus and 5.1. What is your perception of the Arab broadcast market and where do you see severe lack and how can this be addressed? It’s all about offering a different entertainment experience. Presently, broadcasters are only worried about delivering the content to the home. Quality does not seem to be a key issue as long as the client receives the channel. Any broadcaster who is offering premium content must think about delivering a superior entertainment experience as the customer is paying for it.
We hear that Dolby is launching its operations in Dubai. Could you tell us a bit more about your launch? Yes, we will formally launch later this year in Dubai and we shall showcase our offerings on all five screens. The Dubai office will cover our operations in the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan. What kind of growth do you foresee in this market? In cinema, we are everywhere. With regards to broadcast again, we have Dolby encoders and decoders at most major broadcast facilities including OSN, MBC, ADTV and Dubai TV among others. As most broadcasters have migrated from SD to HD or are in the process of completing their migration, they now want the capability to offer 5.1 to their viewers. In that sense, we are here in this region at the right time as the infrastructure is only now ready to adopt this audio. There is word that Dolby is looking to play a major role in cloud technology? I suppose this is the natural evolution. What we initially hope to develop is on the encoding side. The concept is to have cloud encoding so anyone who wants to encode his data file (whether audio or video) can upload it to the cloud; we can then encode it to the formats in which he wants them and push it back to him. This is still a concept that is under development. It will be based on our Dolby Media Generator (DMG), a server based encoder that will be installed
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somewhere on the cloud. This will do the encoding. In this case, we will not just offer the service and software, but also QC and other related services. There is also a belief that Middle East broadcasters prefer to outsource some audio services. If that is the case, would you be prepared to address this need? Yes. Let me start with the issues that most broadcasters are facing. Loudness is one big challenge and most broadcasters in Europe and the US are looking to address loudness issues on their feeds. Dolby is working closely with the standardisation authorities all over the world to set the standards for loudness. We are presently working with OSN to fix its loudness issues. On the service side, broadcasters in the region have big archives that have 1000s of hours of content and each of them has been recorded on a different level as they are on different formats and recorded at different times. If the broadcaster gives us access to this content, we can go and fix this to upmixing from stereo to 5.1, taming loudness, noise reduction and so on. There are at least 10 different elements that can be fixed on each sound track. We have tools to fix loudness for live audio feeds as well. How soon will this service be available in the region? Immediately. We can go physically to the library and do it but if they have a file-based system, we can also fix it online. PRO
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Muddville takes up Farsi challenge Muddville boss Jac Mulder takes BroadcastPro Middle East behind the scenes of a series of TVCs he produced for the newly-launched Farsi entertainment channel Zemzemeh Capturing an emotion on camera has always required a great deal of effort, some talent and a smattering of luck. To make that impact within 15 seconds is an even more challenging task but if that is what a client wants, that is what has to be delivered. When Zemzemeh, a Farsi-language channel from Dubai-based Broadcast Middle East (BME) — a joint venture between MOBY Group and News Corporation — was launched in July, Dubai Studio City-based Muddville was asked to produce a series of TVCs to promote the channel. The free-to-air general entertainment channel, targeted primarily at Farsi
women across the Middle East and Western Asia, shows many programmes including reality show Project Runway, and dramas Aurora and The Betrayal which are dubbed in Farsi. As Zemzemeh prepared to go on air, Muddville had to develop and present 15 ideas for films that showcased emotion and feeling, and would make the audience experience nostalgia and sentimental moods. For example, one promo shows an intimate moment between a mother and a daughter who are cooking at their home. Jac Mulder, director at Muddville points out that the client wanted the production
house to come up with ideas, and “they were immediately approved” on submission. “That was a great compliment for us. We ended up achieving this really cool look for each individual film,” he says. Besides the 15-second promos, two-minute versions were created along with a single that comprised a combination of the films. An eight-member crew from Muddville worked on the production and had one week to prepare for filming. Mulder was both DoP and director for this particular project and feels that it was essential for him to don both roles. “The look of the film was reliant on photography, and not just direction. We had
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so many cut-aways, different angles and variations and we could shoot and shoot.” Mulder mentions that selecting the right cast that could emote was also vital. “I try and find people that you can get an emotion or a reaction out of. With Zemzemeh, we had 18 to 20 people in the script.” The team developed a concise shooting board and knew exactly what they wanted from the films and the manner in which they wanted to shoot, claims Mulder. The production, however, was not without its challenges. “In most cases, we end up not having a big budget for projects, although this one was pretty fair. They told us that we needed to turn the project around in four or five days. Logistically, doing one commercial a day in this town, depending on who you are can be quite challenging. Try and couple that with three, four or five commercials a day and suddenly, you begin to realise that you have a huge task ahead of you with practically no room for errors,” adds Mulder. The director claims his team made the best of the available time and the locations they were shooting in. “We shot in five different parts of one location. We literally shot one film in the kitchen, one outside, one in the car and so on.” When time is short and work is aplenty,
“The look of the film was reliant on photography, and not just direction. We had so many cut-aways, so many different angles and so many different variations and we could shoot and shoot” Jac Mulder, director, Muddville
clearly improvisations are called for, according to Mulder. “We were limited by the lighting package that we had because the client did not budget for a professional film track or generators, so we had to use half power and LED lighting.” The LED lighting produced the desired atmosphere and look, according to Mulder. “LED lighting is easy because it comes with a little battery and you plug it in and light a whole room. You can reflect it off a wall or other surfaces and suddenly, you have enough light to shoot your film.” The team went with the Canon 5D for this shoot. While the 5D offers several benefits, Muddville also struggled with some challenges. “Canon 5Ds have two issues. You have them at 1080i resolution and the sensor is not adapted for high profile broadcast content. However if you are going back to SD, which is
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normal television content, you can get away with it.” “In addition, 5Ds struggle with stabilising and rolling shutter. If you have something move across the screen, the picture gets skewed and looks very odd because the camera records linearly. Fixing that is difficult.” At Muddville, Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects are the editing solutions of choice and Mulder said that he stands behind both “a hundred per cent”. During final stages of completion at the edit table, Mulder found that there was sufficient film to choose from in spite of the various constraints faced by his team. “The good thing about this shoot was that we had enough footage for the editors to work with. Overall, besides the time and budget constraints, Zemzemeh was one of the most fun shoots.” PRO
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October 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 41
Avid Studio makes the cut Amateur filmmakers and young, aspiring editors; media students and people looking to edit home videos will be impressed by Avid Studio V 1.0, says Renji Mathews
At no point in history have people been as enabled to document their lives, from the most amazing to the most mundane as they have been in the 21st century. The infiltration of video-enabled devices into almost every sphere of our lives has made filmmakers of us all. The million-dollar question though, is what do you do with all the video you shoot on these devices? How many of us really edit or tweak our videos before we broadcast them to the world or inflict countless hours of ‘holiday’ videos on unsuspecting guests? As a professional editor and educator, I know my family expected a great deal from me as far as my ‘home videos’ were concerned. Far from impressing family
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and friends with sharply edited shots of my daughters playing with the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, and colour corrected pan shots of whatever place we had visited, I am yet to capture video from stacks of mini DV and HDV tapes going as far back as 2005! So before I set off on another holiday with my family this summer, I thought I’d prepare in advance for the gigabytes of video and images I was sure to come back with. I started evaluating video-editing software that was not only quick and easy to use but also offered some features and power under the hood that a serious enthusiast could take advantage of. My search began with Avid, one of the biggest players in the world of digital media editing software, and creator of
“The single biggest advantage Avid Studio has over Pinnacle is the availability of unlimited tracks in the timeline. You can have titles, audio, video or still images, all on the same track if you so desire” Renji Mathews, head of Digital Media, College of Fine Arts & Design, University of Sharjah
industry standard professional tools like Media Composer and Pro Tools. Trial versions of Avid Studio HD v1.0 and Pinnacle Studio HD Ultimate Collection v15 were used for the purpose. Several new versions of Pinnacle Studio were recently launched, although the flagship version among the new releases loses the Pinnacle moniker in favour of its parent company Avid. I feel this rebranding exercise is justified considering the fact there’s enough that’s new to make it feel like a distinct product, one that’s aimed at serious enthusiasts rather than the casual user. This review will focus on the Avid Studio software, which is ideal not just for home videos but to cut behind-the-scenes packages that some of the commercial productions companies do. The retail pack of Avid Studio comes bundled with a green screen sheet. Since the version I got for this review did not contain the green screen sheet, I cannot comment on its usability or on its construction quality. But it does sound like an interesting addition to your arsenal if you want to try out some compositing or special effects.
For this review, I installed Avid Studio on a Macbook Pro (2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM), running Windows 7 Ultimate on a boot-camp partition. The installation
was completely hassle-free including all of the additional plugins and content. When you run the application for the first time, you are greeted with a welcome dialogue box that offers a tour of the software and some tutorials. The new interface looks more serious and businesslike compared to Pinnacle Studio. There are tabs across the top that allow you to quickly switch back and forth between importing; the library, editing your movie, editing your DVD menus, and exporting. In the professional world of NLE, Avid is legendary for its media management tools. This is one attribute that seems to have been incoporated into the new Avid Studio to a certain level. The library does a commendable job of showing off the vast amount of bundled content, and keeps it manageable too. Avid Studio’s custom collections feature shows the application’s professional roots. These let you group the clips, photos, sound, effects, titles, and transitions you wish to use in a project. This way, you gather up everything you need for your project without having to navigate through all your media and the hundred-plus transitions and effects each
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October 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 43
time you want to use something. You can even set up watch folders whose new content will be added automatically to Avid Studio’s media library. The Smartslide and SmartMovie tools are definitely worth a mention too. Launched from the Library view, these handy tools enable even a novice to quickly assemble a very slick looking slideshow or video. For instance, I used SmartSlide and it suggested the optimum number of pictures I needed to use based on the music that I chose. The montage tool offers dozens of pre-fabricated picture-in-picture options, many of them with 3D effects. The result only takes up one track in the timeline, so it doesn’t have as much fine control as you might have if the clips in these montages each had their own track. But still, creating impressive effects is made ridiculously easy with this tool. Another nifty feature is capturing a stop-frame animation using even your webcam, at either 8 or 12 fps. This is cool because it leaves a ‘ghost’ like image on the screen to help you line up your still frames. You can even change the aspect ratio of a project after you have started working on it — switching from 4:3 to widescreen or vice versa when needed. The single biggest advantage Avid Studio has over the other Pinnacle products is the availability of unlimited tracks in the timeline. You can have titles, audio, video or still images, all on the
Pros: 4 Superior media management library and tools 4 The absolutely fantastic Red Giant plug-in suite 4 Green Screen sheet 4 Basic photo editing tools within the editor 4 Unlimited tracks in the timeline 4 Comprehensive tutorial DVD from Class-on-Demand
Cons: 4 No Facebook or Vimeo upload 4 Feels a bit sluggish 4 Expensive when compared to the competition 4 No ‘Archive’ feature
“Although there are several cheaper competitors ... the inclusion of the powerful Red Giant plug-in suite is reason enough to recommend Avid Studio to anyone who wants to quickly and easily add zest to their home productions” Renji Mathews, head of Digital Media, College of Fine Arts & Design, University of Sharjah
same track if you so desire. You can simply layer the timeline tracks based on the type of effect you need. The audio tools are also quite handy. A mic button allows you to record voiceovers directly to the timeline. With another click, audio mixers for any selected track can be displayed. The ‘Scorefitter’ tool allows you to quickly ‘compose’ a score to perfectly fit the duration and mood of your edit, utilising a broad range of music clips that come free with Avid Studio. When you are ready to output your work, you are offered three main output options – File, Disc and Web. The export formats include—AVI; DivX, Flash, MOV; MPEG-1, 2, and 4; Real and Windows Media. Each format offers plenty of preset options for common resolutions and sizes. You can also target popular devices, including iPhone, iPad, Sony PSP, Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox. It’s great that there is a Youtube upload feature in the export tab, but why is there no option to
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upload directly to Facebook? It’s rather disappointing that it does not even have a Vimeo upload. For those who need HD and DVD export, the Disc option includes export to Blu-ray and AVCHD formats. Avid throws in a large selection of menu styles—70 standard ones and 32 more you can install from the Creative Pack (included free of charge!). These range from sports to various themed occasions and seasons to looks such as 70s retro styles. A chapter wizard makes filling these menus a snap and it can even pick the optimal places to break up the movie automatically. I must say though, that I found the interface for previewing the finished menus rather sluggish. Included in the interface is a shopping cart icon that lets you purchase plug-ins, effects, presets, sound tracks and much more from Avid’s online store. Avid Studio is one of the few digital movie-making applications that also offers some photo editing capabilities, including
October 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 45
The competition: 4 Cyberlink PowerDirector 9 4 Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 10 4 Adobe Premiere Elements 4 Apple iMovie
System requirements: 4 Windows 7, Windows Vista (SP2) 4 Intel Core Duo 1.8 GHz, Core i3, or AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ 2.0 GHz or higher - Intel Core 2 Quad 2.66 GHz, Intel Core i5 or i7, 1.06 GHz or higher required for AVCHD* 4 2 GB of RAM or higher, 4 GB for Windows 64-bit 4 DirectX 9 (or higher) graphics with Pixel Shader 3.0 support, such as: - ATI X1000 series (or higher) 4 Nvidia GeForce 6 series (or higher) 4 Intel GMA X3000 series (or higher) 4 128 MB VGA VRAM; 256 MB or higher recommended, required for AVCHD 4 Display resolution: 1280 x 800 or higher 4 Windows-compatible sound card (surround output required for surround preview) 4 5.8 GB of disk space 4 DVD-ROM for installation 4 Optional Accessories 4 DVD burner for creating DVD and AVCHD* discs 4 Blu-ray burner for creating Blu-ray discs*
cropping, straightening, fixing contrast, color temperature, brightness, saturation, and red eye. It’s not going to stop your trips to Photoshop, but it’s convenient not to have to leave the programme just for a simple image tweak. I am a big fan and long-time user of the Red Giant suite of plug-ins and was thrilled to see these included in the Avid Studio package. These plug-ins include ToonIt, Knoll Light Factory, Magic Bullet Looks, Trapcode Shine, 3D Stroke and Particular. It’s absolutely fantastic to have these plug-ins within the editing application and saves me a trip to Adobe After Effects where I usually would have used these tools. The highlight is Magic Bullet Looks, which is an effects suite in itself, with a range of sophisticated colour-correction and selective blur filters. Its 92 presets range from subtle film simulation effects to day-fornight processing and other radical effects. 3D Stroke generates abstract line-based patterns, while Particular is a particle generator. Both have masses of parameters to tweak and are perfect for adding eye-popping effects to animated graphics and intro sequences. The remaining three effects cover lens flares (originally developed by the legendary special effects artist John Knoll), cartoon-style effects and light rays, presenting a stunning array of creative options. Also included are the RTFX and Hollywood FX collections for numerous effects and
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collections. If you were to buy these separately, it would cost you a serious chunk of change. In summary, Avid delivers a well-rounded editing software for US $169.99. With a clean, intuitive interface, a multitude of effects and capabilities and unlimited tracks, Avid Studio is a great tool for the serious enthusiast who has a reasonable level of experience. The library with its organisation and editing features is second to none in its category and price range. I cannot understand why the ‘Archive’ feature has been left out of this app when it’s available even in the lower priced Pinnacle Studio HD. Of course, there are several cheaper competitors such as Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum and Cyberlink Power Director, but the inclusion of the powerful Red Giant plug-in suite is reason enough to recommend Avid Studio to anyone who wants to quickly and easily add zest to their home productions. PRO
Renji Mathews is a long-term Avid user and is head of Digital Media at the College of Fine Arts & Design, University of Sharjah
October 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 47
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Going Virtual Virtual reality will have a huge impact in television broadcasting in the coming years, says Karen Walker
Virtual reality in TV is still seen as a relatively new concept by external audiences despite the fact that the software was first introduced to the industry in the mid-nineties. Progress has been gradual, but now the increase in processing power in commodity computers has unleashed the full creative capabilities, and virtual reality is set to have a huge impact around the world. What we’ve seen on screens is a snapshot of what can be achieved by using virtual reality in television. However, if we interpret the recent high levels of interest coming from some of the major global broadcasters, there will be a rapid increase in several key areas in the near future. The strongest emerging trends include everything from virtual advertising and product placement, to the full transformation of programme sets. There has always been a great buzz surrounding virtual reality amongst broadcasters. After all, it’s the ultimate tool for them to be able to differentiate the quality of their product. Historically though, while the technology impressed broadcasters, the price
tag did not. In the early days of virtual reality, the thinking was that physical sets would be very quickly replaced by virtual studios. The reality was slightly different. Broadcasters found that programming virtual scenery turned out to be more expensive than physical sets. Fast forward to today’s virtual reality products and the economic equation has been reversed, the technology has been polished and perfected, and the systems have gone from being costly to cost-effective. The most common applications of virtual reality include studio-based presentations, such as news and sport programmes, where the sets are heavily used. The routine wear and tear which regularly occurs on these types of sets has been highlighted by the sharpness of HD pictures. Virtual environments provide the perfect solution, by not only improving the quality but saving on the continual repair costs. Another application is in make-believe worlds, for example children’s television. Virtual reality allows real actors, puppets and computer-generated characters to interact. Now that more computers have the power to
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create complete virtual environments, even in HD, these applications are sure to rise. Away from full-blown virtual studios, news and current affairs programmes now routinely mix expert analysis with dynamic presentations of data, even to the extent of presenters pulling graphs and charts out of the air and walking around and through them. In sport, too, we have grown used to virtual reality graphics in live broadcasts. Common scenarios appear in almost every popular sport. For example, team logos appearing on pitches, the length of a conversion kick being shown on screen, an offside line or even the world record pace tracking athletes during a competition. The most recent hive of activity we have seen in the virtual reality sector has been in virtual advertising and product placement, a trend which has been partially influenced in the UK by Ofcom’s decision to relax its product placement rules. The virtual advertising platform is more flexible, more dynamic and more cost-effective in comparison to other traditional advertising mediums and there has been a rapid increase amongst broadcasters to reduce dependency on spot advertising and open up new revenue streams. Broadcasters worldwide have been affected by the decline in advertising spend, so to increase commercial revenues with product placement — the use of a real product in a scene to imply the approval of the presenter or the character in a drama — is seen as a strong and new route to income. Big name broadcasters are increasingly using the latest techniques, which will see the digital integration of products into popular TV programmes. The challenge here is that television is a global business and the regulations surrounding advertising vary from country to country. So, too, do the brands: something that is a household name in one country may be unknown in another. More importantly, a vast proportion of programming is created by independent companies, but it is the broadcaster that needs to replace spot advertising revenues with virtual advertising and product placement. So for all these reasons, it is likely that shows will be shot with generic items on view which can be replaced
“Away from full-blown virtual studios, news and current affairs programmes now routinely mix expert analysis with dynamic presentations of data, even to the extent of presenters pulling graphs and charts out of the air and walking around and through them” Karen Walker, commercial manager, Vinten Radamec
with real products, for a fee, by the broadcaster. Virtual reality technology enables different branding to be composited onto an agreed object and made relevant to the country the programme is being aired in. In some cases, the broadcaster may even place products as virtual advertisements where there was nothing in the original scene. For example, a popular drinks brand could place its virtual bottle subtly on the desk of a talk show host. Soaps, scripted dramas and factual entertainment shows are being touted as the most likely candidates to develop product placement activity, but sport is still seen as the biggest growth sector for virtual advertising. Today’s technology enables many of the traditional approaches to advertising in sports arenas to be replicated in live TV coverage. Advertising boards, painted pitches, giant screens and pitch carpets can all be identically copied, created and replaced in virtual reality. One of the greatest benefits is the compelling proposition this offers to advertisers as well as attracting more sponsorship revenues from the sporting clubs and companies. Again, this allows individual broadcasters to target their own advertisers, making the messages relevant to each national or even regional audience. All of these applications require effective 3D graphics which place the virtual reality elements — whether it is a complete environment or a simple pack shot replacement - into the correct perspective to match the live action. Today, advances in processing power means that this can be delivered with more affordable computers. The graphics software is often perceived as the glamorous side of the virtual reality technology. However, there is another, equally
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important requirement. For the perfect match of real and virtual elements, the graphics system has to know precisely where the camera is pointing, to understand the field of view so that the scale and perspective can be correctly matched. This information has to come from the camera and, because virtual reality is now used so extensively in live television, it needs to be delivered in real time. For example, in virtual advertising during a football match, the cameras will be in fixed locations and on high performance pan and tilt heads to enable the operator to follow the action. Some encoded versions of the heads are capable of measuring pan and tilt to an accuracy of 1/5000th of a degree and combined with zoom and focus data from the digital lens, this information is streamed continually to the graphics processor, providing a complete representation of precisely what the camera is seeing. In the studio, the pan and tilt head will be on a pedestal which is added to precision sensors to measure both movement around the studio floor, and the elevation of the pedestal. This accurate camera tracking demonstrates the advancement in technology which has contributed to the surge in virtual reality applications. The future financial security of TV is seen to involve working smarter — creating ever more innovative content on ever tighter budgets — while developing new revenue streams. Virtual reality tackles both of these challenges, making programmes increasingly better to watch and opening up the practicalities of product placement and virtual advertising.
Karen Walker is commercial manager of Vinten Radamec
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IBC2011 was a remarkable show for us. The focus on loudness and true-peak level in the broadcast industry has been increased circumstantially, and that correlates well with research we’ve been doing for more than a decade. At the show, we presented an upgrade of the DB2 loudness adjustment processor, which is now compliant with BS.1770-2, and comes with a bunch of dedicated new DTV, mobile and iPod presets. AM6 for Pro Tools HD, a brand new radar meter targeted specifically at audio professionals delivering for cinema, also made a fine debut.” Mark Anderson, marketing operations manager for VISLINK
View our Video interviews online 4 Steve Schklair, 3Ality 4 Mark Anderson, VISLINK 4 Andrew Davies and Suhail Ahmed, TSL 4 David Butorac, OSN 4 Tom de Baere, Newtec 4 Ahmed Magd, ClearCom 4 Taher Al Tayeb, NetroMedia 4 Martin Coleman, sIRG 4 Paddy Taylor, Autocue Visit broadcastprome.com
3D and social media gain mileage at IBC This year, the entire BroadcastPro ME team was part of the excitement and buzz at IBC. We were at the RAI to explore the latest developments in the industry and hot topics at the event and were not alone in our enthusiasm. Record attendance of 50,462 was indicative of the popularity of the event, up by 4% from last year. Participation from the Middle East was palpable with the presence of biggies like Al Jazeera as well as companies such as Netromedia, which opened its doors in Riyadh shortly after IBC2011 concluded. We were overwhelmed by the response at our own booth at IBC. The positive response to BroadcastPro Middle East and our new offering SatellitePro ME was heartening. As always, the IBC awards function was one
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of the highlights of the event. A high point of the ceremony was Sir David Attenborough being awarded the IBC2011 International Honour for Excellence in recognition of his remarkable career in television and, in particular, natural history. The IBC Special Award was presented to Anthony Geffen, CEO of Atlantic Productions for Flying Monsters 3D. He was joined on stage by Celia Taylor from Sky in the UK which commissioned the programme, and by representatives from Onsight and SGO Mistika. James Cameron also took centrestage at IBC, blasting doubts about the viability of 3D as a format. “We have a thriving business that has doubled in size in the last year and could triple in size this year in personnel, hardware,
James Cameron and Vince Pace.
reach and revenue. The thing to remember is that this is an organically grown revenuebased business model. We started the 3D movie business from scratch and we are at a similar junction today in TV where investments need to be made. We believe that it will be successful.” A major barrier to 3D consumption is the lack of 3DTVs in the market, he added. “You are not going to have an explosive growth in 3DTV until you have the content. Hollywood is part of the answer but at 15-25 3D films a year and with long lead times, it
cannot keep pace with the demand.” With Vince Pace, his business partner in the CAMERON | PACE Group (CPG), Cameron spent six days at IBC giving five public presentations, visiting key exhibitors and captivating audiences with clips of his 3D feature films that are still in production. Another buzzword at IBC2011 was social media. This platform is gaining immense importance as broadcasters are increasingly trying to establish a strong digital presence. “The future of television is search and recommendation,” Philip O’Ferrall, senior VP of digital media for MTV Networks told the Forum audience at the session Social Media: Look Who’s Talking Now. “If you are not fully integrated with a social platform and if you don’t have Facebook Connect on your websites and if you don’t take your content to third-party social networks, then you are in trouble,” O’Ferrall said. IBC2011 keynote speaker Joanna Shields who is VP and MD of EMEA for Facebook added that irrespective of “whether ... a show is created, experienced or promoted, all TV will be social in the future”. PRO
IBC proved to be an extremely positive show for our industry in the battle against satellite interference. Firstly, there was an announcement that from 30 June, 2012 carrier ID will be integrated into transmission parameters for SNG transmissions and new DVB broadcasts for all Eutelsat customers. Secondly, a number of leading modem manufacturers have agreed to work together to formalise a standard for the insertion of new Carrier ID technology within the DVB specification. From my point of view, Ka Band and the move of services to this satellite development is an exciting area. We are seeing a number of new antenna systems and equipment, and I believe QA and Type Approvals are a must to ensure we get this new product area off to a good start and eradicate interference from the start. On a more general note, IBC once again showed that it does provide our industry with a great venue, and is professionally organised.” Martin Coleman, director, Colem, and executive director, Satellite Interference Reduction Group
people attended IBC this year, up by 4% from 2010
October 2011 | www.broadcastprome.com | 53
AUTOCUE TWO-PORT SERVER
This year’s IBC show proved to us that the European broadcast industry is healthy and hungry for new technologies. Digital and HD wireless video was a hot topic this year, as broadcasters are pressed by competition to transmit live video content to a growing number of platforms and mobile devices. Our customers have learnt from the lessons of the economic recession and are now seeking technologies that have proven reliability, reduced total cost of ownership and an efficient upgrade roadmap.” Steve Shpock, president of IMT
IBC is one of the most important trade fairs for Rohde & Schwarz. Our presence this year proved to be especially successful. At our booth, we attracted 10% more visitors than last year. One reason for this is the launch of the new R&S THU9 high-power transmitter family. The R&S THU9 offers outstanding efficiency and the most flexible configuration and highest power density in its class. Test equipment also plays a major role for us: We showcased the compact R&S EFL240 and R&S EFL 340 portable TV test receivers for cable, satellite and terrestrial television.” Simone Gerstl, head of product management Terrestrial Transmitter Systems, Rohde & Schwarz
Autocue has introduced a new two-port server with SDI inputs to complement the existing analogue and four-port products. The server is suited for a range of applications including education, corporate and faith productions, live events, cinema, theatre, small TV stations as well as support functions for large broadcast operations. The servers can be used standalone as an e-VTR or VTR replacement; as part of an Autocue automation system; or as part of other third party transmission or automation systems. The product can fulfil specific roles as part of a larger system or act as the central component in any production workflow. With more than two terabytes of useable storage, the 3U, rack-mountable Linuxbased server includes a custom GUI that incorporates video and audio monitoring
and supports various formats for record and playback. The new system also utilises the latest custom firmware, which is already available across all of Autocue’s existing SD and HD servers. Additional software modules for tasks such as creating playlists, linking ports for simultaneous playback or record operations, marking in and out points, and third party control via VDCP or P9 protocols are also available for all models in the range.
VISLINK FLIES HIGH The ADVENT LYNX IRD5200, a new SD/ HD contribution IRD from Vislink that is available for lightweight SNG flyaway or terrestrial ENG receive applications was showcased at IBC. The ADVENT LYNX IRD5200 combines DVB-S2 demodulation with configurable FPGA circuitry, providing various user-selectable features in one streamlined 19” x 1RU half-rack unit. The new IRD is adaptable to suit any application and is upgradeable with options that include MPEG-2 SD/HD 4:2:0/4:2:2 and H.264 4:2:0 SD/HD up to 4:2:2 10-bit HD, Low Delay or
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an ASI-over-IP input. A browser-based GUI provides complete remote control using standard browsers with the option of SNMP control for remote access via customers’ control systems. The ADVENT LYNX IRD5200 is another addition to the LYNX series aimed at highquality or contribution links where live video or content needs to be routed back to base via satellite, microwave or IP connectivity.
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CANON DigiSuper 95
From our perspective, IBC 2011 was all about multi-screen application experiences. Consumers are expecting to not only consume content on multiple devices but also to be able to interact with their TV experience from their mobile device. At IBC 2011, we saw a number of examples of this trend, and I think we’re just in the beginning of something very exciting. What I didn’t like was that many technology providers just seemed to see the mobile device as an advanced remote control. At Accedo, we think that the mobile device has a unique possibility of being an extension of the TV experience. By changing the interface contextually to the TV content, it is possible to create something that truly brings the TV experience to the next level. I think there is a huge opportunity for both pay-TV operators and broadcasters to innovate in this area.” Michael Lantz, CEO of Accedo Broadband
The new Canon DIGISUPER 95 (XJ95x8.6B) is the new generation super-telefoto lens that provides a range of imaging possibilities that conventional field lenses cannot match. The XJ95x combines the widest focal length (8.6mm) of any field lens in the industry with a 95x zoom range that’s longer at the tele end. Through this extensive framing latitude, every dramatic on-site sensation can be captured – from the emotions of a capacity crowd to the triumphant smile of an individual goal scorer. This new lens provides picture sharpness across the 16:9 HD image plane and improves on Canon’s already renowned image stabilisation performance. By utilising the company’s proprietary large-diameter aspherical lens technology and exotic glass materials, the particular optical challenges of large focal-length ranges have been effectively countered. These include lateral chromatic aberration, monochromatic aberrations and geometric distortion. Canon’s advanced Image Stabilisation System comes standard in the XJ95x. Its improved optical shift-type stabiliser incorporates a sensor inside the lens that detects vibration. Compensating optics
are then engaged at high speed to cancel out any effect on the image. To counteract ‘breathing’ (a phenomenon that occurs when focusing, changing picture size/angle of view), the new lens includes CAFS (Constant Angle Focusing System). Through a 32-bit CPU, the zoom is calculated and controlled to give an almost zero zooming effect of focus. Canon claims its XJ95x offers excellent operability including outstanding tracking capability. Similar in size and weight to the XJ86x (W.250.6, H.255.5, L.610.0mm; 23.2kg), it is also ideal for panning and tilting. Equipped as standard with a 20-pin lens interface, the lens is easily adapted to work with a wide range of existing virtual systems.
HARRIS showcases DVB-T2 technology At IBC, Harris showcased new compression and networking features for Selenio that will greatly augment its video contribution capabilities and software-enabled support for the DVB-T2 digital transmission standard. The new DVB-T2 Gateway built
into the Harris Selenio platform supports maximum redundancy and easier control and monitoring. The integrated, single-box video headend solution also includes a singlefrequency network (SFN) adapter for singlefrequency DVB-T/T2 transmission networks.
Don’t miss out - Register to receive £2000 of software licenses free with any purchase.* Register at www.autocue.com/ibcpromo * Terms and conditions apply
56 | www.broadcastprome.com | October 2011
Selenio density ensures fewer rack units, lower initial capital outlay, reduced installation costs, and lower operating costs due to its ultra-green technology. Its intuitive GUI simplifies configuration and offers quick troubleshooting to minimise downtime.
Barix Exstreamer The Exstreamer 205 IP makes retail and hospitality applications simple. Each room or location requires a single Exstreamer 205, a network connection and power outlet, two high-quality audio speakers and minimal wiring. The device delivers features to simplify infrastructure and reduce deployment costs for in-store media systems. Its built-in 2x25 watt, power-efficient class-D amplifier minimises equipment needs at the end point, lowering costs while retaining superior audio quality. Businesses can distribute branded retail radio broadcasts, customised “store and play” programmes, or simple background music streams to as many locations as the network can support, without the need for separate amplifiers. The Exstreamer 205 is also the first Barix IP audio device to add a local, line-level stereo input. This allows direct connection of an in-zone audio source to the device for local playout. This is ideal where local, nonstreaming content is available, whether from a guest’s iPod or a digital signage system. Businesses operating digital signage systems can also add the Exstreamer 205 to out-of-home networks. Operators can establish a general background stream for the entire network, with the flexibility
to interrupt the stream and play out local content at any location. Offline content protection is enhanced via a MicroSD slot, which enables local playout of (encrypted) content directly from the device while minimising opportunities for theft or modification. The Exstreamer 205 also offers priority ports for connection into a master paging system, such as the Barix Annuncicom PS16. This allows a facility manager, security guard or other operator to break into the network stream to make a page or announcement — also overruling any local audio sources. Like previous models, the Exstreamer 205 decodes and plays multi-protocol and multi-format audio streams, including MP3, AACplusV2, WMA, PCM, G.711 and EtherSound. Volume and channel selection is controllable via an API through IP or serial port, a built-in IR receiver or the Barix Volume Source Control (VSC) device.
TSL PAM2-3G16 The natural evolution of the PAM1-3G8, this new addition to the PAM product family combines the size and convenience of the original 1RU multi-channel audio monitoring unit with a full 16 bargraph
display and many of the advanced features of the PAM2-3G8, such as loudness measurement, pre-set standard switching and advance monitoring mode selection. The PAM2-3G16 was shown at IBC2011.
We were delighted that our eStudio graphics render engine was announced as the real-time 3D rendering technology for use in Avid Motion Graphics, which was introduced by Avid at IBC 2011. It was also gratifying that CNBC was honoured with the IBC 2011 Innovation Award for Content Creation, which it achieved by deploying Brainstorm technology. To win the award, CNBC used Brainstorm to create a world-first environment of direct, real-time interaction between presenter and 3D graphics, making it completely practical to introduce graphics and walk around them during an everyday news television broadcast. David Alexander, sales director, Brainstorm Multimedia
We showed our KARMAudioRT loudness monitoring at IBC. Loudness control will be mandatory by 2012 in Germany, Switzerland, France, Austria and the USA. We are offering a downloadable 15-day trial for KARMAudioRT. At a recent IABM conference, CEOs from large manufacturing firms felt that business is set to accelerate in the coming months. Although this is encouraging, let’s not pop the cork on the champagne just yet.” Martin Moore, sales director, Eyeheight Limited
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NORWIA MINIHUB IBC was a strong show for Sound Devices. Its broad geographic reach is important, especially for a company like ours, as we continue to grow and evolve our worldwide distribution. There is a good mix of end users, institutional organisations and the sales channel. From a technology perspective, IBC reinforces many of the new products introduced at NAB, and you see the maturity from initial release to shipping product. That is true in Sound Devices’ case with our PIX 220 and PIX 240 video recorders. These products were previewed at NAB and began shipping, with improvements, at IBC.” Jon Tatooles, MD, Sound Devices
IBC2011 was excellent for NETIA and parent company GlobeCast. It was perhaps not as crowded for us as last year though we had over 500 visitors to the booth this time around. Hot topics for us included multi-platform distribution and the multi-screen experience for content owners as consumers use more and more mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones while simultaneously watching television or listening to the radio. Media companies need to be very aware of new technologies available on the market and this is why they visited us - the NETIA Content Management Solution together with the GlobeCast worldwide distribution network is a perfect match.” Isabelle Michoux, Marketing Manager, Netia
Norwia’s miniHUB optical distribution platform now accepts the new cascadable CWDM optical mux/demux and WDM mux/demux 1, 2 and 3 pack passive optical devices. The cascadable CWDM optical system allows for two slim line 17 mm CWDM modules to be added to the miniHUB frame as needed. The slim line package is enclosed in a metal housing that can be used externally if needed. In addition to the passive optical range of miniHUB, Norwia has introduced 1, 2 and 3 pack WDM mux/demux in the same 17mm slim line package for the miniHUB product line. Norwia has followed the SMPTE 297-2006 and IEC 61754-20-1 practice of using LC/PC optical connectors as a preference. This type of connector is used throughout the miniHUB system and is widely acceptable by broadcasters and the Telco industry. The miniHUB gives customers a tool that provides Optical links, Optical
distribution, Optical transponder, add/ drop/pass networks, Ethernet distribution. All on the 1 card, all at the user’s discretion and now boost a range of passive optical devices to complement.
Matrox IS PROMISING At IBC2011, Matrox Video Products Group and PROMISE Technology demonstrated multi-layer realtime editing of uncompressed HD projects using Matrox MXO2 LE MAX video I/O devices and PROMISE Pegasus RAID storage connected to the latest Apple iMac via the all-new Thunderbolt technology. Developed by Intel and brought to market with collaboration from Apple, Thunderbolt technology is a high-speed I/O technology running at 10 gigabits per second that brings together high-speed
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data transfer and high-definition (HD) display on to a single cable. Matrox MXO2 devices provide broadcast-quality video and audio capture, monitoring, output, and H.264 encoding for use with leading editing and content creation applications. The PROMISE Pegasus R6 is a six-bay hardware RAID storage solution designed to tap into the raw power of Thunderbolt technology. Live desmontrations of the complete Thunderbolt technologyenabled editing workflow were featured at IBC.
WOHLER PADS UP PANDORA
From Snell’s perspective, three themes seemed to prevail at IBC2011. The first is that broadcasters are looking for solutions that are truly fit for purpose, enabling them to be more productive and cost-effective. Second, 3D and second screen delivery is here to stay – producers and content owners need the ability to make their 2D and 3D content concurrently. Finally, channel-in-a-box solutions are coming of age as they continue to demonstrate clear advantages over separate or bespoke playout systems, with potential to be running mainstream channels in the future.” Norman Rouse, VP of global marketing, Snell
Wohler Technologies has enhanced its Pandora loudness monitoring and logging system. Through the new Wohler Loudness application, Pandora now allows users to monitor, analyse, and demonstrate audio loudness levels on an iPad or iPod touch. Additional updates to Pandora facilitate easy capture, storage, and email delivery of loudness log files; enable even more comprehensive measurement of loudness metrics; and support more flexible configuration of the monitoring system. The new Wohler Loudness application for the Pandora system gives iPad and iPod touch users the ability to demonstrate Pandora’s monitoring and analysis of audio loudness levels from stereo on up to eight channels extracted from either an SDI input or four AES embedded pairs. When the application is in demo mode, features can be demonstrated on an iPod touch or iPad. Standards covered include ATSC A/85 (ITU BS.1770 and ITU BS.1771), EBU R128, and ARIB TR-B32.
Additional capabilities of the new Pandora software release include logging with the ability to send log files via email, a feature that allows engineers to document, deliver, and demonstrate loudness readings, no matter where they’re working. Wohler also has enhanced Pandora with added readings for true peak, loudness range (LRA), average and maximum loudness, as well as with over/under indications. The latest release of Pandora software is now available as a free download.
LiveU HD video solution
petrol bags’ camwrap
LiveU’s new LU40i handheld live HD video solution for the online media market weighs less than 700 grams. The LU40i provides a simple-to-use uplink solution for online coverage of events, such as sports, music, advertising, religious and corporate sponsorship. The LU40i, complements LiveU’s flagship LU60 live video transmission solutions, used by top-tier broadcasters and the largest news agencies around the world, claims the company. With up to six network connections, the bonded LU40i offers 4G LTE/3G, WiMAX, Wi-Fi and LAN video transmission in a substantially smaller form factor. The LU40i leverages LiveU’s algorithms for sustained
Petrol Bags has created the Deca CamWrap for Sony PMW-500, 350 and 320 cameras. Designed to shield equipment while on location, this easy-to-use cover safeguards the camera body from unwanted scratches or dust. Deca CamWrap Construction is made of black, layered 3D Micro-Fiber Mesh (3DM) that keeps the camera cool and well ventilated. The CamWrap is designed to offer fast and easy access to all camera features. Oversized transparent polyurethane (TPU) windows provide maximum visibility of controls. The rear battery cover is equipped with two connectors for detachable pouches for wireless receivers and transmitters; one pouch is included.
video transmission, even when on the move. It also includes versatile encoding capabilities for transmitting high-quality HD/SD video from diverse locations, adapting to dynamic network conditions. The LU40i solution can be connected to or mounted on, commercially available cameras (SDI, analogue and HDMI). The device has been developed to address the needs of the online media market. With its touchscreen it provides simple yet flexible mechanisms for either local or remote control. The solution provides a hub for multimedia streams, enabling customers to control, process, post-process and distribute video streams easily.
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60 | www.broadcastprome.com | October 2011
ERICSSON TAKES NEW APPROACH TO LINEAR MULTI-SCREEN TV Ericsson has launched an additional, critical enabler for the success of multi-screen TV. The solution, which was launched at IBC combines hardware and software to provide a flexible approach to the growing multiscreen market. Ericsson’s solution enables the expansion in processing needed to deliver a multiscreen offering. Ericsson’s ConsumerLab research shows that 93% of consumers still watch linear TV and will continue to do so. The expectation by consumers for multi-screen TV is that all of their content choices available in the home on the large screen will also be available on every screen. The Ericsson solution enables effective processing of hundreds of channels into thousands of adaptive streaming profiles. The Ericsson SPR1200 Multiscreen Stream
Processor, a true hardware approach to Multi-screen compression, is combined with the Ericsson NPR1200 Multiscreen Network Processor, a dense software-based adaptive streaming segmentation and encryption processor, designed to track dynamic updates in adaptive streaming formats and DRM systems associated with the needs of delivery to different types of devices, as well as supporting an array of deployment architectures and formats, claims the company. This latest solution is part of a solution set for multi-screen TV, comprising management, processing, and delivery of linear and on-demand content to all devices, enhanced with the most unique middleware and back office capabilities to provide a user experience that includes social interaction, search, discovery, and sharing.
This year’s IBC was one of Calrec’s most successful. Not only did we launch the dual fader version of the Apollo and the new Artemis Light console, we also secured the sale of the first Artemis Light on the day it was launched. This sale was to the Cameron/Pace Group. We also had very positive feedback on our range of fixed format and modular IO products, and to H2O, Calrec’s network management tool. We had almost double the footfall from the Middle East and Africa region as a result of our growing presence there. In fact, visitor numbers were up from every region, which suggests that the market is picking up. Anthony Harrison, MEA manager, Calrec.
Solid State Logic console Solid State Logic’s new V4 Software for the industry standard C100 HDS Digital Broadcast Console was showcased for the first time at IBC 2011 . Demonstrating on-going development of the industry standard C100 HDS, the new V4 Software release, offers new features and options that significantly increase capability, productivity and connectivity for the high-end broadcaster. The V4 software package, which has generated keen interest from the industry, is available now as an upgrade. Highlights of the new software include ‘C-Play’ which embeds a professional audio playout system into the console surface, delivering superior ergonomics for the
operator and integrated recall of playlists with console projects. Compatibility with external studio systems is enhanced; V4 includes integration with Mosart Medialab Newscast Automation. Mosart is a production automation system and adds to existing support for Sony ELC and Ross Overdrive. Continuing with the integration theme, full-duplex connectivity with Reidel RockNet Audio Networks (including remote preamp control and compatibility with their Independent Gain System) expands compatibility with installed audio networks. ‘Audio Follow Video’ capabilities are also enhanced with independently programmable ramp on/off fade times.
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The 2011 edition of IBC saw significantly more visitors from the Middle East than in the previous four or five years, with hundreds finding their way to the exhibition halls and stands. The migration to HD platforms in the region is in full swing and so, many seemingly were scouting for equipment and services that could fulfil their requirements. Our stand was packed with clients old and new from early till late, with a healthy interest in our new modular SynCross routers and fiber optical Synapse modules.” Mark Barkey, regional sales manager, Axon Digital Design Middle East
Bright Data Mover Bright Technologies has launched Data Mover, the first sequence-aware file manager designed solely for the media and entertainment industry. Previously available only as an option for its BrightDrive media file servers, Data Mover is now available as a stand-alone cross-platform file manager for all post-production workflow automation environments. Data Mover brings high performance, multi-threaded, sequenceaware data transfer intelligence to complex digital post processes, providing users with a secure method of handling media files, claims the company. It is fully optimised for fibre channel environments and has been designed specifically for integration with multiplatformed workflows. It also includes full support for StorNextFS or HyperFS workflows.
Besides an extended feature set for DCI Mastering, CLIPSTER now also enables Mezzanine Format Mastering for the so-called Interoperable Master Format (IMF). As a mezzanine format, IMF allows rapid versioning of different distribution formats. It is also possible to record directly in JPEG2000 file sequences with DVS’s flagship product. In addition, the new AVC-Intra Class 200 codec, which is part of Panasonic’s AVC-Ultra codec group, extends the diversity of distribution formats offered by CLIPSTER. VENICE, the multi-channel video server for the broadcast market, also comes
with new features for IBC. In addition to high-quality codecs such as JPEG2000 and AVC-Intra Class 200, VENICE also supports the Avid systems ISIS and Interplay, effortlessly handling stereo 3D material.
Tightrope offers ZEPLAY IBC2011 saw Tightrope Media Systems demonstrate the latest firmware upgrade version 2.0 for its ZEPLAY instant replay platform designed exclusively for live sports production. The ZEPLAY 2.0 release has seen hundreds of hours of live testing in the field and is a reliable solution that can meet the fast-paced, mission-critical heavy demands of live sports production — whether installed in arenas, stadiums and Outside Broadcast vehicles. ZEPLAY is a four-in, four-out instant replay system that continuously records four 100Mbps HD-SDI streams while simultaneously playing out any or all of the streams. With the new ZEPLAY 2.0 release, the system incorporates additional features such as a built-in highlight editor with dynamic control and push/skip capabilities, an external file import with Final Cut Pro and AVID round-trip support, cross-faded switching
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on both sequence and replays, and built-in clip editing with match frame and multi-angle editing tools designed for lightening fast operation during a live production. Clip import has been added in ZEPLAY 2.0 to enable sponsor promos and existing player highlights to be incorporated into highlight packages created on the fly. ZEPLAY 2.0 also allows an operator to export clips and sequences in a variety of formats including DVCProHD, MXF, Quicktime and its native MPEG2-HD I-frame only format. The system houses sufficient RAID 5 storage to record forty hours of each angle, 160 HD hours total, in 720P or 1080i full-resolution, 4:2:2 100mbps MPEG-2 I-Frame — allowing ZEPLAY to process 800 mbps. ZEPLAY is designed so that a single operator can effectively manage all four angles and all eight streams.
No hype, just good business at IBC2011: Craig Moehl The first thing that struck me about IBC this year is that unlike the previous two years, there were no glaring “next big thing” or hyped-up technology. Compare this to last year’s “3D” and the previous years’ “HD” buzzwords. This is a very good thing. Everyone seems to be just getting on with the business of technology rather than technology for technology’s sake. Not even the word “mobile” was over advertised this year! Also, there seemed to be a prevailing sense of quiet urgency and genuine willingness to do business, rather than the traditional snobbishness and arrogance that has sometimes been apparent in previous years. These are all definite signs of a market that is maturing and this has to be good for everyone as more value, application and flexibility is squeezed out of products and services. Compared to last year, I noticed that a number of technologies that were traditionally purely the parlance of the large, high-tech suppliers were now being offered by younger, nimbler, much more cost-effective players. And when you speak to them, you really get a feeling that they know what they are talking about. For example, take scheduling and playout systems. Channel in a box, scheduling and playout solutions at $3,000 that run on a quad core desktop PC and a $500 capture card are as feature rich as the solutions that cost $75,000+. Sure they may not be as resilient or scalable (yet!), but as the market matures and the products become more commoditised, the costs will continue to fall and features will be
further enriched. This leaves the big players to add more value and again, that’s good for everyone. I saw similar changes in a whole range of software solutions, from compliance through to workflow. Like many others, I attend IBC not only to re-establish relationships with existing customers and suppliers, but to see what’s new and to scout for new solutions to solve particular technical issues for projects on which I am working. We have customers who require compliance logging and the creation of on-demand files from the satellite channels that we acquire and stream for them. I was surprised at the number of high-quality and cost-effective solutions that are available, from about $3,000 for a one-channel solution. Just three years ago, you would have had to spend 10 times that! Another example that illustrates why it’s so important to stay current with new (and old) suppliers was probably the most welcome and surprising of IBC for me. Wowza is an outfit that did the unthinkable – take on the might of Adobe, and win! They provide an alternative to setting up a streaming / CDN infrastructure, rather than using more expensive Adobe Flash servers. I also noticed that Wowza has teamed up with Amazon EC2, not only providing absolute flexibility to their customers, but serving as an excellent example of the Cloud Broadcasting concept. As always, the Sony and BlackMagic stands were abuzz with energy. There were two great “gadgets” that I remember – one was a portable SatCom uplink terminal by Eversat that fits perfectly on the back of my Vespa
“Compared to last year, I noticed that a number of technologies that were traditionally purely the parlance of the large, high-tech suppliers were now being offered by younger, nimbler and much more cost-effective players.”
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scooter, and the other the amazing new little Tivo box. The one thing that struck me as noticeably absent was the representation by Middle East companies at the show this year. I am not talking about the likes of ArabSat who always exhibit. There is a wealth of experience and superior technology know-how in the Middle East and it’s about time that this was flaunted in Europe. I would like to see the young innovative, forward thinking companies flaunting their excellence in the European market place. So what am I expecting to see different next year? I predict that the broadcast industry in general will start to look at the whole “Broadcasting in the Cloud” concept with greater depth. I suspect that there will be a greater leverage of the Internet to provide services, collaboration, connecting workflow and people and allowing scalability. The acid test here will be “what function do I need? Can I do this better and cheaper on the internet?” If you are convinced that this does not apply to you, then I challenge you to look at what you do and see what elements of it can be ported to the cloud. In the worst case, your answer is “none of it” or “all of it”! That means in 18 months, you will not have a business. The trick is to use the internet to enhance and add value, make things easier for your clients and foster ease of workflow and communication. If you can achieve that you will be onto something special and will win business away from the traditional market leaders. PRO
Craig Moehl is the CEO of SatStream
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Stand #E7-35 9 - 13 October 2011
Published on Oct 5, 2011
Broadcast Pro Middle East is a monthly publication covering television and radio broadcasting technology as well as filmmaking trends in the...