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issue 6 | decemBer 2010

Technology inTelligence for TV, film and radio

wORKShOP fOR PROS Highlights from Dolby training event PROducTiOn nOTES Exclusives from Action Impact and Sea Shadow

po

e st rk te a la m e e th th w on vie s re ase r ts le pe re ex ion r y ct st du du ro In t p s

auTOMaTEd BRanding Creating sophisticated on-air graphics cost effectively

t PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ


We’ve opened our doors to the future. Come in! Come see what the future looks like. Join us as we open our doors for you to experience tomorrow. The Sony Technology Open House. You’re invited to the future. The event will showcase the latest products from Sony, seminars* plus a special 3D workshop. Date : 19th and 20th December 2010 Timing : 10:00 hrs to 17:00 hrs Venue : Sony offices, International Media Production Zone, Dubai

For more information email us at middle.east@eu.sony.com

* Schedule of Seminars 11:00 hrs - 12:00 hrs : Thinking in 3D 13:00 hrs - 14:00 hrs : OLED - The future in display technology 15:00 hrs - 16:00 hrs : Media Backbone - Network Production Solutions

JOIN US AT OUR EXCLUSIVE

3D WORSHOP


STOP PRESS Colin Sherriff has resigned from TSL Middle East and will head for ESPN Sports, Singapore in Q1 2011. Turn to page 5 for more details.

Welcome Editor’s Pick Several companies held regional events last month including Advanced Media, Harris, Miranda, Blackmagic Design and Dolby. Our News section has all the details this month.

Congratulations to the BroadcastPro ME team for organising such a great event. Apart from industry experts sharing their technical knowhow, this workshop offered a great platform to network with broadcast industry peers. Jasvinder Singh, manager of operations, IPDish, Dubai. Turn to page 28.

When BroadcastPro Middle East was launched six months ago, we made a commitment to conduct workshops regularly in the region in conjunction with manufacturers and industry pros so as to upgrade the skills of the broadcast engineers in this region. Last month, we had the opportunity to conduct our first workshop in association with a prestigious international player, whose technology is increasingly being adopted by some of the trendsetters in this region. I’m talking about none other than Dolby. OSN, for instance, has looked to distinguish itself from its competitors by offering Dolby Digital Sound on its HD channels. Our workshop with Dolby and its partners Axon, Thomson and Tektronix was organised in just three weeks as we got the green light just a week before the Eid holidays began. The initial plan was to have only 25 people at the event. However, seeing the number of registrations that came in and the job titles of the people who wanted to attend, we realised that there was a serious need for such a workshop in the market. Dolby,

therefore, took the decision to conduct the same workshop on both November 29 and 30 so that more people could be accommodated. I’m proud to say that our first event was a great success and will hopefully lead to many more workshops in this region. Our aim is to truly raise the level of awareness about new technology in the Arab world, to support filmmakers, engineers and media students keep abreast of the latest trends and also gain hands-on experience working on new technologies. BroadcastPro ME will be happy to organise similar workshops for international and regional players looking to conduct training events in the region. Please contact vijaya@cpidubai.com for further details.

Vijaya Cherian, Senior Editor, BroadcastPro Middle East

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www.broadcastprome.com Publisher Dominic De Sousa COO Nadeem Hood Commercial Director Richard Judd richard@cpidubai.com +971 (0) 4 440 9126 Senior Editor Vijaya Cherian vijaya@cpidubai.com +971 (0) 50 768 3435

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© Copyright 2010 CPI. All rights reserved. While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.


in this issue dEcEMBER 2010

23 &36 ExCluSivE!

BroadcastPro ME is always the first to bring you exclusive reviews from end users in the region on the latest tech releases in the market. This month, industry experts have reviewed Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve and Sony’s Vegas Pro 10 for our readers.

28

WOrkSHOP PrO

Our first success story in pictures.

4

nEWS

All the latest updates on who’s joined and who’s leaving; new partnerships and tech deals.

16 TAking ACTiOn

We bring you production notes from the team that created a TVC for CNIA, Abu Dhabi.

32 SEA SHADOW

Exclusive behind-the-scenes pictures from Sea Shadow, produced and financed by Imagenation.

42 TECH fOCuS

Automating graphics generation.

48 guEST COluMn

Greg Unrau, head of training at ADFC on how to balance the passion and the purse strings.

December 2010 | www.broadcastprome.com |

3


PRONEWS

OSN COMPLETES BOX SWAP, LAUNCHES 3D

From left: Tevido’s director of Business Charles Maasry with MD Hassan Ghoul.

TEVIDO AND CHYRON TIE Chyron has appointed Dubaibased Tevido as its distributor for the Middle East and North Africa region barring Egypt, BroadcastPro Middle East has learnt. Speaking to BroadcastPro ME, Hassan Ghoul, MD of Tevido said: “We are presently the only distributor for the company in the MENA region with the exception of Egypt.” Chyron has taken a stand at CABSAT this year and will be seen alongwith Tevido. The Dubai-based company was also recently appointed regional distributor for Amber Fin.

Orbit Showtime Network (OSN) will disable the illegal reception of its signals from December 19. Its channels will no longer be available on dreamboxes, set top boxes connected to the internet or its older STBs. At the same time, those who have subscribed to the pay TV’s Platinum Extra, Premier Plus or Movies Plus packages will be treated to a slate of free-of-charge 3D content that will be made available on their new OSN SHOWBOX HD. “Securing the platform is a big achievement for OSN,” David Butorac, OSN’s new CEO, said. “It is part of the network’s commitment to put a stop to piracy and add value to customers by expanding OSN’s entertainment line-up. “Looking forward to 2011, we will continue to invest in content and innovation to provide an exclusive home to the most premium movies, series and sports to customers throughout the MENA region.” OSN launched 3D into the Middle East on December 6 with an underwater odyssey titled Oceanworld 3D. Although Butorac clarified that OSN will not have an exclusive

3D channel, he confirmed that the best of Hollywood in 3D including Bolt, Street Dance, Final Destination, Journey to the Centre of the Earth and other content will be shown to OSN viewers. “Following hot on the heels of the success of HD and the Showbox HD DVR among our viewers, we are now proud to be the first TV network in the Middle East to offer subscribers the opportunity to experience cinema quality 3D movies in the comfort of their own home. 3D is a new dimension in

television and is set to transform the way TV is enjoyed,” Butorac said. The OSN SHOWBOX HD will also now feature OSN ondemand services; the ability to switch subtitles on and off on all HD channels; an eight-day interactive TV guide allowing viewers to book multiple recordings eight days in advance and the ability to record two shows and watch a third simultaneously with the option to record all episodes of a favourite series at the touch of a button.

PAL ACHIEVES NEWTEC ASBU-MENOS OPEN DSNG CERTIFICATION Turkey-based PALS Electronics has achieved the Multimedia Exchange Network over Satellite (MENOS) certification of its vehicle-mounted and flydrive satellite antenna systems for use with Newtec’s ASBU-MENOS OpenDSNG networking solution. The certification ensures that the solution can be used in the MENOS network operated by the Arab States Broadcasting

Union (ASBU) on Arabsat satellite capacity. Speaking about the project, Fikret Guzel, GM of PALS said: “This programme will futureproof our next generation of IP-based products by meeting the needs of broadcast customers with traditional equipment as well as early adopters of new technology.” PALS’ integrated solution will

work either in MENOS or traditional DSNG mode, with software in the PALS system controller allowing the user to select which mode to be used. Since October 2008, ASBU and Newtec have certified professional integration partners enabling them to join different certification programmes on the MENOS system. Broadcasters in MENA can acquire and use

MENOS-certified equipment for accessing ASBU’s MENOS platform or any other privately operated open platform. “This new certification demonstrates the increasing demand for powerful IP-based services in the Middle East region and in the broadcasting industry as a whole,” stated Slaheddine Maaoui, director general of the ASBU.

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08/12/2010 13:01


PrOnEWS

Dk-TECHnOlOgiES TEAMS uP WiTH EMEA gATEWAy The introduction of new regulations has made this a hot topic and a difficult issue for the broadcaster to address, but the functionality provided by DK’s instruments provides a comprehensive solution that is well suited to broadcasters in the Middle East,” stated Elliott.

From left: Mike Purnell with Abdul Ghani and below, Argosy’s new office in Dubai.

ArgOSy OPEnS OffiCE in DubAi UK-based cable and studio infrastructure solutions provider Argosy’s office in Dubai is now operational, BroadcastPro Middle East has learnt. Mike Purnell, director at Argosy, who was in Dubai last month told BroadcastPro ME that the office is only the beginning of the company’s growth plans for the Middle East region. “We have decided to increase our warehouse stocks for this market substantially. We were previously storing our inventory in Jebel Ali. Everything has now been shifted to our new office. This will help us to save money

and, therefore, our rates will be even more competitive in this market,” Purnell stated. “We’re also looking to recruit another sales person for this office to support Argosy’s Middle East sales manager Abdul Ghani. We want to ensure that our service levels are always maintained here.” Purnell added that Argosy might eventually look at making its Dubai office the hub to support not just the Middle East market but some parts of Africa and the Indian subcontinent as well. Argosy’s Dubai office is located close to the Lamcy shopping mall in Dubai.

Guy Elliott heads EMEA Gateway.

DK-Technologies has outsourced its Middle East sales efforts to EMEA Gateway. Speaking about its reason for appointing EMEA Gateway, Richard Kelley, sales and marketing director for DK-Technologies, said: “One of our key goals for 2011 is to increase our market penetration and brand awareness in the Middle East. We have an excellent range of products that are ideally suited to the Middle East broadcast and post production environments. EMEA Gateway can provide us with a conduit to a large network of resellers, and Guy’s experience and contacts in the broadcast market will enable us to deliver our solutions to a much larger audience.” Guy Elliott, who heads EMEA Gateway, expressed confidence that his company’s involvement will help DK “to further establish its brand in what is becoming an increasingly important sales territory”. “Key to a company outsourcing its sales operations to a business like ours is that we bring an understanding of the technical challenges being reflected in today’s industry. The most pressing technical challenge that DK’s products address is loudness measurement and monitoring.

cOlin ShERRiff lEavES TSl MiddlE EaST Colin Sherriff has resigned from TSL Middle East to join ESPN Sports in Singapore, BroadcastPro ME has learnt. TSL confirmed that Colin’s role will be covered by Andrew Davies, who is also based in Dubai and will step up to take responsibility for the Middle East office. Davies will be supported by a UK-based international systems sales manager who will be responsible for the Middle East region in addition to other territories. “The Dubai office recently employed a training and support manager and, although disappointing that Colin has decided to leave, it will not deter TSL from its ongoing commitment to this region,” David Phillips, managing director of TSL told BroadcastPro. “We fully understand Colin’s career decision. He will stay with us until Q1 2011 to complete a number of projects that he has been directly overseeing. We are also looking forward to working with him at ESPN Star Sports in the future.”

December 2010 | www.broadcastprome.com |

5


PrOnEWS

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber (l) and Andrew Griffith, CFO of BSkyB.

BSKYB and adMic TiE British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) has partnered with Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp (ADMIC), a private investment company owned by HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan in a 5050 joint venture to launch an Arabic-language news channel. Based in Abu Dhabi, the new company will operate under the Sky News brand. Content for the channel, website and mobile applications will be created and delivered by more than 180 multimedia journalists, supported by a full technical and operations team. The venture will be based in new studios to be developed at Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 media zone. In addition, it will have a network of newsgathering bureaux across MENA, further offices in London and Washington DC, and access to Sky News’ wider network of international bureaux. Adrian Wells will be the launch director of the channel. He will work with the ADMIC team to launch the new channel and a Director of News will be appointed in due course to lead the venture on a permanent basis.

JazEERa SPORTS OPTS fOR JungER audiO Jünger Audio has supplied its LEVEL MAGIC loudness control technology to Al Jazeera Sports to provide automatic level monitoring across all 19 of its playout channels. The equipment installed at Al Jazeera Sports includes 18 B46 digital dynamics processors, each incorporating an HD-SDI board for PGM-Out limiting and levelling. Al Jazeera has also invested in six Jünger Audio MIX4 compact fourfader mixers, each with two HD-SDI boards. These are used for channel swap and operation control.

Left pic: Niaz Siddiqui of Salam MediaCast with Greg Hoskin; (top right) Mufid Alhaj Ali of the Media Office with Hany Bartella from Miranda and Hassan Chahine from DMI and below right, Ihab El Baba with twofour54’s Omran Abdallah and Hasan Sayed Hasan.

MirAnDA HOSTS uSEr COnfErEnCE More than 50 end users from across the region gathered together to attend Miranda’s third annual user conference in the UAE. “We hold three conferences across the EMEA region every year,” stated Hany Bartella, GM, Miranda Middle East. “The idea is to bring our end users together to train them on our new workflows

and showcase our equipment.” A team of 14 people came down from Miranda’s Canadian and UK offices for the event while four staff from the local office were also at hand to support the conference. “Our highlight is iTX, which is not just a channel-in-a-box but a complete broadcast platform that includes automation, playout,

asset management. This is the first time we are launching this in the region. We will integrate our Vertigo and Kaliedo solutions with iTX soon.” Bartella claimed Miranda had enjoyed a lot of success in the region citing Al Jazeera Network and ERTU as examples of end users who have invested in Miranda solutions.

SOny PiCTurES TElEviSiOn fOrMS nEW PrODuCTiOn COMPAny in DubAi Sony Pictures Television (SPT) formed a new production company last month to serve the Arabic speaking market, fronted by local production executives, Ziad Kebbi and Dany Karam. Sony Pictures Television Arabia (SPT Arabia) is based in Dubai with production offices in Cairo and in Beirut. Kebbi and Karam, who were formerly with Endemol Middle East, now represent SPT’s extensive catalogue of scripted and non-scripted programming targeting broadcast clients in twenty two countries spanning Iraq to Morocco.

6 | www.broadcastprome.com | December 2010

Commenting on the new branch, Kees Abrahams, president of international production at SPT said: “The Arabic-speaking countries [have] a growing appetite for high quality, scripted and non-scripted content. With our vast catalogue of library and current formats along with Ziad and Dany, we are now in an even stronger position to grow our production business across this important market.” Kebbi and Karam have been active in the Middle East entertainment industry for 20 years with extensive experience in content acquisition, production and distribution.

Kebbi added: “SPT Arabia will tap into the global knowledge and resources of SPT and will lean on our local market knowledge to bring the most compelling and entertaining programming to TV viewers in the Middle East.”

Ziad Kebbi, SPT Arabia.


PrOnEWS

OMAn Tv AnD SOny PSMEA ink uS $69 MilliOn COnTrACT Oman’s Ministry of Information signed a US $69 million deal with Sony Professional Solutions MEA last month to build HD studios at Oman TV Complex in Muscat and refurbish its television broadcast facility in Salalah. The project is scheduled for completion in November 2011. The project includes the delivery of eight fully-equipped HD studios including four production studios and four news studios. Tapeless networked production, news, transmission, radio, a complete Media Asset Management solution as well as other extensive facilities are part of the deal to provide a truly tapeless broadcast production environment. Sony will also provide a future-proof 3G infrastructure for Oman TV.

Commenting on the collaboration, Mohammad Al Marhouby, chairman of the project committee and director general of engineering at Oman MOI, said: “We are expecting Sony’s experience in delivering broadcast and IT-based MAM projects, as well as its expertise in the region to

contribute to the success of this project. We recognise that our engineers need the necessary skills to manage the migration from traditional broadcasting to HD technology and are expecting Sony Professional’s training offering to help us achieve our goals.”

MiKE gRiEvE JOinS quanTEl Mike Grieve has joined Quantel as director of sales, EMEA. The appointment is part of an aggressive expansion programme that is the result of Quantel’s success in the market over the last few years. Mike joins Quantel from Filmlight. “Mike is a welcome addition to the Quantel team,” said Martin Mulligan, director of sales and marketing at Quantel. “His track record is impressive and his knowledge of the market, particularly on the post side, is second to none. Mike will be a real asset as we continue our expansion programme to bring the real benefits Quantel technology has to offer to the widest possible market.”

Delegates from Sony (left) with dignitaries from Oman’s Ministry of Information.

December 2010 | www.broadcastprome.com |

7


PrOnEWS

HArriS ExPAnDS MESA TEAM AnD bOOSTS CuSTOMEr SErviCE Jan Eveleens.

axOn gOES glOBal Mehrouz Homampour will head MESA’s customer support centre.

As part of its efforts to bring the Middle East and South Asia (MESA) region under one umbrella and boost its customer service efforts in the region, Harris MESA has expanded its staff significantly and undergone substantial internal restructuring, BroadcastPro ME has learnt. Mehrouz Homampour will head Harris MESA’s customer service operations in the region while Michele Dwayk will lead the company’s sales and marketing operations in the region. Harris’ Indian operations will be helmed by Somu Patil, who will be based in Delhi. Speaking on the sidelines of the company’s first MESA conference in Dubai, Said Bacho, vice president for the region told BroadcastPro ME: “We now have two sub regions: the Middle East and South

Michele Dwayk will lead Harris MESA’s sales and marketing operations.

Asia. Our plan is to have a proper customer briefing centre here. We have never had a senior customer service person in the region. Now, Mehrouz has joined us from Harris UK to head customer services for MESA. He has been with Harris for the last twenty years and has a lot of experience on both the technical and service side. We also have a team of ten support staff now; previously we had three. Five of them will operate from Dubai and five will be posted in Delhi and all of them will report to Mehrouz,” he stated. Likewise, Dwayk who previously managed the administrative affairs in Harris Dubai has been promoted to head of sales and marketing. “We have grown exponentially and the office in Dubai has also expanded.

Michele will be in charge of the marketing communications activities in MESA as well as the operations side including logistics and administration of Dubai and Delhi. She will have a team working for her in these various functions,” Bacho said. Harris held its first MESA conference in Dubai, where the first two days were dedicated to training its own staff while the third day was set aside for clients and the last two were designed for its MESA dealers. “Today, we have about 30 plus people within the team including 10 service engineers and eight sales staff amongst others,” explained Bacho. “More than 110 end users attended our training session while 40 dealers from the MESA region joined us for the dealer meeting,” Bacho added.

MBc gROuP launchES dRaMa channEl fOR aRaB viEwERS

Mazen Hayek, MBC.

MBC Drama, a new Arabiclanguage channel was launched last month and coincides with MBC Group’s 20th anniversary. Mazen Hayek (pictured left), director of PR at MBC Group said the launch was “proof of the Group’s faith in local production, dramas in particular” and created

“opportunities for directors and producers to display their work to millions of viewers”. The channel airs a variety of first and exclusive runs of Egyptian, Syrian, Bedouin and Gulf dramas, and also broadcast dubbed versions of Turkish, Mexican and Indian dramas.

Jan Eveleens, CEO of Axon recently paid a visit to the Middle East as part of his efforts to oversee some “important projects that are going on in the region right now”. “The Middle East has been a very important region for our company for a very long time and there are some big projects on the radar now so I like to pay a visit here now and then to see how we can better support our customers,” Eveleens said, adding that the company has been expanding significantly into international markets as well. “Our office in Moscow is due to open by Jan 2011 and same goes for our Singapore office. We already have a major presence in China and are hoping to begin operations in South America possibly in 2012. But even as we go global, Axon tries to remain true to what it has always been known for — our relationships with customers and our service,” added Eveleens.

MElOdY SuPPliES dPa MicS TO MOSquE UAE distributor Melody House has supplied four Midas DPA 4080 miniature cardioid lavalier mics to Almoe Digital AV Systems, for installation in the Shiekh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The mics will be used for prayers. “When DPA mics were compared in a blindfold test, they emerged leaders of the pack,” Almoe’s Jason Rouzaire said. “This was a perfect microphone to use in such a high profile job.” Combining high audio quality and low visibility, the DPA 4080 is well suited for broadcast, conference, and other live performances in the studio or in the field.

December 2010 | www.broadcastprome.com |

9


PRONEWS

SHEMS FM CHOOSES NETIAS’ RADIO ASSIST

Kaveh Farnam, CEO, Advanced Media.

ADVANCED MEDIA APPOINTED ZEISS DISTRIBUTOR Dubai-based distributor Advanced Media landed a coup last month when it was recently appointed Zeiss distributor for the region. Speaking exclusively to BroadcastPro ME on the sidelines of a workshop to demonstrate the features of the new Weisscam HS-2 MK II from P+S Technik, Kaveh Farnam, CEO of Advanced Media said: “We have been exclusive

distributors of Zeiss photography lenses for a while. Now, we have forged a deal to distribute its lenses to the video market as well.” Zeiss will also be a part of the Advanced Media stand at CABSAT2011. “We have most of the Zeiss lenses in stock. We are especially excited about the Compact Primes because you can change the mount by yourself. They

provide a special tool that helps you to change the lenses without applying extra pressure. With the CP.2, you no longer have to buy two lenses. These Zeiss lenses support both still and video shoots although for videography, you will require an image converter.” Farnam also added that Advanced Media will make some significant announcements at CABSAT this year.

SHEMS FM, a new privatelyowned radio station in Tunisia has invested in NETIA’s Radio-Assist 8 suite of digital audio automation software to streamline the delivery of its content to a number of online channels. The new installation will support both traditional and Internet broadcast operations using only uncompressed WAV files, and enable SHEMS FM to establish efficient media logging, management, and production for its Internet streaming, podcasts, and on-demand services. “Our broadcast model requires a robust and flexible solution for managing and preparing a tremendous volume of high-quality content for various Internet-based services,” said Fathi Bhoury, gm at SHEMS FM. “The Radio-Assist 8 software offers valuable functionality across our full production and delivery workflow.” Radio-Assist will be installed on 16 workstations to provide SHEMS FM with a complete toolset for streaming content using both automatic playout and the live playout features within the Air-DDO broadcast module, as well as for radio on demand and podcasting.

BLACKMAGIC DESIGN BRINGS DAVINCI RESOLVE TO REGION More than 60 editors from the UAE attended a roadshow hosted by Blackmagic Design in association with local distributor MediaCast in Dubai last month. The roadshow was held to demonstrate the DaVinci Resolve non-linear colour correction system to post production experts in the Middle East region.

An hour-long presentation was followed by opportunities for one-to-one demonstrations. “Response to DaVinci Resolve has been very exciting, with colorists, editors and independent filmmakers amazed by the creative opportunities the product offers,” Simon Westland (pictured top right giving a

presentation), director of sales EMEA said. “There is a great energy for post-production across the Middle East and Dubai is one of the centres for this. By bringing Resolve to Dubai, we’re giving this community the opportunity to come and see the product for the first time,” he added.

December 2010 | www.broadcastprome.com |

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Innovat ing t he Fut ure of G l ob a l Communic at ions

KP 12 CLD

12-position color display keypanel The revolutionary KP 12 CLD from RTS introduces several new features designed to enhance capability and ease of use. The intuitive graphic interface is housed inside two full-color LCD displays. The front panel also features conveniences such as a userprogrammable buttons, one-touch listen volume adjustment on each of the 14 new multifunction keys, and a backlit keypad. In addition, the KP 12 CLD can be ordered with the new KP 12 CLD rear connector module or/and our sophisticated RVON-2 VOIP module. Like all RTS products, the KP 12 CLD is designed with expansion in mind. The front-mounted USB port and modular rear panel allow for future upgrades that will keep the KP 12 CLD on the forefront of technology for years to come.

Bosch Communications Systems · Headquarter Europe, Middle-East & Africa EVI Audio GmbH · Sachsenring 60 · 94315 Straubing · Germany · Phone: +49 9421 706-0 · www.rtsintercoms.com UAE: Robert Bosch Middle East FZE, Phone: +971 42123-363 kp12cld_ad_207x270.indd 1

23.09.10 13:51


PrOnEWS

Attached to Studio 6 (right) is a full HD control room fitetd with Qmaster prompter system, Sony MVS-8000 GSF video switcher, Miranda Kaleido X multi viewer and two AVID Airspeed channels for ingest and playout.

Studio 6 features six Sony HDC-1500 cameras with Vinten Osprey Elite Pedestals, Stanton Jimmy Jib, Canon HJ17EX7.6B-IASE and HJ11EX4.7B-IASE wide angle lenses.

twofour54 intaj invests in new kit BroadcastPro ME takes you on a tour

Stereographer Clyde D’Souza with intaj’s Element Technica Quasar rig, which can be used with a wide variety of broadcast and digital film cameras in various configurations and can be used for many applications including studio, outdoor, film and commercials.

twofour54 intaj has added a new studio, 3D stereoscopic capabilities and high-end colour grading through a Baselight edit suite to its facility. With 3D being the buzzword, intaj has added an Element Technica Quasar rig as well as a Panasonic AG-3DA1E twin lens 3D camera recorder, and a range of 3D monitors and conversion hardware to its inventory. Commenting on the expansion, Wayne Borg, COO of twofour54 said: “This expansion is not just about having the latest technology – it is about answering market needs. The industry is asking for these capabilities and we are addressing that demand.”

A 3D projector is part of the new kit acquired by twofour54 intaj to boost its 3D capabilities.

With its new Baselight colour grading system, intaj can operate at a higher technical and creative level, giving it the freedom to work with all resolutions of media, simplifying the creation of complex grades and effects and motion tracking.

A set developed by intaj’s set designers for new partner Charisma.

December 2010 | www.broadcastprome.com |

13:51

13


PRORESEARCH

Which of these mobile/OB vehicles do you plan on buying next? don’t know/ no answer sng/dsng truck

video production t ruck gaffer/grip truck

audio mixing truck tractor-trailer

0

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

Mobile/OB market on the move

ALL MARKETS

Which of the following are the features or factors you would most desire in a new ENG/SNG truck? don’t know/ no answer heavy duty suspension hdtv

3d capabilities equipment storage bins

more frequencies usb port/ connectors 0

50

100

150

200

MIDDLE EAST / AFRICA

What is the total weight of your most frequently used mobile/OB vehicle once equipment and employees are on board? 9-10 tons

7-8 tons

After a disquieting pause in 2009 due to the onslaught of the recession, the mobile services market has seen a major movement into the black in 2010 and growth in two ways – with the exception of helicopters (seeing some compression) in building new vehicles and in retro-fitting existing ones. That according to a new global report from D. I. S. Consulting, New York based market researchers, the global market for mobile and outside broadcast trucks of three major types and helicopters is heating up and represents one of the media industry’s brightest segments this year. The new first-time global report, called Mobile/OB World 2010, just published, reveals not only a growth in the number of trucks and helicopters but also in the gear found in them.

Not just couNtiNg the trucks but also the gear iN them

5-6 tons

don’t know/ no answer

4.5-5 tons 0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

MIDDLE EAST / AFRICA

If you had any problems with mobile/OB equipment maintenance, what are the common issues you have encountered? don’t know/ no answer

faulty shocks/ suspension

faulty wiring

low mileage 0

5

10

15

20

25

30

MIDDLE EAST / AFRICA

35

40

The study divided vehicles into: a) small ENG newsgathering vans, b) SNG Trucks, c) large production trucks and helicopters and other light aircraft although specialised single-purpose trucks used for grip or gaffer purposes, generators or ‘honey wagons’ were not counted. The report found that the trucks did not just get the ‘green light’ in a rebounding economy in 2010 but also the pent up demand for HD conversions of SD trucks and a smaller but interesting inclination to build some 3D capability has stirred up what had been an industry with a ‘flat tire’ in 2009. The report now forecasts not only substantial equipment unit and dollar s growth in 2010 but a healthy outlook for the coming five years. Generally, mobilerelated gear is getting lighter, less power

requiring, cooler running and more compact in nature, creating an opportunity for a smaller vehicle footprint, greater mileage efficiency and / or more comfortable staff quarters, that can be more easily air conditioned. What seems like small changes, such as swapping clunky and heavy CRTs for flat panel displays and the constantly shrinking size of camcorders is transitioning the vehicles into more practical and fuel economical nomads.

What’s driviNg the mobile market? Despite softness in the news category – generally, with many news organisations shedding staff in 2009 and early 2010 – the need to present news in HD (if not in 3D) and the fact that so much of the fleets are old and SD gear equipped, has provided the impetus for replacement or – as in the case of the USA and smaller ENG vans particularly where many were recently overhauled in terms of their microwave gear -- still needing HD upgrades of the rest of the kit. Not only is the recovery from the Recession a big driver, but also the conversion from SD to HD for news and programming, increased interest in and profits from sports and live event coverage and in part an aging compliment of SD trucks badly needing upgrading or outright replacement. PRO

douglas i. sheer is CEO and chief analyst of DIS Consulting, New York.

december 2010 | www.broadcastprome.com |

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PrOTvC

Taking action The Action impact team shares details of a production it recently undertook for an Abu Dhabi-based organisation with BroadcastPro ME.

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PrOTvC

Top: The cast gathers at Jumeirah Beach and below, creating various shapes on the beach.

The camera was mounted on a GFM14 crane to get an aerial shot.

Dubai-based production house Action impact produced a television and radio campaign for the Critical national infrastructure Authority (CniA) in Abu Dhabi, which was recently conferred the responsibility of safeguarding the Emirate’s ocean and beach-dwelling community. The TVC, which was shot from an aerial perspective, shows people creating different shapes on the beach such as a fish, a dhow, a jet-ski and an Emirati boy. “This is the second year of existence for the Bihar campaign, which is primarily an awareness initiative aimed at educating and involving the public in current maritime safety regulations,” says Neill Frank, the director of the commercial.

“We all enjoy the beaches in the UAE and we didn’t want to give the impression that the CNIA is just there to police people. ‘Better Together’ is a campaign where we’re saying that only by our joint efforts can we make beach going safe. The CNIA is there to look after us, but the public also has a social responsibility to conduct ourselves in a respectful manner. So the idea behind the TVC was to show a multitude of performers forming the shapes along the shoreline,” he explains. Although the concept has been attempted before, Action Impact challenged it further by making it look like “a seamless tracking shot over the beach involving many people and a lot of timing and teamwork”, explains Martin Lindros, head of the company’s film department. Bodies were drawn to scale and then used as building blocks to create the various shapes, explains Frank. “This way, we knew exactly how many people we needed and how we could start tackling the concept. All this preparation doesn’t, however, prepare you for the reality of 37 youngsters who you have to start putting into position and the fact that the human body bends and doesn’t stay in a perfect rigid shape (like on the drawings). It took a lot of practice. We had to get it right on location and a VT monitor helped. Our choreographer Scott Marshall from Diverse Choreography did a fantastic job and together, we made the shapes work visually,” Frank explains. The whole sequence was shot on the RED camera as shooting 4K provides a lot of room to manoeuvre in post and a big frame to work with, according to Frank. Director of Photography (DoP) James Thomson seconds that, adding that the RED offers “ease of use (no reloading of film), high resolution and digital format ensuring a fast and efficient workflow from shoot to post-production”.

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Action Impact used the ARRI 10mm super wide lens to create the desired effect.

The camera was placed quite high on a GFM 14 crane and the ARRI 10mm super wide lens was used to create the desired effect. “The 10mm Arri Ultra-Prime lens was employed to ensure sufficient field of view to capture the shapes and movements created by the performers,” explains Thomson. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of doing this shoot was tackling the heat, which has only just started to reduce in the region. “The RED, although very rugged, can be susceptible to high temperatures. We wrapped the camera in an insulating blanket to keep it running smoothly,” explains Thomson. “In addition, two of our cast members fainted on the first take at 8:30 a.m. and at that point you start thinking you might be in trouble. But we gave them shorter runs and lots of water and we erected and ran air-conditioned marquee to give them some respite between takes,” he adds. Producer Vanraaj Padhaal explains that the TVC was shot during Ramadan although it was only recently aired.

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BASICS Client — CNIA Producer — Action Impact

KIT RED camera 10 mm Arri Ultra Primes GF14 crane

“We shot this during Ramadan so filming when temperatures were pushing 45C plus and not being able to consume any water in public was an extremely tough ask. We needed a location that was discrete and away from the public eye so we could erect an air-conditioned room to keep our cast and crew in during regular water breaks throughout the day as well as having access to a great beach. Jumeirah Beach Park met all of our requirements and provided the support we required for the production. We were able to keep all 55 of our team members hydrated and cool,” he says. “In addition, being able to place the crane 15m from the water gave us a great logistical advantage as we could swing the camera around and pick up the sea’s wash and then swing it back to capture the beach. Moving the crane’s angles with the sun’s path also helped reduce the shadows and keep the shots consistent,” he adds. Although in the commercial, it looks like the camera pans from one shape to the next, in reality, those shots were stitched together in post-production and a digital camera move was simulated, concedes the team. “The only place we ‘cheated’ in this commercial was in creating one seamless camera movement. This means that all the shapes were filmed separately, along with a few plate shots of the ocean and then stitched together in Smoke. This concept isn’t unique, but we wanted to stamp our own signature on it and deliver it in a way that hasn’t been done before,” explains director Frank. “The tracking movement we added in post makes it look like we have a 100m tracking shot across the beach,” seconds DoP Thomson. However, he adds that a fair amount of colour grading was necessary to ensure the colours of each of the stitched-together shots matched as the shoot took place over the course of a whole day. Music for the production was also created in-house. Action Impact was responsible for the entire project from creating the concept to undertaking all the phases of production through to final delivery. It created both English and Arabic versions of both the radio and TV campaigns for this project. The TVC can be viewed at the URL: youtube.com/ watch?v=7FxNOnmkBxY. PrO


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PrOExCluSivE

Resolving Colour blackmagic Design’s Davinci resolve is a powerful Di grading system used by both Hollywood and high-end post production houses worldwide. Alistair Rankine gives us the low down on the new release that was demonstrated in Dubai last month Once i received my copy of Davinci resolve, i loaded it onto my Mac Pro for a road test. With the installation process complete, it was time to re-boot my system and see what all the fuss was about. Apparently, i wasn’t quite there. As I started the software, I was hit by a pop up window letting me know I couldn’t go any further as I was running an unlicensed version of the software. On inspecting my DVD box more closely, I realised that the small USB drive included in the box was in-fact a dongle with my licence attached. Without this USB inserted into your system,

Resolve will not run. A clever move from Blackmagic as it makes it harder to pirate the software app. Finally! I had DaVinci Resolve up and running on my Mac. Was it worth the wait? I believe it was. This software has now become a major part of my post production arsenal. For the purpose of my review, I will focus closely on Resolve for Mac as this is the product I have road tested although in terms of functionality, it will make no difference as all versions of Resolve have the same functionality. The only difference is the sheer power of the Linux-based system and a higher price tag.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the product, DaVinci Resolve is a popular DI grading system. Previously available only on Linux for a hefty sum of around $350K and now available on Mac for $995, DaVinci Resolve on Mac is the world’s most advanced software-based grading system to date. It will be hard to beat this not only in terms of pricing and colour correction but its ability to do everything in real time. There are three variations of Resolve available on the market. Besides the above mentioned Mac-based, software-only version, a mid-range version that includes the Mac-based software along with a

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DaVinci Resolve Surface Control Panel can be bought for $29,995 and, the most powerful version which is available on Linux is available at $29,995 for the system plus $19,995 for the software. In terms of functionality of the Macbased version compared to the Linux version, there is no difference. All of the functionality of the Linux-based software is available on the Mac-based software; nothing has been disabled. Let’s get one thing clear. Resolve won’t just run on any Apple Mac. Some investment will be required to make sure that you have a system that can handle the immense power of Resolve. For instance, on an iMac, you are unlikely to maximise the potential of Resolve. If you want to use this software app on a portable solution, a 17-inch Macbook Pro will be useful. (Note: The Resolve Config Guide shows which versions of Macbook Pro or Mac Pro are suited to run this software). An up-to-date 17” Macbook Pro is ideal for either Standard Definition (SD) or web material and excellent for set-based work. The NVIDIA graphics processor in the Macbook Pro includes CUDA support that is essential for Resolve to function. If you plan to build a workstation, you will need a very high-specification Mac Pro – either quad core, eight core or twelve core. Your system will have to be fitted with two new graphics cards. An NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 Video card will be required for the graphics processor for the GUI while an NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800, or a NVIDIA GeForce GTX285PCie video card for the graphics processor for the GPU. If you’re running systems such as Smoke on Mac or Adobe CS5, you are likely to have at least one of these video cards installed on your system. Sorting out the computer to run Resolve is only part of the preparation. We’re not done yet.

Resolve is a timeline-based system and at first glance, looks like a timeline editing system, thus making it very easy to use.

You will also need some kind of Surface Control Panel such as the DaVinci Resolve Surface Control Panel or the Tangent Devices Wave. A capture card is also required if you want to capture tape-based material. Finally, you will require a DaVinci Resolve DNxHD update software for working with Avid DNxHDMXF files natively, Apple FCP to work with Apple Pro Rez QuickTime files and finally a RED Rocket PCie hardware card for accelerated processing of RED 23d files. On top of all this, you will need some serious high speed storage. After all this, I expect, like me, you will be extremely happy that the software itself costs very little. This may sound a tad daunting to someone who is new to the industry. However, compared to what you would normally pay for a high-end grading system, the DaVinci Resolve is a bargain.

whaT can RESOlvE dO? When I was asked to review the Resolve, I was a bit unsure of what to expect. I am not an actual colourist. I am a finishing artist/editor and compositor,

24 | www.broadcastprome.com | December 2010

whose job involves a great deal of colour correction. It’s about 50% of my workload. I work predominantly on Autodesk Smoke/Flame and Quantel EQ and IQ. All of these have excellent built-in colour correction modules. However, I was asked to review this product as a first-time user and must confess I was a bit concerned about how I would get on with Resolve. After tinkering with the system for a couple of days, I realised that I had worried needlessly. Resolve is a timeline-based system and at first glance, looks like a timeline editing system. This makes Resolve easy to use. My understanding is that the older versions of Resolve were messier in terms of layout but they seem to have got it right now. Anyone moving over from Apple Color will be delighted at how much easier Resolve is to use compared to Color. The first thing I noticed is that all of the parameters were available to me on one page of the interface. I could have the Image Window, Stills Gallery, Nodes, Timeline and my Colour Controls, and Vector-scope/Waveform all open at the


PrOExCluSivE

same time. This makes for an extremely fast workflow as everything is right there in front of you. You don’t need to jump to other pages or windows like you would on other systems such as Color. In a highgrading system, the ability to work fast is as important as the ability to provide quality colour correction. My set up is a one-monitor configuration but you could also have a two- or threemonitor set up and arrange to work across the three monitors.

CONFIGURATION Apple Mac Quad Core/ 64-bit compatible Snow Leopard NVIDIA CUDA FX 4800/5800/FX 400 graphics card GeForce GTX285PCIe video card 24” or 27” monitor DaVinci Surface Control Panel or Tangent Wave Surface Control Panel Resolve DNxHD Update software to work with AvidDNxHDMXF files FCP to allow working with FCP Pro Rez 422 Quicktime files Red Rocket card for accelerated Red workflow

The main colour controls available to you are in the primary panel. These tools are generic colour correction tools and are similar to those on most high-end grading systems. This makes it fairly easy for a newbie to get the hang of Resolve very quickly. To the left of the primary panel, we have our Curve controls which again look familiar to most grading systems around and will also please anyone with an After Effects background. Next along, we have our Qualifiers which we can use to isolate colours we want to correct by making High Contrast Mattes by way of an HSL, RGB and Luminance keyer. The Qualifiers work extremely well and are easy to use. The next tab opens up the Power Windows panel. As its name implies, this is where we start to step up a notch. The Power Windows allow you to draw circular, oval, rectangular and free-form shapes around areas of the image that you want to isolate. For example, you may want to isolate the sky or someone’s face to grade them differently from the rest of the image. You can then isolate specific areas within those windows, or by attaching nodes in parallel, it is also possible to isolate areas outside the Power Window. The shapes can all be controlled and animated with key-frames. This leads on to my favorite feature on Resolve – the 3D Motion Tracker. This is one of the best trackers I have ever seen

You will require a DaVinci Resolve Surface Control Panel or the Tangent Devices Wave to get the most out of this system.

and I wish the compositing software apps that I work on had a similar ability as it is so simple to use. Just draw a Power Window around the area you want to isolate and hit the tracking button. It will then track the power window to the selected area. It can track upto 99 tracking points at any one time and because it is a 3D tracker, it will follow all the movements the object makes. Unlike most pixel-based motion trackers, there is no need to find a good high contrast pixel. The tracker is object based and recognises the shape within the window that you need to track. So far, I haven’t managed to not get it to work. The speed at which it tracks is remarkable. One area that may cause people problems initially is the Nodes. I come from a node compositing background so I found it pretty straight forward. Once the

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user gets to grips with the Nodes, endless possibilities become available to them. Nodes can be added to layer the colour correction on the image, incorporate external mattes into the image, parallel mattes from existing nodes, isolate colours and blur specific areas of the image. Each node has full YRGB processing with its own set of controls, whether it is ‘colour correction’, ‘window’ or ‘effect’. In my view, Nodes helps to put Resolve in a different class from other grading systems and it shows that Blackmagic is not scared to move with the times. Resolve has a resolution independent timeline which allows SD footage to be dropped into an HD timeline or vice versa. Even when an SD clip is dropped into an HD timeline, the resolution remains intact. The re-sizing algorithms Resolve uses help to keep the resolution intact even when performing large re-sizes to the image. The timeline is by no means a full-blown editor but performs all the functions needed for a grading system. I had to keep reminding myself that this is a colour grading system and not a compositing system. My only annoyance with the timeline is that it is a single-layer timeline. However, as the nodes take care of any layering needed, this is not a big issue. It would just be nicer from an editing point of view if it had a multi-layer timeline like Lustre. I have worked on Quantel EQ for years and the one thing I have hated was the fact that I was living in the 21st century and my timeline only had one layer. That said, one needs to remember that this is a grading system and not an editor/compositor. I mentioned earlier that you will need a Red Rocket card for accelerated use of Red R3D files. This is not essential to work on Red footage but will help when you get into some heavy grading with Red footage. Resolve will actually debayer Red footage in real time — something I wish my online system would do. It is my understanding that Resolve will handle stereoscopic 3D

26 | www.broadcastprome.com | December 2010


PrOExCluSivE

“If you have a Flame or Smoke, then Lustre works hand in hand with them or if you work with Avid DS Nitris, you may consider Baselight. However, my feeling is that unless Autodesk and Filmlight release software-only versions of their products, they may lose out to Blackmagic. Only time will tell.” extremely well. Although I have not tested stereoscopic footage on my system, James Cameron is said to have linked a bank of Linux-based Resolve systems together to handle the majority of the colour grading on Avatar, so I think the evidence speaks for itself. When working on the system, I managed to grade up to 10 layers of HD footage in real time with resizing and blurring on some of the layers. No rendering was required. When the system starts to get heavy, a red light begins to flash to let you know it that you will shortly over run the real time capabilities. When this happens, simply change to proxy mode and your client will still be able to see what is happening in front of them without waiting for the footage to render. How does Resolve compare with other grading systems? It is hard to compare Resolve on Mac due to the price range it sits in. If I had to choose between Resolve and Color, it would be Resolve as it is far more intuitive and quicker to work on. In reality, I think Resolve for Mac is in a different league from Color. The downside of the Mac version is that unlike the Linux version, it is limited by the number of PCIe slots of the Mac Pro computer. This means at present, you will never be able to upgrade to the power of a Linux-based system. Hopefully, this will change in the future. Resolve’s EDL conforms better than other systems such as Lustre but doesn’t have the timeline capabilities of Lustre, which has excellent timeline and editing capabilities along with an excellent object and point tracker. It does, however, have the ability to render out clips with the original time-code intact allowing the graded footage to be conformed in Flame or Smoke. Resolve also has more real time capabilities than any other grading system out there. Baselight from Filmlight has a more in depth toolset that incorporates film and video style grading tools. However, it is a more complex system

to master and its tracker is nowhere near as good as the one on Resolve. Baselight understands more file formats natively but is a far more expensive solution and only available as a turnkey system. There is no software-only option. As a result, it is hard to compare Resolve on Mac to other systems in any great depth. Furthermore, no other system on the market in this price range can do what Resolve does. It does everything a DI grading system should do plus a whole lot more. Not only does it have an amazing toolset but it also produces a great finish and unlike some other grading systems, it is versatile in the fact that it could be used either by a professional colourist, someone such as myself who does a lot of colour grading but not necessarily a colourist or by an editor who needs to add some finishing touches to a project. This, combined with the fact that Resolve now works with most common file formats on the market including many DSLR cameras such Canon, makes Resolve hard to ignore. I was using Resolve with a Wacom tablet and pen which was more versatile than a mouse, but you will get better results with a Surface Control Panel. It may add to the budget but you will get far more out of your software. Other factors may come into play when you are choosing a grading system such as what other equipment you have around you. If you have a Flame or Smoke, then Lustre works hand in hand with them or if you work with Avid DS Nitris, you may consider Baselight. However, my feeling is that unless Autodesk and Filmlight release software-only versions of their products, they may lose out to Blackmagic. Only time will tell. PrO Alistair Rankine is a Dubai-based post production specialist and VFX artist. He is also an associated partner of VFX Consulting Worldwide. 

Pros Realtime playback. Reads Red files directly The Tracker The cost puts it in a class of its own Node Graph Support of Red Rocket Accelerator Card

Cons Single layer timeline Lack of PCIe ports on a Mac Having to pay extra for a Surface Control Device

WISH LIST MultI-layer timeline: Not because it is necessary but may be easier for some users than the Nodes. More PCIe slots on a Mac to help increase the power of the system and a Mac version that is as powerful as the Linux system. It’s useful to be able to run all of the other tools such as CS5, FCP and Smoke on the same computer. This wouldn’t be possible on Linux. A surface control panel that works on both Resolve and Smoke on Mac software.

December 2010 | www.broadcastprome.com |

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PrOTrAining Melvin Saldanha, Ten Sports; Andrea Borgato, Dolby; and Frank Kerrin and Mark Billinge from OSN.

60 people attended the Dolby workshop, which was held over two days.

DOLBY & WORKSHOPPRO Mark Barkey, Axon; Martin Roberts, twofour54 & Sailesh Saxena, INTIGRAL.

Richard Brooking, Tektronix; Mahmoud Ibrahim, DMI; Giovanni Ramilo, Sony & Alan Beard, Dolby.

BroadcastPro ME hosts its first workshop in conjunction with Dolby and its partners, Axon, Tektronix and Thomson Dolby held its first workshop in the uAE in conjunction with partners Axon, Tektronix and Thomson. The workshop was organised by BroadcastPro Middle East magazine and is the first in a series that the magazine’s publisher CPI hopes to conduct with regional and international players as part of our efforts to upskill technical heads and broadcast engineers in the region. The event was held at Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Dubai on November 29 and 30. Although the initial plan was to host the event for a day for approximately 25 people, we had such a good response

from the market that it only seemed fair to conduct it for two days to give the broadcast engineers and technology players a chance to experience surround sound and understand how it worked within a broadcast environment. As Ramzi Haidamus, executive VP of sales and marketing at Dolby points out: “Getting people to understand the transmission of HD, encoding in HD and multi-channel audio is a task. It is a complex system and more complex than what we had before. We are doing our part and we know other companies are doing their part as well.”

(l) Abdulla Omar Hasan Al-Hashemi, ADMI with Shabbir Hussain, Sony PSMEA.

Jean Claude Rahme, ADMI and Ibrahim Sleiman, Tek Signals.

Vijaya Cherian, Editor, BroadcastPro ME.

Joseph Varghese, Tek Signals and Syed Ifthikar Ali, DMI.

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Dominic Baillie, Ten Sports.

RV Krishnan from Vizrt with Andrea Borgato, and Amro El Bouhy, INC.


PrOTrAining From left: James Caselton and Nigel Ross (Dolby); Jean Louis Diascorn (Thomson), Alan Beard (Dolby); Fabrice Debodard (Thomson); Mark Barkey (Axon); Andrea Borgato and Elfed Howells (Dolby).

Andrea Borgato, Dolby. Peter Schut (Axon) with Ihab El Baba and Marc Derks (Axon).

From row from left: Khalid Younis, MBC; Iwan Davies, OSN and Hassan Ghoul (Tevido).

Gavin Cassidy (Sony); Charles Maasry (Tevido) and Abdul Ghani, Argosy.

The workshop was part of Dolby’s efforts to demystify the concept of surround sound along with its partners, whose products also support Dolby audio technologies. Axon, for instance, shared its expertise in mezzanine and transcoding systems; Thomson brought along the audio/video encoding and monitoring perspective to attendees while Tektronix showcased among other topics, an impressive case study on Sky Sports and the broadcaster’s migration to Dolby surround sound. Please contact vijaya@cpidubai.com if you would like to conduct similar training workshops for the industry.

“Excellent workshop. Dolby was exceptional and the venue was ideal to get people into training mode. Such workshops help educate people about new technology and stresses the need to move forward in that direction. Congratulations to BroadcastPro for arranging such a workshop and getting together the industry experts. A good buildup to CABSAT.”

Stefan McDad and Hassan Ramli from twofour54.

- Melvin Saldanha, DVP Engineering, Ten Sports.

Farid Kabani, ADMC and Mahmoud Ibrahim, DMI.

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December 2010 | www.broadcastprome.com |

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Dolby surrounds Middle East in an exclusive interview with BroadcastPro ME, ramzi Haidamus of Dolby shares the company’s plans for the Middle East and where its technology is headed

What is the strategy behind Dolby’s training initiatives in the Middle East? Dolby is expanding globally. Following the successful launch and completion of our broadcast initiatives in the US, we quickly started to become the defacto standard around the world. We have almost 100% penetration in the US and 90% in Europe and that success has also bled into the regional countries. Now, we find that our technology and broadcast standards are being adopted across the world by companies and countries especially when it comes to rich High Definition digital broadcast. We, therefore, have to open offices in different regions to support the broadcasters to go live with Dolby Digital Plus or Dolby Digital. We see the Middle East as being really ripe for this opportunity and Dubai seems to be a trend setter. It may lead the rest of the region into setting the standard for HD broadcast. We hear that Dolby will introduce a new audio format for Tron Legacy? That’s right. Tron Legacy is about 7.1 surround audio. 7.1 is a new format that we are launching into the theatre and the reason it is 7.1 is because you can also have the same format on Blu-ray disc. The reason we are also pushing Dolby Digital Plus in broadcast, mobile applications and online is primarily because this technology can accommodate 7.1. 7.1 is the common denominator across all the formats, whether it is online, mobile, broadcast or theatre. It can also be backwards compatible depending on the receiver and TV you have. Some television sets can receive a 7.1 stream and downmix it to 5.1. For non-linear initiatives such as online

and OTT services, we are definitely seeing interest in 7.1 just for that competitive edge over other formats. The Nokia N8 has Dolby Digital Plus so it can output 7.1. We can experience Dolby across all media platforms now? Yes. One of the reasons we are expanding globally is to leverage our broadcast success into the other segments that we are trying to penetrate such as online and mobile services. We deliver a better experience in the mobile sector so we are closing all gaps with Dolby Digital Plus. Clearly, we want to be pushing out this message and get closer to the mobile application entertainment community. We have started all types of international seminars to really start training organisations, standards bodies and governmental entities on our technologies. We have just completed a couple of seminars in Singapore, and a few in the UK and San Franciso and last month, we undertook two initiatives in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We are taking our knowhow and sharing it with the rest of the world. We do this investment upstream but it reaches downstream when these set-top boxes (STBs) reach consumers. I’m assuming you already are well integrated with most STBs? Yes, the vast majority of STBs do support Dolby. We have been working with IC manufacturers for years to ensure that the chips themselves support our technology. Once we have the support on the chip, becoming part of the STB is much easier. It’s just a question of turning on the feature or not. The critical part is to ensure that Dolby’s technology is part of every silicon chip

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coming out of any company and this is what a large part of our technical support, field engineering and sales process involves. Do most Middle East broadcasters use boxes that support your technology? This specific market is very good. Abu Dhabi TV, Orbit Showtime Network, Al Jazeera all use STBs that support our technology. What’s Dolby’s greatest strength? Our claim to fame is that we don’t just give you a standard and walk away. We will hold your hand all the way from content creation, capture, encoding, transmission, making sure that the signals transmit correctly, that the chip is implemented correctly, that the STBs that have the chip inside play back right and even, the stream that comes out of your STB into your home theatre plays back accurately and that entire ecosystem is what we brand and stand by to ensure that it operates to perfection. There are many aspects to the Dolby experience when it comes to training. When we talk about content creation, it’s not like teaching somebody to connect a piece of cable. It’s more of a philosophical discussion and exchange from someone perhaps, in the cinema environment on how to do soccer in 5.1, or live sport in 5.1. Each one is a separate discussion and we have roughly 40 experts in the big EMEA region who can do this. We already have a small troop of top-notch sound engineers to support our customers here. How do you view this market? I see in this region much of what I saw several years ago when HD was just being launched in the US and then, into Europe. What was happening was that they had this


PrOinTErviEW

spark of HD but the consumer wasn’t really out there buying it until they saw it, experienced it, and then said, “Wow, I really want this experience in my home”. The challenge is to get people to go to the showrooms to see what a true HD service looks like in order to justify paying the extra amount of money for an STB that is HD-enabled; the challenge is to get them to listen to 5.1 so they realise the worth of getting a home theatre in a box. It has happened through word of mouth and friends and just as people switched from VHS to DVD and now, are switching to blu-ray, the transition will eventually happen. Blu-ray uptake, for instance, was fairly slow before but now, it’s really taken off and its adoption is doubling every year as people realise that the picture quality is superb. The purchasing power will also dictate the speed of adoption and this is also a challenge. The other area is training. Getting people to understand the transmission of HD, encoding in HD and multi-channel audio is a task. It is a complex system and more complex than what we had before. We are doing our part and know other companies are doing their part as well. Does 3D technology change anything from Dolby? We are involved in 3D and we enjoy about 25% market share with our 3D systems.

“There is a notion of introducing a 3D audio experience. This is not the same as surround sound; it’s more of a spatial experience. It’s the ability to assign a different audio level to each element in the picture and enable it to change based on how close or far the visual object is from you. It’s a bit more sophisticated and is an opportunity for the future.” Ramzi Haidamuz, executive VP of sales & marketing, Dolby.

Although the short answer is that we are not doing anything currently, there is a notion of introducing a 3D audio experience. The notion of sound changing its spatial presence depending on how close the picture is to you is being looked at. When an element of the picture comes closer to your face, it will have a corresponding sound effect. This is not the same as surround sound; it’s more of a spatial experience. It’s the ability to assign a different audio level to each element in the picture and enable it to change based on how close or far the visual object is from you. It’s a bit more sophisticated and is an opportunity for the future. It’s not out yet. We’re still focused on more channels such as 7.1 but in parallel, we are looking at a more sophisticated audio solution for the future of the home. Any last words? For us, broadcast is the first step of many in this and other regions. We are trying to bring our technology across so many different devices and platforms whether they be tablets, mobile systems, TVs, STBs or the home theatre. It’s the same consumer that is going to consume all that content. Our job is to bring that same rich experience in surround sound irrespective of the device so that the Dolby experience is consistent across every single platform whether on the home, on the go, in the theatre or over the PC. PrO

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PrOPrODuCTiOn

Kaltham and Mansour.

At Mansour’s house.

Nawaf Al Janahi with the cast.

Exclusive photos from Sea Shadow BroadcastPro ME brings you some exclusive behind-the-scenes shots from Sea Shadow, directed by Emirati filmmaker nawaf Al Janahi and written by Mohamed Hassan Ahmad

Filming on set with the RED camera.

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SeaShadow is the first in a series of Emirati film projects developed, financed and produced by imagenation, a leading feature film producer and part of Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC). Sea Shadow is a coming-of-age story that centres on first love, family relationships, and deeply-rooted values. Filming for the project began last month. The film is being shot in various locations across the UAE. Abu Dhabi-based Al-Janahi, 33, has directed and produced several films, including a short entitled Mirrors of Silence and a full-length feature dubbed The Circle, which premiered at the Gulf Film Festival in 2009. Sea Shadow is set in an Emirati neighborhood (Fireej), where traditions and the local culture make it harder to express love and emotions openly. The story follows 16 year-old teens Mansour and Kaltham, who commence a journey of self discovery that takes them from Ras Al Khaimah all the way to Abu Dhabi after life in their little neighbourhood is shaken up by misunderstandings, mix-ups, and wrong decisions. PrO


PrOPrODuCTiOn Director Nawaf Al Janahi.

The crew on set.

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December 2010 | www.broadcastprome.com |

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PrODOCuMEnTAry

Guerilla filmmaking iranian documentary filmmaker Mahshid Zamani talks about her new production and Documentary voices, a regional platform aimed at encouraging filmmakers to make films about social issues Dubai-based iranian filmmaker Mahshid Zamani recently produced UAE: 350 Maybe Less, a 25-minute environmental awareness documentary. UAE: 350 Maybe Less was produced to make UAE residents more conscious of their excessive water and energy consumption, according to Zamani. It examines the nature of the country’s high ecological footprint, its impact and simple solutions that can be taken to reduce consumption. “350 parts per million (ppm) is what scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We are currently at 390 ppm so we need to get below 350,” explains the filmmakers. Zamani, who studied cinema in Iran is a well known film critic and has a reputation in the Arab market for creating sociallyrelevant documentaries. For 350:Maybe Less, the team used a Canon 7D as the primary camera while a Sony XDCAM 350 served as the secondary camera. The film’s director Kamil Roxas calls the 7D “his obvious choice”. “This is a very compact camera but still has a wonderful depth of field. We also used a Sony XDCAM 350 camera. Sound was

recorded with a Sennheiser 416 via a Sony PD150,” he says. Besides a few technical challenges such as an overheated battery after continuous video recording with the 7D, no moveable viewfinder for the camera, and the challenge of syncing sound with the video footage in post production, the project was trouble free, according to the director. Zamani, who owns a production company in Dubai Studio City, clarifies that she does not make commercial films. “We don’t prodcue commercial works at all. We only produce documentaries on social causes,” she says. Her films are sometimes financed by Caspian Events, her event management consultancy and promotion company, which works with local and international clients to bring fine arts and cultural events to the United Arab Emirates. She adds that her firm has been involved in several documentary projects and follows a guerilla style of filmmaking. “Last year, we produced a documentary called Make Me Perfect, which is a film about autism and focuses on Dubai Autism Centre,” she explains.

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“It always takes a huge amount of time and effort to make any documentary, but it is crucial that we make them for society. Documentaries require a lot of patience because you have no idea what reality will offer you and if what it offers can be portrayed in an interesting manner in your film. For making any documentary, motivation is key. “We have enjoyed working as independent filmmakers. For this project, we had a very small crew as our budget was a little under US $27,000. That often means that we have to wear many hats; everyone on set has to double up as a gaffer, cinematographer or sound technician as the need arises. If we had a bigger budget,


PrODOCuMEnTAry Mahshid Zamani and crew.

“For this project, we had a very small crew as our budget was a little under US $27,000. That often means that we have to wear many hats; everyone on set has to double up as a gaffer, cinematographer or sound technician as the need arises.”

we would have liked to explore shooting underwater as well,” she explains. “There’s also a lot of work in post as well because we then have to add the narration, music, and visual effects.” Besides the many hats she dons as filmmaker and business woman, Zamani is also managing director of a film symposium called Documentary Voices, a regional platform that conducts screenings, workshops on documentary film production and discussion panels to develop and empower filmmakers while also informing the public. The third edition of Documentary Voices was held last month in conjunction with Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. The

four-day programme included workshops on screenwriting and producing, directing, lighting, editing and sound. The objective was to highlight the importance of sustainable lifestyles and ‘green living’ through the medium of films. “Documentary Voices is a one-of-a-kind film platform that aims to educate the younger generation on documentary making while involving the whole community by focusing on a social issue. We produce documentaries as part of our programme to boost the UAE film industry,” she explains. UAE: 350 Maybe Less is tentatively scheduled to be screened at DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates in February. PrO

December 2010 | www.broadcastprome.com |

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PrOTEST

Sony Vegas Pro 10 Sony released vegas Pro 10 last month in the Middle East. Paul Mongey takes the software through its paces

in my twenty years plus working in the television broadcast industry as a cameraman and editor, i have worked mainly with Sony and Panasonic kits — originally editing on Betacam SP tape to tape, front panel editing on two Sony BVW75 decks with an audio development mixer and video monitors before moving on to the Sony DNW A220 “edit pack” cutting Betacam SX tapes in the field. My first non linear editing (NLE) system was Final Cut Pro v3.0 when I worked with an American TV network to cover the 2003 Iraq war. We needed a lightweight, durable and portable system throughout the assignment. We chose to work with the Apple Mac G4 which, at that time, had only 256MB of RAM, allowing for basic DV editing with two audio channels. This was sufficient for cutting news packages on the field. Since then, I have spent a few years working on both tape and AVID with the BBC before returning to FCP back in 2007. I am a big fan of FCP over Avid and was very keen on seeing what Sony’s new release — Vegas Pro 10 — could offer. I was given a quick tutorial on operating this NLE by a friend, who uses Vegas for cutting quick promotional clips. He often works with a mix of video formats. With a layout similar to Adobe Premier Pro, it took me a little time to get used to editing on Vegas Pro 10. The first major point that impressed me is that Vegas can deal with almost any format that you can throw on the time line. Now I know FCP can

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PrOTEST

“For those starting out on the road of non-linear editing with their home PC, Vegas Pro 10 is ideal, especially for DV or HDV projects. The timeline can handle effects, transitions, time-stretching, colour grading and motion effects in real time” manage the same but the speed of manipulating the clip while playing on the Vegas Pro 10 time line was impressive. For an NLE editor used to working with Avid, Final Cut or Premier Pro, apart for the usual ‘J,K,L’ and space bar control of clips — it may take a little time to get familiar with Vegas Pro’s short cuts. When I first worked on Vegas Pro, I found the layout a bit “boxey” — similar in design to Adobe Premier Pro but less clinical and far more cluttered. The preview monitor tells you that the NTSC project is DV 720x480 but the preview monitor only shows 180x120. I guess this is to save processing power during the edit. This is a good feature and you can always drag and increase the size of the preview window thus increasing the resolution of the video playback. I was very impressed with the wide variety of video formats available in the project properties — every flavour from ‘multimedia’ [320x240] all the way to 4K @ 24P (4096x2304) with native support of XDcam, AVC-HD and RED formats. I would suggest using an iCore7 12Gb of RAM PC desktop to crunch the 4K clips. But for those starting out on the road of non-linear editing with their home PC, Vegas Pro 10 is ideal, especially for DV or HDV projects. The timeline can handle effects, transitions, time-stretching, colour grading and motion effects in real time. Let’s now look at some of the key elements of this editing software including 3D stereoscopic editing and closed caption support.

December 2010 | www.broadcastprome.com |

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PrOTEST

3d The big thing with Sony’s Vegas Pro 10 is the introduction of native 3D stereoscopic editing. Under the stereoscopic drop down menu, you can select a variety of 3D editing formats including the 3x major modes — Anaglyphic (red/cyan), side by side or top/bottom. I find the top/bottom is easier to work with for long edits — with the ‘left’ camera and ‘right’ camera on top of each other in the preview window. An AVID Media Composer editor at IBC, when talking about a 3D plug-in, told me that he would not be able to sit and watch/edit 10 hours with 3D glasses on, as it would make him feel ill. So once you have synced up the left and right video tracks, it is easier to work with the top/bottom mode in a single video stream on the timeline. I think it would be very useful if Sony had a sample of 3D footage available to download. This could help editors with testing the 3D tool.

TRacK ManagEMEnT — TRacK gROuPing This new function with Vegas Pro 10 allows you to group tracks. Similar to Final Cut’s “nesting”, you can group tracks by collapsing the audio and video tracks on the timeline under a single header track. This makes managing specific sections of video/ audio easier thus giving you more space on the timeline — making it easier to move “blocks” of media around and which helps to organise complex projects.

MulTicaM EdiTing

Screenshots of the 3D stereoscpic tool from Vegas Pro 10. Under the stereoscopic drop down menu, one can select a variety of 3D editing formats including the 3x major modes — Anaglyphic (red/cyan), side by side or top/bottom.

Recently, I have had some great footage to test the multicam editing function with a mix of XDcam HD 1920x1080, HDV 1440x1080 and Canon 5d2 1920x1080 converted to .AVI. I was up in Abu Dhabi to shoot an interview with the singer Prince following the F1 race. We shot the first two songs and I originally cut on FCP in 1920x1080 HD for my client‘s broadcast but was also able to experiment with the rushes on Vegas Pro 10 after using multicam editing. I used track grouping, where I embedded the three-camera video tracks following syncing up the tight, medium and wide shots on the timeline. The multicam function gives you a single video channel where you can select each individual shot to move, cut and crop the video.

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PrOTEST

Sony Vegas Pro is not a cross-platform software; it works only on the Windows operating system.

clOSEd caPTiOning

Pros Good value for money at just under US $600. Ease-of-use for people new to the industry.

Sony has made enhancements with the closed captioning support in Vegas Pro 10 including Line 21 closed captioning. I have always associated closed captioning with TV in the USA, when you see the “CC available in your area” logo on the screen. In this part of the world, I am used to editing with ‘in vision’ subtitles for bi-lingual corporate video productions, which means that the titles are always on the screen. But I am interested in the CC function of Vegas Pro 10, which allows you to create the text and move it around on the timeline. When the edit is complete, the CC option can be switched on or off depending on the client’s requirements. You can export the CC data for Sony’s DVD architect software or a variety of output formats including .MOV and WMV.

SPEcS — whaT’S nEEdEd

Cons Most broadcasters expect to edit on Avid Media Composer or Final Cut, so it may be a difficult sell to TV broadcasters. For an experienced AVID or FCP editor, it may take a little time to get up to speed with the Vegas layout.

To get the best out of this editing software, I suggest working on an iCore7 12Gb RAM PC 32bit or even 64bit. I have done some tests with a small Acer 10” netbook with only 1Gb RAM. It managed to cut some DV, AVI and MP4 video but a laptop with 4Gb RAM or more would be ideal to get the best out of this software.

cOncluSiOn I have always viewed Sony Vegas as a consumer piece of editing software not targeted at the

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broadcast industry unlike the big hitters Final Cut Studio, Avid Media Composer or even Adobe CS5 Premier Pro. But I was impressed with the benefits and the cost at just under US $600. Vegas Pro 10 is ideal for beginners. As a preferred MAC user, Sony Vegas Pro is not a cross-platform software. It is for the Windows operating system only. Over all, I am impressed with Vegas Pro 10’s ability to work with native XDcam, 2K and 4K. For those unfamiliar with the workflow of Vegas Pro, online interactive tutorials are available and provide walkthrough demonstrations of the most common functions in this software. For those experienced with Vegas Pro 9, there’s no difference in layout design. But Sony has added some up-to-date effects, better closed captioning and of course, native 3D stereoscopic editing. I can see Sony Vegas Pro 10 being the ideal low-cost NLE software for videographers and producers entering the industry. If you need to produce a quick promotional video for a presentation or a website, similar to more expensive NLEs such as FCP, Avid MC or Premier Pro, the Vegas Pro 10 software works very well with mixed formats and works quicker with photo zooms and graphics with less rendering on the timeline. PrO Paul Mongey is a Dubai-based freelance lighting cameraman and editor.


AXON glue and beyond

3D signal processing Axon also provides modular solutions for 3D-TV: the G3D100 (3Gbps version, also available in HD version: H3D100). This product, part of the Synapse family is a pragmatic toolbox for customers that are involved in 3D production and need to monitor, process and transmit stereoscopic images. So, when you become involved in 3D production, select Axon as your technology partner and you will be in good company. Many major broadcast companies have made the same choice, and they also discovered that Axon is really all about ‘glue and beyond’. www.axon.tv/G3D100

Committed.


PrOTECH

Automating graphics generation While the demand to create increasingly sophisticated onair graphics is ongoing, broadcasters are just as keen to keep costs down. James Gilbert recommends solutions that can help maintain the balance Effective branding and promotional graphics are essential in today’s competitive broadcasting landscape in order to provide clear channel identity and also to differentiate output. in addition to this, informative graphics also plays a vital role in enhancing viewer “stickiness”. With cross-promotion also vital in a dense multi-channel environment — alongside onscreen “now and next” type information – the sophistication of graphics required continues to grow. But at the same time, one of the key drivers across any broadcast playout environment is to lower cost and increase efficiency without compromising the on-air look and feel of a channel. Two of the key issues that we have come across include wasting valuable post-production time and effort, individually creating multiple programme promos for an everincreasing number of channels and; broadcasters having problems coping with late changes to the schedule, these being error prone and sometimes impossible to complete within the timeframe. So how can broadcasters make the generation and playout of their most fundamental graphics as cost-effective as possible whilst maintaining maximum flexibility? A typical playout channel transmission chain has a graphics device that sits downstream from a video server. Under the control of an automation system, the video server will deliver the programme stream along with audio to the graphics device.

The automation system also controls the graphics device that will be used to insert graphics into the programme stream. The combined output from the graphics system is then sent to an uplink for a satellite or a transmitter for terrestrial broadcast. This transmission chain provides the basic way that a broadcaster can add promotional graphics, interstitials, channel branding and other elements to their channel’s playout. It could also be used for something more complex such as menus of what’s coming up later. But broadcasters are challenged today because typically such graphics are prepared manually, one at a time, and then sent down to the transmission chain as a job. Alternatively, items such as promos are prepared and versioned in a nonlinear editor and then loaded onto the video server for playout as primary video events. Although these methods provide the ultimate flexibility, both are generally seen as quite resource intensive, time consuming and relatively costly processes. As budgets become ever tighter, managers find themselves with the choice of either failing to engage their audience by creating less and repeating their limited pool of material, or find a way to make more content using the assets already in place. Now imagine a world where it’s possible to take advantage of the data available across existing broadcast operations network to create an automated promo system. Such a system can automate and streamline

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the process of delivering graphics to air, significantly reducing or eliminating the costs associated with traditional methods. As an added bonus, an automated system offers the viewing audience a steady stream of graphics that are fresh in appearance with consistently relevant information – a key driver for delivering the required viewer ‘stickiness’ levels. The key to any automated branding and promo generation system is the level of software intelligence it benefits from and the access that it has to data already existing in other installed playout technologies. This allows the device(s) to capture data already in the playout chain – primarily from automation and scheduling systems – combine it using a set of rules with graphical elements previously created and stored, then playout resulting complex sequence. This dramatically reduces the burden on production as there is no longer a need to build and rebuild every graphic for each day’s schedule. It also frees up creative staff time, allowing them to concentrate on what they do best. At the most simple level, channels that have a stable schedule with few last-minute changes, such as movie and other thematic channels, can deploy a system that enables automated graphics sequences to be built as a batch in advance of playout. This works by analysing the schedule and file processing in advance of broadcast. A system engineered this way can support the need for a whole range of graphics including automated “Now and Next”, menus and automated versioning of audio and video assets. However, some channels require an automated graphics playout system capable of allowing changes close to transmission time. Where this is needed, it’s necessary for the system to maintain a live connection to master control automation and a central store for graphics assets. As the system builds graphics within seconds of air, it can also include up-to-the-minute information from a wide variety of data sources. In its most advanced


PrOTECH

implementation, an automated promo system is capable of automatically running a complete channel from a graphics perspective. In this case, the technology “visualises” the ability to create dynamic programme junctions automatically, according to a comprehensive set of pre-determined rules constructed with a simple macro language. Rules can be created or modified by the broadcaster as needs change and evolve. The implementation also needs access to a range of data sources, both internal and external. Using the available metadata, the sequence build process takes into account the schedule context. For example, if the next programme is business-related, it might collect stock market and exchange rate data to create a financial graphics sequence. This solution has minimal impact on channel automation; instead, it looks at the live automation schedule and automatically generates a junction sequence long enough to match a gap in that schedule. The sequence is then played out from the associated graphics device on cue. In the past, video clips and other assets for graphics were usually stored on the main video server and played into an auxiliary input on the graphics

system. But there’s a significant cost doing it that way as a broadcaster has to buy a second, typically quite expensive, port for the video server. To avoid this, broadcasters can now use clip players associated with the overall graphics system to play in those additional video clips. This means that the scheduler only has to issue a single instruction for the predefined graphics. The automated promo system will then use the information it has in its database, gather the appropriate metadata from its metadata store, get the times from the scheduling system, populate the template on the graphics system, which will be recalled by the automation system at the correct playout time. This saves time and cost while not compromising on the flexibility at all. Given the volume of clips that may be required, we think that it’s best to store the majority of those assets on a low-cost central store such as a SAN, NAS, another server, or even from the same server where the automated promo system sits. This central store can be populated by nonlinear editors, creating clips and dropping them into watched folders on the central store. These are monitored by the automated promo system, which then

matches it to its metadata database and manages the movement and lifecycle of those assets. Graphics are transferred on demand to the graphics system’s clips player to meet the needs of the live schedule. The automated promo system is the logical control point for this workflow, ensuring that the required assets are transferred to the playout device precisely as needed. Of course, the same system can manage the deletion from the clip player of assets that are no longer immediately required. This also creates an advantage in that if a system needs to be swapped for any reason, the automated promo system can automatically repopulate the replacement graphics device. Another key benefit is that the automated promo system can be configured with interfaces to any number of additional sources of data. These can include, for example: news and sports information; weather forecasts; stock and exchange rate data. Sources can be polled regularly by the system or can push data to folders watched by the automated promo system. This flexibility lends itself to the creation of sophisticated, automated graphics that can give a channel a distinguishing character and heighten viewers’ interest. It’s also possible to create graphics using dynamic or external metadata. For example, a music channel could automate the inclusion of information coming in via SMS message, RSS feeds or emails. And if a broadcaster wants to promote programmes in multiple languages, they can simply add additional fields in the database for each different language. This will then trigger multiple versions of the graphic for each language, including the appropriate country voiceover. PrO

James Gilbert is joint MD of Pixel Power.

December 2010 | www.broadcastprome.com |

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lATEST PrOTECH

MinnETOnKa audiO Minnetonka Audio Software, a player in production software for motion picture, broadcast surround sound applications and consumer electronics, has announced a new SurCode for Dolby E product designed to work inside all common video post production platforms, including Avid’s Media Composer. The SurCode for Dolby E Stream Player plug–in provides real–time decoding of Dolby E streams and files to a stereo output. Based on embedded metadata, the real–time downmixing of 5.1 to stereo is automatic, allowing the operator to concentrate on the task at hand. Visual indication of bit depth and frame rate are also provided, as is the display of all metadata extracted from the Dolby E stream or file. The plug–in includes the ability to save existing metadata as either a text or XML file, for archiving, workflow automation, and media asset management. “A complement to a complete Dolby E workflow as well as a low cost solution for all the stakeholders in the production chain, the SurCode for Dolby E Stream Player plug–in delivers real–time decoding capability for all of the post–production participants, even when they are only equipped for stereo,” stated John Schur, president of Minnetonka Audio Software. “SurCode integrates the Dolby E format into existing workflows across platforms and apps, providing more choice for video post production professionals. It’s a software solution for contractors, second units, location crews and anyone who needs to incorporate Dolby E into their workflow without the bulk and expense of full surround.” The SurCode for Dolby E Stream Player plug–in is compatible with the RTAS, VST, AU and AudioTools AWE formats.

Focusrite Midnight Focusrite’s new Midnight plug-in suite takes two Focusrite modules – the ISA110 equaliser and ISA130 compressor and gives them elegant, functional on-screen front panels that make them simplicity itself to use. The new digital incarnation of the ISA110 and 130 modules in the Midnight suite for AU, VST and RTAS gives them new HD on-screen front panels. They can be tweaked with a click and a drag of the mouse, or graphically the response curves can be edited. Behind each graphic front-panel lies a powerful DSP code that exactly models the original analogue processors that inspired the Midnight suite, with all the warmth, clarity, control and sound of the original analogue designs. Midnight EQ helps manage problems. It’s a four-band full-parametric EQ with peaking and shelving plus low- and high-pass filters. High end control up to 15kHz – just what you need to give a vocal that extra something. +/- 16 dB of gain in each band. Overlapping midranges with fully variable Q. Midnight EQ gives your tracks full, rich bass; a pure, open top-end; and beautiful midrange definition. Meanwhile Midnight Compressor brings control at one’s fingertips. It features compression ratios of 1.5 to infinity, adjustable attack and auto/manual release and simple, clear metering that helps you keep an eye on gain reduction, threshold and input/output levels. Input and makeup gain settings help you get the gain structure just right for perfect control. Vocals are right there, with a warmth and naturalness not atteined before.

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SwiT S-1070c+ S-1070C+ is the advanced edition of Swit’s S-1070C HDMI monitor, offering HDMI input with Waveform, Vector scope, RGB Histogram, Audio meter, Peaking focus assist, Zebra checking, False color, Blue only, 2 steps zoom-in, specially designed for professional HDMI camera uses. It has a strong and lightweight magnesium alloy shell, and easy to mount on top of camera as an additional viewing source. S-1070C+ monitor accepts one HDMI, one Composite video and one stereo audio input, and has one Composite video loop through output. It has title edit and display, safety mark display, 3-color TALLY light and three-user defined picture settings.


lATEST PrOTECH

izOTOPE OffERS nEcTaR Audio DSP processing specialist iZotope has begun shipping Nectar, a complete vocal processing toolkit it launched at the AES show in San Francisco in October. Nectar includes everything users need to quickly find the vocal sound they are looking for. iZotope is offering an introductory price of $199 on Nectar purchases through December 13th, 2010. Nectar offers 110 professionally designed vocal production styles in 12 genres powered by 11 processing modules that include Pitch Correction, Breath Control, Compressors, DeEsser, Doubler, Saturation, EQ, Gate, Limiter, Delay, and Reverb. Users will select an included style and then customise it with faders tailored to that style. For further customisation of their vocal sound, users can switch to the Advanced View and access all of the controls of the underlying modules that power the plug-in.

PETROl BagS fOR dSlRS The new Digibag DSLR camera bag is a semi-hard cushioned carrier designed to safeguard a video-enabled DSLR camera and important accessories while on the go and keep them well organised on location. Petrol Digibag combines a smart, streamlined design in black 900D and ballistic nylon fabrics with features designed to offer the ultimate in convenience and equipment protection. A top flap opens extra wide for instant access to the bag’s spacious main compartment. The upper section is contoured to fit a DSLR camera with the lens attached. The hinged floor of this section lifts to reveal twin pockets perfect for stashing extra lenses or spare batteries. Two levels of removable internal dividers help secure contents and create pockets for storing a mattebox, camera plate, follow focus, camera light, viewfinder, cables and more.

Sony PMW-F3 Sony Professional has expanded its line-up of Super 35mm digital motion picture camera technologies with the launch of the PMW-F3 camcorder. The new PMW-F3 is an affordable production tool designed for television, commercials, music promos and budget features. The low price point will bring Super 35mm shooting within reach of a wider audience, claims Sony. The availability of a low-cost PL lens kit model that includes 35/50/85mm T2.0 fixed focal length lenses makes the camera ideal for use as a second unit 35mm camera or as a B camera to the SRW-9000PL. “Sony has a long and successful track record of developing digital motion production technologies,” said Bill Drummond, strategic marketing manager at Sony Professional Europe. “With the new PMW-F3, we’re putting the full power of our expertise to work, to bring precise control over depth of field, and access to the huge range of cinematic lenses available to a wider range of users.” The new PMW-F3 camcorder is based on Sony’s XDCAM EX workflow (codec is MPEG-2 Long GOP 4:2:0 8bit, 35 Mbps), and uses Sony’s SxS ExpressCard-based recording media format. Its Super 35mm CMOS imager delivers shallow depth of field, with high sensitivity and low noise levels (ISO 800, F11; and S/N ratio of 63dB in 1920x1080/59.94i mode), as well as wide dynamic range. The camcorder offers a wide range of image creation options, as well as the ability to

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seamlessly inter-cut PMW-F3 footage with content shot on Sony’s F35 or SRW-9000PL cameras - through the use of an HD-SDI dual-link output for external recording (4:2:2 1080 50/59.94P as standard; and RGB 1080 23.98/25/29.97PsF as an option). Additionally, “S-LOG” and “Hyper Gamma” can be selected. This can allow users to take full advantage of the CMOS imager’s wide dynamic range, giving them the ability to tailor their images during post-production in the same way they would in a film based workflow. Recording formats include 1920x1080, 1440x1080, and 1280x720 at 23.98/25/29.97p, 50/59.94i and, in DVCAM mode, 25/29.97PsF and 50/59.94i. Filmmakers can also take advantage of “slow” and “quick” recording, also known as “overcranking” and “undercranking” from 1 to 30 fps at 1920x1080 (17 to 30 fps in dual-link mode) and 1 to 60 fps at 1280x720 (17 to 60 fps in dual-link mode). The PMW-F3’s PL mount adapter can accommodate both PL and zoom lenses, and will offer compatibility with a variety of cine lenses such as Cooke, Arri, Fujinon and Zeiss. Sony will also introduce a compatible SR Memory Portable Recorder for the PMW-F3 camcorder. This will add a high-end workflow option as well as full RGB capability providing native recoding in HDCAM SR codec. Two configurations of the PMW-F3 will be available (PMW-F3L body only and PMW-F3K with PL lens kit). First deliveries are scheduled for January 2011.


PrOguEST

successful filmmakers are artists in many regards, but they also understand the business of filmmaking, and more importantly, they understand where and when compromising artistic expression can mean a higher return on investment

Balancing the passion and the purse strings fostering the creative spirit and personal artistic expression within the educational environment is imperative for student motivation. Promoting personal ownership plays a significant role by encouraging students to take hold of their own personal experiences and stories, and develop them with passion and commitment. The question remains though, when education is over and business begins, how can students translate “art” into profit? A question posed not only by the many parents who would rather their children in business, finance or IT, but also the industry these students hope to join. The need for creative individuals to work television, film and media is gathering momentum; career paths are starting to open up, and government support for media is growing throughout the UAE. The announcement of new money and a burgeoning industry here has peaked the interest of the international film and TV communities. Will education be able to supply the local and regional media market with strong candidates who possess not only the artistic skills but also the business mindset to compete in a global marketplace? Successful filmmakers are entrepreneurs by birthright. Many have started on small, low-budget features, music videos, commercials and shorts that act as a calling card. They have sacrificed time, sweat, personal money, called in favours; all in the name of seeing their story completed.

Many have a creative team behind them that are as committed to balancing art and the efficiencies of scale (ie, working for no money). They are artists in many regards, but they also understand the business of filmmaking, and more importantly, they understand where and when compromising artistic expression can mean a higher return on investment. With this in mind, students might be better served to have a tighter brief to work with, thereby learning the importance of working to a budget and a deadline, and understanding that their creative input could be limited to just moments of creativity. Accepting the challenge of a client-driven project is where many “artists” in the business can still find creative satisfaction while making money. For example: a shot of a climber that may have taken five hours to set up, using a threemetre scaffold rigged to a 30-metre precipice in a blinding snowstorm in a part of the world few people see might appear a beautiful vista cut seamlessly into a documentary; but to the gaffer, grip and camera crew that make it happen, it is as much art and creativity as any painting might be. What students should learn is that a film is not just the result of a single person’s vision; it is the artistic expression of everyone in the team. Those supporting artists find their own moments of expression, pride and ownership, and that’s what makes the

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business so exciting. The underlying respect for artistic expression does come at a cost. In the above example; five hours, not five days to set up that shot, a six person crew, not 60. The tighter the budget, the shorter the timeline, the more specific the audience, the more demanding the client, ultimately the greater the challenge; and the more ingenuity and creativity needed. But whose job is it to share this perspective? Is education willing to teach artistic expression under the guise of a business model? Some media programmes may have completed corporate videos with companies, and these do teach some of the business aspects of the industry; but they are not for large-scale audience consumption and appreciation, and for the most part, students rarely get excited or motivated to accept them as a creative learning experience. Media programmes in the UAE that are currently incorporating a business framework into their curriculum, even in a small way, are taking a positive step forward. This bodes well for their graduates who will begin to contribute to the economic and future growth of the media community here. Broadcasters and the film industry need to engage more with education and the curriculum, and invest at the grass roots level where filmmakers learn to tell stories and the skills to craft them. It is equally critical that educational institutions listen, and find ways to collaborate and feed the needs of the industry as it grows. This will create a cohesive and unified force, finding and creating filmmakers who can move successfully from art into business. PrO Gregory Unrau is the head of Production and Training at Abu Dhabi Film Commission (ADFC).    



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