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ISSUE 36 | JUNE 2013


DRIVING PRODUCTION Waves Studio rolls out 12-camera High Definition OB truck



New MCR and playout for Saudi TV's sports channels


From Syria to Abu Dhabi



New launches at the show. Turn to Page 58.

GROUP COO Nadeem Hood MANAGING DIRECTOR Richard Judd EDITORIAL Group Editor Vijaya Cherian +971 (0) 55 105 3787 Deputy Editor Vibhuti Arora +971 (0) 4 440 9111


MARKETING & ADVERTISING Publishing Director Raz Islam T +971 4 440 9129 Group Sales Manager Sandip Virk +971 (0) 50 459 2653 Sales Manager Rodi Hennawi +971 (0) 50 714 04273 DESIGN Cover Design Steven Castelluccia Graphic Designers Jane Matthews Glenn Roxas PHOTOGRAPHY Abdul Kader Pattambi Jay Colina CIRCULATION & PRODUCTION Production Manager James P Tharian +971 (0) 4 440 9146 Circulation Manager Rajeesh M +971 (0) 4 440 9147 DIGITAL SERVICES Digital Services Manager Tristan Troy P Maagma Web Developers Erik Briones Jefferson De Joya T +971 4 440 9100 Published by

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I must confess that, in the past, I have not been exceedingly fond of the quietitude that is representative of Abu Dhabi. The bold, brash swagger of Dubai suits my personality more than the serenity that big brother Abu Dhabi exudes. Having said that, Abu Dhabi is an “acquired taste”. You have to let it course through your veins slowly over time to appreciate what the UAE capital brings to the production and broadcast industry. While Dubai is quick with its installations, and seemingly at the forefront, I like the quiet way in which Abu Dhabi is gradually building its production vision. The Syrian sets we had the pleasure of witnessing at twofour54’s intaj studios last month was one testimony to that fact. They were absolutely stunning and nothing akin to what we are wont to seeing in this part of the world. Syria had some really tough times this last year but it is also the pot from which a lot of quality Arabic content has been produced in the past to attract audiences, especially during Ramadan. To see one of Syria’s production houses bring its entire team to Abu Dhabi to shoot one of its biggest productions – Hammam Shami, a 30-episode Ramadan series – is huge testament to the faith it has shown in what the capital can offer in terms of technology, crew, accommodation and yes, incentives. A 30% cash rebate was a big part

© Copyright 2013 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.

VIjaya Cherian, Group Editor, Broadcast Division

ISSUE 36 | JUNE 2013


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of the appeal for the Syrian production house. But that’s just one example. Look at the Peeta Planet brothers. Their social travel series, which is presently broadcasting on Dubai One, has become a huge hit among locals, expatriates and the global social media community. They are another shining example of a team that has received development fund from twofour54 ibtikar. What an example of how much can be achieved if Abu Dhabi and Dubai join hands more often. That’s a story we shall cover in the next issue of BroadcastPro ME. In the meantime, two weeks from now, our team will be on a flight to BroadcastAsia in Singapore and I cannot contain my excitement. More technology, more networking, and more fun on the road. Follow us on @BroadcastProME to receive regular updates from the show and from the Middle East.

Let’s create a vibrant online broadcast community!

DRIVING PRODUCTION Waves Studio rolls out 12-camera High Definition OB truck



New MCR and playout for Saudi TV's sports channels


From Syria to Abu Dhabi


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Power to create The powerful, compact EOS C500 offers 4K video capture, RAW data output and Canon Log Gamma to unleash the full potential of Cinema EF Lenses and deliver high-quality video with wide dynamic range.


in this issue


JUNE 2013



Hammam Shami at twofour54


14 Chris O’Hearn about “the new markets of time” 51 New media in emerging markets


24 New MCR and playout facility at Saudi TV


28 Filming natural history in Arabia



32 Focus on MAM 46 Automation


37 Capturing surround sound in live sport


55 Sony Professional’s offerings to the education sector



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STOP PRESS * Mohamed Youssif exits YahLive * Peter Hutton joins MP & Silva * Youssef Saidi is Eurostar’s new Group COO * Grass Valley to host roadshows from May 22–June 26 across the EMEA region

NEW RECORDING STUDIO IN EGYPT Nile Radio Productions (NRP) has announced the launch of a new recording and production facility in Cairo. NRP’s SSL-Duality and C-24 recording studios offer an array of production services including recording, mixing, mastering, and post production. Built by UK’s White Mark, the studios will be used by NRP to create original music content while making them accessible to both artists and producers in the country. Its web site, www. offers a virtual tour of the studio in addition to a booking system, and a “meet-our- people” section.

DU TO UPGRADE 100G NETWORK FOR FASTER HDTV du has announced that Alcatel-Lucent will build the second phase of its high-speed coherent optical communications network. The 100G fibre optic technology supports up to 8.8 terabit-per-second capacity, which is equivalent to 1.32 million HDTV channels streamed concurrently over a single optical fibre.

QUINTA AND SAWIRIS TIE Egyptian magnate, Nauguib Sawiris, and French-Tunisian financier, Tarak Ben Ammar, have entered into a partnership to finance, produce and distribute movies, and premium TV and multimedia content in both international and Arab markets. The operation was announced at Cannes Film Festival and foresees the acquisition of 30% of Ben Ammar’s Quinta Communications Italia by Sawiris. The two partners plan to expand the group by acquiring, both in Italy and globally, the control of media-related companies. The new alliance will have available USD129 million for investments. The move follows the acquisition in December 2012 by Ben Ammar of Egypt’s ONTV, owned by Sawiris. Ben Ammar already controls, together with the Karoui brothers and Mediaset, North African TV network Nessma TV. For its part, Quinta Communications Italia controls Prima TV, the company that includes all of Ben Ammar’s media assets.


Doha Film Institute has concluded its four-year partnership with Tribeca Enterprises.

Doha Film Institute (DFI) has announced a DFI ANNOUNCES RECIPIENTS significant expansion to its existing grants OF FIRST CYCLE OF HAZAWI FUND programme at Cannes Film Festival. The expansion Doha Film Institute (DFI) has selected four allows it to support new talent from around the world filmmakers from the GCC for the first cycle of its as film projects from all countries will now be eligible Hazawi Fund to provide financial and training support for funding from the Institute. for their short film projects. The expanded programme is open to first- and An initiative of DFI’s Gulf Film second-time filmmakers only. Applications are DFI Development, which focuses on film accepted from three regions: the Middle has appointed education, training and support East and North Africa (MENA); the OECD’s renowned Director, to emerging and established Development Assistance Committee list of Actor and Writer Elia filmmakers in the region, the countries (DAC); and the rest of the world. Suleiman as Artistic inaugural Hazawi Fund will finance Different criteria apply for submissions from Advisor of the Doha each of the selected projects. each region. entity. The four filmmakers selected are Abdulaziz Al Khater, Chief Executive Nayla Al Khaja (UAE) for the movie Officer of DFI, said: “The expanded DFI Grants Three; Shahad Ameen (Kingdom of Saudi programme marks our commitment to developing Arabia) for Eye and Mermaid; Faisal Al Duwaisan a new talent pool of international filmmakers, (Kuwait) for A Dream; and Ann Sobel & Aisha Al regardless of location, and to create a portfolio of Muqla (Qatari Resident, Bahrain) for Shway Shway, what we call ‘global films’. This will further establish Shoo Shoo! Qatar as a global hub of filmmaking.”

CITY OF LIFE DIRECTOR ANNOUNCES NEW VENTURE Emirati filmmaker Ali F. Mostafa, who shot to fame with his first feature film City of Life, has announced the production of his second feature A to B this October with support from twofour54. Other people collaborating on the project are the well-known Egyptian writer and producer Mohamed Hefzy, Lebanese producer Paul Baboudjian and Saudi Arabian film producer Mohammed Al Turki. Production on the film is scheduled for six weeks from the end of October. The film will be shot across the region including Abu Dhabi, Oman, Jordan and Lebanon. Commenting on the venture, Ali Mostafa said: “I’ve been looking for the right follow-up project to City of Life, and A to B will appeal to audiences internationally as well as across the Arab region.”

ADFF ANNOUNCES FIRST RECIPIENTS OF SANAD FUND Grant recipients from the first cycle of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival’s (ADFF) SANAD fund for 2013 were announced at Cannes Film Festival with 16 projects chosen to receive grants, out of the 112 submissions. SANAD awards a total of US$500,000 in grants each year to Arab filmmakers during either the development or post production phase of their film projects. The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) is organised by twofour54 and the SANAD fund is an

integral part of its support for Arab filmmaking. Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of twofour54 said: “We look forward to seeing the film projects which follow from this announcement and to showcasing the best of the films internationally as an example of the creativity coming from this region.” The entries were chosen in the post production and development categories for both narrative and documentary features.

June 2013 | |


PRONEWS MY-HD PARTNERS WITH GMA NETWORK PHILIPPINES My-HD has announced an exclusive distribution agreement with GMA Network, a terrestrial TV network from the Philippines. The agreement will see GMA Network offer the 2.4 million Filipinos in the Middle East their programmes on the My-HD platform. GMA Network’s Vice President and Head of International Operations Joseph T. Francia clarified the network’s decision to shift to a new carrier: “While GMA has been in the MENA region since 2006, we decided to explore growth opportunities, which would provide more Filipinos now living in the Middle East, a chance to enjoy their favourite GMA channels at a reduced price of $24 (from $32) whilst improving the overall quality and value of the service. This opportunity was not possible with our former carrier.” My-HD has appointed SAWA Media to lead its IPTV and cable distribution.

FIRST 3D FEATURE IN GAZA Filmmakers in Gaza have completed the making of what is believed to be the first Palestinian animated feature in 3D. in a bid to show a fresh perspective on life through a child’s eyes. Called The Scarecrow, the 40-minute production tells the story of a nineyear-old orphan named Rima and the scarecrow she was given by her parents who died in a car crash. It is a story, which evokes some of the suffering of Palestinian refugees, says director Khalil Al Mazen. “The world is used to seeing Palestinian children surrounded by death, destruction and war, but this film focuses on their simple dreams,” the film director said in an interview with AFP.

NEWBURY JOINS WOHLER Wohler Technologies has announced a shift in its U.K.-based operations with the appointment of Craig Newbury to the role of EMEA Sales Director, RadiantGrid. Newbury, who joined Wohler as senior account executive in 2012, will be responsible for customer, partner, and internal corporate sales for Wohler’s expanding RadiantGrid product line across the region. Wohler’s existing EMEA operations will continue to provide sales coordination and support for RadiantGrid, as well as for Wohler’s line of monitoring products and signal-management solutions.


Gulf Film, a major film distributor in the Middle East, has chosen CLIPSTER from Rohde & Schwarz DVS GmbH (DVS) to create Digital Cinema Packages (DCPs) in the Middle East. As CLIPSTER can perform high-speed DCI mastering processes, Gulf Film can now generate and process DCPs faster and more efficiently. In doing so, all DI steps – which are typically spread across multiple products – can be created in one system. Its direct preview and test option enables CLIPSTER users to directly view and check DCPs created either on the system itself or on other systems. The DI workstation also lets staff at Gulf Film edit films online, convert them into various output formats and perform colour corrections. At the same time, CLIPSTER

handles all resolutions, whether SD, HD, 2K or 4K. CLIPSTER’s extremely fast render pipeline also accelerates Gulf Film’s complex decoding and encoding steps. The DCI validation tool makes DCI workflows more user-friendly. CLIPSTER features extensive, easy-to-use DCP test functions enabling DCPs not only to be verified to ensure they comply with all DCI standards, but also to see if they can be played back on popular DCI players. Furthermore, the Gulf Film editors can make selective changes to every DCP validation parameter in CLIPSTER to suit their respective test procedures. Alain Baradhi, Digital Lab Manager at Gulf Film said: “For us, CLIPSTER excels, thanks to its considerable xxxxxxx into flexibility and openness and by smoothly integrating our workflows. We are enthusiastic about the system’s speed and reliability and are happy to make another mark in our region by implementing new DVS equipment.” DVS’ own hardware processing, the creation of the final DCPs that, as a standard, are encoded as JPEG2000 files, is carried out in double real-time speed. The built-in KDM management and spec validation tools ensure that DCPs sent across the country or across the world will provide reliable playback and faithful picture reproduction. Stefan Albertz, Product Manager at DVS added: “We are delighted that we can announce Gulf Film as an extraordinary DVS reference in the Middle East.”

7 PRODUCTION AND EVENTS COVERS BEACH POLO CUP 7 Production and Events broadcast the recently concluded Julius Baer Beach Polo Cup Dubai 2013. The company’s end-toend media coverage of the event involved HD recording of live matches and ceremonies and was handled by a crew of 20. In order to ensure smooth operation and immediate on-site resolution of any potential production complexities, 7 deployed one of its largest outside broadcast (OB) vans to the venue. The van was equipped with10 Sony HDC-1500R cameras, three wireless camera systems, a Jimmy Jib and a Sony MVS-6000 vision mixer, all of which were operated by 25 engineers, directors and cameramen. 7 Production and Events also managed the post production of more than 17 hours of footage. Commenting on the challenges that the filming of Julius Baer Beach Polo Cup Dubai 2013 posed, Pierre Tabet, Operations Manager at 7 Production and Events said: “Filming of sporting events is always difficult because there is a high level of expertise required to capture the right shots. Knowing which shots to slow down, replay or skip is a vital skill that goes hand in hand with filming and is essential to offering end-to-end production services.”

MGI TIES WITH HYBRID Middle East systems integrator, Media Group International (MGI) has partnered with Hybrid, a major provider of real-time graphics and robotic camera systems. MGI will sell and support Hybrid’s virtual studio and robotic camera products in the region. The partnership is one of several the SI has signed in recent months. MGI will support and sell Hybrid’s flagship Krypton 3D tracking virtual studio solution, the NEON trackless virtual set, the Chrome broadcast robotic jib, and Hybrid’s entire lineup of robotic camera systems.

6 | | June 2013

NMK SETS UP NEW REGIONAL FACILITY AT DUBAI SILICON OASIS Dubai-based distributor, Nicolas Kyvernitis Electronics Enterprises has recently established a new free zone entity under the title, NMK Middle East FZCO. The new entity will facilitate the new distribution arrangements that NMK has obtained in the past few months which include representation of Neutrik across the GCC (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman) as well as Iraq and Iran. The new office will also handle other distribution arrangements announced in the coming months. “In terms of training initiatives and product knowledge, application and solution consultation to benchmark customer support — NMK stands as a leading distributor in the region for professional audio, video and communication equipment,” commented Chicco Hiranandani, Business Manager at NMK Middle East FZCO. “The new free zone facility will enable us to cater to the larger area that we have now been provided with by our partners,” he added.



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PRONEWS TEN SPORTS SECURES BROADCAST RIGHTS TO 2014 ASIAN GAMES AND TOUR DE FRANCE The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has concluded a broadcasting deal with TEN Sports that will allow it to air to show the 2014 Asian Games to be held in Incheon, South Korea. The deal was brokered by MP & Silva, the international sports media company and media advisor to OCA. The rights package includes four competitions — 2013 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, Incheon, South Korea; 2013 Asian Youth Games, Nanjing, China; 2013 Asian Games Centennial Festival, Boracay, Philippines; 2014 Asian Beach Games, Phuket, Thailand; and 2014 Asian Games, Incheon, South Korea. TEN Sports has also acquired the rights to Tour de France until 2016 across every broadcast platform: free-to-air and pay-TV, direct-to-home (DTH), internet protocol transmission (IPTV), pay-per-view and videoon-demand (VOD). The deal is on an exclusive basis throughout South Asia except in Sri Lanka, where Ten Sports will share the rights with pan-regional broadcaster Eurosport.

INTIGRAL’S NEW APP FOR KIDS Dubai-based media house Intigral has launched Lamsa, a mobile application designed to encourage children to read and learn the Arabic language in a fun and interactive way. Lamsa is the first digital Arabic app that features a variety of interactive content that is in line with the Arabic culture, language and heritage. The app, specifically developed by Intigral for toddlers and pre-schoolers, was launched at the first ‘Reading Forum for Children’ in Jeddah. Key features include stories, rhymes, songs, games and puzzles – all relating to Arab culture, and Arabic traditions. Lamsa is Saudi Arabia’s first interactive kids app published by Kadi & Ramadi, a major Saudi publisher specialising in children’s literature. The Lamsa app is available to all STC customers.

EGYPT’S ISMAILIA INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL LAUNCHES WORKSHOP The 16th Ismailia International Festival for Documentaries and Shorts has organised an editing workshop from June 4-9, in collaboration with Screen Institute Beirut (SIB). A selection committee will choose three teams, each comprising a director and an editor, to attend the workshop with their projects. Three professional tutors, will conduct the workshop; each tutor will accompany one of the teams in an intense five-day personalised hands-on training. After the programme, the Ismailia Festival gives the opportunity to the participants to contact their designated masters via Skype for a follow-up.



The Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Health has announced the launch of a health education TV channel called Hayah. The channel was developed by Oman-based IT firm Anzyma and will engage more than 150,000 people every month including patients, visitors and staff working in health centres across Muscat in discussions on health. The content for the channel is centrally controlled and managed through a remote terminal and includes the installation of SCALA, a content management system. SCALA includes features such as a built-in template, schedule-based content distribution, a variety of integration possibilities, and media playlists to control the network remotely through any internet-enabled device.

HARRIS BROADCAST REPOSITIONS, CUTS STAFF Harris Broadcast is undergoing a post-acquisition realignment that includes staff cuts and operational changes. The company, with its staff of 1,700, was acquired from Harris Corp. by private investors five months ago. With the total reduction of less than 10%, there’s since been a quiet shuffling on the management level and a reduction in support staff.

Etisalat has undertaken an aggressive campaign to woo more SMEs to avail of its business packages. As part of this effort, the UAE-based telco operator has launched four bundled packages under its “Business Ultimate” mobile plan. Etisalat has bundled local and international calls, SMSs, local data and smartphones in packages beginning from USD26.95. Other packages are available for $54.18, $108.63 and $271.98.The packages are available with the latest Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE, Blackberry Q10 and iPhone 5 phones. Customers can include other add-on data options based on their usage patterns including AED 60 for 1GB, AED 149 for 5GB and AED 219 for 12 GB.

ARGOSY EXPANDS STOCK AVAILABILITY IN ASEAN REGION To support growing demands from Southeast Asia, Argosy has expanded its stock and warehouse space at its offices in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The new expanded premises — which are operated in collaboration with its joint venture partner, Argosy Broadcast Asia Sdn Bhd (ABA) — now includes office space, a showroom and a new extended warehouse. Considerable stock has been added to the premises to cater to increasing demands and to provide a quick route to market as the company continues to work swiftly and effectively to meet the infrastructure needs of its customers across the South East Asia region. ABA stocks a wide variety of HD and fibre optic products at its facility in Malaysia, including a broad range of Draka 3GHD IMAGE video cables, Gepco video and audio cables, ADC patch panels and BNC connectors, Argosy-branded MDUs along with cable markers, strain relief boots, network and data products, and a wide variety of video accessories and tools.

RTS APPOINTS MIDDLE EAST SALES MANAGER Sanjay Kumar has joined RTS as the brand’s new Sales Manager for the Middle East and Africa. Kumar will gradually take responsibility for RTS and Telex sales in the region. Armed with extensive experience of working with the region’s systems integrators, Kumar brings his expertise in design, sales and project management of complex audio and communications systems to his new job.

June 2013 | |


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PRONEWS OSN ANNOUNCES 30% SUBSCRIBER GROWTH OSN has recorded more than 30% subscriber growth in 2012 and expects similar growth levels this year, according to a statement issued by the Dubai-based pay-TV network. OSN claims that its growth has been led by the launch of several industry-leading innovations including OSN Play, the region’s first digital TV platform. David Butorac, CEO of OSN said: “Our growth is testament to the success of our compelling content offering, advanced digital OSN has innovations and partnered with ABS-CBN, our focus on the largest Filipino TV network leveraging in the world, to bring Filipino TV the reach entertainment to the Gulf region. The TV of the network began broadcasting from May 1, internet, 2013. OSN now offers its Filipino viewers offering four new ABS-CBN channels featuring our premium content across a variety of customers genres including entertainment, more control, sports, movies choice, content and news. and convenience.” David Butorac

DUBAI TO HOST CINEMATIC INNOVATION SUMMIT IN DECEMBER Dubai will host the first Cinematic Innovation Summit in December at the Atlantis, The Palm. The summit, which will be held on December 5 and 6, will feature visionaries from Hollywood, Silicon Valley, academia, and beyond. A first-of-its-kind event, the summit will be a dynamic mix of symposium, film festival activities, and interactive space for cutting-edge works and technologies and discuss the future of cinematic innovation, throwing a spotlight on the changes to come. The summit co-organised by the Centre for New Cinema and naseba, is held in conjunction with Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). The Summit will immediately precede the 10th edition of DIFF.

NEW REGIONAL HEAD FOR SNELL MESA Snell has appointed Amit Daftary as Regional Head for the company’s operations in the Middle East and South Asia (MESA) region. In his role at Snell, Daftary will assume full responsibility for the company’s regional teams and its growing business across India and the Middle East. “Amit’s strong commercial experience and industry skills will be valuable to the Snell team in driving further growth in the MESA region, and particularly in India, Sri Lanka, and the Arabian Gulf,” said Naresh Subherwal, President, Asia-Pacific and Middle East, at Snell.

SAMER MOUWANES HEADS CLEAR-COM’S ME OPERATIONS Clear-Com has appointed Samer Mouwanes as Regional Sales Manager for its Middle East operations. Mouwanes joined Clear-Com on May 13, 2013. In his new role, Mouwanes will establish and head Clear-Com’s new Middle East office. He is tasked with overseeing all sales and customer service activities in the Middle East, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus. Mouwanes will build on the sales experience he has garnered to help promote Clear-Com to industry professionals in the region. Mouwanes will work directly with Karlie Miles, Clear-Com’s Director of Sales, EMEA and South Asia Pacific, to grow Clear-Com’s market share in the broadcast and live performance markets, while developing business in new markets.

June 2013 | |


The sets of Hammam Shami built at intaj studios.


Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of twofour54.

Syrian drama at home in Abu Dhabi Syria’s political turmoil is no deterrent for the flag bearers of the nation’s popular drama production industry. Tapping into the surging demand, the content creators shift base to Abu Dhabi to continue providing quality content to the Arab world, says Vibhuti Arora

Twofour54 intaj’s studio in Musaffah exudes an old world charm these days, thanks to the ornate sets built in the facility for an upcoming Syrian drama series titled Hammam Shami. The 30-episode series is being produced entirely in Abu Dhabi over a period of three months at the twofour54

intaj facility and will employ some of the entity’s local team as well. This is claimed to be the largest Syrian production to be shot outside the country. Hammam Shami is scheduled to be broadcast on television to the Middle East and North Africa region during the holy month of Ramadan.

12 | | June 2013

Spread across 500 sqm, the studios recreate the milieu of old town Damascus. Complete with alleys, marketplaces and hammams, the set designs transport the viewers to the Syria of the 1950s. Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of twofour54 called the project “a joint venture” at the press conference hosted in the UAE capital to showcase the studios and introduce the Syrian team including the celebrity actors who will star in the production. “The production of this major Syrian drama here at twofour54 reinforces Abu Dhabi’s reputation as the home of original Arabic broadcasting content, says Al Kaabi. “This particular production is the result of a partnership between Syrian production company, Al Adham and Abu Dhabi based, Al Mohra Productions and twofour54. We are proud of this association and believe that this will encourage more such initiatives.” For twofour54, securing this deal has been a huge coup as it is one of the first drama-based projects to be shot at the facility. Intaj’s studios have mainly been used for entertainmentbased productions in the past.

Momen Al Mulla addresses the press at twofour54 intaj.

Paul Baker, Executive Director, twofour54 Abu Dhabi.

Hammam Shami itself is a comedy series that chronicles traditional family life revolving around Syrian ‘Hammam’ (a traditional community bathing house), where much of the action takes place. Built by Al Mohra Productions, the set is a detailed depiction of the streets and alleys of old town Damascus. Paul Baker, Executive Director of twofour54 intaj says that Hammam Shami comes in line with intaj’s strategy to create world-class Arabic content. “We are focusing on our core products and what we are good at. Our studios offer excellent filming and post production facilities and we plan to further build on that. “We will begin a full revamp of our post facility to create a post house environment. Also on offer will be high quality broadcast services and our graphics team will bring channel branding skills to the table. This, we believe, will give a further boost to local productions.” Series Director, Momen Al Mulla of Al Adham productions who has previously directed the popular Bab Al Hara 5, has a tall order to fill as the expectations from the upcoming series are high. The director explains that this kind of drama has been revived after five decades and is

PROPRODUCTION entirely different from his previous work. “We hope to recreate the magic of Bab Al Hara through this drama although the two are entirely different from each other. This is Al Adham Productions’ first partnership with intaj and we intend to have more such projects in the future. With the situation getting worse back home, we are also considering Greece and Dubai for our future productions,” says the director. The series features a celebrity cast of renowned Syrian actors and is expected to be a big draw in the Arab world. Drama has been one of the biggest exports from Syria in recent years. Tapping into the surging demand for original Arabic content, Syrian drama has been received extremely well over the past years. The phenomenon that effectively took off in 2006 with the release of the first installment of the popular series, Bab al Hara, has since scaled new heights. Bab Al Hara is considered to be a landmark production in the history of Syrian television with the highest viewing rates among all Arab TV drama series. “Syrian drama is a promising genre and we are expecting this to be a huge draw for everyone. With this comedy, we intend to put a smile on viewers’ faces despite the hardships back home,” says Al Mulla. According to the production team, Hammam Shami will be the latest in the emerging modern tradition of Ramadan

drama, which is increasingly being seen as a genre of sorts with productions aimed especially for this season. Arab satellite channels traditionally broadcast special programming each evening during the holy month, especially catering to family audience gathered together to break the fast. PRO

intaj’s cash rebate scheme One of the key reasons the Syrian team chose Abu Dhabi to shoot this production is because of the 30% cash rebate the UAE capital offers as an incentive to those shooting there. However, the team also stated that it costs at least double the budget to shoot in Abu Dhabi as compared to the expenses incurred back home. “The incentive scheme is definitely a big attraction as the budget for such productions is huge and moving base from Syria adds further to the cost. But Abu Dhabi has been treating us well by providing the necessary facilities, and this production will pave the way for many such initiatives in the future,” says Al Mulla. This incentive scheme, introduced by Abu Dhabi Film Commission and twofour54, makes shooting in Abu Dhabi an attractive proposition for filmmakers and TV production houses, both regional and international. The cast and crew of the series flew down from Syria for the shoot, while intaj has provided infrastructural and logistical facilities in addition to support staff and technical crew for the shoot. The post production for the series will be undertaken at the twofour54 facility in Khalifa Park, Abu Dhabi.

“Syrian drama is a promising genre and we are expecting this to be a huge draw for everyone. With this comedy, we intend to put a smile on viewers’ faces despite the hardships back home” Momen Al Mulla, Director of Hammam Shami

The cast of Hammam Shami.

June 2013 | |



There’s still life in TV The end of traditional TV doesn’t seem imminent just yet; it is a strong medium and will continue to be so over the next few years Here’s the good news for all who work in TV. Our jobs aren’t about to disappear.

TV will remain the dominant screen for home entertainment for many years to come, until most of us are retired. OK, can we all relax now? The pathway might not be the same, and there will be additional devices, but basically people are going to continue sitting in groups, enjoying a largely passive experience in their homes, for decades to come. TV VIEWING At a presentation we gave last year, at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, one gentleman came up to me and said how interesting he found it. Naturally, I thought he meant my powerful insights into TV audiences but it turned out that he was surprised to find anyone still bothered about TV at all. Yet, when we look at the figures, we find that TV consumption is behind only sleep and work in terms of daily activity… and even that difference may be marginal. We don’t have historical data for comparison in the region but take the UK, for instance, where TV is watched for just over four hours at an individual level. What’s most interesting there is that the figure has increased in the last 20 years. Yes, as PCs, laptops, games consoles and now, mobile devices become FIGURE 1: AVERAGE DAILY HOURS VIEWED GROUP


















have gone elsewhere to get live. What stands out here is that the people who viewed the least were the ones who viewed on TV only. Someone viewing on TV, PC, mobile and tablet not only consumed nearly two hours extra TV, but also got more than four hours of additional content.


ubiquitous, and homes enjoy massive broadband speed, people are watching more and more old-fashioned television. THE SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH SCREENS The other argument to predict the demise of TV is that we have all these other screens. Surely, nobody actually watches TV, we just have it on while we surf, chat and look at kittens. It is undoubtedly true that more and more people use other devices while watching TV, but we’re still exposed to it, which is the important thing for an advertiser. Nobody ever seemed too concerned in the old days about people reading newspapers while watching TV. Sure, tablets, laptops, mobiles are all present, like moons orbiting the sun of television. In fact, there is evidence that they reinforce and enhance TV viewing. A study was done during the Olympics last year, looking at how much content was consumed by US audiences. Clearly, a sports event is a prime candidate for TV viewing, because viewers want to use the biggest screen for the best experience. But much of the US coverage was shown in delay or edited, so it was the sort of thing viewers might

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AVERAGE TIME FOLLOWING OLYMPICS The phrase I would apply to this phenomenon is “new markets of time”. In other words, these people are watching [content] on trains, in offices, at cafes, where previously they wouldn’t have watched TV anyway. TV remains the central focus in this scenario but there is much to be learnt from the way audiences interact and switch between the devices. Companies such as Second Screen have analysed patterns of usage during TV programmes and found distinct patterns. A reality show like the Idol format will have much tweeting and chat during the acts, to the extent that it provides a reliable indicator of how the voting will go. On the other hand, a drama or series tends to build up and then go quiet during the show, only to explode afterwards. FIGURE 3: AVG TIME FOLLOWING OLYMPICS






4h 19m










47m 4h19m




PROTRENDS “TV remains the most reliable form of delivery for the consumer and the most efficient for the distributor” Chris O’Hearn, GM, Emirates Media Measurement Company

And don’t forget that the ever increasing size and functionality of TV screens, with connected TVs and OTT services, means they lend themselves to being used in a multi-functional way, so maybe we won’t even use other devices in the TV context. THE LIMITING FACTOR Apart from behaviour, there’s another good reason, why the internet isn’t about to take over from TV. It can’t. TV remains the most reliable form of delivery for the consumer and the most efficient for the distributor. Osman Sultan, CEO of du, has often been quoted at conferences, talking about the need for someone to pay for the highways the telcos are being asked to construct, so we can all get to the supermarket.

We can understand his point by looking at the much heralded 4G developments. According to technology expert Anders Garfors, deploying 4G to completely cover Holland – a small, flat country – would cost USD 9.2 billion to set up and another $2.3 billion each year to run. It would require 4 million subscribers with an annual spend of $1,150 per year to break even. Good luck with that. The sheer volume of bandwidth needed to watch large amounts of video online is astonishing, but insignificant compared to what is delivered via broadcast. The BBC has estimated that, at times, BBC iPlayer usage made up 15% of all UK internet traffic and yet, it made up just 1% of BBC viewing. Clearly, the BBC has a public service remit, but for anyone

else that’s a lot of development and investment to provide a 1% return. Broadcasting – one to many – is an incredibly efficient way to distribute content. What’s more, we have a business model which has worked for 50 years. It ain’t broke and the alternatives aren’t about fixing it, just making it better. PRO

Christopher O’Hearn is GM of Emirates Media Measurement Company, which has rolled out ‘tview’, the UAE’s new television ratings and audience measurement system and the first in the Middle East.

June 2013 | |



Driving Production In an exclusive interview with BroadcastPro ME, Dubai-based production house Waves Studio and systems integrator AV Solutions talk about how they helped develop a 12-camera HD OB van to serve the Middle East production and broadcast market 18 | | June 2013

Dubai-based production and broadcast systems rental house Waves Studio recently took delivery of an HD OB van from systems integrator AV Solutions. Waves Studio, which has fully equipped production studios in Al Quoz and Umm Al Quwain, and a full-fledged editing facility in Bur Dubai, decided to replace its existing fleet of standard definition (SD) OB vans with a High Definition (HD) fleet. The contract was awarded to systems integrator AV Solutions, which has undertaken several OB projects

PROCOVER The 12-camera HD OB van, which was integrated by AV Solutions for Waves Studio, is equipped with the latest multi-format HD equipment to cater to different production requirements.

Snapshot * Client: Waves Studio * Systems Integrator: AV Solutions * Objective: To assemble and integrate a state-ofthe-art 12-camera HD OB van that can cater to any production requirement * Location: Dubai * Key vendors: Sony, EVS, Harris, Nevion, Vinten, Vizrt, RTS, Neutrik

for clients both in the UAE and Iraq, from its facilities in Dubai. The owner of Waves Studio, Sheikh Majid Almualla, had already imported a readymade Renault coach truck from France for the purpose. “We wanted a compact OB truck that was fully equipped with high-end HD broadcast systems and could cater to any production request from our clients,” says Almualla. AV Solutions’ Managing Director Zaid Wattar says this has been the biggest and most challenging OB project the company has undertaken thus far. “We have built many vans and SNG vehicles for clients at our Jebel Ali facility.

This van, however, was our biggest accomplishment because it has been very uniquely designed and has immediately become a showcase project for us.” Key kit in the van include 12 Sony HXC-100 multi-format camera chain systems, its MVS-6000 multi-format 2.5ME video switcher, recorders and monitors; Vinten Vision 250 tripod systems and dollies; Harris multiviewers, test and measurement systems and glue; Nevion’s 3G modular router and infrastructure; EVS’ latest multi-camera six-channel HD slowmotion replay server system; Vizrt graphics; RTS intercom; and Neutrik

remote stage box audio/video fibre optical transport solution and cables. When AV Solutions was first approached to integrate the van, there were several issues that its engineering team needed to address. For one, the team was required to design a system that could cater to any production requirement whether they be sports, live events or other programming applications, explains Wattar. “This OB truck was always wired for twelve cameras and needed to cater to different applications, especially sport, which has a far more demanding equipment requirement than other

June 2013 | |


PROCOVER events. It was a big challenge to integrate a twelve-camera system within such a truck size, especially when it needed to include fully featured equipment as well as other options such as slow-motion servers and sports graphics,” he says. “The client was clear that he wanted only high-end industry-standard equipment because no compromise could be made on quality or reliability as their clients are quite high-profile. What we have created has now become a benchmark for many local integrators, who have been impressed by how we deployed a 12-camera system into this truck without affecting operational comfort or internal space.” The external coach, which has been sourced from France, consists of a

Kit list

Above: Zaid Wattar, Managing Director of AV Solutions. From left: Eng. Omar of Waves Studio and Joseph Touma, Technical Manager, AV Solutions.

Besides 12 Sony HXC-100 multiformat cameras, the van includes a multi-camera six-channel, HD slomo replay server system from EVS.

hydraulic expandable frame. Although an expandable frame is a standard in all European coaches as it immediately provides the production team with a spacious corridor when in operation, this is still not as common in the Middle East. The entire interior of the coach was designed and kitted out by AV Solutions at Waves Studio’s Al Quoz facility. “Normally, we undertake OB projects for our clients in Iraq and so, we would integrate them at our Jebel Ali facility because products created in the freezone are intended to leave the country. This coach, however, belongs to a client that is registered in Dubai so we undertook the integration at their Al Quoz facility. They have a huge operation there,” Wattar explains. Joseph Touma, Technical Manager at AV Solutions explains that several designs were brought to the drawing table in compliance with Sheikh Almualla’s own ideas before both teams arrived at a decision. Touma was responsible for supervising and ensuring that the project was executed well. “We had many meetings with the client, who himself brought some fantastic ideas to the table. We studied the pros and cons of splitting the interiors in different ways and how to locate the equipment. The present layout is quite different and unique compared to the standard design of most OB vans. This design has been created

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* 12 Sony HXC-100 multi-format camera chain systems integrated with Fujinon HD lenses from 42x zoom telephoto types to 4.5mm focal super wide angle lenses. * Supported by Vinten Vision 250 tripod systems and dollies. * Sony MVS-6000 multiformat 2.5ME video switcher * 4 Sony HDCAM and digital betacam high-end video tape recorders * All of the monitoring systems for the directors, engineers and operators have been sourced from Sony. This includes Sony’s high-end BVM & PVM monitor series. * Harris multiviewer monitoring processor system, and video measurement and analysis. * 3G modular router from Nevion with intelligent control panels. * 3G Glue modular distribution, conversion and synchronisers from Nevion and Harris. * The latest multi-camera six-channel, HD slowmotion replay server system from EVS. * Vizrt’s VizTrio advanced 3D on-air graphics system. * Yamaha DM2000 digital audio mixing console * RTS’ digital intercom matrix system with advanced LCD key panels and wireless intercom set * Multi-channel audio/video/interacom signal transport stage box system connected through specialised optical fibre cables from Neutrik. * This can be sent for several kilometres from the OB location and connects remote signals to the OB.

to accommodate the needs of various production requirements of Waves Studio’s clients while also ensuring less power is consumed and less heat is generated,” explains Touma. Wattar adds that the client was fully involved in the technical part of the project. “Sheikh Majid Almualla is very involved in broadcast technology. He likes to study the details himself before making a decision. He visits broadcast exhibitions and undertakes a lot of research himself. This made it easier for us as a systems integrator because we were on the same wavelength when it came to selecting systems for the van. Budget would be relegated to the back, if a more expensive solution was capable of doing the job better.” It took more than eight months to finalise all elements of the OB van and integrate the solutions, adds Wattar. “We needed to make considerable modifications to the truck. We sourced metal, wood and decorations for the OB van from various suppliers in the local market.

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The Waves Studio facility in Al Quoz.

One of the biggest needs of this market is also a sophisticated air-conditioning system. We designed this in conjunction with an air-conditioning specialist in the market to ensure that the OB van was perfectly suited to operate in the heat and dust conditions of the desert.” The AV Solutions team undertook the core broadcast project, although, other elements such as interior finishing were sub-contracted to other specialist contractors, explains Wattar.

The broadcast systems integration was undertaken by Touma and his team. “We sometimes outsource the non broadcast elements to other external providers depending on the timeframe for a project. However, the core element is always done by our own team. For the final tuning of configurations for our software-based systems especially, we always ensure that we have specialists from the manufacturer’s side to support us. This is standard with all the projects we do as product specialists are better suited to configure their respective products,” explains Wattar. In addition to this, Wattar claims that the workflow within the truck is “highly flexible and can address any challenging production requirements”. “It has been built based on the concept of ‘any possible instant changes’. The operator can easily change the patching of any signal, or change the monitoring

sourcing through the router dynamically; they can change which effects they require on the monitors automatically. They can also change any recording sources to the VTRs and the video server, or have external sources that need to be mixed with existing sources. We have added so much flexibility to the workflow to ensure that it can be adapted to different requirements.” As a result, the new OB truck has enabled Waves Studio to secure more production projects in the market. It often works closely with several regional broadcasters including Rotana TV, Dubai TV, MBC and Abu Dhabi TV in the market. It has already been used to cover several high-profile events including the Sheikh Khalifa Championship for horses, the Dubai Shopping Festival, the Sheikh Hamdan Falconry Championship and other sports events. This is the second mobile production system developed by AV Solutions for Waves Studio. The first system was a fourcamera, high-end mobile flight case system. The systems integrator has also previously supplied solutions for Waves Studio’s post production facility. PRO

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June 2013 | |



Saudi TV builds MCR and playout for sports channels In an exclusive interview with Vijaya Cherian, Saudi-based systems integrator First Gulf Company talks about the new playout and MCR facility it recently designed and integrated for Saudi Broadcasting Corporation

Dignitaries from Saudi Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), the authority that oversees media and broadcast operations in the Kingdom, recently visited a brand new tapeless playout and master control room (MCR) system that was developed for Saudi Radio and TV complex in Riyadh to serve six of its sports channels. Saudi-based systems integrator First Gulf Company was responsible for providing a turnkey solution for this project, including modifying an existing room within the complex to make it suitable for MCR operations and then, undertaking the

Snapshot * Client: Saudi Broadcasting Corporation * Systems Integrator: First Gulf Company * Objective: To design and integrate a playout and MCR to support six of Saudi TVâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sports channels * Location: Saudi TV and Radio Complex, Riyadh, KSA * Key vendors: EVS, Evertz, Harris, EMC * Project Engineering: Orlando Castro, Head of Engineering; Zakhia Hayek, Management, EVS and video solution design; and Joseph Choufani, Archive Solution Design.

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PROEXCLUSIVE entire broadcast element for the facility. The broadcast element included designing, procuring kit and integrating all of the systems within a very tight timeframe of two months. The facility is currently undergoing testing and commissioning. SBC’s President, His Excellency Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz Al Hazza; Vice President of Engineering Affairs, Eng. Saleh bin Abdulaziz Al Meghaileeth; General Director, Eng. Ibrahim Al Rowaitie and other dignitaries from the organisation visited the new facility in April. Although Saudi TV’s six sports channels have been on air since last year when the broadcaster secured the rights to air the Saudi Football League, they will include sophisticated sports programming and operate as fullfledged channels only after Ramadan. A major chunk of this project included the deployment of several EVS products including five XS servers for ingest and playout (18 ingest channels and 12 playout channels in main and backup mode); its XSAN storage with a capacity to store up to 2000 hours of HD material; 14 IPDirector servers to manage the media and control ingest, playout and logging; 13 EVS XTAccess servers for media operations, transfer and transcoding; and four Xedio CleanEdit for proxy low-res editing. The facility is also kitted out with baseband equipment for 6+1 channels: seven Avid Motion Graphics servers; an 128x128 Evertz Xenon router; seven Evertz EMC MCR switchers, seven Evertz VIPX multiviewer systems for monitoring; Harris signal processing equipment and an EMC2 VNX-5300 with 40TB usable storage for local archive media asset management that is connected to SBC’s main Digital

Above: His Excellency Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz Al Hazza (centre), President of Saudi Broadcasting Corporation and Eng. Ibrahim Al Rowaitie (right) are briefed about the new systems at the facility.

Above from left: FGC’s managing partners Naim Saidi and Walid Al Moukhtar.

June 2013 | |


GBOX your brilliant idea needs a better delivery


“Integrating the hardware and workflows of several systems within a limited period of time required a high level of focus and skill from all FGC teams involved in the project”

Above: Dignitaries inspect the facilites and below: Mohammad Al Jufeir (l) and Saleh Al Shafi (r).

Joseph Choufani, Systems Engineer, FGC

Archiving Centre in Riyadh, which has been expanded to include another 200 TB. In a typical workflow, feeds from the MCR or recorded footage from the VTR will be ingested into the EVS XSAN where it is available to all of the components within the EVS environment. Simultaneously, a high resolution version (DVCPro HD) and a low resolution version (H.264 @ 1.2Mbps) will be generated and written into the storage. The files become available for on-air playout as they are recorded. The IPDirector MAM allows for the control and management of the assets, entering metadata in a customisable profile, logging, creation of playlists and on-air playout. “Customised profiles can be created in

the EVS environment. This metadata is transferred to the archive system using XML where it is interpreted and inserted into the database,” explains Zakhia El Hayek, Systems Engineer at FGC. The files can be edited on the storage area network (SAN) using the low resolution editor Xedio from EVS, or can be written to the existing Avid ISIS shared storage to be edited by the Avid NLE system. Files can then be sent to the local archive from the IPDirector interface. Here, the files are synchronised with the Digital Archiving Centre. The files can be retrieved from the archive via the ISSCore mini MAM interface. These files are then transferred back and checked into the EVS environment with their metadata.

More than 30 people from FGC worked on this project between design, integration, implementation, civil works, testing and commissioning. According to the systems integrator, the tight timeframe was one of the biggest challenges to completing this installation. “Time constraints were really the major challenge,” explains Joseph Choufani, Systems Engineer at FGC. “Setting up the environment and integrating the hardware and workflows of several systems within a limited period of time required a high level of focus and skill from all FGC teams involved in the project.” Technical training for the end user is scheduled in June. PRO

June 2013 | |




Natural history content is the need of the hour Wildlife filmmaker Jonathan Ali Khan explains why regional broadcasters must invest more in natural history content in the Arab world

The resistance from regional broadcasters to produce good natural history content and consequently, the slow progress being made in environmental education, in general, is disconcerting. Whilst we know the true reason for this is commercial saleability, the fact remains that TV channels have a responsibility to use their influence within society for more than commercial gain. In many parts of the world, broadcasters are actually expected to follow government

regulations to broadcast factual programmes as part of educational content quotas. It is, therefore, important that TV networks undertake more socially responsible programming. David Attenborough once said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was regarded as a responsibility of the BBC to provide programmes, which have a broad Ali Khan was commissioned to produce three nature documentaries for Sharjah Media Companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new documentary channel Sharqiyah Min Khalba. The documentaries are nearing completion.

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spectrum of interest, and if there was a hole in that spectrum, then the BBC would fill it.” This principle is missing in this region and, in my view, should at least be carried out by the national broadcasters such as ADTV and Dubai TV, or even the big platforms such as MBC and OSN. Attenborough’s most profound line, when asked about the series, ‘Planet Earth’ has to be one of the all-time insights into the potential power of the natural history medium. “It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement, the greatest source of visual beauty, the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living”. As such, the natural world has so much to offer, in terms of exciting visual stimulus and emotional connection. Natural history TV is one of the most important content genres this region should be creating as it represents the key to safeguarding Arabia’s natural world. Historically, the Arabian Peninsula was once a rich and fertile environment,

covered in swamps and forested mountains. The simple fact that this region has the biggest oil deposits in the world bears testimony to just how rich the primordial vegetation used to be. From later periods, fossilised remains of crocodile, hippopotamus and other large repltiles and mammals that are now confined to areas of Africa and Asia reveal they were once roaming the landscape in significant numbers. And those numbers must have been truly significant at one time, if some of the remnant statistics of certain species are anything to go by. For instance, we still have the largest nesting population of loggerhead turtles in the world on the island of Masirah, Oman and the largest nesting population of green turtles in the Indian Ocean, also in Oman. In the UAE and the waters of Qatar and Bahrain, we find the second largest population of endangered dugong in the world. More recently, we have discovered important whale shark aggregations inside the Gulf off the coast of Qatar. This is purely a personal observation, but to me, that surely illustrates that this region was once heaving with life, mainly due to a set of conditions that favoured the use of these waters, beaches and other habitats as ideal sanctuaries for nurseries and nesting. It’s fascinating to see that the animals that are most loved and cherished in the Arab culture today are the species that have historically played a direct role in the survival efforts needed to cope and survive within the harsh conditions of this land – the animals that were used to hunt down and exploit prey. Camels, horses, falcons, hunting dogs all share a deeply romantic and almost spiritual link to the psyche of this region. These are species that shared the arduous practical task of helping people to survive, whether to help with hunting, as beasts of burden, waging wars or sometimes even as food. Virtually, all other species represented fair game and were there to be exploited. Whatever the needs of the time warranted, developing an intimate understanding of the natural world was vital to the survival of the Bedouin culture. However, the discovery of oil and the subsequent change in the landscape has caused a huge disconnect between man and his environment.

As a result, the task of getting people to care about wildlife remains, and the natural order of our remaining environment is rendered all the more complex. The world’s natural history experts have recently focused their attention on the Arabian Peninsula. Projects such as BBC’s TV series Wild Arabia and Icon Entertainment’s Saudi-focused Desert Seas commissioned by Saudi Aramco and aired recently on National Geographic provided the much-needed shot in the arm! I should be ecstatic – but I’m not! Unless this region steps up to fund serious efforts, even these international series will eventually fade away. NHZ walked away, after negotiations with an Abu Dhabi sponsor led nowhere. That is actually a big deal as NHZ is the world’s second biggest factual content producer. It’s doubtful that they will be back anytime soon. The BBC’s production of Wild Arabia, actually failed to be as amazing as it should have been, given the short range of subjects and the limited access to more interesting stories. Anyway, it was made with a relatively small budget by their standards. All the same, there were some wonderful visuals and production values by a number of contributors. Ironically, Arabia’s big time entrance to the international world of the natural history television arena was actually made with UK taxpayers’ money! Basically, we had to wait for the BBC to make a series on Arabia! Once they realised there wasn’t going to be any local gold added to the production pot, they started to cut corners and had to rely on their own means. They also found that access wasn’t as easy to some countries as they had originally expected, which meant cutting out a number of Arabia’s main biodiversity hotspots. But, at least, it got made. What this highlights is that blue chip natural history has predominantly remained under the responsibility of national TV broadcasters or grant boards with resources derived from taxes – TV licences and government subsidies. All of these elements are obviously missing from this region. Whereas, many independent production houses and channels working out multiple partner distribution deals and using grants from media authorities have done some of the best work out there, natural history production seems to require the support of a nationally driven set of interests.

June 2013 | |



The recent development of film interests and movie industry has begun to offer great support to Arab filmmakers. I’ve always believed that the Gulf has a stronger TV culture than cinema culture, and so expected the same level of support for TV-oriented content producers. In my view, here in the UAE, statebacked broadcasters should take the initiative to develop the support base for gestating a content industry featuring this genre. As this has not happened thus far, we are limited to sponsorship. The sponsorship game is far from rosy since the 2009 nosedive. We started to produce our shark focused TV series called Sharkquest Arabia with a partial grant from Emirates Foundation. The understanding was that I had to raise the remaining budget from sponsorship. But with the global downturn, that was the first thing to be affected. I’ve not given up though. With 100 hours in the can, I will resort to putting together a film with what we have. The presence of National Geographic Abu Dhabi should offer filmmakers hope as eventually, they will want to show local and regional content instead of just dubbing copious amounts of international content off-the-shelf. But their interest will favour buying finished products rather than the sizeable investment in commissioning content even from people like us to meet their stringent standards. Having said that, I was under the impression that part of the rationale for receiving USD 100 million was to invest some of it in promoting local production and content. Where regional projects differ from these international players, is that they primarily carry a conservation message. That means, local filmmakers will go the extra mile



Natural history has the capacity to enthral and captivate audiences.

to see the right core values and inherent message, reflects the reality and needs of our natural world with authenticity. For the international channels, it is primarily about entertainment and filling programming quotas. We have been proposing concepts for affordable natural history TV series for years to all of the main regional networks. But TV channels have shown no inclination to open up their commercial airtime to this genre. In each case, they have cited the lack of a programming strain in their bouquet of programmes. Part of this is also down to an erroneous belief that NH programming is prohibitively expensive. Some even say that companies won’t sponsor it or audiences don’t want it, placing the onus on viewers instead of the most important reason of all — revenue! The truth is, the choice of what gets on air is largely in the hands of the media sales executives responsible for selling sponsorship packages and advertising space. To them, NH is too untried and unclear as to whether it could generate sufficient airtime profitability in this region and it’s simply easier to avoid the issue altogether, as they know exactly what the big spenders want. It’s far easier and less riskier to regurgitate the TV pulp with the tried-and-tested formulas than embrace new programming ideas! Natural history has the capacity to enthral and captivate audiences! Just look at the impact of Blue Planet and Planet Earth. Two examples that had millions of viewers running home at the end of the day early to tune in to the next episode. Arabia’s Cycle of Life was watched by more than 20 million, according to OMD, when reporting to their client and our sponsor Jeep. The actual ROI for Jeep was truly successful in that their

30 | | June 2013

investment of USD 290,000 that was given to us as our production budget, plus the $50,000 paid to MBC and Showtime for airtime space and TVCs around the 12 episodes; was far outweighed by the value the multiple airings over 12 weeks, simultaneously on English and Arabic channels generated for them. OMD measured the ROI to have been worth USD 2.5 million based just on the two channel airings! And that was before Discovery Channel picked up the series for Animal Planet Japan and Asia (sans branding of course), which significantly increased the return of airtime exposure values at least twice over. For sponsors, it could make a lot of sense to support these projects as part of a brand building and product placement strategy, especially now with the increased exposure offered by 360-degree opportunities linking TV broadcasting and new-media platforms with social media – as long as they are sincere about the intent of the content. Digital media may be able to take a fresh stance on programming strains such as wildlife specials and classic natural history. Clearly, these subjects are widely popular on YouTube and Vimeo channels. The question is, are sponsors and new-media channels ready to up the ante a bit and help filmmakers produce content for new-media channels alone? Perhaps, the solution is not to be too narrowly focused and to truly embrace the 360 degree philosophy, starting by placing the content on multiple new-media channels and building the hype and interest through social media such as Facebook, Twitter and other professional sites. It would be important to prepare DVD sets and use the hype to promote the series, marketing them both regionally and internationally, on-line and in-store. In the meantime, we need to build a strategy to harness the power of television and filmmaking content to address environmental and wildlife conservation issues. Creating worthwhile and meaningful content that challenges the view that regional channels only want news, movies or glitzy entertainment is the right step forward. PRO Jonathan Ali Khan produced the region’s first wildlife series that was later used by Discovery Channel for Animal Planet. He has been presenting natural history and conservation content from the Arab world to regional and international TV platforms for more than 20 years.






MAM delivers winning formula Content producers must re-invent their business models to capture new markets and reduce production costs.The first step to this is to implement a proper media asset management system, according to Raoul Cospen We’re all media asset managers. There’s the pile of CDs on the shelf and your iTunes collection, managed somewhere on your disk by Apple. Your photos are likely to be placed on several backup drives using different directory schemes. It’s a mess but similar to how media is managed in major companies. Assets are distributed across multiple locations and organised following different schemes. It can be hard to find and use an asset in one place if it was created in another. Traditional media is being

challenged by new realities. Content producers must re-invent their business models to capture new markets and reduce production costs. When they turn to their existing infrastructures, they find that multiple production islands are inefficient. Valuable assets are in inaccessible libraries. Metadata are poorly maintained and not carried through the process. It’s expensive to set up new business processes. Moving to a file-based workflow is a good start, but two further steps are needed: the integration of production islands under a single media asset

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management (MAM) system, and the orchestration of business processes using business process management (BPM). Here’s a look at how a MAM workflow for programme preparation and multi-platform delivery can help you monetise content and succeed in a multiscreen world. The Challenges There are dual challenges: simplifying the creative process and making the best possible end-product. Inside a typical content factory, you see multiple production teams working

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PROMAM different systems. MAM centralises the management and simplifies access. Limited interoperability: More manual steps are needed when assets and metadata can’t be passed between systems. MAM integrates all the processes into a single open framework. Adding a MAM system on top of a file-based workflow removes costs associated with redundancies and facilitates collaboration. It also substantially reduces maintenance costs.

Raoul Cospen.

on different content. Each team has its own VTRs, editing bays, systems, and storage. Executives are finding resource redundancies difficult to support; and vertical production units are not easily repurposed for new business opportunities. Modern consumers want rich and interactive experiences. Production systems must handle more, richer media and metadata across the whole pipeline — multi-format video, multi-language 5.1 audio, subtitles, multiple versions, and extensive metadata for connected TV. MAM improves workgroup collaboration and also automates many functions associated with multi-platform distribution. Can I do without a MAM system? File-based workflows address some of these challenges. However, limitations arise if you are not integrated with a MAM system. Non-harvested efficiency gains: Copying and transferring files, re-entering metadata, and manual revision are just some of the costs of retaining production islands. MAM reduces costs by employing enterprise-wide content sharing. Limited flexibility: An island-based infrastructure is less adaptable to new business opportunities. A versatile MAM solution lets you reassign resources and processes to where they’re needed most. Limited access: It’s difficult to view assets across islands. MAM provides rights-determined access across the enterprise. Unconsolidated metadata: In an island infrastructure, all kinds of assets and metadata (video, graphics, PDFs, subtitles, rights, etc.) are spread across

What is a MAM system and how can it help? A MAM system is made up of multiple components and user tools integrated into a common system, in order to manage stock and workflow.


Stock/Inventory MAM lets you store and retrieve assets via: t A shared database. The heart of the MAM is the database — a repository of all assets of all kinds, with a configurable metadata model. t Indexing and searching. Allows users in any location to find assets in the system based on any criteria and is customisable for different departments. t Proxy viewing. Streamable proxies of video assets can be viewed on standard desktop or mobile platforms. t Back-office services. These allow users to manipulate “business” objects such as subtitles or videos.


Integration AM connects your different systems via broadcast system interfaces that allow the MAM to exchange data and coordinate processes with key systems such as traffic, automation, and post production. Industry-standard APIs allow for custom integration where needed.


User tools Tightly integrated, user-friendly tools are essential to all departments.

The MAM element should add value to every step of the workflow. t Integrated editing and production tools: Producers, journalists and others perform editorial tasks, from logging and storyboarding to craft editing. t News Room Computer System (NRCS) integration: In news and sports production, NRCS and rundown tools integrate directly with MAM. t Task-specific tools: Users enter metadata and time-based markers (locators), perform QC and approve material within a common integrated environment. Workflow engine A business process manager (BPM) is an optional addition that further improves efficiencies. While MAM is focused on assets, BPM is focused on processes that can be broken down into repeatable tasks, which can then be optimised and automated. It delivers three key benefits: t Productivity: More deadlines met and less time wasted through more streamlined workflows. t Agility: More business flexibility through an intuitive workflowbuilding interface. t Insight: More control of your business through increased visibility into all activities. A flexible MAM solution will offer an integrated BPM and capabilities to integrate with external BPM systems. What benefits can you expect from MAM Efficiency MAM delivers measurable improved productivity in multiple areas: t Automate processes: Ingest, file transfers, format conversion, QC, and distribution can be automated. Staff can focus on value-creating activities. t Ingest media only once: Avoid ingesting the same material multiple times — during programme production and, subsequently, to make promos. t Capture metadata only once:

“MAM improves workgroup collaboration and also automates many functions associated with multi-platform distribution” Raoul Cospen, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Dalet

34 | | June 2013

PROMAM “A MAM [system] ensures you don’t use content for which you have no rights. Faster search and access to content allows users to focus on content quality”

don’t use content for which you have no rights. Faster search and access to content allows users to focus on content quality.

Raoul Cospen, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Dalet

Agility A MAM platform provides the agility to design and hook into new business processes quickly, whether it’s accepting material from a new production company or launching a new channel for broadcast, the web, or mobile platforms. Future standards such as FIMS and MXF AS02 promise even greater flexibility for swapping out system components with minimal disruption.

Reduce errors and avoid having multiple users re-enter metadata separately into multiple systems. t Speed up editing: Built-in logging, storyboarding, editing, review and approval tools can double the team’s output. t Improve collaboration: Integrate the work of multiple departments. When a film and its promos are scheduled in the traffic system, the process can be set up in advance with placeholders for all elements, metadata in place, and easy sharing of media and metadata. t Speed time to air: Fast turnaround features, such as edit while record, make material available faster to any platform. Visibility A MAM system has tools that optimise resources. For instance, you can see

An ingest operator using MAM system.

Conclusion A well-conceived and implemented MAM project will set you up for a profitable future. It substantially improves productivity, increases the value of your existing assets, and empowers the organisation while you build new business models to conquer new markets. PRO

who is working on what and what is left to do. It also allows you to tally how much content has been ingested or produced over a period of time. Using the reporting part of BPM, you can implement KPIs and create custom reports to track costs, analyse usage, or other metrics. Quality MAM increases quality. Formalised dataentry with fewer instances of data re-entry can minimise errors. MAM ensures you

Raoul Cospen is Director of Marketing and Business Development at Dalet, a company that specialises in MAM-driven solutions for media entities.

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June 2013 | |



Making waves Simplicity and consistency is key to choosing the right surround sound capture for sporting events. It is important to choose a solution that is easy to deploy, simple to use and delivers consistent, phase-coherent sound, says Pieter Schillebeeckx

With more and more consumers watching TV in HD and proudly setting up 5.1 surround sound systems in the home, HD and 5.1 have become synonymous. In sports production, broadcasters are tasked with creating a realistic, phase coherent surround audio track to capture the excitement of a crowded stadium or the thundering beat of a world-class horse race. While there are several different ways to produce surround sound, the need for stereo downmix compatibility of any 5.1 in the broadcast chain can challenge even the best audio engineers. Furthermore, while many systems have been developed to capture a surround environment in a controlled setting such as a high-end concert hall, having the ability to translate this

experience in an arena or stadium is tricky as setup times are short and ease of use and repeatability essential. In its simplest form, audio for sporting events can be broken down into the following audio components: ambient sound to capture the feel and excitement of the venue and the crowd, effects microphones to enhance specific effects such as ball-kicks and the refereeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s whistle, and commentary. While there are alternative methods to recording ambience, such as a dedicated stereo pair or a surround array, these approaches can be fraught with phase and imaging dangers. These methods do not fully take into account the needs of the broadcast chain where any 5.1 needs to be stereo downmix compatible

both for SD with stereo delivery and for automated downmixing in the home. In addition, when events are captured week in and week out in the same location, or when the production group travels from venue to venue following a particular team, traditional surround approaches suffer from inconsistency and require a very skilled audio engineer to achieve high quality downmix compatible results. There are many dedicated surround sound design techniques in use today produced by an equal number of manufacturers. These approaches include: t Decca Tree, a three-point, omnidirectional microphone array in a widely spaced equilateral triangle t Double MS, a three microphone MS setup with shared side mic

June 2013 | |


PROAUDIO signals for front and rear t Fukada Tree, a five-microphone version of the Decca Tree t The four microphone Hamasaki Square and IRT Cross systems Some systems employ microphone elements from different manufacturers that are attached to specialised rods connected in different geometric shapes to realise the above list of surround options, while others are proprietary microphone/processing systems. One such system is in the shape of a horseshoe, another mimics a human head and yet another has four microphone elements in a dual figure eight configuration. Many of these approaches require a lot of time and configuration to achieve the right sound and are not, therefore, particularly friendly with regards to a simple, repeatable deployment for a live sporting event. They can also entail extensive matrix processing to deliver the correct signal, while others deliver dedicated signals to an audio console which rely on the audio engineer to arrive at the best mix. While a lot of technology exists to record a pure surround sound field, translating that effort into the realities of television upmix and downmix workflows is an entirely different story. One system might deliver a great surround experience, but fall apart when collapsed down into stereo or mono, especially with sonic elements that should be in the center position moving to the left or right of a stereo mix. When this type of bad translation begins to get noticed at home, that is when the flood of phone calls reach the broadcaster. The proprietary systems specifically designed to handle live events are the better choice for sports broadcasting. For example, there now exists technology based on a single mic design philosophy where all the elements necessary to produce a stereo or multi-channel surround signal can be attained through four precision-aligned, high-quality

Some systems employ microphone elements from different manufacturers that are attached to specialised rods connected in different geometric shapes to realise the above list of surround options, while others are proprietary microphone/processing systems.

While a lot of technology exists to record a pure surround sound field, translating that effort into the realities of television upmix and downmix workflows is a different story.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;While there are several different ways to produce surround sound, the need for stereo downmix compatibility of any 5.1 in the broadcast chain can challenge even the best audio engineersâ&#x20AC;? Pieter Schillebeeckx, Product Manager for SoundField at TSL Professional Products Ltd.

38 | | June 2013

microphone elements. The core is made up of four audio elements that represent the front/back information (depth); the left/right information (width); the up/down information (height) and the central point from which the other three elements are referenced. As these four signals are completely phase coherent, resulting surround recordings can be collapsed to stereo or mono without the phase cancellation and high frequency differences encountered when summing together signals from multiple spaced microphones. By manipulating these signals in the related control and processor units, an engineer can choose how the microphone should be oriented and which elements to use for their surround ambience to address particular production needs, and all this from the comfort of the audio mixing position, without the need to physically move the microphone. Using a world-class horse race as an example, a four element microphone could be placed above and in front of the starting gates facing in the direction of the horses. Because the microphone picks up 360-degrees and the engineer can rotate where the front of the microphone is facing, the mic can be directed toward the Grand Stand from the OB truck for the pre and post race programming. When the race is about to commence and the horses are in the starting gate, the microphone can be re-oriented to face the starting gate. In this way, the engineering personnel need only deploy a single microphone to capture the ambience for different event sections, with the action or close-up effects microphones and commentary seamlessly adding to the excitement of the event. Many of the alternative surround capture solutions require a technician to physically move the microphone system to achieve the same results. Why not make life easier when it comes to surround capture? Choose a solution that is easy to deploy, simple to use and one that delivers consistent, phase coherent sound for any sporting/live event production. PRO Pieter Schillebeeckx is Product Manager for SoundField at TSL Professional Products Ltd.

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Aisha Abdullah made an early yet gradual foray into filmmaking. Having studied Mass Communication in university, Abdullah slowly and steadily honed her craft, alongside a fulltime media career. Filmmaking is an artistic avenue for Abdullah, which she enjoys because it is a direct way to talk to the world. “Films have always attracted me, I pursue filmmaking as a hobby. It is interesting and there is so much to explore, I enjoy it,” says Abdullah. Abdullah specialised in TV and radio at college and then took up a job with a media company. She now makes films on topics of social interest. “I like to highlight social issues and consider documentaries an ideal way to do so. In college, her interest in filmmaking was further piqued and as part of her project work and extra curriculum, she made films that won her several awards. “I got awards for my films at the university, which was a huge encouragement for me, and made me believe in myself.” She won the Promising Director Award from the New York Film Academy in the Gulf Film Festival for her short films Beginning... End and 69. Both films voice the

Emirati filmmaker Ahmed Zain on location for the filming of Safi.

Coming of age Encouraged by training, government-funded incentive schemes and exposure through film festivals in the UAE, more Emiratis are taking to filmmaking. BroadcastProME speaks to two Emirati filmmakers whose works were screened at this year’s Gulf Film Festival 40 | | June 2013

Aisha Abdullah.



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PROPRODUCTION “I like to highlight social issues and consider documentaries an ideal way to do this” Aisha Abdullah, Emirati filmmaker

Stills from The Man Inside

Abdullah and her team filming 69.

concerns of the young generation as they seek to achieve their desires. “The awards paved the way for me to pursue filmmaking more seriously as they gave me clarity and confidence. It was something I could pursue that I enjoyed doing and was good at.” She volunteered for five years at film festivals which gave her a chance to work closely with national and international filmmakers. Her interest deepened further and she began to take a keen interest in the craft. That’s when the decision to join the New York Film Academy workshop came about and Abdullah enrolled for the Digital Filmmaking programme at New York Film Academy, Abu Dhabi. Having made amateur films at college, a formal course gave her a better insight into the craft while also enabling her to brush up on her technical knowledge. She has made six films so far, which are all short films between three and five minutes. She has also made two documentaries of six minute and 15 minute duration. In post production, she has been using Final Cut Pro X version 7. Her entry for the Gulf Film Festival this year, was a documentary titled Beginning…

June 2013 | |


PROPRODUCTION Ahmed Zain with his crew.

End, which was shot with her Canon 5D. Another New York Film Academy alumnus, Ahmed Zain, is a late bloomer in filmmaking. He was looking for an avenue to express himself when he stumbled upon filmmaking that came as an ideal choice. Joining New York Film Academy in Abu Dhabi was a first step towards fulfilling his dream. “I had simple ideas and needed to express them, joining a course was what I thought of to begin with, and that gave me a direction. Then there was no looking back,” Zain explains. Zain makes films as a hobby and works full time with Abu Dhabi Municipality. He took up filmmaking as a serious hobby after his stint at the New York Film Institute. With five actors and 10-12 crew, his film Safi was shot over two days in Ajman. Its editing and sound took a month in all to complete. Zain is presently working on a script and hopes to make many more films in the coming years, while Abdullah is looking for the right script to graduate to the next level of making a full-fledged documentary. PRO

44 | | June 2013

Safi - a film by Ahmed Zain Zain considers the camera a tool to capture moments to recreate images long lost. The themes that he chooses for his films are from everyday life or sometimes plucked from his childhood years to recreate memories. Ahmed Zain’s eight-minute documentary grabbed attention at the recently held Gulf Film Festival for its simple yet unusual theme. Titled Safi, the film recreates the era of the eighties when rooftop antennas were common. The filmmaker says: “Antennas have always fascinated me. Even as a child, I used to look at the aerial as the first point of contact between us as TV viewers and the source. We would experience disruption and then fix the aerial or move it a little and everything would be fine. “I wanted to highlight the importance we would give to antennas and how much in control we felt as kids when we made the picture appear by altering the direction of the aerial. I remember bonding over fixing the antenna with my siblings. At times, just to catch a glimpse of the programme, we would painstakingly keep moving the antenna. The joy was immense when the aerial got the right direction and we caught the image and sound properly.” Technology has galloped ahead at breakneck speed in the past decade and to keep in step with the changing time, one leaves behind endearing fixtures. Zain’s film is symbolic of what was and what has come of it. Some memories leave an indelible mark on the psyche and antennas are one such element that Zain has a strong association with. Twenty years ago, they were critical to TV reception unlike the sophisticated set-top-boxes and OTT devices available today. TV was the only source of entertainment in most households, and television depended on antennas. His equipment includes a Canon 5D Mark III, Steadycam camera supports (two tripods), sound gear (hand recorder, boom mic) and wireless transmitter and receiver. He used Final Cut Pro for editing.


Automation on the fast track The development of playout automation for television neatly parallels, and encapsulates, the dramatic changes that computers and off-the-shelf IT hardware have brought to the broadcast business. It is also a critical part of another dramatic change: the movement from broadcasters transmitting one or two channels to playout centres taking responsibility for many tens and often hundreds of channels, says David Jamieson The first playout automation systems were developed 25 years ago by companies like Louth (now part of Harris Broadcast). The early architectures usually involved two separate sets of processing: a standard PC which managed the content database and the playlist – it was usually one channel, one system – and a real-time device controller, usually based on purpose-built hardware. The device controller had to be sophisticated because the principle devices to be controlled were VTRs, either standalone or in robotic tape libraries. The tapes in VTRs had to be cued to the start point then wound back to a fixed

pre-roll. The VT was rolled then the cut was made on the master control switcher. One challenge, now forgotten, was that you had to make a decision at the system design stage whether to store one piece of content on a tape – which would give you a very expensive 30-minute cassette for a 30-second commercial, or a 10-second sting – or to allow multiple pieces of content on each tape, making your automation to pre-compile each commercial break or programme junction by dubbing it on to yet another tape. As we all know, servers made the handling of content much simpler, allowing automation systems to do more complex things. A single system could

46 | | June 2013

control more than one transmission channel, queuing multiple pieces of content in advance then giving the start command at the instant it was required. An increase in processing power meant that developers of automation systems competed to add new functionality. Graphics devices were also connected to play in interstitials, automatically. Then these interstitials became interactive, with “coming next” and rundown sequences being generated on the fly from information in the playlist. By combining graphics devices and effects banks, programme junctions became more elaborate, with squeeze backs and hot starts now commonplace.

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“Playout automation has transformed the broadcast industry

as part of an intelligent workflow environment, and readily scalable at a moment’s notice, it continues to be at the heart of the new world of any content at any time to any device”

David Jamieson, Head of Pre-sales and Solutions at Harris Broadcast

Early automation systems were almost completely independent, with perhaps a playlist handed over from the scheduling and asset management system at a fixed time each day, with little chance of changes to the playlist after that. Now broadcasters expect tight integration between scheduling, traffic, asset management and automation. As well as allowing the schedule to be refined close to transmission – useful when programmes arrive at the last minute – this brings real commercial benefits. Broadcasters can sell commercial spots almost up to the moment of transmission, because the sales and traffic systems talk to asset management to know that the content is ready to be aired, and they talk to the automation to update the playlist. It also created the possibility of new sorts of television channels. Casino channels can offer games like roulette, based on a secure random number generator calling up the video clip which shows the ball dropping into the right number, and building a graphics sequence based on the number of subscribers who won. Shopping channels can switch content quickly to reflect what is selling well and what is not moving. This is central to the way that broadcasters need to consider automation today. It is no longer a standalone process, but part of an integrated environment encompassing all of the

broadcaster’s activities. It is obviously a central part: a broadcaster that does not transmit its programmes will lose its audience; if it does not transmit its commercials it will lose its revenue. Because it is so central to the enterprise it is really important that this integration is in place. It enables smart workflows, so content flows through the whole facility smoothly and with the minimum of manual intervention. It also provides a commercial overview of the whole process, so the boardroom can see directly what is earning revenue and what is not; where there are bottlenecks in the content path and where there is over-provision. With the move towards multiplatform delivery that becomes even more important. With a well-designed content infrastructure it should be a relatively simple matter to establish a pipeline to serve a new device. More importantly, it should be immediately obvious what the costs will be in serving that platform, whether the new pipeline will have a productivity impact on established services, and what the likely revenue and margin will be. The broadcast playout automation system is one part of this environment. So it has moved from controlling linear devices like VTRs to working with files. In the near future, thanks to standards like AVB bringing timing accuracy to

48 | | June 2013

ethernet, it will only be dealing in files. The central structure remains the same, though. There has to be a rapid access repository of content – the playout server – together with graphics and switching capabilities to create the sophisticated and seamless output that audiences expect from major broadcasters. Will these be discrete devices, or will they all be virtualised processes running on standard hardware? In other words, will we move from the best of breed playout architectures we expect today to integrated solutions, the so-called channel-in-a-box. Channel-in-a-box solutions started out as entry-level systems which were constrained in what they could do. Today it is perfectly possible to take the core elements of server technology, graphics and playout control and implement them in an integrated solution, still at low cost and still in a 1U box. Applications for such integrated solutions include rapid response startups. If you want to get a new channel on air, then this is simple and fast. It is perfectly reasonable to expect to go from the concept of a channel to trial transmissions in just a couple of days. If the channel becomes a huge success you can simply migrate it to the main automation platform without dropping a frame; should it fail it has cost virtually nothing in hardware and systems integration. Many channels will stay forever on integrated solutions, as will disaster recovery sites. Indeed, another benefit of these low cost, high performance devices is that many more channels will gain resilience because it is now simple and affordable to do it. Playout automation has transformed the broadcast industry over the last quarter of a century. Now part of an intelligent workflow environment, and readily scalable at a moment’s notice, it continues to be at the heart of the new world of any content at any time to any device. PRO

David Jamieson is the Head of Presales and Solutions at Harris Broadcast.

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New media hits new shores It’s the right time to tap into the multiscreen viewing opportunity in emerging markets as online viewing gains momentum, says Jennifer Baisch

Markets such as the Middle East hold enormous potential for any media company, especially given the statistics for online portable device use in the region. For example, according to a March 2013 report by CyberMedia Research, a Southeast Asian market intelligence firm, tablet use in India is rising rapidly. India sold 3.11 million tablets in 2012, with 1.09 million shipped in the OctoberDecember quarter alone. The report also says that the market has changed rapidly since tablets were first launched in India in October 2010. In 2012, “phablets” (a class of smartphones with screen sizes ranging between five and eight inches) constituted about 16.5% of total sales, a trend that is expected to strengthen in the coming quarters. On top of that, deregulation has resulted in hundreds of new channels of programming in India, home to well over a billion people. India is representative of a number of countries in emerging markets, where online video viewing is taking off. Clearly the market is ripe for streaming live

programming online to audiences in these regions through their internet-connected devices. Creating an online streamingvideo service provides a whole new way for emerging markets broadcasters and other content providers to capture viewers and build brand loyalty — and build new revenue streams through subscriptions, pay per view, or advertising. But building a successful streaming service in an emerging market can be challenging. Many broadcasters rely on a mix of older technologies and video workflows, working alongside state-ofthe-art broadcast equipment, but none of it is ready for web delivery. Investing in new resources and infrastructure to deliver streaming content can be daunting, considering how quickly devices, formats, and standards are changing. Fortunately, there are a growing number of service providers and technologies, offering turnkey solutions that allow emerging market broadcasters to take advantage of the opportunities that streaming live video presents. For some

broadcasters, it could be as simple as tapping into established broadcast media transport infrastructure and workflows and connecting with streaming video workflow providers, who ready broadcast content for delivery over the web to millions of internet-connected devices anywhere in the world.

The typical process of delivering live video online follows four steps: Acquisition The first step in powering any live, online streaming broadcast, is acquiring content sources to be processed for delivery to a variety of connected devices. Acquiring content can be a challenge, especially in emerging markets: dedicated fibre networks to source locations aren’t ubiquitous in emerging markets, and satellite uplink and time can be expensive. Connecting with a network provider that can get your data into a secure pipeline for publication — such as the comprehensive global infrastructure offered by India’s

June 2013 | |


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PROTECH Tata Communications, one of the largest communications providers in the world — can greatly improve this process. For example, Tata Communications has 300 media hotspots across 125 cities globally, to enable source acquisition for many emerging market centres. IP backhaul is also a good solution for content owners. This method of transmission uses a local exchange carrier to deliver the broadcast to an internet exchange, where it can then be pushed to a larger network provider. The larger carrier transports it securely to a facility for media processing and web delivery to connected devices. IP transport enables content owners to provide live, streaming broadcasts from nearly any location in the world — and often at a lower cost than other transmission methods.

Processing After picking up the video feed, the next step in the process is to encode and encrypt the content so that it can eventually be delivered over the internet in any format to any device. After the newly acquired video arrives at a mediaprocessing facility, it enters an online video workflow for encoding and encryption. Encoding is a fairly straightforward step until you introduce variables such as multiple formats for multiple devices, multiple sources, security, and adaptive bit rates — a complication that can be a barrier to entry for many broadcasters. Working with an established service provider for media processing eliminates many of the complexities of delivering broadcast content to a myriad devices. After encoding comes encryption. Securing content is critical if emerging market content distributors want to be able to offer the most popular content from inside and outside their regions. In order to secure streams so that they can’t be recorded and shared without permission, the streams must be encrypted as they’re being digitised or encoded. Again, working with experienced streaming providers will help ensure that content is secured and remains so all the way through to playback. Publishing and delivery Once the content is processed and packaged for multiscreen delivery, it is time to publish the video and deliver it to internet-connected viewers. Typically, the formatted and packaged

“Investing in new resources and infrastructure to deliver streaming content can be daunting, considering how quickly devices, formats, and standards are changing” Jennifer Baisch, Senior Director Product and Services Marketing, iStreamPlanet

content will travel via a secure private network from the media-processing facility to a content delivery network (CDN) for delivery. An ideal scenario is one in which the media processing and network provider are partnered or even located together. When the relationship between networking provider and media processing provider is strong, it improves the flow across the entire video pipeline. For example, iStreamPlanet, which provides proven video workflows and services for multiplatform onlinevideo delivery, has teamed up with Tata Communications to offer a joint solution that does just that. The combined services of Tata Communications and iStreamPlanet offer an end-to-end solution with advanced media backhaul and processing capabilities. Tata Communications transports live broadcast video feeds from any of its 300 media hotspots to iStreamPlanet for media processing. By combining Tata Communications’ global infrastructure for moving media with iStreamPlanet’s purpose-built workflows for online live video, content providers of all sizes have a cost-effective and secure way to use their existing content and workflows to meet the growing demand for live streaming video on connected devices.

Playback Once the content has been processed and optimised for each targeted device, it’s delivered via the CDN to the player. Whether it’s a PC, a Mac, a smartphone, or a tablet, the player needs to be optimised for each device to provide a seamless viewing experience. Video playback analytics are also typically collected by the client or player. Creating a robust player that’s configured to properly handle high-quality video playback, digital rights management, and analytics is critical to delivering a highquality streaming video experience. The video player is also a critical element for supporting streaming video business models that include advertising, subscription, and pay-per-view monetisation methods. The bottom line: Emerging markets are on the edge of tremendous growth in connected media, and now is the time for broadcasters and other content owners to establish online video strategies and begin putting solutions in place. There is a growing ecosystem of networks and service providers with combined solutions that make it easier than ever before to expand broadcast content delivery, reach new audiences, and create new revenue opportunities. PRO Jennifer Baisch is a Senior Director for Product and Services Marketing at iStreamPlanet

June 2013 | |



Back to school

With technology advancing at breakneck speed, the education sector too is reinventing itself by introducing the latest technological innovations in classrooms. We take a look at how broadcast technology can be integrated within an academic setup Sony Professional hosted its first event for the academic sector in Dubai last month. The event targeted the education sector, showcasing AV solutions catering especially to schools and universities. A range of products showcasing audio visual, studio, and security solutions were demonstrated at the two-day event, which brought together both end-users and business partners. The latest products from Sony including its new VPL-SW525C interactive projector

This event presents the synergy between education and technology and how the education sector stands to gain from the latest innovations in broadcast technology. It is not a mere product display; we have presented an entire setup to the visitors to get a look and feel of the systems. The equipment demonstrated here caters to the specific AV requirements of educational campuses such as schools and universities, as well as media schools. We are presenting what a mass media campus would require or a school with an auditorium would need. A mass media room and studio in a mass communication or film school is typically kitted out with these products. There is a boom in the education sector these days, with more emphasis on technology-aided learning and that’s where our solutions come in. Children these days are exposed to technology, and the way forward is to make their classrooms equipped with the latest tools.

and Anycast Touch were the highlights of the show. Sony, along with its partners, presented a complete AV setup for an educational institute. A multi-purpose auditorium, a studio, two networked multimedia classrooms and a security room were set up for the attendees to have a firsthand feel of the products and how they are integrated within an academic framework. The systems integration for the

In the last decade, the inclusion of digital technology has had a profound influence on education, becoming the newfound reality in many countries. These technologies are not only more efficient but also environmentally friendlier. The short-throw projectors fit the bill for a classroom setup because of several unique features. These projectors are interactive, which makes it an all-in-one solution. It can project on any surface and not necessarily on a ceramic screen, and it has no blinding light. Anycast Touch is an affordable, portable mixer, suitable for school auditoriums. It works well for a small-to-medium-sized auditorium and can integrate up to six cameras and five AV mixers. Also on display are our surveillance and security cameras that offer very good image quality and output. The idea is to display various products that fit into different places on a campus and add value to the experience of teaching and

event was undertaken by Al Reyami Technologies while the interiors and furnishings were provided by Al Reyami Interiors for the auditorium fit out. The design and build of the setup took two days to complete. The studio was equipped with Sony Professional cameras from regional distributor UBMS. Sony’s security partner Al Bohra Security was in charge of the secuirty equipment that was showcased.

learning. We have undertaken large installations in Kuwait where interactive projectors and several other solutions are being used very effectively by teachers. Sony has recently signed a deal with Sunrise schools in Abu Dhabi to provide AV solutions for their campuses.

Sunil Krishnani, Head of Business Development – MEA, Sony Professional Solutions

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Almoe Audio Visual has a very strong presence in the education sector with our solutions installed in government institutes, major schools, and ministries to name a few. Our clients include the likes of ADEC, Minstry of Education, Gems, and many others. The latest technology being demonstrated here can be implemented in classrooms to aid teaching and learning. Considering the way technology is surging ahead, these solutions would be implemented in mainstream education sooner than we think. Interactive teaching techniques are becoming more widespread and are gaining popularity. With these solutions becoming more affordable, they will be adopted more easily by institutes. Indranil Bandyopadhyay, General Manager, Almoe Digital Solutions Al Reyami Technologies and Interiors was responsible for integrating the systems for the event as well as the design and build of the studio and the auditorium. The auditorium was equipped with two Sony projectors, IP cameras on the ceiling, and a camcorder which were controlled by Anycast Touch. This is the first time that I am attending an event that addresses a specific vertical. The solutions designed and presented here cater to the education sector in particular and address their specific requirements. It’s a joint effort to showcase what we can do and what’s there on offer in terms of technology to make learning a more fulfilling esperience for today’s children. Sajit P. Nair, General Manager, Al Reyami Technologies

I have used interactive boards in the past. The projectors being demonstrated here offer a complete solution bundled into one. The interactive projector is highly recommended for schools as the blinding light is avoided in this case. There is no shadow and there are little chances of it getting damaged as against a ceramic screen. Moreover, these solutions are simple and easy to use. Most of the teachers would balk at the idea of learning how to use a new technology. Simple, user-friendly tools are what we need and the setup here scores well on that front.

4K TVs will be very well received by the teachning community. They can benefit students by providing educational programmes with sharp images and bright colours. The greatest challenge in deploying new technology in schools is training the teachers. The teachers require extensive, practical training on not only understanding the technology at hand but also on how to operate the equipment and make the best use of it. We try to renovate facilities every year but unfortunately, many educational institutions have not invested in technologies we deem to be the best quality, especially in libraries, due to financial constriants. Baha Al Mahidi – Library Supervisor, Ministry of Education, Ajman, United Arab Emirates

Raad Askour, Senior Sales Consultant and Trainer, Almoe Digital Solutions

We are looking at building our presence in the education sector further, considering the tremendous potential that it offers these days. Education is becoming more technology driven with innovations directed specially to cater to the needs of classrooms. In partnership with Sony, UBMS provides turnkey solutions to build and install professional broadcast solutions for equipping educational institutes. We have brought in our professional cinematographic equipment to showcase its relevance in high-speed footage, news gathering, videography segments, focusing on media schools and film institutes. Peter Kyriakos, Head of Marketing at UBMS With great visuals, photos, sharp images and interactive TVs – students will interact more efficiently with the class and course materials. It guarantees a better and more efficient learning technique and results. The interactive projectors and the

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I found the auditorium, kitted with the Anycast Touch, quite interesting. It is especially suited for field work and journalism. Students can use these if they want to cover events, sporting events, conferences. Also beneficial are some of the new cameras, especially the cinema cameras, for the Digital Production Story Telling students. By keeping up with new technologies, students will always be updated and on track with what is available in the market. Presently, we have a global classroom donated by Cisco that we use to do lectures across the world and not just in Dubai. We could also be looking at a few technologies that can help us on a smaller scale for other bachelor degree programmes – such as the interactive projectors and the interactive IP classrooms. The major challenge is the cost of equipment and training the staff to use them more effectively. If we deploy new technologies, there will be a few changes and it is important to get the faculty and staff updated with these new technologies, not just the students.

Marwan Manaja, American University of Dubai, Operations Manager, Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Communications


ASIA’S LARGEST BROADCAST SHOW RETURNS WITH MORE EXHIBITORS AND TECH UPDATES BroadcastAsia, Asia’s largest integrated trade show for the film and TV industries, returns with an impressive international line-up of exhibitors this year. The show has attracted more than 80 new exhibitors this year, and will host more than 700 exhibitors from 45 countries at the event. New exhibitors include Autodesk, Ericsson, Hybrid, Ikegami, Jebsen & Co, Orad, PCCW, RGB Networks, Siemens Convergence Creators GmbH, Sumitomo Electric Industries, Tsushinki, Yamaha Music (Asia) among others. Industry players across the acquisition, management and delivery channels will congregate at the show. 2013 will especially see a strong focus on the business and technological aspects of multi-platform broadcasting at both the exhibition and the conferences. The four-day event will spotlight the hottest array of technologies currently available in the global marketplace, and address important industry trends and vital challenges that are related to OTT opportunities in Asia, multiplatform streaming, next-gen innovation and

technology in TV, file-based workflow, pay TV, DVB-T2, broadcast infrastructure and transmission quality, animation, editing and colour correction, motion/film production, production/editing software and more. The show will include several dedicated zone. The cinematography/film/production sone is slated to expand with the latest motion picture tools and software as Asia’s film industry embarks on a promising growth spurt. To complete the entire broadcasting and film ecosystem, ProfessionalAudioTechnology2013 will see professional audio companies showcasing the latest audio products and services for the broadcasting and film ecosystem, including audio editing, audio effects, audio production, music and sound libraries as well as digital radio. One of the most important aspects of this event is the BroadcastAsia2013 International Conference which will include 120 speakers from 31 countries. More than a hundred case studies will be presented. Over The Top (OTT) technology and business

models will dominate this year’s conference programme. Industry leaders will share vital insights on where the opportunities lie in harnessing OTT for their business. The conference will also include several keynote addresses, case studies, panel discussions and workshops. It will feature five new tracks and four new sessions including Country Focus, Regulators Panel, CIO/CTO Panel and Captains of Industry Dialogue. The Creative Content Production Conference, now in its fourth year, also returns and will run from June 19-20 at Marina Bay Sands Singapore. The two-day conference will address the challenges of producing appealing and high-quality content for global audiences through a series of new topics and speakers including a ‘Producers Dialogue’ that was developed to serve as an additional avenue for participants to address and anticipate the upcoming trends and demands of the industry. We will be at BroadcastAsia and will be tweeting from the show this year. Follow us @ BroadcastProME for regular updates.


RIEDEL ON THE CARDS Riedel Communications will showcase the MediorNet MN-GV-2 card at BroadcastAsia2013. This new interface card allows users to network Grass Valley 3G camera systems — the LDK and the brand-new LDX series — and their base stations via the MediorNet fibre infrastructure. Users can route bi-directional camera signals, including all embedded audio and telemetry control data, through MediorNet, which facilitates the free assignment of cameras to any base station or CCU within the network. With this solution, users can realise flexibility in camera configurations and eliminate the need for rewiring when production requirements change.

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Miranda Technologies, a Belden brand, will showcase Kaleido-MX and KaleidoModular-X multiviewers series at BroadcastAsia 2013. Other Miranda’s BroadcastAsia debuts will include new NVISION router options; Version1.1 of the iTX Render Service for Adobe After Effects CS6 software, new fibre connectivity options and a high-density streaming media encoder module, SME1901, that is now part of Miranda’s Densité modular range. Kaleido-Modular-X is a modular version optimised for space, power and weight considerations. Each takes advantage of Miranda’s FlexBridge technology to reduce cabling requirements and remove the risks associated with HDMI extenders. FlexBridge is a coax cable interconnect that enables input and output modules to be connected within a frame or across multiple frames. For example, input modules can be installed in a frame adjacent to a router while output modules can be installed in a separate frame adjacent to the display. This enables input/ output cards to used as building blocks to simplify

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system design. To further simplify connectivity between its routers and multiviewers, Miranda will also feature its new “M3” cable, a single, bundled router cable that replaces up to 16 coax cables from router to multiviewer.

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The only HD camera with ALL the right connections.... ....and now with 3G 1080p/50



HARRIS’ PLATINUM The centerpiece of the Harris exhibits will be Harris Broadcast Platinum IP3 router. Being shown in the Asia-Pacific region for the first time, this new iteration of the Platinum router series offers triple-path routing, with unique paths for audio, video and other services including IP data in the same frame. It is paired with Selenio media convergence platform, which combines traditional baseband video and audio processing, compression and IP networking features in a single, space-saving 3U frame. The Platinum IP3 router will be demonstrated with the latest Harris Broadcast Magellan control panels.

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TEDIAL TARSYS Tedial’s latest solutions will debut in Asia at the BroadcastAsia this month. The solutions which are vendor and hardware independent, release customers from proprietary constraints enabling them to significantly increase productivity and return on investment. Tedial will be showing enhanced web-based technology for Tarsys, which features a unified UI for users to access content and workflow management from a single screen. This enables operators to easily locate content and initiate workflows to process selected media, for instance simple editing, or transcoding. Furthermore, Tarsys supports multiple data models and is designed to work in many languages and character sets, making it suitable for international operations.

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MEDIA EXCEL IS A HERO Media Excel will be highlighting its new contribution encoding platform during BroadcastAsia2013. The company will also present its multiscreen MPEG-4 AVC encoding and transcoding solutions. The entire product line addresses the need to deliver the highest picture quality over limited-bandwidth networks across all screens. The HERO product line can also encode for live and VoD adaptive delivery over HLS, Smooth, Flash, and MPEG-DASH to consumer devices. Media Excel will also demonstrate how its products are upgradeable to its Intel-powered H.265 High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) encoding technology. This allows operators to extend their ROI by maintaining the same quality as MPEG-4 AVC encoding while utilizing only one-half the bandwidth.

EVS GETS PRACTICAL EVS will demonstrate practical innovations, which maximise broadcasters’ live production infrastructure, to deliver content to wider audiences and enable more creative programming. EVS Sports will showcase its recently launched LSM Connect. The new tablet-based app is a companion to the Multicam LSM controller that makes it quicker and easier to index, browse and select clips, and manage playlists. It will also highlight its latest Epsio live graphics solutions for inserting graphic overlays in real time or instant replays. EVS Entertainment will showcase the new Nano Air playout software controller for TV studios and on-stage entertainment. EVS News will demonstrate advanced integration with the latest version of ENPS, making it easier for broadcasters to integrate EVS solutions into their existing infrastructure. EVS Media will present a new version of the EVS OpenCube server which provides extended support for IMF and native support for visually lossless JPEG 2000.

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In collaboration with its joint venture partner, Argosy Broadcast Asia Sdn Bhd (ABA), Argosy will present, for the first time in Asia, its new range of IEC-lock mains cables, the new Fischer Triax HD Pro+ solution and the mini BNC connector from Amphenol. Additionally, Argosy will demonstrate other components from its portfolio of HD infrastructure including the Argosy range of mains distribution units (MDUs) alongside its IMAGE cables. Forming part of the new additions to the Argosy range, the IEC-Lock mains cable incorporates a locking mechanism to fasten it to the earth pin. The IEC-lock mains cables are offered in 2m, 3m, 4m and 5m lengths. Also having its first showing at Broadcast Asia is the Triax HD Pro+ solution. Produced in conjunction with Draka, this solution combines the best qualities of Fischer connectors and Draka cable, and increases transmission distances by more than 30%. The integrated cable and connector solution designed for indoor and outdoor application maximises the performance of a broadcasters’ Triax equipment without the need for additional investment in fibre, and the subsequent operating costs.

SGL will show a web-based interface for its flagship SGL FlashNet archive system for the first time in Asia. SGL will also demonstrate the latest version of its client-based web tool, FlashBrowse. SGL continues its rollout of next-generation archiving technology with the demonstration of SGL FlashNet and LTFS interoperability in a production environment. Using SGL FlashNet, broadcasters and content owners can now easily archive and restore material for smaller projects that fall outside the sphere of the controlling MAM or automation systems. Using the new FlashNet GUI’s powerful yet easy to use tools, the user can archive directly to any configured FlashNet disk or tape group. Once in the archive, metadata can be extracted or added manually, and searching for and restore of clips is quick and easy. A client-based web tool that further enhances and simplifies the archive workflow, FlashBrowse provides at-archive browse creation, automatically generating browse resolution copies of clips as the high resolution versions are archived. The FlashBrowse interface, which is an extension of the new FlashNet GUI, allows operators to instigate restores or partial file restores directly from their browse window.

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RAI Amsterdam Conference 12-17 September : Exhibition 13-17 September

IBC Conference Stimulating debate and sharpening strategy, the IBC Conference attracts the industryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most influential and authoritative speakers to discuss the future of electronic media and entertainment. The conference is designed to: â&#x20AC;˘ deliver innovative and thoughtprovoking content over 6 days â&#x20AC;˘ enable you to gain crucial insight into the converging world of electronic media and broadcasting â&#x20AC;˘ give you access to over 300 influential industry pioneers

IBC2012 Speakers included: â&#x20AC;˘ Miles Young, CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide â&#x20AC;˘ David Eun, Executive Vice President Global Media & CEO Advisor, Samsung Electronics â&#x20AC;˘, International Recording Artist, Technologist, Entrepreneur and Intelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Director of Creative Innovation Intel Corporation

For more information please visit:

IBC Exhibition

Each year, 50,000+ attendees from over 160 countries come to IBC. They are able to browse fourteen themed halls housing the latest innovations from more than 1,400 leading brands. In addition there is a wealth of free to attend feature areas including: IBC Connected World a special area of IBC which encapsulates the very latest developments in mobile TV, 3G and 4G services

IBC Big Screen providing the perfect platform for manufacturer demonstrations and ground breaking screenings

IBC Production Insight centred around a professional standard studio set, attendees have a host of the latest technology to get their hands on

Future Zone a tantalising glimpse into the future of tomorrowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s electronic media

IBC Workflow Solutions dedicated to file-based technologies and provides attendees with the opportunity to track the creation management journey

IBC Awards celebrating the personalities and the organisations best demonstrating creativity, innovation and collaboration in our industry

For more information please visit:



FRONT PORCH DIVA DEBUTS IN ASIA Front Porch Digital will showcase its DIVArchive V7.1 content storage management (CSM) system, the newest update to its DIVAdirector MAM system. New features and capabilities make the system ideal for a broader array of applications. The new AXF Explorer offers an intuitive interface for parsing archive exchange format (AXF) objects with straightforward operations that are performed using drag-and-drop procedures, just like in the Windows operating system. DIVArchive V7.1 also enables a complete range of world-class video transcoding and workflows and is directly integrated with Telestream’s Vantage Transcode and Vantage Transcode Pro. The enhancements to DIVArchive extend its applicability to media operations of every kind — broadcasters, educational and heritage institutions, the film industry and government entities. With an ability to interconnect every element of operations from archive to production to transmission, DIVArchive V7.1 becomes the highly effective foundation on which to base cost-effective, seamless file-based workflows.

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HARMONIC SPECTRUM Harmonic will present its latest solutions in broadcast and multiscreen production at BroadcastAsia2013. Throughout the show, Harmonic will provide demonstrations of HEVC compression for OTT, as well as the company’s latest Ellipse contribution encoder. On display will be the Spectrum media server product line and Ellipse 3000 along with a host of other products and the new features of ProMedia suite will be demoed. These include support for HEVC for VOD transcoding, The Spectrum ChannelPort integrated channel playout system features powerful new channel-in-abox capabilities such as dual DVEs with independent branding while the Ellipse 3000 employs MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC 4:2:0/4:2:2 8- and10-bit compression technologies to enable transmission of pristine real-time video over satellite and broadband contribution networks.

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TMD ENHANCES WORKFLOW TMD, a provider of asset management systems for digital and physical assets, will show major new enhancements to its Mediaflex platform. Demonstrations will include the Asian launch of Mediaflex CI, a new set of tools, which will transform workflows and analytics for broadcast businesses of all sizes. Previously the realm of only the largest enterprises, Mediaflex CI – for content intelligence – provides the ability to design workflows and business analytics. More than just automating processes, the use of analytics means that the system itself can make intelligent decisions based on business rules developed by the organisation, thereby, delivering huge productivity benefits. Alongside Mediaflex CI, TMD will also showcase the latest additions to its cloudenabled i-mediaflex application environment. The latest modules are aimed at creating collaborative post production workflows.

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COBHAM UNLEASHES MEDIAMESH Cobham, the RF specialist company will demonstrate MediaMesh, an IP-based, rapid setup field newsroom that takes advantage of its technology to enable field reporters to get on air almost instantly. The lightweight MediaMesh unit includes a broadcast quality transmission path for live two-ways; remote camera control; high quality file transfer; plus a high-capacity internet connection that provides access to base newsroom computers and cell phones. All of this can be transported in a single, easily carried case and be operational within minutes. A lightweight, easy-to-connect HD MPEG4 IP encoder, specifically engineered for broadcast applications will also be introduced during BroadcastAsia. Able to operate in standard, low and ultra-low latency modes, the energy-efficient encoder has balanced audio inputs and includes integral broadcast standard IFB talkback. Also featuring at the show will be one of the world’s smallest wireless HD camera transmitters. Cobham’s new Solo Micro HD transmitter, a matchbox-size addition to Cobham’s Solo range, employs MPEG encoding for image quality retention with integral COFDM modulation.

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WOHLER UNVEILS ION iON makes Wohler’s world-class technologies for signal management and confidence monitoring available on a single software platform that users can access and control remotely from webenabled PC, Mac, smartphone, and tablet devices, with video and audio content streamed in real-time. Also on the show will be the Wohler RadiantGrid intelligent media transformation platform. It offers a solution for transcoding, standards conversion, and audio processing in applications including loudness correction, quality control, and distribution of media. At the heart of the platform is RadiantGrid’s TrueGrid parallel-processing engine, which excels at providing faster-thanreal-time content transformation, particularly for long-form content requiring multiple processes to be run concurrently.

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BROADPEAK UMBRELLA CDN For the first time in Asia, Broadpeak will demonstrate umbrellaCDN — a new solution for content providers that enables the allocation of content to multiple CDNs. Broadpeak will also introduce C-CAS and showcase nanoCDN, two powerful new CDN technologies that streamline the delivery of advanced TV services while reducing operational expenses for operators. By addressing the needs of both operators and content providers, Broadpeak provides the total package for advanced content delivery. Utilising Broadpeak’s umbrellaCDN solution, content providers can allocate the ideal CDN for their content according to various criteria such as format, end-user location, content provider, quality, or time of day. umbrellaCDN also offers the opportunity to centralise content geoblocking to manage the sending of replacement content and the modeling of quotas. Advanced analytics provide full information about the audience and the content consumption. Ideal for content providers, this solution also serves the needs of operators using multiple CDNs.


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PROPRODUCTS SNELL OFFERS 4K MULTIPLATFORM ENHANCEMENTS BY PILAT MEDIA Pilat Media will be demonstrating the latest enhancements to its flagship Integrated Broadcast Management System (IBMS). Making its debut in the Asia-Pacific at BroadcastAsia2013 is the OTTilus OVP (online video platform), an enterprise class, over-the-top (OTT) TV solution designed to expand broadcasters’ and TV operators’ multiplatform product offerings while leveraging their broadcast operations’ existing workflows and systems. OTTilus, enables end-to-end OTT deployments that encompass all major solution components from content acquisition to player applications. Based on Pilat Media’s proven broadcast management solutions, IBMS Express is a new cloud-based platform that addresses a full spectrum of broadcast business management functions. IBMS Express dovetails with a broadcaster’s outsourced IT strategy. Pilat Media will also unveil enhancements to IBMS OmniCast, its business management solution for non-linear, next-generation services such as VOD, over-the-top (OTT) TV, and catch-up TV across all delivery platforms. IBMS OmniCast combines the latest IBMS non-linear services management features in a sophisticated stand-alone back office system addressing everything from acquisition and multiplatform service scheduling to workflow orchestration and business dashboards.

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VISLINK UNVEILS SNG LINE Vislink will be launching and demoing the Mantis MSAT SNG product line at BroadcastAsia. With an 8Mbps data stream throughput, Mantis is the world’s smallest and lightest HD satellite news gathering solution. It is designed to be an all-weather, portable, outdoor broadcast terminal and weighs just 14kg. STAND 5E6-02




Mosart Newscast Automation 3.4 has a range of new features and functions, including a redesigned GUI with full user configurability, which further enhance the most versatile and powerful studio automation system on the market. Story elements such as cameras, clips, and graphics can easily be assigned to buttons for simple and quick access. A range of interface overviews can also be assigned to buttons, making the GUI a shot box for touchscreens and adaptable for a range of TV productions. Story scripts from the newsroom computer system are shown directly in the Mosart GUI, and Mosart operators can store clips and graphical elements in a pool ready for execution on request. Newscast Automation 3.4 also includes interfaces with Harris Nexio and Grass Valley K2 video servers; Calrec and Stagetec audio mixers; Casper, Xpression, and Pixel Power graphics; and Brainstorm virtual studio and Camerobot Systems. Mosart’s open-systems’ compatibility is extended with new support for Octopus and Annova’s OpenMedia in addition to ENPS, iNEWS, Dalet News, and NorCom’s NCPower. Users can also configure Mosart to query MAM systems for metadata information.  

Crystal Vision will be showcasing its latest virtual studio at Broadcast Asia 2013, with the launch of its chroma keyer Safire 3 in Asia, accompanied by a touchscreen control panel. Other new products on show will include a logo keyer with lots of new features including enhanced audio capabilities and a new range of feature-packed variable video delays offering up to 110 seconds of delay. The new Safire 3 real-time chroma keyer works with 3Gb/s, HD and SD sources and is ideal for all live virtual productions from studio to sport. Safire 3 makes it easy to quickly set up a chroma key, using multipoint sampling to automatically get the best possible default settings, with the option of selecting one, five or 12 sample points on the backdrop to set the range of colours to key on, as well as up to four points on the foreground object to set areas where no chroma keying is required. The input can be frozen to make setup easier. Along with the new Safire 3 chroma keyer, Crystal Vision will also be showing four new versions of its MultiLogo modular logo keyer. Also on show at Broadcast Asia will be Crystal Vision’s new version of one of its most successful specialist products: variable video delays. The ViViD 3G video delay is available in four versions to suit all applications and is ideal for matching any system delays, from virtual studio graphics to MPEG encoders and decoders.

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In supporting a dynamic Asia-Pacific market that is demanding more integrated and flexible solutions, Snell is offering 4K at no additional cost in a range of products including select routing switchers, fibre infrastructure, and the Kahuna 360 production switcher. At BroadcastAsia2013 experts will also be on hand to discuss the latest in playout and virtualisation in response to broadcasters having a need to share resources and improve efficiencies among regional channels. Snell’s powerful systems offer greater automation, improved reliability, higher quality, and more flexible media handling for today’s SD/HD/1080p environments as well as future cloud, IP, and 4K UHDTV-based operations. Kahuna 360 supports any format in and any format out, on any input or output including 1080p (single link), as standard for a smooth and cost-effective migration from HD to 1080p.

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dB Broadcast will use BroadcastAsia2013 to introduce several new products to the Asia-Pacific market, including an ASI monitoring and switching module, and the new DVB-T2 monitoring receiver module. The new IQASI82 module is an ASI TS Monitor with a 2x2 near-seamless switch that provides independent TS monitoring of two input streams and automatic switch operation that is configurable by the user. The module is used to ensure broadcast continuity in the event of input stream errors. The IQASI82 retains all the features of the wellestablished Hawkeye B082S module, with the added advantage of integration with Snell IQ modular frames and the RollCall monitoring and control system. The module can also be remotely monitored and controlled via the Snell SNMP interface. First customer shipments of the IQASI82 module have already commenced. The new DVB-T2 monitoring receiver module is called the IQDBT04 and is based on the successful MERlin DVB-T2 monitoring receiver. The IQDBT04 module receives an RF input signal and monitors key RF signal performance parameters such as MER and LDPC. Transport stream integrity tests are also performed and the demodulated stream is available as an ASI output. The IQDBT04 module is expected to be available for delivery in Q3 2013.

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BroadcastPro ME June 2013  
BroadcastPro ME June 2013  

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