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content technology

VOLUME 6 > ISSUE 6 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009

PP: 255003/06831

An Industry “Plus” Since 2003

MAGAZINE

Media Management Production Distribution

PLUS

ISSN 1448-9554

www.content-technology.com


CONTENT+TECHNOLOGY ISSN 1448-9554 PP:255003/06831 Broadcastpapers Pty Ltd (ABN: 34 095 653 277) PO Box 259 Darlinghurst NSW 1300 Australia www.broadcastpapers.com Publisher: Phil Sandberg Tel: +61-(0)2-9332 2221 Fax: +61-(0)2-9332 2280 Mob: +61-(0)414-671-811 Email: papers@broadcastpapers.com Sales & Marketing Manager: Daniela Huelsen Tel: +61-(0)410 880 557 Email: dh@broadcastpapers.com

Design & Layout: Crunch Design Tel: +61-2-9310 5393 Email: greenroom@ crunchdesign.com.au Printing: Pegasus Print Group Copyright Notice All material in Broadcastpapers’ Content+Technology Magazine is protected under Australian Commonwealth Copyright Laws. No material may be reproduced in part or whole in any manner without prior consent of the Publisher and/or copyright holder. Disclaimer Broadcastpapers Pty Ltd accepts no responsibility for omissions or mistakes made within, claims made or information provided by advertisers.

Production Manager: Lucy Salmon Tel: +61-(0)2-9332 2221 production@broadcastpapers.com

Also see C+T in PDF at www.content-technology.com VOLUME 3 > ISSUE 5

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CONTENTS >04

NEWS Tandberg Powers VOD for TiVO, Digital Solution for Community TV, Retailer Accreditation Scheme, More ‘Multi-Channels’

>08

TAKING STOCK Blackmagic Buys da Vinci, Cisco Buys Up Big, Predictions for 2010

>14

3D – THE THIRD DIMENSION Avatar the Movie, Hoyts Digital Cinema, Avatar the Game

>20

EVENTS Planning for the New Year

>22

ACQUISITION JVC Cuts the Muster, Consumer Video Flips Out!, Selections from IBC2009

>30

SPORTSCASTING Global TV to Build Comm Games IBC, Eurosport Asia Expands Down Under, Sports Anti-Siphoning

>35

NEWS OPERATIONS MediaCorp Launches Convergent Newsroom, Journo Assistance for South Africa 2010, IBC Newsroom Picks

>38

>42

STORAGE & ASSET MANAGEMENT DubSat Comes to the Desktop, Thought Equity Motion and the BBC, EMI Digitise Music Video Library

>46

RADIO Radio Recognises Engineering Achievement, Ad Standards for Digital, The Road to In-Car DAB+

>52

AUDIO Mastering Online with Matthew Gray, IBC highlights

>53

TRANSMISSION, SIGNAL DISTRIBUTION, T&M Inside Omnilab’s New Playroom, IBC Snapshots, MHEG Interaction Channel Explained

c+t >60

C+T TV’S GUIDE TO ONLINE INTERVIEWS, plus CLASSIFIEDS

>62

OFF-AIR What Happens on Tour … gets Printed Right Here.

>64

BABBLING BROOKS Gerry Brooks – the Mother of All OBs!

POST-PRODUCTION MasterChef a Top Serve for TEN, New Life for Old Telecines, From Previz to VFX Cinematography - Autodesk MD Marc Petit

CINEMA TECHNOLOGY - NEW MAGAZINE Visit www.cinematechnology.info


Editor’s Welcome

2010 Out of 10! By Phil Sandberg Beginning with

the obvious, 2009 has been a year of uncertainty and challenges. Shockwaves from the Global Financial Crisis have rippled out from its money market/real estate epicentre which, for many major economies, has resulted in a consumption slow-down, a contraction in advertising revenues and pressures on capital expenditure for those in content delivery. In those countries, such as Australia and Canada, where fiscal regulation was given a higher priority over market enthusiasm, the effects of the GFC have been less, especially as government stimulus measures have kicked in. However, no economy has gotten off scott free and all in the content production and delivery business have had to make adjustments. Those with an eye on the future (or no choice in the present) have elected to complete current infrastructure projects or, in the case of WIN TV and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, find new ways of ensuring their facilities are as future proof as they can be. It is no different here at C+T. While discussing plans for 2010, an ex-colleague of mine said, “Why don’t you just copy the features list from this year?” “Not good enough,” I said. We view 2009 as a marker-point after which everything has to be different – the way in which we produce our magazine, the content we publish, where we publish it and our relationships with readers and advertisers. We’re not perfect, but if we don’t continually question our purpose and our results, someone else will! So, what is our purpose? Above all, it’s to help you, the reader, better undertake your business. If we can point you towards some new technology or a way of working smarter with existing technology, we’ve done our job. If we can present something outside of the square that can be applied to your business to make it better, we’ve done our job. If we can be a conduit to link you in with individuals and companies that can boost your business, we’ve done our job. And lastly, if we can help instil some pride in the part you play in this fantastic industry and tell the world about it, then we have truly done our job.

THE FUTURE

Predicting the future is no easy business – apparently the takeover of the Earth by the SkyNet computer network

and its army of Terminators is only eight years away – but there are real emerging trends that will have an impact on our business. One trend milestone is the release of Terminator creator James Cameron’s Avatar in 3D which, if preview screenings are any indicator, will set a new bar for public acceptance of 3D productions. In its wake will be an associated 3D game (see our Stereoscopic Production feature on page 14). With more 3D television displays and even 3D-equipped laptops coming onto the market, as well as trial broadcasts in a number of countries, it will not be long before 3D becomes a part of both the regular cinema and broadcast offerings. As with most things, it may take longer than many think, but it will come. Another trend on the horizon, foreshadowed by the economic effects of the GFC, will be the effect of the wider economy on the content business, particularly as to how it runs its business. With a greater, renewed emphasis on matters environmental, will it be long before our business has to absorb costs passed on from the levies imposed on energy providers or those associated with disposal of outmoded electronics? On top of this will be the continued settling in the disruptive path left by the Internet economy, something which is still playing itself out. We hope to help you interpret these issues and more besides.

Catch up on the behind the scenes action at IBC 2009 and much more with C+T’s Online Video at our brand new C+T web site. Also on the Site: • Whitepapers • News and product information from 27 C+T blog sites • Events to calendar

Visit

www.content-technology.info

Ch-Ch-Ch-CHANGES

So, what are we doing in this new era of 2010 • Recruiting/Staff Management onward? Well, we are taking on new staff to cover • Recruiting/Staff Management more ground and more platforms. There will be more January/February 2010 Vol 7 Issue 1 about that next year, but we see C+T as being more EARLY BIRD Advertising Bookings – December 18th, 2009 than just a paper product and, if you see a topic in Editorial/Advertising Bookings – January 8th, 2010 the magazine, we aim to provide as many ways for Ad Material – January 12th, 2010 you to access that information as possible, along with March/April 2010 Vol 7 Issue 2 background material and access to experts. Whether Editorial/Advertising Bookings – February 15th, 2010 it’s via the printed page, our web site www.contentAd Material – February 22nd technology.info, our video archive of interviews www. May/June 2010 Vol 7 Issue 3 content-technology.tv or our library of whitepapers Editorial/Advertising Bookings – April 2nd, 2010 www.broadcastpapers.com, we hope to make your Ad Material – April 27th July/August 2010 Vol 7 Issue 4 working life easier. Editorial/Advertising Bookings – June 21st Then we would have done our job.

2010 Deadlines

A Prosperous New Year to All! Regards Phil Sandberg Editor/Publisher papers@broadcastpapers.com T: +61-(0)2-9332 2221

Visit www.content-technology.info 2 Editor’s Welcome

+video

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Ad Material – June 25th September/October 2010 Vol 7 Issue 5 Editorial/Advertising Bookings – August 20th Ad Material – August 27th November/December 2010 Vol 7 Issue 6 Editorial/Advertising Bookings – October 15th Ad Material – October 22th

For more information, visit www.content-technology.com or call +61-(0)2-9332 2221 or +61-(0)414 671 811 Email: papers@broadcastpapers.com Sales enquiries: dh@broadcastpapers.com Back To Contents Page or call +61-(0)410 880 557

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{NeWS + people

Media Industry Technologist Certification - www.mitc.tv For the latest news, visit www.smpte.org.au

Tandberg Powers VOD via TiVo Tandberg Television has announced that Hybrid Television Services (ANZ), the licensee of TiVo products in Australia and New Zealand, is deploying a complete suite of Tandberg Television software solutions to enable carrier class Video On-Demand to the television via broadband Internet. Hybrid TV will give New Zealand customers access to a wide range of On-Demand movies and TV programming via their TiVo media device from November. CASPA OnDemand is the brand name for this world of broadband entertainment including new release movies, hit TV shows for the whole family as well as free music videos, artist interviews and music concerts. As part of a centralized, multi-territory

VOD service, Hybrid TV is using Tandberg Television’s new, WatchPoint Content Management System (CMS), OpenStream Digital Services Platform on-demand back-office solution, AdPoint Advanced Advertising Platform and Xport Producer storage encoding solution. The CASPA OnDemand service will be delivered using progressive download over a subscriber’s existing broadband connection and complements the freeto-air digital terrestrial television (DTT) services available via TiVo receivers in New Zealand and Australia. Tandberg Television and Ericsson helped Hybrid TV meet its ambitious New Zealand launch deadline, creating a working beta solution within two months and enabling commercial roll-out a month later.

Digital TV Retailer Scheme As the full switchover to digital television in the New South Wales centre of Mildura draws closer, a new scheme is set to help households get ready. The digital switchover retailer scheme will train electronics retailers to provide the right advice to people making the switch to digital TV. The scheme was launched by the Executive Director of the Australian Government’s Digital Switchover Taskforce, Andy Townend. Staff employed by retailers who participate in the Government’s Quality Assurance Scheme will become ‘digital advisers. Digital Advisers will wear an identification badge which includes the digital switchover logo, the adviser’s name, and an expiry date of their training. Participating stores will be listed on the www.digitalready.gov.au web site. Mr Townend also launched the Antenna Installer Endorsement Scheme. Under the Scheme, experienced antenna installers register online to have their skills assessed against industry agreed minimum standards.

Spectrum for Intelligent Transport Systems The Australian Communications and Media Authority has released a discussion paper proposing the release of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band to permit the introduction of intelligent transport systems (ITS) for road users in Australia. The ACMA is proposing that spectrum would be allocated on a shared basis with incumbent services. ITS technologies use dedicated short range communications (DSRC) to transfer real-time information over short distances between in-vehicle mobile radio units and roadside units, and can be used for a wide range of applications. ACMA’s preliminary view is that the 5850-5925 MHz (5.9 GHz) band can be shared by incumbent services, such as fixed satellite services, and ITS with the imposition of some conditions. The ACMA’s discussion paper, Planning for intelligent transport systems, is available on the ACMA website. The closing date for comment is 17 December 2009. Visit www.acma.gov.au

4 News

DTT Channels – Two on the Go! The Australian multichannel universe has expanded on free-to-air television, albeit slightly, with the launch of the Nine Network’s GO! Channel followed by 7TWO. Invoking the spirit of 1970s Prime Minister Gough Whitlam with the tagline ‘It’s Time’, the Seven Network launched 7TWO on November 1, 2009 at 12noon on digital Channel 72. The channel is described by the network as “a broad entertainment channel set to bolster Seven’s leadership in the Australian television market. 7TWO is more of what audiences love about Seven. More drama, more lifestyle, more reality, more comedy, more movies ... more first class entertainment, free for everyone.” 7TWO is part of Australia’s Freeview digital television service. To watch 7TWO, tune into channel 72 on a high definition digital television or on an analogue or standard definition digital television connected to a high definition set top box. Opting for less of the same, the Nine Network’s GO! Channel (digital ch 99) launched in August and targets a different demographic to that of the main channel – i.e., one with a pulse - the 14-39 year-old audience. The launches bring to 14 the number of channels packaged under the Freeview banner, including 9, 7, TEN, SBS, ABC; 9HD, 7HD, ONE HD, ABC HD, SBS HD, ABC 2, SBS 2, 7TWO and GO! Further supporting the Freeview brand, Hybrid Television Services (ANZ), the exclusive licensee of TiVo products in Australia and New Zealand, has altered its Australian user interface to read “Watch Freeview” instead of “Watch Live TV”.

Digital ‘Solution’ for Community TV

The Australian Federal Government has announced a temporary solution for Community Television to make the transition to digital broadcasting. Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, says the Government has identified suitable spectrum and proposed necessary funding to enable Community TV stations to begin digital simulcasts. The Government will temporarily allocate vacant spectrum, previously known as Channel A, to the community broadcasting sector, allowing Community TV stations C31 in Melbourne, TVS in Sydney, QCTV in Brisbane and Channel 31 Adelaide to simulcast their services until the switch to digital-only television in capital cities in 2013. A new community licensee in Perth will commence digital-only broadcasts in early 2010. The Government has also allocated funding support, totalling $2.6 million, to enable the community sector to meet the costs of commencing digital simulcasts. Chief Executive of Sydney’s TVS and Secretary of the Australian Community Television Alliance, Laurie Patton, welcomed the Government’s announcement. “The allocation of digital spectrum provides a certain future for Community TV and the provision of funding support will assist us during the simulcast period ending in 2013,” Mr Patton said. The spectrum allocation would appear to be the last nail in the coffin of ‘Datacasting’ services for which Channel A was originally intended under Federal digital TV legislation. Channel B, meanwhile, still awaits mobile broadcast TV services.

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{NeWS + people

Global TV Appoints GM Victoria Global Television has announced the appointment of former Nine Network executive Tony Shepherd as the company’s General Manager – Victoria. Mr Shepherd brings more than 30 years of television experience to Global gained in a wide variety of roles with Nine, including seven years as Nine Melbourne (GTV9)’s Operations Manager and culminating in his appointment as Station Manager of GTV9. Mr Shepherd will oversee Global Television’s Victorian operations and other activities for Melbourne-based clients, encompassing programs such as Dancing with the Stars, Neighbours and Deal or No Deal. Mr Shepherd succeeds David Field who has left the company.

Media Industry Technologist Certification - www.mitc.tv For the latest news, visit www.smpte.org.au

New Appointments for MediaCorp Singapore’s MediaCorp Pte Ltd has announced the appointment of Charles Marshall Ormiston to its Board of Directors. Mr Ormiston, 47, is concurrently Chairman Southeast-Asia & Asia-Pacific Head of Strategy for Bain & Company, a global management consulting firm. Mr Ormiston specialises in leading major change programmes for multi-nationals and large Asian institutions, and is also the founder of Bain’s Singapore office. The current members of the Board of MediaCorp are: Mr Ho Kwon Ping, Chairman (Executive Chairman, The Banyan Tree Group); Mr Lucas Chow (Chief Executive Officer, MediaCorp); Mrs Fang Ai Lian (Chairman, Great Eastern Holdings); Ms Shirlene Noordin (Director, Phish Communications); Mr Dennis Siew (Head of Institutional Business, UOB Asset Management); Mr Soo Kok Leng (Chairman, Singapore Technologies Electronics Limited/ST Electronics Info-Comm Systems); and Mr Robert M Tomlin (Managing Director, Dane Court). MediaCorp has also announced the appointment of Man Shu Sum as Managing Director, MediaCorp Raintree Pictures. An industry veteran with over 30 years of experience in Asia’s media industry, Man Shu Sum has held senior management positions in the then Television Corporation of Singapore (TCS), MediaWorks Singapore and the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA). Prior to joining MediaCorp, he was the CEO of Mark Burnett Productions Asia. Man Shu Sum joins MediaCorp in December and will report to MediaCorp CEO Lucas Chow.

Goodyear in Motion for Kodak  Eastman Kodak Company has announced the appointment of Ingrid Goodyear to the role of General Manager of its motion picture business in the company’s Asia Pacific Region (APR) and Vice President Entertainment Imaging. Goodyear will be responsible for the full oversight of the Region’s business within 15 key countries, including Australia, Japan, Korea, India and China. She will transition from her previous role as General Manager of the division’s Image Capture business, where she oversaw the design and marketing of Kodak’s full line of motion picture camera negative products. In her new position, Goodyear will retain her responsibilities for Worldwide Marketing. A native Australian, she will be managing the Region from its Melbourne, Australia headquarters. Visit www.kodak.com/go/motion.

Smith for AmberFin AsiaPac AmberFin has announced the appointment of Adrian Smith as its new Vice President of Sales in the Asia Pacific region. In his new role Adrian will be responsible for leading AmberFin’s Asia Pacific growth, driving new business opportunities and developing the channel offering in line with the company’s global strategy. Prior to joining AmberFin, Adrian held the role of Enterprise Key Accounts Manager for AVID. He joined Avid from his previous role of Director of Operations and Sales Asia Pacific for Sundance, which was acquired by AVID in 2006. Visit www.amberfin.com

6 News

Christiansen Heads Sales at Video-8/ Silver Trak

Video-8 Media has announced that Christian Christiansen has moved into the role of Group Sales Manager for both Video-8 and Silver Trak Digital. The move sees Christiansen now responsible for sales of Video8’s range of services including telecine, video duplication and conversion, DVD authoring and the Media Factory digital asset management solution in addition to Silver Trak’s traditional DVD/ CD/BluRay duplication and Pro Media stock businesses. Christian Christiansen can be reached on 02 9438 4144 or at christian@silvertrak.com.au

Comms Alliance Appoints NBN Consuultant Communications Alliance, the peak body for the Australian communications industry, has named Dr Paul Brooks as its new NBN Lead Consultant. Dr Brooks succeeds Gary McLaren who has been appointed Chief Technology Officer of NBN Co. Dr Brooks is the founder of telecommunications design and strategy consultancy, Layer 10, and is recognised as a leading telecommunications analyst. Communications Alliance CEO Anne Hurley welcomed Dr Brooks to the role and paid tribute to Mr McLaren’s significant contribution to the industry’s NBN preparations which will result in the release of discussion papers on key NBN issues. Visit www.commsalliance.com.au

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taking STOCK

- THE BUSINESS OF CONTENT+TECHNOLOGY

da Vinci Renaissance with a Little Blackmagic IBC

“It’s funny. Most people know about 2009 saw Australian-based Blackmagic as a manufacturing arm, manufacturer Blackmagic Design but one of our founders started a very announce the purchase of all assets of successful post house in Singapore. The DaVinci Systems LLC. Blackmagic Design way we got down this path is the fact is now offering DaVinci Resolve DI color that they had actually bought two of these correction systems and DaVinci Revival film systems and they bought them because restoration products for sale worldwide. they were fantastic systems. Established in 1984, DaVinci supports “In dealing with that, they started real time colour correction through its finding small things – as you do with any Resolve product because it is not based purchase – small things, questions, why on a single workstation, but on a cluster is that this way, why is this that way? of computers with high performance GPU Through those discussions they found cards, so all processing is always real that some things were semi-handicapped time. because of the situation da Vinci was in C+T spoke to Dan May, President – and, oh, they’re for sale. of Blackmagic Design USA, about the “As a company that is growing and acquisition. has a strong background in that post“What we saw when we looked >> >> Dan May, President of Blackmagic Design USA, on the production market we could instantly at da Vinci was a company that had a Blackmagic-branded da Vinci stand at IBC 2009. Pic Phil Sandberg. see the value and the more we looked fantastic brand, fantastic technology, great at it the more we could see where that fit products, but they had been struggling for well known for, but there are certain things that can could make sense. We’re not going to try to put the a few years on a couple of different angles and become Blackmagic-ised.” square peg in the round hole, but the philosophies when we looked at those angles we said ‘that’s stuff “Da Vinci had belonged to another company that that we can go ahead and instil in the da Vinci that we do really well’. had been purchased by a bigger company and da brand can make it a much stronger company going “So, while someone may scratch their head and Vinci had become an afterthought to this much, much forward.” say ‘why is the guy selling a $200 capture card larger corporation. They weren’t market specific. going to sell a $200,000 colour corrector?’, it’s not about us trying to make the da Vinci product a commoditised product. It is a very different product. It is a very different model and it one that we do not intend to change. “But, there are some synergies there and there are things that can be done within da Vinci, that can follow some of Blackmagic’s overall philosophies without compromising what da Vinci has been for the past 25 years which is the top of the top colour correction products.” C+T: At a component or manufacturing level, will there be Blackmagic crossover into the da Vinci development process? DM: “A lot of the things we’ve struggled with at da Vinci were processes. Even from the conceptual, ‘we’re going to build a product’. There are things that we can do there that will apply to how da Vinci moves forward in product development. There are things that we can deal with on supply levels that can be done which will help in the overall process for da Vinci. “These are the kinds of things, more than putting a fancy package on it or what not, that we feel will help overall. We still want to keep the product and the level of customer attention that da Vinci is very

8 Taking Stock

Certainly decisions were made that were hard for to figure out the market space and they certainly weren’t going to be the guys to take where da Vinci was struggling and be able to figure it out.” What sort of cross-pollination are we going to see? “You’re certainly going to see things like we can put a Decklink card into a system give you a video output, but we can still use other people’s cards as well. We’re not going to say we’re going to be exclusively Blakmagic-ised. We still want to maintain relationships and partnerships and we want to have customers be able to have choices as well. “It’s not necessarily going to be that suddenly we’ve got something from Blackmagic pollinating throughout the da Vinci brand. I think the bigger picture is you’ve got this great software, you’ve got these fantastic panels. None of that has to change. That is all fantastic. “How we market it, how we sell it, some of these things can be tightened up a little bit so that for those customers that live in the very high-end world, we can be better partners for them.” Blackmagic the post-production house in Singapore is still part of the fold?

So what is new for da Vinci at IBC 2009? “Well, there’s nothing new! I mean we’re not trying to change some of this current stuff. What we done is we’re no longer going to sell our 2K product. It’s a product we’ve had around for a long time. We want to be able to support those products. We still have parts for them, but it’s a ten year old system and we want to further support those guys by having the knowledge around, having the parts around, but it’s not going to be part of our marketing activities. “We want to really focus now on our Resolve product line, our Revival product line and, of course, the panels that we’re using.” What about a 4K strategy? “We have one, but right now it’s about prioritising some things along the way. Right now, our 2K products are fine and we have these wonderful 3D products as well, so we have to prioritise things. There’s a lot of shifting puzzle pieces right now, so we’re digging through that stuff and figuring out the order of the long-term game plan.” Visit www.blackmagic-design.com/davinci. See the full video of this interview at www.content-technology.info

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Taking Stock

Cisco to Acquire DVN Set-Tops, Starent Networks, Tandberg Telepresence

Shaping up as a great survivor of the Global Financial Crisis, January 2009 saw Cisco Systems sitting on a reported US$26 billion in cash reserves. Contrast that with the AUD$10 billion the Australian Government released to soften the effects of the GFC on that country’s economy and you have some idea of the company’s earnings and how central it has become to laying the bitumen on for ‘Info Superhighway’. The company made its first major foray into the video space with its acquisition of compression specialists Scientific Atlanta and the compression business that company had purchased from Barco. Now, as other companies trim back, merge or try to offload business units not fitting into their overall vision, Cisco has been putting its war chest to good use reinforcing the dictum that you should always buy at the bottom. The latest is the announcement of a definitive agreement to acquire the set-top box business of DVN (Holdings) Limited, (SEHK: 0500). Listed in Hong Kong with major operations in China, DVN is a market and technology leader in digital cable solutions in China. Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will pay up to US$44.5 million for the set-top box business of DVN. Of this amount, approximately $17.5 million will be paid up front, with an additional maximum amount of $27 million to be paid over four years based on the achievement of specific sales milestones. The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of calendar year 2010 subject to standard closing conditions, DVN shareholder approval and regulatory approvals. In addition to the acquisition, Cisco has entered into a go-to-market alliance with the remainder of the DVN organization - which will continue to be led by current DVN CEO Terry Lui - in order to utilise the company’s middleware and advanced applications as well as integration and support services. The alliance will provide joint customers with end-to-end capabilities through the evolution from basic digital broadcast to advanced interactive services. The Chinese cable market is currently the largest in the world with 160 million subscribers and is predicted to grow to as many as 200 million over the next three to five years. Currently, only about one-third of the market has converted to digital cable. With the Chinese government mandating full digitization by 2015, this represents an important long-term opportunity for Cisco.

10 Taking Stock

Between the signing of the agreement and the close of the acquisition, Cisco and DVN’s set-top box businesses will continue to operate as separate companies. Upon completion of the transaction, the DVN set-top box business will become a part of the International Cable Business Unit within the Service Provider Video Technology Group (SPVTG) at Cisco. Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies expect to work together with the aim of providing uninterrupted service to set-top box customers and to prepare for an orderly transfer of the business. The DVN business will run end-to-end from within China – from design, sourcing and logistics through to marketing, sales and service.

GOING MOBILE

The DVN announcement follows another definitive agreement to acquire Starent Networks (NASDAQ: STAR), a Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based supplier of IP-based mobile infrastructure solutions targeting mobile and converged carriers. Accoridng to Cisco’s ‘Visual Networking Index’, “the Mobile Internet is at an inflection point as IPenabled Smartphones and other connected mobile devices gain rapid acceptance. Service Providers have been actively investing in this market as global mobile data traffic is expected to more than double every year through 2013.” Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will pay US$35 per share in cash in exchange for each share of Starent Networks and assume outstanding equity awards for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $2.9 billion. The acquisition has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies. The acquisition is expected to close during the first half of calendar year 2010. Starent Networks’ mobile infrastructure solutions play an important role in enabling Service Providers to scale their mobile infrastructure and monetize their investments via differentiated experiences. The company provides the multimedia intelligence, core network functions and services to manage access from any 2.5G, 3G, and 4G radio network to a mobile operator’s packet core network. Starent Networks’ access-independent technology is deployed in CDMA2000 (1X, EV-DO), UMTS/ HSPA and WiMax networks. “Combining Cisco’s strength in Video and IP with Starent Networks’ leading mobile infrastructure solutions, creates a compelling portfolio of products that provides an integrated architecture to offer rich, quality multimedia experiences to mobile subscribers on 3G and 4G networks,” said Starent Networks President and Chief Executive Officer Ashraf Dahod.

THERE’S A PRESENCE IN THE ROOM

The Starent announcement, in turn, was preceded by a move from Cisco into the ‘telepresence’ or videoconferencing sector with yet another definitive agreement for Cisco to launch a recommended voluntary cash offer to acquire Tandberg (OSLO: TAA. OL). This Tandberg business was already operating as a separate company when handset giant Ericsson acquired Tandberg Television. Based in Oslo, Norway, and New York, the Tandberg Telepresence business includes a broad range of world-class video endpoint and network infrastructure solutions with intercompany and multivendor interoperability. With this acquisition, Cisco will seek to expand its collaboration portfolio to offer more solutions to a greater number of customers, further accelerating market adoption globally. Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco commenced a cash tender offer to purchase all the outstanding shares of Tandberg for 153.5 Norwegian Kroner per share for an aggregate purchase price of approximately US$3.0 billion. The acquisition is expected to close during the first half of calendar year 2010. “Cisco and TANDBERG have remarkably similar cultures and a shared vision to change the way the world works through collaboration and video communications technologies,” said Cisco Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Chambers. “Collaboration is a $34 billion market and is growing rapidly—enabled by networked Web 2.0 technologies.  This acquisition showcases Cisco’s financial strength and ability to quickly capture key market transitions for growth.”

EASY AS UGC

Completing a circle of sorts, May 2009 saw Cisco acquire Pure Digital Technologies, the San Franciscobased creator of the disc-based Flip Video camera which allows consumers to shoot, edit and upload footage to the Internet from a single platform. (See our reviews p25) According to Cisco, “The acquisition of Pure Digital is key to Cisco’s strategy to expand its momentum in the media-enabled home and capture the consumer market transition to visual networking. The acquisition will take Cisco’s consumer business to the next level as the company develops new video capabilities and drives the next generation of entertainment and communication experiences.” Given that Cisco’s Consumer Business Group also includes Linksys by Cisco home networking, audio and media-storage products, the company is insuring that the Info Superhighway is not only a two-way street, but a busy one at that. Visit www.cisco.com

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Predictions for 2010 Media Staff & Strategy by Karl Jansson* If you have been reading my previous articles, there has been a looming prediction that will more than likely become true as we leave 2009 behind. It’s not that I’m partial to wearing a trendy headscarf or eager to look onto a fishbowl, it’s more from a point of observation. In our last article we spoke about how my Broadcast recruitment company has been re-shaped into a two tier business model by creating a new industry specific ‘Virtual Recruiter’ job board www. BroadcastJobz.tv as the second tier. Why? Simply because of the prediction I’m about to share with you.

Early Seismograph readings

Let’s look at the facts. Most of the recruitment industry was close behind, if not aligned to, the Banks when the Global Financial Crisis hit. It hit the recruiters hard and casualties were high and it was not uncommon to have lost 80% of staff. Recruiters, it seems, were privy to the seismograph readings well before the general population were alerted by the banking community. Now, as we enter the last quarter of the year, the Doppler affect is being felt once again as we feel a recovering economy surge towards us. It’s been coming for a few months now and I can report that the recruiter’s Titanic is now afloat and the deckchairs are being wiped down for new staff. A good indicator of what lies ahead. Some will reinvent themselves, some will specialise. However, one thing for certain is that there will be a definite shift away from generic Job Boards, and non industry specific business models. In addition, and most employers will be pleased to hear this, if you’ve previously been subjected to an overbearing personality, called a Recruitment Consultant, they’ve either moved on, or transitioned into someone you can now relate to.

Influences on the Broadcast Community

Generally reports are coming in on healthy marketing campaigns targeting Christmas that will slingshot us into 2010 on the back of the retail sector. Together with banks lowering penalty fees and a popular credit card psyche, the radio and TV networks will be more than happy over this period with confirmed advertising commitments.

I understand that within the corridors of Marketing and for what it’s worth, that the word is that brand differentiation will be brand value. Translating that, it means that if your company’s brand is not seen to be differentiated it will not be perceived to be a brand leader that is emerging from the shadows of the Global economic crisis. Consumers of technology have a hunger for innovation and expectations are high, so for the entrepreneur or entrepreneurial company, 2010 will prove to be both exciting and financially rewarding. In addition, what will make a difference of course is the ailing US dollar. When the stable Australian Dollar and waning US Dollar are drawn closer to each other, it usually affects the number of TVCs and Features into our region, particularly by US companies. The higher the value, the less attractive we become as creative partner. I believe the balance of decision occurs around the $0.71 to $0.81 mark. Keep an eye on this indicator, as it seems to be fairly accurate. Having said that, in a recovering economy there are enough checks and balances by clever accountants to minimise the impact.

What lies beyond?

I believe there will be within the corporate corridors a shift from a transactional processing mentality to that of more strong solution and consultative selling skills. This means there will be a transitional culture change within the ranks in order to become a more specialized and consultative entity to your clients. It may mean there will be some shortfall of

profits in the short term due to an increased cost of introducing the change as well the cost of hiring the right staff, but rest assured it’s an investment not a cost. As an employer you will no doubt be completing a talent audit in order to identify individuals who make a difference to your business. Although remuneration is most commonly linked to retention, it may not be ‘the’ motivating factor. Use the same consultative approach as you would with clients. Ok, if your company is ‘Culturizing’ the team, they will also be onboarding new employees. For the uninitiated, Wikipedia’s definition is “Onboarding is the process of acquiring, accommodating, assimilating and accelerating new team members, whether they come from outside or inside the organization. The prerequisite to successful onboarding is getting your organization aligned around the need and the role” Bringing ‘newbie’s’ into the company will be seen as a healthy sign in the market as well for your current staff, as it shows a position of foresight, strength and of course growth. In short though, we will be seeing a new breed of business savvy people emerging from the dust who are more flexible, accommodating and available. Are you prepared to join them? Karl Jansson is General Manager of J-Curve Broadcast Recruitment Consultants. Email: corporate@jcurve.tv Interactive web: www.jcurve.tv & www.broadcastjobz.tv

Read the Blog Online at www.broadcastjobz.info 12 Taking Media Stock Management

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Systems The Third Integration Dimension

- Stereoscopic Production & Exhibition

3D Avatar – Shades of a New Cinema By Phil Sandberg

I hate to use the phrase, but James Cameron’s Avatar is set to be a ‘tipping point’ in stereoscopic cinema – not only for the cinema goer (see page 16), but also from a production point of view. Avatar is the story of a crippled ex-marine whose consciousness is implanted into the body of human/ alien genetic hybrid so he can breathe the air of an alien planet (Pandora) and subjugate the natives (the Navi) in order to obtain an exotic mineral unknown on Earth. Virtual Cinematography – it’s a phrase you’ll hear more of, not only because it is central to the way in which the film was made, but because it raises visual FX to a level where, in certain cases, it can surpass live action filming. While Cameron undertook a great deal of live 3D stereoscopic work for the film using the proprietary Fusion digital 3-D camera system developed by Cameron and Vince Pace, the bulk of Avatar is “photorealistic CG production” and was put together using game authoring tools. Autodesk’s MotionBuilder was used by Cameron as a real-time render engine for motion capture and as a real time virtual camera. As one example, US-based Giant Studios was used to motion capture the movements of horses which were streamed live to Autodesk’s MotionBuilder. As the motion was captured (and even afterwards), Cameron was free to change “camera” shots/angles as if he was moving around with a real camera – a rendering process which, in the game world, occurs in real time as a player moves their ‘character’ throughout the game. The process effectively ‘de-couples’ point-of-view from character action and rendering these two attributes

frame-by-frame at the same time. This de-coupling can be taken a step further with the later addition of CG backgrounds – in the case of Avatar, this was undertaken by New Zealand’s Weta Digital. The approach has its antecedents in the use of previsualization technology used by George Lucas on his Star Wars Prequels. Lucas’ previs team, situated on the third floor of his Skywalker Ranch, used MotionBuilder with a tablet PC as a ‘virtual camera’ to construct scenes before actual production began. That team has since gone on to form a company called The Third Floor, specialising in pre-visualising. Also using MotionBuilder, this time for production, is the Jim Henson Company – home of the Muppets. Combining motion capture with controller rigs through which puppeteers can control virtual characters, the company has been able to cost-effectively produce a new animated children’s programme. In this scenario, the puppeteers become both performers and camera operators.

According to Marc Petit, Senior Vice-President of Autodesk Media & Entertainment, “This is an important trend. We have a lot of customers that think it’s a revolution because it really allows the director to pick up all the performance, so you can do your mock up sessions from the cinematography. And it allows them to refine a lot of their cinematography, and they can redo camera moves after the performance. When you think of traditional movie making, when you’re on set you say ‘action’, everything has to happen at the same time. “With these techniques, you can completely pick up all the set design from the actual performance for the cinematography. So it gives the director endless flexibility and they are basically in love with this technology. When you see a Christmas Carol this year, [Director Robert] Zemeckis has actually used and abused the system because they refined the camera moves to no end.” When it comes using MotionBuilder technology on the production of Avatar, Petit says “We cannot speak on behalf of Mr Cameron but Mr Cameron has been pretty open about the fact that he has been shooting the movies in MotionBuilder, using a virtual cinematography set-up that allowed him to have a virtual camera which gives him stereoscopic results, because that’s what mattered to him is the ability to completely weave the depth into the picture.” The results, as attendees to this year’s Australian International Movie Convention can attest, are impressive. The preview of Avatar hosted by producer Jon Landau showcased what is not only the most visually stunning 3D content to hit mainstream cinema screens, but also the first huge leap for mainstream 3D movie making.

The Queen in 3D Hits UK TV London-based Can Communicate has undertaken a challenging Stereo3D project for the UK’s Channel 4 Television. The project involves the complete production of four one hour Stereo3D programs, and also the processing of three full length Stereo3D movies. Two of the documentaries go under the banner ‘The Queen in 3D’ and feature footage shot in the last couple of months as well as rare Stereo3D footage from ‘Royal Review’

14 The Third Dimension

which was shot on film in 1953 at the Coronation. The latter is being aired in public for the very first time, having languished deep in the BFI archive for the last 50 years. Both films are co-productions with Renegade Pictures. All the Stereo3D correction and grading was carried out on Can Communicate’s Quantel Pablo colour correction and finishing system. Channel Four will broadcast the programs throughout the week of 16th November. It will utilise ColorCode

display and viewing technology, a development of anaglyph which gives superior results and also allows viewers without glasses to view the material in 2D without the ghosting usually associated with anaglyph. Millions of pairs of ColorCode viewing glasses are being distributed through one of the UK’s leading supermarket chains. Visit www.quantel.com

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The Third Dimension

A New Dimension for Hoyts By Phil Sandberg James Cameron’s Avatar is expected to be a driver for continued digitalisation of cinemas, especially 3D exhibition, but it will not be the be-all and end-all as it has been preceded by high profile 3D releases such as Monsters Vs Aliens and ‘Up!’ and will be followed in 2010 by at least 14 high profile Hollywood productions. For Adam Wrightson, Group Technology Director at the Hoyts Corporation, 3D is the driving force behind digital cinema systems being deployed today. “The amount of 3D product that’s coming through right now as we speak and in 2010 is unprecedented,” he says, “and with all of the major studios now committed to producing many films in 3D, that number’s only set to grow.” Current estimates rate the number of digital cinema deployments at over 10,000 globally. Out of a market of between 1800-2000 screens, Wrightson estimates that there are currently over 160 systems (including digital 2D and 3D) deployed in Australia. “My expectation is that number will increase to around about 250 by the time Avatar releases in December 2009,” he says. “It’s been somewhat of a milestone for exhibitors to have as many 3D systems deployed in their circuits for that film. “Once you see that 3D content you will be impressed by what 3D delivers in the cinema space. Even the sceptics will be convinced that 3D could well be the way forward for cinema.” Wrightson describes demand from majors and independents over the last 12 months for silver screens and projectors as “over the top”. “I think even the manufacturers of the projectors underestimated the demand that would come from those wanting to put in screens for 3D and as such, as an exhibitor, it’s been very difficult to get product and now we’re only a few weeks away from Avatar releasing and, like many other exhibitors, we’re trying to install a great number of systems into the field to meet that demand.” In terms of full D-Cinema deployments, Wrightson says “It is highly likely that Australia could be one of the first countries in the world to reach critical mass in relation to digital cinema. All of the major exhibitors in Australia are considering full conversion of their circuits. The major exhibitors represent 60%, and I’m

16 The Third Dimension

sure there’s quite a number of independent cinemas that would make the move as well. We could well be one of the first countries to achieve what I’ll call the critical mass of digital cinema screens in a country.” According to Adam Wrightson Hoyts currently has 33 D-Cinema systems deployed. Presently, all are Christie projectors with Do-Re-Mi servers. For 3D, the company is running RealD, XL and Zscreens. “We’re also putting in another 44 3D screens, so the Hoyt’s circuit before the end of the year will have somewhere around about 75 3D screens in the marketplace, which represents about 25% of our circuit.” Earlier in 2009, the company built a digital cinema lab as part of its innovation centre at its head office in Sydney with a view to testing and evaluating emerging technologies. “It’s a fully working DCI compliant, new installation. It emulates a two auditorium cinema complex, so there’s one fully functional screen and one not. We’ve got all of the components that we have out in the field, and we’re also now in the middle of installing all of the server and networking infrastructure which is going to help us connect all of those screens together and evaluate those systems. We wanted to ensure that we remain in control of maintaining, servicing, installing and so on of equipment on our circuit and be able to troubleshoot and so on. That was one of the other drivers for creating the digital cinema lab.” November sees Hoyts’ Broadway site in Sydney complete conversion of all 12 screens to digital, the company’s first, fully operational, all digital site. “It’ll incorporate all the networking and server infrastructure that we’ve been evaluating for some months,” says Wrightson. “We’re going to be on

the bleeding edge of technology in relation to playing around with 10gig Ethernet and so on which is one of the requirements that we had on our TMS [Theatre Management System] servers to facilitate the large volumes of data that these systems are going to have to move around a network. “We’ll be converting all of our pre-show trailers and features at that site as well, and it will be the start of us really establishing our operational processes and requirements and procedures.” Hoyts is working exclusively with HP for the supply of IT infrastructure. “We’re now using HP switches with their 1a0gig uplinks. We’re running fibre where necessary in the cinemas so that all of the screens have minimum of gigabit to the server,” says Wrightson. “It’s probably still early days in an application where we have over 300 screens to network where we could move 10gig out to those screens, but it’s not too hard to think that in another decade’s time that we certainly will be all moving data and video at those sorts of speeds. “We certainly believe that there’s a fundamental mind shift that has to happen in exhibition in order for us to deploy and support digital cinema. Digital cinema really is now a fusion of the traditional projectionists and projection engineering along with contemporary information technology. This is not dissimilar to broadcast and that’s gone down a similar path over the past decade as well. The play-out servers are running Linux, the projectors require firmware and software updates regularly. We’ve got SNMP protocols that are required for monitoring and so on. Network security and remote access now become part of our everyday business in supporting what our core business is, which is showing films. Once we start networking these sites together and the screens together, things like network security which are really not so much of an issue with a piece of 35mm now come to the fore in relation to skill sets and considerations in relation to what we do.” So what is the best operational model? “Well, that’s the million dollar question for us,” says Wrightson, “and that’s something that we will be discovering, I guess, over the coming little while.”

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The Third Dimension

The Third Dimension

Avatar Changes the 3D Game By Phil Sandberg The release

of James Cameron’s Avatar will not only see 3D pushing further into the cinema, but also the home in the form of a ‘3D switchable’ game from Ubisoft for Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony’s Playstation 3 and PSP (PlayStation Portable) systems, the Wii home video game system from Nintendo, the Nintendo DS system, and the PC. Wielding polarised glasses and an Hyundai 3D television on a recent Australian tour, Ubisoft’s Montreal-based Senior International Brand Manager on the Avatar game, Luc Duchaine is the ‘interface’ between the game production team and the team at Cameron’s production company, LightStorm. LD: “The game is over two years and a half in the making. Jim Cameron wrote the movie script 14 years ago and started to work on the project over four years ago now. It’s a long process for a film, and it’s a fairly good, long process for the game as well.” C+T: In producing the game, did you draw on digital assets produced for the film? LD: “We got tons of assets from them, mainly for reference, visuals, 360 degrees elements from their creatures and the characters, so it gave us really a good start to create the different assets for the game. “We didn’t have to look at the story and say, ‘okay, what should the hammerhead look like?’. So, this relationship we had with them was really unique because everything we needed we got it. We had a direct pipeline between LightStorm and us, so it allowed us to really get access to a lot, a lot of elements in real time. That truly helped to make the game.” C+T: How does the game relate to the film? LD: “In the game we’re not following the same story plot. We decided along with the creator of the film to go with something different, so the people will expand their experience in the Avatar world by playing the game. So we’re two years before the film, and when you get on the planet you’re Able Rider, a signal specialist. You will be on a mission as a soldier and as an avatar, and at one point you will get to choose do you want to fight for the soldier side or do you want to join the Navi in their quest to defend their planet.” C+T: So, where does the game sit in relation to the 3D experience? LD: “What we decided to do for the game is really to provide a first and foremost a good gaming experience. On top of that we decided to implement a 3D version of the game. When I say 3D version, I could go into the menu and switch it to 3D. Our objective is really to bring some innovation to the game. There are not a lot of 3D displays right now,

18 The Third Dimension

The Third Dimension

>> July saw Sky announced that it will launch the UK’s first 3D channel next year. The channel will offer a broad selection of the best available 3D programming, which is expected to include movies, entertainment and sport. The service will be broadcast across Sky’s existing HD infrastructure and be available via the current generation of Sky+HD set-top boxes. To watch 3D, customers will also require a new ‘3D Ready’ TV, which are expected to be on sale in the UK next year. >> Sony

has developed a movie camera capable of shooting 3-D images with a single lens. It was unveiled at the Ceatec show in Tokyo. By utilizing a single lens the camera neatly solves one of the problems associated with current 3-D photographic technique: the complicated set-up required for dual lenses. When using a camera with two lenses—one for the right image and one for the left—the lenses must be carefully aligned and synchronized so that the resulting images maintain the same degree of 3-D perception when see by viewers. The Sony camera takes a single image and separates it into right and left images that are then recorded by individual image sensors. The light is split using mirrors, not shutters, so the recorded image also appears smoother.

>> eyeon Software Inc. Ubisoft Brand Manager on Avatar the Game, Luc Duchaine.

but there are more and more coming, so we will be there, we’ll have this knowledge and this experience about 3D gaming when everybody is ready to go in.” C+T: Is ther added difficulty in creating a game for 3D viewing? LD: “There are some constraints, some challenges that we have to deal with in terms of optimisation for the game to make sure we have a good frame rate, always consider 3D in the equation when we do the game, we have to test it in 3D, look at it in 3D - that kind of thing. “With a film they know exactly the shot they’re going to have, if it’s going to be a fast paced shot or a slow paced, so what we try to bring is the option for the people to change intensity in terms of 3D because we don’t know if the player will use a smooth camera or if they will move their camera really fast. There are a couple of settings you can change in the game, the distance between you and the monitor. We try to really bring a couple of options so you can really have the best viewing experience.” C+T: Is the game consistent across different platforms? LD: “This version is going to be released on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 and PC, but we also have a Wii version and a PSP and a DS version and

they’re different. They’re not a port from this game, they have their own storyline and people will truly be able to experiment in the world of Avatar on those platforms.” C+T: But, the universe of the game and the film are consistent? LD: “It’s one world and we’re working together on this world, we are expanding the universe that they are building actually. For example, PandoraPedia is a feature of the game which is an encyclopaedia for the world of Pandora. People will get a lot of information in there, like very detailed information that was done in cooperation with LightStorm. “It will be great for the player and the people playing the game to discover things. They will see a creature in the film, while playing the game they can go and find out more information about this creature, so this is truly a great feature that we have in the game.” C+T: The game features some dramatic intro ‘cinematic’ sequences. How were they produced? LD: “We did some motion capture, we had some voice over, we have some real actors from the film who did a voice over, so for the cinematics, we had a team really focusing on all those cinematics, making sure that they delivered a good amount of information about the game, about the story and they’re compelling enough, not too long, so that they have a good impact. We have our own mo-cap studio in Montreal for Ubisoft so it was great to be able to do it in-house with mo-cap. The game engine itself is called Dunia, it’s the same engine that we used in Far Cry 2.” C+T: So, do you see 3D games as the way of the future? LD:“I truly believe that once people will get the chance to play 3D, in the upcoming years it will be one of the drivers for 3D at home, because there’s truly an added value there for a player.”

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introduced Generation 2.0 at IBC in Amsterdam. Generation fills a gap in post and VFX workflows by giving producers, supervisors, artists, and editors a common ‘visual effects desktop’ for shot management and review and approval. Generation 2.0 builds on the success of earlier versions, adding support for RED .r3d and OpenEXR file formats, stereoscopic 3D playback, expanded LUT support, new editing tools, and more. Visit www.eyeonline.com

>> Orca Interactive, SoftAtHome and Viaccess used IBC 2009 to display an end-to-end 3D TV experience for the digital home. It enables service providers to accelerate time to market to deliver a new TV offering with a 3D HD user interface on broadcast, IPTV or hybrid networks (DVB-S/C/T+IP). Visit www.viaccess.com, softathome.com and www.orcainteractive.com >> EVS, the developer of Instant Tapeless Technology, is now providing stereoscopic 3D experiences for live sports and concert performances. With its latest MulticamLSM 10 software package, EVS’ XT[2]-LSM offers full 3D-HD loop recordings, playbacks, slow-motion replays, instant editing, and live clipping functions. In effect, all existing capabilities of the MulticamLSM software package are now available for any type of 3D-HD production. Visit www.evs.tv >> US company Element Technica has announced the Technica 3D Series of camera rigs configurable into both beam splitter and parallel camera platforms. The systems are scaled to fit popular cameras from the tiny SI-2K Mini to a full size Red One — even with zoom lenses. Camera and lens controls are neatly imbedded. Motors for interocular (IO) and convergence (CONV) control are built into the platforms. Visit www.Elementtechnica.com or www.technica3D.com

>> P+S Technik

has introduced three new 3D rigs, including a prototype lightweight version for use on a stabilising system demoed at IBC using an Artemis system with two Sony EX3s. There is also a larger 3D rig designed for use with wide-angle lenses, down to 7mm that can’t be used on its existing 3D rig. It will be making a carbon fibre version that will be very light, and has new, more stable, camera adaptors that allow it to be used with very heavy cameras. Another new side-by-side 3D rig is designed for panoramic and aerial shoots where you need the lenses to be farther apart for a true 3D effect, as the smaller box is designed for short distances. Visit www.pstechnik.de

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The Third Post Production Dimension 19


conferences

EXHIBITIONS & ROADSHOWS January

>> International CES 7-10 January, 2010 Las Vegas Convention Center; The Venetian; Las Vegas Hilton; Renaissance Hotel, Las Vegas USA www.cesweb.org

>>ad:tech Sydney 2010 March 16-17, 2010 Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre www.ad-tech.com/sydney >>ASTRA 2010 18th March, 2010 www.astra.org.au

>>23rd annual FIPA Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuels 26-31 January, 2010 Biarritz, France www.fipa.tm.fr

>>CCBN2010 China Content Broadcasting Network Expo 23-25 March, 2010 China International Exhibition Center (CIEC) Beijing, PRC www.ccbn.tv

February

>>iptvworldforum 2010 23-25 March, 2010 Olympia National Hall, London, UK www.iptv-forum.com

>>Integrated Systems Europe 2010 2-4 February, 2010 RAI Amsterdam www.iseurope.org >>CSTB 2010 2-4 February, 2010 Moscow Crocus Expo, Russia www.cstb.ru/en/cstb/

April

>>MIPDOC 10-11 April, 2010 Cannes, France www.mipworld.com

>>2010 Mobile World Congress 15-18 February, 2010 Barcelona, Spain www.mobileworldcongress.com

>>NABSHOW Conferences 10-15, April 2010 Exhibits 12-15, April 2010 Las Vegas Convention Center www.nabshow.com

>>Broadcast Video Expo & The Production Show 16-18 February, 2010 Earls Court 2, London www.broadcastvideoexpo.co.uk

>>MIPTV 12-16 April, 2010 Cannes, France www.mipworld.com

>>RTS Television/Journalism Awards 24 February, 2010 London Hilton, Park Lane, London www.rts.org.uk

>>The Internet Show Melbourne 2010 13-14 April, 2010 Melbourne Conference and Exhibition Centre www.terrapinn.com/2010/melbourne

>>BES Expo 2010 25-27 February, 2010 Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India http://www.besindia.com/bes_expo.asp

>>Sign & Digital UK 2010 13-15 April, 2010 The NEC, Birmingham, UK www.signuk.com

March

>>Broadcasting Scores! Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Conference 17-21 April, 2010 Sandton Hilton Johannesburg, South Africa www.cba.org.uk

>>CABSAT MENA 2010 2-4 March, 2010 Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre www.cabsat.com >>Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union Digital Broadcasting Symposium 2010 9-11 March, 2010 Hotel Istana, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia www.abu.org.my >>RTS Programme Awards 16 March, 2010 Grosvenor House Hotel, London www.rts.org.uk

>>The Internet Show Singapore 21-22 April 2010 Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre www.terrapinn.com/2010/Singapore

May

>>FMX 2010, the 15th Conference on Animation, Effects, Games & Interactive Media 4-7 May, 2010 Stuttgart, Germany www.fmx.de

20 Conferences Exhibitions & Roadshows

>>The Internet Show New York 2010 5-6 May 2010 The Javits Center - New York www.terrapinn.com/2010/ny >>HDTV RUSSIA 2010 11-14 May, 2010 Expocentre Fairgrounds, Moscow, Russia www.hdtv-expo.ru/en/ >>AES London 2010 128th AES Convention Conference 20-23 May, 2010 Exhibits 21-23 May, 2010 ExCel London www.aes.org

June

>>Dimension 3 3D Stereo & New Images Forum 1-3 June, 2010 Seine-Saint-Denis, Paris-Ile-de-France www.dimension3-expo.com >>Digital Signage Expo 2010 15-17 June, 2010 Messe Essen, Essen, Germany www.digitalsignageexpo.eu >>BroadcastAsia2010 CommunicAsia2010 Interactive DME 15-18 June, 2010 Singapore Expo www.broadcast-asia.com www.communicasia.com www.interactivedme.com >>KOBA 2010 15-18 June, 2010 COEX, Seoul, Korea www.kobashow.com >>Internet Show Amsterdam 2010 22-23 June 2010 RAI - Amsterdam www.terrapinn.com/2010/amsterdam

>>Wireless Broadband World Africa 2010 12-15 July 2010 Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa www.terrapinn.com/2010/wirelessza

August

>>Australian Broadcast Exhibition Sydney, Australia www.abeshow.tv >>The Internet Show Africa 2-3 August 2010 Sandton Convention Centre - Johannesburg www.terrapinn.com/2010/africa >>BIRTV2010 22-25 August, 2010 Beijing, China www.birtv.com/english/

September

>>Submarine Networks World 2010 1-3 September 2010 Singapore www.terrapinn.com/2010/submarine >>IFA 2010 Consumer Electronics Unlimited 3-8 September, 2010 Messe Berlin Germany www.ifa-berlin.com >>IBC2010 Conference 9-13, September 2010 Exhibition 10-14, September 2010 RAI Amsterdam www.ibc.org >>The Internet Show Middle East 2010 21-22 September 2010 ADNEC â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company www.terrapinn.com/2010/middleeast

October

>>SatCom Russia & CIS 2010 22-24 June 2010 Moscow, Russia www.terrapinn.com/2010/satcomrus

>>National Radio Conference 2010 15-16 October, 2010 Crown Casino, Melbourne, Australia www.commercialradio.com.au

>>iptvforum Latin America 29-30 June, 2010 Rio Windsor Barras Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil www.iptv-latinamerica.com

>>viscom frankfurt 2010 & Digital Signage World 28-30 October, 2010 Frankfurt/Main, Exhibition Centre, Hall 3.0 www.viscom-messe.com

July

November

>>Siggraph2010 Conference 26-30 July, 2010 Exhibition 27-29 July, 2010 Los Angeles Convention Center www.siggraph.org/s2010/

InterBEE 2010 17-19 November, 2010 Makuhari Messe, Chiba, Japan www.inter-bee.com

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Acquisition

ACQUISITION

M3 Cuts the Muster in Gympie Once a year a strange pilgrimage takes place at the Amamoor State Forest near Gympie in Queensland, Australia. The Gympie National Music Muster (aka Muster) is set within the tranquil state forest whose population swells to over 30,000 people by the end of the festival. At this year’s six-day event there were 16 stages hosting musicians playing the best in country, blues, folk and rock music. Parked behind the main stage, as it was at the last six festivals, was Brisbane based production specialists M3 Media’s OB Van capturing the sights and sounds of the live concerts each afternoon and evening. M3 Media’s Marty Hankins described the event and his company’s involvement. “With a capacity crowd on the hill, the van video output fed large projection screens, various back stage plasma screens and the corporate boxes. As well as the IMAG requirements, various record formats were also incorporated and distributed to multiple media outlets. At times we have had numerous formats recording simultaneously including: XDCAM, BETACAM, DVCAM, Direct to Hard Drive, H.264 recording and DVD recorders, all taking an output. This year, as with the previous six years, we have provided broadcaster WIN QLD with programme content which they packaged into a broadcast special to air on their network later in the year.” Each year the Muster’s Rural Aid Appeal, which is organized by the APEX club, raises funds to give to a chosen charity. This year’s charity was Blaze Aid which assists survivors of the devastating Victorian

bush fires. As part of this fundraising, ABC Landline was there to tell their story. Hankins continued, “ABC Landline utilised our footage in an hour long special, of which we contributed 45 minutes of its final content. Another major part of the job was the audio production. Main stage is actually two stages side by side. This allows for quick band changeovers; while ‘band one’ is performing on ‘stage one’, the curtain is closed on ‘stage two’ where ‘band two’ is sound checking. The OB Van took a full audio split of 80 plus inputs and crowd mics. Not only were we doing a multi-track record (48 track) but also a complete live mix that fed all the record VTRs. We then provided live audio mix to a local narrowcast that serves the Muster grounds, regional radio stations, and over 100 ABC radio national stations. From dusk till around 10:30pm our four cameramen were kept busy chasing band after band.” The changing light from day to night is always an

ongoing challenge for the M3 Media crew at Muster, but once fully dark, other lighting issues became apparent. The main stage venue, as a structure, also presented a challenge as its very low fly points for the lighting rig meant that some lighting fixtures were only a few metres from the performers’ heads. This caused some very intense hotspots throughout the stage. The front thrust of the stage, which was out beyond the lighting rig itself, also meant a total reliance on spotlights. Hankins added, “The variation in intensity of the lighting challenges the camera sensors. This year a combination of two JVC ProHD GY-HD251E and two JVC GY-HD101E cameras were used with great success. As a golden rule, the bigger the sensor, the better it will cope in such harsh concert lighting situations. The JVCs are built with a 1/3” sensor and responded amazingly well in these conditions. We really did get some incredible footage from these cameras which have always punched way above their weight. I have always really loved the way the JVC GY-HD251E produces its black levels — the depth of the blacks tend to accentuate the saturation in the colours. This is really important in a live situation where the audience can compare what they see on stage to what is captured and projected on the screens. Another big plus with these cameras is their battery efficiency. We are “on air” from 4:00pm till 10:30pm and they easily make it through on two V-Lock batteries. In addition to the great cameras we had an excellent crew and everyone was delighted with the results we achieved.”

Panasonic, GlobeCast in Global Partnership Panasonic Professional Broadcast and IT Systems (PBITS) and GlobeCast have formalised a technology partnership to integrate Panasonic’s P2 broadcast workflow and production technology with GlobeCast’s Media Sharing Platforms (MSP). This global partnership will drive the development of specialised players and new interfaces between Panasonic’s P2-enabled hardware and GlobeCast’s software and MSP, allowing major broadcast clients to benefit from a unified technology environment. In the newsgathering field, for example, the agreement will allow P2 camcorder users in the field to ingest footage directly to a GlobeCast distribution platform at the TV studio. Continued development of this technology partnership will empower users further, with GlobeCast’s MSP reading and extracting the metadata wrapped in a P2 file in order to populate an intelligent database and automatically reference the associated video content. The result will be a streamlined workflow from acquisition through worldwide distribution and archiving. GlobeCast’s Media Sharing Platforms combines the company’s expertise in core networks, content acquisition, and content delivery with the advanced media asset management software and integrated archive manager offered by its subsidiary NETIA. Working with Panasonic P2 cameras and the GlobeCast MSP with NETIA software, the camera operator will be able to mark key files and scenes with icons to help production staff back at the station identify crucial scenes, thus saving time in post-production. The camera’s ability to send in/out points, playlists, and low-res proxy versions in advance of full-resolution video clips enables managing directors to make the most of available bandwidth, to create rushes or edit decision lists quickly, or to publish video to a catalogue with minimal delay. Visit www.panasonic-broadcast.com and www.globecast.com

22 Acquisition

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Acquisition

Acquisition

Cinematographers Can Cooke in the Dark

Cooke Optics Ltd., the manufacturer of precision lenses for the motion picture industry, has launched the Cooke 5/i prime lenses, a top-of-the-range set designed for all PL-mounted professional film and electronic cameras. A key feature of the 5/i Primes is a dimmable, illuminated focus ring, with two separately toggled scales (cinematographer and assistant), that allow the focus puller to read the scales in low lighting conditions. The aperture stops range from T1.4 to T22. Lenses available are 18, 25, 32, 40, 50, 65, 75, 100 and 135mm. Cooke 5/i optics offer superb optical and mechanical performance, control of flare, distortion, veiling glare and spherical aberrations at full aperture. The cam-type focus mechanism allows for smooth focus adjustments, while the modular construction increases ease of maintenance and serviceability. The lenses are colour-matched and compatible with the entire Cooke range including S4/i and the new Panchro by Cooke. /i Technology is included as standard, to provide vital camera information for post-production pipelines. Visit www.cookeoptics.com

ARRI Announces New Digital Cameras

ARRI has used the recent IBC 2009 show in Amsterdam to announce a new range of 35mmformat digital cameras - codenamed Alexa - that it says will redefine the limits of digital motion capture. Based around a newly developed CMOS sensor with “unsurpassed sensitivity and dynamic range”, the cameras will “couple exceptional image quality with flexible, integrated workflows designed to meet the needs of modern post-production”. The Alexa product line-up, priced in the range €50k to €130k, will be available for sale commencing the second quarter of 2010. The planned entry level model utilises a 16:9 sensor and the most advanced electronic viewfinder on the market. A more fully-featured version continues ARRI’s tradition of offering a 4:3 sensor and a rotating mirror shutter linked to an optical viewfinder as the optimum choice for cinematographers. A number of recording options, including several innovative on-board solutions, have been designed specifically with modern workflows in mind to provide the greatest versatility both on the set and in post-production. This new generation of ARRI digital cameras is the result of exciting technological breakthroughs, close communication with prominent industry insiders and invaluable experience with ARRI’s current digital camera, the market-leading D-21. New and existing customers of the D-21 will be the first to benefit from the new cameras, with upgrade packages and migration pathways. Visit www.arri.com See the ARRI IBC Press Conference at www.content-technology.info

Tripod Transit Option

Miller’s Arrow Shell Case with wheels for 2-stage Arrow carbon fibre tripod systems is a compact and comfortable carrying solution which provides premium protection for your fluid head and tripod. The semi-rigid case is constructed with quality weatherproof 1000D Cordura, lightweight padded honeycomb plastic wall panelling, corner protection and heavy duty carry straps. Both the pull handle and carry straps are double stitched and integrated with metal D-links for extra strength and positioned for ergonomic comfort. The Arrow Shell Case has inline roller wheels, which are recessed to protect the axle from damage during shipping yet provide ease of manoeuvrability in transit. The addition of a moulded plastic foot and base supports enable the case to stand upright, clear of wet or dirty floors. Inside the Arrow Shell Case with wheels are pockets for accessories and a dedicated tripod adaptor plate pocket. A moulded protective head cradle offers added protection for the Arrow range of fluid heads. Easy snap-lock straps fasten the tripod in place. Visit www.millertripods.com

24 Acquisition

Flipping Out with Online Video Fluid Head for Visual Effects

OConnor Engineering has introduced the 120EXe Encoded Heavy Duty Fluid Head, designed to provide high-precision pan and tilt position information for cinema quality visual effects production on feature films and commercials. The new 120EXe is suitable for use with the Mo-Sys camera motion capture system. The 120EXe provides absolute output pan and tilt position information via an external 19 pin Fischer connector. Mo-Sys provides a companion encoder box for the 120EXe which allows high-resolution pan and tilt data of 1.8 million counts per revolution to be output from the head, making it suitable for film and HD formats. When the 120EXe is coupled to the MoSys Motion Logger, it instantly becomes a powerful camera mocap system for use in postproduction. When used with the Mo-Sys 3D Inserter, it also allows real-time previsualization of live action and CG compositing on set. The e-version of OConnor’s established heavy-duty 120EX fluid head features builtin encoders and does not requires bolt-on assembly of other hardware. Like the 120EX, the 120EXe can support up to a 120 lb (54kg) camera package through the head’s entire tilt range of ±90 degrees, and can counterbalance up to 240 lbs (109 kg) through a tilt range of ±60 degrees (payload weights based on an 8” center of gravity). The 120EXe provides ultimate control and stability for film-style shooting with a full array of OConnor features, including accurate balance achieved through the sinusoidal EXcounterbalance technology. Like all OConnor heads the EX-drag technology is ultra-smooth and stepless to give an infinite range of control to the operator. OConnor’s 120EXe Encoding Heavy Duty Fluid Head joins the Mo-Sys family of sensor products, including cranes, dollies and a wide range of lenses, and is distributed exclusively worldwide by Mo-Sys. Visit www.mo-sys.com

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By Phil Sandberg It’s not often we here at C+T have the time to review equipment but, as we were evaluating video acquisition options for our web site, we did have the opportunity to put Mino Flip Video camera through its paces - and with some truly surprising results. Previously available only in the UK and the US, Flip Video is a brand name of Pure Digital Technologies, a company which was recently purchased by Cisco Systems’ consumer division. The reason for the Flip Video name is the switch-blade like mechanism on the side of the camera which releases a USB connector for inserting into a PC or Mac. This is where the fun begins. The Mino and it’s MinoHD sibling are flash drivebased and come with organising and rudimentary editing software pre-loaded for installation on your computer. The attractive part of this software is that not only can you edit together footage and add titles/ credits, the interface allows you to upload your videos direct to web sites like YouTube, MySpace and others directly from the FlipShare software without having to use a web browser. You simply save your log in details and it does the rest. As a timesaver, this has tremendous advantages for Internet-only video creators. The Flip Mino and MinoHD models are being introduced in Australia for Christmas at a recommended price of AUD$229.95 and AUD$299.95 respectively. I purchased our Flip Video Mino standard definition camera duty free in the UK for around £130, so the current exchange rates are working in our favour. I chose the standard definition version for a number of reasons: • I only wanted to use it for creating video for our web site; • I figured the file sizes would be less; • The salesman at the duty free store informed me the same lenses were used in both HD and SD models, so what difference would that make? Indeed, while both models can record up to 60 minutes of video (with a battery charge life that lasts even longer while driving an LCD ‘viewfinder’ screen),

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the HD version has a 4Gb drive while the SD model comes with 2Gb. The video resolution for the HD camera is 1280 x 720 while the SD version features 640 x 480. Once you have shot some video on your Mino, simply plug it into your computer’s USB port. This will launch the FlipShare software which will transfer footage onto your hard drive automatically (and erase it from your camera if you so choose). Once the footage is visible in FlipShare, you can start editing (footage can also be editing while still on the camera’s drive via the software). This is in the form of basic ‘In and Out’ points and the interface for this – click and drag across a timeline – is quite awkward. In playing a piece of footage, you may have paused it at your desired edit point, but when you click on the edit point marker, it resets the point where you have paused the video to the beginning and you have to drag the edit point marker to near where you think your desired point was. You then pick the exact point by ‘scrubbing’ forward one frame at a time until you reach it. It is laborious and could be improved by also enabling users to enter edit point times via their computer’s keyboard. When you have finished the in and out points for your footage, you can then select your starting footage and click ‘Create Movie’. This allows you to compose a simple one-font title and drag footage for your movie in order of desired appearance. There are options for including music/audio files as background or to replace camera recorded audio, as well as end credits. Once your movie is created, a one-button process will allow you to upload it or multiple movies to your online

destination of choice (note that one does not have to go through the movie process to upload. Unedited raw footage can also be published in this way). Other ‘post’ options include JPEG snapshots , sending video as an email or ‘greeting card’ – probably best with smaller files –and burning to DVD.

SURPRISING RESULTS

In testing out the Flip Video Mino, I took it down to Sydney Harbour on the day of the September dust storm and shot some footage which I edited and had online within 15 minutes of returning to the office. This video was then viewed nearly 56,000 times, including views by Sydney-based staff from China Radio International who contacted our office and visited to interview me about living in Sydney and climate change! If you’re looking for a tool to produce viral videos, then Flip Video’s Mino is it! Unsurprisingly, there are many shortcomings to the Mino range when it comes to professional applications – especially in the 50Hz environment (some restaurant footage we shot suffered from a lot of flicker). Importing footage into other editing applications for further crafting was problematic. While the camera can be hand held (like a mobile phone), it can be tripod mounted and, as Miller Camera Support Marketing Manager Heidi Tobin said after viewing my footage, “You need a Tripod.” So if your primary business is shooting for the web – especially talking head interviews - you will find a great tool in the Flip Video Mino and MinoHD. The ease of upload is a great attribute and, if you take a laptop on location, you can easily ingest footage before further shooting. For others, the quality means it won’t be your main acquisition format, but it is fast, convenient and a lot of fun. Visit www.theflip.com.au You can see our Flip Video dust storm footage at www.youtube.com/philsandberg

SPECS

MinoHD

Mino

Sensor

1/4.5” HD CMOS Sensor 2.2 µm pixels

1/4” VGA CMOS Sensor 5.6 µm pixels

Light Sensitivity

Ultra low-light sensitivity (>1.4 V/lux-sec) with automatic low light detection

Very high sensitivity (>2.0V/lux-sec) with automatic low light detection

Frame Rate

30 frames per second (constant frame rate, progressive scan)

30 frames per second (constant frame rate, progressive scan)

Average Bitrate

9.0Mbps (auto-adaptive algorithm)

4.0Mbps (auto-adaptive algorithm)

Video Format

H.264 video compression, AAC audio compression, MP4 file format

Advanced Profile MPEG-4 AVI

White Balance &

Automatic white balance and black level calibration

Automatic white balance and black level calibration

Exposure

Automatic exposure control with dynamic exposure compensation

Automatic exposure control with dynamic exposure compensation

Lens Type

Fixed Focus (1.5m to infinity)

Fixed Focus (1m to infinity)

Aperture

f/2.4

f/2.4

Zoom

Smooth multi-step 2x digital

Smooth multi-step 2x digital

Speaker

Built-in speaker

Built-in speaker

Microphone

Built-in wide-range microphone

Built-in wide-range microphone

TV-Out

Composite Video (cable included)

Composite Video (cable included)

FlipShare™ Software essories

Acquistion 25


Acquisition

Acquisition

Lanser Shoots Hoges, Boots and All, with FujiFilm

Artemis Stabilises RED ONE

Sachtler has developed a special version of its artemis camera stabiliser system that has been specially designed for the RED ONE camera and digital cinematography. The camera stabiliser system comes with a 15 amp high capacity electricity supply and hot swap technology. These latest additions make the artemis EFP HD SE highly suitable for the professional use in digital cinematography. Numerous features in the design of the artemis EFP HD SE are adapted to working with a RED ONE camera as well as with other state-of-theart HD cameras. In addition to the standard 3-pin camera power out, 3-pin Aux power and 4-pin focus power out sockets, there is an extra new camera power-out, using the same Lemo 2B 6-pin socket and wiring scheme as the RED ONE. The new HiCap (high capacity) power supply allows the artemis EFP HD SE to handle 14V at 15 Amps, providing 210 Watts without any problem. When the artemis EFP HD SE system is used with 14 Volts and up to 11 Amp/154 Watts, the voltage drop is less than four percent. When shooting with the RED ONE camera using the RED BRICK 140WH battery pack, the operator is guaranteed maximum run time and optimum battery capacity. Battery capacity data is displayed in the eyepiece of the RED ONE when a RED BRICK or other battery supporting capacity data is used. Due to the modularity of the artemis EFP HD SE, the use of the 5’3” super post with an HD camera stabiliser system is no longer a problem, which

allows unusual perspectives to be achieved. The patented “dual dynamic balance” of artemis systems allow mounting of two batteries at four independently adjustable positions. This feature offers two benefits: more than enough battery power on board, and flexible positioning of the batteries for perfect dynamic balance. The artemis EFP HD SE provides camera power Hot Swap technology made by Anton/Bauer.

Users are free to change the batteries of the rig without powering down the camera. The special circuit made by Anton/Bauer takes ensures easy and problem free hot swap procedures, and is friendly to the batteries. Regardless of the camera used, this Hot Swap capability can save valuable production time. The artemis EFP HD SE supports HD SDI video transport up to 4.5 GHz. Fully modular, artemis is the only stabilizer system on the market offering such versatility. The HQ HD SDI video line allows the use of the Transvideo CineMonitor HD 6? SBL. With a built-in waveform monitor, a digital bubble and free adjustable frame-lines, the operator has maximum control. The modular artemis EFP HD SE system includes the ACT 2 vest and ACT 2 spring arm. The ACT 2 vest design features seven segments that are freely positionable in both height and width to provide the ideal fit for the operator’s shoulder, chest and hip areas. The lightweight ACT 2 arm enables quick, precise and soft operation. Advanced aeronautical technologies and solutions were incorporated in developing the arm, providing load capacities from 22.6 to 53.3lbs (11 to 26kg). The new turnover mechanism of the mating block can be adapted to the preferred operating side quickly and safely. The mating block is 3mm higher than in previous versions: allowing a steeper angle adjustment. Despite this modification, the arm still fits into vests of other manufacturers and offers more adjustment possibilities including modifying the angle between the arm and the operator’s body. Visit www.sachtler.com and www.artemis-hd.com

Petrol Introduces Pillow Staybag

Charlie & Boots tells the story of a father and son who travel from Victoria to Cape York to fulfil their lifelong ambition to fish off Australia’s northern tip. According to current Australian Cinematographer of the Year and the film’s DOP Roger Lanser ACS, “We were filming mostly in daylight with some night scenes so the chosen stocks were the ETERNA 250D and the 500T. We did some stock tests mainly to determine the best flesh tones with our cast. As our two main stars, Paul Hogan and Shane Jacobson, would be spending a lot of time in 2 shots and close ups in a car with a overexposed background whizzing past, we wanted a stock that handled the range of exposure that I would be confronted with. “Dean Murphy, the director, and I both agreed that we wanted to shoot on film not digitally and as I had won awards for our last film together, we went ahead with Fujifilm.

>>

(l-r) Paul Hogan, Roger Lanser ACS and Shane Jacobson on the set of ‘Charlie & Boots’.

“We only had a short time with the actors and the test period was limited but I was able to see quickly that the 250D was exactly what I needed. Seeing the

rushes of the tests projected at Deluxe labs confirmed we were on track. The 250D delivers exquisite images, crisp and polished and coped very well with the 2 different flesh tones of our male leads and the exposure range of < > 4 stops.” The locations on Charlie & Boots were many and varied. The movie started in the cool blue light of the coastal town of Warrnambool in Victoria then travelled into the almost sepia tones of the Midwestern sheep area of Hay and on into blinding light of the 45-degree heat of a dusty rodeo in Emerald, then finished filming on the luminous turquoise waters of the Great Barrier Reef. “It was a big shoot indeed,” continued Lanser. “And all the while the Fujifilm stock was delivering the most wonderful images that I’m sure were part of this film’s success.” Visit www.fujifilm.com.au

P2HD Lights Up Kids TV LitUp Digital, a production company that specialises in post-production management, editing and colour grading, recently selected a Panasonic P2HD broadcast solution for their work on both the ABC’s ‘Dirtgirl World’ series and also ‘Lah-Lah’s Big Live Band’ for Nick Jr. The ‘Dirtgirl World’ series is a 52-episode animated production for a pre-school audience that was commissioned by the ABC in Australia, CBeebies (BBC) in the UK and CBC in Canada. According to Michael Jones, Director/Editor of LitUp Digital, it was important to carry out the correct research before starting such a large production. Jones considered various factors including file format (REDCODE verses AVC INTRA), file size, transcoding times and the post-production workflow.

The files needed to be transcoded to Apple’s Pro Res format on their way to Final Cut Pro. The project needed to be delivered as 720 HD so the broadcast camera was the solid choice for the finishing format. According to Jones, “In the end the Panasonic AJHPX3000 was the clear choice. It captures outstanding picture quality, but the stand-out feature is the speed at which AVC intra transcoded to Pro Res.” On set, the workflow featured two Final Cut Pro workstations ingesting and also compressing low resolution Quicktime proxies in batches so they could be given to the directors as dailies. This meant they could take them home and view them each night on their laptops, speeding up the production process. As soon as the P2 cards were ingested, they were immediately quality checked and backed up to external

drives which were taken from set at the end of each shoot day and backed up again to DLT. After the ‘Dirtgirl World’ production, the company was then asked to produce ‘Lah-Lah’s Big Live Band’ – a children’s television show commissioned by Nick Jr that introduces kids to the world of music. For this production, LitUp Digital stayed with P2HD but used AG-HPX502 and HVX202 cameras with the DVCPRO HD codec. Again the company used Apple’s Final Cut Pro for editing and onset ingest and file management. The content for the show consisted of music videos for kids aged two to six years old and involved a mix of live action and animation. The studio shoot was completely green screen and all the locations and sets were CGI. Visit www.panasonic-broadcast.com.au

Nothing to do with special friends and sleepovers, the Petrol Pillow Staybag is a new duffel-style carrier designed for transporting a camera comfortably and safely to location which also provides a steady mounting solution for extreme shooting scenarios (such as on a moving car, a rock, or on a highly angular surface) where a tripod is not possible. The Staybag’s ultra-wide opening provides quick and easy access to a roomy main compartment large enough to hold compact HDV camcorders to full-size HD cameras. Inside, the floor of the bag is equipped with a built-in pillow, filled with hundreds of small foam Steadi-balls. The pillow molds itself to fit the size and shape of the camera, holding it tightly in a rock-steady position. The bottom of the pillow adjusts to the shape of whatever surface it is positioned on, to prevent slipping. Four tough nylon straps with smooth nylon-coated metal hooks – stored in a removable auxiliary pocket – anchor the Staybag and camera on a car bonnet or any moving object. A detachable pouch attaches onto the bag next to the camera via Petrol’s easy to use quicklock mechanism to hold a wireless transmitter or receiver while shooting. Other features include Petrol’s U-grip ergonomic top carrying handle, and heavy-duty blue/black Cordura and ballistic nylon exterior. Visit http://www.petrolbags.com

26 Acquisition

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Acquistion 27


Acquisition

Panasonic Studio Control Panasonic has announced a versatile new Camcorder Studio System that supports a range of P2 HD and DVCPRO HD camcorders, including the new AG-HPX300, and serves as a flexible, low cost solution for HD studio production. The Camcorder Studio System teams with Panasonic’s camcorders to offer high-quality digital signal transmission at up to 328 feet, full remote camera control and a range of professional features. The studio system is compatible with the following camcorder models: the AG-HPX300, AG-HPX500, the AJ-HPX2000, AJ-HPX3000, VariCam 2700 (AJ-HPX2700) and VariCam 3700 (AJ-HPX3700) models, AJ-HDX400 and the AJ-HDX900. The Camcorder Studio System comprises a compact digital Base Station (AG-BS300), a Camera Adapter (AG-CA300G), Extension Control Unit (AG-EC4G) and a Viewfinder Interface Box (AG-YA500G). Additional accessories that allow the system to be customised for a variety of applications will also be available. The AG-BS300 base station connects with the AG-CA300G camera adapter with two BNC cables allowing transmission of HD digital images, return images, tally signals, mic signals and genlock signals. The base station also comes with a power cable that runs along the BNC cables to supply remote power to the camcorders. The base station features two HD/SD SDI outputs and a composite video output. Cables for the base station are available in two lengths: 328 feet (100M) and 164feet (50M). Users can remotely shade or paint the camcorder from the control room. The AG-CA300G camera adapter is lightweight, mounting directly on the back of the camera with two short interconnections between the camera and the camera adapter. Also, with an optional battery plate, the camera adapter allows for the use of Anton Bauer, IDX and other batteries if local power is preferred. The AG-EC4G extension control unit provides remote control of the base station and can also be attached directly the camera for control use. It comes standard with a 32-foot (10M) remote control cable, but the unit can operate from distances up to 164 feet (50M) with longer cables. Control functions include gain up/down, output camera/bar selection (linked to auto knee), white balance A/B/Preset selection, AWB/ ABB execution, shutter SS/Fix/Off selection and speed setting, iris auto/manual selection and adjustment, master pedestal, painting, camera menu operation, recorder operation (Rec/Play/ FF/Rew/Rec check) and three programmable user buttons. Users can save camera settings onto SD cards for later use or to load into another camera. The AG-YA500G viewfinder interface box connects with the camera to enable display of return video in the ENG viewfinder. Supported

28 Acquisition

viewfinders include the AJ-CVF100G, AJ-HVF21G, AJVF20WB and the AJ-VF15B models. The system supplies up to 70 watts of power to the camera (when using an AC power source). A bundled cable including the power and the two BNCs in two different lengths will also be available. The base station supports both AC (100 to 240V) and DC power supplies. In addition, the system can be switched between 50 Hz and 60 Hz, simply by changing the camera frequency. The system will be available in three custom packages: The 300Studio package is the base studio system solution, ideal for the HPX300 and other camcorders on which a camera monitor is used for the viewfinder.

This system includes the camera studio adapter, base station and remote control. The P2 Studio package includes the viewfinder adapter for those applications where the camera is used on-shoulder and return video is viewed from the viewfinder. This system, designed for mobile camera applications, features a camera studio adapter, studio base station, remote control and viewfinder adapter. The 300StudioPlus and the P2 Studio Plus packages are slight variations of the other systems: the AG-EC4GY remote control is replaced with the more advanced AJ-RC10 remote control, which provides a wider variety control options and features. Visit www.panasonic-broadcast.com.au

100mm Head with Cine Features

The Cine 7+7 HD fluid head is the only Sachtler fluid head in the 100mm field that offers typical cine features, such as a front pan bar (optional) and a Sideload. Featuring a wide payload range of 2 to 22 kg (4 to 48 lbs), the new fluid head allows the use of a variety of cameras, from H(DV) camcorders to cameras with accessories weighing up to 22 kg (48 lbs). Additionally, the Cine 7+7 HD is one of the lightest weight heads of its type, making it is well-suited to location work. The new Cine 7+7 HD fluid head is equipped with a sideload clamp for the camera plate. The 150mm long sliding range of the camera plate offers the advantage of an easy, lateral loading of the fluid head with the pre-mounted camera set-up. Like on the successful Sachtler Cine 30 HD, the Cine 7+7 HD brake lever and pan bar are smartly constructed of composite material with different strengths to significantly minimize the risk of slipping, particularly during hectic productions. With a payload of 2 to 22 kg (4 to 48 lbs), this fluid head is suitable for many (HD)V, HD and film production requirements. The 16-step counterbalance guarantees precise balancing of any camera system. Additionally, the payload can be switched between “High” and “Low” with the Boost Button. Seven each horizontal and vertical adjustable grades of drag (+0) ensure jerk-free tilts. With an extensive temperature range, this system is suitable for use in extreme climatic zones, from the Antarctic to the Sahara. The Cine 7+7 HD is also available in five complete systems with different types of tripods. Visit www.sachtler.com

Compact Prime Lenses from Zeiss

Optic specialist Carl Zeiss has released its new Compact Prime line of lenses designed for high optical performance and durability. The Compact Prime lenses are available in seven different focal lengths between 18 and 35 millimeter and are compatible with all standard digital and analog movie cameras equipped with a PL mount. As with the Ultra Prime and Master Prime lines, the housing of the Compact Prime lenses is manufactured with precision and tailored to the demands of professional cinematography. The focusing scale is individually calibrated for each lens. With the standard focal lengths, the Compact Prime lenses have the same dimensions, the focus and aperture ring are always positioned identically. If the lens is changed, the compendium, follow focus and lens motors thus remain in the same position. This allows moviemakers to work quickly and effectively. The compact, lightweight design makes lenses in this line flexible companions for handheld and steadicam recordings. ZEISS lenses are known for maximum optical performance. Movies filmed with these cameras – including The Lord of the Rings trilogy – feature high contrast with minimal distortion even with wide-angle shots. As will all established ZEISS cine lenses, the new Compact Prime lenses feature standardised colour characteristics and the Carl Zeiss T anti-reflective coating. Furthermore, the Compact Primes possess good stray light reduction. The lenses are equipped with a new aperture featuring 14 rounded shutter blades. This results in a bokeh effect which very harmoniously displays blurred light sources in the background. Visit www.zeiss.com/photo

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Sportscasting

Sportscasting

SPORTSCASTING

Europe’s Good Sports Expand Down Under

Global TV Wins IBC for 2010 Commonwealth Games Australia’s Global Television has won a worldwide tender to design, install and operate the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. This will be the first time in Commonwealth Games history that the event has been broadcast in High Definition digital, also marking a critical milestone for Indian television. Global was selected from a tough international field after an intensive three-month evaluation period. The company’s previous form includes the IBC technical build for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and it has brought the same team together for Delhi 2010. Global will also work with an on-the-ground Indian partner, Shaf Broadcast. The IBC is the hub for all Commonwealth Games broadcasting activity, handling incoming television pictures and sound from the host broadcaster, distributing that footage to international rights holders and managing rights holders’ outgoing transmissions. In addition to the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Global Television has delivered IBC requirements for

Kerri Thompson, CEO, Global Television.

the 2007 FINA World Championships (swimming), World Youth Day in 2008 and the 2000 Sydney Paralympics. Global Television CEO Kerri Thompson said, “The 2010 Commonwealth Games IBC tender is among the most prized on the international broadcasting event calendar. “As the nucleus of broadcast activity for the competition, the IBC transmits literally thousands of hours of sporting drama, achievement and news to viewers around the world.

“Away from the competition venues, perceptions of the Games’ success will hinge on the quality and timeliness of material beamed home. “In securing this contract, Global Television is especially proud to showcase the Australian broadcast industry’s capabilities and demonstrate the High Definition digital expertise for which Australia is renowned.” The Delhi Commonwealth Games IBC will house studio and reporting facilities for broadcasters and journalists from around the world. Occupying 8000 square meters, up to 1,500 broadcast professionals will be based at the IBC. Global Television has already begun work on the contract with a technical team in Delhi for briefings and to attend the first World Broadcasters Meeting for rights holders. The XIX Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 will be held from 3rd–14th October next year. Competition will feature 17 sports, with around 8500 athletes and officials from 71 Commonwealth Games Federation member countries expected to attend.

Non Standard Media Brings Vancouver to Perisher When Sydney-based production company Non Standard Non Standard Media required reliable and production crew easy to use kit for a Foxtel shoot as part of a interviewing special Olympic programme titled ‘Vancouver Australian Moguls Dreams - Sea to Sky Games’ they turned to competitor Ramone Cooper in Perisher. local supplier Videocraft for the solution. Lindy Harman, Head of Production at Non Standard Media explained the complexities and requirements of the snow bound project. “We had a lot to get through,” she said. “The athlete interviews were also being used to create bios on each of Australia’s prospective 2010 Winter Olympians for use leading up to and during Foxtel’s Winter Olympic coverage. Thus we needed cameras and equipment that could cover the various Nick Gleeson suggested the Sony PDW700 types of footage we needed to capture, from indoor XDCAM HD to us. What sold us on it was that to snow and sun.” we could cut down ingest time in post production Whilst in Canada for the original shoot Harman by transferring data directly into the edit suite via and her team had used the Sony HDWF900. For the PDWU1 XDCAM drive at faster than real time the following shoot, due to budget constraints, the speeds. We trialed it on a shoot at an ice skating requirement was for something that was comparable rink and were amazed at how good the picture as far as quality of pictures and even more cost quality was.” effective. The equipment supplied by Videocraft was used Harman continued, “Videocraft’s Rentals Manager to shoot athlete interviews on location in Perisher at

30 Sportscasting

Blue Cow on a hill overlooking Perisher Valley and Guthega. Lindy Harman added, “We also shot action footage in and around Perisher of most snow Olympic sport disciplines - ski cross, snowboard cross, snowboard giant slalom, cross country ski and biathlon. Our cameraman was out all day on skis with the camera following the athletes skiing, boarding over jumps and following the crosscountry skiers around their respective courses. We actually had several cameras on this shoot - one shooting interviews and general footage and the others shooting all the action shots. “There were some tough and demanding conditions that needed to be taken into consideration. The first day was glaring sunlight, the second day was gale force winds, snow and freezing temperatures with very low light and all the while we had to get action shots of skiers, stand up interviews and general vision in and around Perisher. Despite all of that the kit was fantastic. It handled four seasons in one day with near picture perfect footage. It was easy to pack and unpack and never missed a beat the whole weekend.”

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By Phil Sandberg Eurosport

is continuing its drive to become the Asia Pacific’s premier sports broadcaster by significantly extending its reach in Australia from 15 November 2009, when it launches on the FOXTEL and AUSTAR distribution platforms. Eurosport is currently already distributed in the Australian market on other cable, IPTV and satellite platforms, but the link with FOXTEL and AUSTAR, two of the region’s leading distributors, will further broaden its appeal and visibility down under. FOXTEL and AUSTAR, taken together, will give Eurosport blanket Pay TV coverage in the Australian market. Eurosport will be part of the sports package on both platforms. Currently, both platforms already carry Eurosportnews, Eurosport’s leading 24-hour international sports news channel. C+T caught up with Eurosport Asia Pacific’s Managing Director, Arjan Hoekstra just prior to the launch and asked him what impact the channel will have in a market where “too much sport is barely enough”. AJ: “It’s something we’ve been working towards for quite a while and from the 15th of November this year that’s going to be live. So, that’s big news for us. It’s big news I hope as well for the platforms and so we’re going to go into this market in a big way with our events channel, Eurosport.” C+T: What type of events will be on Eurosport? AJ: “What we try to do is to kind of expand the

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Managing Director of Eurosport Asia, Arjan Hoekstra.

horizon of sports viewers into sports that they may not be used to watching so much on their regular sports channels. “We’re kind of covering around 60 to 70 different kind of sports, mostly Olympic sports, from cycling to athletics to tennis to weightlifting to Tae Kwan Do to all the kinds of different sports you can imagine at the highest level of competition, so world cups, world championships, European championships. “When you’re watching an event on the channel, you’ll be watching it at the highest level of competition. But, it could be sports that you’re not necessarily used to

watching and may, you know, create some new interest. And also, we will show Australian sports people that don’t necessarily get the coverage today. For instance, we broadcast the world championships of cycling, and we had an Australian winner, Cadell Evans. He won the world championships. I don’t think that was covered at all on Australian television. So, we feel that we have a real complimentary value. We don’t want to do what the others are doing, we really want to try to create a new space for ourselves, also adding value to the proposition of the distribution platforms.” Continued on Page 34

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JBL VerTec Conquers World Masters Games During October Sydney played host to the 2009 World Masters Games in which 25,000 people from more than 100 countries came together to compete in 28 sports at 72 venues across the city. The Opening Ceremony for the Games was held at ANZ Stadium with Jands Production Services providing the audio gear and crew. Out There Productions was appointed to produce the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Games which featured the largest athlete’s parade on earth and artists such as David Campbell, Jessica Mauboy, Leo Sayer, John Paul Young and the NSW Police Marching Band. The performance stage featured a JBL VerTec PA system comprising of two strips of fifteen deep on the front hangs with the side hangs consisting of seven one side and eight on the other. “The reason why they are uneven is that the northern stand has an extra tier so I needed a bit more

dispersion to reach the top tier,” explained Michael Waters, sound designer for the event. “We also used five ‘speaker carts’ of delays, three of which had three VerTec 4889 speakers stacked and, to make up the balance as that was the entire VerTec 4889 stock used up, we had the smaller VerTec 4888 speakers

for side delay distribution. There were two carts of these with four speakers stacked on each.” The weather was extremely unpredictable with high winds, heavy rain and also strong sunshine. “We actually couldn’t leave anything alone for more than about an hour as the weather just kept changing – it was covers on, then covers off and it was really painful,” said Michael. “The weather just was not on our side although luckily it was fine for the show and the load out. The whole set up and rehearsal period was nothing but grief thanks to the weather. “However the VerTec system performed really well especially the carts acting as tower-less delay towers! There were strict budget constraints on the Games so we couldn’t install substantial delay towers or hang off the canopy but the carts were great. In fact they did the job exceptionally well.” Visit www.jands.com.au

OB Group Raves About Clear-Com

The OB Group specialise in providing outside broadcast facilities for television with the majority of their work being sports. Managing director Colin Rothenberg is a long term fan of Clear-Com having used Clear-Com intercom systems for the past eighteen years. “It was the first programmable talkback that I used and I haven’t changed since!” he declared. Recently Colin upgraded his talkback to an Eclipse PiCo 36 (upgradable to 72) port running Eclipse Management Version 5 software which is designed for communication needs in OB trucks. “We decided that we needed a slightly larger system with more flexible programming capabilities and the Eclipse software was something the operators could learn very quickly,” commented Colin. “Some of the new systems on the market have a much longer learning curve whereas with

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OB Group Managing Director Colin Rothenberg.

Clear-Com as long as you have an understanding of comms, is really quick to grasp.” Colin has used his new Clear-Com system on all recent events such as the Bledisloe Cup, where it

performed much better than the Wallabies, and the UCI Mountain Bike World Champs. “Every event that we do it gets used on,” said Colin. “It’s an integral part of our OB vehicle. We have always found Clear-Com to be exceptionally reliable. The ease of programming is important for our organisation as we use freelance operators on larger jobs where a communications specialist is required. All of our operators have marvelled at the ease of use, and extensive power the system offers. The new range of panels makes the system even more powerful and user friendly. “We find a very useful feature is the ability to save up to 4 configurations in the system. For repetitive jobs, we can change configurations without the need to fire up an external computer. With the IP based system, we control the mainframe wirelessly from a laptop computer.”

IOC Awards 2010 Broadcast Rights in Chinese Taipei The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced an agreement with ELTA Technology Co. Ltd. (ELTA), for the broadcast and exhibition rights within Chinese Taipei to the XXI Olympic Winter Games (2010) in Vancouver and the 1st Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010. ELTA has acquired the broadcast and exhibition rights across all broadcast platforms, including free-to-air television, subscription television, radio, the internet and mobile phone.

32 Sportscasting

IOC President Jacques Rogge said “We are delighted to be working with ELTA to bring extensive coverage of the Winter Games to Chinese Taipei for the first time, as well as coverage of the first ever Youth Olympic Games, which will be held in Singapore next [northern] summer.” IOC Executive Board member Richard Carrión, who led the negotiations, said, “We look forward to continuing our successful partnership with ELTA in Chinese Taipei, which began with the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. They have shown an unprecedented

commitment to promote the Olympic Winter Games and the Youth Olympic Games.” Sally Chen, CEO of ELTA said “We are excited to bring both Olympic events to our audiences following the success of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. We shall enable coverage of the Games to all audiences via different media and services. For the first time in Chinese Taipei, the Winter Games will be experienced by viewers in full.” Visit www.elta.com.tw

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Review Sparks Spirited Debate on TV Sport The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, has published 323 public submissions, many of them from private individuals, on the future of the sports anti-siphoning scheme. “Australians are enthusiastic about sport on television and this is reflected in the strong public response to this consultation,” Senator Conroy said. “The submissions will help the Government form its views as it considers the issues relevant to the future operation of the anti-siphoning scheme.” In August 2009, the Government announced

Sport on TV Review – What They Said ... “The underlying principles of the anti-siphoning list remain sound all Australians should be able to see major sporting events for free. This public policy principle remains as relevant and valid in the digital age as it was when the scheme was first introduced. Seventy per cent of viewers cannot afford or choose not to pay to watch sport on television. “The list continues to achieve its public policy objectives and should be retained in its current form. The list should be extended until at least 2020. The move from analogue to digital does not change the basic premise that all Australians should be able to see major sporting events for free. Allowing listed sport on freeto-view digital multi-channels will ensure more sport on Australian television. It will deliver increased choice for viewers and will drive take-up of digital TV.” - Free TV Australia

a public consultation with the release of the discussion paper, Sport on Television: A review of the anti-siphoning scheme in the contemporary digital environment. Submissions to the review closed on 16 October 2009. “The anti-siphoning scheme was introduced in 1994 to ensure that events of national importance and cultural significance were made freely available to the Australian public, and the Government remains committed to that objective,” Senator Conroy said. While no deadline has been set on changes in the anti-siphoning arrangements, mainstream press

speculation expects an announcement before the end of 2009, due to the fact that the term of the current list is five years, expiring in 2010. The previous list had a 10-year term. The duration of a list can be extended, as was the case with the original list which was extended in 2004 by one year from 31 December 2004 to 31 December 2005. However, the maximum duration for any list is 10 years due to the automatic sunset arrangements in the Legislative Instruments Act 2003. More information and the submissions are available online: www.dbcde.gov.au/sportontvreview

“As an economic concept, it is flawed. It is anti-competitive and an example of overregulation. It restricts sport governing bodies’ ability to negotiate in an unfettered manner in a free market to achieve fair market value from the sale of broadcast rights; this in turn restricts their ability to invest in the development of their sports, which of itself is a detriment to the community.” - Cricket Australia “The anti-siphoning list is a historical relic which is detrimental for Australian viewers, the sports codes and grass roots competitions. It is based on three premises that are unsustainable in the digital economy; first, that audiences will only receive sport if there is a protectionist regime that provides commercial preferment to the old television networks; second, that the old television networks need to be protected; and third, that Australians primary in-home source of news and information is the old networks and that Australians accept these old networks should control their viewing. None of these premises apply in the digital economy.” - Foxtel

“Notwithstanding the excellent relationship Tennis Australia has established with our broadcast partners to ensure the anti-siphoning scheme works as intended, there are still a number of short comings with the scheme in its current form that should be addressed as part of this review. The continual and rapid emergence of digital media and other new media platforms also has the potential to negatively impact on the intent and integrity of the anti-siphoning scheme if not appropriately regulated.” - Tennis Australia

“While we accept the rationale for the Anti-Siphoning Scheme, we believe the scheme will ultimately reduce media rights income for the game. This will have a dramatic negative impact on the funds available from the NRL to Wests Tigers. As a consequence, we would be less able to fund and deliver grass roots and other community programs.”

- Wests Tigers Rugby League Club

It is AMTA’s view that for the foreseeable future FTA and STV will remain the overwhelmingly dominant platforms for provision of sporting content in Australia. Sport content accessed through new media platforms such as those highlighted in the Discussion Paper is, and is likely to remain complementary rather than a substitute to consumers’ FTA or STV television viewing.“It is also AMTA’s view that new media platforms are still in early development and must be provided the opportunity to grow and evolve without the burden of regulation that would, in effect, simply stifle innovation and protect the strongest players.” - Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) Back To Contents Page

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Sportscasting Continued from Page 31

news OPERATIONS

“Eurosport as a channel obviously is very much involved at every level at many, many, different sporting events. We’re the number one pan-European sports channel. We’ve been around now for 20 years, so most of the major sporting events we have local crews and we will make our own on site documentaries and interviews, but not at the Korean world championships.”

C+T: So, it will be a linear channel? AJ: “Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. We do around 3000 hours of fresh programming, first run programming a year of which I would say 90 percent is live. So, even if it takes place in the middle of the night, we feel we’ve got to bring it live because, you know, sports is live and there will be people that are willing to get up early to watch their favourite sports star performing somewhere around the world. “So, that’s what we try to do. So, we got two channels then, Eurosport and Eurosport News. Eurosport News has been around already for a while, 24-hour sports news channel, but this is taking it a step further.” C+T: How big a component will sports from the Asia Pacific region be? AJ: “Well, it’s always hard to say what kind of sports you consider from the Asia Pacific region. I mean, what we like to think is that we’re showing sports that are relevant internationally. There will be local participation, there will be people from Asia, but there will be local Australians as well. “For instance, the top 14 rugby competition in France, there’s about 15 or 20 Australian players in the French teams. So, even with an international event or a European event, there’s local relevance. “I spoke about Cadell Evans, but there are Australian guys driving in the British super bikes for instance. There are people participating in alpine skiing, Australian people, so these are sports that don’t get any coverage on any other channels, or very little, but there is local interest and local relevance. That’s what we try to demonstrate. But, we remain an international channel. We look at Australia from an outside perspective, but try to make it as relevant as possible for the Australian viewers.” C+T: And, the coverage is mainly fixtures that are taking place in Europe or elsewhere? AJ: “With our name, it comes with a bit of baggage. Eurosport, everyone thinks is that European sports or is it sports that you play from Europe? I think most of them are taking place in Europe, but most of the large sporting events do take place in Europe. So, I think the majority of the events that we broadcast take place in Europe. But, that’s unfortunately the case in sports. I mean very few events of international standard take place in Asia Pacific. In Australia you’ve got the Australian Open and the Melbourne Grand Prix. There’s a couple more, but most of the events take place in Europe.” C+T: You were training locally-based commentary teams a while ago. How has that progressed? AJ: “Well, we had an initiative in Hong Kong called the Commentator Academy, basically taking sportspeople that have retired, trying to reinvent their career, giving them a chance to re-educate themselves into sports journalism. We had our own team of commentators training these ex-sportspeople into commentators and that’s something we could look at as well for the Australian market. But, most of our commentators now, English speaking commentators, are based out of the UK and that’s where we do our commentary. But, in time obviously we will develop to a more local player with also local production facilities

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News Operations

We don’t want to do what the others are doing, we really want to try to create a new space for ourselves.

and who knows when that will happen, but probably pretty soon. C+T: Eurosport is now on Foxtel and Austar, as well as Select TV and Transact. Will that extend to any mobile platforms? AJ: “Let’s say our priority’s clearly with the television/ pay TV platforms at the moment, but media is rapidly evolving so we are producing products for all of the different platforms. We definitely will look at expanding onto those platforms as well.” C+T: How will Foxtel and Austar receive the new channel? AJ: “The channel is assembled in Paris, at our headquarters. We have a play-out as well in Hong Kong so we can intervene in the scheduling and in the programming if and when we want it, but mostly it’s passed through Hong Kong and then up-linked to satellite, down-linked here in Australia and into the Foxtel satellite.” C+T: What will you be leading off with? AJ: “Well, we follow the sports calendar. The first week we start off with the world championships of weight lifting from Korea, so you know that’s a sport you’re not really used to watching on TV.” C+T: Will that be a local production? AJ: “We’ll take the feed from the house broadcaster as it usually works. You can’t have all the sports channels from around the world coming with their crews, so what usually happens is there’s one broadcaster, house broadcaster you know taping or filming the event. This is not an event where we have our own production crews. We will send our own people to do interviews, to be with the sports people.

C+T: What else will be coming up? AJ: “Oh, we’ve got lots of things, I mean afterwards we dive straight into the alpine skiing world cup, we have the WTA women’s tennis tour all year round, we have a lot of athletics, a lot of grand prix from all over the world. We do a lot of motor sports, WTCC which is the world touring car championships. One of the only three world championships approved by the FIA, the other one is Formula 1 and the world rally championships. “We do British super bikes, we do a lot of Olympic sports in general, we do the world Tae Kwan Do championships, the world curling championship, European curling championships, a lot of cycling, all the major tours except for the Tour De France. So, it’s a big bonanza of sports all year round.” C+T: Aside from the linear television channels, what will you offer in an online presence? AJ: “We will definitely launch a website for Australia to support our linear channel output, give more background information, more in depth information to the viewers, give them scheduling information as well. So, that’s definitely in the pipeline, and then from there on we’ll look at the marriage of TV and internet. But, I think first we need to focus on getting this right, communicating our message to the Australian viewers, building a great channel for Australia, and working with our partners at Foxtel and Austar to communicate the right message.” C+T: What in Eurosport’s view has been the most remarkable change in sports coverage? AJ: “I think with our recent launch of HD it’s made a big impact on sports viewing because the quality is so much better and so much nicer for the viewer. I think you create a lot of proximity between the viewer and the event. I think that’s a real change and real difference in sports TV consumption. “But, there’s been so many you know. We started as a single channel, now we have 10 or 12 different channels in Europe, 21 different language versions, 120 million homes, it’s grown exponentially. In Asia Pacific, we’re still in diapers compared to our European mothership. But, we’ve already launched in 14 territories since the launch in 2006 so we’re getting there, we’re starting to walk, and I think the launch in Australia is a very big step forward for us, for our development.”

news OPERATIONS

News Operations

MediaCorp Launches Convergent Newsroom In what it claimed to be an Asian first, Singapore broadcaster MediaCorp has announced the launch of NewsHub, a convergent newsroom designed to cater for journalists across television, radio, print and online platforms. Housed within MediaCorp’s Caldecott Broadcast Centre, the NewsHub newsroom produces local content tailored especially for MediaCorp’s various outlets. The team was brought together progressively – over the last year – starting with the business and sports desks. The MediaCorp NewsHub was fully operational on 1 October 2009 with the merging of the General News desk. As a one-stop shop for news content, the team is responsible for all local news content that appears

across the print, radio and television platforms that includes Channel NewsAsia, TODAY, 938LIVE and websites such as channelnewsasia.com. MediaCorp says it gives news makers a one touch-point to contact journalists for media coverage across platforms, with a new email address mediacorpnewshub@ mediacorp.com.sg. For journalists, the company says it’s an opportunity to learn another skill and how stories can be treated differently. According to Dr Chitra Rajaram, Director of MediaCorp NewsHub, “You can sense the new dynamism and see the synergies in the midst of editors and reporters shouting across to each other in the newsroom. For the journalists, a new facet of reporting the news has been opened, and all of them

will become conversant in more than one medium.” MediaCorp Deputy CEO, Shaun Seow said, ”In these fast-moving and challenging times where the 24 hour news cycle and plethora of choices compete for the consumers’ attention, we had to re-think the traditional business model of providing news. The integrated newsroom is a response to these shifts. “Convergence is not new to media organizations around the world. It began in Germany but in recent years, The Telegraph in London, Murdoch’s News Corporation and the ABC in Australia are convergent success stories. MediaCorp has the most comprehensive range of news media platforms in Singapore and the convergent newsroom will help to improve the quality of news output considerably.”

Emergency Assistance for Journos at World Cup 2010 US-based Indigo Telecom has announced a special service for the 2010 World Cup Football in South Africa which combines the company’s GPS-based Indigo Tracker personal tracking service with an Emergency and Medical Assistance package providing country wide coverage. With Indigo Tracker, media organisations can know where their people are at any given time, 24/7. When travelling between venues and around cities producers can be sure staff have safely reached their destination. There is also a special SOS alert feature which allows users to raise the alarm if they get into difficulties. For the 2010 Football World Cup, Indigo Telecom has partnered with the LifeSense Group of South Africa to offer an in-depth Emergency and Medical Assistance package. The service includes emergency medical response, treatment and transportation, emergency roadside assistance, full support services in the event of possible HIV exposure, and trauma assistance in case of a more serious event. Contact Samantha Hague at Indigo’s Singapore office via sam.hague@indigotelecom.com or call +65 9777 5684. Visit www.indigotracker.com

C+T: Okay and what’s your favourite sport? AJ: “I like playing tennis, I used to row in university so I like watching that from kind of a sentimental point of view. But, I think as a spectator sport, I would still say tennis, it’s probably the one that appeals to me most.”

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News Operations

Fast-Paced News from EVS

At IBC 2009, EVS raised the curtain on its new HD/SD modular solution for news and sports production, named XEDIO. The new brand integrates the latest version of EVS’ non-linear editor, CleanEdit 3.00. XEDIO is designed for fast production of news and sports, in any studio environment. Based on a scalable architecture, XEDIO can adapt to any type of multi-format HD/SD broadcast production infrastructure, covering all aspects of the workflow, such as feed acquisition, file ingest without transcoding, virtual production and editing, central media management, as well as direct playout with no need for prior rendering. Xedio consists of a modular application suite, including CleanEdit 3.0, EVS’ non-linear editor and new hardware for multi-format HD/SD encoding and playout. XEDIO combines all the advantages of a software-based system in terms of multi-format support, integration with third-party systems (NRCS, archiving, automation, MAM, post-production, ENG file-based camcorders), and control, with the highest level of speed and reliability acquired over 15 years in live sport production. Visit www.evs.tv

Robotic Pedestal for Virtual Sets

Vinten Radamec has released the Fusion FP188VR. The new high performance robotic camera pedestal rounds out the Vinten Radamec VR offering complementing the manual encoded range including the popular Quattro SE, and the Free-D camera tracking solution. A fully robotic camera pedestal, the Fusion FP188VR senses its position based on a compact, L-shaped floor target which is unobtrusive and works with any floor surface. The design uses a new differential wheel truck system to provide unmatched precision and shot stability performance and when combined with the FHR120VR robotic head with state-of-the-art encoders counting one million positions per full revolution, enables tracking and control of all movements to ensure perfect image synchronisation between real and virtual elements. Recognising that many studios are multi-purpose the Fusion FP188VR can be converted at the turn of a switch from a fully robotic to a manual pedestal. Even in robotic mode the pedestal has a payload capacity of 85kg, sufficient for any camera with prompter and confidence monitor. To ensure compatibility with leading virtual set solutions, the company has formed partnerships with developers such as Brainstorm, Orad and VizRT. Visit www.vitecgroup.com

Vinten Controls Parliament

Vinten Radamec has launched a new control system for robotics in conference centres, parliaments and other legislative buildings. The Vinten Radamec Legislative Control System (LCS) is multi-user, multi-facility camera control system designed to support complex operations with requirements from manual to fully automated operation. The essence of the LCS is its user interface. This allows manual operation through a touch screen interface to target cameras as well as select shots. A joystick can also be added for precision control. The complete system configuration as well as the user interface can be customised to suit the needs of each job, and the whole system is modular allowing it to be continuously scalable as the application grows. Visit www.vitecgroup.com

On-Camera LED Light

The Reporter 8LEDim from Sachtler can be dimmed continuously from 100 to 30 percent to provide the right amount of light for any shooting situation. It is particularly well suited for interviews or reporter stand-ups. The robust camera light is equipped with LED technology that not only provides significantly higher efficiency than comparable halogen or HMI lights, but also offers an extremely long LED life. During the process of dimming from 100 to 30 percent, the camera light remains at the same colour balance, daylight or tungsten. Ideal for ENG use, the Reporter 8LEDim features an input voltage ranging from 6-24 Volts that allows it to be powered off the same battery or power supply the camera is using, including Sachtler’s FSB CELL. At just 8W of power consumption, the LED fixture can provide 250 Lumens of light. The Reporter 8LEDim features a removable 45-degree rotatable 4-leaf barndoor and a quick-release mechanism that makes it easy to change the fixture’s optic sets. The new Reporter 8LEDim comes standard with a reflector for softening its light, which is particularly important for lighting reporter stand-ups or interview shots. The light is available as a daylight or tungsten version. Units can be adapted to either by simply exchanging the daylight LED module for a tungsten module, or vice versa. The Reporter 8LEDim’s single LED module design eliminates the multiple shadows that can result from use of multiple LEDs. A doublejointed bracket assures optimal positioning. The Reporter 8LEDim has a wide range of accessories, including a mini croco clamp and an extension arm. Like its predecessor the Reporter 8LED, the new dimmable fixture joins the family of “Works with SOOM” products, designed to integrate with Sachtler’s SOOM HiPod System, FSB fluid heads, the FSB CELL innovative battery concept, and other products. Visit www.sachtler.com

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Inflatable Airline Bag for Cameras

Petrol has introduced the Petrol Inflatable Airline Bag, created specifically for boarding a plane with a fullsize broadcast camera. The duffle-style bag is carried in a compact 13.8” L x 9.4” W x 5.7” H (35cm x 24cm x 14.5cm), zippered nylon pouch for hasslefree transportation through airline security and easy boarding. The Petrol Inflatable Airline Bag is designed to safeguard a camera against accidental damage from other cargo or jostling during a flight. The top of the bag unzips smoothly and opens wide to offer enough room for a full-size broadcast camera without disturbing the viewfinder and lens. An exterior side pocket holds a coiled tube that connects to an exterior inflation valve. The user simply blows into the tube to fill the bag’s internal inflation system. Inside, the contents are surrounded by soft fabric backed by a firm, protective cushion of air. The inflation system is removable and can be easily replaced. When inflated, the bag can be safely stored in the airplane’s overhead compartment, or inside a hard case or standard camera bag. Additional features include Petrol’s nylon shoulder strap and easy-glide dual-directional zippers. The exterior is constructed of water-resistant blue Cordura and heavy-duty black ballistic nylon. Visit http://www.petrolbags.com

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Post Production

post PRODUCTION

MasterChef a Top Serve for Network Ten Scott Rowan (L) and Nick Parker (R) of Fremantle Media

On a cold Sunday night in July, no less than 4.11 million viewers tuned in to watch the finale of Channel Ten’s smash-hit show, MasterChef Australia. The finale capped a phenomenally successful series, with MasterChef rated as Australia’s No.1 show so far this year and Ten’s highest rating show since OzTAM ratings began in 2005. Shows don’t get to be this huge by accident. In this case, a key element of the show’s success was FremantleMedia’s post-production work. Fremantle could be said to have cornered the reality-TV market, producing Biggest Loser, Project Runway and Farmer Wants a Wife, among others. Scott Rowan, Director of Post Production at Fremantle says “These kinds of programmes often use up to eight cameras and generate a huge amount of raw content. A series like MasterChef can produce up to 6500 40minute tapes - that’s about 60 hours of source material

for every hour of programming. “You can imagine how important smooth workflow is, especially when you have to deliver 5 hours of programming a week for just one show. Last February, FremantleMedia delivered 20 hours in one week.” To cope with this extreme workload, Fremantle turned to Digistor, one of their key partners, to scale up their systems. “We’d been renting some gear, but once we appreciated the true scale of MasterChef we knew we had to expand,” says Scott. “We’ve worked closely with Digistor for over eight years now, and we’ve been at the leading edge of the business technologywise the whole time. Digistor have always helped us to get over the line, they’ve been with us throughout our development.” Digistor installed 17 Avid Media Composers, two Avid Symphony Nitris Suites and a 20-terabyte

EditShare system. Adding to Fremantle’s existing suites, this gave Fremantle over 70 Media Composers and the capacity to handle their workload internally. Sixteen of the Avid systems were installed on the latest Apple Mac Pro Nehalem 8-core systems. “Avid is the only editing product on the market that could possibly cope with our workload,” says Scott, “Its workflow, media management and finishing tools are second to none. Symphony is also critical to turning out six episodes a week. It’s the only product that enables us to do that. One huge advantage we have is that we use the same set-up on all our shows, so our staff can switch from one job to the next almost seamlessly. Without this combination of smooth workflow and superb technology we’d never get it all done on time, whilst maintaining the highest standards.” Fremantle’s senior in-house engineer, Nick Parker adds “In this business, reliability is absolutely critical, which is one reason why we’re an all-Mac shop. Our long-standing relationship with Digistor and their broad experience help us to ensure virtually zero downtime. This allows us to concentrate on evolving and moving forward without worrying about technical hitches.” Scott adds “I know that with Digistor I can get a custom-built system to suit whatever show I’m working on – this kind of dedicated technology delivers huge productivity increases. Digistor help us with all our pre-planning and enable us to get the ball rolling. By involving them from the start we really lower our operational risk; this means that once we’re up we rarely need a service call.” The EditShare installation, a 20TB 8RU unit, is designed to maximise media sharing and storage for their multi-user editing environment on MasterChef. EditShare’s Project Sharing works inside the Avid application so that editors can see all the bins and project files being used by all editors in their group. www.digistor.com.au

Cintel Brings New Life to Old Telecines Cintel International has launched a new website for refurbished post production equipment called ‘usedtelecine.com’ Unlike other websites, usedtelecine.com is not an equipment broker. All equipment advertised on the website is in stock at Cintel warehouses in the UK or the USA. For Australia and New Zealand, all Cintel telecines will be supplied by Quinto Communications with a full Cintel parts warranty.

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Non Cintel equipment may also be purchased through usedtelecine.com. According to Quinto’s Alan McIlwaine, “We’ve heard a number of horror stories from the marketplace about deposits being placed with certain brokers only to find that the equipment doesn’t exist or has already been sold. Other cases have occurred where a customer has had equipment delivered in very poor, non-working condition and has spent as much money again just getting it running. Those situations will

not exist with equipment purchased thru Quinto Communications.” Although run as a completely separate website, usedtelecine.com will have the full support of the Quinto and Cintel teams and can offer additional services such as installation and maintenance contracts. Non Cintel equipment may also be purchased through usedtelecine.com. Visit www.usedtelecine.com or email sales@ quinto.com.au

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Post Production

Post Production

Rip Up Your Pipelines Echoing

the broadcast sector in which outsourcing has occurred in the form of multi-channel play-out centres, the future of post production and visual effects is, apparently, in the cloud. Cloud computing via high-speed broadband, that is, with which post and VFX companies will tap services such as rendering and other aspects of their workflows as they need it. That’s the word according to Marc Petit, Autodesk’s Senior Vice-President for Media & Entertainment on a recent tour of Australia who sees a future where users go online to access software applications rather than installing them on a local PC or Mac. “In the US, we’ve launched a way to trial Maya from the web, from any web browser,” says Petit. “So we’re working with a virtualisation platform so you can go on the Autodesk lab website and if you’re less than 2000 miles from Santa Clara - for latency reasons - it can actually run Maya into your browser and you can test write the application. We have AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit and Maya in this environment. So it’s a trial and we really believe it’s the way of the future. “Call it software as a service, platform as a service, or virtualisation - these technologies are going to revolutionise our industry and we’re getting ready for it. This is what we have in mind when we think about platforms. I talk about cloud computing and putting our software in the cloud. We have seven other cloud-based applications if you go to the Autodesk lab website that you can play with. “I think cloud computing will be important in this industry. You spend a lot of money in IT infrastructure and that infrastructure is very expensive, lots of fixed costs, it’s not completely utilised. Buying computing power could be just like you can buy electricity. Pay by the meter and have a real scalable infrastructure environment. You can think it’s a bit out there, but when we see the progress in the past, in the recent years, it’s actually quite amazing. We already have bandwidth as a full commodity. We can buy bandwidth and as much bandwidth that we want anywhere. We’re seeing companies like Amazon, companies like Microsoft, reinvesting in cloud computing, so being able to rent computing time to run a film pipeline, I don’t believe is a real far-fetched idea.” As a taster for the concept, Petit encourages users outside the Santa Clara area to try Autodesk’s Dragonfly project, a consumer 3D application aimed at home renovation projects. http://dragonfly.autodesk.com/ “You can actually model your home in there and you can do a lot of visualisation and you can add all the props, the furniture, the appliances and everything,” he says. “It’s kind of a prototype application. It works, but we see it as the way of the future, suddenly, you don’t even bother installing something and you go on the web. “It goes hand in hand with all the investment we have in usability. The key moment in the process when the user experience becomes predictable, people are

40 Post Production

willing to use it. Project Dragonfly is a good example. It looks like a video game. Even on a cognitive level, people know how to relate to 3D on the web this way with those kinds of views. “So, it is a very predictable experience and that’s going to be the key. So it works for houses today, you know. But, it’s going to come really interesting when you have characters, because the way human beings relate to each other, create emotional engagement is through facial expressions and body movements. So that’s why we need to crack the code and build more attractive characters and avatars. You can relate with a floor plan easy, but it’s a pretty narrow experience. The minute you have virtual characters who can relate, you can do a lot more things like a commerce experience. And, you know, if we look at games today, it starts to be interesting.”

START YOUR GAME ENGINES!

For Petit, the interest factor lies in what he calls the ‘gamification of everything’ where photorealistic 3D graphics become the dominant platform for interfacing with software at work and in the home. “We had to make up gamification because there was not a word. When you take a PlayStation 3 today, it’s a super computer. It has lots of cores, graphics tightly

The Lab Challenges the Elements coupled. We finally have PCs that kind of match the power of a four year old PlayStation 3. And it’s interesting for us because it’s by developing software for the PlayStation 3 we understand how to do real time visualisation and simulation. “We believe that there is a lot of experience in your day where you want this level of an experience. If you work at Nissan or Hyundai, you’re a car designer using a CAD application, there is no reason why it shouldn’t look like Grand Turismo. Why do you have to bear with poor graphics in work and, you go home, you turn on your PlayStation 3, you have fully photorealistic interactive in a real time simulation? “So, we think as Autodesk, as a provider of design software and visualisation and simulation software that gaming is really at the leading edge of technology that we can re-apply to a lot of other processes. Because ultimately you know, if it’s photorealistic and real time and interactive and immersive, everybody will want it, all the way to the internet. “We believe that when it hits the internet this is going to be a game changer for everybody. Remember the first videos we saw on the internet, that 160 x 120 quick time? You know, somebody had told you this is the future of television. We said ‘ha-ha, what a joke’. But, it happened. We went from those very little Quicktimes that were very small, 15 frames per second and now watch YouTube in HD. So, what I’m telling you about video is we believe it’s going to happen for 3D. “When I looked at SecondLife a couple of years ago, this is 120 x 160 Quicktime, choppy, you know. So, if you extrapolate, there is no doubt that one day you’ll go to a website, you’ll have a PlayStation 3 experience on a website. “Why is that going to be important? Well it’s going to be important for entertainment and gaming, but it’s going to be important for communication sort of things, you know, social networks, avatars, those things, you know, that we’re tired to hear of because they’re not coming, they’ll come. I’m convinced they will come.”

Previsualization Society Launched The Previsualization Society, a non-profit, interdisciplinary organisation dedicated to the advancement of previsualization (“previs”), has been launched with the aim of building a community to maximise the current and future capabilities and contributions of the “previs” medium. The Previsualization Society includes members from many different disciplines and markets, just as the previs process does, and is already comprised of a number of charter members from the motion picture industry. The Previsualization Society will focus on producing and publishing information and resources to promote effective previs through key activities such as promoting standards, education, workflow development and practical knowledge exchange. Founding members of the Previsualization Society are: David Dozoretz, Founder, Director and VFX Supervisor, Persistence of Vision (POV) Previs; Chris Edwards, CEO, The Third Floor; Ron Frankel, President and Founder, Proof; Colin Green, President and Founder, Pixel Liberation Front; Daniel Gregoire, Owner, Halon Entertainment; and Brian Pohl, CEO, POV Previs. Visit www.previssociety.com

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Paint commercials generally follow the same format and when Wattyl and their agency Brand Central wanted something ‘different’ to promote the new Solagard range the creative task fell to Graham Nunn of Funnel Productions and the team at The Lab Sydney. The idea that Nunn, The Lab’s Creative Director and Co-Director on the project, Garry Jacques and his team had developed involved a warehouse with robotic machinery that was set up to test a house coated in new Wattyl Solagard. The tests or ‘torture tests’ as they became to be known, involved all the elements under the sun – literally. Nunn said, “I thought from the beginning that there might be a need to “show” the technology – a cross-section of the paint surface at work, resisting the elements or something like that – and that part of the spot might involve 3D animation. Because the budget was tight, it made sense to talk with people who know what is and isn’t achievable in 3D and I thought of the Lab. I had had a good experience with them previously on a fairly tight budget RAMS commercial which involved a lot of 3D.” The Lab’s Head of 3D and Co-Director on the project, Clinton Downs said, “We did an animatic to set the timings and also help the client see the visuals first before deciding on the level of voiceover. This really helped as many of these commercials are often full of words and the effects are lost.” A full lighting scenario was created at the beginning of the TVC and each demo weather element (or torture test) was then equally spaced

throughout the spot. The team at the Lab created a 2D animatic and a 3D block, building the TVC up in sections. According to Downs the spot was not without its challenges. He said, “It was tough to get all the story points nailed – the lighting, the painting of the house with time lapse, the Total Protection Technology graphic and the sun, wind and rain torture tests. There was also a pack shot at the end so we needed to time the spot well, pace it well and not make it too crammed.” The weather elements were all treated as distinct environments with a high level of detail applied to each one - a job The Lab’s Head of Design Garry Jacques had a big hand in. He added, “I presented references of the robotic arms, heaters and most of the elements in the first animatic which the client approved immediately. This left the 3D team to fully design them and create the magic.” All of the CG weather elements were completely different. The Lab’s 3D team used Maya Fluid System for the jet blown wind with the house as a collision object whereas the rain was created with

an ‘old school particle’ approach, many layers and a lot of clever augmentation in 2D. Down’s explained further, “They are cool effects. The rain, wind and sun are totally different. For the sun we have cracked ground, a soaked house for the rain and a fluid system for the wind. Each effect was treated as a different shot. We also added a lot of detail like frost on the glass, and icicles on the roof. There was a lot of care and attention in this spot.” As there was no live action in the spot the team decided to add some by placing some carefully crafted birds and butterflies in the last frame to accompany the pack shot. Critical to the final look of the Wattyl Solagard TVC was the compositing. Senior Compositor on the spot Bertrand Polivka commented, “There was a good exchange of data with the 3D guys who also did a 3D comp to save time. We have an excellent pipeline and used Nuke for 95% of the spot, doing the final grade in Flame. As it was treated as one shot we had very big working files which had to be carefully managed. “There was a lot of 2D augmentation and enhancements in each of the 3D torture effects which had to be perfect. We added bigger effects like smoke around the house and water dripping onto it as well as more subtle ones like heat haze when the house is burning and an iced up lens effect when the house was cold.” Graham Nunn concluded, “This project was a great collaboration from initial concept development through to final production. The guys at The Lab were always willing to work with the client and always kept their eye on getting a quality finished result and constantly came up with a way to satisfy everybody.”

New CEO for Rising Sun Rising Sun Pictures (RSP), the Australian visual effects company exclusively dedicated to feature films has announced that it has completed the search for a new CEO. The company has finalised a deal with Michael Taylor, who joins the company after twelve years of executive roles with visual effects majors Rhythm & Hues, Digital Domain and Ascent Media. “I am excited to be joining such a talented A-list company and look forward to further expanding its reputation and presence in the global market place”, said Taylor, “The opportunity to drive the growth of such a well known filmmaker’s shop, combined with RSP’s commitment to creativity and technological excellence would have been very hard to pass on.” RSP co-founder and Chairman Tony Clark says “Rising Sun is in good hands with Michael at the helm of an exceptional team of managers and senior creatives. We are fortunate to have built a solid slate through to 2011, which is driving the considerable expansion of our Adelaide studio. RSP’s Sydney studio remains tasked with providing frontline creative interaction with films planning to work out of Australia’s East Coast studios.” www.rsp.com.au

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Post Production 41


Storage & Asset Management

Storage & Asset Management

storage &

ASSET MANAGEMENT Dubsat Hits the Desktop MediaPro main page.

MediaPro “VUmeter”.

MediaPro destinations.

42 Storage & Asset Management

In the first stage of an aggressive growth and expansion plan, distributed advertising and media asset management company Dubsat, an Omnilab media company, has announced the launch of MediaPro, a Mac and PC desktop application that it says will revolutionise the uploading, management and dispatching of television commercials. As Grant Schuetrumpf, GM of Dubsat explains, “We spent a long time asking people in the market what would make their lives easier and more convenient when trying to upload, manage and send TVCs. We then took all the research and developed MediaPro. Now there’s no longer the need to use FTP and no more tapes involved as the user can simply drag and drop a spot onto MediaPro and the ingest begins with one click of the mouse.” Upon ingest MediaPro instantly provides feedback as to how the file is uploading. MediaPro accepts the clapper, the video and audio file independently or as a pre-prepared compile, then provides online playback with tools for the user to immediately check vision to safe frame and audio levels against broadcast requirements. MediaPro is also synchronised with the user’s mydubsat online web portal account providing online live booking and estimation tools. The MediaProuploaded TVC is then connected to the booking instruction and sent onto the broadcaster and the entire service can then be paid directly by credit card. Christopher Mapp, Managing Director of Omnilab Media said, “MediaPro is the first of a series of tapeless client independent services we will be launching in the coming months. It’s our champion in the world of desktop independent services that remove the need for tape and physical workflow and give maximum control to the user with the highest level of quality while saving time and money through convenience and greater efficiencies.” MediaPro also broadens Dubsat’s network of destinations beyond traditional broadcasters across more countries to now include digital display outdoor networks, retail centres and online publishers including NineMSN. Dubsat have also expanded their reach into Singapore, UK, Ireland and the USA. According to Schuetrumpf, “MediaPro now means Dubsat has become more virtual and get ads to destinations across the globe more quickly and more efficiently than ever before, from any desktop. The right formats are delivered to the right destinations with the least amount of effort required by the user. There are no limits to destinations where TVCs can now be repurposed and delivered. MediaPro is a true industry first and it’s free to download for any registered Dubsat user.” Visit www.dubsat.com.au

HD JPEG 2000 Player/Ingester Barco Silex, Barco’s center of competence for embedded video coding electronic and design services, and Merging Technologies, the manufacturer of hardware and software systems for audio and video production professionals, have collaborated to bring a HD JPEG 2000 Player & Ingester to the broadcast market. Merging Technologies is leveraging Barco’s JPEG 2000 PCIe acceleration cards to extend the capabilities of its VCube HD player and ingest system, bringing to the broadcast market what it says is “the sweet-spot between JPEG 2000 quality and cost-effectiveness for HD archiving, ingest and playback”. Merging’s VCube is a universal hard disk based video player/recorder system. It can operate as a standalone unit, or as part of a multi-system network fully integrated with the Merging’s Pyramix Digital Audio Workstation through standard Ethernet or with any other DAW through LTC, RS422 or MIDI. The VCube offers sync to PAL, NTSC, 24fps Film and all the HDTV frame rates at any resolution SD, 720p, 1080sf and 1080i. Visit www.merging.com and www.barco.com

EditShare’s Ark of the Content

EditShare has released two new EditShare Ark models for creating media backups and archives; Ark Tape and Ark Disk. Ark Tape and Ark Disk are workflow engineered to automate file migration to and from EditShare shared storage solutions. Because Ark solutions automatically communicate with EditShare shared storage solutions, media spaces, project spaces and other data structures are seamlessly exchanged between systems. In the event of a system failure, EditShare Ark Disk can be configured to operate as an EditShare shared storage system. EditShare Ark allows EditShare users to create safety backups during the editing process, move media to lower-cost storage when a project must be put on hold or while it awaits approval, and create long-term archiving of entire projects or selected media spaces. The EditShare Ark Disk systems have the option of being activated in an emergency as a “lower-bandwidth EditShare server” to minimize downtime. EditShare Ark features include: Seamless integration with EditShare shared storage solutions, retains user permissions and data structures for media spaces and project spaces; Simple-to-use interface enables “non-IT” staff to automate and schedule full and incremental backup and archive procedures Visit www.editshare.com

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Thought Equity and BBC Together in Motion BBC Motion Gallery, the stock footage arm of BBC Worldwide, and Thought Equity Motion (TEM), a leading provider of motion content worldwide, have entered into a strategic relationship under which Thought Equity Motion will provide access to its advanced technology platform to BBC Motion Gallery. Under the agreement, Thought Equity Motion will have the right to sell BBC Motion Gallery stock footage content in North America, Asia and Australasia. Additionally, BBC Motion Gallery will have the right to sell certain Thought Equity Motion content in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa. According to TEM Marketing Manager Dan Weiner, the two companies will be re-launching BBC Motion Gallery’s website with Thought Equity Motion’s advanced technology platform will provide customers with enhanced digital search capabilities and more robust content delivery. TEM has already commenced ingesting BBC footage to power the front-end of the website. TEM’s platform can take digital files, videotape and film, which TEM can clean up and restore. The Thought Equity Motion platform allows for search and preview of footage via its web-based front-end which also presents the rights associated with that footage. A watermarked, low res version of the footage can be downloaded for rough comping to see if it fits in with the customer’s production before final purchase and download of hi res material via FTP. Users can even email footage links to colleagues for approval. According to Dan Weiner, one of the strengths of the Thought Equity platform is its flexible search capabilities with users being able to conduct searches according to keyword, related searches and a contextual search function which is automated and scalable. This latter capability is a boon for producers of

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compilation shows such as 20-1 Biggest Hollywood Stars, Police Chases, etc. Filtering functions also enable users to sort ‘lions’ the animals from ‘Lions’ the sports team. One option, says Weiner is the automatic populating of websites via search where the site can be updated with, for example, great runners. The web site page would engage the search engine with the relevant terms and these would appear automatically on the web page in much the same way a site like YouTube presents ‘Related Videos’.

Though Equity Motion will be steering clear of User Generated Content, it will be responding to the MicroStock phenomenon which has affected the still photography library market and is now encroaching into other media. This will likely take the form of generic subject media at appropriate resolution and pricing for corporate and marketing customers on smaller budgets. Dan Weiner describes the footage now available through the BBC Motion Gallery as “really such a great library across sports, nature, archives which complements and enriches our existing content.” When it comes to making BBC footage available from the TEM platform, the two companies will look at customer use to determine priority. Certainly the 2012 London Olympics presents an opportunity for both parties. “For Olympic type sports, we will look to work with key sponsors who are looking for the most leverage from the event. This might start six months out from the Games using archival material to present an online user experience in the build-up period and during the Games itself.” Visit www.bbcmotiongallery.com and www.thoughtequity.com

EVS Supports DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO50

EVS Broadcast Equipment has announced that its XT[2] and XS production servers now natively support Panasonic’s DVCPRO HD and DVCPRO50 codecs. Panasonic codecs are also supported by all of EVS’ functional product line, such as IPDirector (including the software player, and its new timeline editor IPEdit), SpotBox, MulticamLSM, CleanEdit, XFile, as well as Insio, EVS’ latest multi-camera ingest software for studio. This latest development brings EVS equipment ensuring native compatibility with Panasonic’s P2 HD camcorders. Visit www.evs.tv

Storage & Asset Management 43


Storage & Asset Management

DAM Saves the Video Star! - EMI Digitises Library of Music Clips Digital media migration specialists Video-8 Media is undertaking a comprehensive archiving project to digitise the full back catalogue of music videos for the Australian arm of music giant EMI. Video-8 Managing Director Robert Scott explained the background to the project and its process. “We had a meeting with the team at Shooting Star, one of Australia’s leading production companies, and the one tasked with managing and servicing the EMI back catalogue. At the meeting we presented the full Video-8 Media Factory solution to them and discussed their requirements for the EMI music video library.” Shooting Star’s expertise includes advertising campaigns for TV, cinema and radio, as well as longform TV shows, multimedia projects, outside broadcasts and corporate productions. With its subsidiary companies Cinema Live, D-Star Digital and Star Media Platinum, Shooting Star is a complete 360-degree entertainment conglomerate providing cross-platform production services for cinema, TV and the web. Upon assessing the library with Video-8 Shooting Star

detailed their need for it to be digitised, preserved and repurposed. Scott continued, “EMI and Shooting Star were very clear, they wanted a robust and cost effective digitisation process and storage medium. There was another round of demos and tests and the deal was agreed on to use Media Factory for the project.” Media Factory comprises a Front Porch Digital DIVArchive system, Anystream Agility ingestion and transcoding tools and Magna Systems’ Media Pilot web interface which uniquely allows clients to view material in their archives, trim and bin clips and edit metadata from anywhere in the world. Scott said, “The project is a comprehensive one that included digitising material, compiling reels and storing the assets. It was tricky as some of the 1-inch compile reels were compiled on different machines and the tracking would change from clip to clip so we had to get dynamic tracking

heads to get around this issue.” The EMI library consists of over 15,000 individual tapes containing over 50,000 assets of original material, duplicates, dubs, censored media, uncensored media, audio only and video only clips. All of which needed assessing and sorting. Scott continued, “The entire EMI library was moved physically to Video-8 so that the team could begin the project. Material was bulk ingested first, then broken down into individual clips and finally ingested to Media Factory. Once the individual clips were ingested into Media Factory, MediaPilot was used to add metadata to the database. Robert Scott concluded, “This is a very important project for one of Australia’s major record companies. The assets we are digitising and preserving are totally unique parts of Australian music history and are now safely stored at Video-8.” Video-8’s digitisation and preservation of the EMI back catalogue of music videos is ongoing. Visit www.video-8.com

Content Faces the Teragator IPV has announced the launch of its Teragator relational metadata aggregation and management engine. This new tool provides a platform to aggregate metadata sources and data mining services to identify and manage complex relational links between assets and provide a simple visually compelling graphical user interface to represent and interact with these links. In combination with IPV’s low bit-rate video technology, users can browse through the content of any or multiple libraries to identify related, more appropriate content, quickly and simply IPV Teragator Screen Shot. — driving improved workflow and cost-efficiencies in finding, retrieving and managing assets and associated browsing such information and integrating workflows. metadata and maximising earnings from a media asset Teragator sits on top of existing archive systems and portfolio. can be used with any hierarchical storage system. Historically metadata used to describe resources Based on open industry standards, Teragator can be was once merely structural — file type, Timecode, reel used to bring external content sources into the common number. With the advent of digital libraries and fileplatform with a uniform view for browse and search. based workflows, metadata has become as important The IPV solution provides three layers to uplift the as the asset itself. Metadata that describes any single value of the portfolio and any operation. It does this source may exist in multiple formats — plain text, an XML by aggregation and management of asset data within file or a relational database record, and be distributed a new platform based on the emerging web industry across numerous physical locations and business standard RDF (resource description framework). This lets systems. Teragator allows the user to aggregate these the library establish or maintain its own standardised disparate elements — extracting the semantic content vocabulary for descriptive metadata, which ensures that from the aggregation. Semantically enhanced data all the relationships between data can be represented, can then be accessed from a uniform view anywhere even when the archivist or users entering the metadata within an organisation, providing a paradigm for do so in multiple forms. This standardised vocabulary

44 Storage & Asset Management

allows queries to be made on knowledge which can be gathered from other sources as well as from the entered metadata. The first layer therefore supports the capture and annotation of assets into dedicated and focused databases, often streamlined for specific uses. In the middle layer, Teragator supports the librarian and content management functions for interacting with the library and data sources to embellish the media such as identifying subclips or adding annotation, and maintaining the existing data sets as well as linking new sources including live RSS (Really Simple Syndication) data feeds. Finally retrieving content is fundamental to the value of the assets, hence a compelling and rewarding visual user interface of Teragator — in essence this third layer of the system will present the research results as a series of links on screen. These links might be between people, places, or historical and current events. The user can follow these links to browse through the contents of the library, leading to material which might not have been revealed by a conventional search. IPV will be adding its Teragator product to its already widely-used browse solutions including the Curator system, a comprehensive, browse-based tapeless workflow media management system designed to allow communities of media professionals to add value and monetize assets and SpectreView, the critical browse resolution system that incorporates precision timecode and frame accuracy. Visit www.ipv.com

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Radio

THE ORIGINAL BROADCAST MEDIA

RADIO

Engineers Honoured for Roll-out of DAB+ This year’s Australian Commercial Radio Awards had a deservedly technical bent with the industry acknowledging the hard work, ingenuity and cooperation of Australia’s leading radio broadcast engineers for their invaluable contribution to enable the launch of DAB+ digital radio services throughout Australian metropolitan centres. During the gala night at Sydney’s Darling Harbour, Special Achievement Awards were bestowed on Joan Warner - CEO Commercial Radio Australia; Des DeCean, Austereo;  Raoul Prideaux, Macquarie Southern Cross Media;  Wayne Dickson, BTC Australia Pty Ltd; Graeme O’Connor, ARN; Max Carter, Sky Sports Radio; Richard Morris, Commercial Radio Australia; Steve Adler, DMG; Kath Brown, Commercial Radio Australia; and Alastair Reynolds, Fairfax Media. The all-network line-up reflected the spirit of unity displayed by the Australian radio industry in taking charge of its digital destiny. The night also saw Des DeCean, one of Australia’s most respected broadcast engineers and Austereo’s longest serving employee, inducted into the Commercial Radio Hall of Fame. Mr DeCean was honoured with the accolade at a gala ceremony attended by nearly 1000 of his industry peers at Sydney’s Convention and

Exhibition Centre. The award recognises outstanding lifetime achievement and contribution to the radio broadcasting industry. One of Australia’s most experienced radio engineers; Mr DeCean was the first employee of Austereo 29 years ago when FM radio was launched in 1980.  He has headed the technology team at the network ensuring the adoption of leading edge broadcast systems. He introduced the first use of CDs on air and implemented the introduction of the first computerised on-air play out system. Mr DeCean’s contribution to the industry as a whole has been extensive. In 1988 he was appointed as the representative of Australian Commercial Radio to the first Ministerial Advisory Committee on digital

radio and in recent years has worked determinedly on the adoption of Digital Audio Broadcasting in his capacity as a board member of the industry body Commercial Radio Australia and Chairman of the Digital Technical Advisory Committee. Joan Warner, chief executive of Commercial Radio Australia, said Australia’s switch on of digital radio has been one of the most successful worldwide and Des DeCean had been a driving force behind the building of what is arguably, one of the most sophisticated digital radio networks in the world. “Des has worked tirelessly in Australia and on the world stage to continue to innovate and improve the technical aspects of the Australian radio industry throughout his long career,” Ms Warner said.  Following the completion of the world’s first digital broadcast facility of 22 studios and the switch on of DAB+, Mr DeCean  announced his retirement from Austereo in July this year, but will continue to consult on radio both in Australia and overseas. The night also saw awards for Engineering Excellence go to John Pearce, 2GO, for the ‘Remote Breakfast Studio’ as well as Matt Steadman and Brett Kelly, Austereo Melbourne Studios, Fox FM/Triple M, Melbourne, VIC, Austereo M recipients of Max Wilson Engineering Award.

Polling in Palestine Polling in Palestine

Standards for Commercials on Digital Radio

elements of a digital radio commercials are Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) has released Ad Length DLS Segments Image Audio Length bundled together for easy handling and final industry developed innovative Commercial 10 secs or less No DLS Segment No Image Exact Length delivered in the highest possible quality.” Content Standards for the synchronisation of 15 secs 1 segment max 64 characters No Image 14.75-15.0 visual and audio components for advertising 30 secs 1 segment max 128 characters 1 image 29.5-30.0 The Commercial Content Standards are as on DAB+ digital radio. follows: The Commercial Content Standards have 45 secs 1 segment max 128 characters 1 image 44.25-45.0 Audio been finalised after draft standards were 60 secs 1 segment max 128 characters 1 image 59.0-60.0 File Format: 16-bit 48kHz uncompressed released to the industry for comment last year PCM audio and following extensive consultation with advertising an audit file – is in its final stages of development by Duration: 1% tolerance on prescribed length creative directors, broadcast technical engineers the Commercial Content Standards Group (CCSG), Headers: EBU Broadcast Wave File (BWF) Format from ARN, Austereo, DMG and Fairfax Radio and a working group of CRA’s Digital Technical Advisory Naming: File name to reflect key number leading digital distribution organisations; Audionet, Committee (DTAC). Image DubSat, Music Point, DStar, Adstream and Fairfax The software known as Piñata is currently undergoing File Formats: JPEG, PNG, APNG Digital. final development and will be released to the radio Orientation: Landscape Joan Warner, chief executive officer of CRA said, industry in early 2010. Size: 23kb max. “The finalised Commercial Content Standards will The complexity of managing audio, text and Aspect Ratio: 320 pixels wide x 240 pixels high give confidence to the advertising sector that the images from different production locations for a Animation: 10fps max. radio industry has a reliable digital radio production digital commercial, created the need to develop a Tagging Standard: EXIF image data process and hopefully it will encourage further digital system where all associated data was in a complete DLS radio advertising innovation from the industry.” package. Up to 128 characters per label CRA also announced that a world first software DTAC Chairman, Des DeCean of Austereo and Size controlled by delivery times Vs spot length package that links all aspects of the Commercial chairman of the working group said, “Pinata will Visit www.digitalradioplus.com.au Content Standards - audio, text, images, scripts and provide a safe and convenient way of ensuring all three

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Radio

Radio

New Chair for Commercial Radio Chief executive officer of DMG Radio Australia, Cathy O’Connor has been elected as the new chair of the industry body, Commercial Radio Australia. Ms O’Connor will replace the outgoing chairman, Michael Anderson, chief executive officer of Austereo, who has announced he is leaving the radio industry next year. The new Board was elected at CRA’s annual general meeting in Sydney. The new CRA board includes: Cathy O’Connor  - DMG Radio (Chair); Michael Anderson – Austereo; Rhys Holleran - Macquarie Southern Cross Media; Graham Mott - Fairfax Radio; Kevin Blyton Capital Radio; Grant Cameron - Grant Broadcasting; Stuart Thomas - Macquarie Radio Network; Des DeCean – Austereo; Kingsley Hall - DMG Radio; John Hamilton - Australian Radio Network; Graeme O’Connor - Australian Radio Network; Bob Scott – Supernetwork; and Rod Brice - Macquarie Southern Cross Media.

Industry Announces Digital Radio Report

A new digital radio industry report - tracking who’s listening to the new technology, how many digital radios have been sold and the overall awareness of digital radio - will be released by Commercial Radio Australia in early 2010. The industry report will provide a comprehensive market snapshot of digital radio and will include top line digital radio listening figures from Nielsen Radio Ratings, consumer research from Nielsen Panorama and Hoop Group, digital radio sales data from GfK and consumer survey information sourced from tracking studies on Commercial Radio Australia’s digitalradioplus website and facebook page. Chief executive officer of Commercial Radio Australia, Joan Warner said speculation on the sales figures of digital radios have been widespread since the switch on of digital radio in the five state capitals but sales figures tell just one part of the story. An extensive consumer study will be undertaken with the aim to measure awareness amongst radio listeners of the digital radio offering, perceptions of and awareness of the new Digital Radio Plus brand, levels of intent to purchase, feedback from digital radio users on receiver features and even programming. The study will also explore the consumer retail experience when purchasing a new radio. Visit: www.digitalradioplus.com.au

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Frontier Silicon has announced that Venice 7, its latest generation of unified receiver module, is now shipping in multiple products from the world’s leading DAB/ DAB+/DMB-Radio manufacturers. The module only entered mass production in mid 2009. Products from a range of manufacturers including, PURE, Roberts and Grundig are entering retail stores in good time for Christmas. Daniel Todd, MD, Bush Australia commented, “Venice 7 has enabled us under the Bush and Grundig brands to be one of the first companies to launch a range of the DAB+ radios with iPOD docker into Australia.” Venice 7 provides radio manufacturers with a unifying receiver which supports all three DAB variants along with FM in a single low cost, ultra low power all-in-one module. It is the first fully compliant WorldDMB Profile 1 receiver solution enabling audio manufacturers to deliver a single mass market unified digital radio for Europe and Australia. Thanks to its Kino 3 baseband processor, Venice 7 is able to demodulate, audio decode and drive an intuitive user interface supporting DAB, DAB+, DMB-Radio and FM in battery and mains operated products. It includes all interfaces necessary for a fully functional radio including iPOD/iPhone docking, needing only power supply, display, keypad, audio amplifier and speakers to complete a product. Visit www.frontier-silicon.com

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Melbourne at Full Power for ABC DAB+

ABC Digital Radio services in Melbourne are now available at full power. Since the launch of digital radio in Melbourne, all ABC Digital Radio services have been running on low power while work was being done on the antenna. This work has now been completed and it is expected Melbournians will enjoy uninterrupted digital services. As well as all the existing ABC Radio stations, the ABC has three digital-only stations, ABC Dig Music, ABC Jazz and ABC Country. It also offers ABC Grandstand for additional sporting broadcasts and a temporary – “pop-up” - service for unique content and specialised programming. This station has already revisited the historic Apollo 11 moon landing mission, taken listeners back to Woodstock to relive the three day music festival on its 40th anniversary and brought together recordings, interviews and highlights from the Melbourne International Arts Festival for ABC Melbourne Festival Radio. In November, as part of triple j’s Ausmusic Month celebrations, it will be dedicated entirely to undiscovered Australian music, drawing from the well established triplejunearthed.com platform to create triple j Unearthed digital radio. Visit abc.net.au/digitalradio

Radio Broadcast Mixer Sonifex has introduced the S1 Radio Broadcast Mixer which is a small format hybrid analogue/digital radio broadcast mixer. The Sonifex S1 mixer is a high performance compact, low cost, fixed format mixing console designed for on-air radio use. It can be fitted flush into a desk-top or can be rack-mounted by the addition of rack ears. It provides in total 5 mic, 4 mono line, 10 stereo analogue, 2 stereo digital, 1 telco & 1 stereo cleanfeed inputs to switch between using 10 fader channels. One of these is a 3.5mm insert jack socket for an iPod/mp3 player auxiliary connection. The S1 has one stereo programme output available as both balanced analogue and S/PDIF or TOSlink digital, so that a main programme feed can be sent to a transmitter whilst a digital feed can go directly to a PC for internet streaming. Two stereo Aux outputs are also available and these can be configured as either pre or post the fader outputs. There are also a mono cleanfeed output, a stereo cleanfeed output and monitor outputs for presenter headphones, guest headphones and loudspeakers. With true mono and stereo cleanfeed busses (instead of mix-minuses) the mixer allows high performance connection to a telephone hybrid and ISDN codec. Built-in LED meters can be set to show either PPM or VU ballistics and the meters can monitor the programme output, or the monitor selection consisting of the programme, auxiliary outputs or one of two external stereo inputs. There is also an output port for use with external meters. The full range of usual radio broadcast facilities are available such as fader operation via VCA, fader start of ancilliary equipment such as CD players, monitor muting on mic live and mic-live/on-air sign switching to name a few. The mixer is highly configurable and can be set-up using the serial port and the free of charge Sonifex SCi software. www.sonifex.co.uk

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Radio 49


Radio

Digital Tunes in to Car Radio Hanns Wolter is the Chair of the World DMB Motor Vehicle Task Force and also works for Italian radio consortium, Club DAB Italia. A speaker at the recent National Radio Conference in Sydney, Wolter says that while in-car receivers will be a driver for DAB+, the car industry takes a different approach to mainstream consumer electronics. “The first thing is to understand how the car industry actually works,” says Wolter. “Car radios, of course we never think about it, but they are built to last the life of the car so it can be 10 years, 15 years, 20 years. And therefore they should be, let’s say, ‘quite right’. “There are a lot of brands active and not all of these brands actually are known in the consumer sector. There’s no direct relation between one OEM manufacturer and the car producer. For example, Bosch can be a supplier for Mercedes but it can also be a supplier for Fiat and maybe another Mercedes line will have a product from Sony, it’s very mixed.” As a result, Wolter says car manufacturers can be very cautious when it comes to the implementation of new technologies. “Of course they want to be sure that a technology would be successful,” he says. “It will have a large adoption. It’s not easy actually to get into a car. If you think for example of the mid-‘90s you had very simple car radios, so AM/FM, CD or tape, and RDS which was already top of the line fit. But that was it. Now you have AM/FM, RDS, a CD, Bluetooth connection and out/input or maybe an iPod remote so it can control the iPod with your car radio, USB stick input, navigation, mobile TV maybe also television. “So, it’s getting more complex and this means also that the equipment you’re going to have in your car, that’s going to be more complicated. Just think about the antennas you have. You have an AM, an FM antenna, a Bluetooth antenna, an antenna for the mobile phone, antenna for the navigation system and we will add, let’s say, an antenna for the digital radio. It’s really increasing. “Therefore the car industry is very, very cautious to any innovation, and we have really to make a very good point for them to have DAB+, especially because there are already some products for DAB but DAB+ is still, let’s say, a delicate issue. “Also it is a very extreme environment, the car. Australia, you know, there’s desert, heat and dust and interference maybe from the other car systems. So, I mean a car radio is not the same as really your iPod or your [domestic] radio which is a wonderful product but it’s not fit for living in the car, definitely.” According to Wolter, the development and testing lifecycle for new entertainment technologies to be included in new car models is around four years. 50 Radio

Radio

THE ORIGINAL BROADCAST MEDIA

Hanns Wolter, Chair of the World DMB Motor Vehicle Task Force.

DAB-Ready Transmitters Grass Valley has enriched its Thomson branded family of Elite transmission products with the introduction of DAB to address digital radio in VHF Band III. The DAB exciter shares the same hardware platform as all other transmission standards and offers full compatibility with the new DAB+ and T-DMB modes to address not only the digital radio market, but also mobile broadcasting including multimedia and video services. The VHF Elite 100 ranges from 200W up to 2 kW and makes use of real-time Digital Adaptive Pre-correction (DAP) for stability and signal quality as well as deep diagnostic capabilities through an SNMP agent and a built-in Web server to monitor the equipment status. Visit www.grassvalley.com

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“Nevertheless, the good news,” he says, “is there will be some products ready for the end of next year for high end models, so we are talking about Audi A8s, Mercedes S Class, BMW 7 Series. And for let’s say lower range models they will start from 2011 with a very strong growth by the end of 2012. “There have been two very big innovations in the last two years concerning digital radio in cars and digital radio in general. First thing, we got the receiver profiles which was an effort by the industry and by broadcasters to specify the minimum receiver capabilities for a digital radio receiver. “There are three profiles. Profile one is a generic radio which works everywhere. So it is a digital radio which has FM capability with DAB, with DAB+, and it does the French version of DAB+ DMB Audio - because we want a receiver which works everywhere in Europe and it will work, of course, also in Australia. “By 2013, all the cars which will be sold in France must have a digital radio line fitted. This date has been selected not by chance but because it’s four years from now. So just to give the car manufacturers enough time to implement digital radios. Nobody is going to implement a DMB Audio only receiver, of course. It will be a digital radio which does DAB, DAB+ and DMB. No car manufacturers can allow themselves to split the production between, let’s say, France, Germany and the UK. So they will just have one model, one line fit and they will just buy one in-car radio.” As well as France, the UK has mandated 2014 for all new cars to be fitted with digital radios. With DAB+ services also launched in Italy, Switzerland,

Hungary, Sweden and elsewhere, Wolter says it may pay for Australia to also mandate the technology. “I think the best thing also for Australia is to push the government to have a recommendation,” he says. “I mean, to get along which makes DAB+ really mandatory will be very difficult. And I think in Europe only France can do this. They do it ‘different’. “There is already a very strong request to the OEM industry by the car manufacturers. So this is something which is going to happen and this is going to happen also in Australia because, I mean, all this is anyway connected. You will get all European cars with a digital radio. “Of course, I realise that the Australian market is different than Europe. You have a lot of Japanese cars which is not the case in Europe. But, also there we have confirmation that OEMs are specifically developing solutions for the Australian market, especially for brands like Mazda. Toyota is very present in Europe. They actually manufacture also a number of products in Europe. And some of this will be available, as far as I understand, from the OEMs by the end of 2010. It will be limited products of course, but it’s pretty soon actually, so that’s going to take a year or more, at least, but not so much. “But, for example, in Italy we will have in our recommendation and our regulation a recommendation for profile one compatible radios which will be out on the market. Nothing else would be allowed on the market from 2013 or 2014 on. I think the most important thing, to have, by law, is a recommendation to a car industry and to the industry generally.”

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Production Monitor Controllers Sonifex has unveiled a new range of Production Monitor Controllers. The 1U rack-mount audio production control units provide source selection, volume, DIM and CUT controls for external analogue monitors, together with light controls for the Sonifex SignalLED range of studio signs, or similar. The RM-MC1L is a stereo unit with a single stereo balanced analogue input and output on XLRs. Useful in a production environment, the unit allows you to control the audio level to external monitors and to DIM the audio, or CUT it completely with simple front panel controls, or remote external inputs. It has a master volume control that adjusts the attenuation on the output channels from 0dB down to -86dB. A CUT control mutes the audio outputs when enabled, whilst a DIM control attenuates the audio output channels by a pre-set amount from -2dB to -23dB. All of the buttons on the front panel are illuminated by LEDs and the brightness can be changed to better suit the environment in which the unit is used. The RM-MC4L has four stereo balanced analogue inputs with a single stereo balanced output, all using XLR connectors. Four illuminated front panel buttons allow you to simply select the source required at the output. The RM-MC4L has the same master volume control, CUT, DIM and light control functions and adjustments as the RM-MC1L unit. The RM-MC51L is a controller for surround sound applications with 6 balanced analogue inputs and 6 balanced analogue outputs all on XLR connectors. It is used in situations where you need to adjust the volume, or CUT, or DIM all of the speakers in a 5.1 surround system. Alternatively, the unit can be used as a global volume control for 6 analogue outputs. The RM-MC51L has the same master volume control, CUT, DIM and light control functions and adjustments as the RM-MC1L unit and the RM-MCL is a simple light controller for controlling a TX - STANDBY - REH light system in a production studio, with no audio inputs or outputs. Each of the products has a light control section. This section has 3 buttons: Transmit (TX), STANDBY and Rehearse (REH). The TX and REH buttons control opto-isolated outputs on the rear panel remote connector, and these provide a direct control interface to the Sonifex SignalLED illuminated studio sign, allowing twin signs to be controlled individually. The Standby button initiates a 2 minute countdown where the TX and REH buttons and their associated remote outputs flash alternately. Visit www.sonifex.co.uk

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Radio 51


Audio

AUDIO

Matthew Gray – Online Masters Producers and artists across Australia and New Zealand can now access high-quality and affordable mastering through Matthew Gray Mastering’s new online service. Clients simply upload their music to a secure server at www.matthewgraymastering. com, have their songs mastered, and then download the finished product. With a client list including producers/engineers Caleb James (Rhubarb and Alex Lloyd), Lachlan ‘Magoo’ Gould (Midnight Oil, Regurgitator, Spiderbait and Jebediah) and Powderfinger guitarist Ian Haug (Powderfinger, Pete Murray and The Grates), it is now easier than ever to have Matthew Gray Mastering take your final mix to the next level. For head mastering engineer and business owner Matthew Gray, mastering is a specialised area of production that requires detailed full-range monitoring, an acoustically neutral space, specific mastering processors (rarely found in recording studios) and a trained set of ears detached from the recording and mixing process to make the overall mix sound better. Gray started the business eight years ago and draws on his 15-year career as a professional musician and sound engineer — where he recorded artists including Jet, Eskimo Joe, Killing Heidi and Evermore, and played on various albums and EPs — to deliver a professional result at a reasonable price. “There are many mastering engineers who have the technical knowledge but lack a music background. This makes it difficult for them to understand the most important aspect of mastering, which is to represent the band musically,” said Gray. Brisbane-based music producer, composer and arranger Caleb James has used Gray’s services for the past five years and is impressed with Gray’s professionalism, communication and musicality. “I started getting Matthew involved in my projects about five years ago and he immediately impressed me with his musical approach and attention to detail,” said James. “It is always about the music.” Powderfinger guitarist and owner of Brisbane-based Airlock Studios Ian Haug used Gray to tweak preproduction demos for their current album Dream Days at the Hotel Existence. “Matthew has touched up Powderfinger demos for us over the years and made them listenable when they previously weren’t,” said Haug. “Furthermore, Airlock Studios recommends Matthew for mastering our clients’ work. It’s great that someone can run a successful and quality mastering studio at an affordable cost.”

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Affordability and convenience is seeing Caleb James take advantage of the online service. “I can’t attend every session these days and am using Matthew’s online service increasingly more,” said James. “I give Matthew some notes on an email and send through the files to his server. It is an efficient way to work and I have found that the more we work together, the more efficient we become.” Gray’s services also include a free mix evaluation prior to the mastering process. Clients can upload their music and Gray will identify any potential problems within the mix and offer suggestions for fixing or minimising these areas before the mastering session takes place. This helps to ensure the artist will end up with a superior result. “I spend a lot of time making sure my projects sound great and it is comforting to know Matthew has that same quality approach,” said James. According to Gray, home recording enthusiasts can also benefit from mastering, particularly those recordings intended for radio play, as a CD demo, or to be placed on websites including Myspace or Facebook. “Mastering can often take the project from being demo quality to release quality,” said Gray. The Matthew Gray Mastering facility boasts a hybrid of analogue (valve and solid state) processors with digital outboard and plug-in processors designed specifically for mastering. Most of the audio ‘sweetening’ is done using analogue processing including compressors and three specialised mastering EQs. “Of particular note is the Sontec MES-432C EQ which is the ‘Holy Grail’ of analogue mastering EQs,” said Gray. “It’s sound is unmistakeable on numerous hit records, the original units are quite rare and can be found only in the most elite mastering

facilities around the world.” Two analogue tape machines are available including an ATR-102 half inch machine with mastering grade heads and class A electronics, and a more traditional quarter inch Studer machine for those looking for a ‘retro/vintage’ sound reminiscent of The Beatles or early blues-style recordings of the 1960s. “I receive many requests to process digital recordings through analogue tape as it offers a very desirable sound that can be heard on all the classic albums from the pre-digital era,” said Gray. “I’ve tried a number of digital tape emulators but nothing sounds as good as the real thing.” For Gray, digital processing still has an important role to play in mastering, and he uses a Weiss DS-1 MK3 compressor/limiter/de-esser and other digital processing equipment for making small precise changes and dissecting and correcting problems within a mix. The studio incorporates the best A/D and D/A conversion available to interface all the analogue equipment with a ProTools HD system to ensure every nuance of analogue processing is captured back into digital. “I conduct a lot of research before buying gear for the studio and am always listening to and researching new gear and software. It has to sound fantastic, be versatile enough to suit all musical styles, integrate with the rest of the gear and work well musically. “I also like to keep in tune with new equipment and the latest in mastering techniques.” Matthew Gray Mastering also offers a CD replication and duplication service as an extension of the mastering process. Part of this process involves sending the final masters for replication as a DDP image to ensure the data integrity is upheld right to the point of manufacturing the CDs. Visit www.matthewgraymastering.com

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Audio

Transmission

transmission

Digital Delay & Mixer

Sonifex has introduced two new Redbox products, the RB-DMX4, 4 x 4-channel digital audio mixer/ router and the RB-DD4, 4-channel digital audio delay. According to Marcus Brooke, Sonifex Managing Director, “These two new Redboxes are useful ‘audio for radio and TV’ products allowing digital audio to be delayed and manipulated. They allow a group of digital audio de-embedded from an HD stream to be delayed, routed and the level of each channel altered.” The RB-DMX4 is a digital mixer capable of mixing or routing 4 mono input channels into 4 mono outputs, or 2 stereo inputs into 2 stereo outputs. The inputs are sample rate converted to allow sources of different sample rates to be mixed with the output sample rate being defined independently. The flexible mix matrix allows for a wide variety of mixing options and creativity, to select which inputs are mixed or routed to which outputs. Each pair of inputs is selectable via front panel push buttons, from either AES/EBU balanced XLRs, S/PDIF unbalanced phonos or TOSlink unbalanced optical inputs. There are two stereo outputs which

are available as simultaneous AES/EBU balanced XLRs, S/PDIF unbalanced phonos or TOSlink unbalanced optical outputs. The output sample rates are selectable from between 32kHz and 192kHz. There is a monitor socket on the front panel with a gain pot to allow you to monitor the output of each channel. Each input has a trim pot, which can be used to attenuate the input signal which allows for a perfect mix of channels at different audio levels. Audio presence LEDS around each input button give an indication of input audio level. There are also 4 presence LEDS which give an indication of output level. The RB-DD4 4 channel digital audio delay allows

users to delay 4 mono channels of audio independently or together. Each channel delay is user selectable from multiples of common video frame rates, or a user defined value set via the serial interface. The unit is suitable for synchronizing audio to video which has been delayed by processing latency. Using front panel controls you can select the length of one frame of delay, the multiple of frames to delay by and which channel needs to be delayed, with an option for ‘ALL’ channels. Connectivity includes three different types of connection for each input and output including AES/ EBU, S/PDIF and TOSLink. All three different types of output can be used simultaneously. There is a monitor socket on the front panel which allows you to listen to each mono channel, by front panel selection. The channels can be optionally monitored as pairs using a rear panel stereo option. Audio presence is detected and displayed for each channel on front panel LEDs. When the RB-DD4 is controlled by Sonifex SCi serial software, the unit can be programmed for different delay durations, levels and switching functions. Visit www.sonifex.co.uk

According to Tim Carroll founder and president of Linear Acoustic, “This allows consumers to choose audio reproduction that matches their environmentfrom full surround sound system to small kitchen TV, to mobile or hand-held devices.” Linear Acoustic CARBON accepts encoded or baseband PCM audio via AES or HD/SD-SDI connections, and optionally supports processing of audio at the transport stream level via DVB-ASI connections. MPTS via Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) will be supported for cable and satellite applications. The company also has available the L.A.M.B.D.A. Professional Digital Audio and Metadata Monitor. The LAMBDA displays both audio and metadata, and allows simulation of metadata effects to provide accurate monitoring. The base model includes standard features like AES and HD/SD-SDI inputs,

ITU-R BS.1770 loudness measurement, and a premium acoustically tuned speaker system with digital crossovers and bi-amplification, fulltime 2-channel LtRt or LoRo downmix via AES and balanced analog outputs, AES outputs of decoded and/or de-embedded audio channels, and a powerful front panel headphone output. Options include Dolby Digital (AC-3)/Dolby E decoding, DVB-ASI input, and dual power supplies. Front-panel controls allow quick stepping through any channel, channel pair, or downmix. Numerous presets can be created, saved and quickly recalled for different monitoring tasks. The display features metering of eight audio channels plus numeric loudness and metadata indication. Visit www.linearacoustic.com

can interrupt the feed at any point. Furthermore, wireless party-line groups make it possible to seamlessly mix party-line users, external inputs and beltpack users in the same group without having different output volume levels. FreeSpeak Version 2.0 is centred on a highly programmable 1RU base station from which an operator can manage and oversee all communications for up to 20 digital wireless beltpacks. The system can be controlled from both the brightly lit front-panel display on the base station or remotely via an Ethernet connected PC running the configuration software. The base station links wirelessly to the beltpacks by the remote active antennae, enabling users to roam freely throughout the broadcast facility while

maintaining consistent communication without loss of signal. All transmission takes place in the 1.8 - 1.9 GHz frequency band, which helps eliminate interference with other wireless products such as PCs, talent microphones, IFB and in-ear monitors. Each wireless beltpack and wired intercom connection on the rear of the basestation has its own full-duplex port. The voice communication from each port is sampled, mixed and re-routed throughout the system as desired. As each wireless beltpack has its own timeslot, it can be individually addressed by the base station, allowing multiple beltpack-to-beltpack and smallgroup conversations to be held simultaneously. Visit www.clearcom.com

transmission

SIGNAL DISTRIBUTION, TEST & MEASUREMENT

Metadata Loudness Controller

Linear Acoustic has introduced the CARBON Hybrid Metadata Loudness Controller in which loudness control and audio encoding are combined by a patent-pending hybrid process allowing infinitely variable adjustment between permanent and reversible control of source audio loudness and dynamic range. Capable of working with any audio codec that supports metadata, the premier version of Linear Acoustic CARBON maximizes the effectiveness of metadata within the Dolby Digital (AC-3) system. The technology enables audio to be sent to consumers with broadcaster regulated control of loudness while still preserving the original audio content.

Digital Wireless Intercom

Clear-Com Communication Systems’ FreeSpeak Version 2.0 is the latest version of the company’s digital wireless intercom system which combines full-duplex beltpack communications, antenna-toantenna roaming and low latency. Other features of FreeSpeak Version 2.0 include enhanced beltpack capacity, Interrupted Foldback (IFB) functionality and improved group operations between beltpacks, party-lines and other external inputs. The system supports the ability of up to 20 beltpacks to roam seamlessly between remote active antennas. The integrated IFB capability allows users to listen to audio feeds, while others

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SIGNAL DISTRIBUTION, TEST & MEASUREMENT

Flagship Enterprise

FACILITY TOUR

- Inside Omnilab’s New Playroom A business unit of Omnilab Media, The Playroom describes itself as “a leading facilitator of production infrastructure, content aggregation, broadcast & distribution services.” With major customers including MTV and the Movie Network, 2009 saw The Playroom throw the switch on new facilities in Yurong Street, East Sydney. According to The Playroom’s General Manager, Andrew Hogg, “The philosophy of what we started with when we started the Play Room seven years ago was ingest once, out to many. Technology, obviously, has caught up and the models have completely changed, but really what we’ve just launched has been four years in the planning from when we were at North Ryde, going and looking at buildings, finding the right building, looking at our key clients to find out was the building in the right area. “We were lucky enough to find this building and had the opportunity to purchase it. So, it’s always been a staged approach, but it has always been leading up to what we launched on 1 July, which was this new digital media hub.” Hogg cites the evolution of his clients as a driver for the evolution of The Playroom itself. “We had to get MTV in here, move them out of North Ryde. When they started there was 18 people, there’s now over 120 of them downstairs. We had to build the post production facility that we support for them, build their office, the whole box and dice. “Meanwhile, Movie Network has always been the foundation client and has allowed the Play Room to expand as it has over the past seven years. We’re always talking to them about furthering the partnership long term for the next phase of their growth and our growth.” Looking at then and now, Hogg points out that when the Playroom took over what was the Optus TV facility in North Ryde, the Movie Network was carried a single platform which has now grown to include nine standard definition channels, three HD channels (through Foxtel’s iQ2 box) and three download channels. Movie Network programming is carried on Optus, Foxtel, Austar and Select TV, with other, non-traditional platforms on the horizon. “They’re doing a lot more web based content now,” he says. “We’re having some discussions at the moment about how that rich content to the extra

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By Phil Sandberg

“This is the Broadcast Centre

or BC. The multi-viewer we wanted because we wanted to make sure we utilised the most amount of space. Miranda’s Kaleido KX multiviewer is a wonderful system. We can call up on the various screens, full images, then change back down to small boxes. When we were putting it together someone said ‘well how are you going to get the 10 channels out of here if you’ve already filled up the screens’, that’s why we’ve got near field monitoring so that you know in the end that will become a video wall where they’re doing confidence monitoring, but then they have the near field monitoring as well. Pebble Beach is the automation system that we’ve gone with and we’ve got the branding kits and we’re watching the off-air signals. “We’ve got three pods. We built it so that the centre pod can run the whole facility depending on what’s happening. If we need two people then we can run two pods and as we grow we can run the three, so it can do live breakaway channels. Everything goes back to the centre but if we want to do a live event we can break that individual event away to the next pod. “When we did Optus, we built different rooms for them, and we went ‘well that’s really not what you need going forward’. So, we built it so that they could still do independent things, but be together as a team and so they could feed off each other.”

portals for them. They’re delivering to iTunes. They’ve done an experiment where they played on episode on ITunes before putting it on pay TV. “Subscription TV is still their core driver, but they’re very progressive, which is why I love them as a partner, knowing that they’ve got to look at all the models that are around and think about the future and who are the clients of the future for them, which is, you know, the younger generation of sitting on the trains with their portable devices and looking at the internet and You Tube. “What was very key to both of us was we’ve

actually started a R&D development fund, and the charter of that is that they’re not allowed to think about now. It’s not about, ‘do we go and buy this latest piece of equipment to enhance the service’. The charter of the development fund is to actually look at the future, look into the future and how is it going to benefit their business, how is it going to benefit our business? “It’s all about the future and the team that’s on it, which is a mixture of Movie Network and ourselves, are really excited at what we’re doing because, while it’s going to be a benefit to them and it’s going Continued on Page 56

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Transmission

Transmission/Playroom Tour Continued from Page 55

“This is what we call the MC, our media centre and it’s a multi-pod. When I was at Optus, there were all benches around the wall and there was just no sort of feel to it and no inter-reaction. I wanted a pod hanging off and I wanted the four monitors so that everyone was interacting with each other. “So this can go around the clock 24 hours a day. The original ingests get done here, whether it’s tape delivery, this is where the QC gets done. “We’ve got what we call a EC2 or EC squared, we still have some tape formats in there, because you know they are still delivering on tape, HD, SD but you know we’ve also then got the server. So, this is the central part where all of the prep work and all the transcoding to the varying formats gets done.” to be a benefit to the Playroom, we also strongly believe that we’re driving the direction of the industry and where the industry’s going as well.”

THE PLAY-LIST

Omnilab Media’s Yurong Street headquarters include The Playroom’s new digital media hub which integrates post production facilities into digital workflows aggregating and broadcasting content in multiple formats to multiple locations and platforms. The facility includes eight workstations, a technical equipment room and an operations equipment room.

The operations room houses the broadcast centre, media centre and QC facility. The broadcast centre, responsible for transmission, also utilises large format monitoring and a multi-functional desk. The media centre has four operational areas handling the ingest process for all channels’ transmission and production requirements and the Quality Control suites also contain Final Cut Pro solutions. “I wanted it to be new age and show the future,” says Andrew Hogg, “show that while we’ve built this facility now, we’re still thinking about what’s happening in the future and the closest thing that I can think of where we’re heading in the future is the whole Trekky experience. It’s amazing how many people when they’ve walked in the broadcast centre have gone ‘it looks like the bridge of the Enterprise’. I’ve gone, you beauty, it’s what I was looking for. “If I go back seven years, we were the first people to do what would have been a near tapeless environment. Yes, it was low res and you then had to go in and conform in post edit suites and it wasn’t completely tapeless, but it was a pretty big initiative at the time. It’s become the stock standard of broadcast and the digital value chain and digital workflows all the way through. We feel that what we did seven years ago helped drive where the industry was going.”

Partnering with Hogg and his team to realise the vision of the new facility was Magna Systems & Engineering who were instrumental in launching the first Playroom seven years ago. “That was for several reasons. They could see where where I wanted to go and, in hearing them talk, it wasn’t just about we’ll bolt this kit together and there she blows. It was really about the long term. “We had history with them, but the fact is that we did go out to tender and we took that tender extremely seriously. I can’t tell you the amount of hours that the team poured over the responses and sent back questions because when you do get opportunities like this you do want to make sure that you’ve got the right partner. “The planning of this facility started four years ago. It was four years in the planning, just over 12 months and then it was six months of the actual build. We actually called the project, Project Six Months, we thought it was a realistic while very, very quick to build what is a massive facility.” A key part of this massive facility is its networked post production capability. To aid its clients residing on other floors of the Yurong Street building, the Playroom rolled out 65 seats of Apple’s Final Cut Pro (split between MTV and the Movie Network) which are linked back to the Playroom. According to Hogg, the teams from the Playroom and Magna Systems spent “a lot of time writing code, developing code, thinking of ways to link the systems together, so that all of the interfaces are seamless and actually talk to each other. The big issue has always been post talking to broadcast. We used to have five different databases and they were all independent and that’s where the problem was, but now they all talk to each other.” As well as individual operator’s workstations and, of course, the facility’s Broadcast Centre, quality control is also undertaken from smaller rooms in the Playroom via the building’s own network in the form of IPTV type delivery to TVs and streaming for 5.1 audio QC. The heavy QC lifting is undertaken by Baton, the automated content verification system from Interra Systems. “We’re doing file based QC,” says Hogg, “and Continued on Page 59

56 Transmission/Playroom Tour

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>> Grass Builds Abc/Win Play-Out The Australian Broadcasting Corporation/WIN Corporation joint venture playout facility (as revealed in C+T July/August) will see Grass Valley serve as the prime contractor to design, build, and equip the new multi-channel, multi-client HD/SD play-out centre in Sydney. The custom-built play-out centre will include ingest, storage, asset management, automated play-out, monitoring, and headend systems with all applicable equipment and professional services being provided by Grass Valley. The multi-million $AUD play-out centre will be the first facility in Australia to host multi-client, free-to-air broadcasters and will be equipped with Grass Valley K2 media servers for online and near-line storage using new 1 TB RAID disks, K2 Summit servers for time delay, Maestro SD/HD branding and master control systems, Trinix NXT routers, and GeckoFlex signal processing products for signal switching and conditioning. A ContentShare2 workflow and media asset management system will be used within the play-out centre as well as to interface the play-out centre with its multiple clients’ individual production centre. A Granite Sentinel will be used for ASI monitoring of the play-out centre’s MPEG-2 transport streams. As part of the project, Grass Valley has also been commissioned to interface and integrate the new play-out centre with the existing operations of both the ABC and WIN, including central ingest and disaster recovery facilities. See C+T’s video at www.content-technology.info Visit www.grassvalley.com

>> Vietnam TV Transmits with Harris Harris Corporation has been awarded a contract to provide 11 Maxiva ULX liquid-cooled transmitters to Vietnam Television (VTV), the national broadcaster in Vietnam. This represents the first order of Maxiva transmitters in the Asia-Pacific region, following the successful global launch of the product, and will form part of a substantial expansion project to support the future rollout of digital television across Vietnam.  The VTV order comprises five 5 kW and six 10 kW Maxiva ULX transmitters, which are to be located across Vietnam to serve the key urban areas including Hanoi, Ho Chi Min and Hue City. The Maxiva ULX Series is best-suited to highpower UHF applications beginning at 1 kW and extending up to the highest power levels required for terrestrial digital transmission. Maxiva ULX transmitters come standard with the Harris Apex M2X exciter — which enables analogue broadcasters to transition to digital via a simple software update. Broadcast and Information Development Corporation (EMICO) served as the systems integrator for this project. Visit www.harris.com

>> MediaScape Expands DTH in Philippines After launching its direct-to-home satellite (DTH) TV service in standard definition during 2008 with Grass Valley ViBE EM2000 and EM1000 standarddefinition MPEG-4 encoders,  MediaScape, Inc., a subsidiary of Mediaquest with Philippine Long Distance Company as the parent company, has placed a new order for additional ViBE EM2000 standard-definition and ViBE EM3000 high-definition encoders to upgrade the service to include more SD channels and approximately 7 HD channels. The new HD channels debuted in July. The order also includes a multi-year Service Level Agreement for Grass Valley engineers to maintain the system and keep it operational 24/7. The ViBE equipment has been installed within the company’s main head-end facility in Angeles City, Pampanga.

>> RF Extreme Lands in Singapore RF Extreme, a business unit within The Vitec Group that comprises leading microwave brands Nucomm, Microwave Service Company and RF Central, has announced its expansion in the Asia market with the addition of its new regional sales headquarters located in Singapore. To lead its expansion into the Asia market, RF Extreme has recruited industry veteran Peter Bruce. The new RF Extreme Asia headquarters is located at Vitec’s Camera Dynamics existing regional office. The Singapore regional headquarters is backed by integrated engineering, technical and customer support resources from both Nucomm’s and RF Central’s US headquarters. Visit www.vitecgroup.com

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Transmission/Whitepaper

Transmission/Playroom Tour Continued from Page 56

MHEG Interaction Channel By Giri Valliappan, Director of Market Development, IMPALA (International MHEG Promotion Alliance). One of the great

debates occupying the broadcast world at the moment – a debate that is set to intensify – is how broadcast network services are going to combine with those delivered via IP networks. The potential for such hybrid broadcast broadband scenarios via a single receiver device is clear for all to see. The popularity of over-the-top (OTT) video services like Hulu in the USA and the BBC’s iPlayer in the UK clearly indicate a high level of consumer demand for quality TV content that can be downloaded or streamed on-demand by the user. The major challenge in hybrid networks is to allow broadcasters and content providers to be able to maintain control both of their content and brand in such an environment, while providing viewers with the flexibility of seamless access to content that they are interested in watching. This requirement forms the basis of recent work to enhance the MHEG-5 public standard interactive TV with the development of the MHEG-5 Interaction Channel (MHEG-IC). MHEG-5 - as used by Freeview and Freesat in the UK, FreeView NZ, TVB in Hong Kong and recently specified by Freeview Malaysia and South Africa’s DTT platform – is a low-cost, high performance solution for interactive TV services including hybrid broadcast broadband operation. MHEG-5 facilitates the development of successful ‘horizontal’ or retail receiver markets using countryspecific profiles and effective conformance test suites to ensure interoperability between different receiver implementations. 2010 will see the deployment of MHEG-5 within some new digital media platforms across the Asia Pacific region. This will initially support the rollout of a platform EPG that will provide listings information on all channels regardless of the channel being watched. The platform EPG will also allow channel and the services’ branding onscreen as well as integrated PVR support including series links and accurate recording control.

MHEG-5 Interaction Channel (MHEG-IC)

Recent work by the DTG in the UK has lead to the development of the MHEG-5 Interaction Channel (MHEG-IC), which enables an extension of broadcast interactive services to be delivered via an IP connection. In order to address the finite capacity of the broadcast network to carry interactive content, settop boxes, integrated digital TVs (iDTVs) and PVRs conforming to the MHEG-5 IC specification can be

58 Transmission/Whitepaper

connected to a broadband connection through the home network and public internet using a standard ISP connection. Interactive applications, streamed AV content and associated data can be accessed either via the broadcast carousel transmission or via the IP connection. The principles behind the MHEG-IC are to provide a seamless viewer experience of broadcast delivered content augmented with content delivered over IP as an extension of the channel or network. Broadcasters have full editorial control of the user experience. The MHEG-IC gives access to streamed on-demand video content in addition to traditional text and graphics as well as the ability to support secure transactions. Whilst there is strong consumer demand for ondemand services such as catch-up TV, the widespread deployment of the MHEG-IC will be dependent upon the availability of fast, good quality of service and uncapped broadband connections. Most consumer devices are not professionally installed and the ease of connection to the home network is paramount in the success of any broadband content. For this reason, the MHEG-IC uses the same standard protocols used to deliver web content to PCs: TCPIP, HTTP and HTTPS. This means that no special configuration of the home network is needed – if it’s possible to browse the web from your home PC, then the MHEG-IC will also work when connected to the same network. The MHEG-IC can access content (applications, text, graphics and streaming media) from either the broadcast network or the IP connection. The MHEGIC uses a sophisticated ‘Hybrid File System’, where the user in not aware whether the content is delivered via broadcast or over IP. This enables broadcasters to create common applications that can work on both IP-connected and unconnected receivers in a seamless and user-friendly way. The MHEG-IC allows the application to determine whether or not an IP connection is possible (i.e. the receiver is equipped with the appropriate hardware and software) and whether or not it is actually available (i.e. has the user actually connected the receiver to the home network?).

MHEG-IC and streaming media

MHEG-5 can access and control video and audio streams; these can be delivered either via the usual broadcast methods or with the MHEG-IC extension, via the IP connection. Streamed video at up to at least 2Mbits/sec is delivered to the receiver using

industry-standard IP protocols and MPEG-4 H.264 encoding identical to that used in the broadcast environment. This approach simplifies the development of receivers and ensures a minimum cost solution to the end user. In addition, relying on standard protocols and encoding methods ensures that the technology will have a suitably long product lifetime demanded for consumer electronics devices and will not be made obsolete by new technology as so often happens in the PC environment. The MHEG-5 application has full control over the presentation of any streaming media and can provide control of the video either via on-screen controls using the basic remote control or through the playback keys on the remote control if they are present.

MHEG-IC Security

The MHEG-IC employs a number of levels of security, all relying on a “Broadcaster Trust” model. Certificates for secure HTTP connections are delivered over the broadcast transmission and can easily be updated. Applications delivered via the IP connection must be digitally signed and checked with a certificate delivered over-the-air to the receiver, protecting users from inappropriate content in the event of the internet server being hi-jacked. In addition, an approved server list provided in the broadcast carousel identifies which servers may be accessed by the receiver. The MHEG-IC does not support standard web browsing using HTML and Java Script, but provides a TV-centric presentation of content with a standard TV remote control user interface.

New Services

With the availability of the MHEG-IC in both settop boxes, iDTVs and PVRs, broadcasters and content owners are now able to offer a whole new range of interactive services based on both the “push” and/or “pull” service models. Receivers with storage capacity (i.e. PVRs, iDTVs with builtin HDDs) potentially enable content to be pushed and stored onto the receiver via the broadcast/IP connection. Additional content can be requested by the consumer via the “pull” mechanisms offered by the IP connection. Broadcasters are now able to deploy applications such as home shopping, voting, enhanced programme guides, pushVoD, CatchUp TV (streaming-based or storage-based), targeted advertising etc. Visit www.impala.org

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the beauty of that is that because there are so many flavours now, multi-flavours you know you’ve got high definition so it’s got a standard, standard definition, mobile phones, there’s like 23 different standards at the same time, so we can actually set the parameters in Baton to a particular format that we require and then it will spit out a report for us. “That’s great, but black is black and there’s a true reference, so we still obviously eyeball our QCs and listen to the 5.1 audio as well.”

HEART OF THE MATTER

At the heart of the new Playroom is the machine room which is split into two parts - the production system and the central staging area. “We chose Isilon for our central staging. Basically what happens is that every piece of content, whether it’s digitally delivered via FTP or we get it delivered on tape, everything ends up in the Isilon central storage. From there, it disperses out. “If the content needs to have a QC done, it automatically gets transferred out to get a Baton QC done. If it needs to go to broadcast, it automatically gets sent to broadcast. Everything hits the Isilon, gets transferred to where it needs to go and then gets sent back. From there, it gets sent to the StorageTek archive. We consider it more than near-line storage, it’s actually the central hub.” A stipulation in the new Playroom tendering process was the construction of a disaster recovery site. In a clever use of existing resources (and some environmentally friendly recycling), a new DR site was built using the Playroom’s old home in Artarmon. “We feel the clients need a DR,” says Andrew Hogg. “We wanted to find some clever and efficient ways to build a HD-DR site without building a duplicate site. “We’re the only non-network to have a facility and a disaster recovery site. So, it’s not just about here, we’re actually rebuilding the original Playroom over at Artarmon to be a full HD disaster recovery site as well. “We looked long and hard at that because, obviously, Omnilab as a whole, we’ve got a massive site in Melbourne, so we looked at well do we do DR in Melbourne? We’ve got our own network between Sydney and Melbourne, so bandwidth wasn’t an issue. We actually even looked at doing it offshore. We’ve got October and AAV sitting over in New Zealand, so we looked at that as well. “But, in going through all of that, I believe [Artarmon] is far enough away and for the following reasons. They’re across the bridge, they’ve got the diversity so if there was a major event that happened around the city or this side of the bridge we’ve got two ways of getting there. We can go across the bridge, but we can also go the other way, Victoria Road, so there’s two entry points. Power also isn’t an issue for us because at both of our sites we’ve got the UPS diesel generators. “We’re leveraging on the infrastructure that we already had within the Play Room so that it became an efficient and cost-effective solution for the partners.”

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PART OF THE MACHINE ROOM at the new playroom The two sites are linked via a fibre network. The new Playroom is also linked to Globecast, Foxtel and to Telstra’s Digital Video Network (DVN). “The Playroom is no different to a network station,” says Hogg. “We provide all the services that you would normally get at Channel 9, Channel 10, SBS. The only difference is we don’t do it for ourselves, we do it for our partners. So, we always need to remain mindful that it’s not just our charter, but it’s our partner’s charter we need to fulfil.” For Hogg, fulfilling that charter also involved making sure the facility was equipped with “multis”. “It’s multi-format - HD, SD, IPTV, mobile phones, internet, hand held devices like Apple and Nine MSN. It’s a team that are multi-talented, having a team that are able to multi-skill. We’ve made sure that the team are multi-skilled in what they do. “Multi-channel, obviously we weren’t building it just for the clients that we had. We were building in multichannel, multi-platform and we made sure that we built the foundation as building blocks, so that everything is scaleable.” The playroom GM says this scalability carries through every part of the facility - from router right through. “We built the first part of the broadcast digital media hub to the 10 network channels. Then, off the back of that, you can stream IPTV signals. You can take parts of that and deliver it to mobiles. “But, we’ve built the first one to 10. Currently we’ve got MTV that we deliver to New Zealand and the three Movie Network channels, so Movie One, Extra and

Greats, so we’ve got four. The first bit’s been built for 10. Then we just add on. We’ll build another lot for 10, add on, build another lot for 10. “The business is out there. We can just continue to scale up, that’s the beauty. We own the building, we built and designed the building, but if it became big enough we could do the same on the next floor. “It’s unlimited, but we need to be realistic that we are in the Australian market and that you know while they’re very exciting times and there’s new opportunities - new channels that are either coming on board or expanding - the Australian market has that growth limitation. We went let’s start with 10 as core, and on the back of that we can do streams to independent platforms if we need to and commercial insertion. We don’t class those as being another channel, as part of the 10, they’re just subsets of what we do.” With the expansion of service offering and six months of operation under his belt, how does the Playroom GM rate the new facility? “It exceeded my expectations because I didn’t think as a team and, with our partners Magna, we could actually get out of my brain exactly what we built. “I have no concern that we will continue to lead the way in digital workflows and digital libraries. Some announcements are about to come out soon about repurposing clients’ media from the central hub, from the central storage, to multiple destinations, not just the traditional. We’ve got some big plans and some big announcements to come out soon.” Visit http://theplayroom.tv

Transmission/Playroom Tour 59


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BABBLING Brooks – The Last Word from Gerry Brooks

Horsing Around with OB Comms Another story

on OBs from the 1960s when I was working for PAY-TV in England and covering horse racing. Our usual OB company had a prior engagement so we had to use a different company. As liaison engineer, I figured I had better be there at the beginning to show them where everything was, rather than just turning up in time to do line tests. I thought I knew where everything was needed, though I had never been to Kempton Park to oversee the set up from scratch. So there I was, 0700 on a cool, crisp English morning ushering the new OB company’s van through the gates of Kempton Park Racecourse. I had never actually seen Camera 1’s position but I showed the OB Supervisor a layout of the racecourse. “Camera 1 covers the start, along the straight to the first corner, where Camera 2 takes over around the bend into the final straight, and Camera 3 takes over for the finish.” I said. “Camera 2 is also opposite the saddling enclosure and covers that area before and after the race. We will need an interview mic there along with one at Camera 3 position for interviewing celebrities and owners. We will need audience effects mics hanging down in the Grandstand and a programme feed to two TV sets in the bar at the back of the Grandstand”. He nodded his understanding. “The announcer’ box is at the top of the Grandstand, he will need Programme feed to his monitor, a lip microphone for commentary plus a headset with Programme audio in one ear, producer talkback in the other and mic for talkback to the van.” “British Telecom (BT) junction box is beside the van and we have one video circuit, one audio circuit and an order wire to the studio and all camera, video and audio ties come back to the same area”. “Easy” was his only comment. Off they went and set up continued without a problem. As soon as the van was connected up and powered, line tests over the link back to the studio were conducted satisfactorily. All was complete by 0930; the first race being at 1100 and On Air time was 1055. We broke for morning tea returning at 1000 for final checks. We went up to the announcer’s

box to check he was all OK. No announcer. I found a phone in the bar to ring the studio and after some consultation they said he wasn’t home so could only assume he was on his way. Oh for the invention of a mobile phone! 1030 and still no announcer. I was panicking, and the studio was making arrangements to use the studio announcer instead when he finally turned up at 1045. He checked talkback to the OB van, that he could hear and see the Programme feed and then turned to me to say “Where is my betting phone?” “Betting phone? What betting phone? What does it look like?” was my reply. “Black, with a handset, round thingy in the middle!” was the retort. I fled back to the OB van to talk to the studio. “What is this about a betting phone for the announcer?” I pleaded. At this time, although PAY-TV had the rights for coverage of horse racing from Kempton Park, we were prohibited from showing the betting odds of the bookmakers on the course. The only odds we were allowed to quote were from the Turf Accountants as the high street bookmakers were called, similar to today’s TAB system here in Australia. Apparently, PAY-TV had an arrangement with a friendly London bookmaker and they conferred on the phone with the announcer to give him the odds for all the races throughout the day. “But there is no phone in the announcer’s booth. Where does this phone come from? I’ve never seen it before!” I said. “The OB van people supply it” was the reply.

I grabbed the OB Supervisor, “Do you have a phone handset?” He pulled one from the back of the van, a long length of telephone cable, and a headset with croc clips on the end of the lead. “Follow me!” I cried and we raced off to the announce booth. We were On Air by this time of course, so speed was essential. Fortunately, there was a BT connection box on the wall in the corridor just outside the booth. I pulled open the door and using the headset with the pair of croc clips, I went down the rows of terminals until I found some dial tone. I wrapped the ends of the phone cable around the terminals and checked I could ring out to the studio. I waited for a brief break in the announcer’s chat and put the phone on his desk. He muted his mic, picked up the phone, listened, looked at me and said “There is no one there”. “Don’t you ring them?” “No, they are always on the line”. Back to the van I went, called the studio. “What’s the story with the bookmakers and the announcer? I have given him a phone, but he expects them to call him” “That’s right, they ring him and leave the line open, you cannot hang up on an incoming call you know. What’s the number?” “I don’t know!” I yelled, “I just picked up a vacant line in the Telecom box. Get me the number of the bookmaker.” I raced back to the announcer, dialed the number I was given, got the right guy and gave the phone to the announcer. “Whatever you do,” I said to him, “Don’t hang up or you will have to keep dialing them!” This is what OB life is like, doing whatever is necessary to get and stay On Air. So we progressed without any further trouble through the day and someone, somewhere, in Kempton Park paid for that phone call! I’m sure it’s much easier these days, especially for the Melbourne Cup! Gerry Brooks is an Independent Consultant. You can reach him via email at gerry.brooks@gmail.com

Read the Blog Online at www.babblingbrooks.tv 64 Babbling Brooks

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Content + Technology Nov/Dec 2009  

Content + Technology interprets in depth the management and technology issues confronting today's media companies for managers, operators an...

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