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SHAW BIZ Dubai production firm covers Rickshaw Run

KITTED OUT Lebanese post house boasts first DI facility

FILMS GALORE

Hasan Sayed Hasan,head of twofour54 intaj

Best of the fests from Doha and Abu Dhabi

twofour54

INTAJ LIGHTS UP Abu Dhabi facility boosts regional production infrastructure

An ITP Business Publication

Vol. 11 Issue 11 November 2009


Broadcast & Professional Video/Photo Equipment


NOVEMBER 2009 VOLUME 11 ISSUE 11

CONTENTS

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24

28

33

5

NEWS Imagenation teams up with ex-Dreamworks heads / Abu Dhabi and Endemol sign format deal / Sony announces ‘Power of Images’ event / Jordanian animation firm to play on world stage / Saudi filmmaker wins US $100,000 Shasha grant

14

DOHA TRIBECA FILM FEST

18

COVER STORY

24

MEIFF WRAP-UP

Digital Studio talks to five filmmakers who make their first one-minute films for the fest.

Digital Studio takes a tour of twofour54 intaj and highlights its key features.

A look at some of the highlights of the Middle East International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi.

28

ON LOCATION

33

POST PRODUCTION SPECIAL

40

KITTED OUT

Talkabout Media and The Deck tell us about the adventures they faced while producing the Rickshaw Run, a race from Goa to Nepal, for TV.

Amitaabh Naaraayan fills us in on the nuances of colour grading while Suzzanne Rebello answers readers’ queries on editing and VFX.

Lebanese post production house The Gate expands to include the country’s first digital intermediate workflow. We take you on a tour.

42 INDUSTRY FOCUS

Digital Studio looks at some of the newest camera support systems and lenses from leading market players.

56 PRODUCTS What’s hot this month!

64 www.digitalproductionme.com

MEBS/METV show Rapid fire with Dominic McGill on the Abu Dhabi broadcast and TV show.

NOVEMBER 2009

1


COMMENT NOVEMBER 2009

Abu Dhabi activates content production A new TV and broadcast show will be hosted in Abu Dhabi next month. Many industry figures have been calling us to find out what it’s all about. “Why do we need two shows in a country that’s so tiny anyway?” most protest. Several manufacturers and distributors are wary of having to expand their marketing budgets during a recession to accommodate one more show in the region. Others fear being at a disadvantage if their competition is exhibiting at a show at which they are not. The question, therefore, on everybody’s lips is why does Abu Dhabi need another show like CABSAT or another international film festival when there is one just 100 kms down the road. Besides the obvious reasons of the UAE capital sparing no money and effort this last year to drum up publicity for itself and wanting to be perceived as a regional media hub, I believe the new event is likely to complement what we already have in the region rather than compete with it. No doubt CABSAT is presently the Middle East’s largest broadcast exhibition and an established show that has proved its worth in the last few years. Dubai will continue to be the bold innovator, ready to take risks and seek new avenues for growth thanks to the vision of the emirate’s ruler, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. However, the Middle East Broadcast Solutions (MEBS) and the Middle East TV shows in Abu Dhabi are seeking to bring something more to the region as a whole. Surely, there will

be synergies. MEBS will follow along the same lines as CABSAT and seek to woo the same technology suppliers. However, METV is looking to bring something more to the table. It wouldn’t be wrong to conjecture that Nexus, the show organiser, is seeking to create a mini MIPCOM in the region. Dubai has already ventured in this direction on a smaller scale with the Dubai Film Market, which runs alongside the Dubai International Film Festival every year. However, Abu Dhabi will seek to widen the scope of such an event by including exhibitors, speakers from international studios and the like to ensure that it provides a common platform for creating, co-producing, buying, selling, financing and distributing entertainment content across all platforms. At some point, the UAE capital also hopes that all the other initiatives it has put in place such as the Abu Dhabi Film Commission, twofour54 and its partnerships with international players to encourage the production of Arabic content will bear fruit. This will, in turn, help not just Abu Dhabi but the UAE as a whole to become an active player in the content production and distribution chain. The objective is noble. We say, Go Abu Dhabi!

Registered at Dubai Media City PO Box 500024, Dubai, UAE Tel: 00 971 4 210 8000, Fax: 00 971 4 210 8080 Web: www.itp.com Offices in Dubai & London ITP Business Publishing CEO Walid Akawi Managing Director Neil Davies Deputy Managing Director Matthew Southwell Editorial Director David Ingham VP Sales Wayne Lowery Editorial Senior Group Editor, Broadcast & Media Aaron Greenwood Tel: +971 4 435 6251 email: aaron.greenwood@itp.com Editor Vijaya Cherian Tel: +971 4 435 6296 email: vijaya.cherian@itp.com Assistant Editor Patrick Elligett Tel: +971 4 435 6181 patrick.elligett@itp.com Advertising Commercial Director, Broadcast & Media Fred Dubery Tel: +971 4 435 6339 email: fred@itp.com Sales Manager Gavin Murphy Tel: +971 4 435 6369 email: gavin.murphy@itp.com N.American Advertisement Director Michael J. Mitchell Tel: +1 631 673 3199 email: mjmitchell@broadcast-media.tv Japan Representative Mikio Tsuchiya Tel: + 81 354 568230 email: ua9m-tcy@asahi-net.or.jp Studio Group Art Editor Daniel Prescott Designer Martin Staniszewski Photography Director of Photography Sevag Davidian Chief Photographer Nemanja Seslija Senior Photographers Alan Desiderio, Efraim Evidor, Khatuna Khutsishvili Staff Photographers Khaled Termanini, Thanos Lazopoulos, John Pocock, Jovana Obradovic, George Dipin, Samin Abarqoi, Leila Cranswick, Rajesh Raghav, Ruel Pableo, Louis Savage Production & Distribution Group Production Manager Kyle Smith Production Manager Eleanor Zwanepoel Managing Picture Editor Patrick Littlejohn Image Retoucher Emmalyn Robles Distribution Manager Karima Ashwell Distribution Executive Nada Al Alami Circulation Head of Circulation and Database Gaurav Gulati Marketing Head of Marketing Daniel Fewtrell ITP Digital Director Peter Conmy ITP Group

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Chairman Andrew Neil Managing Director Robert Serafin Finance Director Toby Jay Spencer-Davies Board of Directors K.M. Jamieson, Mike Bayman, Walid Akawi, Neil Davies, Rob Corder, Mary Serafin Circulation Customer Service Tel: +971 4 435 6000 Certain images in this issue are available for purchase. Please contact itpimages@itp.com for further details or visit www.itpimages.com Printed by Color Lines Press Subscribe online at www.itp.com/subscriptions

ON THIS MONTH’S COVER

SHAW BIZction firm Dubai produ haw Run covers Ricks

KITTED OUThouse post Lebanese DI facility boasts first

Digital Studio takes a tour of AbuDhabi’s twofour54 intaj and highlights the key features at the facility. Read the full story on page 18.

ORE FILMS GAL from

Hasan Sayed

Hasan,head

of twofour54

intaj

fests Best of the i Abu Dhab Doha and

TAJ ILN IGHTS UP

The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the reader’s particular circumstances. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review.

twofour54

ts regional i facility boos Abu Dhab

An ITP Business

re infrastructu production Vol. 11 Issue

er 11 Novemb

2009

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Published by and © 2009 ITP Business Publishing, a division of the ITP Publishing Group Ltd. Registered in the B.V.I. under Company Number 1402846.

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NEWS REGIONAL UPDATE

IMAGENATION TEAMS UP WITH EX-DREAMWORKS HEADS

IN BRIEF SCREEN SUBTITLING IN LEBANON

(left) Former DreamWorks heads Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, and right, Ashok Amritraj of Hyde, ADACH’s Al Mazrouei, Dr. Christopher Chia of MDA and Edward Borgerding.

Imagenation Abu Dhabi has partnered with producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald to form a company dedicated to funding new film projects. The new venture, which consists of an initial US $10 million revolving fund, will give Walter Parkes and his wife, Laurie MacDonald — both former co-heads of DreamWorks — the opportunity to develop film projects under the Parkes/MacDonald Productions banner. Parkes said the partnership “reflects many of the realities of today’s rapidly changing film business”. “Regardless of how financial models change or which platforms evolve to deliver filmed entertainment to the audience, at the end of the day it still comes down to the script. This venture embodies that philosophy,” he commented. H.E. Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, chairman of Imagenation Abu Dhabi, called the partnership “an important strategic and financial venture”. “It serves as a pipeline in which valuable material

will be generated to complement and enhance our existing partnerships with Participant Media, National Geographic and Hyde Park Entertainment while also creating new relationships with other major Hollywood studios,” he stated. Imagenation has previously tied with Participant Media ($250 million), Hyde Park Entertainment ($250 million)and National Geographic ($100 million) to co-finance slate deals. Imagenation Abu Dhabi and Hyde Park Entertainment Group futher expanded therir partnership last month to include Singapore’s Media Development Authority (MDA). The deal will see the newly aligned trio launch its Asian headquarters in Singapore and co-produce an English-language feature that will be announced in the coming weeks. The new deal will see Imagenation Abu Dhabi and Hyde Park jointly funding three to four films a year, with an estimated production value of US $75 million over the next five years.

Screen Subtitling Systems has appointed Beirut-based Broadcast & Communication Systems its sales representative in Lebanon. Under the terms of the deal, Broadcast & Communication Systems will distribute and service Screen Subtitling’s products in the country. Prior to the deal, Screen Subtitling finalised a contract with ART to supply technology to enable Arabic subtitling based on the MPEG-4 format. The technology is included in the new set top boxes developed by Open Tech and Viaccess that are currently being rolled by ART to subscribers across the MENA region.

ROYAL FILM COMMISSION PROVIDES AVID TECH COURSE The Royal Film Commission – Jordan (RFCJ) staged a four-day beginner course for Avid Media Composer last month. The course provided students with an overview of the core workflow and concepts involved in non-linear editing using the Avid system. Featured topics included capturing video and audio, editing and trimming techniques, audio editing, titles, finishing, final output, basic colour correction and basic effects. The session was divided between demonstration and hands-on practice with sample materials to illustrate.

ABU DHABI AND ENDEMOL SIGN FORMAT DEAL Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC) has signed a deal with international production giant Endemol for the rights to its new format, The Marriage Ref. Under the terms of the agreement, ADMC will screen the US version of the show, which is being executive produced by US comedian Jerry Seinfeld. A local version of the series will also be produced by Endemol Middle East. “This is the show that everyone is talking

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about and we are extremely excited about producing a local version for the Middle East,” said Ziad Kebbi, managing director of Endemol Middle East. The deal was signed at this year’s MIPCOM event in Cannes, which has been running all week. Endemol Middle East has previously developed localised versions of other Endemol formats including Ton of Cash, Fear Factor and Wipeout.

Jerry Seinfeld.

NOVEMBER 2009 5


NEWS REGIONAL UPDATE

IN BRIEF OMAN INVESTS IN HD FLYPACK Oman’s Ministry of Information (MOI) has invested in a new HD flyback system and several Sony HD camcorders to cover some of its events in high definition. The $380,000 Vislink flypack system will be delivered to the MOI later this month while the $620,000 Sony solution which included the HD CAM PTW700 with Fujinon lenses, the HDW1500 recorder and PTDU1 mobile player was supplied in summer . Both solutions were provided by Omanbased systems integrator, Mustafa Sultan Security & Communication Systems Co LLC. “The flypack kit is movable either by flight or can be used on a mobile van so it’s really handy to cover events,” stated Joseph Coutinho, senior manager of operations. “We will provide both factory and on-site training to ensure that the client can maximise the potential of this system.” Oman made headlines earlier this year, when it released a tender for a high-budget, state-of-the-art HD broadcast facility for the Sultanate. Three systems integrators are in the running for the project, which is due to be announced later this year.

VITAL STATS Dubai-based Citruss TV sees 35% rise in sales compared to last year. 70% of the TV’s clients are Arab-speaking women. The highest number of sales is reported to have come from Saudi Arabia, followed by the UAE and Kuwait.

SONY ANNOUNCES ‘POWER OF IMAGES’ EVENT IN DUBAI True to its promise that it will bring its solutions closer to the end user after backing out of IBC this year, Sony Professional Solutions is hosting an event dubbed Power of Images in Dubai from December 16-17. The event, which is one of a series of campaigns planned across Europe, the Middle East and Africa by Sony, will seek to bring customers together to participate in workshops and gain a better understanding of its solutions. “The event in Dubai will be the first in a series of events across the MEA zone to highlight the rapid growth of the media industry in the Arab region and create a pool of resources for the professionals and end-users residing here,” commented Hideaki Nakamura, regional divisional director, Sony Professional Solutions Middle East. “These events are being held in key international markets and the fact that the UAE will host one of the first of this series is testimony to the growth we are experiencing here. There’s something for everyone interested in our solutions be they broadcast managers, engineers, operators, production houses, universities & educational institutions, system integrators, AV consultants, rental houses, retail customers or government and corporate users,” he added. The Power of Images event is currently traveling around the world. Roadshows and master classes have already been held around Europe and at SATIS, Paris. Nakamura says the campaign is based on the fundamentals of Sony’s previous ‘Experience’ marketing programme, an event that he claims helped deliver strong growth for the EX camera range. “The Experience programme used to include a series of hands-on events and targeted digital market-

Hideaki Nakamura.

ing, built on customer-led experiences. We will exploit the principles of that campaign and expand on it to create the Power of Images programme. A key part of our strategy is to work with existing Sony customers to lead events and run workshops where customers come together to share their knowledge and gain new skills,” he added. The event will focus on new solutions from the new SRW-9000 HDCAM SR camcorders; the XDCAM, HDV and AVCHD products; live production solutions incorporating system cameras and switchers, professional monitors such as the BVM master series, Network Productions Systems with the latest version of HDXChange, large scale news production system (and many accessories. Expect also to see the Ziris Canvas and Sony’s professional HD LCD displays. The campaign will see Sony host more than 100 local customer workshops, seven major exhibitions and 30 roadshow events worldwide over the next year. Registration for the event can be done at www. sonybiz.net/powerofimages.

ADMC LAUNCHES NEW RADIO STATION Abu Dhabi Media Company launched a new channel called Abu Dhabi Classic FM last month to coincide with the opening of the second season of the Abu Dhabi Classics music festival. True to its name, the radio channel will air the works of Beethoven, Mahler, Vivaldi and other legendary composers. Abu Dhabi Classic FM will include jazz and world music in addition to an inspiring classical repertoire. The station will also provide news and information on all events associated with the Abu Dhabi Classics 2010 season, a year long is a year-long programme of classical

6 NOVEMBER 2009

western performance focusing on music and dance. The new season opened with a performance from The New York Philharmonic orchestra at the Emirates Palace auditorium in Abu Dhabi on October 23. Karim Sarkis, executive director of Broadcast at ADMC stated that the radio station will “complement the capital’s cultural events while reaching out to a sophisticated and culturally attuned audience of decision makers that has never been tapped before, with a programming line up that is on par with international standards”.

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NEWS REGIONAL UPDATE

IN BRIEF

an Farnam. From left: Lino Manfrotto with Pooy

MANFROTTO LAUDS DUBAI DISTI Manfrotto recently commended its UAE distributor Advanced Media Trading for being among the top three worldwide to achieve an increase in the sale of its products despite the downturn. “Based on our records until September end, we’ve seen a 9% increase in sales for video, photo as well as lighting support systems compared to last year,” claimed Pooyan Farnam, brand manager for Manfrotto, Advanced Media. Ivano Bosio, international sales manager of VitecGroup also added that Advanced Media had sold almost as many fig rigs as Bogen US in 2009.

VITAL STATS The total distributions of performance rights collections increased by 16% to US$1.5 billion in 2008, up from US$1.3 billion in 2007 Source: Informa Telecoms & Media.

UK TVC PRODUCTION HOUSE LANDS IN MIDDLE EAST UK-based production firm th1ng and th2ng (pronounced thing 1 and thing 2) has forged a new partnership deal with IMC which will see it gain an immediate presence in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and Muscat. The production firm, which specialises in agency projects relating mainly to TVC production, has already earned commissions from Memac Ogilvy for ACDelco and Team Y&R for Rani. Internationally, the organisation counts high-profile agencies and organisations including Saatchi and Saatchi, Leo Burnett, Channel 4, BBC, Sony Pictures,

Universal Pictures, Warner Brothers, CNN, and McCann Erickson, among its clients. th1ng / th2ng will provide all production and post-production from its purpose-built studios in Soho, London. “We are able to offer Gulf clients and their agencies a one stop-shop. Not only can we help create the brief and then the strategy and execution of advertising, promotional and branding work, but also we can take their projects through production and post-production all under one roof,” said Dominic Buttimore, group CEO of th1ng.

JORDANIAN ANIMATION FIRM TO PLAY ON WORLD STAGE GCC-based buyout firm GrowthGate Capital Corporation will acquire a 30% stake in Jordanian animation and post-production company Rubicon. The multimillion dollar deal will see the privateequity firm pick up newly issued shares in Rubicon, which has consolidated its position in recent years as the biggest animation house in the Middle East and North Africa. Rubicon currently boasts animation production deals with MGM Studios and Saudi broadcaster MBC among others. It operates offices in Amman, Dubai, Los Angeles and Manila, and is projected to generate revenues in excess of $US100 million in 2010. The company has plans to invest around $75m

over the next three years in various productions. Rubicon CEO and founder Randa Ayoubi has publicly stated her ambition to see Rubicon rival the likes of Pixar on the international stage. “We found GrowthGate to be an investor with vision and foresight, not just a financial investor,” she said. “GrowthGate ... seems to be a nurturing ground for regional champions, something that is still largely lacking in the Middle East. The creative value chain of Rubicon is quite unique in the emerging markets where few animation firms combine creative content with high-quality production capacity, proprietary IP developments and; co-partnership projects with major US animation studios.”

ABU DHABI AL OULA MOVES UP THE RANKS: IPSOS

AL JAZEERA SPORT ANNOUNCES TENDER

Abu Dhabi Media Company’s (ADMC) entertainment channel Abu Dhabi Al Oula has achieved a significant growth in viewership across Saudi Arabia this Ramadan, according to audience research firm IPSOS. The IPSOS MediaCT report states that Abu Dhabi Al Oula increased its Share of Audience (SOA) by 56.7% in the Kingdom, while its Television Rating Points (TRPs) rose more than 77% for the corresponding period in 2008. The report also shows that the reach for Abu Dhabi Al Oula increased by more than 74% since 2008. The report adds that Abu Dhabi Al Oula stands third among the top five television channels in Saudi Arabia and is also the only one to make any gains in market share. Karim Sarkis, executive director of Broadcast at ADMC said the survey indicates that the channel “is giving TV viewers exactly what they want”. The IPSOS survey questioned 7,017 people on their media consumption habits.

Al Jazeera Sports Channel has released a tender for the setup of a complete HD/SD news studio as well as an audio/video gallery, central apparatus room, eleven non linear edit suites and a presentation room. The new studio is intended to be housed in a new building that is presently being built for the sports channel. The studio is intended to produce several programmes for the Champions League, Qatar Sports league and other events for which the channel has the broadcast rights. According to the tender, the studio will house four sets that can be used simultaneously. The tender includes requirements for five HD/SD digital cameras with complete camera support and robotics facilities, and also provides detailed specs about the lighting the studio will require.

8 NOVEMBER 2009

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NEWS REGIONAL UPDATE

MOVERS & SHAKERS

BOSCH Steve Johnson has joined Bosch as the business line manager for its Pro Sound Business Line. Johnson will manage the newly established Pro Sound Business Line, which includes the Dynacord and Electro-Voice brands. He will also take over global responsibilities for Pro Sound Product Management and Pro Sound Engineering, reporting directly to Robert Mulatz, President of Bosch’s Communications Systems Division.

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HARRIS Tim Thorsteinson has resigned from his position as president of Harris Broadcast to “pursue other interests”. Thorsteinson’s tenure ended on October 31. Harris confirmed it was searching for a successor at the time of press.Industry speculation suggests the former president of Leitch and long-time Grass Valley exec may be considering returning to the latter company, which was recently put up for sale by French industrial giant Thomson. Thorsteinson was unavailable for comment.

MIRANDA Miranda Technologies has announced that Richard Brice has been appointed to the new role of Senior Vice-President, US Sales, based in New York. Richard will manage Miranda’s sales team across the US, and will report to Strath Goodship, Miranda’s chief executive officer. Prior to this new position, Richard was Miranda’s European managing director, and also president of the Asian division at an earlier stage.

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NOVEMBER 2009 11


NEWS REGIONAL UPDATE

THE CIRCLE PROVIDES PLATFORM FOR FILMMAKERS The Circle Conference, an annual event organised by the Abu Dhabi Film Commission (ADFC), brought more than 40 industry leaders to the UAE capital from October 9-11. One landmark panel at the Conference was on “Women In Film in the Middle Eastâ€?. Chaired by Nashwa Al Ruwaini, CEO of AbuDhabi based media ďŹ rm Pyramedia, the seminar hosted women ďŹ lmmakers from around the world who shared their experiences with the aim of helping female Emirati ďŹ lmmakers break into ďŹ lm and television. Abu Dhabi Film Commission director David Shepheard said the Circle provided “a tremendous opportunity for dialogue among the leading lights of the entertainment community around the issues that are shaping the ďŹ lm and television industry in the UAE and beyondâ€?. “By bringing their insights and experiences

:PVS1BSUOFSGPS(FSNBO)JHI 2VBMJUZ1SPEVDUTBOE4ZTUFN *OUFHSBUJPOJOUIF6"& From left: Producer Barbara DeFina, director-producer Nayla Al Khaja and writer-director Deepa Mehta at The Circle conference in Abu Dhabi.

and global perspectives to Abu Dhabi, they’ve played a vital role in our eorts to stimulate a new level of entrepreneurship in this region,â€? Shepheard commented. The Circle Conference included several additional keynotes, panels and master classes addressing global trends in production, ďŹ nance and distribution, the impact of digital technology, and the development of the ďŹ lm and TV industry in Abu Dhabi.

SAUDI FILMMAKER WINS $100,000 SHASHA GRANT Saudi ďŹ lmmaker Haifaa Al Mansour was awarded the $100,000 Shasha Grant for her screenplay Wajda at the third edition of The Circle conference that came to a close in Abu Dhabi last month. Al Mansour was one of ďŹ ve contenders for the grant, including Annemarie Jacir, Engi Wassef, Rezah Abi Rafeh and Nadeem Thabet. Besides the $100,000 development grant, the ďŹ lmmaker has also secured a ďŹ rst-look deal with Imagenation Abu Dhabi. Although Al Mansour was not available for comment at the time of going to press, Digital Studio had carried an interview with the ďŹ lmmaker in June 2008. Al Mansour, a self taught ďŹ lmmaker, was at the time, attending a ďŹ lm course at the University of Sydney. Back then, Al Mansour stated: “We come from a very young culture that has absolutely no exposure to ďŹ lmmaking. We do not have ďŹ lm schools; we know no techniques or how to use cameras and we have no infrastructure to take this forward back home. Unfortunately, our young aspiring Arab ďŹ lmmakers want to be directors and producers without ever hav-

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ing held a camera in their hand and they want to make ďŹ lms for pure entertainment. “I personally believe that our ďŹ rst ďŹ lms should be a comment on our society; they should be vehicles to change the status quo. They should be less Hollywood-driven and more like Iranian cinema, which is a reection of their society.â€? Al Mansour’s previous attempts, Who?, The Only Way Out and Women With Shadows have all been statements on Saudi Arabian society.

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NOVEMBER 2009 13


VIEWPOINTS DOHA TRIBECA FILM FEST

DOHA FILM FEST Vijaya Cherian catches up with five aspiring filmmakers from Qatar, who speak about their experiences producing oneminute films that were screened at the Doha Tribeca Film Fest The first edition of the Doha Tribeca Film Festival debuted this year on October 29 in Qatar. As part of the country’s first efforts to create an environment conducive to filmmaking, the festival authorities organised two workshops to give Qatari filmmakers the opportunity to create one-minute films under the mentorship of well known Palestinian filmmaker Scandar Copti. The filmmaker took the participants through the entire process of writing, directing and producing their first films. The results of that workshop stunned audiences. Qatar may have only started the process of introducing its people to filmmaking but the films were a sure sign of good talent. Digital Studio caught up with five filmmakers who were part of the workshop and asked them about their productions.

A student at the University of Georgetown in the school of Foreign Service, Al-Romaihi is a thirdyear student majoring in Culture and Politics. Her film Black, White and Red captures a mother and daughter’s relationship or the lack of it.

children and adults view life and the general apathy that engulfs us in an increasingly materialistic culture. As children, we have and Red te hi W k, ac a stricter sense of right and wrong and see Bl : Film things that do not necessarily capture the attention of an adult. As we grow older, we tend to view life more or less in different shades of grey rather than, black and white as children would. “It was my dream to make films for two reasons: the first The black dot, which turns red near the end, is meant to is that there are many things happening in our society signify the apathy that has taken over our society. The child today that need to be brought for debate and discussion sees the black dot initially and draws her mother’s attention to a public platform. The second reason is to connect with to it but the latter does not see it. As the child grows older people on and reach out to their inner selves. DTFF gave and follows in her mother’s footsteps, even she becomes me that opportunity. oblivious to the dot although by now, the dot has actually My film is a critique on the child-rearing process in my socienlarged and has seeped into the walls of the house. ety, where the nanny culture is rampant. Mothers, especially, That is why when the daughter touches the wall after ten have other priorities today and show very little care towards years, she no longer sees the dot nor does she see the red their children. It’s not applicable across the board but in most handprint she leaves behind on the handle. cases, it is. Trying to say that in a minute was a challenge! The red dot was meant to convey a sense of urgency and I did my film in black and white to reflect how differently danger. Whom are we raising? What are our kids going to be

14 NOVEMBER 2009

Fay Al-Romaihi

like when they grow up if this is the environment they are raised in? I think one of the major things that the dot also alludes to, is the fact that our culture is generally not based on questioning. It is usually seen as a sign of weakness if you question things in our society such our practices, attitudes, values and goals. Through this film, I sought to stir certain emotions within the viewer and create a sense of anxiety within them so that they are disconcerted by the experience. This is my first attempt at making a film. It was mainly shot by Scandar Copti. We took more time at the editing table than to shoot. Condensing three hours of footage into one minute and finding the right music to go with it to stir the right emotions in the viewer took a while. “ http://www.dohatribecafilm.com/workshops/video-detail/ item_200104.htm

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VIEWPOINTS DOHA TRIBECA FILM FEST

Sophia Al-Mcearria Film: The Ra

Sophia Al-Maria’s The Racer is a minimalist short about a dead drag racer and his young fans. It explores metaphors of lost cars and lost lives.

“It was purely by chance that I saw the Tribeca link pop up on my Facebook page for a one-minute movie workshop. It was due that day so I stopped everything I was doing and wrote a treatment and sent it off. The condition was that we send in a film treatment and if it was selected, we’d get to be part of a workshop. By that evening, I’d received a reply from Scandar Copti asking me to come in the following Sunday. My film was shot with an HD camera and some YouTube footage. I edited it on Final Cut. There is no Qatari filmmaking scene as yet. Although there should be one with all the resources we have here in the universities and the corporations, both of which have lots of in-house equipment, no one is using it. There’s a big disconnect between the creatives and the creativity here. Fledgling artists and filmmakers have ideas but because it is not encouraged, these talents wither and go into the petrol business instead. If there is one thing I have learnt from the Festival’s 1-Minute Workshop, it’s that you don’t need to make a big production. Everybody got great results in less than two weeks of part time work. My film used documentary footage and created a fictional narrative around a dead drag racer and his young fans. It was an intense process but exhilarating to conceive and create a video with such quick payoff. I’m thankful that a project like DTFF has finally happened in Qatar. This event will now inspire aspiring filmmakers to pursue cinema in Qatar.”

Amir, a 20-year old Egyptian national residing in Qatar is the man behind Sunshine, a poignant film that explores the emotions of a mother as she tries to deal with her loss. With just one actress and one location, Ghonem creates a powerful short that at once brings tears to the viewer’s eyes.

Mohd Al AssirLifei

of Film: The Show

“It was like depicting life as a show, and each emotion as a character. The actress takes me on a journey through life through these emotions. It took me four hours to shoot the film. What took the longest time was to stabilise on the idea. It took me three days to get the script right. The workshop helped me discover a new way of telling a story. I hope to hone my skills in photography but hope at some point, to do films as well.” http://www.dohatribecafilm.com/workshops/videodetail/item_200101.htm

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Film: Sunshine

“I was looking for a scholarship to make a film and tried many festivals. This workshop gave me a chance. We used a Canon digital camera for this shoot. I had several ideas including a comedy, a melodrama and a traumatic movie. I eventually chose Sunshine. It shows behaviours that may appear insane, when in fact they are only part of a natural process the soul endures in order not to transgress from sadness into madness. I was depending on the sun a lot for this short. The sun symbolises peace in Egypt. I never used any artificial light for my film . I tried to stick to normal light. I did a recce two days before the shoot to check the direction of the sun and where the light would fall at different times of the day in the room. Editing wasn’t that easy as I had to cut out many shots that I really liked. But it was a fantastic experience and I now plan to make a 10-minute short on another idea. “ http://www.dohatribecafilm.com/videos/video-detail/item_

Second Chance shows a man on the verge of taking his life and is very well executed. 23-year-old Qatari national, Al Thani shares his experience producing this film.

The Show of Life depicts a woman expressing different emotions on a stage while the filmmaker, also the spectator watches her. Al Assisi, who is also a photographer, says direction came easily to him for this shoot.

Amir Ghonem

Faisal Al Thani Film: Second Ch ance

“I’m a photographer so I went with the story visually. However, I also love watching films and music videos and you can see from my short that my inspiration comes from all three art forms. I went with my instinct for this shoot. Life always gives people second chances and I wanted to show that. I filmed the whole thing myself with a small Canon HDV digital camera. It took me eight hours to shoot this film and it was really hot. In one instance, we have the actor in the sea. The swimming pool in my home is bright. We needed to create the effect of the sea by getting someone to hold a big dark blanket in the water. We did it well. I loved editing and cutting was easy as I had it all in my head about exactly how I wanted it. The whole process was a new experience for me.” http://www.dohatribecafilm.com/videos/video-detail/

NOVEMBER 2009 15


COVER STORY TWOFOUR54 INTAJ

INTAJ LIGHTS UP

Digital Studio takes a tour of twofour54 Intaj and looks at some of the key features the facility offers

Last month, twofour54, Abu Dhabi’s media precinct, launched a state-ofthe-art facility called intaj, to provide production houses and broadcasters with a one-stop HD solution that will enable them to undertake their entire workflow from content generation and editing to delivery. In more ways than one, intaj is thought to be unique. While it may not be the largest facility in the region, it’s the only one that presently offers a media asset management facility service for the region besides providing industry-standard solutions for end users. Intaj presently operates five studios and several post production suites from two sites in Abu Dhabi located at the National Theatre site and Khalifa Park. The former includes three large HD studios, post production suites, and MAM and archiving systems while the latter, which is located within twofour54’s headquarters, comprises, in addition to two small HD studios and post production suites, a playout centre and satellite teleport as well. Heading the facility is Hasan Sayed Hasan, a former winner of the Digital Studio Broadcast Engineer of the Year award. Hasan says clients can access an end-to-end solution that spans across all departments or use a combination of services that their project requires. “The system is built in a flexible way to allow various clients — each one of them having 18 NOVEMBER 2009

a different requirement or wanting to work in a different workflow — to do their work smoothly,” he explains. Hasan leads the tour.

STUDIOS Our first stop is at twofour54 intaj’s three large studios that were being used at the time of going to press by Abu Dhabi TV’s sports channel — a clear indication that demand will rise in time. Intaj boasts five studios in all. Ranging in size from a news studio of 60sqm to a large live audience entertainment production studio of 650sqm, each studio is sound proofed and equipped with fully saturated lighting rigs and soft infinity cycloramas. “Each of our studios comes with a fullyequipped production gallery, corresponding green rooms, VIP rooms, and make-up and dressing rooms. Each client’s individual lighting and studio configurations can be saved so they don’t have to revisit their settings each time they come to the facility,” explains Hasan. “In addition, we have a dedicated production gallery for each studio. This ensures that the facility can record or air five live broadcast shows at the same time,” he adds. Large “elephant doors” allow full drive-in access to the three larger studios at the National Theatre site. The studios include dedicated storage facilities to store clients’ sets and other paraphernalia.

STUDIO RECORDING Next, we move on to the studio recording area. The Pharos Mediator plays a key role here. It is used to initiate studio recordings, and control routers and servers for recording live and studio feeds. Hasan explains how it works. “To start the recording process, the material ID is entered together with other available metadata such as a nominal duration. The server can be cued and placed into record, which will continue until the specified duration is reached or the Stop button is pressed. The recording is automatically entered in the Mediator database and is available for further processing such as transcoding for browse,” he says. Multiple record ports can also be triggered from a single panel to provide ‘ganged’ record functions. In the meantime, ingest can be triggered via a soft panel, mouse click or a physical panel.

STUDIO PLAY-IN Pharos’ Studio Playtime is available in the studio galleries to replace hardware control panels with an intuitive touchscreen-based interface. “Operations in a busy gallery require random access to clips and multiple channels feeding the studio mixer. Studio playtime is optimised for busy studio gallery operations or other areas where manual assist operation is appropriate,” Hasan explains.

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COVER STORY TWOFOUR54 INTAJ

KEY SYSTEMS INTEGRATORS Hasan Sayed Hasan, head of intaj (left) says the facility’s USP is its human resources.

Studio Playtime essentially provides a paged content selector, which allows the operator to select and play video clips across a number of server ports. The user interface panels allow the Mediator database to be searched, and clips to be dragged into the grid. These clips can then be cued for playout on the available ports and triggered when required either via the interface or from external triggers such as GPIs. Full integration with the media management system enables clips to be selected from the entire library. They are then automatically transferred to the relevant server when required. The user interface at intaj is fully integrated with browse, allowing clips to be previewed and trimmed as required for playout, explains Hasan. “It also presents the clips in a grid across a number of pages allowing large numbers of clips to be instantly available. These grids can be pre-built and recalled when required for use,” he says.

VIDEO SERVERS At each of the intaj sites, a shared pool of Avid Airspeeds is available to the Pharos automation system to share between the studios, lines and media management. Each Airspeed provides a single input or output port when operating in HD mode such as, when combined with a DNxchange module, explains Hasan. “The Airspeed can also be configured to operate with SD such as, for dubbing SD files back to an SD VTR in the Media Management area.

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MAIN SYSTEMS INTEGRATOR: SONY Professional Solutions Middle East. Sony undertook the deployment and integration of the production, post and MAM facilities. The main suppliers under the Sony umbrella include AVID, Pharos, Omneon, Apple, ISILON, Front Porch Digital, Telex, Calrec, Evertz, Miranda, Snell & Wilcox, Barco, Autocue, Sennheiser, Canon, Genelec, Cisco and Vinten. LIGHTING: Oasis Enterprises. PLAYOUT CENTRE & SATELLITE TELEPORT: SES Astra. Key players include Publitronic, NDSatcom, Harris, Andrew and Harmonic. The Airspeeds are controlled with the Pharos Pilot control system,” explains Hasan. In addition to the AVID ports, a shared pool of ports of Omneon Spectrum HD servers is also available to the Pharos automation system to share across the whole chain.

VISION SWITCHERS In the production galleries, intaj has chosen to install the Sony MVS-8000GSF video switchers. The MKS-2700 device control engines offer direct control of servers and other RS422 devices. Omran Abdallah, engineering director at twofour54 intaj says the MVS-8000G was chosen because of some powerful features such as a Re-sizer function (internal 2D DME) and built-in format converter. “The MVS-8000G suits intaj’s HD productions and is in line with its operational requirements. It offers full multi-format operation across a variety of SD and HD formats, customisable control panels with highly intelligible indicators

Ziad Haddad, head of lighting, Intaj.

and buttons, advanced networking with system peripherals, integrated control and maintenance, powerful M/E functions and effects, and complete system scalability,” he explains. “In addition, the integrated MVE-8000A multi-format DME processor provides a wide variety of effects such as 2D/3D and linear/nonlinear transforms in both HDTV and SDTV video formats. The system then allows DME- wipes, processed key, and a wide variety of attractive effects that can be controlled from the control panel as if they were a part of the switcher functions,” he adds.

MONITORING Abdallah then points out to the high quality video monitoring feature at intaj. He explains that this is crucial for producers, directors, and control room operators, especially in HD environments. “In line with this thinking, we have chosen high-quality seamless video walls as the main monitoring systems. For instance, Barco’s OVF715 series displays are used in the larger studios’ galleries. These are fed by the Miranda Kaleido-X multiviewers. The OVF-715 70” video wall systems are designed and optimised for use in a 24/7 mission critical environment. “The Barco projection engine provides a high-contrast rear projection-system. Brightness, contrast, and large viewing angles are tailored to the human eye providing maximum readability. Also, it features a Sense6 technology that provides consistently excellent video wall colour uniformity over time,” he explains. NOVEMBER 2009 19


COVER STORY TWOFOUR54 INTAJ

TALKBACK (INTERCOM)

nised audio clip playback,” he explains.

An important facility is the TELEX KP32 talkback panels and interfaces that provide comprehensive facilities to all operators. These systems are configured to access assigned cameras, any studio floor wireless and wired facilities and any destinations of the overall broadcast centre intercom system, whether internal or external, Abdallah confides.

AUDIO

ON-AIR GRAPHICS Taking us through to the next feature is AbdelFattah El-Hammouri, intaj’s production operations manager. He tells us that the AVID Deko Graphics systems are accessible by each studio with the help of the Deko 3000. The Deko systems give real-time HD or SD graphics and advanced effects for live production and newsroom integration; delivering real-time 3D motions, 3D DVE-style transitions, video clips, linked sound effects and animating true 3D models. “They have broadcast-focused workflow using intelligent templates, multi-aspect composition, Photoshop layer associations, user-definable macros with auto-learn functionality and full Unicode and QuickTime file support. The ClipDeko option allows real-time native HD/SD graphics processing and synchro-

Martin Roberts, post production manager.

Hassan Al Ramli, audio post production supervisor and Protools specialist at intaj.

Based on the Calrec Omega with Bluefin and Hydra audio network, intaj’s audio production facilities provide fully redundant audio production systems with HD 24 bit/ 48KHz, 5.1 Surround Sound format, Dolby E, D and D+ Encoding/ Decoding (ready), 64 Stereo Digital AES I/O, 52 mono Line Outputs and 92 Mic/mono line inputs for each studio. Calrec’s Hydra Network allows the studios to be “combined” providing some 192 digital I/O and 156 analog mono I/O, all controlled from within a single Omega Desk, of 224 channels, 56 A/B Faders. Each console from one studio can access and control the audio lines from any of the other studio floors. intaj has carefully planned its production facilities. It has paid special attention to the digital and network audio solutions, fitting its audio production suites with DAWs, and several different types of audio players and recorders ranging from minidisks to Dolby and DTS Surround audio formats, provided with GSM and POTS Telephone Hybrids, and ISDN/ IP codecs. “Our studios, post-production, and VO Rooms/ suites, are acoustically treated to the highest standards. They are fitted with highly fire retardant material, and extremely low noise

LIGHTING AT INTAJ The lighting system at intaj’s studios is designed to be flexible and enable a quick shift in the lighting set up from one programme to another. LIGHTING IN STUDIOS 80 motorised lighting hoists with 3 x 3kw dimmable channels, 1 X non dim 16 amps, 1 X DMX output (46 motorised lighting hoists in Studios 2 and 3) Saturated lighting grid with Desisti Leonardo 1kw Fresnel Desisti Leonardo 2kw Fresnel 4 tubes cool light and cyclorama light. 12 scenery hoists distributed on the border of the ceiling giving flexibility in lifting scenery pieces that do not exceed 200kg. (6 scenery hoists with similar features in Studios 2 and 3). DIMMERS: Studio 1 is equipped with 3 ETC + SENSOR RACKS of 288 dimmable channels x 3kw each.

20 NOVEMBER 2009

Studios 2 & 3 have 162x 3KW Dimmer modules each. NON DIM POWER: Each Studio is able to supply up to 100 amps x 3 phase as non dim power to be used for moving lights and effects. HOIST CONTROL SYSTEM: Each studio is equipped with two Icarus hoist control computerised panels that can memorise hoist positions in order to recall them when required. Each studio is equipped with a wireless Motorola remote control to enable the lighting operator to work with more flexibility on the studio floor. LIGHTING CONSOLES: The lighting controllers consist of Ion and Eos lighting consoles from ETC. 5 x Ion lighting consoles with 2 DMX (512) Universes that could be extended into 8 DMX (512) Universes by using the

ETC 3 DMX to Ethernet gateway. 1 EOS lighting console located in gallery 1 which is compatible with the Ion console in gallery 2 and 3. The lighting operator is able to programme the show from the studio floor and save it on a memory stick, then load the configuration onto the gallery console and operate the show on air from there. OUTDOOR LIGHTING: intaj also has a comprehensive stock of grips and accessories such as butterflies, reflectors, flags and tripod systems. Desisti Rembrandt Piccolo 200W and 575W HMI kits Desisti Rembrandt 1200/ 2500/ 4000/ 6000W HMI kits Desisti Cosmobeam 800W READ head kits Desisti Cosmobeam 1000W open face kits 650W Dedo Light Tungsten kits Sundance Dedo Light Kit 200W Daylight/Tungsten kino flo Diva -Lite 200 and 400 Universal kits Mini Flo 12’’ Universal Kits

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COVER STORY TWOFOUR54 INTAJ

cooling system, which is less than 20 dBA at floor level,” claims Hasan.

POST-PRODUCTION We then move to intaj’s post production facilities. intaj currently has 22 HD post facilities comprising video editing suites, audio post production, graphics and high end compositing suites. intaj’s post-production systems are based on a combination of AVID and Apple systems for video post production, DigiDesign ProTools for audio postproduction and a mix of Mac and Windows-based Graphics workstations with a variety of 2D and 3D software packages installed on them. “Our HD video editing suites are non-linear and available in multi-resolution for offline and complete end-to-end finishing. The audio suites here are geared for 5.1 surround sound and equipped with Pro-tools HD systems,” adds Hasan. All AVID suites are connected to AVID Unity ISIS Storage with a mirrored storage capacity of

22 NOVEMBER 2009

A shared pool of ports of Omneon Spectrum HD servers is available to the Pharos automation system to share across the whole chain.

more than 66TB, explains Martin Roberts, post production manager at twofour54 intaj. The ingest “house format” for the AVID “world” will be the DNxHD120, he says. “We plan to combine the offline/ online editing process as we don’t have any bandwidth limitations to handle the edit of multiple HD streams. This will save our clients both time and money as no online conform is required. For more of our high-end work, where the client requires to work in uncompressed HD, we can re-ingest directly into the AVID DS10 high-end compositing suite’s 16TB Raid storage, where any additional finishing and compositing can take place. The DS10 unit also allows us to work in all the digital film formats such as RED, ARRI and other film formats for DPX finishing,” Roberts says. He also claims that the AVID Interplay MAM system allows them to be more productive in the post, providing both flexibility and efficiency. “These client workflows are designed to ensure the process is smooth all the way from ingest to offline/online to finishing, composit-

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COVER STORY TWOFOUR54 INTAJ

PLAYOUT AND UPLINK

ing and grading through to the final stages of a 5.1 surround mix in our Pro-Tools suites and that metadata is carried through to all stages,” he explains. In the meantime, the FCP suites are connected to the ISILON server with a capacity of 28TB. Ingest is typically done in a central ingest room through the Omneon Spectrum HD servers. Martin explains that the “house format” for the Final cut Pro suites is the 50 Mbps Long GOP codec (as used in XDCAM HD). “A very wide range of formats is supported depending on clients’ requirements. Content can also be ingested into 4TB external units that, in turn, can be directed to the edit suite if uncompressed HD or SD is required. Two of the FCP suites have been upgraded to higherend online suites containing colour grading software and hardware feature deep effect capabilities,” he explains.

Besides asset management, intaj also provides a HD-capable teleport and a 20-channel playout centre.

INFRASTUCTURE

MEDIA ASSET MANAGEMENT This is one of twofour54 intaj’s unique features as it cliams to be the first media company in the region to provide comprehensive media management and digital archiving services to the industry. “A high storage capacity archiving system coupled with a sophisticated content storage management solution is designed to facilitate complex content and storage environments at intaj,” claims Hasan. Heading this part of the project is Eilidh Brandon, media asset manager at intaj. With Pharos Mediator as the ingest tool, the material is first passed to multiple environments including Avid, Apple FCP and the production studios, allowing for a centralised point of entry for the material across both sites. The system can handle both SD and HD material in multiple file and tape formats from HDCAM SR, HDCAM, P2 & XDCAM to digital betacam as well as external and studio feeds all from one central point ensuring proper standardised ingest QC and metadata capture. Pharos contexts and Avid Interplay provide secure workspaces for each client within the edit environments based around their preferred workflows. This, in turn, protects client confidentiality and asset security throughout their stay with intaj. Both Avid Interplay and Pharos Media-

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Eilidh Brandon, media asset manager at intaj says metadata is crucial to the workflow.

tor allow clients to browse their material prior to their edits, enabling them to create EDLs, thereby, streamlining the entire edit process. Metadata is crucial in facilitating the client’s project and communicating vital information,” explains Brandon. “By following the set workflow, intaj is able to both store clients’ content and enrich their metadata in centralised areas easily accessible to the client as and when required,” she explains. In the meantime, two Sony Petasite datatape libraries are controlled across the two sites by Front Porch Digital’s DivArchive Middleware. The full library management service caters to both the physical and file-based assets, thereby, offering a safe and secure environment to store media content at any quality required by the client. This provides easy access to the client’s materials, allowing them to resuse them without loss of quality, as can happen with videotapes. “This service can also cater to both the content producer or the owner’s long and short term requirements ensuring that the assets are always available and secure,” explains Brandon.

Last but not the least is the Evertz EQX routing systems that lie at the core of the project. These systems offer format independent data paths, and support 3Gb/s signals including SD-SDI, HD-SDI, DVB-ASI, SMPTE 310M digital video formats as well as optical formats. They support four independent timing planes that provide independent SMPTE compliant switching for up to four different digital video signal formats. The central routing format is HD video with embedded audio. Engineering director Abdallah claims that this simplifies routing operations and ensures consistent audio/married video routing. “All of the studios include a set of incoming line synchronisers, de-embedders and outgoing circuit embedders that allow direct signal routings of synchronous or non synchronous external signals. Those are based on Snell’s broadcast infrastructure modular products. The facilities are highly resilient and fully redundant in all stages starting from acquisition till delivery,” he explains. The two intaj sites are linked with the expandable, high bandwidth MPLS network, in addition to dark fibres. This network is shared between VOIP, ftp A/V transfers and metadata traffic. “All of the systems at twofour54 intaj are fully HD. The systems are 1080i but the infrastructure is designed and set up for 1080p (3Gb/s) as this is the format of the future,” explains Hasan. However, the head of twofour54 intaj is quick to add that cutting edge technology is only part of the equation. He reiterates that what twofour54 intaj brings to the table is the “skills, the talent and the creative minds”. “intaj has sourced some of the best engineers, operators, editors, designers, and client services team from across different parts of the world. We have sourced people who have the right combination of technical expertise, creativity and client-facing skills to facilitate the creation of high-quality content from Abu Dhabi. Our team is what I believe will make twofour54 intaj stand out in this region,” Hasan explains. NOVEMBER 2009 23


SPECIAL REPORT MEIFF

MEIFF UNSPOOLED Digital Studio looks at some of the special screenings and events that took place at this year’s Middle East International Film Festival

The third edition of the Middle East International Film Festival concluded last month with several films making their world or Middle East premieres at the event. The festival saw the world premiere of an extraordinary underwater documentary titled Oceans, directed by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud, the masterly pair behind Microcosmos. The Egyptian film The Traveller (El Mosafer) was screened on the opening night while The Men who Stare at Goats, Grant Heslov’s hilarious dark comedy starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey enthralled audiences at the closing ceremony. Interestingly, we saw a fine selection of Turkish cinema at MEIFF this year for the first time. Curated in partnership with the prominent cinema magazine Altyazi, the “New Cinema from Turkey” programme was intended to bring Turkish filmmakers one step closer to their regional counterparts. The programme highlighted a number of works including Yeşim Ustaoğlu’s Pandora’s Box (Pandora’nin Kutusu), the story of three siblings searching for their lost mother; Derviş 24 NOVEMBER 2009

Zaim’s Dot (Nokta), the story of a gifted young calligrapher involved in the theft of an ancient Holy Quran and Reha Erdem’s My Only Sunshine (Hayat Var) the familiar story of a 14-year-old girl attempting to cope with the lack of love around her. The group of directors who participated in the programme also highlighted the growth of independent Turkish cinema in the country despite little funding or support from outside sources. “We thought this recent fresh breath of filmmaking from a nearby land would be of interest to viewers here,” commented MEIFF’s executive director Peter Scarlet. “And they may also serve as a helpful

example for young filmmakers of this region, since these are films which aren’t being heavily supported by Europe’s funding mechanisms and their models aren’t necessarily limited to Hollywood,” he added. Fewer Emirati films were screened at the event than last year. Scarlet justified the decision saying that MEIFF needed to adhere to a certain quality. “We have set higher standards this year and few Emirati films made the bar. However, the few films we showed this year were of much better quality,” added Scarlet. One of the highlights of the event included the narrative feature competition, which was

SPECIAL SCREENINGS AT MEIFF BLUE by Anthony D’Souza, India 2009 (WORLD PREMIERE) CAPITALISM: A Love Story by Michael Moore, USA 2009 (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE) THE INFORMANT! by Steven Soderbergh, USA 2009, (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE) THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS by Grant Heslov, USA 2009 (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE) THE MESSENGER by Oren Moverman, USA 2009 (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE) OCEANS by Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud France 2009 (WORLD PREMIERE) SCHEHERAZADE, TELL ME A STORY EHKY YA SCHAHRAZAD by Yousry Nasrallah, Egypt 2009 (GULF PREMIERE) SHORTS by Robert Rodriguez, United Arab Emirates/USA 2009 (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE) THE TRAVELER (Al Mosafer) by Ahmed Maher, Egypt 2009 (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE)

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SPECIAL REPORT MEIFF

A scene from Men who stare at goats.

Scheharazade made its Gulf premiere at MEIFF.

A selection of Turkish cinema was screened at MEIFF this year as part of the organiser’s efforts to help Turkish filmmakers bond better with their Arab counterparts.

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION BLACK PEARL AWARD FOR BEST NARRATIVE FILM $100,000 – Hipsters (Stilyagi), directed by Valery Todorovsky (Russia) BLACK PEARL AWARD FOR BEST NEW NARRATIVE DIRECTOR $50,000 – Glendyn Ivin, Last Ride (Australia) BLACK PEARL AWARD FOR BEST MIDDLE EASTERN NARRATIVE FILM $100,000 – The Time That Remains (Al Zaman Al Baqi), directed by Elia Suleiman (Palestine, UK, Italy, Belgium, France) BLACK PEARL AWARD FOR BEST NEW MIDDLE EASTERN NARRATIVE DIRECTOR $50,000 – Pelin Esmer, 10 to 11 (11’e 10 Kala), Turkey, France, Germany BLACK PEARL AWARD FOR BEST ACTOR $25,000 – Hamed Behdad, No One Knows About Persian Cats, directed by Bahman Ghobadi (Iran) BLACK PEARL AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS $25,000 – Alicia Laguna and Sonia Couoh, Northless (Norteado), directed by Rigoberto Pérezcano (Mexico) JURY SPECIAL MENTION – Northless (Norteado), directed by Rigoberto Pérezcano (Mexico)

Paolo Cherchi Usai held a master class at MEIFF.

The Informant made its Middle East debut at MEIFF.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION BLACK PEARL AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM $100,000 – The Frontier Gandhi: Badshah Khan, A Torch for Peace, directed by T. C. McLuhan (Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, USA) BLACK PEARL AWARD FOR BEST NEW DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR $50,000 – Johan Grimonprez, Double Take (Netherlands, Belgium) BLACK PEARL AWARD FOR BEST MIDDLE EASTERN DOCUMENTARY FILM $100,000 – On the Way to School (İki Dil Bir Bavul), directed by Orhan Eskiköy and Özgür Doğan (Turkey) BLACK PEARL AWARD FOR BEST NEW MIDDLE EASTERN DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR $50,000 – Mohamed Zran, Being Here (Zarzis), Tunisia JURY SPECIAL MENTION – The Age of Stupid, directed by Franny Armstrong (UK)

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NOVEMBER 2009 25


SPECIAL REPORT MEIFF

spearheaded by internationally-acclaimed Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry) while documentary filmmaker James Longley (Iraq in Fragments) led the Documentary Feature Competition Jury and Yousry Nasrallah (Scheheherzade), served as President of the Shorts Competition Jury. This edition of MEIFF also saw the screening of several silent film comedies. Films screened included early two-reelers by two of the titans of silent film comedy such as Charlie Chaplin (The Immigrant, 1916) and Buster Keaton (One Week, 1920). This part of the MEIFF programme was presented in association with the Silent Film Festival, which has been held in the northern Italian town of Pordenone for the past 28 years. Scarlet was proud of this programme, calling it a first for this region. “It is a wonderful introduction to how amazingly effective silent movies were and still are,” he commented. MEIFF also held four master classes this year. The first three classes, held by celebrated

26 NOVEMBER 2009

Elia Suleiman bagged the Black Pearl award for best Middle Eastern narrative film.

film composers Sussan Deyhim and Richard Horowit; David Amram and silent-film accompanist Neil Brand gave audiences an insight into their creative process. A fourth Master Class by author, film historian, and director Paolo Cherchi Usai focused on the role of film archives in the modern world. These events were held at the MEIFF Festival Tent, which also hosted several workshops including one on creating make up for films. This event was quite popular among the public. The highlight of the event was the Black Pearl Award. Al Zaman Al Baqi (The Time that Remains), an Arabic tragicomedy from Palestinian director Elia Suleiman walked away with this year’s Black Pearl Award for Best Middle Eastern Narrative Film at MEIFF. The film, which examines the creation of Israel in 1948 and the ensuing years of Palestinian-Israeli conflict, earned Suleiman $100,000 for his troubles at MEIFF. Seventeen narrative features, 14 documentary features, 25 shorts, and 10 student shorts competed for Black Pearl Awards.

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ON LOCATION RICKSHAW RUN

TAKING THE SHAW FORWARD

Dubai-based Talkabout Media Productions and its sister company, which recently filmed a rickshaw race in India, tells Vijaya Cherian about the challenges of covering the event Sixty-one auto-rickshaws and their brave teams lined up at Goa’s Colva sea front in September to participate in a two-week, 3,000 km race that would take them all the way to Nepal. Covering the Rickshaw Run for UK-based firm, The League of Adventurists, was Dubai-based production house Talkabout Media Productions (TAM), their Singaporean sister company, The Deck and India’s Wildtrack Productions. The action was captured with the help of the Sony EX1 and EX3 XDCAM cameras and will eventually be made into a 60-minute lifestyle adventure programme that is intended for broadcast on Discovery Travel & Living, AXN, Star TV, Ten Sports and Showtime’s bouquet. Ian Carless, executive producer of TAM says HD was the only format of choice for this shoot as most of their targeted broadcasters used this format for production. Carless says the team was inspired to produce this programme after watching Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman’s Long Way Round, Long Way Down and the more recent By Any Means. “If we could get anywhere near the kind of chemistry that Clarkson, Hammond and May 28 NOVEMBER 2009

have in their Top Gear specials, we’d be over the moon,” Carless says. The production, although exciting and adventurous, involved a number of challenges. Filming in India and the nature of the race called for some extraordinary measures from the team to ensure a good production. Jon Moore, producer and director of The Deck explains that the size of the crew was a major hurdle. “At the best of times, it’s hard to mobilise 13 people, three vehicles, equipment and luggage and keep them to a tight schedule. In India, that becomes twice as hard. A false call-time helped us get most people to the crew cars on time every morning, but every day brought a new unexpected delay, whether it was a late breakfast or a broken Visa machine in the hotel. That, in turn, would have a domino effect and lead to further delays throughout the day. We pulled up at our destination after dark almost every day, which not only made shooting difficult but also meant dangers on the road,” explains Moore. Luckily, the weather was a lot better than expected and blue skies greeted the team every day although they came prepared with

polarisers for the blue skies and weather covers for the rain. One of the highlights of the shoot came six days into the event. The production teams had to change the route at lunchtime one day to avoid a religious procession in a city further along the road to Bhopal. They decided on a country route, which would involve a river crossing. “When we arrived at the river, the ferry turned out to be just a wooden raft and the road to it was a deeply rutted mud track. We had to off-road both crew cars and the rickshaw through the mud and sand and manhandle them all one-by-one onto the ferry and across the river. It was such an important part of the story, but shooting it was a bigger challenge because the most important thing was to get the vehicle and the crew to safety. Of course, we still needed the shots so kept the cameramen and cameras working at the same time. “When they finally got all three vehicles to the opposite bank, it was dark, and they were faced with the further threat of bandits in the jungle ahead. I regret that we didn’t shoot this scene as there was genuine fear on some of

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ON LOCATION RICKSHAW RUN

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: FZLLC DUBAI TALKABOUT MEDIA GAPORE THE DECK SIN UCTIONS INDIA WILDTRACK PROD DUCER: DIRECTOR/PRO JON MOORE EXEC PRODUCERS: IAN CARLESS AZHAR HABIB DOPS: STEVE FRENCH STEVE MORO

Jon Moore with the photographer.

the team’s faces, but I think as a director at that point, my crew’s safety was my key concern,” he adds. As with most lifestyle adventure programmes, the team went with the flow rather than following a rigid storyboard although a rough 14-day itinerary was planned. “We’d been quite clear with ourselves that this wasn’t going to be a traditional travel programme or a travel guide. It’s a very innocent, raw and fresh journey through three people’s eyes, as they get to know the country and each other. Their main goal was to get this 150cc rickshaw from Goa to Nepal. Whatever they might stumble upon on the way would provide the colour in between,” explains Moore. With no idea of what to expect, the team decided to follow a leap-frogging system with the crew cars. Essentially, this meant that one camera and one car remained behind the rickshaw for safety at all times, while the other raced ahead by a few kilometers to find a vantage point to frame an interesting foreground or look for something exciting to shoot. “Once the rickshaw came through the frame and the lead car was back in its position at

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the back, the other car would overtake and move ahead to find another location. We had full radio contact between the three vehicles and for the most part, the system worked well,” explains Moore. These challenges with the environment in which they were working compelled the team to also think carefully about the equipment they employed for this shoot. There was no doubt that HD would be the format of choice. In addition to this, frame rate was also considered carefully. “We were shooting in one of the world’s most colourful countries so we wanted to capture this at the very best quality and

HD was the best,” says TAM’s Carless. In the meantime, although 25p seems the natural choice for a programme with such a large travel element, the team also realised that much of the footage they were shooting would be fast moving, action footage. “I’ve never been completely confident shooting 25p at the best of times and really didn’t know if it would hold up to this. After long consideration though, we decided to go the progressive route, but decided to be disciplined with our camera moves and tracking shots. From what I’ve seen of the rushes so far, I think we made the right choice,” explains Moore. The team relied on two main cameras – the Sony EX1 and the Sony EX3. They also used a Sony HVR-V1 3-chip HDV tape camera, which was more versatile for shooting from the car. The Sony SR11 and the Sony C100E were used as on-board cameras. They were attached to the rickshaw in various positions using suction mounts and magic arms. “We invested in the EX models eighteen months ago, and use them for a large number of our productions. They’re small, lightweight, yet still retains much of the functionality of a bigger camera. Also, the picture quality is exceptional. I’m convinced the EX is the best pound for pound, value for money camera out there,” says Moore. Carless seconds that. “The EX offers tremendous versatility. Often, we use the EX in conjunction with 35mm NOVEMBER 2009 29


ON LOCATION RICKSHAW RUN

adaptors such as the Letus and P+S Technik but on this trip, we opted not to as most of the shooting was hand held. In addition, we’d planned on shooting a number of time lapses which, of course, is easy to do with the EX,” says Carless. In the meantime, shooting in the streets of India also brought other challenges. For instance, crowds gathering at every shoot was a problem. It was also equally difficult to secure permission to film in major cities . For both these reasons, the crew needed to be more mobile and less noticeable. “A pair of HDW-F900s would have been nice, but simply wouldn’t have allowed us to shoot in many of the locations we found ourselves. The great thing about the EXs is that they can actually be stripped down. By the time you’ve removed the matte box and the camera mic, they actually look like little more than an old Hi-8 tourist camera, which meant that getting permission to shoot in certain places was a lot easier. We really couldn’t have made the same film with bigger cameras,” explains Moore.

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Several different Sony cameras including the EX cams were used for this shoot.

Both the EX cameras were fitted with Chrosziel matte boxes for the times they needed to graduate or polarise a shot. Besides this, MiniPlus lights from LitePanels helped move the production forward. “At around $1000, these things aren’t cheap, but I was stunned by how versatile they could be. They’re dimmable, you can put them anywhere and they gave us great quality light for our simple setups. They worked amazingly well,” explains Moore. The on-board cameras were chosen purely because of ease of use, he adds. “We were on a very tight schedule, which didn’t allow us to continually stop, rig, check and download footage from the on-board cameras. We had a Magic Arm and Fat Gecko suction mount, which allowed easy rigging on any part of the rickshaw. And the fish eye lenses allowed a great reverse POV shot of the rickshaw driver and passengers. Plus they record up to eight hours at HD quality. In addition, the presenters could easily operate them when they were on the road as they are

NOVEMBER 2009 31


ON LOCATION RICKSHAW RUN

all familiar with the concept of a handycam,” explains Moore. Another challenge was managing a tapeless workflow for a 14-day shoot. This was done by carefully planning the shots and structure for the shoot rather than capturing hours and hours of footage. “Despite that, we were capturing three to four hours of footage a day,” admits Moore. At the end of each day, the footage was transferred to two 1TB Firewire drives using one of three Mac Book Pros each installed with Final Cut Pro and Sony’s XDCAM Clip Browser. Here again, the challenge was dealing with the power cuts in India. Moore has resolved to carry at least one UPS unit on every future production. “We resorted to hiring a generator a couple of nights simply to get the batteries charged. We were using them faster than India’s national power grid could charge them,” explains Moore. At the time of press, post production had only just begun.

Sony cams were attached to the rickshaw using suction mounts and magic arms.

“We’re editing in FCP and normally, we’d put aside eight to ten weeks for a project like this. However, because the whole thing was shot in sequence and all the days were self-contained, we think that this can be cut down considerably. An example is the narrative. We shot interviews with the hosts at the end of every day and we’re hoping that these will serve as the voiceover to tell the whole story. This will cut down considerably on time-consuming processes such as script-writing and laying down guide voice over,” explains Moore. The team also adds that they are aiming for a cinematic feel. “We’d like to be able to screen the film at festivals so will be examining what’s required for that. However, we do not want to lose the raw energy that we all remember feeling on the road. The 25p frame-rate, the setup shots and a tasteful grade will contribute to the filmic look. But we’re not going to worry about things like continuity or covering jump cuts if it means compromising the story,” adds Moore.

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EDITING REVIEWS, Q&As & MORE

THE ART OF

COLOUR GRADING A red orange and some black gold? SFX professional Amitaabh Naaraayan explains some of the nuances of colour grading Colour grading is much more than just making colours match from shot to shot — it’s also a way of selectively changing the look and feel of a clip. In their most basic form, colour correction tools enable you to make your whites look white and your blacks look black, so that everything appears ‘normal’. If you shoot a sequence over an hour as the sun’s going down with changes in colour temperature, you can make everything look like it was shot in one go. Colour grading can also be a creative tool, and digital colour grading has seen the process pushed to exciting new limits over recent years. Films such as Slumdog Millionaire, The Lord of the Rings and television series like Lost,

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Heroes, Prison Break, have all used deep colour grading to create different moods, or to let the viewer know what part of the story’s world they are in. Altering the colour content of your footage to create a colour look across a series of shots, scenes, or the entire project is the primary objective of colour grading (also referred to as colour timing). In order to understand colour grading, it is essential to understand logarithmic and linear modes. Film naturally captures light as logarithmic, but these terms are usually used to describe two different ways of digitally scanning an image. Most commonly, the term is used in scanning film, and in creating digital intermediates to go back to film. NOVEMBER 2009 33


EDITING REVIEWS, Q&As & MORE

Simply put, linear capture means each digital step, from dark to light is equal. A linear sequence is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.... For logarithmic capture each step is double the previous. A log sequence is 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128... If the total number of steps is kept the same, log captures a much greater dynamic range than linear, but it looks very at. It is therefore ideal as a digital intermediate format. The mode you select deďŹ nes the colour space, your work environment, and the availability of some hot keys. One of the ďŹ rst steps in the colour grading process is the creation of a Continuity Grade — a consistent colour look across a series of shots and over time. Continuity grades convey the time frame and should be invisible to the viewer. Generally, continuity grades are created when you balance the colours in the shots during the initial primary colour grade. Primary Colour Grading is a concept applied to the entire image and is used to obtain an overall colour look for each shot used in a series of shots, scene, or entire project.

Curious?

When performing primary colour grading, the brightness and contrast of the red, green, and blue channels should ideally be independently modified.

When you perform primary colour grading, you modify the brightness and contrast of the red, green, and blue channels independently. One can modify the red, green, and blue channels together (with the Brightness and Contrast sliders); however, the channels are not co-dependent — a change made to the red channel does not depend on a change made to the green or blue channel. Primary Colour Grading is performed at the beginning and end of the colour grading process. In Log mode, you modify brightness, contrast, and saturation across the entire image, as well as brightness in the shadows, midtones, and highlights. In Linear mode, you modify lift, gain, gamma, saturation, and contrast for the red, green, and blue channels across the entire image or in the shadows, midtones, and highlights. Note: The intensity of speciďŹ c colour channels (red, green, and blue) determines whether the pixel is part of the image shadows, midtones, or highlights. Curves Colour Grading is used to further

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NOVEMBER 2009 35


EDITING REVIEWS, Q&As & MORE

Curves colour grading allows the user to grade a specific range of colours without having to pull a key.

modify the RGB and Hue curves. Curves colour grading is well suited, for example, for colour grading a specific range of colours without having to pull a key. The RGB curves can be altered to remap red, green and blue values either simultaneously or individually. Use the Hue curves to perform hue shifts, lighten or darken colour ranges, and saturate or suppress colour or luminance ranges. You can also plot colours and add vertices for increased precision. Secondary Colour Grading is used to colour grade specific hues and areas in an image. Create secondary’s by generating keys and geometries. You can combine keys and geometries to define the area for modification—keys to define a colour or range of colour and geometries to define an area. After areas have been defined, you can colour grade them using the Grading and Curves tools. Objects can be tracked within the image to animate a geometry used for a secondary colour grade.

THE HARDWARESOFTWARE DEBATE Hardware-based systems (da Vinci 2K, Pandora, etc.) have historically offered better performance and a smaller feature set than software-based systems (i.e. Apple’s Color (previously Silicon Color Final Touch), ASSIMILATE SCRATCH, IRIDAS SpeedGrade, etc.). While hardware-based systems always offer realtime performance, software-based systems need to render as the complexity of the colour grading increases. On the other hand, software-based systems tend to have more features such as spline-based windows/masks and advanced

motion tracking. The line between hardware and software, however, is blurring as many softwarebased colour correctors (e.g. Mistika, SCRATCH, Autodesk Flame, Autodesk Lustre, Digital Vision Film Master and Filmlight Baselight) use multi processor workstations and a GPU as a means of hardware acceleration. In addition, some newer software-based systems use specialised hardware to improve performance (e.g. da Vinci Resolve). Some colour grading software like Synthetic Aperture’s Color Finesse runs solely as a software and will even run on low-end computer systems.

Hardware systems are historically rated as better performers for colour grading.

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EDITING REVIEWS, Q&As & MORE

ASK THE EXPERT

What is Stop Motion Animation? Have you ever drawn pictures in the corners of old books? Drawing pictures with slight dierences from one page to the next then ipping through them with your thumb makes the images animate. This is the key concept of animation - incremental changes to drawings or objects, creating movement or “lifeâ€?. Stop motion animation utilises this incremental change process in its own special way. Traditionally, a 35mm ďŹ lm camera was started and stopped, one frame at a time. While the camera was stopped an animator would adjust the ďŹ gure or object the camera was pointing at. The camera would ďŹ lm another frame - this would continue until all the animation was ďŹ lmed. Also known as stop-action or frame-byframe, stop motion is an animation technique to make a physically manipulated object appear to move on its own. The object is moved in small increments between individu-

The movie Coraline is an illustration of the stop motion animation method.

ally photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence. Clay ďŹ gures are often used in stop motion for their ease of

repositioning. Stop motion animation using clay is described as clay animation. Stop motion animation has a long history in ďŹ lm. Earlier most Eects Shot were generated using this technique. In the 1970s and ‘80s, Industrial Light & Magic often used stop motion model animation for ďŹ lms such as the original Star Wars trilogy: the chess sequence in Star Wars, the Tauntauns and AT-AT walkers in The Empire Strikes Back, and various Imperial machines in Return of the Jedi are all stop motion animation. ILM also often used model animation for some of the Indiana Jones ďŹ lms — the ghosts in Raiders of the Lost Ark and many of the shots of the runaway mining-cart sequence in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom are all stop-motion. Stop motion was also used for some shots of the ďŹ nal sequence of the ďŹ rst Terminator movie. Additionally, recent movies such as Chicken Run and Coraline also use the stop motion animation method, where clay heads and rubber puppet bodies are used. Stop motion animation has now become a popular method of animation in the industry.

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NOVEMBER 2009 37


EDITING REVIEWS, Q&As & MORE

Users can manipulate and interact directly with a multimedia project in real time 3D.

ASK THE EXPERT

What is REAL-TIME 3D and how is it used in the Middle East? Real-time 3D is the art of implementing 3D projects or objects in a 3D software and display them afterwards on a screen as immediately as possible depending on the performance of the machine. The rendering is said to be “real time” because the computer makes the rendering without delay time, at each movement or modification of the 3D model. Contrary to the image rendering for the 3D ”classical” animation or the “real time” realistic movie, all the rendering is calculated while the user is manipulating the object or is travelling into the project, thus the calculation of the images is hyper fast! It gives users the opportunity to manipulate and interact directly with a model or a project said to be multimedia such as manipulating and changing the colours of a mobile phone, travelling in a virtual visit, configuring the accessories of an automobile and simulating emergency cases. Real-time 3D is also present in the video games industry but that’s the only similarity because beyond the rendering principle, it’s a very different field that requires other skills and functions besides the manipulation and display of data. In the Middle East, Real-time 3D (3DRT) is primarily used for broadcast and events. In broadcast, 3DRT is used to create complex 3D virtual sets, integrating studio graphics with live camera feed from various locations, locking graphics to the screen or have them tracked with the camera, news room, weather, tickers for polls. In events, Real-Time 3D is used for breathtaking interactive presentations. This is also because of the flexibility of changing and reordering content as opposed to a linear timeline. In addition, due to their scalability, the graphics can be projected on extremely large video walls and uneven surfaces to create the ‘360 degree circular’. They are used in combinations with various gadgets like laser pointers and can create some very interesting effects. Software like VizRT and Ventuz are widely used and offer efficient training and services in the region. http://www.ventuz. com/; http://www.vizrt.com/- Suzzanne Rebello Please send your queries to vijaya.cherian@itp.com 38 NOVEMBER 2009

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KITTED OUT THE GATE, LEBANON

TAKING THE DI ROUTE Vijaya Cherian takes a look at the first Digital Intermediate facility in Lebanon. Lebanese film processing and telecine service provider, The Gate, which manages the Kodak Cinelabs Lebanon operations, recently expanded its services to include a complete range of digital post services including editing, visual effects and 3D animation. To celebrate the move, The Gate organised an open house in summer where guided tours of the premises were conducted by the company principals. Of specific interest is the fact that The Gate launched the first digital intermediate workflow facility in Lebanon. “We purchased new equipment for the facility with the aim of bringing post production into the future and some could offer better options such as working in high resolution HD or 2K and also providing a tapeless environment or a data-centric workflow,” explains Sten Walegren, managing director, The Gate.

TELECINE In Lebanon, there are two companies providing telecine services and both work in standard definition. We are using our telecine for final grading but mainly one-light services. The one-light is sent to one of our two Avid offline editing suites.

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KITTED OUT THE GATE

LASERGRAPHICS SCANNER After completing offline work, we export content on to our EDL (edit decision list) to our Lasergraphics scanner. Today, the scanner is used for scanning selected media from 35 or 16mm negative and is capable of scanning DPX files in HD or 2K resolution. We hope to increase that in the future.

BRIGHT SAN SERVER The data is then stored in a new BrightDrive Pro2 system with 3 streams of realtime 2k and 36 Terabytes of storage. This enables multiple operators to access and use media concurrently while working within an integrated digital environment. The server can hold up to 60TB i.e. initial 36TB plus 24TB on a linked near line storage.

SMOKE SUITE The BrightDrive infrastructure is integrated with Smoke for conforming and dust-busting, Flame for visual effects. Our Smoke accesses the SAN server through a fibre network which gives us real time 2K files.

LUSTRE SUITE From here, work is then conformed and exported to our Lustre for final grading. Lustre, as a software-based colour corrector, gives us limitless possibilities for TV commercials and because of our HD projector, we can also grade feature films.

GRAPHICS DEPARTMENT FOR 2D AND 3D GRAPHICS SERVER ROOM Besides housing the workstations of Avid, Lustre and Smoke as well as the Bright SAN storage disk, the main server is also located in this machine room. There are also Audio/Video converters, a VTR/ DVD player and render load: basically, this is the command centre of all the workstations in the company.

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Besides this, we have an advanced graphics department, which is a new addition to The Gate. This is where our 2D and 3D animations are created. We plan to expand it to house a total of eight artists in the future.

However advanced our equipment may be, our main and primary source of strength has always been our talented and dedicated team.

Name : The Gate banon Venue: Mkalles, Le 4 689 111 Telephone: +961 e-gate.tv Website: www.th

NOVEMBER 2009 41


CAMERA SUPPORT TRIPODS, LENSES & MORE

STEADY SUPPORT Digital Studio looks at some of the newest camera support systems introduced by key market players

VINTEN RADAMEC Vinten Radamec’s Fusion FP188VR is a fully robotic camera pedestal. It 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. www.vintenradamec.com

MOVIETECH AG

MATTHEWS STUDIO EQUIPMENT

MovieTech has been shipping its “Magnum Dolly” since early summer. The numerous options for mounting the large range of accessories makes the dolly very versatile on the set. Seating arms and offset ball adapters can be mounted securely and directly on the platform in a matter of seconds using sturdy attachments. An additional option of a platform with an opening for various MovieTech ball adapters (e.g. 150mm ball adapter) is available for low camera positions. The new system platforms can be used without any need for conversion, even on existing Magnum Dollies. The set with four standard platforms is available immediately at a price of EUR 2290.00. The optional platform with spherical shell insert is listed at a price of EUR 690.00 plus VAT.

Fitted with Matthews’ Mini Bazooka, the RED Dolly performs moves that other dollies can’t match, claims the manufacturer. From tight 360-degree repeatable full circles to “crabbing” and the quick dolly reverse shot, this equipment is said to be able to do it all. If the seat is removed, the product can be used as a Steadicam standing platform equipped with side receivers for lights, grip equipment, Bungee Cam, Speed Rail rigs and more. RED Dolly also works with all Matthews’ car mount accessories. www.msegrip.com

Magnum Dolly central steering The Magnum Dolly central steering achieves distances. When pivoting between grip and cameraman, the freedom of movement is extended even further. The necessary distance is now available for pushing next to the rail, if required. The steering can be fitted extremely quickly and does not even require the use of any tools. www.movietech.de

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CAMERA SUPPORT TRIPODS, LENSES & MORE

GFM

TK3 TK-3, which is responsible for marketing the Orbiter camera seat product line, recently delivered five units of the Orbiter 750 hybrid for the Confederations Cup 2009 in South Africa. The Orbiter will also be used at the upcoming World Cup 2010. The Orbiter will be operated at all venues at all matches at critical centre pitch positions. The Orbiter 750 hybrid is the synthesis of two existing lowshooters - the Orbiter 500 superflat and the Orbiter 500 ultraflat. It is designed to offer the advantages of both systems in one unit. The camera and working position can be switched in height from ultraflat to superflat with this unit. The new Orbiter can also be applied at very critical camera positions such as the centre pitch camera for football. Space close to the coaches and the fourth referee is often limited. The Orbiter 750 permits unrestricted views here owing to the flexibility it provides as a lowshooter. This permits end users to place it everywhere without fear of elbowing other people working close to it. At football matches, it can be used at all camera positions close to the pitch. At tennis broadcasts, it comes in handy if positioned close to the net and for athletics, it is often used at the end of jump discipline areas. The Orbiter 750 provides a range 360° for the operator in a low sitting working position and it allows trouble-free movement due to its central cable feeding. It allows independent movement of camera and seat. Horizontal pan and movement of the seat are not linked but on the same axis. Steady pictures are achieved by the Orbiter‘s patented design. Contrary to other low shooters the seat is not directly connected to the camera column. This means no shock motions are transmitted from the operator to the camera. www.orbiter.tv

GFM’s GF-Primo, a new patented electromechanical dolly from Toni Tundo is low maintenance, providing a quiet, smooth movement to lift a camera and two operators. A new turnstile mount system and dolly platform system open up several possibilities for camera rigging and movement. The patented steering system provides ease of mobility, allowing perfect dolly moves. The digital electronics and the wireless hand control system for the dolly were designed by GFM’s partner, CMotion. The GF-Primo includes several features such as a “one touch” central gearbox for selecting front, rear and crab steering; four steering positions plus a fifth, central steering position on the gearbox; a telescopic and inclining steering rod for increased maneuverability and control of dolly moves; Wireless radio control; ergonomic hand control unit; and a rotatable column that can be separated from the base dolly. www.g-f-m.net

PANTHER Panther has introduced a new generation of camera dollies this year. Its key focus is the TriStar dolly, which features a low starting position thanks to an additional column section, increasing the number of moving column segments from 2 to 3. Due to the ability of the TriStar to realise low shots easily without converting the dolly, it makes the camera dolly more efficient on set. The TriStar enables cameramen to mount their accessories for a low shot at the set without wasting too much time.

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Panther has employed its rail system with special bearings for the purpose. Camera movements from a sitting to a standing person are possible without any conversion of the dolly. The electronic, drive train and wheel systems have been borrowed from the Panther Classic system, thereby ensuring reliability. Batteries and most of the accessories of other and previous Panther models can be used with the Tristar. www.panther.tv

NOVEMBER 2009 43


RIEDEL ADVERTISEMENT

TAKE OFF WITH MEDIORNET Red Bull Air Race World Championship takes off with Riedel’s Mediornet More than 800,000 spectators attended the last race of the 2009 season of the Riedel Bull Air Race Championship that was held recently. Besides being an adrenaline pumping event for thousands of spectators, the Red Bull Air Race is also a high-profile broadcast production that is aired to more than 60 countries. In fact, the National Academy of Television Arts and Science recognised the production of the Red Bull Air Race Championship with an Emmy for “Outstanding Technical Team Remote” at this year’s 30th Annual Sports Emmy Awards in New York. For the sixth year in a row, Riedel Communications has served as the official global

supplier of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. Riedel, the lead44 NOVEMBER 2009

ing manufacturer of intercom, fiber and audio systems and one of the world’s biggest rental services for wireless and wired communications solutions, provides the entire communications and signal distribution solutions for the event, integrating both HD video and audio signals as well as wireless and wired digital intercom systems. Additionally, Riedel supplies the wireless video links for the race planes’ onboard cameras enabling stunning pictures to be delivered from the pilots’ perspectives. The demands on the technical infrastructure of a production like the Red Bull Air Race, which includes the set-up of a mobile airport including a control tower, are enormous. The signal distribution und infrastructure for video, audio, communications and data of such a production play a key role, since it directly affects all other areas of the production and the event itself. Since the start of the 2009 racing season which began in Abu Dhabi in April, the infrastructure backbone of the Red Bull Air Race Championship has been based on Riedel MediorNet, a new realtime fiber signal transport solution that includes routing signal distribution and signal processing. MediorNet is a new fiber based network that pushes fiber signal transport beyond simple point-to-point links by offering a real network

solution. In addition to signal transport, the system allows the routing of any incoming signal to any output or even to multiple outputs. This can be achieved by just a mouse-click in the configuration software or, even more conveniently, by a router control system. MediorNet also provides software-based signal processing and conversion onboard. This processing includes signal conversion like up/down-scaling, interlacing/de-interlacing, frame synchronization or aspect ratio conversion (ARC). The fibre-optic signal backbone of the Red Bull Air Race is based on seven MediorNet nodes, which transports all intercom, HD video and audio signals uncompressed in real-time. Audio signals are interfaced Riedel’s digital audio network solution RockNet. This allows the seamless integration of the event’s main Yamaha audio mixing console, which provides the mix for the live audience. The events communications infrastructure is based on an Artist Digital Matrix Intercom network consisting of seven nodes connected via a dual redundant fiber ring. The seven frames were located in the Air Race control tower, the TV compound, the organization compound and at the race airport. At a daytime open air event like this, the special 8-digit LED display keys of the Artist 1000 series allows clear labeling of destinations and excellent readability under all lighting conditions including direct sunlight. In addition, the Artist 1000 panels provide broadcast quality audio and individual listen level control for each talk key.

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RIEDEL ADVERTISEMENT

The Emmy Award Winning Riedel Crew

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“To ensure mission-critical communications and signal transport, we designed an integrated system that takes into account all aspects of this world-class production,” says Yungmin Lee, project manager of Riedel Communications. “We are enabling the communications of over 650 people involved with each Red Bull Air Race. Everyone from the pilot to security and referees are utilizing our state-of-the-art system.” MediorNet not only provides enhancements for network operations; it also has direct advantages in terms of cost and effort. Time is a crucial factor for the set-up of the event installation and has a direct effect on the production costs. MediorNet’s integration of various cabling infrastructures such as video, audio and data into one network significantly reduces time and effort in installation. Besides time, weight is another relevant issue for the Red Bull Air Race. With races in six different countries

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around the globe, the reduction in weight through the use of fibre instead of copper cables translates directly into lower transportation costs. In addition, MediorNet’s on-board signal processing and conversion also results in less transportation costs as it eliminates the need for various external devices such as up- and down-

scalers. The next opportunity to experience the Red Bull Air Race fibre infrastructure in action will be the 2010 season opening early next year in Abu Dhabi

HOW MEDIORNET WORKS: MediorNet provides an innovative combination of electrical TDM multiplexing and optical CWDM multiplexing. Each MediorNet frame contains a processing card, which handles 16 4.25GB/s highspeed ports. So each carrier frame within MediorNet is 4.25GB/s. To optimize the bandwidth usage of the carrier frame, MediorNet divides the carrier into subframes with 6.4MBit/s bandwidth, which correspond to the smallest signal to transport: AES3 audio. The subframes can be filled with any type of video and audio

signal or control data. Each native signal is sliced into 6.4MBit/s segments. MediorNet transports these slices to one or multiple destinations in real time. At the destination, MediorNet recreates the native signal and provides additional software-based signal processing and conversion features. The processing card allows the individual routing of all native signals within the 16 4.25GBit/s ports, resulting in a router for 32 x 32 720p/1080i signals, 184 x 184 SD-SDI signals, 27,000 x 27,000 AES signals or any combination of these. NOVEMBER 2009 45


CAMERA SUPPORT TRIPODS, LENSES & MORE

SACHTLER Sachtler’s newest offering to the market is the artemis EFP HD SE system. 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 perfectly adapted to working with a RED ONE camera as well as with other new 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 supports HD SDI video transport up to 4.5 GHz. It also includes the ACT 2 vest and ACT 2 spring arm. www.sachtler.com

MILLER Miller claims that its Compass range of fluid heads brings a premium camera support option to the market with professional performance at very competitive pricing. The stylish and operator friendly design incorporates features like a wide payload range, selectable pan and tilt drag settings and illuminated bubble level in a low profile and lightweight fluid head. The Compass 15 fluid head provides professional performance for the latest generation of lightweight HDV/DVCAM/ XDCAM and P2HD cameras with payloads between 2-9kg (4-20lbs). Offering pan and tilt fluid drag range combined with a selectable counterbalance system, the Compass 15 is versatile and its high quality construction ensures reliability in the toughest conditions. The Compass 20 fluid head with a 2-12kg (4-26lbs) payload range enables a large range of cameras and camera configurations to be used from HDV/DVCAM to XDCAM and P2HD cameras. The Compass 20 incorporates pan and tilt fluid drag range with a selectable counterbalance system. A quick release camera mounting system utilising the Euro mini camera plates allows it to integrate easily into existing camera support inventories. www.millertripods.com

46 NOVEMBER 2009

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CAMERA SUPPORT TRIPODS, LENSES & MORE

KEEP THE FOCUS A look at some of the newest lenses on the market from leading lens manufacturers

COOKE OPTICS Cooke Optics Ltd 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 high-quality 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. The new lenses will ship from October 2009. www.cookeoptics.com

FUJINON Fujinon has introduced the new XA50X9.5B ESM HD telephoto lens, designed to work with ENG style 2/3-inch HD cameras. A cost effective lens, the XA50X9.5BESM is ideal for small sports venues, indoor sports venues and political events coverage, as well as houses of worship, corporate events, and other venues requiring longer focal length lenses. With only 20.4kg, the lens features an integral camera supporter that requires no additional camera lens support, which results in a considerable cost savings over other designs that require a build up kit or separate camera/lens support. The XA50X9.5B ESM has 50 times magnification and a 9.5 to 475mm focal length which can provide a tight shot at one hundred feet. A remote control 2X extender is standard. The maximum relative aperture is 1.7 from 9.5 to 311mm and only 2.6 at 475mm. The minimum object distance is 9.8 feet from the front of the lens. Built-in moisture absorbing technology reduces fogging caused by humidity and improves reliability. The new lens also features Fujinon’s exclusive Digi Power digital servo control system, which enhances the performance of both zoom and focus functions. www.fujinon.de

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NOVEMBER 2009 49


in a sm malll packag ge

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Manage the system from anywhere Use the intuitive AZedit software to remotely configure your intercom system from anywhere in the world.

Toggle other devices with relays Zeus III features two relay connections, for easy linking to other devices such as lighting and paging amps.

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CAMERA SUPPORT TRIPODS, LENSES & MORE

THALES ANGENIEUX

CANON

The new KJ22ex7.6B telephoto lens from Canon covers a generous range of focal lengths while also providing a modest wide-angle of almost 65 degrees in the 16:9 HD image format. This provides a flexible image framing range especially for outdoor applications. The central design criteria for this new lens sought an excellent balance between size, weight, and HD optical performance intended for HD News and many HD production applications. This lens comes with an improved optical performance. The KJ22ex7.6B has been improved on a number of fronts compared to its predecessor KJ21ex7.6B. The new lens deploys Large Diameter Aspherical lens elements that contribute to a better control of chromatic aberration, geometric distortion, and corner resolution. Curvature of field and chromatic aberrations has been reduced with the use of special optical materials that include Fluorite and Hi-UD glasses. Besides the exceptional optical performance, the new lens has a newly designed drive unit. The KJ22ex7.6B IRSE/IASE is ideal for comfortable and cost effective HD production and is due to be delivered from November 2009. www.canon-europe.com

Thales Angenieux’s has unveiled a new series of lenses that offer improved focal range and are available in full HD, an economically priced HD-E version, as well as an SD version. The new series paves the way for professionals to make the move to HD production with the performance and convenience of a 19 x 7.3 AIF general purpose zoom lens for ENG/EFP applications. The 19 x 7.3 AIF series lenses are suitable for both field and studio use and deliver optimum performance and quality in a compact package. With precision optics and a focal range of 7.3mm to 139mm, and weighing only 4lbs with 2X extender, and 3.7lbs in the HD-E version, the lens’ 19X zoom range allows close-up images with optimised definition and clarity. In addition, the 7.3X wide angle capability of the lens ens is ideal for panoramic-like wide shots not possible with conventional ENG lenses. Angenieux’s 19 x 7.3 AIF series lenses also offer digital features including memorised focus and zoom positions, an anti-backlash system, auto cruise zoom function, digital laws for focus and zoom, serial communication, optional built-in focus (SSD version) and an optional 16-bit output optical encoder (SSDE version). The ergonomically designed lenses are equipped with rectangular sunshades to minimize light interference and the sturdy construction makes for a durable and highly reliable product, shielding the lens from rain, condensation and dust. www.angenieux.com

16DIGITAL PRIME LENSES Based on the latest in design methods, optical glass, and findings on suppression of reflexes and stray light, P+S TECHNIK has introduced a new generation of fast prime lenses. Dubbed the 16Digital lenses, these lenses are especially designed for digital cameras with a single 16:9 format 2/3” CMOS sensor and equipped with the P+S TECHNIK Interchangeable Mount System (IMS). Optical parts are designed with support from high quality lens manufacturer LINOS Photonics (formerly Rodenstock). The lenses work especially well for 2D and 3D stereo recording with the SI-2K Digital Cinema Camera System. The prototype optics have already been used to shoot “Bloody Valentine 3D”. 16Digital prime lenses come with easy to read scales (meter or feet scales available), uniform front lens diameter of 60

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mm, uniform 0,8 gear rings for focus and iris control and uniform position of exit pupil. Standard follow focus and electronic lens control systems can be used with these lenses. The optical performance is superb, even wide open. Floating elements keep the optical performance up all the way to the closefocusing limit. Distortion is well controlled, especially with

the wider angle lenses, where it counts most. 16Digital primes are particularly robust and easy to service. The 16Digital prime lenses range from 8 mm, 12 mm, 16 mm, 25 mm, 35 mm to 50 mm. The new product line 16Digital is designed to cover the needs of the emerging market for cost-effective digital 2/3” single chip CMOS sensor cameras and so far. includes the SI-2K Digital Cinema Camera System, the 16Digital lens set and solutions for file-based post production workflow efficiency. www.pstechnik.de

NOVEMBER 2009 51


NO MORE PLAYING WITH BLOCKS.

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DIGITAL IMAGING NEW CAMS

www.digitalproductionme.com

NOVEMBER 2009 53


DIGITAL IMAGING NEW CAMS

We look at two new cameras that have been launched in the Middle East Olympus launched its Pen E-P1 in the UAE last month. The retro design of the new Pen E-P1 is reminiscent of Olympus‘Pen series of cameras, which rewrote the history of photography when it was first launched in 1959. Now, the Pen E-P1 combines an incredibly small size, retro style, and ease of use without giving up any of the benefits of D-SLR quality. The Olympus Pen, which is the first Olympus Micro Four Thirds model, includes image stabilisation, dust reduction system and bright interchangeable lenses as well as the first Olympus interchangeable lenses specially designed for the new Micro Four Thirds format. The E-P1 boasts a variety of creative E-System features allowing photographers to explore new artistic possibilities. It also breaks new ground with the option of video recordings that were previously impossible. “We believe the Pen is a milestone in photography and will change our photographic habits. We are confident that we can develop this head start to increase market share, and gain the number one rank in this new market field,” commented Nacho Abia, executive managing director, Olympus Europa Imaging Gmbh. Olympus also celebrated its 90th anniversary this year with a photography campaign titled “Dubai: Dawn to Dusk,” which paid tribute to the emirate and the fast paced growth witnessed by it in recent years. Talented lens men from among Dubai’s photographer fraternity were invited to capture the various moods and tones of the city on film and selected images from this collection were displayed at an exhibition held alongside the launch of the Pen E-P1. Olympus is distributed by Al Sayegh Brothers in the Middle East. 54 NOVEMBER 2009

Nacho Abia.

Abdul Jabbar Al Sayegh.

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DIGITAL IMAGING NEW CAMS

Hasselblad has launched the new H4D medium format camera series, featuring True Focus technology. The H4D60, which features a 60 Megapixel medium format sensor, comes with True Focus and APL (Absolute Position Lock), making auto-focus substantially easier and more accurate for photography professionals. Two models have been unveiled, the 60 megapixel H4D-60 and the 50 megapixel H4D-50. The H4D-60 is said to mark the beginning of a new chapter in the history of medium format DSLRs. Christian Poulsen, CEO of Hasselblad speaks about the H4D series: “True Focus helps solve one of the most serious challenges photographers face today. Without multi-point auto-focus, a typical auto-focus camera can only correctly measure focus on a subject that is in the center of the image. When a photographer wants to focus on a subject outside the center area, they have to lock focus on the subject and then re-compose the image. In short distances especially, this re-composing causes focus error, as the plane of focus sharpness follows the camera’s movement, perpendicular to the axis of the lens. The traditional solution for most DSLRs has been to equip the camera with a multi-point AF sensor. These sensors allow the photographer to fix an off-centre focus point on an off-centre subject, which is then focused correctly. Such multi-point AF solutions are often tedious and inflexible to work with, however, and do not really solve the problem, claims Poulsen. Photographers have grown accustomed to using autofocus systems in their day to day work and we see increasingly higher numbers of focus points advertised in each new wave of AF

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products. The term ‘multi-point auto-focus’ is a bit misleading, however, for cameras with sensors larger than APS. Due to the physics of an SLR-camera, the off-centre focus points that are offered are all clustered relatively close to the centre of the image. To set focus outside of this centre area, the photographer is still forced to focus first, and then shift the camera to reframe, with the resulting loss of focus as a result. To overcome this problem, Hasselblad has used modern yaw rate sensor technology to measure angular velocity. The result is the new Absolute Position Lock (APL) processor, which forms the foundation of Hasselblad’s True Focus feature. The APL processor accurately logs camera movement during any re-composing, then uses these exact measurements to calculate the necessary focus adjustment, and issues the proper commands to the lens’s focus motor so it can compensate. It computes the advanced positional algorithms and carries out the required focus corrections at such rapid speed that no shutter lag occurs. The H4D’s firmware then perfects the focus using the precise data retrieval system found on all HC/HCD lenses. This technology takes AF to an entirely new level, correcting for the vertical and horizontal focus-shift that results from the rotation of the camera around an axis close to

camera. In simple terms, True Focus allows the photographer to concentrate on their composition, to focus on their creativity, while True Focus takes care of the other, more mechanical focus. In addition to this, the new user interface in Phocus 2.0 drastically reduces the learning curve for high-end imaging. We’ve increased speed and functionality, and dramatically increased the speed at which photographers can learn to use this advanced software. In less than five minutes, an amateur photographer can learn to work with our images. In less than 10 minutes, learn how to setup for production of high-res files for Photoshop. In less than 20 minutes learn how to shoot tethered as a professional studio photographer. The new version of Phocus is just another step in our efforts to make complex functionality simple to use, allowing photographers to focus on their shooting. This philosophy lies behind a range of the features found in the H4D, including Hasselblad Natural Color Solution (HNCS), which achieves consistent color reproduction using a single color profile, and digital lens correction (DAC) which perfects each image captured through the HC/HCD lenses, by removing any trace of distortion, vignetting or chromatic aberrations. It was also the key motivation for what will surely be the most attractive feature in the new H4D, Hasselblad True Focus.” The Hasselblad H4D-60 will be available in November 2009 at a price of US $42,900.

NOVEMBER 2009 55


PRODUCTS WHAT’S HOT

ADB’S MIKAPACK DIMMER TARGETS BUDGET USERS ADB Lighting Technologies has launched its MIKAPACK dimmer range designed to provide increased programming functionality and flexibility for the entry-level market. MIKAPACK replaces ADB’s MICROPACK/ RACK dimmers and means that, in combination with ADB’s luminaire range and the latest MIKADO and DOMINO controllers, ADB can now supply a full range of equipment for customers looking for simple yet reliable equipment built to the highest ADB quality standards. MIKAPACK 15 is a six-channel compact portable dimmer built in a 19” rack only 2 Units high, with an optional truss clamping kit for distributed dimming solutions. The dimmer unit is 4kg lighter than its predecessor at just 10,3kg, and offers a wide range of common European connectors; while for fixed rack installations a terminal connector strip is also available.

The MIKAPACK 15 can control six channels of up to 3000 Watt, continuously to all six channels on full load for ambient temperatures up to 35°C. Filtering has also been improved. An intuitive user interface provides four individual control buttons, and a backlight LCD screen with two lines of eight characters for easy programming. Other LED indicators monitor the supply phases, status of control signal and processor, and the output of each individual channel is displayed clearly on the front panel. The operator can either setup a start DMX address for the entire MIKAPACK, or each channel can be assigned an individual DMX address to freely configure complex systems. Each channel may be assigned up to nine different dimmer curves, one of which is user-defined, and each dimmer channel may be assigned a Pre-Heat value and a maximum output value. For stand-alone applications up to 16 light-

ing cues and six factory pre-programmed chasers with six different intensity levels are available. MIKAPACK can be used without an extra control desk: the memories are easily programmed on the user interface of the dimmer, or DMX values can be recorded on the fly from a desk. The complete unit can be reset to the original factory settings and is ideal for rental company use. Operator changes to the setup or programming are indicated on the LCD display.

WEB: www.adblighting.com TEL: +32 2 709 32 11

Emmy awarded for outstanding achievement in engineering development: the Precision Focus System from Fujinon.

www.fujinon.de Fujinon is the winner of the prestigious 2009 Engineering Emmy Award, which is awarded by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Fujinon received the award for the development of its unique Precision Focus system. The thirdgeneration system guarantees crystal-clear HDTV images – even

Medical

TV

CCTV

Machine Vision

Binoculars

extremely fast-moving objects can be tracked with ease. With the push of a button, the PF system will automatically lock on to the object and pull the object into perfect focus, which permits the camera operator to fully concentrate on the action unfolding before their eyes. Fujinon. To see more is to know more.

FUJINON (EUROPE) GMBH, MIDDLE EAST OFFICE, JEBEL ALI FREE ZONE, P.O. BOX 18408, Dubai, U.A.E., TEL.: +971 4 887 3074, FAX: +971 4 887 3053, fujinonm@emirates.net.ae FUJINON (EUROPE) GMBH, HALSKESTRASSE 4, 47877 WILLICH, GERMANY, TEL.: +49 (0) 21 54 9 24-0, FAX: +49 (0) 21 54 9 24-290, www.fujinon.de FUJINON CORPORATION, 1-324 UETAKE, KITAKU, SAITAMA CITY, 331-9624 SAITAMA, JAPAN, TEL.: +81 (0) 48 668 21 52, FAX: +81 (0) 48 651 85 17, www.fujinon.co.jp

56 NOVEMBER 2009

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PRODUCTS WHAT’S HOT

GY-HM700 UPDATED

MATROX CONVERT DVI UNVEILED

JVC’s has updated its GY-HM700 camcorder. .MP4 files can now be recorded onto the SDHC card along with .MOV files when the SxS adapter is not attached, offering flexibility during shooting. The new version includes a more powerful built-in DNR, thereby, delivering higher picture quality. The GY-HM700, in combination with the optional SxS adaptor KA-MR100, provides dual-media recording capability and industryleading file formats on both inexpensive and high-performance media. With the KA-MR100 media recorder docked, it is possible to record Sony XDCAM EX compatible .MP4 files onto high-speed SxS memory cards, while at the same time recording the same .MP4 files to SDHC cards. Having two copies also provides more versatility in the field, with the assurance of always having a back-up.

Matrox Video Products Group has announced the Matrox Convert DVI, an SD/HD SDI scan converter with high-end features. Matrox Convert DVI lets users convert high-resolution DVI sources into HD or SD video for broadcast, display, and recording. It outputs the entire computer screen or lets the user focus on details in a region of interest of any size within the larger resolution. Premium features such as genlock with timing offset controls, an advanced downscaling algorithm, a flicker reduction filter, and one-to-one pixel mapping ensure optimal quality and flexibility. “Matrox Convert DVI is a multi-purpose device,” said Chris Yigit, Matrox technical marketing manager. “It’s ideal for creating broadcast video from computer applications such as video games, PowerPoint presentations, YouTube videos, Google Earth animations, and

WEB: www.jvcuae.com TEL: +971 4 2821375

web browser sessions. It’s a userfriendly way to create software application training videos. It’s a low-cost HD preview monitoring solution for video editors using applications such as Avid Media Composer.” Key features include DVI input up to 1920 x 1200, digital outputs: HD/SD SDI, stereo audio input, which can be embedded into the SDI output signal; analogue outputs as well as simultaneous analogue and digital outputs; anti-flicker filter and ability to operate as a stand-alone appliance. WEB: www.matrox.com TEL: +44 1895 827300

EYEHEIGHT ANNOUNCES SINGLE-CARD LEGALISERS Eyeheight announces three additions to its wide range of modular broadcast and post-production equipment. The LE-2nM, LE-2nS and LE-2nU are fully-featured single-card legalisers housed in a rackmountable or free-standing half-rack-width 1 U chassis with external mains power supply. An integrated multi-definition RGB and composite legaliser, the LE-2nM is designed for use in post-production and quality-assurance. The LE-2nM conforms to all commonly-used guidelines for legalisation of common TV and film formats. Legalisation, including luminance ring suppression, can be performed in composite, YUV or RGB colour space or in RGB-pluscomposite domain. Independent outputs of the legalised signal and legal/indicate monitor-display are provided. A unique severity display mode is included on monitoring output.

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The LE-2nM is supplied as a fully operational system for control via a Java software panel which can run on any Java-equipped PC or Mac platform. User controls include three safe-area cursor generators with configurable cursor colour, transparency and cursor type plus specialist functions for text height and aspect ratio measurement. Six user memories are incorporated in additioin addition to preset EBU-R 2003 standard SDI legalisation and 7.5 IRE or 0 IRE Pedestal. The user memories can be be accessed via two GPI inputs. A Microsoft .NET platform application is included for configuration of custom cursors.

Additional features include adjustable clipping levels (including soft-clipping knee), luma and chroma gain, black level and hue rotation. In addition to its role as a legaliser, the LE-2nM can be used as a blanking generator. Full 10 bit processing is employed throughout. Like all Eyeheight multidefinition products, the LE-2nM is compatible with the 18 video standards currently in use across 525/625 SD as well as 720p, 1080p and 1080i HD. Model LE-2nU has essentially the same features plus the capability of 1080p dual link operation. Model LE-2nS is a standard definition version. Demonstrated in prototype at IBC2009, the LE-2nM, LE-2nS and LE-2nU compact legalisers are available now. WEB: www.eyeheight.com TEL: +44 208 255 2015

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PRODUCTS WHAT’S HOT

PROXSYS OFFERS SMART ARCHIVING ProxSys MA-Series is a robust media archive solution combined with an automated storage system. It presents a complete workflow for smart archiving ranging from fast ingest of your data, automated archiving on Blu-ray discs or HDD to easy file organisation, search and preview via an intuitive graphical user interface. While importing content directly from solid state or other media, a small preview file is generated. A unique ID is assigned to the project and the files are automatically burnt to a minimum of two Blu-ray discs, creating one disc for long-term archiving and one for daily use. Individual labelling options are provided by the optional disc robot. Via linked metadata information, the ProxSys MA search engine facilitates the search and retrieval of media content. Preview clips are accessible for quick verification of the files. The former time and resource consuming process is reduced to a minimum while the desired files are safely stored and WEB: www.focusinfo-emea.com ready for use with just a few clicks.

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PRODUCTS WHAT’S HOT

SNELL TARGETS MOBILE APPS WITH COMPACT KAHUNA CF+ SWITCHER Snell has introduced the Kahuna CF+, a compact and cost-effective SD/HD multiformat production switcher targeted at news, mobile, and regional studio applications. Housed in a single 6RU compact frame, the Kahuna CF+ serves as a stand-alone solution for sophisticated switching and offers more choice in space-constrained environments. The Kahuna CF+ shares the same specifications of larger Kahuna systems, as well as a compact full-function control surface and the intuitive interface that makes Kahuna switchers a familiar favorite among technical directors and other users across the industry. The Kahuna CF+ supports external device

control without the need for additional boxes, ensuring smooth integration into studios while reducing the cost, complexity, and power consumption of the installation. The power provided by the Kahuna CF+ is the result of 2.5 M/E banks, twenty FormatFusion engines, a 24-crosspoint control surface, 40 multiformat inputs and 32 outputs, four channels of 3-D DVE, an eight-channel clipstore, 10 resize engines, 10 full effects keyers including chroma key, enhanced effects memories, and timeline and macro control. WEB: www.snellgroup.com TEL: +44 118 986 6123

RTS INTERCOM SHOWS VIRTUAL KEYPANEL

The RTS VoIP Virtual Keypanel (VKP) is a Windows-based application that allows any user to have a fully functioning RTS Digital Matrix Intercom user station on their PC. The application connects via the PC’s Ethernet connection to any path that can support standard IP protocols, including LAN, WAN, and VPN. The RTS virtual keypanel application is compatible with any RTS Digital Matrix Intercom equipped with the RVON interface. The Virtual Keypanel brings a new level of enterprisewide and remote access to your RTS Digital Matrix Intercom system. Key features include the flexibility to use the same Voice over IP technology as the RVON cards as the VoIP Virtual Keypanel is compatible with any RTS Digital Matrix Intercom system equipped with either RVON-8,

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RVON-16, RVON-C, or RVON-I/O interfaces. The RTS Virtual Keypanel comes with three standard skins including CLD Lever Key, Classic Lever Key, and Classic Pushbutton. Other skins can be easily created to fit the needs of individual environment giving a highly application specific configuration option. With VoIP Virtual Keypanel running under Windows, no special dedicated hardware is required. Remote communications using VoIP Virtual Keypanel and a compatible computer, RTS Digital Matrix Intercom communications can be accessed from anywhere in the world that an IP-compliant LAN connection can be made. WEB: www.boschcommunications.com TEL: +31 40 25 77 110

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RAPID FIRE DOMINIC MCGILL

THE NEXUS BETWEEN ABU DHABI AND WORLD PLAYERS Dominic McGill shares details of the Middle East Television show with Digital Studio Few people in the industry know much about the TV and broadcast exhibition in Abu Dhabi although there’s been much talk about it. Here, Dominic McGill, chairman of Nexus Holdings & Associates Ltd, organiser of the MEBS/METV show, sheds light on the event. Why do we need a Middle East TV show? We have started METV because there isn’t a successful TV content and production show anywhere in the region. None of the other shows address the growing demand for the content side of the industry. METV will address issues relating to funding regional productions, copyright, talent pools of cameramen, presenters, editors, producers, and promoting Arabic TV content to the international market. The event will support best practices and look to provide a vibrant industry sector with a productive B2B network environment in Abu Dhabi, where we believe the TV content industry will grow into an internationally acclaimed location for young Arabic TV producers. It will eventually become the melting pot for the MENA region’s TV industry to come together to buy and sell TV content. What and whom can we hope to see at METV? METV is a three-day exhibition with a supporting conference. METV will provide a platform for production companies, training establishments, content distributors, associations, financiers and anyone involved in various related industry segments to promote their services to the Arab World. Twofour54 is our headline sponsor and will be exhibiting alongside industry veterans such as Pyramedia, Endemol, Star Dtv, Ginx TV, Eclipse Digital, Entertainment Masterclass, FRAPA, Dreamtek and Associated Press. Who will be your key speakers at METV? We have several confirmed speakers to date

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shows either regionally or internationally combining the two. We have several confirmed exhibitors including twofour54, UBMS, Al Dafrah Group, ABS Networks, Nautel, wTVision, MediaPro ME, ASBU and so on. Some of the conference discussions at MEBS will centre around Location filming and licensing, content financing and distribution, technology advancements and the skills gap, training as well as studio outsourcing and in-sourcing.

SOME KEY EXHIBITORS AT MEBS twofour54 United Broadcast Media Solutions Al Dafrah Group wTVision MediaPro Middle East Nautel ASBU

KEY SPEAKERS AT METV Jeff Skupski, Turner Broadcasting Roland Willaert, Entertainment Masterclass Dr Nashwa Al Ruwaini, Pyramedia Barry Lederman, Eclipse Digital Mark Hill, The Rights Lawyers Nick Grande, Channel Sculptor (see above box). Associated Press will be flying 20 key personnel out to Abu Dhabi to present their consultancy services for the very first time In the MENA region. Tell us a bit more about MEBS? Once the young wannabe filmmakers have seen the opportunities at METV, they will want to see the equipment that will enable them to make their films. This will be showcased at the Middle East Broadcast Solutions (MEBS) exhibition. METV and MEBS will run concurrently. We haven’t seen most of the big broadcast

Where do you see METV in five years? We hope METV will capture the passion of the MENA region’s TV industry and become a must-attend event for TV pros. It would be unrealistic to believe we will occupy the kind of status enjoyed by some of the larger events around the world, but METV will become the leading TV EVENT: content event in the METV/MEBS MENA region, atDATES: tracting international attendances from November 17-19 leading content buyVENUE: Adnec, ers and broadcasters Abu Dhabi in the industry, making Abu Dhabi a key region in the future growth of the industry. Are there any statistics you can share on the industry and why you feel you are here at the right time? There are 342 million people in the MENA region, with more than 50% of the population under 25. General and music channels dominate the market place, with 35% of the region’s channels based in the UAE or Saudi Arabia. With 50% of the population being under 25 and the event being staged in Abu Dhabi, where there has been structured and strategic investment support for the broadcast industry, I believe we are in the right place at the right time.

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Digital Studio - Nov 2009