AV Cover 112.qxd
All the action from FIFA2010
Broadcast industry facing new challenges Sound Devices travel to Afghanistan iPad magic or wanna-have gadget? NAB action from the show floor
Confidence returns to media market
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Contents AV Specialist Volume 112
iPad: Magical Device or Clutter Agent? Love it or hate it, the iPad defines a new device category, the tablet. Not PC, nor smart phone, it has burst onto the world stage bringing a little fun and magic in its wake. It’s affecting digital consumer patterns, but is it a game-changer, or just more hardware and clutter in our lives?
FIFA World Cup host production overview FIFA World Cup coverage is no longer confined to 64 games. In some cases it’s a 24/7 event which needs content to drive it. In South Africa the sheer volume is unprecedented for a World Cup and includes versions for mobile, 3D stereoscopic broadcast and extensive news gathering.
37 Apple's iPad has burst onto the market but is it a game-changing technology or just another piece of hardware to clutter up our lives.
Publisher & Managing Editor Kevan Jones email@example.com Feature Editor Dick Hobbs firstname.lastname@example.org Circulation Anne Ebrahim email@example.com Designer Rajiv Gopalan firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising sales Africa, Middle East, UK Richie Ebrahim email@example.com Europe Emmanuel Archambeaud firstname.lastname@example.org Represented in North America by: Broadcast Media International Michael Mitchell Tel: +1 631 673 3199 email@example.com Represented in the Middle East by: AV Specialist MENA FZ LLC PO Box 502314, Dubai United Arab Emirates Tel: +971 (0)4 391-4718 Fax: +971 (0)4 345-2898 Published in South Africa by: Doddington Direct cc PO Box 3939, Honeydew, 2040, South Africa Tel: +27 (0)11 083-6418 Fax: +27 (0)865253852 Represented in Europe by: Def & Communication 48 Bd Jean-Jaurès, 92110 Clichy, France Tel: +33 (0)1 4730 7180 Fax: +33 (0)1 4730 0189 Ave qualified circulation (Jan - June 2009) 5437
Good business in difficult times As a relative newcomer to the broadcast business this was my first visit to an NAB. My initial reaction was that it is huge. The time needed to walk from the back of Central Hall to the front of North Hall was considerable, even without stopping at exhibitor booths on the way.
Volcanic ash disrupts travel from NAB If your journey home from NAB this year involved travelling to or through northern Europe, then it is certain that the one abiding memory will be the uncertainty caused by the cloud of volcanic ash and the subsequent cancellation of all flights across the Atlantic for five days.
Publisher’s Note When I started writing this column the FIFA World Cup in South Africa was about to start. By the time this issue arrives in the post the tournament will likely be over and a new football champion will have been crowned. In some ways the world moves extremely fast but in a world where printed magazines really on postal delivery, it can move pretty slowly as well. Whatever the outcome (and I have to admit at the outset that I’m not a big football fan), South Africa will have demonstrated its ability to host the greatest sporting extravaganza the world has ever seen. At a practical level the new stadiums are magnificent, Telkom’s updated fibre network is installed, the road infrastructure is fully operational and even the futuristic Gautrain metro-rail system is working between the OR Tambo airport and the Sandton city centre. The country is ready. But it’s not just about technology – it’s more about a willingness to embrace our foreign visitors and show off the country and our natural assets. There’s a national fervour that’s gripped the nation and a patriotic sea of flags is seen at every street corner. Television viewers might complain about the noise of the Vuvuzela’s but this is an African tournament being played on the greatest stage available to any sport. I’m impressed with the audiovisual technology installed at the stadiums and fan parks – and even more impressed with the OB technology located at each of the ten stadiums around the country. But the most impressive of all is the way that a rainbow nation has come together to welcome the world to our country.
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news Angenieux displays longest zoom range Thales Angenieux has extended its line of HD Video Lenses with the introduction of a 14 x 4.5 HD Video Wide Angle Lens. The new 14 x 4.5 lens perfectly complements Angenieux’s high performance 19X ENG and 26X Telephoto HD Video Lenses which offer the longest zoom range in their respective categories. “The new 14 x 4.5 HD Video Wide Angle Lens perfectly complements our 19X and 26X HD video lenses for high definition broadcast and production applications,” said Chris Beauparlant from Thales Angenieux. “With this addition to our line-up of HD Video Lenses, Angenieux delivers the longest focal range for each lens in its respective category.” The new 14 x 4.5 HD Video Wide Angle Lens joins Angenieux’s 19 x 7.3 and 26 x 7.8 HD Video Lens offering. The new lens offers a focal range of 4.5 to 63mm (9 to 126mm with 2x extender) and an aperture of f/1.8 (4.5 to 41mm). The lightweight 14 x 4.5 HD Video Wide Angle Lens weighs just 4.6 pounds and is available in semi servo and full servo versions, as well as with 16 bit digital connection for zoom and handle connection.
World’s first 5 MLE production switcher Ross Video has launched the world’s first 5 MLE production switcher control panel at NAB 2010. The Ross Vision Series control panels are modular and now have the ability to add extra MLE and crosspoint control into open module slots on the control surface, thus adding control for additional MLEs. Dedicated simultaneous control of up to 5 MLEs is possible in the largest Vision Series control panel. “This new control panel feature couples very nicely with the new Vision Octane 8 MLE chassis,” said David Ross, CEO, Ross Video. “Vision now provides dedicated control over an additional MLE without having to reassign one of the primary control panel MLEs. The result is better control over all of the resources involved in a live production. This capability is ideal in controlling on set monitor and split feeds and for Multi-Screen productions.”
Autoscript shows LED TFT flat screens and portable prompting tools
Autoscript used the recent NAB show to present a range of high performance prompting solutions. Demonstrations included high brightness LED TFT flat
screens, and the Xbox Ultra and X-Lite portable prompting systems. The X-Lite, which replaces the WinPlus VGA unit, is an entry level prompting tool which incorporates one output, and is suitable for simple pieces to camera and for educational purposes. “Autoscript’s constant innovation continues to provide real-world solutions for every type of broadcast, from LED TFTs used on live entertainment shows to executive systems for announcements by world leaders,” said Brian Larter, Managing Director, Autoscript.
Harris demonstrates latest innovations During NAB Harris debuted several new Inscriber broadcast graphics systems and workflow solutions that help broadcasters get to air with dynamic graphics, streamline their workflows and realize increased operational efficiency. "The broadcast graphics market today is flooded with point products, but Harris is capable of generating an end-to-end graphics workflow that enables customers to meet any on-air graphics requirement," said Harris Morris, president, Harris Broadcast Communications. "From content creation to content distribution to content playout, Harris has a cost-effective, high-performance solution for each component of the graphics workflow chain." Harris introduces the all-new G5 XT production graphics system. Available as a singleor dual-channel CG, the G5 XT offers a new hardware platform and many enhanced features such as standard SD and HD processing, video capture, 3D animation, dedicated processing for each output channel and much more. The G5 XT is the ideal graphics solution for demanding news and sports environments. 2
SDI to Analog
Analog to SDI
SDI to Audio
Audio to SDI
SDI to HDMI
HDMI to SDI
The most advanced 3 Gb/s converters for SD and HD that include AES/EBU and analog audio! Build your studio with the world’s most advanced converters. Only Mini Converters include auto SD/HD switching, redundant input, AES/ EBU and analog audio on 1/4 inch jack connections, plus advanced 3 Gb/s SDI! There are 8 great models to choose from depending on the conversion you need! Auto Switching SD and HD
3 Gb/s SDI Technology Mini Converters include the latest 3 Gb/s SDI technology, so you’re always future proofed! 3 Gb/s SDI is also fully compatible with all your existing standard definition and high definition SDI equipment. Broadcast Quality
Mini Converters instantly switch between all SD and HD formats, including NTSC, PAL, 1080i/59.94, 1080i/50, 1080PsF/23.98, 1080PsF/24, 720p/59.94, 720p/50. Updates can be loaded via USB.
Mini Converters are built to the highest quality standards with low SDI jitter, so you get the longest SDI cable lengths combined with ultra low noise broadcast quality analog video and audio. Mini Converters are the world’s first converters to include 3 Gb/s SDI on all models!
Redundant SDI Input
Eight Exciting Models
Most Mini Converters feature a redundant input and loop through SDI output. Connect a redundant SDI cable to the second input, and if the main SDI input is lost, Mini Converters will automatically switch over in an instant. That’s great for mission critical tasks such as live events.
Mini Converters include more new technologies than other converters, while every model is an affordable $495. The Sync Generator model is only $295!
Pro Analog and AES/EBU Audio Standard 1/4 inch jacks are built in to most Mini Converters for professional balanced audio that switches between AES/EBU or analog. Unlike other converters you don’t need expensive custom audio cables.
Learn more today at www.blackmagic-design.com
T2™ INTELLIGENT DIGITAL DISK RECORDER
A LARGER DISPLAY THAN YOU’RE PROBABLY USED TO.
The T2 takes center stage as the latest Intelligent Digital Disk Recorder (iDDR) from Grass Valley TM . An impressive array of features includes HD play-back on two channels while recording, the ability to edit highlights on-site with basic effects, and a crystal-clear 7” display that makes operation effortless . Superb HD performance combines with an un-beatable price to make it perfect for live events, auditoriums, corporate AV centers, education facilities—even 3D presentations! All in all, it puts on a remarkable show.
It’s Gotta Be A Grass!
For more information, please visit www.grassvalley.com/T2
5/5/10 11:07:44 AM
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news Blackmagic Design revolutionizes color correction! Blackmagic Design has announced a revolution in high end color correction with new DaVinci Resolve 7.0 that includes support for the Mac OS X platform, upgraded user interface, improved video field support, a new EDL library, improved shared database support, as well as new pricing for all models starting from a very affordable $995. In the past DaVinci Resolve systems were pre built and priced from $200,000 for a 1 GPU based system, to over $800,000 for a 16 GPU top of the line system. Even though this was in line with industry standard practice, it meant professional color correction was way too expensive for most people to afford. Blackmagic Design has worked hard to change this, and make DaVinci Resolve more powerful but at the same time also more affordable for everyone.
Quantel launches V5 software Quantel launched V5 software at NAB – the latest release for the company’s high-end post production family of products: eQ, iQ and Pablo. V5 is the result of listening carefully to feedback from many Quantel users around the world combined with some original Quantel thinking, and delivers major advances in color correction, RED and Stereo3D workflows. Color correction is a big part of Quantel’s business today. V5 introduces the ability to color correct within the multi-layer timeline. This gives Quantel users a massive advantage because now nothing needs to be committed or flattened at any stage. This facility – unique to Quantel – means that clients can change their minds or ask for fixes to any aspect of the job even in the final stages of grading – and the post house can deliver the required result quickly and efficiently without the delay of having to rebuild parts of job: a real win-win technology development.
New low-cost prompting solutions from Autocue
Freestyle rig from P+S Technik
The P+S Technik 3D Stereo Rig product family is now offering two leading mirror rigs to cover the requirements of the creatives as well as of the producers for different types of productions – a Standard Rig and the new Freestyle Rig. The Freestyle Rig offers a high-class professional solution for creative images by opening the realms of camera
movement for stereoscopy. By collaborating with Philippe Bordelais as highly experienced Steadicam and Stereography expert the conceptual design has been developed to fulfil our clients’ needs on set. By using patented Carbon technology the best combination of load capacity, stability, form and weight was achieved. Designed for constant equilibration, the rig always keeps camera weights in perfect balance when wireless adjusting the stereo base. Integrated motors for stereo base and convergence adjustment optimize weight and are compatible with available wireless remote control systems. A wide range of professional lenses and cameras up to 7 kg per camera setup can be carried by the Freestyle Rig.
UBMS, a leading broadcast equipment distributor and system integrator in the Middle East and Africa, is pleased to announce a new range of low-cost prompting and presentation solutions designed to meet the requirements of smaller and non-traditional broadcast segments such as educational, corporate and religious institutions, as well as small productions and 5
conferences. Developed by the leading provider of newsroom automation and prompting solutions, Autocue’s Starter Series (SSP) offers users the opportunity to benefit from renowned and awardwinning design and quality at a fraction of the price. Starting from USD 1,210.00, the Starter Series is the only range that offers a complete hardware package enabling users to turn an iPhone into a teleprompter (iphone not included). This cost-effective range is also comprised of 10” and 17” prompters and is bundled with Autocue’s new entry-level but featurerich software, QStart. Ideal for simple prompting environments, QStart supports prompting and editing of single scripts. It features multi-language text and menus with icon-based action buttons and provides dual screen functionality.
Show your true colours. OLED Monitor. The PVM 740 is another leap in Sony display technology. Using the new OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology, blacks are black, contrast is mesmerizing and your picture never looked so good.
PVM-740 OLED Monitor • 7.4 inch OLED (Organic Light emitting Diode) • Sony’s Super Top Emission (STE) delivers images of superb quality • High contrast night scenes with deeper blacks • Vivid clarity and contrast in brightly sunlit scenes • Accurate reproduction of intense light sources • Deep, rich colour with smooth gradations • Rapid response without motion blurs even at low temperatures • AC/DC power supply
For further information contact Sony Professional Solutions MEA FZ LLC Unit C-50, P. O. Box 502050 International Media Production Zone Dubai, United Arab Emirates Tel: +971 4 391 8400 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.pro.sony.eu/mea
STE and Super Top Emission are trademarks of Sony Corporation.
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news Manfrotto launch 504HD fluid head The 504HD is Manfrotto's latest video fluid head. It is a perfect balance of design and performance. The bridge design improves the head's rigidity and its PAN friction control is fast, simple to fine-tune and protected from knocks. All structural components are made from aluminium, with the PAN axis rotation unit using ball bearings to obtain smooth, totally vibration-free controlled movements that can be directly adjusted using the head's FDS variable friction system. FDS on both the PAN and TILT axes also ensures that the head works perfectly at all temperatures, with all types of equipment and under all loads. Ergonomically improved lever and dial designs combine with the new friction index to give you complete control over the 504HD. The 504HD has been designed to offer a load capacity of up to 7.5kg (16.5lb) making it suitable for a huge range of camera equipment.
TV Logic debuts 4K monitor TVLogic, a designer and manufacturer of broadcast & professional high definition monitors and displays, has introduced the LUM-560W – 56” 4K display. Designed for Digital Cinema as well as Military/Industrial, and Medical Imaging, the LUM-560W displays 4K video at a full native 3840x2160 resolution or four selectable 1920x1080 screens. Features include 4 inputs each (12) – HDMI, SDI and DVI, 4 – HD-SDI outputs, 1500:1 contrast ratio, 3G-SDI 1080p 50/59.94/60 4:2:2/4:4:4 10-bit support, SDI, HDMI & DVI 10-bit support, GPI (Remote), Audio disembedder and built-in speakers, RS422 control, Markers, 5 selectable function keys, and support for TVLogic Color Calibration Utility. The LUM-560W joins TVLogic’s extensive product line encompassing 23 HD displays, offering the industry’s most advanced features and video processing. TV Logic products are distributed in Southern Africa by Inala Broadcast and throughout the Middle East by Alphatron.
Litepanels introduces Revolutionary New Sola Fresnels
Classics just got better
Sachtler presented the Video 18 S1 and Video 20 S1 fluid heads at the NAB 2010. Two classics in the industry are experiencing their relaunch: the S1 fluid heads are the latest models of both legendary Sachtler ENG / EFP heads Video 18 and Video 20. Due to their expansive payload
range both new heads are also perfectly suited for the use with DSLRs shooting HD Videos, such as Canon‘s 5D Mark II or 7D. They now have a 16-step counterbalance, as the focus during their further development was on making the balancing system even faster and simpler. Broadening the range of counterbalance by four or six steps enables extremely fine tuning which is valued by camera users. Additionally, the payload range of the Video 20 S1 has been expanded: just like the Video 18 S1, it can take on cameras starting at two kilograms instead of seven.
Litepanels brings the Fresnel into the 21st century with the new Sola series. Offering beam control of 70° to 10°, the revolutionary new daylight-balanced Solas provide the controllability and single-shadow properties inherent in a Fresnel light, but utilize just a fraction of the power of conventional fixtures. Like all Litepanels, Sola
Fresnels feature instant dimming from 100% to 0 with no noticeable color shift. The SolaENG provides manual focus and dimming control via camera lens style ergonomic controls. The Sola6 and Sola12 provide on-fixture motorized control of focus and local dimming via a convenient touch screen, and are also remote-controllable via their integrated DMX interface. Output is fully flicker free, and remains consistent even as the battery voltage goes down. Employing Litepanels’ ultra-efficient LEDs, Solas draw 90% less power than conventional tungsten lights, with very little heat generation. Additionally, Litepanels’ cool-to-the-touch lighting systems substantially cut down on air conditioning requirements in studio applications.
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news Digital Rapids expands adaptive Bit Rate support Digital Rapids has announced that the company will incorporate direct support for the upcoming HTTP Dynamic Streaming technology from Adobe within Digital Rapids’ comprehensive range of studio encoding, transcoding and live streaming systems. HTTP Dynamic Streaming is a new delivery method, enabling on-demand and live adaptive bit rate streaming of standards-based MP4 media over HTTP to Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR applications. This capability gives content creators, developers and publishers more choice in high quality media delivery while maintaining the reach of the Flash platform. While RTMP, the Adobe Flash Media Server protocol for streaming video, remains the protocol of choice for lowest latency, fastest start, dynamic buffering and stream encryption, HTTP Dynamic Streaming leverages existing HTTP Web infrastructure and cache technologies to help increase capacity and reduce delivery costs for large scale publishers. HTTP Dynamic Streaming’s adaptive bit rate capabilities will automatically switch between multiple streams at varying bit rates to provide consistent, uninterrupted viewing experiences up to HD quality even under dramatically changing network connectivity and playback conditions.
Avid raises the bar with new editing systems Raising the bar on format flexibility, openness and speed, Avid has introduced new versions of its industry-leading editing systems: Media Composer (v5), Newscutter (v9) and Symphony (v5). New features include native support for popular industry formats including RED, QuickTime and Canon XF—eliminating timely transcode, re-wrap and log and transfer processes for customers. The new version includes support for Matrox MX02 Mini monitoring hardware, which
is ideal for customers looking for a low-cost external monitoring solution that enables field editing and simplified client screening sessions. Avid Media Composer Nitris DX now offers Dual Link HD-RGB support, allowing customers to digitize RGB 4:4:4 material from video sources like Sony HDCAM. A new RGB player and full-effects processing support provide greater precision for color, keying and effects work, satisfying the demands of the highest quality productions.
Band Pro Introduces Ruby 14-24mm T2.8
Riedel unveils new software features Riedel Communications presented the new softwarebased Embedder/De-Embedder for MediorNet as well as the MediorNet Multi-I/O breakout panel and the optical video card at this year's NAB in Las Vegas, Nevada. The new Embedder/DeEmbedder expands MediorNet’s software-based conversion and signal processing features. The new tool embeds, de-embeds and shuffles any AES3/EBU signal as well as other data formats, such as control data for cameras. Like other MediorNet features such as the Frame Synchronizer, the Test Pattern Generator or the Text/Graphic Inserter, this feature eliminates the need for additional outboard gear, resulting in a more compact and costeffective solution.
Band Pro has introduced the wide and short Ruby 14-24mm T2.8 zoom from Focus Optics. This new niche lens delivers an impressive level of quality and extreme sharpness, especially at the wide end. The new Ruby offers full coverage even for the F35
sensor. Weighing just 3 lbs. and measuring 138mm long, the Ruby has a front diameter of 110mm and will accept a 102mm screw-in filter. The lens works on all 35mm PL mounted cameras, including the Sony F35, Arri, Red, and Canon D7, and on the Canon D5 with an adapter. Focus direction is reversed to go in the traditional cine direction. What’s more, the lens offers focus travel of 126 degrees. Focus Optics’ anti-backlash design ensures complete accuracy of focus marks.
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IGN online gaming website. It’s fast becoming a destination device and EA (Electronic Arts) Mobile has already released five iPad games. Mobile applications have steadily moved into the mainstream over the last year or so and the iPad is speeding up this evolution. Due to reasonably-priced smart phones and data plans along with high-speed mobile data network availability, mobile applications rapidly creating a mass channel for the distribution of digital entertainment, informational content and advertising according to UK analyst, Generator Research Magazines are migrating to the iPad, like first movers Wired and Popular Mechanics. Seamlessly embedded video, and linked articles with autoupdated content are creating a new digital magazine experience.
iPad: Magical Device or Clutter Agent? Love it or hate it, the iPad defines a new device category, the tablet. Not PC, nor smart phone, it has burst onto the world stage bringing a little fun and magic in its wake. It’s affecting digital consumer patterns, but is it a game-changer, or just more hardware and clutter in our lives? here are significant reasons So who’s right?
why NOT to buy an iPad. First, it’s redundant with your iPhone and laptop, according to UK’s Daily Telegraph. It doesn’t play Flash video, has no camera or USB port, and it doesn’t print! The list goes on. But to iPad enthusiasts “it is the most amazing piece of consumer IT technology ever.” According to one email I received: “The implications are astounding - high definition video on demand will replace TV; eBooks which will kill the printing industry; Skype access that will kill a regular phone service. The list is endless and frightening. THIS IS THE FUTURE. I bought her the 64 GB iPad and she reckons it's so intuitive that her 80-year old father has mastered it."
The truth is, the iPad is new – a tablet form factor that has only been on the market since April. It is destined to be adopted globally and put to use in some creative and probably unexpected ways.
At home and in the office For entertainment, the iPad’s unique interface lends itself to watching a favorite video, browsing the web, or playing games. Its display is a visual step up from the iPhone. Video games, like IronMan 2, have more visually compelling heroes as well as more detailed environments. “The difference between, say, Times Square in the iPhone game versus the iPad edition is considerable” says News Corporation’s 10
The iPad is all about the touch in its interactive display. A whole generation may soon be less tethered to a keyboard, and the business world will use touch to log corporate data, take inventory, and generate sales proposals. In that regard, iPad comes with Microsoft Exchange support and it’s not unlikely that companies like Oracle, Genentech, and Kraft that made large-scale corporate iPhone purchases, will do the same with iPads for wide internal use. “This element of touch and the software built around it is going to change a lot of the way we think about enterprise software," says Mitchell Kertzman, partner at Silicon Valley Venture Capital firm Hummer Windblad. Kertzman, and former CEO of Sybase Software. “Unless you’ve experienced touch interface,” Kertzman emailed me after our meeting, “you may not fully realize the greater sense of engagement you feel with the software.“ Strong industry position is in a strong industry position as it continues on track toward becoming a $75 billion company. Having just reached a 222B$ market cap, they now surpass technology gorilla Microsoft. Though Microsoft’s CEO, Steven A. Ballmer, has snapped back that "no technology company on the planet is more profitable than we are”, Apple is gaining momentum. They are expected to ship 4,3 million iPad's worldwide in 2010 alone, increasing to 37,5 million units by 2014. By that time Apple will dominate of the worldwide Media Tablet market and be earning $17.3 billion annually on iPad sales, up from this year’s $ 2.6 billion.
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iPad in the Middle East and Africa Last month, the iPad launched in nine new countries outside the US including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan, and will be available in another nine by the end of July. Though there has been no announcement when it will be available in the Middle East, surveys indicate pent up market demand. Fifty-eight percent of respondents from the region claim they would likely buy the device, compared to only 17% in Germany, 13% in the USA and 7% in Denmark and the UK. In Africa, the iPad is expected to come with a high price tag and attract mainly higher income Africans. Like the iPhone before it, “the Apple 3GS costs about 100,000 Kshs in Kenya” writes blog commentator John Karanja, “and about 24,000 Kshs on contract in the US.” Hurdles to adoption include Apple’s limited Pan-African distribution capability, cost – perhaps double or triple of what US consumers pay -- and weak quality wireless access needed to fuel iPad content and functionality. On the other hand, the Middle East and Africa are expected to be one of the fastest growing IP traffic regions with a six-fold increase by 2014.
Specs and Apps For many, the allure of the iPad starts with its slick, compact size and shape. It claims to be thinner (0.5”) and lighter (1.5 pounds) than any other laptop or netbook, with its 9.7”, 1024x768 MultiTouch screen display. With 10 hours of battery life, the first release did not feature GPS, but the newer 3G version does. iPad supports the main audio formats—MP3, AAC, WAV, and AIFF— and H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second. It does not support Adobe’s Flash, a point of contention between the two technology giants “Flash was created during the PC era” says Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. “But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.” Nonetheless, 95% of all Internet browsers today support Flash, and the advantage of Flash’s “build once, run everywhere” platform independence cannot be underestimated. The big iPad and iPhone differentiators are the thousands of applications (apps) they are fueled by. With over 200,000 apps in apps store today, 5 thousand are now unique to the iPad platform, and 20 thousand new iPad-specific apps are reportedly in development. According to Dr. Michael Hoch, founder of Sodascope and former
Director of Engineering at Yahoo, apps can be developed using Apple's Xcode software or in HTML. The ingredients needed include a software developer with good Objective-C programming skills, perhaps C and C++ abilities as well, an interaction graphics designer, and an Apple device to build and test the app.
builds the app in XCode, submits it on their behalf to the app store, and even manages the approvals. According to Hoch, only the top one to five percent of app developers actually make money which favors those apps that manage to become featured in the App store. Ad supported apps can pull in $400 to $5,000 per day, like earners “5800+ Drink and Cocktail Recipes” ($1500 / day) and Sound Grenade (over $3000 / day). App clickthrough rates are reportedly eight times greater than Facebook or Myspace.
Your own iPad?
The iPad has only been on the market since April. Its impact on mobile computing will not be apparent until later in the year. Decried by nay-sayers (“What? Another device to complicate my life?)” and hailed by enthusiasts (“The best new problem solving form factor ever!”), this is a polarizing product. Hoch, who has owned one since it first came on the market, summarizes the appeal as this: "Do I want one? Yes! ... Do I need one? Not really. We survived without a tablet before they came along and they are not as essential as, say, the mobile phone has come to be, yet it does have some magic to it that draws us in.” As iPad uptake in the work place, on the home front, and in the mobile space continues, usage patterns, benefits, and limitations will become more evident. What we know now, is that it embodies the tablet, an inevitable next step in the evolution of computing. “The transformation of the PC to new form factors like the tablet” says Apple CEO Steve Jobs, “is going to make some people uneasy because the PC has taken us a long ways. The PC is brilliant…and we like to talk about the post-PC era, but it’s uncomfortable.”
About the Author
Howard Greenfield, Industry Strategist & Columnist, President, Go Associates. Howard Greenfield is a digital media industry strategist, 11
columnist, and co-author of IPTV & Internet Video (Focal Press, 2nd Edition, 2009). He is principal of Go Associates, a leading consultancy that develops and implements high-tech product marketing and global business development strategies. Howard has held senior management and consulting positions with Sun Microsystems, Informix Software, British Telecom, Apple Computer, and other world technology leaders. He is the creator and former manager of Sun’s first Media Lab and is now a frequent contributor to industry publications. Howard completed his graduate studies at Stanford University.
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Sound Devices travel to Afganistan for filming of Black Tulip When sound mixer Jon Tendrich of Tiger Sound, was called upon to handle audio for the film Black Tulip, he knew he needed reliable equipment for his journey to Afghanistan. An experienced user of Sound Devices products, Tendrich opted for two Sound Devices 442 Mixers, a 788T Digital Recorder and a CL-8 Controller for the project. This versatile rig also helped him lighten his load for the film, as the CL-8 Controller features eight large, rotary faders to control the eight inputs of the 788T, with the 442s serving as backups.
lack Tulip, based on real events, follows the Dakka family as it struggles to live in peace and safety amid the violence of post-911 Afghanistan. Farishta and Haidar Dakka celebrate their country’s robust spirit by opening a boutique restaurant, Dakka’s Poet’s Corner Café, in downtown Kabul. At the heart of this gathering spot stands an open microphone, a symbol of hope and freedom to their fellow countrymen. As the Poet’s Corner gains popularity it comes under the watchful gaze of the Taliban, and ultimately under attack. As the Dakkas face dangerous decisions, they (and the audience) become increasingly aware that the imperiled
Poet’s Corner is a tragic metaphor for Kabul and Afghanistan itself.
Audio set-up Tendrich’s audio setup included a unique quad mic kit of Schoeps microphones with two pointed in an XY pattern in the front (a left and a right) and another two in the same arrangement in the rear. He used Sound Devices 788T recorder with the CL-8 Controller along with the Schoeps quad kit for capturing the local ambiance in surround sound using his Sanken CS-3e as the center channel. At times the quad mic setup was used with Tendrich's locally handmade sound cart to capture ambience during a scene, while the 12
Sanken CS-3e short shotgun was being used in conjunction with Sanken COS-11 lavalier mics to get the best dialogue possible. The COS-11’s were being sent through Lectosonics-UM400 Transmitters to UCR411A Receivers. Offering a range of ambient and dialog techniques enabled Tendrich to deliver several audio options for the post sound editorial team. Using the 788T and CL-8 Controller also made his package light and easy to operate, especially at times when mixing over the shoulder was the only option. Tendrich also made use of two audio channels in the RED video cameras used in the filming, the left channel designated for the boom mic and the right for a mix of all of the wireless microphones. He
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was able to feed the two mixed tracks to the camera via the assignable and level adjustable analogue outputs on the 788T. Tendrich used a third output to send through a Comtek system, for a separate director's mix that he would assign on the fly. “I almost always had wireless mics on the cast and then a boom mic,” says Tendrich. “I had my quad mic kit on the cart and would use it to capture ambiences during the scene while I was also recording dialog with the boom and lavalier mics all to my 788T.”
A challenging environment For Tendrich, capturing audio for the film posed several challenges, not the least of which was the communications barrier. He did not speak the local language and was working closely with a boom operator who didn’t speak English, making it extremely difficult to capture dialog and do on-site mixing when the dialog strayed from the script, as the dialog was improvised at times. To address this issue, Tendrich left the lavaliers open knowing his right channel of the mix would just be used as a guide track and the isolated recordings could be accessed later in post to do a more precise edit and mix. He was able to achieve this thanks to the versatility of Sound Devices 788T, as the product
allows isolated tracks to be recorded. “Sound Devices has never failed me” continues Tendrich. “Sound Devices products are so reliable that I knew they would hold up to the environmental conditions in Afghanistan, especially the excessive amount of dust.”
Overwhelming endeavour Filming Black Tulip proved to be an overwhelming endeavor in general, as the crew was filming in the middle of war-torn Kabul, Afghanistan at a time of escalating political and military tensions. While filming, there were daily threats upon the lives of cast and crew, not only because of the location and events surrounding the shoot, but directly aimed at the filmmakers due to the content of the film. “For a project of this nature, where the dangers of the environment are real ? the last thing you want to worry about is your equipment,” adds Tendrich. “Thanks to the overwhelming support of Dave Panfili, Bill Hansen, and all of my friends at Location Sound Corporation, who have been helping me with my purchases, rentals, and assistance, of top notch audio equipment for over a decade, and special thanks to Jon Tatooles and the team at Sound Devices who rushed the CL-8 to me days before my departure to Afghanistan. I knew I had all the best and most reliable
audio gear for this project at my fingertips.” Black Tulip is the first feature film directed by Sonia Cole, who also co-wrote and produced the film, which was shot in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2009. Cole also played the lead actress on the film due to the regions cultural views on women in entertainment. A true daughter of Afghanistan, forced to flee her country as
a child by advancing Soviet forces, Sonia has now set the world stage for a new message about her war-torn land. Cole worked with screenwriter David M. O’Neill for over five years to establish the universal relevance in this story of a small family who seeks its own selfdetermination under such complex and overwhelming circumstances.
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FIFA World Cup sets new standard for sports coverage FIFA World Cup coverage is no longer confined to 64 games. In some cases it’s a 24/7 event which needs content to drive it. In South Africa the sheer volume is unprecedented for a World Cup and includes versions for mobile, 3D stereoscopic broadcast and extensive news gathering. n part this is to meet the demands of broadcasters eager to fill more airtime, and more platforms, with World Cup programming. It is also a factor of the RSA’s geographical size, sometimes limited connectivity and transportation issues which means travel around the country is difficult and distributing pictures complex and expensive. That puts an extra onus on FIFA TV and its host becomes complex and broadcaster HBS to provide a solution.
hours of fresh ENG will be captured on Panasonic P2s daily. With pre-match coverage extended from 30 minutes to two hours (featuring aerial coverage, team arrivals and player warm ups) that adds a further 80 hours of footage compiled on a three match day – or nearly 100 hours per day. “The ENG service is highly anticipated by broadcasters but it’s technically complex and logistically challenging, especially to ensure we achieve a consistent product,” says Miodownik.
Dedicated ENG crews
A huge undertaking
“We developed the concept of embedding a three person ENG crew with each of the 32 teams as a direct answer to some of those logistical and financial challenges,” explains Dan Miodownik, HBS Director, 2010 Production Department. “This allows broadcasters to focus their resources on their specific requirements, in the knowledge that footage from elsewhere is being gathered.” With eight further
Dan Miodownik explains that HBS developed the concept of embedding an ENG crew with each team participating in the World Cup in order to create unique and original content. "This allows broadcasters to focus their resources on their specific requirements, in the knowledge that footage of their home team is being gathered by us," he says.
crews gathering feature material from around the country HBS calculates 18 14
ENG rushes will be edited and logged locally on EVS Xedio Dispatcher and transferred to the IBC by SmartJog file transfer with the logged data. In order to increase the availability of ENG cuts to rights holders, HBS is instituting a web server and browser solution modeled on one already operated by HBS for the Ligue 1 soccer production in France. “It’s a huge undertaking,” says Miodownik. “We talked with news agencies and
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sports production suppliers to understand the best way of structuring teams and workflow. Each ENG team member (assistant, producer and camera-op) is trained to operate the technology. The producer will speak the language of the team and be versed in the editorial angle we want to take across all 32 teams.”
Outside broadcast With distances simply too great to risk moving trucks around the country, HBS specified an almost identical set of outside broadcast units to remain in situ at each venue. Such an arrangement also means that production is more controllable from an HBS point of view. Grass Valley was assigned as HBS’ main equipment and infrastructure supplier and it contracted Gearhouse Broadcast to equip and build (to HBS designs) ten Technical Operations Centres (TOCs). Grass Valley subcontracted the build and equipping of ten additional temporary production facilities to suppliers including Alfacam (Durban, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg/Ellispark and Pretoria venues); Studio Berlin (Johannesburg/Soccer City and Rustenburg); CTV, part of the Euro Media Group, (Polokwane and Nelspruit); VCF France, also part of Euro Media, (Cape Town) and Spain’s Mediapro (Bloemfontein). Each TOC aggregates the multiple host feeds produced from the OB facilities, distributes them for local customisation of commentary and graphics by rights holders with their own on-site outside broadcast facility, before routing the audio and video signals onto the FIFA Max Media server in the Johannesburg IBC. The centrepiece of the IBC, the FIFA Max is an integrated cluster of 15 EVS XT2+ production servers managing the ingest and exchange of all host produced content. A further 20 XT2+s have been provided within the IBC for every broadcaster to outgest the FIFA Max feeds.Each of the ten OB hubs will house another 13 XT2+s. By the end of the competition 3500 hours of HD content will be stored on the FIFA Max and 18 XStore storage systems -1500 hours greater than the total volume produced in Germany 2006.
Identical audio setup For the first time at a World Cup, all audio equipment supplied at the stadia and the IBC is the same, from the microphones - specialised Schoeps units and Sennheiser MHK416 and MKH418S shotgun mics around the pitch and on all
One of the most artistic football venues in South Africa, the newly-built Green Point Stadium is situated in one of the much sought-after areas in the city of Cape Town. Green Point Stadium is one of the two semi-final venues for the FIFA World Cup™. This multi-purpose venue is also going to be used to stage major events and concerts. Fans will be a stone's throw from the ocean and the mountains of Cape Town will also provide the backdrop for matches. The location is ideal as it is a short walk from the transportation hub of the city. The new stadium has been partly built on land that was previously used as a golf course.
handheld cameras - to Lawo mixing consoles, Genelec monitoring, and Dolby encoders. Axon is supplying the Alfacam and Studio Berlin-built facilities with over 1500 Synapse products including 3Gb/s capable quad split multiview building blocks; audio sample rate converters and an array of modular distribution amplifiers, interfacing, conversion and reclocking products. Grass Valley’s provision for each of the ten OBs includes a 4M/E Kayenne XL HD and 2M/E KayakHD switcher and at the IBC it further supplied two 1M/E KayakHDs and a 4M/E Kayak SD as well as three routers, 55 Kameleon frames and over 700 HD/SD distribution amplifiers.
Grass Valley is fielding 290 LDK cameras that form the backbone of the HBS coverage. Each stadium is fitted with 32 cameras including a crane camera behind each goal, two RF Steadicams and six triple-speed LDK8300 super-slomo cameras.
Acquisition Grass Valley is fielding 290 LDK 6000/8000 WorldCams to form the backbone of on-site coverage but match day directors will have 32 cameras at their disposal, six more than previously. These include a crane camera behind each goal, two RF steadicams and six triple speed LDK 8300 SuperSlomos, plus two in-goal cameras, two box cams (for a fixed view of the six yard box), hothead tactical cams, two ultra motions and an overhead cablecam. “There can be a ‘toys for the boys’ mentality in which angles are used for the sake of it - and we are keen to avoid that,” stresses Miodownik. “The additional angles offer the opportunity for directors to show the best replays, not more replays.” A clips compilation however gives broadcasters access to the best of the content ensuring that footage doesn’t end up unseen and unused.The ultra motion cameras and cable systems represent possibly the greatest challenge for HBS as both can polarize the audience depending on how they are used. “The ultra motions can provide stunning images, though our guidance to the directors is that they should be used extremely sparingly in the match coverage,” explains Miodownik. “I view both systems as a second unit directed by the multi-feed producer, rather than the match director. Their brief is to capture special imagery, not
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Ellis Park Stadium is located in the centre of Johannesburg and has hosted many epic sporting events including the final of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup between Brazil and the United States. The ground was given a significant face-lift before the Confederations Cup finals and now seats 55,686.
necessarily connected to following the ball, and in most instances these images will be on the clips compilation not the match coverage.”
which it has built into its pre-match coverage. “At times it can provide a sensational view of the game, at its worst it can be disorientating and plain annoying,” observes Miodownik.
Ultra motion cameras Six ultra motions from Digital Video Sud (DVS) - a mix of Arri Media and DVS Superloupe systems - and four Antelopes from LiveMotion Concept (LMC) have been chosen. “We did a lot of testing on the systems including at the Confederations Cup 2009, looking for elements of consistency and selected those with systems and operators with proven experience of top level European soccer matches,” says Miodownik. Light levels will be around 2200 Lux for the night matches which mean the ultramotions can provide 300fps images or 12x normal speed. All systems are integrated with an EVS XT-LSM which enables control of the RAM in the camera head. A good EVS operator can mark 6080 clips during each match but no more than twenty of those will be used in the main match coverage. Making its World Cup debut is an aerial cable system. Four Spidercams from the Austrian company of the same name will feature at Soccer City, Ellis Park, Port Elizabeth and Durban. It proved impractical to fit the system into the other stadia. The Spidercam is operated by a ‘pilot’ who can command the three dimensional dolly movement on which the camera rests. The remote head, which houses the camera, is responsible for the pan and tilt movement, and also controls the focus, zoom and iris. HBS has designed a series of beauty shots using the system
Mobile TV hits the market Although the tournament’s stereo 3D coverage is grabbing the headlines, arguably the most significant innovation is the streaming of every game to mobile phones. “Our starting point was not treating mobile like a poor cousin to TV,” says Miodownik. “The single biggest impact is on the Camera 1 position which can make players resemble ants when viewed on smaller screens.” Instead, all Camera 1 shots are automatically substituted for those of a dedicated camera. “Counter intuitively we found that placing this at a higher level looking
Peter Angell, HBS director of production assumed the role of 3D project leader for the FIFA World Cup. He appointed Londonbased Can Communicate to provide further 3D technical expertise and together they developed a regime to test the development of 3D workflows.
down onto the pitch was more suitable than placing it lower down the gantry,” he explains. “By eliminating extraneous picture information (i.e. crowd) from the shot, the image compression downstream is better and quicker from this angle.” The mobile packaging includes goal alerts, red cards and highlights, three 3.5 minute bulletins daily, as well as two daily reports on twelve selected teams. “We recognise that one of the broadcaster’s biggest fears is that with so much content they may have no idea what is good material and what is less useful,” he says. “ So we identify content of extreme high value - maybe 4-5 clips per ENG team. This will be done by the ENG crews and flagged up as part of the metadata logs sent back with the clips to the IBC. This isn’t editorializing: simply highlighting stories which may be of particular interest.”
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and in Stereo 3D… The ambitious production of 25 matches in stereo 3D was only greenlit last November, although planning had begun more than six months before when Sony engaged HBS in early conversations about the progress of its 3D Processor box. This is a digital technology intended to replace the mechanical alignment performed by motorised rigs on camera lens pairs, and central to Sony’s plans to offer a complete stereo 3D live production toolset. Given that Sony is also an official FIFA sponsor and the key funder for the 3D project it was critical that the Processor Box (MPE200) was developed in time. Extensive testing of the box along with Element Technica rigs and Canon HJ lenses began in earnest last February under the command of HBS Director of Production & Programming Peter Angell who had assumed the role of FIFA special 3D project leader. Angell contracted London-based 3D production specialist Can Communicate to provide further 3D technical expertise and together they devised a test regime for the technology and workflow, again based around HBS’ ongoing 2D production of matches for Ligue 1. “Essentially we were beta testing the Sony 3D box, working with lab versions,” says Angell. “Sony were incredibly reactive to the observations we made and we learned together what functionality an image processor in 3D needs.” The MPE200 calibrates the optical centres of the two lenses throughout the zoom range. After alignment a convergence operator can set the required interocular distance of the rig and software will calculate and correct for any misalignment during production. Up to 16 of the devices plus eight Quasar rigs married to HDC 1500s are being deployed, coordinated from two trucks (owned by UK firm Telegenic and one by French supplier AMP Visual TV), specially outfitted for stereoscopic outside broadcast by Sony. Recording is to dual stream VTR (SRW5800) on site and at the IBC, as well as to XT servers which enable dual feeds to be recorded and played back instantly in full timecode synchronization. “We experimented with some crazy stuff to see what would work editorially including covering the whole match from a position behind the goal, or making a corner position the master shot,” says Angell. “In fact what we found is that the classical way of covering football in 2D is not actually a bad base for 3D.”
Restrained by space Constraints of space within the stadia have limited the number of positions available for placing the rigs. The plan includes main camera wide and main camera tight - traditional camera 1&2 angles filming from a much lower position in the stands. The others are goal line left/right on pretty much the same height as the main two cameras looking diagonally across the pitch; Bench left/right and on the six yard line to the side of the goal. A conservative approach to convergence was judged the best option, which meant devising a depth budget which wouldn’t jar the audience’s perception. Footballs randomly booted into the stands and toward a 3D camera would make an obviously stunning 3D shot but decisions needed taking about what the outer limits of the convergence should be. They settled on a depth budget of 2-2.5% positive parallax (into the screen) and 0.5-1% negative parallax (out of the screen). Discreet left and right eye channels of 1080i50 HDSDI are sent back to the IBC over a JPEG2000 contribution network compressed to 300Mbps. From the IBC it is the responsibility of broadcasters such as ESPN, France’s TF1 and Spain’s Sogecable to manage the feed. “Ninety-nine percent of people will see the World Cup in 2D HD so we can’t do anything to risk that coverage,” stresses Angell.
Virtual offside line For the first time HBS is to introduce a virtual offside line to the main international feed. This graphic overlay will be managed using EPSIO, an EVS tool which allows LSM operators to manually trigger the offside line with the jog wheel of the LSM remote. The international feed is also integrated with Deltratre’s statistical analytics software MAGMA Pro. HBS 17
production teams will be able to replay pictures integrated with Magma Pro data from the FIFA Max server to create analysis of key moments and the position of every player on the pitch. Again, this will be used judiciously. From a design perspective the look has an African feel. “It was decided that as this was the first World Cup to be staged on the continent it should look and feel African rather than ‘multilateral neutral,’” explains Miodownik.
Consistency and balance The watchwords for HBS’ technical and editorial planning are ‘precision’ and ‘consistency’. With over 26 billion people watching, nothing can be left to chance. South Africa doesn’t have the technical support and networking infrastructure of, say Germany, so meticulous planning was all the more important, with OB hubs and TOCs built and tested in Europe before shipping and rebuild on-site. Much the same model will be applied to Brazil in 2014, where distances are if anything greater between venues. To some it’s an overly cautious approach but HBS has to balance the needs of its client, FIFA, and its clients the broadcasters - with the expectations of their clients – the audience, while taking on board the possibilities opened up by new technology.“I now have to be an expert in data, statistics, hi-speed cameras and instant replays,” comments François-Charles Bideaux who will direct the World Cup Final. “The main challenge is to put together all these systems and cover the match story in the best way possible.” While there are guidelines to ensure a universal language and balance for coverage, Bideaux won’t be blinded if he has to react to events on the day. “The guidelines are flexible,” he says. “You have to be prepared to improvise if necessary to what is happening on the spot.”
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New Durban stadium opts for Spyder X20 System Solutions provides advanced A/V integration for new 70,000-seat Moses Mabhida stadium in preparation for 2010 FIFA World Cup
he newly-built 70,000-seat Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban will become one of ten premier venues (spread across nine cities) which will host matches in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Located in KwaZulu Natal, and purpose-built on the site of the former Kings Park Stadium which was demolished in late 2006, it has been designed as a world-class, multi-purpose facility which will be used long after the World Cup has finished.
Overall construction budget The overall construction budget of US $321 million includes the contract for AV, worth US $2.6 million. It was awarded to System Solutions — part of the Gearhouse South Africa Group of Companies — following the success of their work at the main 95,000-capacity Soccer City Stadium Johannesburg, which will host the final. Once again the requirement at Moses Mabhida was for High Definition IPTV, digital signage video distribution system as well as one large format, high resolution outdoor LED screen. The stadium follows a similar control architecture model to that implemented at Soccer City — with the exception that System Solutions were able to deploy the new Christie Spyder X20, since it was released after the tender had been won.
Integrated monitoring Offering 20 megapixel processing, matrix switching and integrated source monitoring the Spyder X20 has all the flexibility of a universal routing switcher. Its integrated source monitoring enables simultaneous, real-time, full frame rate monitoring of all inputs. The input configuration comprises: four feeds from the AV Stumpfl Wings Platinum 4 media server; four HD SDI feeds for the outside broadcast and pitch feeds, and two Bluray player inputs. On the output stage, the X20 sends an XGA signal over fibre to the Lighthouse big screen and provides two RF Modulator feeds for the private suites (if required), two HD IPTV Encoders, an operators monitor and a source multiview. Says senior video technician Mike
The new Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban includes Christies new Spyder X20 switching device. The Christie Spyder X20 is a versatile hardware-based video processor combined with the flexibility of a universal routing switcher. Its integrated source monitoring enables simultaneous, real-time, full frame rate monitoring of all inputs. The Spyder X20 provides users with a 20 megapixel bandwidth to blend, window, mix and scale any source format and then routes the signal to any destination device or combination of display devices – quickly and easily.
Tempest, “There are slight differences between this and Soccer City in the way we have treated the public displays. In Durban we have gone for a more IPTV based system that displays a ‘Digital Signage’ channel, fed from an IPTV decoder, instead of multiple DS players.”
Sophisticated routing relay The sophisticated routing relay will deliver visuals every bit as impressive as the stadium’s stunning architecture. Measuring 45m in height the stadium will cover 320 x 280 square metres, and be dominated by a 106m high x 350m long free-span steel stadium arch. This weighs 2,600 tons and is expected to become a popular tourist attraction, with a cable car running people up to a viewing platform at the top of the stadium. The facility also includes a High Performance Centre, a campus for sporting and development academies and a smaller indoor arena. And while the seating capacity will be downgraded from 70,000 to 54,000 after the 2010 World 19
Cup, the stadium is actually upgradable to an 85,500-seater, which will ensure that Durban has the facilities in place to host the Olympic Games. Summing up, System Solutions MD, Sean Stewart, "It has been a privilege for us to be working in the two biggest stadia for 2010. Moses Mabhida has been built as an Olympic Stadium, and its impressive arch has already become an iconic landmark in the area."
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Emirates Palace launch Polycom’s RPX Immersive Telepresence Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace hotel has partnered with Polycom to launch the Polycom RPX Immersive Telepresence Centre.
he project was managed by FVC, Polycom’s VAR in the UAE, who engaged Alpha Data, one of UAE’s leading multi-disciplined systems integrator to install the high tech equipment. The centre, the first of its kind in a hotel in the UAE, was inaugurated by Hans Olbertz, General Manager of Emirates Palace, and HE Faraj Ali Bin Hamoodah, Chairman of the Bin Hamoodah Group. The new centre reinforces Emirates Palace’s leading market position in the UAE to provide the highest technology and audio visual standards of service as part of Emirates Palace's continuation to offer highest technology services to the world. Guests and media at the inauguration were treated to a live demonstration of the video conferencing system, experiencing the face to face
benefits that come from direct contact with a similar system in FVC’s offices in Riyadh. The luxurious modular suite combines comfort with transparent technology with no visible cameras or microphones. With a capacity of up to 10 seats, the system can be used for a variety of reasons, from internal company meetings and training sessions to client meetings and press
conferences linking participants around the globe instantly. Telepresence participants are shown in High Definition, they can see facial expression, make eye contact and read body language just as if all were in the same room. “We have been seeing a lot of interest in telepresence systems in the recent months especially since April where air travel has created unprecedented disruptions,” pointed out K.S. Parag, MD at FVC. “In a global economy, communications, more than ever, is the key to the success of any company. With Polycom, Emirates Palace and its guests can not only increase communication (in comfort), but also contribute to reducing carbon footprint with less air or car travel in a region that is just becoming aware of environmental issues.”
Investing in knowledge With the world of electronic media in a constant state of flux, those with the latest information are the ones with the edge. Whether your role is creative, commercial or technical, only by arming yourself with the best of current thinking can you hope to succeed.
here to get that edge? The one place which brings all the strands together is IBC, the leaving event for everyone involved in electronic media. And alongside IBC’s comprehensive exhibition and unrivalled networking opportunities, the conference provides a rich experience which will add significantly to the value of your visit. An important point to understand is that the IBC conference is no dry affair of dense papers and even denser Powerpoint. The technical resources behind IBC mean that every session is produced as a lively debate with demonstrations and presentations to the highest quality. To take just one example, in 2009 one session was about stereoscopic 3D production – so a live stereoscopic 3D production was set up, on site, which was shown in the conference room as it was taking place. Delegates got a real in-depth experience by interacting with the creativity and
technology in a way no other event could attempt. Creativity is at the heart of industry so is at the heart of IBC. From social media to the studio floor; low-cost and high throughput to blockbuster movies – all are covered at IBC. Sport, and new ways to cover it, will be a big feature of IBC2010 and, as ever, Monday will cover the latest in stereoscopic 3D for the home and the movie theatre. Creativity 21
has to be married to commercial viability, so the second strand running through the whole conference is the business of broadcasting. Is there still a value in broadcast or is online content and social media soon to be king? How do telcos and broadcasters play together? Is the commoditisation of technology necessarily a good thing? Technology is the underpinning of the industry. From its foundation in 1967 the IBC conference has always been regarded as the most prestigious place to unveil and debate new advances, and the reputation of the peer-reviewed technical sessions remains supreme: so much so that proposed papers outnumber the available slots by six to one. Add in the free sessions alongside the main conference – which this year will touch everything from augmented reality to bringing the news back from Afghanistan – and IBC becomes an event which is impossible to miss. See you in Amsterdam, 9 to 14 September.
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Robe survives another day in South Africa
Lighting designer Mauritz Neethling of LCD Productions used Robe moving lights at the core of his rig for the much hyped finale of Survivor South Africa Santa Carolina, which was broadcast from M-Net's Studio 6 in Johannesburg. The brief was to recreate the "rustic" feel of Paradise Island in Mozambique, where the bulk of the action took place, complete with a technical team and equipment from sister company Blond Productions who were supplying lighting for the location episodes of the series. The studio measures 18 metres deep by 30 metres wide, with 10 metres of headroom, and the Robe fixtures used were 12 x ColorSpot 700E ATs, 12 x ColorSpot 250 ATs and 12 x Scan 575 XTs. The 700s were used as front light for the 'tribal' area, and to create realistic fire effects across the set, for which the animation wheels proved the perfect tool. These are one of his favourite Robe features, and he uses them time and time again to create lifelike natural effects like fire and water. The Scan 575 XTs were used as back-light over the audience, rigged on trussing above them. This looked great in wide camera shots, for which they were corrected to CT blue one of the many handy functions of the unit. Leading South African pop band Freshly Ground were the guest artists, so for the performance area, Neethling sought to create a classier and more subdued feel to contrast with the rest of the studio. This is where the 12 ColorSpot 250E ATs came in. They were positioned on the floor, primarily to create beam looks into the jib camera. Eight additional ColorSpot 700E ATs were rigged on the grid over the performance area, with much use made of the glass breakup gobos. The band, who also wrote the series' theme song, performed 2 songs to camera and entertained the audience in the commercial breaks. All the lighting - which also included 1 and 2K fresnels, Softlights, PARs and LED fixtures off a grandMA full size console operated by Kevin Rieck. Neethling comments that he was extremely happy with the performance of the Robe's. He has used Robe products since 2004, when he ordered some of the first units in the country - 10 x ColorSpot 1200E ATs, 8 x ColorSpot 575E ATs and 4 x ColorSpot 250E ATs, whilst he was still the lighting director at e.tv, and all these units are still in use! He likes many things about Robe products, and comments, "I would definitely say that the zoom function is far superior than some of the competitor units, especially in certain studios here in SA, where roof height is often challenging!"
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Gulf Film Festival hosts over 5 thousand viewers The third edition of the Gulf Film Festival, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), concluded with strong attendance from the movie-loving public. The seven-day festival hosted over 5,600 viewers – the largest ever turnout - at 94 free screenings of documentaries, shorts and feature films from 41 countries.
he week-long celebration of excellence in Gulf cinema had a rich showcase of 194 films including 81 World Premieres, 11 International Premieres, 33 Middle East Premieres, 17 GCC Premieres and nine UAE Premieres. In all, GFF 2010 had 128 short fiction films, 28 short documentaries, 8 features, 5 feature documentaries and 25 animation films. The festival hosted 443 film industry professionals including 191 filmmakers during the week-long festival. More than 100 high-profile guests were invited in addition to 142 specialized industry professionals. The festival also witnessed strong media participation with 199 registered members of the media from around the Gulf region.
Festival Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said the large showcase of films from the Gulf region highlighted the success of the festival in achieving its goal of promoting regional cinema. “One of our
founding objectives is to stimulate the gulf film industry and offer regional directors a window to the wider world. The festival has indeed established its credentials as the first stop for Gulf-based cinema, and it will be interesting to see the young talent implementing techniques and ideas they have discovered over the week’s screenings and activities.” The festival also honoured internationally renowned Iraqi actor & playwright Khalil Shawki, Emirati actress Raziqa Al Taresh, and Kuwait’s applauded actress Hayat Al Fahad with the Lifetime Achievement Awards, during the opening ceremony. The festival also hosted industry events to bring together professionals and aspiring filmmakers and students.
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Alhurra TV goes live to Middle East with OmniBus Systems iTX OmniBus Systems, the award-winning provider of comprehensive broadcast automation, content management and workflow solutions, has announced that Alhurra has migrated to the OmniBus iTX broadcast automation and playout platform for its multi-channel services to the Middle East region and Europe.
lhurra migrated to OmniBus iTX to provide a streamlined integration of its master control infrastructure and greater workflow efficiency. Configured for three fully redundant SD channels with four ingest and four preview channels, Alhurra's iTX implementation integrates with third-party graphics, asset management and traffic systems. Exchanging data with Alhurra's BroadView traffic system and BitCentral asset management system through a file-based BXF interface, the iTX platform provides a high degree of efficient workflow automation. iTX's ability to incorporate last-minute changes gives Alhurra the opportunity to respond rapidly to breaking news in its 24/7 broadcast schedule. "Alhurra's implementation of iTX provides the core of an extremely efficient
and agile broadcasting operation," said Mike Oldham, OmniBus Systems' CEO.
"Because of the responsiveness of the iTX platform, combined with its state-of-theart automation and ready integration with external systems, Alhurra has been able to achieve a far greater level of productivity, while delivering a more compelling service to its viewers."
Next generation solutions OmniBus iTX is the next-generation solution that makes the conventional broadcast automation, master control and playout chain obsolete. Combining and exceeding all the functions of a conventional chain in a single, integrated suite of software applications, iTX is flexible, open and feature-rich and offers a significantly more configurable and responsive end-to-end solution for a wide range of operating environments. With market-beating support for SD and HD formats, and exceptional ability to integrate with third-party systems, iTX delivers the most powerful solution available while significantly reducing the investment required to launch and operate high-quality channels in broadcast, IPTV, mobile TV, disaster recovery and business continuity applications.
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Broadcast industry adopts to new market conditions In April 2010, Nielsen reported that CNN had lost roughly half its prime-time viewers in the first quarter compared with a year earlier. It is easy to forget that CNN, which launched 30 years ago (June 1, 1980), was once revolutionary – it was the first to bring real time war coverage into our living rooms.
ore and more people are ditching their newspaper subscription, switching off the TV and turning to the Internet, smart phones and iPads for their daily news – and why wouldn’t they? It’s faster, cheaper and interactive. They can subscribe to the feeds of digital journalists and bloggers they like, search news by region, category or timeline and thanks to social networking, be informed the instant news happens. In a world where technical progress and new business models are changing entire industries at a rapid pace, corporate inertia can be deadly. History has demonstrated repeatedly that established companies tend to struggle – and more often than not – fail – when confronted by discontinuous change.
Adopt new technologies While CNN is no longer the juggernaut that it once was, it still is a prominent player thanks in part to how it has adapted to new technologies. For example, iReport is CNN’s public journalism initiative that allows people from around the globe to contribute pictures and video of breaking news stories from their own towns and neighborhood. CNN is also an active player in the social media space – it has over one million followers on its main Twitter feed. However, not all traditional players are able to survive. Take a recent example from Germany – the Brockhaus encyclopedia. While the educated classes 10 years ago bought a 20-volume Brockhaus encyclopaedia for several thousand euro, they now increasingly use the free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. The consequences have been dramatic for Brockhaus: after the 21st edition sold far worse than expected, the encyclopedia business was sold to Bertelsmann in late 2008 and a 200-year old success story came to an end. Many of the traditional book publishing outlets – hard hit by internet providers like Amazon – also find themselves in a difficult predicament.Similar stories can be found in many other industries where established players failed to respond
According to a recent article in New York magazine, bastions of old media are finding it practically impossible to refresh an entrenched brand at the speed required by our rapidly metasizing digital culture. CNN took two generations to move from vanguard to rearguard. It should consider itself lucky. AOL and Yahoo, both now in the throes of their own frantic rethinks, only got one.
appropriately to radical changes in their environment. The challenges that established players face when confronted with discontinuous change raise two important questions. Firstly, how can established companies protect themselves from the dangers of radical innovations and secondly, how can they develop radical innovations, thereby opening up new markets?
Albrecht Enders is Professor of Strategy and Innovation at IMD. "Be willing to accept trial and error - discontinuous innovations usually don’t work the first time around," he says.
Adapt or die In a series of studies that have taken place over the past five years, extensive research has been conducted by IMD with managers and experts from the mobile, book, music and tourism industries, as well as the retail sector. All these industries have been affected in some way by discontinuous change. In all of these industries, most established players reacted either too late or not at all. And even those that did react often failed because they used tried and trusted methods, which generally proved to be completely inappropriate. Such was the case with the established music majors, which reacted far too late to digitization and new internet based business models. Initially, illegal file-sharing platforms such as Napster or eDonkey captured large parts of the online music market. Even after they had demonstrated through their successes that online music would be the future of music distribution, it was Apple, then a complete industry outsider, which took over large parts of the online music market. This phenomenon is not unique. In fact, the pattern repeats itself over and
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over again in corporate history – when not one, but an entire raft of established players, are ousted by a group of small, seemingly powerless start-ups.
Four cardinal sins, five recommendations When faced with radical changes that threaten the foundations of their business, established players tend to have troubles in different areas.At the outset, they might have problems detecting the relevant changes happening around them. If detected, it becomes a challenge to assign the appropriate importance. Furthermore, even if the established players do recognize the threat posed by these changes, they still do not allocate any or sufficient resources to address them. And finally, even companies that decide to invest heavily are often stuck in old mindsets of operating their business. While these challenges are daunting, IMD research and that of many other scholars in the field indicate that there are a number of actions established players can initiate to respond more effectively to these changes: • Look beyond your traditional reference group. Discontinuous innovations are typically not launched by those companies you have been competing with for the last 20 or 30 years, but by an outsider. Think of
Andreas König is an Assistant Professor of Strategy at the University of Nuremberg. He advises that, in order for companies to respond more effectively to change they should look beyond their traditional base of competitors. "Discontinuous innovations are typically not launched by those companies you've been competing with for the last 20 years," he says. "Think of Apple and the music industry."
Apple and the music industry. • Re-evaluate incentive mechanisms to accommodate discontinuous innovations that might take longer than a year to work out. Think of middle managers who will have to push these innovations. Why would they be interested in doing so? • Remain in frequent contact with those members of your organization who are in close touch with current market developments. It might take years before the signals that are clearly understood by
your sales managers who are working at the front line find their way to corporate headquarters. • Be willing to accept trial and error discontinuous innovations usually don’t work the first time around. • Establish dedicated units for managing these projects. Protect units that commercialize the discontinuous innovation from the demands of “daily traditional business”. Typically, these opportunities will require different metrics to measure success (at least initially), as well as different organizational structures and people who are not held hostage by the “that’s how we have always done it” syndrome. Rapid technological developments and the interlinking of the global economy will provide fertile ground in the future for further change. New players which see the gap in unexplored markets and traditional players which disregard years of “modus operandi” and embrace new ways of doing things will succeed with discontinuous change. Be it a defense mechanism or a fully fledged offensive, only those companies capable of adapting their strategies to a world where discontinuous change rules will meet the challenge successfully. It is why CNN is still in existence, while the Brockhaus encyclopedia is now only a collector’s item.
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Fujairah gears up for first-of-its-kind multi-screen drive-in cinema Digital 3D State-of-the-art facility can accommodate more than 800 cars at a time
ujairah Media Group, the joint venture between the Fujairah Cultural Authority and Arab International Media Services, has announced its plans to open a first-of-itskind Arabian themed drive-in cinema in Fujairah. Branded as Arabian Cinemas, the state-of-the-art facility will be an outdoor entertainment complex featuring four drive-in digital theatres that together can accommodate more than 800 cars at a time. Through the launch of this venture, Fujairah Media Group aims to complement Fujairah’s stature as an emerging tourist hot spot in the Middle East. Arabian Cinemas incorporates the world’s most advanced 3D theatre technologies and will be equipped to deliver the highest quality outdoor theatre audio-visual experience. The complex can accommodate more than 7,200 patrons a night, who can view some of the best
movies from Hollywood, Europe, the Middle East and bollywood. Mekki Abdulla, CEO, Fujairah Media Group, “This Arabian-themed drive-in cinema is in line with our long term commitment to complement Fujairah’s abundant natural beauty and growing tourist appeal with innovative, value-added offerings. The tourism sector in Fujairah is relatively young and certainly full of opportunities. By launching ventures such as Arabian
Cinemas we are supporting the Government’s ongoing efforts to comprehensively develop the emirate’s tourism industry and enhance its appeal as an exciting destination for regional and international visitors.” Talaat Captan, CEO of Arabian Cinemas, said, “Watching movies is undoubtedly one of the main forms of entertainment for UAE residents, a fact that is underlined by the packed houses that most theatres in the country witness on the weekends. While most of the cinema goers are used to the traditional movie theatres and multiplexes, we believe there is a largely untapped market of film lovers who would like to experience a totally different ambience while watching their favourite movies. This was the premise on which we decided to set up a unique Arabian style drive-in theatre, which allows patrons to enjoy watching movies from the comfort of their car.”
Omneon supports end-to-end broadcast workflow for M-Net M-Net is expanding its Omneon installation to include two Spectrum media server systems and a MediaGrid active storage system.
ntegrated into M-Net's Johannesburg facility by Omneon's local partner and systems integrator Inala Broadcast, the resulting Omneon media storage and processing platform will support playout of M-Net's short-form content, which is broadcast to 3.6 million subscribers in 41 countries across Africa.
Flexible content delivery "The highly scalable architecture of Omneon systems has allowed us to expand our operations smoothly while improving the overall efficiency of our file-based workflow," said Manny Coelho, head of media services at M-Net. "With the Omneon platform underpinning our operations, we're poised to realize even greater flexibility in our management and delivery of content to M-Net customers." Content is ingested onto M-Net's existing
Omneon Spectrum media server systems and stored onto a 216-TB Omneon MediaGrid system, the first such system installed in South Africa. Harris D-Series automation moves content for M-Net's originated channels to the new Spectrum server for playout as required. "When M-Net first created its digital archives, the broadcaster used the Omneon Spectrum media server to enable reliable ingest of more than 200 thousand hours of content," said Geoff Stedman, senior vice president, marketing and business development at Omneon. "That groundbreaking project represented the largest such installation in Africa. Now, as M-Net extends our digital media workflow to accommodate playout, it has raised the bar once again, taking online an Omneon platform that supports the entire broadcast chain." 31
"When M-Net first created its digital archives, the broadcaster used the Omneon Spectrum media server to enable reliable ingest of more than 200 thousand hours of content," said Geoff Stedman, senior vice president, marketing and business development at Omneon. "That ground-breaking project represented the largest such installation in Africa. Now, as MNet extends its digital media workflow to accommodate playout, it has raised the bar once again, taking online an Omneon platform that supports the entire broadcast chain."
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Confidence returns to broadcast and media technology industry In the broadcast and media technology sector the worst of the recession appears to be over, and vendors are feeling increasingly optimistic about the future, according to a new study carried out by Ernst & Young in association with the International Association of Broadcast Manufacturers (IABM), the body which represents the supply side of the industry.
he report is based on the IABM’s Industry Trends Survey carried out in May 2010, immediately following the NAB exhibition. Suppliers returning from NAB reported to the researchers that the event had been a turning point, seeing a new confidence returning to the sector. Central to the positive view was a 74% response anticipating better business next year than last. 47% of those surveyed are already reporting better order volumes than expected and, in a clear indication of the global nature of the industry, export orders – wherever the home country of the manufacturer – are largely outstripping domestic growth. One challenging trend for the industry is that fierce competition has led to pressure on prices, and while order volumes are better
for 47%, when asked to compare order values against expectations only 38% saw rises. When asked about unit prices, 78% of manufacturers said that they were either maintained or increased over the
last quarter. “Talking to manufacturers at NAB, the message came over clearly that they were relieved that the worst appeared to be over and business was coming back, albeit slowly and at different paces in different regions” said Peter White, director general of IABM. “This independent survey underlines that message. We see gratifying rises in orders, and that in turn is leading companies to invest in their futures through increased headcounts. But there remains a worry that access to finance, for both suppliers and customers, is acting as a choke on the free flow of orders.” The IABM Industry Trends Study is based on a confidential survey of IABM member companies, carried out on the association’s behalf by Ernst & Young.
SABC purchase 10 Slate systems for World Cup coverage Broadcast Pix recently announced that the South African Broadcasting Corp. (SABC), the official broadcaster of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, has purchased 10 Slate 1000 live video production systems for use during the international sports event. The Slate systems will be used to provide coverage for public viewing areas near each venue.
atches will be played in 10 stadiums in nine South African cities, including Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. While the venues vary in capacity, the smallest, Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, holds more than 43,000 spectators, while the largest, Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, has more than 88,000 seats – organizers anticipate massive turnouts from passionate fans throughout the tournament. As a result, FIFA has authorized the development of fan parks. Based on the concept pioneered at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, fan parks will be positioned near each stadium to provide live video coverage of the action on large screens for overflow crowds. Johannesburg-
based dealer and integrator Questek Advanced Technologies supplied the Slate 1000 systems to the SABC. Justin Thathiah, Questek sales executive, said the SABC chose the 1 M/E Slate 1000 because of its integrated Fluent 33
production tools, including clip and graphics stores, multi-view, and Inscriber CG. The integrated production system also provides multi-definition production, with support for 1080i, 720p, and SD sources. “It gave them a lot of functionality all in one,” he added. According to Thathiah, the fan parks will display the broadcast feeds of the matches; each venue will have a handful of dedicated cameras which will be used to entertain the crowd outside of live match coverage times. The Slate 1000 will be used to switch the video and add clips and graphics. Following the World Cup, Thathiah said the SABC will use the Slate systems for regional programming throughout the nine provinces in South Africa.
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Steele studios kicks off the World Cup with Shakira in Stereo3D Steel Studios in the UK have installed a Quantel Pablo 4K to handle their rapidly growing DI, FX, beauty and Stereo3D business. The well known boutique has teamed up with Sony and DNA to kick off the 2010 FIFA World Cup in style with the official music video for the World Cup song ‘Waka Waka (Time for Africa)’ performed by Shakira and featuring Freshlyground.
ne of the highlights of the FIFA2010 opening ceremony and watched by hundreds of millions of viewers around the world, ‘Waka Waka’ was finished by Jerry Steele on STEELE’s brand new Quantel Pablo 4K. Not only is it the first ever Stereo3D video to be shown at the World Cup, it is also one of the world’s first Stereo3D music videos and instantly achieved worldwide recognition - it has already been viewed over 13 million times on YouTube alone. The video was produced by DNA under the direction of Marcus Raboy for Sony Music Entertainment. The video has a strong party atmosphere with crowds dancing and singing along to the Waka Waka. The video features footballers Gerard Pique, Dani Alves, Lionel Messi and Carlos Kameni. It also features a ‘highlights reel’ of some of the great moments in World Cup soccer over the last few decades. “The video was shot by Vince Pace (Avatar and many other notable 3D stereo projects including Titantic in 3D) using camera systems developed by them for 3D stereo capture,” said Jo Steele, Steele studios joint founder and Executive Producer. “There’s no room for mistakes when shooting 3D and having Pace film the video guaranteed that the very best footage would be made available.”
Nelson Mandela Square
soccer footage in order to weave the 2D footage into the 3D edit without losing the 3D feel. Even though we worked right up to the wire to meet the ambitious deadline the end result is much more than a music video, and we’re very proud that it has received such a fantastic reception all over the world.”
Culver City facilities. A DI theatre is also being added, together with two additional compositing and online bays. “We will continue working in commercials, movies, Stereo3D and music videos and fully expect to need more staff and more Quantel systems,” Steele continued.
The 3D revolution begins Highest quality imagery Quantel is leading the way in the stereoscopic market and the stereo tools available in the Pablo make the handling of 3D a breeze,” Steele added. STEELE studios’ reputation for producing the very highest quality imagery for its clients is attracting ever-increasing business, and the purchase of the Pablo is part of a planned organic expansion of Steele’s
“We had to finish a 3D version, 2D English, and Spanish versions. The 3D version is also being shown in Sony’s 3D World pavilion in Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton, and will be shown in 3D on Bravia sets in Sony stores around the world.“We did all the conforms and multiformat edits for the different versions on the Pablo. The visual effects, color correction and beauty were done on the Pablo and the IQ. The 3D convergence and ultimate mastering was completed on the Pablo. All our Quantel systems were utilised for this project and they worked very efficiently side-by-side,” Steele continued. “We used 2D elements to make 3D floating panels of historical 35
“3D has only just begun. The depth of the market is equal to all the media that we see today in 2D. We will be focussing our attention on as many different applications for 3D as we can find,” Steele concluded. “We have the best solution for mixed format mastering and the industry leader in Stereo at our disposal, so no areas of the market are unattainable for us.”
How many bulbs does it take to change your mind?
Until Christie’s Entero™ LED powered displays, every video wall used lamps. And we do mean used. For over its life a wall could consume hundreds – an expense that could outstrip the initial cost. And then of course there was the downtime, the consumables, the maintenance charges. But where conventional lamps might last 10,000 hours, our LED light source lasts 60,000. That’s almost seven years running twenty-four hours a day. It could outlive the wall itself. So, with Christie Entero™ LED powered rear screen displays, when you buy a video wall, you buy a video wall. Not a lifetime’s commitment to never-ending expense. Isn’t it time you changed technology – not lamps?
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Good business in difficult times As a relative newcomer to the broadcast business this was my first visit to an NAB. My initial reaction was that it is huge. The time needed to walk from the back of Central Hall to the front of North Hall was considerable, even without stopping at exhibitor booths on the way.
omments have been made about the diminishing size of the show over the past few years. That I can not comment on except to say that, whilst there was clear evidence of a reduced show footprint with the telltale wide aisles and free seating, this could actually be said to improve the overall experience for the visitor and is not necessarily a bad thing. The more serious point, though, is to ask how the broadcast industry got to be so big, and how it can continue. This is a continuing theme in our market studies, and I will use some of our data here to back up my thoughts.
Handful of big players The chart shows that there are just a handful of large companies in our industry: we can probably all name the
Peter White is the director general of the International Association of Broadcast Manufacturers (IABM). It's a role he's only taken on in the last six months and this year's journey to NAB was his first experience of the broadcast industry's largest tradeshow.
Huge financial burden There is a really interesting point, though, in what this chart does not show. If you add up the numbers represented by each of the columns you will get to 268. But according to NABâ€™s own figures, more than 1500 companies were exhibiting this year. True, some of the these were dealers, but the IABM market study has identified around 1000 companies in the industry, which suggests that three quarters of them are very small, and attending NAB must be a huge financial burden for them. Incidentally, those small companies who are based in northern Europe, and who therefore had problems getting home from NAB this year because of the flight cancellations following the Icelandic volcano eruption and the resulting ash cloud, had a particularly tough time. Even if their airlines did the decent thing and provided hotel and meal vouchers, it is time away from the office that can make life very difficult for the small business. I
ones in the two right hand columns with revenues above $350 million. At the left hand end there is quite a spike in companies whose turnover is in single digit millions of dollars. This chart shows just revenues from broadcast products and services, incidentally, with the purple segments representing those companies which only supply our industry and the grey companies which have significant interests in other industries too. 37
am sure there are many who came back vowing to update â€“ or even implement â€“ their business continuity plans.
Highly specialised market Back to the overall structure of the industry. The IABM models the industry in nine segments: acquisition and production; post production; content and communication infrastructure; audio; storage; system automation and control; playout and delivery systems; test, quality control and monitoring; and services. Those nine segments are divided into 35 sub-segments, and further divided into around 150 product groups. A huge majority of those many small businesses in our industry will be niche suppliers, working in just one sub-segment, maybe just one product group. But that applies to larger businesses, too. As the chart shows, almost half the industry works in just one or two sub-segments. Specialisation is even more clear at the top level: only 56 out of 1000 companies
Call for papers
Promoting AV excellence in Southern Africa As part of InfoComm International’s AV Week, SACIA (the Southern African Communications Industries Association) are hosting an exhibition and conference programme that will focus specifically on the use of audiovisual technologies in business, government, education and Houses of Worship. We are now inviting submissions from organizations, companies or individuals who are interested in presenting a paper. Presentations should focus on the successful application of AV technology and while manufacturers and dealers are welcome to submit papers, presentations should not be structured to sell or promote a particular brand or product. Presentations can vary in length from 30-90 minutes based on relevance and content. Priority will be given to papers which address the use of AV technology throughout Africa and the Middle East.
When: 20-21 October 2010 Where: Misty Hills Conference & Exhibiiton Centre, Gauteng, South Africa The SACIA ProAV Forum will comprise four half-day conference sessions each supported by local media and industry bodies specific to their market. Each session will focus on the use of AV technology in: • Government • Business • Education • House of Worship If you’re interested in presenting a paper during the SACIA ProAV Forum please send a detailed synopsis to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +27110836418
The South African Communications Industries Association is a not-for-profit Trade Association committed to promoting the adoption of professional standards in the audiovisual industry throughout Africa.
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operate in more than one segment, and only 14 operate in more than three. There really is no one-stop shop in our industry. So the structure of the industry and its huge number of suppliers is very diverse. But is that a sustainable position? Well, it would appear to be, because this current status – large and small companies, a high degree of specialisation – has been stable for a long time now. On the other hand, with all these small but highly innovative, highly motivated companies, why is there not more acquisition? Why are these clever little businesses not being picked up by the larger players?
Keep the cash in the bank The answer seems to be that, in a recession, companies with money prefer to keep it in the bank in case they need it later. Those which would need to raise finance for mergers and acquisitions are reluctant to go out to venture capitalists, and in turn potential investors are becoming more risk averse. That is not to say that all merger and acquisition activity has stopped. Two major deals – one announced at NAB, one a week or so afterwards – illustrate important points about the structure and shape of the industry, although in neither case did they involve a small company: both acquirers
the acquisition of Omneon by Harmonic. The driver here, it seems to me, is simply growth by moving into a new but related market. The economic advantages in this sort of consolidation come through economies of scale and the capitalisation on synergies and complementary technologies.
Strategic alliance and acquired were significant businesses. The first is the acquisition by Avid of Euphonix, which at first glance looks a little improbable. Avid, through its Digidesign subsidiary, has a significant standing in audio, of course, but more through software-based post production tools than the conventional, live mixers made by Euphonix. The reason for the deal, which Avid was very keen to make clear, is that it was to acquire a particular skill set. Euphonix had been doing a lot of interesting work in user interfaces and control surfaces, and Avid sees usability as an important issue in the future. Acquiring a potentially disruptive technology to maintain a market position is a well-established reason for an acquisition. The second, announced immediately after NAB, was
The alternative to acquisition is to forge strategic alliances. Niche suppliers can come together to create a fully rounded offering. This makes business sense even when the individual suppliers are, at other times, competitors. Some call this balance between co-operation and competition “co-opetition”, and it can call for delicate precision in positioning if everyone is to get the best from the arrangement. But what did come across very clearly from talking to vendors at NAB is the strong sense that this is a personality-driven industry. Whether dealing with small and innovative suppliers or huge multi-nationals, broadcast customers strongly value personal relationships. The cliché that “people buy from people” is nowhere more clearly demonstrated than in our industry, and that is what sustains its rich, diverse – and big – nature.
Dynacord sets the tone in Dubai’s top clubs Opened in late 2009, the Ratsky in Dubai garnered a rave review in Club Vibes: “A wild night club with crazy vibes” is how it’s characterized, as well as “a club with tasteful interior décor, a fascinating light show and sound that overwhelms you.” For the last of the three, the Excelsior Creek’s recently installed sound system from Dynacord must bear the brunt of the responsibility.
iberty Acoustics was entrusted with the task of performing the installation. Supported by Dynacord’s partners in the region, AVL, the team from Liberty Acoustics installed, for the first time in any Dubai club, a fully digital control platform. Its nerve centre is a P 64 Digital Audio Matrix Manager.
Overwhelming sound This network-capable and freely configurable audio system controller offers not only the live bands but also the DJs making guest appearances in the club a wide range of possibilities: the entire audio system is configurable, remote controlled and also
supervised remotely by means of the IRIS-Net software. “It’s the P 64 and IRIS-Net that does all the work 39
in the club,” says Liberty Acoustics MD Mark Legaspi. “The DSP system spares those responsible a great deal of time and also worry, as it allows them to define access rights. The pop-up menus and indeed the entire user interface are a joy to work with.” The source of the “overwhelming” sound to which Club Vibes alluded is a Dynacord VariLine system. The six VL 152 cabinets combined with eight Sub 18 subwoofers perfectly satisfy the diverse requirements of the club, in which the techno presented by a DJ one day gives way to live rock the next. The system is driven by a variety of Dynacord amplifiers.
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Volcanic ash disrupts travel from NAB If your journey home from NAB this year involved travelling to or through northern Europe, then it is certain that the one abiding memory will be the uncertainty caused by the cloud of volcanic ash and the subsequent cancellation of all flights across the Atlantic for five days. Social media immediately sprang into action, with Facebook groups keeping everyone up to date on the prospects for travel.
any of the vendors who were stuck at NAB found imaginative ways to keep the business going. Quantel, for instance, booked a large meeting room at one of Vegas’s better hotels where the whole team could get on with running the business. Systems integrator TSL moved to Sunnyvale where they camped out in Omneon’s building. Others used the opportunity to visit American customers, moving across the continent in an attempt to find the quickest way home (which proved to be staying in Las Vegas!). And almost everyone visited the Apple Store at least once to try out the iPad. Apple sold two million iPads in less than two months after its launch, with NAB-goers certainly contributed to that number. Autodesk was the first to show me an iPad app for professional users. SketchBook Pro is a very impressive paint and drawing application. Multidyne also had a controller for its fibre transport systems. The iPad is a media device primarily, though, so Anystream updated its Agility
streaming system to provide full support. That includes segmented HTTP live streaming for instant playback on adaptive bitrate feeds. Apart from the latest devices and the worries about travel, the top NAB talking points were all about business. As we come out of the recession, the mood is of a serious approach to business. Visitor numbers seemed to be up. As ever, the NAB organisers make no attempt to provide an
accurate count of attendees, something which is really not acceptable any longer. But my feeling is that it was busier than last year’s low point. The exhibition was very obviously smaller than before, with parts of halls blocked off and some very wide aisles indeed.
What caught my eye? But the stands were bustling, and the exhibitors I spoke to were all pretty happy with the quality and quantity of visitors. So what was on show? Here are just a few of the things which caught my eye. Quantel was emphasising its flexibility, a far cry from the days when it was the most closed of platforms. It added Final Cut Pro compatibility a year ago, and the company now acknowledges that the move won it two large contracts, worth $10 million in total, this year already. Now it has added new functionality called “soft mount”, which allows you to connect commodity storage to a Quantel creative network, giving you native access and only transferring and transcoding the material you actually need for the final output. It adds to the flexibility and allows post houses to build systems cost-effectively. Avid also pointed to new format compatibilities, with a function called Avid Media Access, a format flipper which allows Media Composers to hand Quicktime, ProRes, Red and Canon files as well as Avid’s 40
own formats. The demonstration using video files from the Canon D7 digital SLR – notoriously fussy – did seem to work very well indeed. Native AVC-Intra is also supported.
Integrated media enterprise Its other big emphasis was on the Integrated Media Enterprise, which uses the asset management tools it added when it acquired Blue Order last year. The aim is very much at wide area access for big enterprise workflows: the demonstration showed how you could make shot selections from the other side of the world. Concurrent workflows and shared storage was also an issue with Autodesk. It offered technologies to allow its workstations to connect to shared storage using a variety of protocols including Infiniband for very fast services. It made the point that its specialist tools have to have different architectures to provide the best performance. There is an increasing need for CG in high pressure television production, with shows like Heroes relying upon it. CG is processor-intensive but relatively light on network bandwidth, whereas finishing needs a lot of content to move quickly, so needs faster connectivity.
Dramatic reduction in price The big change at Autodesk over the last decade is the migration from
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heavy-duty specialist platforms to commodity computers, with the consequent dramatic reduction in price. When it first appeared, a single Flame system would cost you half a million dollars or more. Today, thanks to 64 bit multicore processing, you can do more with Smoke running on a Mac, for around $15,000. That means that the creative designer has a much lower barrier to entry. It was suggested to me that a wedding videographer could finish on Smoke, which is economically true although not necessarily a good idea. Democratising creativity is important though, and Autodesk was suggesting that is allows emerging markets to develop an industry in creative services. Talking of dramatic cost reductions thanks to the power of the modern Mac, Blackmagic Design caused quite a stir with the launch of da Vinci Resolve version 7, as a software product starting at $995. Again, just a few years ago colour correction of this capability would have been several hundred thousand dollars, so this is a remarkable development. And Bluefish 444 has introduced a new version of its video cards, adding support for the Red camera to be edited in Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere. A high quality scalar built into the card creates an offline preview version to speed up the timeline.
Truly horrible 3D experience To be honest, although there were a lot of stereoscopic 3D demonstrations at NAB, an awful lot of them were, well, awful. I saw some truly horrible 3D. I can name only two honourable exceptions. First was the Mistika finishing system from SGO. As an editing platform this is beginning to gain converts around the world, and its 3D demo was particularly interesting, not least because of its apparent ability to bend light: it is possible to set convergence to be different for foreground, mid and background, so you can manage the illusion of depth throughout the whole frame. This is one of those things you have to see to understand. You also have to see its realtime rendering of even really complex stuff like this to believe it. This is a very clever platform. The second very honourable exception was from Pixel Power, which had clearly thought carefully about how you place graphics in 3D space, and what you should and should not be allowed to do with them. The demonstration showed a real sense of depth in captions, and a really practical approach to the subject. One
Brickyard VFX has contributed visual effects to a series of spots for Titleist golf clubs and golf balls, creating animated overlays on footage of courses in St Andrews and Chicago. For the spot Brickyard created animated overlays that bring each golferâ€™s yardage book to life on screen. Detailed information and personal notes about the course emerge as a virtual yardage book surrounding each player, and as each golfer tees off, the floating notes disintegrate into tiny particles, fading into the distance with the Titleist ball. The team also created all product end tags for the campaign, with a tabletop shoot using Brickyardâ€™s RED One camera. They then enhanced the product shots in Flame by animating the foil holograms. Additionally, Brickyard completed extensive compositing work for the campaigns, including sky replacements, golf course cleanup and the 3D Titleist logos that appear in all of the ads.
nice trick is that the device can process a 2D clip, not to make 3D of it but to push it back behind the screen so that the graphics sit nicely in front. Over the past few years Pixel Power has been migrating from just making character generators to developing intelligent branding solutions, and the latest version of its BrandMaster system takes it one more logical step by adding master control switcher functionality. Typically this is driven by automation most of the time, but Pixel Power makes it easy for those moments when you need to take manual control with a neat user interface. At first glance the switcher panel is in a typical Grass Valley style layout, but the main buttons re colour TFT screens, so you can identify a channel by its logo, or call up a graphics sequence from a keyframe.
Neat and low cost
On to more conventional switcher manufacturers, and Ross Video was showing a range of products, from a massive 8 M/E switcher which allows you to do more or less anything to a neat new low-cost switcher, Crossover, which is designed for small broadcasters and industrial users. It includes a 10 input multiviewer. The 8 M/E approach from Ross is an answer to increasingly common requirements, from the need for stereoscopic 3D to the challenge of supporting multiple parallel productions, feeding two different broadcast outputs and stadium screens, for example. Grass Valley, with its Kayenne switcher, approaches it slightly differently by placing massive amounts of power in a conventionally sized switcher. A 4.5 M/E switcher has 20 DVE channels and 30 keyers, for example, with multiple background busses and neat ways of grouping them so that you can run in 3D without losing any effects or keying resources. Perhaps the biggest news from Grass Valley this time was a new software release for its K2 Summit server and Dyno controller. This allows physical channels to be grouped together in logical channels. So an eight I/O K2 Summit can be set up as a four channel stereo 3D server, for example, enabling the user to forget all the problems of syncing the two eyes on each clip. Perhaps more relevant right now, and potentially very interesting, is the ability to
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link three record channels and one output into a single I/O for a super slo-mo camera like the Grass Valley LDK 8300. This shoots at 3 times normal frame rate, outputting three phases of conventional HD-SDI. The server has to capture these then rearrange the frames on the output to give smooth slow motion replay. Traditionally this is done with servers from EVS, and they continue to dominate the market. Grass Valley suggests that the K2 Summit and Dyno gives the same performance, however, at around half the price. 3x super slo-mo, like the Grass Valley LDK 8300, remains the standard for replays, but sometimes you want really slow slow motion. In the past the solution has been to use a Vision Research Phantom camera, capable of running at thousands of frames per second, but requiring considerable conversion and post production effort to replay it, thereby making it rather less than instant.
Complete slow motion package Now Belgian company I-Movix has packaged the Phantom camera into a complete system for practical live use. The memory remains in the camera head – shifting the huge amounts of data that full resolution HD generates at very high frame rates is just not practical. But the IMovix camera is controlled from a standard operational control panel with a slow motion replay controller remotely (over up to 1km of fibre) and can replay the slow motion instantly into a regular server. It shoots at up to 2700 frames a second in 1080i, or double that in 720p, and the OCP has full colour balance controls to match it to the regular live cameras. Based on the demonstration I saw it works beautifully and is highly recommended. Not a lot of other news in cameras, although Sony did have some interesting low-cost models, with XDCam EX rapidly developing into a family of products for high quality, cost-conscious production tools. There was a nice demonstration from Vinten, though, showing off a technology demonstration of a new active pan and tilt head, the 750i. This includes precision encoders to measure the angle of pan and tilt accurately, with the data streamed to virtual graphics engines. This is aimed particularly at sports outside broadcasts, to help align graphics in place on the pitch with the live pictures. Sister company Vinten Radamec was also making much of virtual reality, with either the pedestal and head driving the graphics engine or the virtual environment moving robotic cameras. There was a demonstration of technology
with Brainstorm, too.
100 years in business Congratulations to Vinten, by the way, on reaching 100 years in business. That is a tremendous achievement in this industry, starting when film was young and television had not been invented. With the creation of the hydro-pneumatic pedestal in the 1950s, the Vinten name became synonymous with camera supports. And Brainstorm is also to be congratulated on maintaining another great name in broadcast. It acquired graphics specialist Aston last year, and has now released a new version of its character generator family. According to Harris, it was “mobile TV and 3D capturing all the headlines at NAB this year”. One neat tool is an app for citizen journalists. Not only does it ship the video from your iPhone to the broadcaster, it also sends the metadata too. Obviously that includes the telephone number and name of the contributor, but to aid in verification it also sends the precise time and, thanks to GPS, the location at which the clip was shot, which is useful for the news editor evaluating the contribution. Another company offering a link for the iPhone for news was Streambox. Its free download allows the iPhone to broadcast near live – latency is up to five seconds. While that would make interviews impossible, for some content it would be perfectly acceptable: a Detroit broadcaster mounted them on snowploughs as a quick and easy way of showing the state of the roads. The same software can run in a 3G wireless equipped Apple MacBook Pro, where bonding two channels together gives enough bandwidth for broadcast quality standard definition, or HD which is acceptable in an emergency.
Digital signage As well as news, Harris was also majoring on digital signage. It has a big deal with 5000 McDonalds restaurants in the US, each with four channels and local interactivity. Harris is delivering this as a managed service, with playout coming from Harris headquarters in Florida. As well as burgers, sports arenas are also in the company’s sights. It predicts that, 42
within a year or two, signage and communications at sports venues will be a market worth $800 million to $1 billion. Back to news contribution, and Signiant has collaborated with LaserNet to create a news acquisition, aggregation and management system for South African commercial broadcaster ETV. Journalists in the field upload material using whatever platform is available to them, which might be ADSL, 3G or satellite. It is routed to a Signiant agent in Cape Town which runs an automated process to clean up the video signal, then passes it to ETV’s news centre in Johannesburg.
Transmission automation In news and transmission automation, the debate continues between the proponents of integrated solutions and those who offer systems which control best of breed products from others. Both sides of the argument appear to be thriving. According to Omnibus there is now a widespread acceptance of commodity hardware in broadcast, with IT people taking on more monitoring and preventative maintenance. This, in turn, has led to continuing success for its ITX system, which it says is capable of any role from the simplest commercial insertion to big multi-channel implementations. That is a view largely supported by Oasys, which sees the migration to Windows 7 and 64 bit processing as the route to new functionality, which it promises by IBC. Meanwhile, I was told that in a comparison between an existing standard definition automation platform and the proposed Oasys HD system to replace it, the new platform uses less than 50% of the power and half the rack space. Arguing from a position of strength from the other side, Pebble Beach Systems was celebrating ten years of delivering excellence in automation and asset management, based on its stable and powerful controlling system managing the end user’s choice of switchers, routers and graphics. According to TMD, collecting and managing metadata is no longer enough: it is only of any sort of value when it can be put to work. So, for example, TMD is extending its applications from straightforward
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broadcast asset management to national and cultural archives. It is developing a huge cataloguing system with the National Archive of Australia which includes video and audio but also documents and artefacts, all of which are searchable by anyone online.
me. And each year I go with expectations of what I might see that will impress. By and large the predicted headlines at NAB2010 were around stereo 3D, and that certainly did not live up to the hype. Yet the trip was certainly worth while, if only for discovering a better way of mounting equipment in racks.
Archiving and asset management To manage the huge archives which are now being considered – Discovery Channel’s system was specified to cover 1.4 million tapes, and already TMD is expanding it to 1.6 million – demands automation on the way in and automation on the way out. Software can strip the metadata from an MXF file and use it to populate a database, for example. Conversely, it should now be a simple matter to define a publishing policy and use that to drive both the transcoding and the metadata transcription for, say, the iTunes store, without any operator intervention. For my final NAB recommendation I need you to bear with me. Please do not turn away when I say that one of the things that really impressed me was a fresh look at something every engineer takes for granted – the 19” rack. The company which has challenged the old adage about not trying to fix something that is
not broken is called Mode-Al, and it has immeasurably improved something we all take completely for granted. Specifically, it has looked at the frustration and scraped knuckles every engineer experiences in building racks and come up with a better way of fixing equipment. It does not change the mounting holes of hardware so it is perfectly compatible with everything you already own. And it was demonstrated on the NAB booth with a standard frame from Argosy. It is impossible to describe in detail how it works without seeing it. But can I strongly recommend you do go and see it: you will wonder why it has taken 70 years for someone to come up with an idea that is so obviously right. Each year I make the journey to NAB, and each year I come back with memories. This year it was the journey itself – or at least the journey home – that will stay with
Dick Hobbs is a freelance writer, consultant and industry analyst. He is widely recognised as a leading commentator on trends in technology and applications, a lively speaker at conferences, and a contributor to many of the leading publications in the broadcast industry. He is also technical editor of the IBC TV News.
M-NET purchase integrated HD Truck South African Broadcaster M-NET has purchased a high specification, high definition outside broadcast trailer from UK Systems Integrator, Gearhouse Broadcast.
he trailer is a triple expanding high definition outside broadcast unit which caters for 28 high definition cameras and up to 3 versions of 5.1 Dolby surround sound. The unit’s lateral production area is large, spacious and air-conditioned with 3 tiers of desks which seat up to 12 production staff. The front desk houses a 4ME vision mixer and space for 84 monitors. The second desk provides 16 monitors and comprehensive communications. The third desk provides 32 monitors and comprehensive comms and monitoring facilities. The Unit is fully air conditioned to temperatures of 45 C°. The third expand provides room for a second desk in the VTR area to provide space for up to 11 operators and a coordinator. The unit is wired for up to 12 EVS/ 14VTR. In the vision area there is
control for up to 28 cameras by 7 operators, plus an engineering test position. The vision router is 576 x 576 and the audio router is 256 x 256 AES and analogue. The unit is engineered with a large in/out capability making it ideal for major events. Andre Venter, Head M-Net Broadcast Services Africa said “We were looking for a solution to our outside broadcast requirement and as Gearhouse Broadcast supplied us with three flyaways in the past, which were delivered on time and to budget, we turned to them to assist us with a 43
highly specified, time sensitive requirement for a 28 camera HD OB vehicle. The vehicle was again delivered to South Africa well within the specified time frame and budget” Eamonn Dowdall, Managing Director at Gearhouse Broadcast said “We were able to accommodate MNET’s requirement for an OB truck within a tight deadline and to their exacting specification”. “The selection of kit being used for this installation demonstrates that Gearhouse Broadcast can tailor the design to a specific market and budget according to individual customer’s needs”. “I believe Gearhouse Broadcast was selected for this project because of our proven and demonstrable experience in the provision of HD outside broadcast installations. We have delivered many previous high profile HD outside broadcast units in the UK and Europe.
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projectiondesign upgrades F32 series As a direct result of feedback from its partners and customers, Norway’s projectiondesign introduces a significant performance upgrade for its high-end F32 series of DLP projectors. New developments increase brightness up to an unprecedented level of 8,000 lumens, while improved image and colour processing results in more vivid colour reproduction and greater image precision. “Our customers are constantly searching for the competitive edge in display performance and flexibility.” says Anders Løkke, International Marketing & Communications Manager at projectiondesign. ”We have always provided the best-in-class that with our products, and we intend to continue that with the new updates to the F32 series, updates to a product that has been recognized as the industry standard for years already.” Available with a choice of resolution between WUXGA, 1080p or SXGA+ to ensure optimum application fit, the acclaimed F32 series is projectiondesign’s top-of-the-line single-chip DLP projector.
Extron showcases multi-image display Following its recent acquisition of the Products Division of Electrosonic, Extron Electronics has launched a lineup of multiimage display processors. These video and graphics videowall processors feature highly scalable input, output, and windowing capabilities, plus high performance image scaling technology. The Quantum Elite is designed for large videowalls up to 28 screens and larger, while the Quantum Connect is ideal for small to medium-sized videowalls up to 14 screens. "These high performance, highly versatile multi-image display processors will offer new opportunities for our customers to design and integrate A/V systems in command and control centers, NOCs, and many other environments that typically include large-array videowall systems," says Ali Al Daghistani from Extron Electronics in the Middle East. "We're committed to working closely with our customers for these products and providing the same S3 support services they have come to expect from Extron."
Gefen Ships USB-400 FO for Long Range Hi-Speed Peripherals
Analog Way announces Eikos Switcher
Gefen has released a newly redesigned fiber opticsbased extender, the USB-400 Fiber Optic (FO). This long-range 4-port USB 2.0 hub powers multiple hi-speed peripherals at distances up to 1640-feet (500m) from the computer, enabling a reliable remote workstation.The Gefen USB-400 FO extender provides a high-bandwidth method of extending up to four USB 2.0 devices, including printers, keyboard/mouse, cameras, hard drives and DVD burners, enabling complete connectivity when operating in the field. The solution is ideal for professional applications as it offers invulnerability to electromagnetic and radio signal interference. The USB-400 FO is simple to install and use. It operates through compact sender/receiver units, with the sender connecting to the computer, and the receiver connecting to four remote USB devices. Two multi-mode fiber optics cables terminated in LC connectors connect local and remote locations; both sender and receiver are individually powered. Local connection cables are included.
Analog Way has announced a new release to its High Resolution Mixer range. Eikos is a powerful new multi-layer switcher that is particularly adapted to rental & staging applications and advanced integrations. The unit offers up to 12 inputs including 4 fitted with SDI and 2 fitted with DVI-D. With state of the art 100% digital processing, Eikos outputs Digital and Analog Signals in DVI and VGA (RGBHV) simultaneously with a selection of many formats from HDTV to Computer 2K. Eikos offers 3 different operating modes: Multi Layer Mixer, 12 by 2 Seamless Native Matrix and QuadraVision modes. "Eikos is a high-grade yet affordable solution offering advanced functions together with awesome visual effects," explains Franck Facon, Marketing & Communication Director at Analog Way. "With a comprehensive interface, Eikos ensures pleasant and easy utilization of the machine to produce outstanding shows or elaborate installations." 44
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New Multiviewer from TV One
X2O Media launches Xpresenter Xe Series
TV One announces the release of the new CORIOview C2-6104A 4-Window Video Processor that accepts composite video, component video, RGB and DVI inputs to place up to four sizeable windows on a single DVI output, with each window powered by a separate CORIO2 scaling engine providing full picture-in-picture flexibility. This new Multiviewer from TV One has five DVI-U inputs which are the same as a DVI-I connection with the additional flexibility of accepting composite video signals using a BNC to DVI adapter. Like all products in the CORIOview range of Multiviewers, the fifth input is available for use as a background to the four windows or as a cascade input from another CORIOview product, thus adding four more windows per unit.
X2O Media has announced a desktop addition to its newest product line: the Xpresenter Xe Series of digital signage systems. Making its debut at InfoComm 2010, Xpresenter Xe Desktop extends the reach of communications beyond digital signs by allowing users to receive information such as messages, video, and alerts via a user-friendly player right on their desktop. “Xpresenter Xe is an ideal solution for the rapid deployment of professional-looking digital displays in a number of applications, such as information displays. With the addition of the desktop feature, it’s now also a powerful corporate communications tool,” stated David Wilkins, X2O Media’s President and CEO. “Conveying important information to employees can be a challenging and expensive task in any organization, but with Xpresenter Xe Desktop, messages and alerts can be sent directly to users’ computer screens, providing the right information to the right people at the right time.”
Harris demonstrates AV Solutions at InfoComm World première of dnp Supernova 23-23
Harris demonstrated an array of innovative digital AV (audio/video) solutions at InfoComm 2010. Combining its market-leading broadcast and IT technology, Harris showed powerful AV solutions for markets such as retail, restaurants, stadiums and arenas, educational and government institutions, corporations and others — enabling them to implement efficient media workflows that create potential new revenue streams. A cornerstone of their stand was their digital signage solution that combines the Harris InfoCaster digital signage system and the Punctuate business and advertising management application. The Harris digital out-of-home offering enables users to ingest, schedule and distribute dynamic, targeted content. Three new InfoCaster hardware platforms are available that deliver smaller, more cost-efficient form factors, yet are packed with power and functionality. The new designs range from tabletop mount (DS500, with a single HDMI output) to rack/wall-mount versions (DS1100 with dual DVI outputs and 2RU DS4100 with quad-channel outputs). The InfoCaster system can scale to provide solutions from singledisplay digital signage to enterprise-wide networks encompassing large numbers of locations.
In June 2010 dnp unveils its next generation high gain (NGHG) screen material - Supernova 23-23, which brings a range of benefits to enhance the viewing experience, especially at wide angles. The new material has been developed in response to customer requests for a higher-gain screen for use with smaller projectors. By addressing the limitations of existing screen materials, such as hot-spotting, shimmering surface or too narrow viewing cone, the Supernova 23-23 material gives a high quality viewing experience when combined with a smaller projector, thus reducing the total cost of the installation. Thanks to an advanced ‘second generation’ reflector, the new material also offers more uniform brightness, and a 35% improvement in horizontal viewing angles (compared with its predecessor the Supernova 20-20-screen material ). These extraordinary qualities make it the ideal screen material for environments with wide viewing angles such as Conference Rooms, Point of Sales (POS) and Points of Information (POI) applications. 45
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Taking in-ceiling performance to new heights
Kramer introduces powerful switcher
Tannoy’s new CMS 1201DC is a powerful state-of-the-art large format in-ceiling loudspeaker device conceived, designed and built to complement their existing class-leading CMS range. From the pioneers of point source and large format ceiling speakers the CMS 1201DC is engineered from the ground up with superior full-range performance in mind to handle demanding distributed sound applications such as ballrooms, shopping malls, sports halls, airports and other high ceiling installations. Built around a brand new evolution of the high power handling 12” (300mm) Dual Concentric point source driver, the CMS 1201DC delivers best-in-class performance for the most even beamwidth and pattern control over the widest range of frequencies of any large format ceiling speaker. Coupled with exceptional clarity, ultra low distortion, and high SPLs, Tannoy has again raised the bar to give the absolute cutting edge performance in ceiling mounted loudspeaker technology.
Kramer Electronics is pleased to announce the availability of the VP-27 presentation switcher designed for a wide variety of presentation and multimedia applications. The VP-27 offers the benefit of three independent video switchers in one unit. The VP-27 is capable of passing computer graphics video, s-Video, and composite video at high bandwidth, all with accompanying unbalanced audio signals. The multi-function VP-27 is a compact, one box, high-performance solution for installations that would otherwise require three separate products. The multi-format VP-27 switcher combines the functions of a 4x1 switcher for computer graphics video (PC/VGA) signals with audio, a 4x1 switcher for s-Video signals with audio, and a 4x1 switcher for composite video signals with audio; all in a compact one rack unit frame. The VP-27 offers a computer graphics video bandwidth of 415MHz to ensure the highest quality performance even in the most crucial applications, and is HDTV compatible.
Media distribution solution provider
Chief introduce new suspending ceiling lift
The ATEN complete Media Distribution Solution is a costeffective and efficient way to send high quality audio and video content over Cat 5 cable to multiple displays from a single input source. Cascadable to three levels, the solution can support thousands of displays located up to 450 m (1500 ft) from the source device while maintaining excellent picture and sound quality. The solution also provides screen controls at the remote sites, and incorporates RS-232 connectivity so that devices such as touch screens can be included in the installation. Flexible and scalable, the solution gives you the freedom and means to set up any kind of high quality video display installation, from customised retail media networks to public information systems. Displays can be mounted strategically in the most optimal locations, while the hardware providing the multimedia content is kept securely behind closed doors for easy servicing and maintenance.
Chief is excited to announce a new suspended ceiling lift that makes installation up to ten times faster than a conventional lift. The SL220 features a quick three-step installation method that vastly simplifies adding automation into an installation. It no longer requires two or more people to install; you only need one person and one ladder. Also, no floor lift is required. The lift measures 2’x2’ (600x600mm) to snap easily into ceiling grids and is made of lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum for easy handling. You can use this lift with any of Chief’s popular projector mounts (RPA Elite or Mini Series) for the best compatibility in the industry, featuring micro adjustments for fast and permanent image alignment and keyed locks for security. (RPA Elite and Mini Series projector mounts are sold separately.) 46
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Barco introduce universal enterprise collaboration platform
Christie meets market needs with new widescreen projector
During InfoComm Barco demonstrated a new enterprise collaboration platform. It comes with less cost and risk, in return for more flexibility and compatibility. This new system is compatible with any type of third-party flat panels, projectors and display systems. Barco's new collaboration box, the XDS-100 enables quick and efficient decision-making in the meeting room by allowing users to display, drag and resize several sources onscreen simultaneously. For many years, Barco's XDS range has been a proven concept in the world of virtual reality and oil and gas, where having rapid access to all relevant data across the globe, and comparative analysis is of primordial importance. â€œHowever, we find that not just the biggest companies benefit from this technology. Collaborating in real-time with everything on screen at the same time, instead of switching and performing unnecessary busywork to get your equipment to work, is a huge time-saver,â€? says Yoav Nir, Market Director for Barco.
Christie is pleased to add two new LCD projectors to its extensive product line-up - the Christie LWU420 and the Christie LW555. The LWU420 targets professional users demanding WUXGA high resolution and the LW555 fills the need for an affordable WXGA high brightness widescreen projector. The Christie LWU420 is a unique 4200 lumens projector with WUXGA (1920 x 1200) resolution, making it ideal for small to medium sized venues including video conference rooms, meeting rooms and training rooms. Answering the market need for an affordable and portable WUXGA projector in the 4000+ lumens category, the LWU420 delivers full HD capability, auto H/V digital keystone, vertical and horizontal lens shift, 10-bit image processing for superior grey scaling, 1000:1 contrast ratio and a 2x zoom lens. "With the Christie LWU420 we have an extremely high resolution product that is both compact and has the highest brightness in its category of LCD business projectors," said Christie Business Products Product Manager, Frank Anzures.
AMX introduces advanced Digital Signage solution
Welcome to the third dimension
AMX has announced Inspired XPert, a cutting-edge digital signage solution with capabilities of a futuristic movie. Inspired XPert delivers amazing 1080p image quality with processing power to simultaneously display HD video, images, text, and internet feeds. As part of the Inspired Signage line from AMX Inspired XPert is designed for ease of use and is subscription free. Inspired XPert is ideal for delivering HD multimedia content across a building, a campus or around the world as users have the ability to edit and schedule content from a centralized location. With its ready-made templates users can easily create layered, custom layouts consisting of video, images, online content, newsfeeds and advertisements. The templates allow users to place the video, text and images, independently, anywhere on the screen. For those who are too busy, AMX offers an experienced team of graphics designers who will work directly with customers to develop a set of templates engineered to effectively communicate a brand message.
The NP115 and NP210 projectors from NEC Display Solutions can now also display images in 3D.The model NP216 will be launched in June. Their DLP Link technology with a refresh rate of 120Hz allows 3D images to be projected with the aid of a single projector and active glasses. Neither are special screens and filters required nor an emitter to synchronise the glasses. This inexpensive 3D projection system will benefit users in many areas like for example education, engineering, architecture and design. From June 2010, NEC Display Solutions are offering a special 3D starter kit. It includes active 3D glasses and award winning 3D content and software for easy access to a first 3D experience. NEC partners with a number of market leading content providers in the area of education, simulation, engineering and design. One highlight will be a full version of the well-established stereoscopic player from 3dtv for playing 3D movies and pictures. 47
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HP helps DreamWorks Animation bring life to Shrek The power of HP technology and the creativity of DreamWorks Animation fused once again as the studio’s final chapter to the Shrek film series, “Shrek Forever After,” hit theatres across Africa and the Middle East during early June.
udiences experienced an army of green ogres, hundreds of dancing witches and all of the original Shrek characters as never seen before – in spectacular 3-D. The film’s technological breakthroughs are made possible in part by HP technology, which powered the development of the entire Shrek series, from start to finish. For “Shrek Forever After”, these technologies included HP Z800 workstations, HP proLiant blade servers, HP Halo Telepresence solutions, HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual array. HP StorageWorks X9000 Network Storage Systems and HP Dreamcolor displays.
Premium movie experience “At DreamWorks Animation we create two to three 3-D films a year, and our intention is to ensure that audiences
enjoy a higher-quality premium experience with each new film,” said Ed Leonard, chief technology officer, DreamWorks Animation. “HP helps us to accomplish this goal by giving our filmmakers the best tools and products so they can be empowered by technology … not limited by it.” “DreamWorks Animation is famous for pushing the limits of innovation to engage with audiences in new ways,” said Salim Ziade, General Manager of
HP Middle East Personal Systems Group. “HP is committed to a continued investment in research and development to provide customers like DreamWorks with innovations that break through creative barriers to enable the next generation in film.” For ultimate performance, production artists at DreamWorks Animation used powerful HP Z800 Workstations to design everything in the film from characters to lighting. According to DreamWorks Animation, the HP Z800 proved to be significantly faster than its predecessor – providing speeds up to 50 percent faster. Using the most current animation tools, and having them supported by HP’s cutting-edge products, “Shrek Forever After” became a living lab of new technologies being used in remarkable ways.