Page 1

New architecture for broadcast

Commercial AV reaches new heights 3D animation in South Africa

See us at

AV technology in houses of worship

IABM training academy comes to Africa Litepanels support student filmmaker


Contents AV Specialist Volume 118

14

A new architecture for broadcast In the last issue I talked about consumerisation and the way that is changing our industry. This time I want to pick up the second major theme I introduced in my opening presentation at Cabsat earlier this year.

18

Practical solutions win over technology at NAB2011 The broadcast industry worldwide is very slowly coming to terms with the depth of the recession we have just suffered. The economic collapse caused everyone to take a careful look at what they do and how they do things.

30 Beryl Magoko studies filmmaking at Kampala University in Uganda. Her student film Sophia's Big Day explores the issue of female circumcision in Africa.

Dan Goldstein of InfoComm International explains how certified AV professionals can improve the usability of historic buildings, without compromising their infrastructure

39

Editor Bev Kempster bev@avspecialist.tv Circulation Renate Mortimer renate@avspecialist.tv Designer Rajiv Gopalan rajiv@avspecialist.tv

First Robe LEDWashes in South Africa Robe's South African distributor, Johannesburg based DWR, recently supplied the first batch of Robe ROBIN LEDWash 600 fixtures in the country to the South African State Theatre in Pretoria.

Publisher & Managing Editor Kevan Jones kevan@avspecialist.tv Feature Editor Dick Hobbs dick@avspecialist.tv

Better to be seen and heard

40

Knife cuts clean at Qatar Robotic Surgery Centre The Qatar Robotic Surgery Centre (QRSC) was recently formed by the Qatar Science & Technology Park, Hamad Medical Corporation and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, in collaboration with academics and surgeons from Imperial College, London.

Publisher’s Note As I was putting this issue of AV Specialist together I experienced

Advertising sales Africa, Middle East, UK Richie Ebrahim richie@avspecialist.tv

a series of personal mishaps that forced me to reflect on the role of

Europe Emmanuel Archambeaud earchambeaud@defcommunication.com

my wife was in the UK attending her father’s funeral I was left in

Represented in North America by: Broadcast Media International Michael Mitchell Tel: +1 631 673 3199 michael@avspecialist.tv 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 Represented in South Africa by: Doddington Direct cc PO Box 3939, Honeydew, 2040, South Africa Tel: +27 (0)11 083-6418 Fax: +27 (0)86 525 3852 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 (July - December 2010) 4079

women in the workplace. My father-in-law sadly passed away and while

Johannesburg with our 11-year old daughter. The experience left me in awe of working mothers – how on earth do they manage to raise children and hold down a full-time job? For two weeks I found myself in a situation where my working schedule wasn’t defined by the requirements of my job (or the needs of customers) but rather by the scheduling demands of a daughter who was committed to a regime of school, hockey, piano, drama and a myriad other extra-curricula activities that required military timing and discipline. It was an unusual experience – not in a million years did I ever imagine that I’d be telling a client that I couldn’t attend a lunch appointment because I was picking up my daughter from school. It put into perspective the tremendous challenge faced by working women who are trying to raise a family and hold down a regular job at the same time. Over the last 20 years I’ve been oblivious to the difficulties faced by staff, colleagues and suppliers who’ve lived with this reality on a day-to-day basis so my first reaction is to apologize – I’m sure I’m not alone in underestimating the effort it takes to balance family and work pressures when you don’t have someone to share the load with. Now that I’ve experienced it first hand for two weeks I hope I’ll be far more considerate (and compassionate) in future.


Loud Bass. Crystal-clear melody. Big Sound. Get it all with the new, powerful LG ARX8000 AV Receiver with HDMI connector. With inclined speakers, horn compressor tweeter and advanced metallic parabolic, you can’t help but start moving to the bass and getting down with the beat as it performs to perfection. It’s time to experience the ultimate in sound, it’s time to experience the ARX8000.

LG ARX8000

www.lg.com/za Customer care 0800 LG LG LG Mon - Sun 08:00 - 17:00

1165134B

THE POWER THAT MOVES.


Product

news Focus FS-H Professional H.264 Proxy Recorder

Ross packs big production power in 2 MLE switcher

VITEC Multimedia has announced an addition to the Focus product family, the FS-H50, FS-H60 and FS-H70 Proxy Recorders. The Focus FS-H series of proxy recorders greatly simplify the acquisition workflow by recording matching or continuous, lower bit rate H.264 proxy content to complement the cameras own high-resolution content. The proxy content can more easily be transferred to portable devices such as smart phones and tablet PCs for quick viewing, uploaded to a network or online video platform (OVP) for sharing and collaboration or for offline editing on an NLE system. The Focus FS-H proxy recorders record to a removable SDHC card and are available in three models; the Focus FS-H50 with a composite and analogue audio input, the Focus FS-H60 with an HDMI input and the Focus FS-H70 with an HD/SD-SDI input. “As acquisition bit rates continue to increase, it becomes more difficult and time consuming too quickly transfer or preview content for sharing, collaboration, review, etc.,” said Matt McEwen, senior product manager, broadcast products for VITEC Multimedia’s Focus product line. “Our new line of Focus FS-H Proxy Recorder series solves this issue by recording useful companion proxy clips for fast transfer and instant compatibility with many devices.”

Ross Video has Introduced Carbonite – an affordable midsize package that uses the latest technology to pack unprecedented production power into a compact frame. The Ross Multi-Definition Production Engine that lies at the heart of Carbonite offers the same processing used in the Vision Octane – precisely tuned for this new platform. Our award winning Vision series is now available in this incredible mid-size package. The Carbonite series includes two choices on panel size combined with a 16 or 24 input chassis. Carbonite 1 is a robust 1MLE panel with 16 direct access source buttons, full panel mnemonics and Ross ‘PanelGlow’ RGB buttons. This competent control surface has direct access to not just one but two full MLE’s, giving producers the operational benefits of a multi-MLE production in the same physical space as a traditional 1MLE production switcher.

EVS Introduces XFly Portable NAS Storage Platform

During NAB EVS launched XFly, a new highcapacity portable storage solution dedicated to XT operators looking for costefficient and easy ways to back up entire production

Snell debuts Kahuna 360

materials which can further be carried out to post operations. XFly is a brand new compact and portable storage platform intended for extended live production operations. The storage case encloses eight removable standard SAS or SATA hard disk drives (2.5 inches) offering up to 8TB storage with a maximum capacity of 140 hours of HD at 100Mbps. XFly is designed with advanced security features, including RAID5 technology for maximum reliability in any live production situation. This new portable system is designed to offer EVS XT/XS server series operators an easy way to back up clips and feeds.

Snell has announced two new features for the Kahuna 360 production switcher platform that automate key processing, interfacing, and control tasks, thereby giving operators more time to focus on the creative side of production. The new Source Safe technology ensures that any Kahuna 360 input can be safely integrated into a production, and Galaxy Event List enables Kahuna 360 to drive third-party devices in performing a set series of 3

routine production operations. "Kahuna 360 provides unparalleled flexibility in live production, and both Source Safe and Galaxy Event List enhance that flexibility by automating mundane yet critical tasks within the broadcast production workflow," said John Carter, product manager for production switchers at Snell. "Eliminating the need for manual configuration of format conversion processes and reducing the time required to set up and trigger event series, these new features increase the time that switcher operators can dedicate to more artistic aspects of live production."


Product

news Litepanels introduces H2 Hi-Output LED fixtures Litepanels will show a wide range of its HD-friendly daylight balanced LED lighting fixtures, including the new H2 Hi-Output LED fixture during Mediatech Africa. The show will mark the African debut of Litepanels’ H2 Hi-Output LED lights. The new fixtures answer the need for an LED light capable of throwing illumination over a 20 to 25 foot (6.1 – 7.6 M) distance, providing HD-friendly light with all the energy and environmental advantages of Litepanels LEDs. The new H2 Hi-Output is 5600°K colour balance and features an array of 72 one-Watt daylight LEDs that are focused to a 10° angle.

Photon Beard's hot Nova 270 hits cool spot Photon Beard is launching a new concept in low heat, energy efficient location lighting with its "PhotonSpot Nova 270" light fixture. The prototype, seen by the company as the future of location and broadcast lighting, was shown for the first time at NAB 2011 and is expected to be on display at the Mediatech show in Johannesburg. The PhotonSpot Nova 270 is the world's first to utilize a new, highly efficient light source that is far more efficient, and outputs far more light, than either HMI or LED. Light Emitting Plasma (LEP) is currently found in street lighting, aquarium and grow-lighting applications. The source benefits from a high CRI of 94, which means there is excellent distribution of the full spectrum of visible light while delivering an astonishing 14,000 lumens with a useful lifetime of approximately 20,000 hours.

Pixel Power adds graphics power to Master Control operations

Pixel Power is reinventing master control workflows with BrandMaster— the world’s first Branding Switcher for broadcast master control. The innovative system, which combines branding graphics and master control into a single integrated system, is fundamentally changing branding workflow for broadcasters around the world. By putting advanced graphics capability directly at the point of transmission, BrandMaster dramatically

enhances flexibility for operators of all sizes, from the large-scale such as ESPN, which selected BrandMaster for its cuttingedge 3D operations, to call letter stations and operations in Australia, Indonesia, Ireland, Hungary, Spain, Norway, India, Brazil, Austria, Chile and others. “Since its award-winning debut at NAB, BrandMaster has proven to be tremendously appealing to broadcasters who are looking to streamline their operations,” said Pete Challinger, CEO of Pixel Power, Inc. “It gives them all the features of a high-end, automated, real-time graphics system right at transmission where it belongs so that their signal path is greatly simplified.”

P+S TECHNIK takes orders for first units of 16Digital Mag for SRIII During NAB P+S previewed the pre-series version of its 16Digital Mag transforming 16SRIII film cameras into digital HD cameras. The offered pre-series units will record only HD-SDI at speeds up to 30fps. The 16Digital Mag for SRIII cameras features removable SSD carrier. It captures 1920 x 1080 10bit 4:2:2 and offers flicker-free HD video assist output for monitoring or live workflows as well as Cineform recording. Thus, it’s a great way for film camera owners to go digital and reviving their trusty SRIII equipment. Cameras that they are comfortable using and had thousands invested in lenses and accessories for can be converted to a state-of-the-art digital camera by attaching this digital mag while they can go back to film when ever needed. “The migration from film to digital is an important challenge for our customers. P+S TECHNIK faces this challenge and combines innovative steps forward in Digital Film and High Definition. No other camera model on the market gives you the freedom to shoot and capture Digital Film, High Definition and analogue film”, said Michael Erkelenz, Manager Business Unit Digital Capturing at P+S TECHNIK.

4


New DeckLink HD Extreme has Dual Link 4:4:4/4:2:2 SDI, HDMI and analog connections in SD, HD and 2K! Advanced 3 Gb/s SDI Technology

The new DeckLink HD Extreme is the world’s most advanced capture card! With a huge range of video and audio connections plus a hardware down converter, and Dual Link 4:4:4/4:2:2 3 Gb/s SDI, advanced editing systems for Microsoft Windows™ and Apple Mac OS X™ are now even more affordable!

With exciting new 3 Gb/s SDI connections, DeckLink HD Extreme allows twice the SDI data rate of normal HD-SDI, while also connecting to all your HD-SDI and SD-SDI equipment. Use 3 Gb/s SDI for 2K and edit your latest feature film using real time 2048 x 1556 2K resolution capture and playback!

Connect to any Deck, Camera or Monitor

Microsoft Windows™ or Apple Mac OS X™

DeckLink HD Extreme is the only capture card that features Dual Link 3 Gb/s SDI, HDMI, component analog, NTSC, PAL and S-Video for capture and playback in SD, HD or 2K. Also included is 2 ch XLR AES/EBU audio and 2 ch balanced XLR analog audio. Connect to HDCAM SR, HDCAM, Digital Betacam, Betacam SP, HDV cameras, big-screen TVs and more.

DeckLink HD Extreme is fully compatible with Apple Final Cut Pro™, Adobe Premiere Pro™, Adobe After Effects™, Adobe Photoshop™, Fusion™ and any DirectShow™ or QuickTime™ based software. DeckLink HD Extreme instantly switches between feature film resolution 2K, 1080HD, 720HD, NTSC and PAL for worldwide compatibility.

Hardware Down Conversion If you’ve ever wanted to monitor in both HD and SD while you work, then you’ll love the built in high quality down converter. Use the Dual Link SDI outputs as a simultaneous HD and SD output, or you can switch back to Dual Link 4:4:4 when working in the highest quality RGB workflows. Select between letterbox, anamorphic 16:9 and even center cut 4:3 down conversion styles!

DeckLink HD Extreme

US$995

Learn more today at www.blackmagic-design.com


EDIUS® works seamlessly with the K2 Summit™, K2 Solo™, K2 Dyno Production Assistant, and T2™. All powered by Fusion

Breaking News, Without A Sweat When it comes to breaking news, you need to move fast. The EDIUS nonlinear editing application is more than a match for this challenge. You can edit multiple layers and effects in real time, in any format. You can even mix formats if you need to, still in real time. And you can do it all on a laptop if you like. Yes, still in real time. EDIUS is used by professionals and broadcasters alike because it’s fast, easy to use and solid. So not only are you editing anything, anywhere, but you’re also doing it faster than anyone else. That should keep you ahead of the pack. Learn more at www.grassvalley.com/edius.

EDIUS Video Editing


Product

news Studer Vista 5 Digital Console gains new TFT metering Studer’s popular Vista 5 console gets an upgrade to the M2 with the optional addition of the precision TFT metering system introduced on the flagship Vista 9 console. The new metering is capable of displaying signal levels from mono through to 5.1 channels on each input, with a configurable lower area which can be used to display bus assignments, surround images or the unique History mode, where a scrolling audio waveform displays signal anomalies and highlights them for up to 50 seconds to allow the engineer to identify where the event occurred. Metering for ‘layer 2’ signals can also be viewed, while the Control Bay screen can be used to provide configurable user pages with up to 40 meters. When the TFT meter bridge is fitted, the external GC screen becomes an integral part of the chassis. The Vista 5 M2 is based on the well known and widely praised Vista 5 console, which has found its home in all kinds of broadcast and theatre production facilities around the world, and existing Vista 5 owners will be pleased to learn that their console may be easily upgraded to the M2 version to be ready for the optional meter bridge, which is a simple add-on to the console chassis.

Axon showcases Cortex Monitoring & Control In today’s multi-platform, multi-purpose broadcast world the need to repackage content demands that you master a broad diversity of workflows. Cortex, an imaginative software-based control platform developed by Axon, enables you to do this easily and cost-effectively. The latest version of Axon’s Cortex software application makes the implementation of multiple video and audio signal paths easier, more efficient and cost-effective than ever. Cortex provides comprehensive tools to configure, monitor and maintain a diversity of devices including Axon’s Synapse range of control modules and other third-party products. Consequently, you take total control over multiple and complex routines involving numerous users. Ultimately, you can configure your workflow exactly how you wish, to meet your production needs. Like all Axon products, the evolution of Cortex has been heavily influenced by customer feedback. As a result, alongside its elegant feature set and extensive functionality, Cortex is also highly-customisable and intuitive to operate.

Autocue Raises the Bar with New 12-inch Teleprompter

Autocue has launched a new LED-backlit Master Series 12-inch teleprompter. The new 12-inch teleprompter monitor stands alongside the recently launched 17-inch and 20-inch models to create the world's only range of slimline highbright teleprompter monitors. Unique in design, these monitors utilize LED-backlit

technology to deliver weight and volume reductions of up to 25 per cent versus the competition's LED-backlit models and previous Autocue LCD models. The monitors also uniquely feature in-board cable management and a dimmable tally light. The new monitors are packaged with a robust bracket set, the most flexible mounting plate in the industry, and a new version of the wide angle hood as standard. The new hood holds the glass in a separate hinged frame to allow instant access for regular glass maintenance or replacement. At the top of the hood is a conveniently hidden compartment for cleaning cloth and solution.

Digital Rapids unveils Live MultiScreen encoding and streaming During NAB Digital Rapids unveiled a wide array of new products and enhancements in the company's comprehensive range of encoders for live multi-screen delivery. The new offerings include the launch of the StreamZ Live IP encoder for repurposing live IP-based inputs; significant performance increases in the StreamZHD Live ABR adaptive streaming encoder; new remote management capabilities for the TouchStream live streaming appliance; and a preview of a new hybrid encoder, extending Digital Rapids' proven, multi-screen encoding benefits into 'traditional' television applications in the broadcast, cable, satellite and telco markets. StreamZ Live IP offers the superior output quality, outstanding reliability and flexible output format support of Digital Rapids' StreamZ Live encoder series in a dedicated configuration for transcoding live IP-based sources. StreamZ Live IP's rich output capabilities allow content owners to easily repurpose contributed source feeds for revenue-expanding multi-screen content distribution opportunities.

7


www.christiecontrol.com/entero

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?

The eNTeRO led SeRieS rear Projection modules

when it matters.


Product

news Anton Bauer introduce new gold mount solutions Anton/Bauer will demonstrate the infinite capabilities of its advanced Gold Mount System for some of the industry’s top cameras during Mediatech. At the South African show, Anton/Bauer will show many new Gold Mount options, including the QR-HotSwap-AR for the ARRI ALEXA digital camera system, the QR-Locaster for the ARRI Locaster light, the QRC-DUAL-PT for the Sony PMW-F3 camera, the QR-C80P for the Panasonic AG-HMC80 professional AVCCAM HD shoulder-mount camcorder and the QRC-VBG for the Panasonic AG-AF100 series professional HD camera. “When shooting on location, the last thing Anton/Bauer Gold Mount users will have to worry about is a power failure because of a bad battery connection,” says Shin Minowa, vice president of marketing and business development. “The key to our success and foundation of all of our technology begins with the Gold Mount System.”

DaVinci Resolve 8 Blackmagic have announced a massive update to DaVinci Resolve and it's packed with incredible features that we think colourists will love! DaVinci Resolve 8 now includes multi layer timeline support with editing, XML import and export with Apple Final Cut Pro, OpenCL processing to allow use on latest Apple iMac and MacBook Pro computers, real time noise reduction, new curve grading, advanced multi point stabilization, automatic stereoscopic 3D image alignment and much more! DaVinci Resolve 8 also supports the Avid Artist Colour control panel. During Mediatech Blackmagic will have it running on iMacs and MacBook Pro computers so you can get a feel for the amount of processing that can be done on these computers. The multi track timeline is amazing, and the automatic stereo 3D image alignment is like magic! The best news is that this update to all Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve customers is free of charge.

Atomos Ninja and Samurai first time at Mediatech

Atomos will make its first appearance at Mediatech, showcasing their revolutionary Ninja and Samurai external Apple ProRes recorders. These groundbreaking 10-bit Recording, Monitoring and Playback devices are rapidly changing the way in which video is captured and edited. Atomos takes the workflow to the camera - not the camera to the workflow. Ninja is a portable touchscreen HD recorder, monitor and

playback device that captures video direct to Apple ProRes from any camera with an HDMI output onto low-cost, removable 2 ? inch hard disks. It eliminates the need for capture cards and wasted time logging and capturing by avoiding the lossy, time consuming capture to edit process. Samurai is the second of Atomos's industrytransforming external Apple ProRes video recorders, working with any camera with an HD-SDI output. Samurai packs masses of power into a rugged, portable device that records, monitors, and instantly plays back ready-toedit, visually-lossless Apple Pro Res files and has a bigger touchscreen and multi-camera support.

First cross-platform capture devices for Adobe Flash Media Matrox has announced support for Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder software with Matrox MXO2 I/O devices. The Matrox MX02 family offers a full range of capture hardware solutions ideal for feeding live content to Adobe Flash Media Server software. Applications include field journalism, sports, live events, and distance learning. The MXO2 devices work with any system – Mac or PC, laptop or desktop – and let users connect to any HD or SD video source via SDI, HDMI, or analogue. Support for Windows is provided via a Microsoft DirectShow driver and support for Mac OS is provided via QuickTime. Live video streams can reach viewers on multiple devices using all protocols supported by Adobe Flash including RTMP, HTTP or Multicast. “The combination of Flash Media Live Encoder and the Matrox MXO2 devices provides a convenient, portable solution for professional web broadcasting of live events,” said Kevin Towes, product manager, Flash Media Server at Adobe.

9


RAI Amsterdam Conference 8-13 September : Exhibition 9-13 September

Creation, Management and Delivery Each September, the leading brands, finest minds and wisest investors come to IBC – the premier annual event for professionals engaged in the creation, management and delivery of entertainment and news content worldwide. Why come to IBC? • over 48,000 visitors - making IBC easily one of the most important dates on the calendar for the global electronic media industry • from over 140 countries – making IBC unrivalled in networking, sales leads and business development opportunities • 1,300+ key international suppliers - IBC has become one of the most effective places to launch new products, raise corporate profiles, generate sales leads and develop distribution channels in the industry

• 300+ high profile conference speakers – IBC is the premier location worldwide for debate and analysis of the current and future state of the industry • a wide variety of special features including the Future Zone, Connected World, Production Village and the prestigious IBC Awards Ceremony • IBC Certified Training Programme offering hands on training for production and post production professionals

www.ibc.org IBC Fifth Floor International Press Centre 76 Shoe Lane London EC4A 3JB UK T +44 (0) 20 7832 4100 F +44 (0) 20 7832 4130 E info@ibc.org

at r w no giste r iste rg/re g Re bc.o .i w ww


RST boosts Christie fleet with four Roadie HD+35K's A major service provider throughout the GCC countries, Dubai-based Resources Stage Technologies (RST) fz-llc has boosted their inventory of top-end Christie projectors, with the purchase of four Roadie HD+35K 1080 HD DLP devices.

W

ith a sister company, Wide Angle Production, operating from Beirut, the company collectively services events throughout the UAE, as well as Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Syria and Jordan. Specialists in large-scale events, RST has been buying Christie products on a regular basis for the past five years and already owned a Roadie HD25K and HD30K (as well as a pair of LX1000 LCD projectors) before making this latest acquisition. But with the Asian Beach Games coming up in Muscat, Oman upcoming, RST needed even higher brightness projectors. “With the 2K resolution, the HD+35K would allow us to achieve this brightness while maintaining the same stock of Christie accessories — such as

Pictured are Sultan Thomas (left) with his technical manager, Bassam Mendelek.

ballasts and lenses,” said company owner, Sultan Thomas. He was also impressed with the quick delivery and the attractive price, when compared with that of an 18K or 20K device. But other than the Asian Beach Games,

Thomas made this acquisition very much with the future in mind — and in particular the onset of 3D mapping technology. Producing 32,500 ANSI lumens (35,000 centre lumens), this latest Roadie features Christie’s unique, flexible split-body design with separate switching lamp ballast, while the rear air exhaust hood improves ‘stackability’. But it was the new motorized lens mount, enabling the lens position to be focused and adjusted using a remote control, that caught Sultan Thomas’s eye. “The motorised lens, along with the 0.8:1 fixed lens, are great features,” he stated. “Christie’s brand value and reputation for quality preceded them when we made this purchase, and the projectors are certainly proving their worth.”

SIGNAL METAMORPHOSIS

HDMI ᐸ

ᐳ HD-SDI

...and, unlike the butterfly, we can reverse the process Kramer has a full range of high quality products to distribute, switch and transcode HD-SDI and HDMI signals whether for use in a Broadcast application, or a Pro-AV system. For transcoding, take a look at the Kramer FC-331 (3G HD-SDI to HDMI) and the FC-113 (HDMI to HD-SDI), and for our other Digital products why not check our website: www.kramerelectronics.com © 2010 Kramer Electronics Ltd. All rights reserved

www.electrosonic.co.za . 011-770 9800 or 031-533 0900 or e-mail sales@electrosonic.co.za

2_0265/KRAMER HD-SDI/HALF.indd 1

11

2010/04/13 4:33 PM


2011 Broadcast industry trends in the Middle East and Africa The broadcast market is changing rapidly. To keep abreast of the latest industry trends Devoncroft Partners, a research and consulting company, conducts the annual Big Broadcast Survey (BBS).

M

ore than 8000 people in more than 100 countries participated in the 2011 BBS, making it the largest and most comprehensive study ever conducted in the broadcast industry. This article looks at some of the findings of the 2011 BBS as they relate to the Middle East and Africa (MEA). Nearly 400 broadcast professionals from the MEA region participated in the 2011 BBS, including broadcasters, cable/satellite/IPTV operators, playout centers, systems integrators, recording studios, radio stations and technology vendors.

Technology trends in MEA region One of the key outputs from the BBS is the annual BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index. This is a ranking of the broadcast industry trends that are considered by BBS respondents to be the most commercially important to their businesses in any given year. To create the 2011 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, we presented BBS respondents with a list of 15 industry trends and asked them to tell us which one trend they consider to be “most important” to their business, which one trend they consider to be “second most important” to their business, and which other trends (plural) they consider to be “also very important.” We then used the responses to this question to create the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index by applying a weighting based on the commercial importance of each trend. Please note that our goal from this question is to help clients gain insight into the business drivers behind the respondent’s answer. Therefore, we asked this question in the context of commercial importance, rather than “industry buzz” or technology hype. The table on the right shows the 2011 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index for the MEA region. Please note that this chart measures the responses all non-vendors who participated in the 2011 BBS, regardless of company type, company size, geographic location, job title etc.

Four trends on this list stand out from the rest: • The transition to HDTV operations • Multi-platform content delivery • IP networking and content delivery • Transition to file-based / automated workflows

very important. As with many other parts of the world HDTV upgrades will continue to be one of the major drivers of project-based spending in the MEA region and broadcasters world continue with plans to transition their operations to HDTV.

Topping the 2011 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index for the MEA Region is the transition to HDTV operations. Our research shows that much of the technology spending in the broadcast industry is project-based, and it appears that the transition to HDTV is

HDTV operations Because the move to HDTV operations is such an important macro driver for the industry, our research looks to provide significant detail about the plans and timing for the move to HDTV. This includes a breakdown of where

A detailed graph indicating the recent trends in the broadcasting industry

12


broadcasters are in their transition to HD, and a look at the upgrade plans for more than a dozen product categories. For example, our research shows that less than a third of the MEA region has already made the transition to HDTV operations. Thus it’s likely that the move to HDTV will continue to be a very important driver for the foreseeable future. Another hot topic in the MEA region for 2011 is multi-platform content delivery. Several factors are driving this trend to the forefront of broadcasters in MEA. Consumers are increasingly demanding an anytime / anyplace content experience. At the same time, broadcasters are seeing that while there are technical challenges to meetings these requirements, there are also financial rewards in the form of new incremental revenue. As video content become ubiquitous, broadcasters and content owners are looking for ways to monetize their assets, and grow their revenue. Technology vendors are continuing to develop solutions to convert content for optimal performance on any platform, and to run targeted ads alongside that content.

Multi-platform content delivery In addition to the shift to HDTV and the multi-platform content delivery, the other key finding is that broadcast professionals in the MEA region are seeking to achieve operational efficiencies through IP networking and content delivery and file-based / tapeless workflows. Our previous research shows that broadcasters are moving to filebased workflows not only to achieve greater speed and efficiencies, but also to reduce cost. During the recession,

technology budgets were typically prioritized towards solutions that add revenue and/or reduce cost. Now that the industry is recovering from the downturn, it’s likely that the way technology is purchased will remain focused on these commercial priorities. In 2011 broadcasters will continue to deploy new workflows, and these will rely increasingly on IP technologies as well as on file-based operations. The increasing importance of these technologies has significant implications for the broadcast industry in terms of both workflows and product procurement. The importance of IP technologies in the MEA region highlights the need for new skills as traditional broadcast techniques give way to more IT oriented ways of working. One key issue for the MEA region is that many of the broadcast technology vendors are headquartered in the United States or Western Europe. The need for specialized skills will likely drive many vendors to deploy skilled staff to the region rather than rely on distributors as they may have done in the past. The pace of technological change is relentless in the broadcast industry, and the 2011 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index for the MEA Region shows that this is a very dynamic time in the MEA region.

Broadcasters facing significant challenges Broadcasters in MEA are facing significant challenges on multiple fronts. They are in the midst of an ongoing upgrade to HDTV operations, and this is expected to continue for some time. At

13

the same time they are transitioning to entirely new ways of working as they deploy new workflows based on filebased and IT technologies. And on top of all this they are working to create the infrastructure and business models that will enable them to take advantage of the new revenue streams promised by multiplatform content delivery.

About the Author Joe Zaller is a Digital media strategist with extensive international experience in broadcast, cable, satellite, IPTV and mobile TV markets. In 2008 he established Devoncroft Partners and embarked on the Big Broadcast Survey. This is the largest and most comprehesive study of broadcast

industry trends and technology vendor brands. The BBS provides insight into market trends and the perceptions of leading broadcast industry vendor brands by a wide variety of broadcast professionals across the world. It also delivers vendor brand ranking “league tables” in a variety of product categories; all of which can be segmented by geography and customer type. More than 5,600 people in 120+ countries participated in the 2010 BBS project. Information about the 2010 BBS can be found at www.devoncroft.com


A new architecture for broadcast In the last issue I talked about consumerisation and the way that is changing our industry. This time I want to pick up the second major theme I introduced in my opening presentation at Cabsat earlier this year: the way that modern computer networks can transform the way we operate as businesses.

T

here are two terms which we can find increasingly used in the context of broadcasting and media companies: business process automation and service oriented architectures. These are at the core of what I think will be the transformation. The expression “service oriented architecture” has been tossed around a lot recently, and it is a common concept in other parts of IT, but are we really sure what it means? There is a formal definition, proposed by the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, which says it is: A paradigm for organizing and utilizing distributed capabilities that may be under the control of different ownership domains. It provides a uniform means to offer, discover, interact with and use capabilities to produce desired effects consistent with measurable preconditions and expectations. That is probably not very helpful. I would define it as a way to break a job down into a

number of individual tasks, and sending those tasks to the most appropriate equipment and people to carry them out. You define the overall job to be done – the workflow – and the service oriented architecture (SOA) system makes it happen. That is the first big change. In broadcast, the way we work has traditionally been defined by the technology. If you had an edit system and learnt to use it, you were an editor. If you sat in master control you had a router control panel to manage inputs and outputs. With an SOA you define the workflow and technology follows. Better yet, you can define the outcome and the tasks and the technology follow.

Workflow requirements To give an example, the outcome might be a trailer for a forthcoming programme. The workflow would be send the content to an edit suite, cut the trailer, send it to the channel director for 14

checking, send it to quality control, then send it to playout for transmission. The tasks would be set up a transfer from archive server to format transcoder to edit suite. Load the content into a suitable bin in the editor. Send a work order to the editor with the length of trailer required and how many hours have been allocated to complete the job. Store and backup the completed trailer. Create a browse resolution copy. Send the browse copy to the channel director. If cleared, release the completed package to QC; if not create a new work order for corrections. And so on.

Different technology choices An important point here is that many of these tasks use different technology. You might pull the original content off a data tape in an archive robot, send it to a Telestream FlipFactory to package it in Quicktime for Final Cut Pro. The work order for the editor might be an email or an SMS message. IPV Spectreview might be used to create the browse resolution


copy, which will go through a Cisco ethernet switch on the office network. Hamlet or Tektronix could provide automated quality control; the finished version might sit on an Omneon server under the control of a Pebble Beach automation system. That is the second part of the definition of a service oriented architecture: it bridges a number of systems, technologies and providers. So there needs to be a mechanism to make this interconnection seamless. Most systems today are linear: they talk to each other through point to point interfaces. So that Pebble Beach automation system will talk directly to the Omneon server. If it needs to talk to, say, a Pixel Power graphics generator, or a Snell router, there will be other interfaces.

Third element The problem with this as an architecture is that every time someone introduces a software upgrade the link might break, and if there are many, many links between pieces of equipment this can make maintaining an integrated system a nightmare. So the third element that makes the SOA different is that it looks down on the system from above. Each piece of equipment under its control has just one interface, with the SOA itself, which manages all communication.

Small packages of dedicated code The way this is achieved is by loading into the equipment to be controlled “services”: small packages of dedicated code which can be loaded and implemented through simple, open interfaces like XML and MOS. You could think of them as plug-ins: the Final Cut Pro editor could open a “service” to gain access to the content archive, for instance. We will see in the near future, I believe, a “service” which puts desktop editing inside a newsroom script application. Some services will need operator intervention. Making our trailer is a creative task which needs the skills and experience of a good editor. But some of the tasks in the overall workflow can be automated. Quality control can be performed automatically, for example, with the system deciding on whether to pass the trailer, automatically correct minor problems or return it to the edit suite for reworking.

Optimum use of resoures Automating some tasks, and managing them all under one workflow in an SOA, means you get better use of resources. If there is limited capacity in the transcoding farm, or if you are tight for bandwidth on your content network, then

The four layer model for business process automation in broadcast, as defined by Three Media Associates

the transfer from archive to edit suite can be run in the middle of the night, with everything in place ready for the editor to start in the morning. The system can also track deadlines, changing priorities for tasks and chasing people for decisions as required. The routine, which includes managing timescales and resources, can be fully automated without taking away from the skills of the staff. The specialist broadcast consultancy Three Media Associates describes the effective service oriented architecture in a four layer model, and I think this is a good way to think of it. The bottom layer is the resources: the technology infrastructure and the people that operate it. On the face of it the idea of grouping hardware and people together may seem slightly strange, but together they form the resources you have to get the job done. It is how you plan the best use of those resources that mark out the efficiency of the organisation. Above that lies the data flow, and particularly the management of the metadata. This concept of a unified system cannot work without good metadata, not least because it is dynamic: it will be tracking and updating as each task is performed, as well as directing the tasks. Above that is the operational service layer. This is where the individual workflows are defined, and broken down into tasks by the system. It deals in broad instructions like create a trailer, or ingest new content, or 15

play out a channel, so in some ways it could be seen as the driver of the service oriented architecture.

Business processes But Three Media Associates puts another layer above it: the business processes. I believe that it is only when you bring in this layer of business process

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.


automation that you really reap the benefits from the technology. Business processes include scheduling and commissioning, and advertising and subscription sales. It also incorporates the commercial management of the business, too. Large companies have enterprise management systems like SAP, and this can now be integrated into the rest of the technology through our business process management, enabled by the service oriented architecture. The whole four layer model allows a broadcast operation to be run as a business, separating out technology and human resources from commercial goals. We can use it to understand where the costs in the business lie, and how best to apply investment to achieve growth for the business. If we go back to our earlier example of creating a trailer, through business process management we can work out exactly how much it cost to make it, in operator time, technical resources and consumables. That cost can be booked to the marketing budget, and its effectiveness as an operational investment tracked against audience viewing figures, advertising sales and subscription income.

Bottlenecks

Significant investment

Management at the resource level might identify particular bottlenecks. Edit suite utilisation might be very high, for example, suggesting that it is time to invest in more capacity. At the top level executives can review the investment proposal and make a reasoned decision: more editing capacity means more and better trailers, which translates directly into improved revenue, so go ahead. Plans to open more channels, or to deliver over the internet, can be evaluated for cost and for practicality.

Can it be achieved with the current technical infrastructure or will it need significant investment? Can expansion be achieved without disrupting current levels of activity? Business process automation is real and available for broadcasters today, from companies like Tedial and Pro Consultant Informatique. Bringing systems together, defining what we do by the outcomes we want to achieve, and understanding the economics of our operations and technologies: it is the sensible way to proceed.

17


Practical solutions win out over technology at NAB2011 The broadcast industry worldwide is very slowly coming to terms with the depth of the recession we have just suffered. The economic collapse caused everyone to take a careful look at what they do and how they do things.

B

roadcasters are now primarily putting operational expenditure and lifecycle costs at the top of their lists of requirements. Helping people work smarter, faster, more cost effectively has taken over from the latest technological gadgetry as the headline news at events like NAB. Sony chose “beyond HD” as its theme for the show – focussing on stereoscopic 3D and 4k acquisition – but that set the company apart from the crowd and looking somewhat out of tune with the business. That said, Sony did have one very important technology launch at NAB, but one which meets a real need today. Since CRT monitors became unobtainable (their manufacture is costly and environmentally unsustainable) there has been an issue with precision monitoring. Although manufacturers like Frontniche and Hamlet have offerings based on LCD screens, until

now there has not been a grade one monitor available.

Organic LED displays Sony has been working hard on making Oled technology practical. Organic light emitting diodes were seen as the ideal material for very high quality displays, but creating large panels was proving to be a major challenge for manufacturing. Now Sony claims it has solved the issue and is obtaining “reasonable yields”. That has allowed it to introduce 17” and 25” grade one monitors. They demonstrated the new Trimaster EL alongside an existing Trimaster LCD monitor and a CRT-based BVM. The differences were striking, with the new Oled panel providing even greater contrast than the CRT, with much sharper resolution and excellent motion handling. The LCD display seemed positively poor in comparison. If you need a larger screen Dolby 18

has a 42” panel which again provides grade one quality. It also has 12 bit capability so is ideal for digital cinema grading as well as top end broadcast work. Neither the Sony nor the Dolby could be described as inexpensive, but at least we have practical options with performance good enough for grading.

Content in the cloud Moving content into the cloud was a recurring theme. Both Quantel with its QTube system and Avid with its Interplay Central were emphasising the ability, particularly in news production, to be in contact with your content at all times. A thin client on a web browser gives you the same functionality wherever you are, albeit working with proxies, as you would on a full-blown system back at base. This has great advantages, but it does need the infrastructure to move the content around. Quantel, in particular, has


Practical solutions win out over technology at NAB2011 The broadcast industry worldwide is very slowly coming to terms with the depth of the recession we have just suffered. The economic collapse caused everyone to take a careful look at what they do and how they do things.

B

roadcasters are now primarily putting operational expenditure and lifecycle costs at the top of their lists of requirements. Helping people work smarter, faster, more cost effectively has taken over from the latest technological gadgetry as the headline news at events like NAB. Sony chose “beyond HD” as its theme for the show – focussing on stereoscopic 3D and 4k acquisition – but that set the company apart from the crowd and looking somewhat out of tune with the business. That said, Sony did have one very important technology launch at NAB, but one which meets a real need today. Since CRT monitors became unobtainable (their manufacture is costly and environmentally unsustainable) there has been an issue with precision monitoring. Although manufacturers like Frontniche and Hamlet have offerings based on LCD screens, until

now there has not been a grade one monitor available.

Organic LED displays Sony has been working hard on making Oled technology practical. Organic light emitting diodes were seen as the ideal material for very high quality displays, but creating large panels was proving to be a major challenge for manufacturing. Now Sony claims it has solved the issue and is obtaining “reasonable yields”. That has allowed it to introduce 17” and 25” grade one monitors. They demonstrated the new Trimaster EL alongside an existing Trimaster LCD monitor and a CRT-based BVM. The differences were striking, with the new Oled panel providing even greater contrast than the CRT, with much sharper resolution and excellent motion handling. The LCD display seemed positively poor in comparison. If you need a larger screen Dolby 18

has a 42” panel which again provides grade one quality. It also has 12 bit capability so is ideal for digital cinema grading as well as top end broadcast work. Neither the Sony nor the Dolby could be described as inexpensive, but at least we have practical options with performance good enough for grading.

Content in the cloud Moving content into the cloud was a recurring theme. Both Quantel with its QTube system and Avid with its Interplay Central were emphasising the ability, particularly in news production, to be in contact with your content at all times. A thin client on a web browser gives you the same functionality wherever you are, albeit working with proxies, as you would on a full-blown system back at base. This has great advantages, but it does need the infrastructure to move the content around. Quantel, in particular, has


Practical solutions win out over technology at NAB2011 The broadcast industry worldwide is very slowly coming to terms with the depth of the recession we have just suffered. The economic collapse caused everyone to take a careful look at what they do and how they do things.

B

roadcasters are now primarily putting operational expenditure and lifecycle costs at the top of their lists of requirements. Helping people work smarter, faster, more cost effectively has taken over from the latest technological gadgetry as the headline news at events like NAB. Sony chose “beyond HD” as its theme for the show – focussing on stereoscopic 3D and 4k acquisition – but that set the company apart from the crowd and looking somewhat out of tune with the business. That said, Sony did have one very important technology launch at NAB, but one which meets a real need today. Since CRT monitors became unobtainable (their manufacture is costly and environmentally unsustainable) there has been an issue with precision monitoring. Although manufacturers like Frontniche and Hamlet have offerings based on LCD screens, until

now there has not been a grade one monitor available.

Organic LED displays Sony has been working hard on making Oled technology practical. Organic light emitting diodes were seen as the ideal material for very high quality displays, but creating large panels was proving to be a major challenge for manufacturing. Now Sony claims it has solved the issue and is obtaining “reasonable yields”. That has allowed it to introduce 17” and 25” grade one monitors. They demonstrated the new Trimaster EL alongside an existing Trimaster LCD monitor and a CRT-based BVM. The differences were striking, with the new Oled panel providing even greater contrast than the CRT, with much sharper resolution and excellent motion handling. The LCD display seemed positively poor in comparison. If you need a larger screen Dolby 18

has a 42” panel which again provides grade one quality. It also has 12 bit capability so is ideal for digital cinema grading as well as top end broadcast work. Neither the Sony nor the Dolby could be described as inexpensive, but at least we have practical options with performance good enough for grading.

Content in the cloud Moving content into the cloud was a recurring theme. Both Quantel with its QTube system and Avid with its Interplay Central were emphasising the ability, particularly in news production, to be in contact with your content at all times. A thin client on a web browser gives you the same functionality wherever you are, albeit working with proxies, as you would on a full-blown system back at base. This has great advantages, but it does need the infrastructure to move the content around. Quantel, in particular, has


been doing this for a long time, managing intelligent uploads so you only send the content that has changed across the network. If you are on a slow connection that can be a real advantage. But both the Quantel and Avid solutions have much to attract. One of the biggest problems with cloud computing for broadcast is that our files are so huge, potentially crippling the system through bandwidth constraints. As well as storing content in the cloud other manufacturers are suggesting that processor-intensive work like encoding and transcoding could be offered as a software service. Digital Rapids is big in handling and delivering encoded files, and version 2.0 of Transcode Manager brings cloud processing alongside on-premise encoding farms, allowing you to use the cloud to relieve peaks in demand. It runs on the Windows Azure platform which makes it easy to connect, and to calculate how much it is going to cost to run over into the cloud.

High-speed IP transfer All of this further drives the need for speed on IP transfers. Aspera offers its Fasp technology, designed to do just that, with maximum speed, predictability and security. It also offers Aspera Sync, an application for multidirectional replication and synchronisation, supporting millions of individual files and any file size. Another key supplier of transfer technology is XDT with its Catapult product, reaching version 3.0 at NAB, and aimed primarily at delivering content for high end production and post. The new release uses JPEG2000, in either lossy or lossless forms, to further boost speed, with XDT claiming that a 100Mb/s connection can deliver an effective bandwidth of between 200Mb/s and 1Gb/s without impairing image quality or losing metadata.

Service oriented architecture If cloud computing was one growing trend, service oriented architecture is another. One of the ways in which more efficient, more costeffective systems can be created is to use a modern software architecture, and manufacturers are finally stepping up with practical products. Not before time: probably the quote of the convention came from Paul Ragland of Irdeto who said “the broadcasting industry is plagued by inefficient and outdated processes”. Leading the way was Grass Valley, with its new system

Stratus. This exemplifies the best of service oriented architectures, connecting devices by dropping small software services into other applications to add functionality. It currently sits on the latest version of its production server platform, K2 Dyno version 2.0. The new release introduced much useful functionality, including the ability to create proxies on the fly within the main server. Explaining why SOA is so important, Mark Horton of Amberfin told me “connecting point to point by API is just not viable in complex workflows. You need to come in from above not across”. His point was that today it is not uncommon for a finished commercial or programme to be delivered in 60 distribution versions, each with 15 sub-versions. Creating a linear infrastructure to manage that is simply not possible.

Multiple versions Transcoding and versioning is a major requirement, which is why leading specialist Telestream has a major presence in SOA workflows, through its Vantage product. In the latest iteration of Vantage, Telestream’s recent acquisition of Anystream gives excellent system management for capture, transcoding, analysis, metadata, delivery and notification through the Anystream Agility product. SOA is the basis for business process automation. This is common in most other industries – the motor business knows how much it costs to build a car, so why should broadcasters not know how much it costs to make a television news story – and Pro Consultant Informatique urged broadcasters to seize the opportunity to simplify processes and reduce operational 19

expenditure.

Business process management Tedial is perhaps the best known name in business process management, and has now extended its capabilities to be capable of executing more than 3500 workflows if required. Internally it runs on an Oracle database which can support different data models for different departments within a broadcaster, and allow special structures and workflows to be created for one-off large scale events. MediaPulse from Xytech is a comprehensive workflow system, bringing resource scheduling and planning into the same environment as asset management. The core data engine allows users to analyse workflows on a financial or key performance indicator basis, as well as seeing how the assets move. An open source interface means that “anything message based” can be connected to the data engine, a core principle of the service oriented architecture. It means that new services can be built quickly without the need for specialist development.

Low cost controllers Returning to servers for a moment, can I commend Hi Tech Systems and its excellent, low cost controllers. At NAB it launched Avita, a new configurable controller for servers and related products. Although a software-only version is available, the primary product is a hardware panel with a touchscreen controller, which allows drag and drop compilation of clips into a playlist. There are lots of nice design touches in Avita, including the flexible mount for the touchscreen which allows it to fold down flat for


An evolution in technology. A revolution in business possibilities.

The Sele n i o M e d i a C o n v e rg e n c e P l a t f o r m TM

Every day our industry accelerates its migration from a traditional, broadcast model to a more flexible, efficient IP-based workflow. Productivity demands it — and new revenue is reliant on it. Enter Selenio ™. The industry’s first media convergence platform. With Selenio, baseband video/audio processing, compression and IP networking are combined into a single, scalable, space-saving platform. So go ahead. Expand your channel portfolio. Make that transition to HD. Or move into web/mobile services. Selenio enables you to add new services confidently and cost effectively.

Selenio. An evolution in technology. A revolution in business possibilities.

Phone: Email:

+971 4 433 8250 sales.middleeast@harris.com

Winner of the TV Technology STAR Award

broadcast.harris.com/selenio


ease of intensive typing when you are configuring the system. Currently it supports the VDCP protocol, but APIs for other server protocols will be rolled out in due course. It is also MOS compliant for system integration.

Multi-platform delivery The third big trend for NAB was the requirement to deliver content to multiple platforms. This is something we have been talking about for some years, of course, but this year I thought the emphasis was rather different, and rather more in line with the overall theme of practical and cost-effective approaches. When the prospect of making content available online as well as broadcast first arose, the argument was always that it would be a valuable new revenue stream. In general this has not proved to be the case: a television channel has to have an internet presence because it builds brand loyalty – but it will probably be a cost not a revenue earner. Harris Morris, the appropriately named president of Harris, revealed that “broadcasters tell us they spend 80% of their operating expenditure on 20% of their revenues”. In other words, you probably cannot avoid getting involved in multi-platform delivery if you want to keep your audience, but beware of blowing a lot of money on it.

Combines audio and video As you may recall, Harris took the unusual step of launching its Selenio signal processor not at NAB but a couple of months earlier at Cabsat in Dubai. The basis for this product – which I think is genuinely groundbreaking – is that it combines conventional audio and video with IP streaming in the same box. That means that if you need to experiment with new online or mobile services, this is a quick and relatively inexpensive way of doing it. Front Porch Digital starts from a position of strength in archiving, and derives its multi-platform strategy from there. Its DivaPublish software automatically prepares content for the web, YouTube, iPad and so on, handling all the formatting and metadata shuffling. The company’s view is that if you have an archive you have no alternative but to digitise it, so you may as well take the opportunity to ensure the content is widely available. That is a particularly powerful argument for cultural and

governmental archives, bringing open access to any citizen. Vivesta, now part of SGT, also suggests its asset management tools fit into the multi-platform world, with particularly powerful tools for nonlinear transmissions like video on demand and web television. Most important, it helps with cross-platform content, for instance promoting linear television from video on demand and vice versa, encouraging take-up.

Industry consolidation In recent years some of the biggest news around exhibitions has been around industry consolidation, with companies swallowing each other to build market share through an expanded, and hopefully symbiotic, product range. This year there were no mergers and acquisition surprises, but some of the recent deals seem to be bedding down well. Omneon is now part of Harmonic, and bringing some of its new parent’s encoding expertise into its servers, The new MediaPort 7000 series brings multi-codec support to the Spectrum server, offering back to back DV and MPEG-2 playback, as well as up, down and cross conversion on every channel, regardless of source codec. For Evertz, its acquisition of Pharos was intended to add software excellence to its traditional hardware reputation. The combination has allowed it to develop Overture RT Live, a new offering in the channel in a box sector, with integral server, switching and branding. Still leading the top end channel in a box market, though, is ITX from Omnibus, now part of Miranda. The acquisition has enabled the product to develop new graphics and branding applications. It is also now designed to support the move to multi-platform delivery.

Eyecatchers Finally, a quick round-up of some of the other products which caught my eye as I toured NAB. Over the last few years Japanese broadcaster NHK has been leading the development of Super Hi-Vision, an 8k broadcast system. It is stunning but full of practical challenges, not least a native data rate of 24Gb/s: 16 times today’s HD. It is now beginning to be taken up and turned into practical products. KDDI has developed a coding system which gets that data rate down to a somewhat more manageable 70Mb/s. 21

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.

That is still not going to make it into the home just yet, but it could make Super Hi-Vision an option for special event relays. Lighting rarely gets a look in to exhibition reports, but a new lamp from Photon Beard impressed me. The PhotonSpot Nova has a light output equivalent to a 2kW tungsten lamp with fresnel lens, while consuming on 273W, at 30V so from a large battery. Photon Beard’s Peter Daffarn would not be drawn on how it worked, although he did show me what he described as the “tiny little glass bubble” at the heart of the lamp. That was just a snapshot of NAB2011. Attendance was up a fraction (less than 5%), but once again the sheer weight of numbers was replaced by people who needed to be at NAB because they had live projects with challenges to solve. Once again it provided the showcase, particularly for those who needed to take the practical route to commercial security.


APS’ Stephane Goebel (VP/International), Franz Lindeque, Top TV’s COO and Vino Govender, Top TV’s CEO, at the APS opening (April 2011)

Astra’s APS offers full service play-out It is no longer sufficient for broadcasters to merely contemplate getting their signals up onto satellite for down-linking to viewers or cable and telco head-ends, says Stefan Hennecke, CTO at Astra Platform Services (APS). To prove the point, he outlined in some detail the total range of services being supplied to Johannesburg’s Top TV operation, which as well as handling conventional play-out and uplinking of Top TVs pay-TV signals from Europe to South Africa, also includes a raft of other requirements.

T

o support Top TV’s portfolio, and also the steady growth in their other client’s businesses, in April 2011 APS opened its brand-new facility just outside Munich at Unterföhring. Unlike most play-out centres this one has been designed with ‘green’ credentials very much at heart. This includes an energy efficient solution to its high air conditioning demands based on groundwater cooling technology. “The investment (in the cooling system) will easily pay for itself,” claimed Hennecke. Top TV's growing portfolio The new facility was needed, at least in part, to cope with the addition of Top TV’s growing portfolio of channels for South Africa. APS’ now back-up building was already handling some 200 channels for a variety of clients, not the least of which is Sky Deutschland’s bouquet of pay-TV channels. “Since 2004 we have grown three-fold and now handle more than 290 channels, and are constantly adding new channels and services.” Hennecke’s play-out portfolio also

technical service for the channel moved from down the street (from Pro7’s HQ) to here! It could have been miles and miles away, it would have been just as complex an operation, but we switched over for them in January. There was considerable time pressure on both them and us, and we only won the contract last September. They had to extract themselves from every aspect of their previous home, including all their ingest which is based in Berlin and all their back-office systems, and to make matters even more challenging we had to handle the links to their new Media Sales agency. Play-out and the full automation system for the channel is based here in Munich. They operate live until early afternoon, and then we take over from here. This mixed operational approach is, I think, quite unique. However, they have full access to override our automation system so that when something major happens, like the Japanese earthquake, they re-take control and on that occasion ran a 24-hour schedule from Berlin.”

Strong demand for smaller screens “It is the same with the new demands for handling channels to smaller screens, whether computers, iPads, iPhones and the other variants, and the new breed of so-called ‘connected TVs’ and Over The Top services,” admits Hennecke. “There is a strong demand, a strong trend, to see more of these services added by clients. We can already play out to dish viewers, to cable headends, and streamed services to these new devices. All of these services are straightforward for us. The next step for many of our customers is those ‘on demand’ services. We already have the Media Asset Management skills here, complete with encryption and the other needs of any broadcaster. More importantly, perhaps, we can be highly competitive.”

Plans for more channels The new APS building in Munich

includes dozens of radio channels and is approaching 100 data services. Hennecke explains that APS’ role is to make channel play-out seamless for clients and viewers, whether for a single channel, or multimedia service, or for a major broadcaster like Sky. “For example, we recently had to handle a change of location for N24 (a German all-news channel) which was bought out by its management from Pro7/Sat1, and the 22

Since the decision to build APS, it has won some further interesting contracts, not the least of which was taking Top TV from 50 channels at its start in May 2010 – with zero subscribers – to today, where the broadcaster has grown rapidly to more than 60 channels and some 283,000 subscribers. Top TV CEO Vino Govender is happily planning for both more channels and extra subscribers. “We gave SES and APS a really tough task, but they came through,” says Govender. “Their understanding of the technology solutions available is


immense. Our picture quality is simply superb. APS has done a great job in providing all that is necessary in terms of technical services for us to do our work. Between SES and Astra Platform Services, they have been fantastic partners. They know this industry very well.” They needed to. Top TV’s requests were extremely demanding. Besides getting the service up and running within a near-impossible 90-days, they also advised Top TV’s COO Franz Lindeque on his EPG needs, content encryption and EPG creation, as well as handling the passing through of obligatory ‘must carry’ TV channels generated in South Africa which had to be be mixed into the overall portfolio of channels assembled by APS. The local channels are fed into APS’ system by GlobeCast’s fibre links, using Seacom’s undersea cable, again fully backed up in case of snags.

Keeping shareholders interested Of course, the complete Top TV plan of action was much more than 90 days in gestation. Govender explains: “When you bring a project of this size together, you have the additional task of keeping shareholders interested, in our case for a period of four years. From their point of view, it must have been like pulling teeth with them constantly asking, quite reasonably, when was this thing going to actually happen. They’d allocated the funds, they were keen to see the investment start working and we could do nothing. It’s also very time-consuming having to deal with these institutions. Quite rightly, they need to be informed every step of the way.” Not helping Top TV’s schedule was an 18-month delay in getting its operating license, initially applied for back in 2007. Govender adds: “Our partners are semigovernmental institutions and they have a raft of legal responsibilities so even though we had our approvals, invariably if there was a delay then we would have to wait for the next credit committee to meet and give us a fresh approval for the scheme and this happened over and over again. Like any public institution, these decisions were having to be made usually every quarter or six months. It was hard work.”

No cutting corners APS had pitched for the Top TV contract but no go-ahead could be given until the licence and the finance were in place. Lindeque gives some additional background: “Our final decision was to go for the ‘best of the best’ in terms of

Chris Hennecke presents to media and clients at the new APS headquarters in Munich, Germany.

those offers. It made sense for a ‘best of the best’ selection because at the end of the day, the proportional cost of that decision was very modest in comparison to the overall task involved. We agreed that we would not cut corners on the technology. What I can now tell you is that we have definitely got the best of the best. Everything we have here is the latest technology available, it’s the latest compression technology, it is the latest in satellite modulation, the latest IT systems. We’re transmitting MPEG 4 in its H.264 and using DVB-S2 and the latest audio compression to further maximise spectrum efficiency. There is nothing later than this available.” Lindeque says Top TV bought into NDS for its encryption and Middleware solutions, again as part of his ‘best of the best’ decision. “It’s never been hacked and we were very happy with the deal they offered us. As part of the package we bought into their middleware, their EPG option and of course conditional access itself. It meant it was a one-stopshop.” Lindeque stresses that APS was holding his hand every step of the way.

Africa a great opportunity Hennecke says that APS, helped by its new facility, is now geared to offer services almost anywhere on the planet. He says Africa, the Middle East and Central/Eastern Europe are all firmly in their sights. “The task for us is to show potential clients how extremely efficient we are. But these new regions, well outside Germany’s borders, are where we will be operating. We have new capacity coming on stream in all of these locations, and places like Africa represent 23

a great opportunity for us. We are perfectly situated to get signals into Africa, and the European content that we already handle is extremely attractive to some potential customers in the Continent. We are working hard on some ideas, and at a reasonable price level. It is highly competitive, but we know that quality, plus our proven track record will help. And this new facility allows us to scale, not just in the number of channels we can handle but in the growing number of additional services that clients want. We now have that space to add new channels.” APS’ core offerings • Air condition system based on groundwater cooling technology • Fully redundant power distribution system equipped with invisibly switching capabilities (invisible switchover between the two systems in case of maintenance etc.) • Latest generation of Harmonic SD and HD Encoders and Multiplexers for DVB-S/DVB-S2 distribution • Fully Redundant Snell Sirius 800 routing system • 2-stage fire detection system with early fire detection • BFE router control system • Harris Predator Multiviewer systems for service monitoring • LED Backlight 46" screens and LED room light to minimize heat dissipation in MCR • In house developed monitoring framework for error detection and display.


Commercial AV reaches new heights across the Middle East In the recent PALME awards a number of great AV installations made it through to the judging short-list for consideration as “Commercial AV installation of the year”. Whilst Ferrari World went on to win the overall prize there were a number of other installations that demonstrated the AV design and install capabilities of the region’s AV industry. Almoe's digital signage solution at Mirdiff City Centre

food courts. Almoe Digital Solutions succeeded and then some. Their plan was to expand MAF’s existing network of digital signage displays across all their malls, including the Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre, Sharjah City Centre, Ajman City Centre and now Mirdiff City Centre. They also wanted to provide retailers with a medium through which they could reach out to shoppers, giving them valuable information. Almoe met its goals by increasing the network size, the number of screens and their reach, and improving the CPM of the network. Visibility of the screens and the network in general has increased and recent research has shown that the customers find LCD’s the most effective inmall media. Samsung 460MX-2; Full HD

1

The aim was to create a digital signage network of 100 screens in Mirdiff City Center food courts, to facilitate the publishing of synchronized advertising content throughout all the screens in both

24

46” screens were used as the endpoints of the digital signage network throughout the Mirdiff City Center food courts, while Bose DS-16S surface mount speakers were used to deliver undisrupted crystal clear sound to the patrons of the mall. 360 Mall in Kuwait


Electrosonic designed, supplied, installed and programmed extensive LED lighting, digital signage, video projection, special effects, audio and show control for the 360 Mall’s Family Entertainment Center complex. The project spanned three major areas of the 360 Mall Complex, the Infunity area, Bowl Room, and Freeze Club.

The objective of the project was to create a mall experience in which one can enjoy the elements of a theme park in the 360’s circular, enclosed, space. The equipment list was sizeable. For the Infunity room alone there were 67 Studio Due LED fixtures in the entire games area. Colour-changine columns of Lagotronics LED strip lights were installed at the entrance, and it features twelve NEC LCD displays. An entire wall of 18 displays, comprised of a 103-inch Panasonic plasma screen surrounded by smaller NEC LCD displays, form an art installation in the middle of Infunity’s large atrium. Electrosonic constructed two custom low-resolution LED video walls featuring over 5,000 Artistic License LED “pucks” A special product component that was used was Infunity’s Yaham 10mm LED video wall, measuring 7.68 by 4.8 meters. It is believed to be the largest in Kuwait.

plush and welcoming as it is functional and professional. The high standards applied to its design were matched by the demands placed on its AV infrastructure. Challenges included remote monitoring of the entire campus by the VP of the Weatherford using a combined integration of live streamer, control processor and room scheduler. Further objectives included facilitating live training sections on the net (web-casting) and integration of digital signage, remote monitoring, room scheduling & webcasting. The solution included live training sections on the net (web-casting,integration of digital signage, remote monitoring, room scheduling & webcasting, integration of video conferencing codec with gate-way & managing software, centrally controlled monitoring & switching of the entire AV integrations.

3

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

2

Weatherford Training Centre by Elvis Technology

Abu Dhabi's Weatherford training centre was recently among the region’s most sought after AV projects, eventually won by Elvis Technology. Sometimes the most prestigious AV projects aren't the eyecatching and tourist friendly mega developments. As one of the world's biggest oil companies, Weatherford's had high expectations. The training centre is as

IISS new Middle East regional headquarters in Manama, Bahrain.

The IISS tasked IICE to design and develop a versatile conference and venue space to be used for public and private presentations around a nine screen video wall forming the room's focus. The system had to be able to provide feeds for Press and Broadcast TV crews along with inhouse translation capabilities enabling presentations to be delivered in multiple languages. IICE utilised the latest technologies from leading manufacturers to provide a truly versatile system with a huge range of audio and video delivery and recording capabilities. Using the CUE wireless touch screen interface they ensured that the conference room is fully automated - sound, video display, lighting and blinds can all be adjusted and controlled to create the perfect environment from a single handheld panel. The system design was based around the use of IP controllable components with audio speakers having twin channels enabling each speaker to be separately controlled for surround sound and speech simultaneously. The digital signage system is based around a central computer source which allows the master feed to be sent to each of the remote screens with an audio channel.

5

Sitting beneath its iconic red roof in the heart of Yas Island, is the world’s first Ferrari theme Park, the largest attraction of its kind. The Park pays tribute to all that Ferrari has achieved over the years and features over 20 rides and attractions. Technical highlights include 80 networked projection systems, 400 channels of networked audio, 20 networked show control systems, 16 networked lighting controllers, Parkwide paging system, Parkwide digital signage system, Central control and monitoring of all AV systems. More highlights include the Galleria Ferrari - an interactive touch wall using 15 projected touch screens. A firm favourite with visitors is the Speed of Magic; a multisensory ride using seven 3D projectors with images displayed on a massive 16m x 7m screen. Another highlight is the V12 water ride that uses light, audio and special effects for a journey through the engine. Forty channels of audio and 200 channels of lighting are synchronized with the passage of the ride ‘boat”. The Pit Wall – an interactive theatre allowing the guest to vote on questions raised by the presenter. Projection is a blended two projector rear screen, with the show operated from the control booth.

4 25

Al Ain National Day celebrations

Al Ain recently staged its largest-ever National Day celebrations. MediaPro, the UAE Dataton Center for Pickup and WATCHOUT, was tasked by event management company Red Events Services with giving the event a fresh dimension.


20 - 22 July 2011 Visit us at Macro Video stand: #A9

SE-3000

HD/SD Video Switcher - SE-3000/16: 16 HD/SD SDI inputs or - SE-3000/8: 8 HD/SD SDI inputs (upgradable to 16 inputs) - DVI-D multi screen multi-view output - 3D DVE’s - 4 keyers (2 in M/E, 2 DSK) - Dual channel PIP - Built-in DVE transition engine - Built-in 2 HD/SD Chromakey - Built-in SD-to-HD up converters - Component analogue HD output - 4 AUX outputs - Built-in Two Still Store - Touch screen interface

TP-100

Smart phone Teleprompter (Phone not included)

The teleprompters convert a smart phone or iPad into a low cost, professional, and fully-featured prompter. Control speed or jump between break marks, with the supplied i-remote wired controller.

HS-2000

TP-200

- HD 1920x1080i and 1280x720p - 17� multi-image monitor for each source plus preview & program - Built-in 5 channel dual intercom & tally - Built-in TBC & frame synchroniser

(iPad not included)

5-Channel HD Mobile Studio

Teleprompter for Apple iPadtm

The dv prompter application is available to download Free from Apple App Store.

Macro Video (PTY), Ltd. - Groenkloof, Pretoria, South Africa Tel: +27 12 346 7601 - info@macrovideo.co.za - www.macrovideo.co.za


High-tech audio network for Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque UAE’s largest mosque relies on Qvest Media and distribution partner Riedel

T

he Sheikh Zayed grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi has placed an order with Qvest Media for a new, hightech audio network. During the selection process Qvest Media impressed with first class, high-end solutions from its German partner Riedel, once again highlighting its high quality standards for the distribution and integration of broadcasting solutions Over an area of around 22,000 square meters, the mosque provides space for up to 40,000 worshippers. To be able to reach all of these visitors and given the enormous spaces involved, more than 50 loudspeakers are installed in the mosque, the minarets and the courtyards. Now, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is upgrading its audio network with high end technology from Germany in order to transmit the

The UAE's largest mosque now boasts a new audio network

microphone signals with the best possible sound quality and with zero delay. Qvest Media is therefore supplying a new, real time audio control system based on solutions from its distribution partner Riedel. A fully scalable Riedel RockNet 300 infrastructure will be used in the

29

mosque’s audio control room to ensure interference-free distribution of microphone signals. Ten remotely controllable RockNet microphone linein modules will in future provide the option of handling a total of 80 incoming signals. Ten RockNet line-output modules also have 80 outputs, which are used for output to the audio console. To ensure perfect transfer of the audio signals, Qvest Media is also supplying additional RockNet in-line repeaters that allow a completely 34 interference-free connection distance of up to 300 meters. The technical crew of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque will be installing the individual components over the next six weeks. During this phase, however, there will be no interruptions to the mosque’s operation, since the systems will be integrated outside the main prayer times.


The objective was to create a powerful, meaningful showcase for the people of Al Ain, specifically a powerful architectural lighting show. “We wanted to break away from the usual light show and felt that architectural projection mapping would be a giant leap forward in terms of visual effects,” explains Jinesh Nair, MD of MediaPro. “We began by creating a scale-model replica in our studio of the Al Ain Municipality building that would be used as an architectural backdrop for the projections. We then created the overall dimensions in CAD software and rendered them in After Effects 3D max for the real imaging. Source images were created in Photoshop before being processed in After Effects and Final Cut Pro. The final transitions were achieved using the WATCHOUT layering options, which can create multiple effects on-screen without any ‘ghosting’ interference.”

6

Committed to promoting the adoption of international standards in the broadcast and professional AV industry.

iFly Video Wall @ Playnation, Mirdiff City Centre

In partnership with:

iFly is the first commercial simulated freefall experience in the UAE, giving people the chance to experience free-fall diving without having to jump out of a plane. With such an exhilarating experience on offer, iFly needed to find a technology partner that would advertise their product in an equally exciting style. Sony was on hand with Ziris Canvas, an artistic video wall solution that has received worldwide acclaim. The requirements were to create an impressive digital display that would attract mall audiences to iFly and inform them of the virtual ease of sky diving, by playing out videos of children sky diving with an instructor. With its central positioning between two wind tunnels above the ground floor reception area, the 25 screen Ziris Canvas provides iFly with a platform to play Full and Ultra HD content. Ziris Canvas provided a source of digital signage, as well as bringing the site to life through visual effects. Sony also ensured that the video wall design was distinctive, using a 25 screen lattice configuration.

Visit us during Mediatech. 20-22 July 2011

7

SACIA members committ to truth, honesty and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of the audiovisual profession.

www.sacia.org.za 27


Prosound ignites Bushfire Prosound, South Africa’s leading sound, lighting and AV specialist, provided its services for the music line-up at the Swazi Bushfire Festival at Swaziland’s eclectic “House on Fire” venue on 27, 28 and 29 May this year.

W

ith nearly four decades of experience in specifying and supplying sound systems for live events, Prosound is well versed in dealing with the difficulties and economic constraints of staging music festivals. “The energy and efforts of the Bushfire promoters fits the Prosound philosophy of supporting live music and the arts within Sub-Saharan Africa,” says Prosound Rental Division Manager, Donovan Calvert, “Enthusiasm, passion, compassion and drive –these are qualities that are synergetic to the Bush Fire and Prosound team.” Belinda Saville, National Sales Manager at Prosound, agrees with Donovan. “We’re very excited to be involved in this project,” she enthuses. “The festival also donated its profits to charity, which we stand behind 100%.”

World-class technology Prosound’s experience last year with three of South Africa’s World Cup’s

Internet radio

largest FIFA fan fests primed the company to ignite Bushfire with its world class technology and expertise. The Event Technology specialist has made its mark in a wide variety of fields, stamping its professional signature on some globally acclaimed theatrical musicals, including the spectacularly successful High School Musical and Dream Girls productions. The team has also handled numerous large-scale outdoor events, such as the ANC manifesto launch.

28

“We’re also working with Rhythm 100, an internet radio station dedicated to developing African music and DJs, as an enterprise development initiative,” added Justin Acres, Financial Director. Rhythm 100 broadcasted live from the festival and was given a BASA grant to attend the event with some of the stations DJs. “We recognize the importance of supporting these projects because ultimately it’s where our work will come from in future,” he says. The Bushfire festival is moving forward, and for the first time this year LED screens were used. At previous festivals there were projector screens, which could only run at night, in low light. The Barco LED daylight screens were provided by Prosound and allowed adverts, and festival information, to be transmitted to festival goers for the entire festival, day and night.


SA animation studio masters 3D feature with Stereo3D Toolbox Triggerfish Animation Studio’s Zambezia film soars onto the 3D landscape with help from Dashwood Cinema’s 3D mastering technology.

D

eep in the creative heart of South Africa, Triggerfish Animation Studio is home to more than 70 professional artists whose fresh, inventive techniques yield world-class long-form animation. With help from 3D mastering software, Stereo3D Toolbox, Triggerfish has reached a new milestone: its first fulllength 3D animated film. Triggerfish Animation Studios opened its Cape Town doors in 1996 as a high-end stop-frame studio creating some of South Africa’s most memorable commercials. Quickly evolving into one of South Africa’s most recognized animation studios, in 1998 Triggerfish was invited to produce the animation for the local version of the iconic US educational programme, Sesame Street, (branded as Takalani Sesame in South Africa). The Takalani Sesame venture remains the largest international animation project assigned to a South African company. Embarking upon its inevitable next step in the animation world, Triggerfish created Zambezia, a featurelength 3D animated film set to hit theaters in 2012. In the world of 3D animated films and computer-generated imagery (CGI), cameras, shooting, colour correction, and calibrations are non-issues, as animators are not working with live-action “real world” footage. Rather, the production of a 3D animated film can be broken down into 3 steps: modeling, animation and rendering. The making of a stereo 3D animation involves a new piece of the puzzle for Triggerfish - stereoscopic 3D mastering technology for the final eyepopping touches. “At Triggerfish, we have a deep passion for telling stories about the African culture and landscape,” says lead stereographer, Chris Cunnington. ”We wanted our first feature-length film to embody the spirit of Africa. In Zambezia, a young falcon named Kai leaves his safe and sheltered family life to pursue his ambitions and find his own wings in the famed city of birds, which we named Zambezia. His journey across the exquisite Zambezi river valley, which served as our inspiration for the film, leads him to the deepest part of Africa, and to a world undiscovered by human eyes and untouched by the harsh laws of the wild.

A scene from Zambezia, a full-length 3D animated film produced by Triggerfish Animation Studios in Cape Town.

However, Kai soon finds out that not all is well in paradise, and he uncovers a plot that threatens the safety of the entire island. Kai decides to take it upon himself to bring together his newly found feathered friends to ’hatch‘ a plan to save Zambezia and bring harmony back to the land. We paired together the beautiful African landscape with rhythmic African beats to create this soaring, sky-high adventure.”

First feature-length film Zambezia is the company’s first feature-length film in stereo 3D. “Equipping our animation pipeline to adhere to and process stereoscopic 3D content presented us with a new task and an increased level of processing demands,” says Cunnington. “Instead of just creating one animation, we essentially were creating two – one for your left eye and one for your right. This was a very different approach for us, and required a much more efficient workflow. I think this was the most challenging part… developing pipelines and workflows. Most applications and software tools available today do not have a totally matured stereoscopic toolset, thus we had many months of on the job research, either developing the tools we needed or 32

integrating tools such as Stereo3D Toolbox into our pipeline.”

The obvious choice The Stereo3D Toolbox was the obvious choice when it came to mastering their film. “Being our first stereo 3D project, it was necessary for us to implement a new software tool into our animation workflow in order to master the final 3D look and feel of the film,” says Cunnington. “We found that many stereo 3D mastering tools often require their own specific codecs and pairing of the stereo videos, creating unnecessary and timely steps in the post-production process. Stereo3D Toolbox allowed us to continue using our own codec’s and pairing of stereo videos, which made for quick and easy integration into our pre-existing Autodesk Softimage and Final Cut workflow. It allowed us to carry on using stereo-paired motion jpeg .mov files generated from XSI, straight from the animators, and later update to stereopaired prores .mov files from the compositing department. Not to mention, Stereo3D Toolbox is very reasonably priced compared to other stereo 3D software on the market. We were extremely impressed with its range of stereoscopic capabilities and flexibility


High-tech audio network for Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque UAE’s largest mosque relies on Qvest Media and distribution partner Riedel

T

he Sheikh Zayed grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi has placed an order with Qvest Media for a new, hightech audio network. During the selection process Qvest Media impressed with first class, high-end solutions from its German partner Riedel, once again highlighting its high quality standards for the distribution and integration of broadcasting solutions Over an area of around 22,000 square meters, the mosque provides space for up to 40,000 worshippers. To be able to reach all of these visitors and given the enormous spaces involved, more than 50 loudspeakers are installed in the mosque, the minarets and the courtyards. Now, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is upgrading its audio network with high end technology from Germany in order to transmit the

The UAE's largest mosque now boasts a new audio network

microphone signals with the best possible sound quality and with zero delay. Qvest Media is therefore supplying a new, real time audio control system based on solutions from its distribution partner Riedel. A fully scalable Riedel RockNet 300 infrastructure will be used in the

29

mosque’s audio control room to ensure interference-free distribution of microphone signals. Ten remotely controllable RockNet microphone linein modules will in future provide the option of handling a total of 80 incoming signals. Ten RockNet line-output modules also have 80 outputs, which are used for output to the audio console. To ensure perfect transfer of the audio signals, Qvest Media is also supplying additional RockNet in-line repeaters that allow a completely 34 interference-free connection distance of up to 300 meters. The technical crew of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque will be installing the individual components over the next six weeks. During this phase, however, there will be no interruptions to the mosque’s operation, since the systems will be integrated outside the main prayer times.


Better to be seen and heard Dan Goldstein of InfoComm International explains how certified AV professionals can improve the usability of historic buildings, without compromising their infrastructure

W

hen we hear the word ‘audiovisual’ we think of things hi-tech: digital video projectors, LCD screens, surroundsound speaker systems and so forth. At first glance, these are not technologies which would seem to have much to offer historic buildings – not least because their ‘look and feel’ is so often at odds with traditional architecture.

Exploring history Yet the idea that audiovisual or ‘AV’ technology has to be ugly to be functional is a misconception. Many manufacturers now offer products that are not out-of-place in historic buildings, either because they have been adapted to match the prevailing aesthetic mood, or because they are easy to conceal. The trick is to ensure that the AV system is properly designed to match the user’s needs, and sympathetically installed. In this respect, it is vital to ensure that a building’s AV supplier is experienced and qualified to tackle the job in hand.

Make sense of the acoustic maze One of the biggest problems encountered in historic buildings such as churches is intelligibility – ensuring that the program audio can be heard clearly and understandably in every corner of the room or hall. The loudspeakers themselves need not appear out-of-place. The issues around loudspeaker size, finish and flexibility are common in both churches and heritage spaces, with a careful balance between form and function being a key requirement. Many loudspeakers are available in custom paint finishes to ensure that they ‘blend in’ with their environment, while others can be concealed within picture frames or behind furniture, with no loss of audio clarity. And besides, modern technology has allowed the speaker enclosures themselves to become slimmer and more compact, so they are easier to ‘make room for’ as well as being more discreet.

More options for designers This same technology has produced technology that allows for smarter placement and coverage, providing more 30

options to the designer. To help neutralise the effects of the challenging acoustics that are a characteristic of historic buildings, a modern AV system will also include some form of digital signal processing (DSP) which will compensate for unwanted echoes and other artefacts caused by poor time alignment and reverberant frequencies. This, together with correct loudspeaker positioning, helps those leading a church service, for example, ensure that their message is heard clearly and consistently by the entire audience. Audio in heritage spaces such as site specific museums requires much consideration to avoid audible clutter which is both annoying and confusing for visitors and often detracts from the very intention of the space.

Even the back row can see While sound reinforcement systems have been a part of the church scene for a while – albeit in limited form in many cases – video is a more recent arrival. Yet congregations at many of the larger places of worship are already reaping the benefits of properly installed video


systems. Discreetly positioned cameras, similar to those used in CCTV systems, can be installed and their signals transmitted to flat-panel screens distributed in those areas where congregants have little or no ‘line of sight’ to the service proceedings. These systems are also being used as “songboards” and for visual message support. Like their audio counterparts, these video products do not have to detract from the visual appeal of a historic building. Slimline, modern screens can be flush-mounted on walls or columns, and even swung up out-of-sight when not in use – thanks to the huge variety of elegant mounting solutions that have become available over the past few years.

Simple systems A properly installed AV system, while making the best use of the latest technology, will be designed in such a way that it is largely invisible to the user. There should be nothing to be afraid of. Many of the functions are automated – be it on demand or against a timed schedule, the daily user is only exposed to the controls that count for their purposes. Where some manual selection is required – for example, to select a different acoustic processing setting to reflect the impact of a larger visitor group – this can be done by the simple press of a button or against set of parameters. InfoComm International is the world’s largest professional body representing the AV community. Through its CTS certification programme, it seeks to ensure that those who buy AV systems – owners and managers of historic buildings among them – receive a system that meets their needs, that is properly accounted for and that is correctly maintained.

Integration In a perfect world, AV installers, and especially the experienced ones, would know what to do when faced with an installation in a historic building. Whether the building is a significant listed structure or just something of historical interest, all installers of AV, electrical and security systems should act responsibly towards the building, taking care not to alter or damage the finishes and visual appearance in any way. Sadly it’s not a perfect world and one sees all too often the use of cable saddles in timber work, holes through facades and the like. South Africa specifically lacks comprehensive legislation, and more importantly the resources to monitor and enforce such, leaving buildings at the mercy of the

The names of all who died in the struggle for freedom in South Africa are included on the Freedom Wall

owner, developer or installer. One of the ways to improve this situation is through education, both of property owners and of AV integrators.

Promoting critical thinking Better education about the wide range of integration tools available to our market will certainly go a long way to promoting critical thinking around the addition of technology, but it doesn’t end there. How that technology is inserted into the building is the make or break issue and the one that requires much focus as we grow our local market. The technical issues such as earthing and cable termination aside, practical issues such as the correct methods of fixing into various building materials, discrete cabling systems and appropriate mounting systems can mean the difference between

a near invisible installation and a technical invasion. Lastly, integrators are too quick to sell their favourite brand as a default. Taking audio as an example, the broader market has a solution for most problems with loudspeakers that allow very specific positioning within a space. The correct choice can reduce the visibility and profile of a system dramatically. If integrators were more aware of the options at their disposal, these issues could be handled correctly from the outset. Once again education plays a large role in creating this awareness.

Certification of excellence in AV InfoComm has offered its CTS (Certified Technology Professional) programme for more than 30 years, and every year certifies more qualified AV professionals than anyone else.

Freedom Park – a truly South African Heritage site Freedom Park in Pretoria, South Africa, is a memorial that tells the story of South Africa’s pre-colonial and colonial history, as well as its postapartheid history and more recent heritage. It acknowledges those that contributed to the freedom of the country. It is also home to the Wall of Names, an awe-inspiring structure (697m), inscribed with the names of all those who died during the conflicts which are part of South Africa’s history. This wall commemorates those who have paid the ultimate price for freedom. 31

It hosts an eternal flame paying tribute to the unknown and unsung heroes and heroines, and a gallery dedicated to the legends of humanity, and is a symbolic resting place for those who have died during southern Africa’s 3.6 billion years of history. The struggle for humanity and freedom is the core theme embedded in the Park and it symbolises the universal connections among South Africans of all backgrounds, races and ages. These connections are expressed through the elements that constitute Freedom Park.


PALME Middle East shows resilience of booming industry. Organisers of the recent PALME Middle East exhibition have given the show an impressive thumbs up as they claim increased visitor and exhibitor numbers. “The audio visual industry in the Middle East shows signs of strength after one of the largest and most successful editions of PALME Middle East. Increased numbers of visitors and exhibitors point toward major growth in the industry over the next few years,” says exhibition manager Eben Botha.,

I

naugurated by HE Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Culture, Youth, and Community Development, PALME Middle East ran from 26 to 28 April at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre. Exhibitors showcasing the latest in AV technology and creativity numbered 240 this year – up by 15 percent from numbers at the 2010 exhibition.

Glittering award ceremony Among the highlights of the threeday exhibition was the PALME Middle East Awards, which took place at a glittering ceremony on the second day of the show, where innovation and technical excellence were duly rewarded in 13 separate categories. Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park, which opened in Abu Dhabi late last year, lead the way at the awards, taking home two separate gongs on the night, including the Best AV / Video Solution in a Commercial Development, and the Best 3D Projection of the Year for their spectacular ‘Speed of Magic’ show. Other winners included Christie Digital, the visual solutions provider, which took home the award for the Most Innovative New AV Product of the Year for their new Christie MicroTiles product, and Fisher Marantz Stone, which topped the Best use of Exterior Lighting category for their work on the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa.

New product launches

The PALME Middle East exhibition boasted increased numbers of visitors and exhibitors

Meyer, executive vice president of Meyer Sound. Meyer Sound, which provides the audio for the record-setting Dubai Fountain and Meydan, the largest racecourse in the world, will open their wholly-owned subsidiary office at Dubai Media City in June 2011. “This new office will give local audio professionals better access to the complete portfolio of our products and services, and allow us to respond quickly to our clients’ needs,” added Meyer.

Presentations by industry experts The event also offered 18 exclusive presentations at the three-day PALME Conference, where industry experts examined the future of the lighting and

PALME Middle East, now in its ninth year, set the platform for a number of new product launches and industry announcements from dozens of exhibitors. American pro audio firm Meyer Sound revealed their decision to set up headquarters in Dubai in response to growing demand in the MENA and Indian subcontinent. “The development of the AV industry in the Middle East has made it essential for us to form a strategic presence in Dubai, which will serve as an important regional hub for our business operations in the territory,” said Helen 36

integration solutions industry, spotlighted the latest technical advances in projection technology, and for the first time explored technological solutions for the building and construction industry. “PALME Middle East has always been seen as a comprehensive exhibition with a broad but focused scope on professional lighting, audio, music, entertainment, audio visual and systems integration solutions,” said Botha. “Our greatly increased visitor and exhibitor numbers this year demonstrated the healthy state of the industry at the moment, and we are confident next year’s show will even better reflect the level of optimism that we are witnessing right now”.


SA animation studio masters 3D feature with Stereo3D Toolbox Triggerfish Animation Studio’s Zambezia film soars onto the 3D landscape with help from Dashwood Cinema’s 3D mastering technology.

D

eep in the creative heart of South Africa, Triggerfish Animation Studio is home to more than 70 professional artists whose fresh, inventive techniques yield world-class long-form animation. With help from 3D mastering software, Stereo3D Toolbox, Triggerfish has reached a new milestone: its first fulllength 3D animated film. Triggerfish Animation Studios opened its Cape Town doors in 1996 as a high-end stop-frame studio creating some of South Africa’s most memorable commercials. Quickly evolving into one of South Africa’s most recognized animation studios, in 1998 Triggerfish was invited to produce the animation for the local version of the iconic US educational programme, Sesame Street, (branded as Takalani Sesame in South Africa). The Takalani Sesame venture remains the largest international animation project assigned to a South African company. Embarking upon its inevitable next step in the animation world, Triggerfish created Zambezia, a featurelength 3D animated film set to hit theaters in 2012. In the world of 3D animated films and computer-generated imagery (CGI), cameras, shooting, colour correction, and calibrations are non-issues, as animators are not working with live-action “real world” footage. Rather, the production of a 3D animated film can be broken down into 3 steps: modeling, animation and rendering. The making of a stereo 3D animation involves a new piece of the puzzle for Triggerfish - stereoscopic 3D mastering technology for the final eyepopping touches. “At Triggerfish, we have a deep passion for telling stories about the African culture and landscape,” says lead stereographer, Chris Cunnington. ”We wanted our first feature-length film to embody the spirit of Africa. In Zambezia, a young falcon named Kai leaves his safe and sheltered family life to pursue his ambitions and find his own wings in the famed city of birds, which we named Zambezia. His journey across the exquisite Zambezi river valley, which served as our inspiration for the film, leads him to the deepest part of Africa, and to a world undiscovered by human eyes and untouched by the harsh laws of the wild.

A scene from Zambezia, a full-length 3D animated film produced by Triggerfish Animation Studios in Cape Town.

However, Kai soon finds out that not all is well in paradise, and he uncovers a plot that threatens the safety of the entire island. Kai decides to take it upon himself to bring together his newly found feathered friends to ’hatch‘ a plan to save Zambezia and bring harmony back to the land. We paired together the beautiful African landscape with rhythmic African beats to create this soaring, sky-high adventure.”

First feature-length film Zambezia is the company’s first feature-length film in stereo 3D. “Equipping our animation pipeline to adhere to and process stereoscopic 3D content presented us with a new task and an increased level of processing demands,” says Cunnington. “Instead of just creating one animation, we essentially were creating two – one for your left eye and one for your right. This was a very different approach for us, and required a much more efficient workflow. I think this was the most challenging part… developing pipelines and workflows. Most applications and software tools available today do not have a totally matured stereoscopic toolset, thus we had many months of on the job research, either developing the tools we needed or 32

integrating tools such as Stereo3D Toolbox into our pipeline.”

The obvious choice The Stereo3D Toolbox was the obvious choice when it came to mastering their film. “Being our first stereo 3D project, it was necessary for us to implement a new software tool into our animation workflow in order to master the final 3D look and feel of the film,” says Cunnington. “We found that many stereo 3D mastering tools often require their own specific codecs and pairing of the stereo videos, creating unnecessary and timely steps in the post-production process. Stereo3D Toolbox allowed us to continue using our own codec’s and pairing of stereo videos, which made for quick and easy integration into our pre-existing Autodesk Softimage and Final Cut workflow. It allowed us to carry on using stereo-paired motion jpeg .mov files generated from XSI, straight from the animators, and later update to stereopaired prores .mov files from the compositing department. Not to mention, Stereo3D Toolbox is very reasonably priced compared to other stereo 3D software on the market. We were extremely impressed with its range of stereoscopic capabilities and flexibility


Litepanels support student filmmaker in Kenya In Kuria Constituency, a region of Kenya defined by its rural character, Kenyan film student Beryl Magoko made her final graduation film project about the circumcision of girls. She used the compact Micro LED light from Litepanels for interviews with protagonists. With its practical battery operation and light weight, the camera light proved to be the perfect companion for this extraordinary project in the middle of the African veld.

B

eryl Magoko studies filmmaking in Uganda at Kampala University's Film TV Video Department, which was founded in 2009. "Sophia's Big Day", her documentary concerning the difficult issue of female circumcision, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) in Kenyan villages, is her final project. She filmed on an open field during the rite of circumcision, at which approximately 100 girls were circumcised within four hours. In addition, she interviewed women and girls affected by circumcision as well as doctors and church representatives, and accompanied volunteers during awareness campaigns at schools.

Preparation with obstacles Together with Joseph Kitsha, an assistant from the department, Beryl made her way from Kampala to Kuria Constituency. Even today, FGM still takes place there. The circumcision rites have been a tradition for centuries in Kenya and are solidly ingrained in the mentality of the ordinary rural population. The fear shared by the victims and their parents and the resulting skepticism regarding an anti-circumcision film made the small team's work considerably more difficult.

Interview in the living room of a young Kenyan woman: Beryl Magoko shoots her graduate film with the Litepanels Micro camera light.

donations of different manufacturers and private people. This is how Litepanels camera lights have become an inherent part of the equipment at Kampala University.

Filming on an open field Reaching a goal In spite of this, the student stood behind her project with absolute conviction and did not allow herself to be intimidated. "One single success outweighed a hundred defeats", Beryl Magoko points out. She herself is from Kuria Constituency and personally knows many of the girls and women she interviewed. "This created a valuable foundation of trust, which increases the authenticity of the film enormously."

Difficult conditions Although the graduates did not have access to high budgets for their graduation films, the university was able to provide professional equipment thanks to the generous material

While filming on an open field, Beryl learned to ap-preciate the extremely low weight of the small, handy camera light by Litepanels and enthusiastically explains: "It proved to be very advantageous for us that the battery operated light does not require an external cable and consequently can be used everywhere and for several hours." With only four AA batteries, the LED camera light can be powered for an hour and a half. With lithium ion batteries, the Micro delivers seven to eight hours of professional lighting.

Easy handling "The camera light can also be mounted and detached quickly and easily," adds the student. It generates 37

hardly any heat light generates hardly any heat and thus not only saves energy but also prevents the user from burning his/her hands on it. Beryl mostly filmed the conversations in the womens’ or girls’ kitchens or the living rooms and, with the flicker free and completely dimmable light, placed them in the scene, so that a comfortable lighting situation resulted for the interviews about the traumatic experiences. "For me as a student, it is a great privilege to be able to work with professional film equipment. This not only significantly increases the motivation while working, but it is also a lot more fun," says Beryl.


when it came time to integrate into our animation workflow – we certainly got our money’s worth, and then some.”

Nuts and Bolts Powered by Noise Industries’ FxFactory platform, Stereo3D Toolbox from Dashwood Cinema Solutions is a multiplexer FxPack plug-in suite for the advanced and precise mastering of stereoscopic 3D post-production. Developed by cinematographer, Tim Dashwood, Stereo3D Toolbox has been carving a name for itself in the 3D landscape through its work in a variety of feature-films and Stereo3D Toolbox’s mastering capabilities include unmatched sub-pixel precision, pixel-precise tools, fine control of image exposure and color balance, 2D+Z-Depth to stereoscopic conversion, and more. Cunnington used many of these features in the 3D mastering of Zambezia. ”It was the first and only tool in our pipeline when it came to the final mastering phase of the film, and gave us tremendous control in terms of Horizontal Image Translations and adding Floating Windows,” he says.

"At Triggerfish we have a deep passion for telling strories about African culture and landscape," says lead stereographer Chris Cunnington. "This is our first feature-length 3D film and equipping our animation pipeline to work with stereoscopic 3D content created a new set of technical demands."

Developing the storyboard Production for the film began in the storyboard phase, where concepts for characters like Kai and his father are brought to life. Being an animated film, Zambezia did not require the use of “real world” cameras; rather, the entire film was produced in Autodesk’s Softimage in which we created our own stereoscopic camera rig in XSI to automate the process of setting up and capturing stereo imagery. The proprietary camera rig gives us full control over the stereo settings within the virtual world of the production. Since Zambezia is a completely computer-generated film (CGI), we were able to create nearly immaculate stereoscopic images with no discrepancies between the eyes and no need for camera calibration in post. During the animation phases of production, every shot was captured in stereoscopic, allowing the team to very quickly visualize the sequences and flow of scenes. These initial captures serve as the only stereoscopic version of the film until the shots are updated with the final rendered images. Once rendered, Stereo3D Toolbox was used to output the footage for 3D monitoring. It was then used in the final edit phase of the film, or in other words the ‘3D mastering’ phase.

3D monitoring Chris told us: “The entire edit process of Zambezia was done in Final

Cut Pro. Shots were updated daily, as each department output newly animated or final rendered footage by the hour. Our pipeline included a Panasonic 3DTV, whose input format matches their primary stereo pair storage method, namely Over/Under, allowing the team to store both the left and right eye footage in a single video clip. Once clips were fully rendered and edited within Final Cut, Stereo3D Toolbox was used to output the footage for 3D monitoring. It was then used in the final edit phase of the film. Stereo3D Toolbox output the footage to our 3DTV which accepts the footage in its raw format and then displays it as 3D. Stereo3D Toolbox then allows the animators to adjust the depths between cuts and see the floating windows as they output to the 3DTV. Once any final tweaks in the mastering phase are complete, the film is prepped for output to specific delivery formats. Stereo3D Toolbox gave us multiple screen output options, from side-by-side, to above-below, line-by-line, and more, which was very important when it came time to purchase 3D hardware… the more options we had, the better.”

Final online edit Stereo3D Toolbox was used during the offline edit of Zambezia and the Triggerfish team was able to view the final edited footage in its 3D state via Toolbox and access whether or not certain settings 33

and values needed to be touched up or redone. They then stored any enhanced settings and values in the Edit and were able to recreate those tweaks when they did their final online edit. “I have been extremely happy in our choice to use Stereo3D Toolbox to master our first stereo 3D feature film,” says Cunnington. “It made the entire process much smoother than I expected. The software’s functionality directly within Final Cut Pro, paired with its multiple stereoscopic capabilities and output options makes it a superior 3D mastering tool and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to jump into the world of stereo 3D creation.” The Triggerfish team is also very enthusiastic about the future of the 3D landscape. “Considering that Dreamworks Animation has committed to only producing stereoscopic films, and Apple has just entered a patent for a glassesfree stereoscopic projector, I feel that stereo 3D is here to stay for the long term. Its mass adoption by TV networks worldwide and the growing availability of 3Dtvs would confirm its ever-deepening strengths in the consumer arena. We have a few hurdles to get over before everyone is totally comfortable with 3D, as you still hear a lot of complaints from the man on the street. I think that education is the key – from people creating stereoscopic content right down to the viewer on the receiving end.”


See us at NAB2011 | Booth #3024

SSSSSHHHH... don’t let your loudness drive viewers away

HD TV is about so much more than just great picture quality – high resolution audio matters too. Just how disappointed will your viewers be if they experience loss of surround sound and sudden shifts in soundness during their favourite TV program? Sadly, the ‘loud commercial problem’ is a common complaint amongst digital television viewers and can even drive them away from a channel. Now, Axon has developed a simple, cost-effective and reliable solution. No Based on proven technology developed by Linear Acoustic – a leader in this field – the DLA42 provides you with complete peace of mind, and it possesses the company’s trademark ultra-compact modular design, simple installation and intuitive operation. Don’t let your loudness become a problem, come and talk to Axon.

www.axon.tv

glue and beyond


Knife cuts clean at Qatar Robotic Surgery Centre The Qatar Robotic Surgery Centre (QRSC) was recently formed by the Qatar Science & Technology Park, Hamad Medical Corporation and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, in collaboration with academics and surgeons from Imperial College, London.

T

he new Qatar Robotic Surgery Centre aims to advance healthcare research in both the UK and Qatar, making it a focal point for world class expertise in the fast growing field of medical robotics and robotic surgery. The centre will provide a platform for technological development of medical robotics and promote clinical application of the technology in the Middle East, acting as a demonstration platform for advanced surgical technologies with state of the art equipment, laparoscopic simulators and 3D tele-cast capabilities. QRSC will also offer a broad range of robotic training programmes for surgeons, healthcare professionals and scientists, thereby stimulating technology development in medical robotics. The centre will incorporate live demonstrations as well as live-link training sessions, promoting the transfer of expertise between UK’s Imperial College and Qatar. Tasked with

Turnkey systems

Highest possible signal quality

delivering this virtual reality environment was Technomight, which has developed extensive experience in 3D environments, particularly in the gas and oil drilling sectors while working for multinationals to develop simulation environments. 40

Having proved their ability to deliver turnkey systems in several major projects in Qatar, they were invited by DEPA, a reputed interior fit out company, to participate in the tender process of Qatar Foundation, who are tasked with making Qatar a leader in innovative education and research. “Some companies from the region participated and some international firms, but because of our local presence and our track record, and the fact that we had been involved in at least four previous 3D integrations in the gulf region, we had a major advantage” says Ahmed H. Sayeed, Technomight’s founder. This was no mean feat as the project was destined to become the first facility of its type in the Middle East – and possibly the largest robotic surgery centre in the world. “We had guidelines provided by the Imperial College London, but with help from our


New IABM Training Academy for broadcast industry Academy to provide online and classroom courses that aid in development of workforce to meet challenges of New Media technology and business

T

he IABM (International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers) has announced the launch of the IABM Training Academy, an educational organization dedicated to broadcast and media technology. The Training Academy was created to provide vocational training for engineers and technologists, as well as the administrative, managerial, and executive staff whose job roles require an appreciation of the important role that technology plays in the broadcast industry.

New opportunities "Emerging technologies, new business models, and changing social trends are creating new business and career opportunities within the broadcast industry, but they're also revealing a chronic shortage of skilled technical resources," said Roger Crumpton, director of education, employment, and training at the IABM. "Employers need a resource for developing and training their workforce to meet the challenges of the new media business, and the IABM Training Academy offers just such a resource. The IABM Training Academy delivers training outcomes that impact the futures of managers, engineers, and technologists in our industry."

Self-paced online learning

Roger Crumpton of the International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers intensive training that not only optimizes instructional outcomes, but also reduces the time and cost required for attendance. Online courses, which are delivered via the IABM Learning Management System and cover a similar syllabus, allow participants to flex their training with work and personal commitments. Online tutor support is available throughout the courses.

Worldwide sites The first courses from the IABM Training Academy are "Broadcast and

The IABM Training Academy's technology training programs include instructor-led classroom sessions and self-paced online learning, and these courses are crafted at three levels — for new entrants to the industry, for engineers looking to extend their knowledge base, and for experts seeking to understand best practices and solutions for specific issues in emerging technologies. Because courses target staff members at different stages of their careers, they provide broadcast and media companies with a tool for developing their own human capital more effectively. Classroom courses typically last two or more days and offer highly 35

Media Technology - Understanding Your Industry" and "Audio and Video Fundamentals for Engineers". The academy will continue to roll out new courses held at sites worldwide on a quarterly basis. The academy already has kicked off its course offering with a free online course introducing participants to 3D and how it works for TV and the cinema. More than 100 viewers registered for and took advantage of the course during its first week of availability at the IABM Training Academy website. "The 3D module is excellent in all regards, from the media player itself to the explanation of key points and issues," said Roger Thornton, head of publicity at Quantel. "This first online course from the IABM Training Academy serves as a very fine preview of what's to come, and it's no wonder that it has given the launch of this exciting new educational resource a great boost."

Genuine career development The IABM Training Academy fulfills one of the calls to action made in the IABM Lifelong Learning Manifesto announced earlier this year. The document, signed by more than 90 leading media companies and industry organizations, signifies a commitment to creating genuine career development opportunities for broadcast and media technologists.


PALME Middle East shows resilience of booming industry. Organisers of the recent PALME Middle East exhibition have given the show an impressive thumbs up as they claim increased visitor and exhibitor numbers. “The audio visual industry in the Middle East shows signs of strength after one of the largest and most successful editions of PALME Middle East. Increased numbers of visitors and exhibitors point toward major growth in the industry over the next few years,” says exhibition manager Eben Botha.,

I

naugurated by HE Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Culture, Youth, and Community Development, PALME Middle East ran from 26 to 28 April at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre. Exhibitors showcasing the latest in AV technology and creativity numbered 240 this year – up by 15 percent from numbers at the 2010 exhibition.

Glittering award ceremony Among the highlights of the threeday exhibition was the PALME Middle East Awards, which took place at a glittering ceremony on the second day of the show, where innovation and technical excellence were duly rewarded in 13 separate categories. Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park, which opened in Abu Dhabi late last year, lead the way at the awards, taking home two separate gongs on the night, including the Best AV / Video Solution in a Commercial Development, and the Best 3D Projection of the Year for their spectacular ‘Speed of Magic’ show. Other winners included Christie Digital, the visual solutions provider, which took home the award for the Most Innovative New AV Product of the Year for their new Christie MicroTiles product, and Fisher Marantz Stone, which topped the Best use of Exterior Lighting category for their work on the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa.

New product launches

The PALME Middle East exhibition boasted increased numbers of visitors and exhibitors

Meyer, executive vice president of Meyer Sound. Meyer Sound, which provides the audio for the record-setting Dubai Fountain and Meydan, the largest racecourse in the world, will open their wholly-owned subsidiary office at Dubai Media City in June 2011. “This new office will give local audio professionals better access to the complete portfolio of our products and services, and allow us to respond quickly to our clients’ needs,” added Meyer.

Presentations by industry experts The event also offered 18 exclusive presentations at the three-day PALME Conference, where industry experts examined the future of the lighting and

PALME Middle East, now in its ninth year, set the platform for a number of new product launches and industry announcements from dozens of exhibitors. American pro audio firm Meyer Sound revealed their decision to set up headquarters in Dubai in response to growing demand in the MENA and Indian subcontinent. “The development of the AV industry in the Middle East has made it essential for us to form a strategic presence in Dubai, which will serve as an important regional hub for our business operations in the territory,” said Helen 36

integration solutions industry, spotlighted the latest technical advances in projection technology, and for the first time explored technological solutions for the building and construction industry. “PALME Middle East has always been seen as a comprehensive exhibition with a broad but focused scope on professional lighting, audio, music, entertainment, audio visual and systems integration solutions,” said Botha. “Our greatly increased visitor and exhibitor numbers this year demonstrated the healthy state of the industry at the moment, and we are confident next year’s show will even better reflect the level of optimism that we are witnessing right now”.


Litepanels support student filmmaker in Kenya In Kuria Constituency, a region of Kenya defined by its rural character, Kenyan film student Beryl Magoko made her final graduation film project about the circumcision of girls. She used the compact Micro LED light from Litepanels for interviews with protagonists. With its practical battery operation and light weight, the camera light proved to be the perfect companion for this extraordinary project in the middle of the African veld.

B

eryl Magoko studies filmmaking in Uganda at Kampala University's Film TV Video Department, which was founded in 2009. "Sophia's Big Day", her documentary concerning the difficult issue of female circumcision, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) in Kenyan villages, is her final project. She filmed on an open field during the rite of circumcision, at which approximately 100 girls were circumcised within four hours. In addition, she interviewed women and girls affected by circumcision as well as doctors and church representatives, and accompanied volunteers during awareness campaigns at schools.

Preparation with obstacles Together with Joseph Kitsha, an assistant from the department, Beryl made her way from Kampala to Kuria Constituency. Even today, FGM still takes place there. The circumcision rites have been a tradition for centuries in Kenya and are solidly ingrained in the mentality of the ordinary rural population. The fear shared by the victims and their parents and the resulting skepticism regarding an anti-circumcision film made the small team's work considerably more difficult.

Interview in the living room of a young Kenyan woman: Beryl Magoko shoots her graduate film with the Litepanels Micro camera light.

donations of different manufacturers and private people. This is how Litepanels camera lights have become an inherent part of the equipment at Kampala University.

Filming on an open field Reaching a goal In spite of this, the student stood behind her project with absolute conviction and did not allow herself to be intimidated. "One single success outweighed a hundred defeats", Beryl Magoko points out. She herself is from Kuria Constituency and personally knows many of the girls and women she interviewed. "This created a valuable foundation of trust, which increases the authenticity of the film enormously."

Difficult conditions Although the graduates did not have access to high budgets for their graduation films, the university was able to provide professional equipment thanks to the generous material

While filming on an open field, Beryl learned to ap-preciate the extremely low weight of the small, handy camera light by Litepanels and enthusiastically explains: "It proved to be very advantageous for us that the battery operated light does not require an external cable and consequently can be used everywhere and for several hours." With only four AA batteries, the LED camera light can be powered for an hour and a half. With lithium ion batteries, the Micro delivers seven to eight hours of professional lighting.

Easy handling "The camera light can also be mounted and detached quickly and easily," adds the student. It generates 37

hardly any heat light generates hardly any heat and thus not only saves energy but also prevents the user from burning his/her hands on it. Beryl mostly filmed the conversations in the womens’ or girls’ kitchens or the living rooms and, with the flicker free and completely dimmable light, placed them in the scene, so that a comfortable lighting situation resulted for the interviews about the traumatic experiences. "For me as a student, it is a great privilege to be able to work with professional film equipment. This not only significantly increases the motivation while working, but it is also a lot more fun," says Beryl.


Extron now shipping 10-input presentation switcher Extron Electronics is pleased to announce the immediate availability of the DVS 510, a 10 input, multi-format Presentation Scaling Switcher that accepts and scales standard definition, HDTV, DVI, and RGB signals to a common, high resolution output rate. The DVS 510 is HDCP-compliant and features simultaneous DVI and two analogue RGB/YUV outputs. It is a true presentation switcher for professional environments, with audio switching for all video input sources, an available 50 watt stereo integrated amplifier, picture-in-picture, and glitch-free switching. The DVS 510 also offers flexible control options including front panel control, Ethernet, RS-232, USB, and IR. "The DVS 510 is ideal for larger presentation environments where several AV source devices need to be integrated, including HDCP-compliant products such as Blu-ray Disc players and cable or satellite receivers," says Casey Hall, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Extron. "It delivers high performance video and graphics processing, plus all the essential features for streamlining integration and delivering professional-quality AV presentations."

Digital revolution continues with DigitalMedia 8G+ Crestron has introduced its new DigitalMedia 8G+, the next generation of its revolutionary high output, one-wire digital AV network technology. Offering a broader choice of cabling options DigitalMedia 8G+ makes the implementation of a DM network even easier by offering a choice of standard CAT5e, DM 8G Cable or CresFiber 8G which provides a future-proof digital backbone. “Crestron’s DigitalMedia technology has redefined the advances in AV and digital technology and stands head-andshoulders above any comparative product,” says Bruce Genricks from Electrosonic South Africa, local distributor of Crestron products. “While the competition plays catch up, Crestron’s new 8G+ is our third generation of this technology and our installers tell us how the demanding projects they are installing now would not have been possible without 8G.”

High Definition 1080p scaler from Gefen

TV One introduces the new CORIOmaster C3-540 video system

TV One launched their new C3-540 Series CORIOmaster at the InfoComm Exhibition held in Orlando during June. The new C3-540 offers a new, more efficient approach to building video systems. Using TV One’s latest CORIO3 technology, it gives the user access to new levels of video processing power to achieve new heights of creative and dynamic video displays. All this is possible in one 4RU

chassis. CORIO3 video processing technology allows the use of layouts which define where each output is used. Outputs can be independently rotated through 360° in real-time, without adding delay, for use in creative video wall applications. Projectors can be used off axis with brightness controls to aid in an even distribution of the projected image. Warping controls allow for projection on curved surfaces and multiple layouts can be used at the same time or one layout can be designed to tie multiple projectors or monitors together as one large image.

Gefen has an ideal solution when integrating audio/video systems using displays with different native resolutions. The Gefen ToolBox HD 1080p Scaler will automatically scale up or down any high definition signal to meet the maximum resolution supported by the connected HDTV display. When used in an installation with more than one display in the room, such as in digital signage or home 44

theatre, it allows 1080p resolutions to be viewed on displays with 1080p full HD capability, while scaling the lower resolution display to its maximum resolution. For example, when sending a hi-def signal to four displays, one display may support 720p maximum resolution, while the other three displays support 1080p full HD. Previously, installers would have to set the source to 720p, the lowest common resolution among all four displays, to ensure a seamless distribution. But when the HD 1080p Scaler is connected to the 720p display, it will accept a 1080p input and downscale it to 720p, while all other displays receive 1080p full HD.


First Robe LEDWashes in South Africa Robe's South African distributor, Johannesburg based DWR, recently supplied the first batch of Robe ROBIN LEDWash 600 fixtures in the country to the South African State Theatre in Pretoria.

T

he 16 initial LEDWash 600 fixtures were specified by the venue's Head of Lighting Simon King, following an indepth demo from DWR's Duncan Riley. King was looking for a more flexible and cost-effective replacement for the theatre's old 2K PC stock, and was immediately struck by the small size, light weight and completely silent running of the LEDWash 600. Noiseless fixtures are a prerequisite for performance genres like drama. Apart from these considerations, the ongoing reduction in maintenance costs offered by an investment in LEDWashes was very appealing theatres traditionally all have to juggle continuously with expedient cap-ex budgets, so any chance for these to be maximised is a huge asset. With a rig of LEDWashes, no bulb replacements are needed, gels are a thing of the past and the units draw substantially less power - and can even all be run off one power circuit in the venue if required.

King remarks, "Apart from all the practical advantages, in creative terms, the new fixtures open up numerous possibilities. The brightness and the (15 - 60 degree) zoom are amazing". In short, the LEDWashes offer all the scope needed for the Theatre to light a myriad of different shows. The Theatre already owns some Robe ColorSpot 700E ATs purchased a couple of years ago, so he didn't need convincing about the reliability and build quality of the brand. The South African State Theatre works as a busy producing and receiving house staging a wide range of shows, from comedy and live music to drama, opera and dance productions. The LEDWashes are in the main auditorium lighting rig. The fact that it is the first LED wash fixture on the market able to produce a perfect and proper white in a range of different colour temperatures from 2700 - 8000째K is another great plus point for any theatrical environment. Simon King concludes. "We're really 39

happy with the purchase - and I am sure we will be adding to it soon. To top it all, the service and support from DWR has been outstanding as always". A recent major production on which they were used was Opera Africa's "Carmen" directed by James Marvel, with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by American conductor Timothy Myers. Set was designed by Steven Capone and lighting by Simon King.


Knife cuts clean at Qatar Robotic Surgery Centre The Qatar Robotic Surgery Centre (QRSC) was recently formed by the Qatar Science & Technology Park, Hamad Medical Corporation and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, in collaboration with academics and surgeons from Imperial College, London.

T

he new Qatar Robotic Surgery Centre aims to advance healthcare research in both the UK and Qatar, making it a focal point for world class expertise in the fast growing field of medical robotics and robotic surgery. The centre will provide a platform for technological development of medical robotics and promote clinical application of the technology in the Middle East, acting as a demonstration platform for advanced surgical technologies with state of the art equipment, laparoscopic simulators and 3D tele-cast capabilities. QRSC will also offer a broad range of robotic training programmes for surgeons, healthcare professionals and scientists, thereby stimulating technology development in medical robotics. The centre will incorporate live demonstrations as well as live-link training sessions, promoting the transfer of expertise between UK’s Imperial College and Qatar. Tasked with

Turnkey systems

Highest possible signal quality

delivering this virtual reality environment was Technomight, which has developed extensive experience in 3D environments, particularly in the gas and oil drilling sectors while working for multinationals to develop simulation environments. 40

Having proved their ability to deliver turnkey systems in several major projects in Qatar, they were invited by DEPA, a reputed interior fit out company, to participate in the tender process of Qatar Foundation, who are tasked with making Qatar a leader in innovative education and research. “Some companies from the region participated and some international firms, but because of our local presence and our track record, and the fact that we had been involved in at least four previous 3D integrations in the gulf region, we had a major advantage” says Ahmed H. Sayeed, Technomight’s founder. This was no mean feat as the project was destined to become the first facility of its type in the Middle East – and possibly the largest robotic surgery centre in the world. “We had guidelines provided by the Imperial College London, but with help from our


suppliers we were able to propose a higher-grade system that was accepted by the client. Primarily they wanted broadcast standard facilities – with the highest possible signal quality – HDSDI.” Simon Smith, Christie’s EMEA sales director, who was involved in the consultation, said, “Aside from consulting on the correct choice of projector, we advised on source routing and various other technical issues, including projector set-up and final commissioning.” Essentially the facility consists of two active 3D theatres and a tele-monitoring room. The main active 3D theatre contains a Christie Mirage HD6 6000 ANSI lumens HD 3D projector, with active stereo capability, firing onto a 2815mm x 1454mm curved screen via an HD projection zoom lens 1.4-1.8:1 HD (SXGA + 1/5-2:1) and using the Twist module. The screens are painted with high gain acrylic emulsion to achieve optimum brightness.

Second robotics theatre The second robotics theatre has a similar specification, although the screen measures a smaller 2393mm x 1454mm. On either side of each screen is mounted a Samsung 46” full HD LCD panel, which can accept sources from the matrix – those include feeds from the Sony VC units or from the robot cameras themselves. Operating in active 3D, the projectors themselves are mounted in specially built enclosures in the ceiling, invisible from the outside. Up to 20 trainers can be immersed in either of the two environments. A special Lightspeed Design passive to active converter includes DepthQ®Capture and DepthQ Player for high definition stereoscopic media. DepthQ Capture also allows the recording of procedures onto a local PC hard driver for later playback and learning.

How it works The room occupants wear active LCD shutter glasses from Real D CrystalEyes eyewear, and the eye glass shutters are synced in high speed by a long range, wide range IR emitter in the ceiling, which in turn is synced by the projectors. The left and right images from the Da-Vinci Robots are first fed into the Leonardo servers which then output an HD-SDI signal through an Extron HDXP 1616 Matrix switcher into the Depth Q system, which resides on a Super Micro Super Chassis SC743 incorporating NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700 single graphics cards. The Depth Q

system converts the passive left and right image signals into an active signal in the DVI format.

while expert surgeons can guide them from a remote location.”

Tele-monitoring room All signal formats accommodated The infrastructure was built to handle all signal formats, from composite, DVI, SDI up to HD-SDI, using Extron switchers. “Using HD-SDI we transport the signal from the equipment room to the projectors in the two main theatres over optical fibre extenders, spanning distances between 60-100 metres,” said Sayeed. Other signals, for example the plasma displays located on either side of the projection surfaces, are supplied over further Extron signal extenders, in this instance UTP-based.

Signal scaling Signal scaling is performed by Extron Annotator scaler units, which have the added benefit of allowing a lecturer to annotate any of the displays in use. The theatres are to be used primarily for training purposes, each connected via a high bandwidth Sony HD video conferencing system, operable in three different modes. Jan Nuyens, head of the QRSC, explains: “The theatres can be used as immersive 3D sessions where students/trainees are present, while live surgery from anywhere in the world can be screened live onto the QRSC facility. Alternatively a surgeon can perform simulated surgery, which students can witness in 3D. And finally students can perform in the Doha theatres on a plastic dummy 41

The tele-monitoring room acts as an additional space for learning. Students can watch remote procedures from either theatre, or participate in a remote lecture via the Sony VC system. Audio reproduction is provided either through the speakers built into the Samsung displays, or via a 4-channel infra red distribution system from Listen Technologies. In this case, each student is provided with a headset. “As a Systems Integrator, Technomight have done an excellent job in professionally implementing these complex systems”, says Jan Nuyens. “Right from participating in design meetings with the experts from Imperial College to coordinating with the centre to understand the requirements and to finally come up with innovative and cutting edge solutions that address all the high-tech needs of the centre, Technomight have worked hard and the results speak for themselves.”

Showcase of technology “Seeing is believing, this is cutting edge, literally,” says Sayeed. “As a result QRSC has really become a showcase of technology for the centre and is almost constantly busy with a steady stream of local as well as foreign dignitaries interested in experiencing the region’s much talked about facility with technology straight out of a science fiction book.”


NEC updates high-end projector line-up NEC Display Solutions has unveiled several new additions to its line of installation projectors with the launch of the PA-series. The PA-series is the first projector family to feature DisplayPort technology and the projectors are especially designed for fixed installations in large corporate and high educational environments. Based on 3LCD technology, the PA-series boasts up to WUXGA (1920x1200) resolution and a brightness of between 5,000 and 6,000 ANSI lumens dependent on model. Furthermore, with a massive 2x optical zoom on new lens option and 2000:1 contrast ratio, the entire PA-series offers tremendous picture performance by HQVTM signal processing paired with extended network and multimedia options to allow easy connectivity and low cost of ownership.

New era in affordable LCD HD+ projection LCD projection has entered a new era with the introduction of the Christie L2K1000 and Christie L2K1500 digital projectors. The Christie L2K1000 targets users demanding HD and HD+ resolution for medium to large venues including government facilities, houses of worship, and higher education multi-purpose rooms and auditoriums, while the Christie L2K1500 addresses rental stagers requiring 15,000 ANSI lumens and HD+ resolution with an affordable price. Both projectors are engineered with Christie 4DColor technology for lifelike colours. “The Christie L2K1000 provides full HD and HD+ resolution; perfect for HD content such as high resolution CAD files, while HD+ resolution and picture-bypicture provides brilliant images and true collaboration in widescreen videoconferencing,” said Phil Lord, Christie’s regional manager in South Africa. “This is crucial because customers can now reproduce full HD content from their camera and project at true HD resolution.” Christie has also expanded the colour gamut with 4DColor providing higher contrast ratios and richer, true-to-life colours and skin tones.

Bosch receives EN 54 certification for voice alarm systems

Both of Bosch’s voice alarm systems – the mid-end Plena system and the highend fully digital Praesideo system – have been granted EN 54 certification by accredited notified bodies.

Certification includes not only the central voice alarm equipment but also peripheral equipment such as loudspeakers. Bosch Security Systems has long been a leading supporter of international standards for security equipment and was one of the first companies in the world to champion the new EN 54 standard for voice alarm systems. Originally introduced as a European standard for fire alarm systems, EN 54 has now been extended to cover voice evacuation to meet a growing trend in the market towards integration of fire alarm and voice evacuation systems.

TID appointed as exclusive Biamp VOCIA distributor TID has been appointed as the exclusive Biamp distributor for Southern Africa. Their new Vocia product is more than the next-generation in Biamp DSPs - it's a fundamentally new archetype. Vocia banishes precarious centralized processing and routing in favour of a distributed networked approach to give you unprecedented scalability, flexibility and reliability. Vocia's decentralized architecture distributes processing and page routing across the network — eliminating the potential for a single point of system failure. Vocia is both EN 54-16 product certified and EN 60849 and AS 60849 system verified. You can depend on Vocia to simply work, day after day, in the simplest overhead paging applications to the most advanced paging and voice evacuation systems spanning multiple zones and structures. Vocia uses standard IP technologies such as CobraNet to lower the cost and effort of implementing single-site systems, as well as utilising existing IP networks for multi-site installations. 42


Projecta launch In-Ceiling Projector Lifts

Sony’s Short Throw projectors

Projecta is pleased to announce the introduction of two types of concealed motorized projector lifts: the Pro-Lift and the Pro-Lift Pivot. Engineered to meet the most demanding installations, the Pro-Lift is a vertically raised lift and the ProLift Pivot is a pivoting lift. The Projecta projector lifts are complete with a universal projector mount and are constructed of heavy duty materials. Both universal lifts can be mounted in either a suspended or a drywall ceiling. The Pro-Lift is a vertically raised lift with a heavy duty steel construction using rack and pinion or screw drives instead of chain mechanisms. The Pro-Lift is available in two versions. The Pro-Lift 25 moves 25 cm down from the ceiling and the Pro-Lift 38 moves down 38 cm. Both versions have a load capacity of 18 kg. The Pro-Lift Pivot has a tilting feature with a fixed pivot point to help insure proper projector alignment. The projector lift features an internally mounted control switch for installer friendly operation. The trim flange at the bottom ensures inconspicuous installation in the ceiling. The Pro-Lift Pivot has a load capacity of 11 kg.

Sony Professional has launched the Short Throw projector series to offer the best 3LCD technology on the market to classrooms and meeting rooms across Africa and the Middle East. The competitively priced VPL-SX125 and VPLSW125 have been specifically designed to improve ease of use, and optimise the image quality of presentations used in educational and business environments, bringing industryleading technology to these price competitive markets. The VPL-SX125 and VPL-SW125 feature a very close 0.62:1 throw ratio – not only to reduce glare, but also to allow the products to be installed into smaller classrooms and meeting rooms unable to accommodate traditional projectors. Unlike any other comparatively priced projectors, the Short Throw series offers industry-leading Sony BrightEra Inorganic 3LCD technology and a high contrast ratio of 3,800:1. “Before creating the Short Throw projector series, we wanted to find out what else customers needed from their projectors in classrooms and meeting rooms,” said Will Klopper, Product Manager at Sony Professional. “We did an intense survey that told us a lot about how people in education and business environments use their projectors, what materials they use and what features they need that have not that have not been provided by current projectors in the market.”

Da-Lite develops High Contrast surface The Ultimate Interactive Projector

In a move to meet the market demand for a screen material that performs well in conditions where ambient light cannot be controlled, Da Lite has developed a high contrast version of its popular High Power screen surface. The new High Contrast High Power material is a revolutionary screen surface that provides a unique combination of high gain along with contrast enhancement due to its grey base and highly reflective top surface. The result is a screen surface with moderate viewing angles and the ability to reflect light back towards the source. These characteristics make this surface an excellent choice for environments with a moderate amount of ambient light and a projector which is placed on a table top or in the same horizontal viewing plane as the audience. High Contrast High Power is a washable surface with a gain of 2.4 and a 20 degree viewing half angle. The material is available immediately on Da-Lite’s electric, manual and fixed frame screen lines.

Hitachi has announced that its iPJ-AW250N Ultimate Interactive Projector is now shipping. The projector delivers all the functionality of an interactive whiteboard without the board. Utilizing infrared communication, the iPJ-AW250N turns a flat surface into an interactive whiteboard, without the expense or installation limitations of additional hardware. The iPJ-AW250N also utilizes ultrasonic communication, which helps to overcome interference issues associated with devices that communicate via infrared. Ideal for education and corporate environments, the iPJAW250N features an ultra-short-throw lens that allows it to be mounted close to a wall or projection surface. This prevents obstructed images and shadows, with no light shining in the presenter’s eyes. The projector can also be easily placed on a tabletop if it needs to be moved from room to room. 43


Extron now shipping 10-input presentation switcher Extron Electronics is pleased to announce the immediate availability of the DVS 510, a 10 input, multi-format Presentation Scaling Switcher that accepts and scales standard definition, HDTV, DVI, and RGB signals to a common, high resolution output rate. The DVS 510 is HDCP-compliant and features simultaneous DVI and two analogue RGB/YUV outputs. It is a true presentation switcher for professional environments, with audio switching for all video input sources, an available 50 watt stereo integrated amplifier, picture-in-picture, and glitch-free switching. The DVS 510 also offers flexible control options including front panel control, Ethernet, RS-232, USB, and IR. "The DVS 510 is ideal for larger presentation environments where several AV source devices need to be integrated, including HDCP-compliant products such as Blu-ray Disc players and cable or satellite receivers," says Casey Hall, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Extron. "It delivers high performance video and graphics processing, plus all the essential features for streamlining integration and delivering professional-quality AV presentations."

Digital revolution continues with DigitalMedia 8G+ Crestron has introduced its new DigitalMedia 8G+, the next generation of its revolutionary high output, one-wire digital AV network technology. Offering a broader choice of cabling options DigitalMedia 8G+ makes the implementation of a DM network even easier by offering a choice of standard CAT5e, DM 8G Cable or CresFiber 8G which provides a future-proof digital backbone. “Crestron’s DigitalMedia technology has redefined the advances in AV and digital technology and stands head-andshoulders above any comparative product,” says Bruce Genricks from Electrosonic South Africa, local distributor of Crestron products. “While the competition plays catch up, Crestron’s new 8G+ is our third generation of this technology and our installers tell us how the demanding projects they are installing now would not have been possible without 8G.”

High Definition 1080p scaler from Gefen

TV One introduces the new CORIOmaster C3-540 video system

TV One launched their new C3-540 Series CORIOmaster at the InfoComm Exhibition held in Orlando during June. The new C3-540 offers a new, more efficient approach to building video systems. Using TV One’s latest CORIO3 technology, it gives the user access to new levels of video processing power to achieve new heights of creative and dynamic video displays. All this is possible in one 4RU

chassis. CORIO3 video processing technology allows the use of layouts which define where each output is used. Outputs can be independently rotated through 360° in real-time, without adding delay, for use in creative video wall applications. Projectors can be used off axis with brightness controls to aid in an even distribution of the projected image. Warping controls allow for projection on curved surfaces and multiple layouts can be used at the same time or one layout can be designed to tie multiple projectors or monitors together as one large image.

Gefen has an ideal solution when integrating audio/video systems using displays with different native resolutions. The Gefen ToolBox HD 1080p Scaler will automatically scale up or down any high definition signal to meet the maximum resolution supported by the connected HDTV display. When used in an installation with more than one display in the room, such as in digital signage or home 44

theatre, it allows 1080p resolutions to be viewed on displays with 1080p full HD capability, while scaling the lower resolution display to its maximum resolution. For example, when sending a hi-def signal to four displays, one display may support 720p maximum resolution, while the other three displays support 1080p full HD. Previously, installers would have to set the source to 720p, the lowest common resolution among all four displays, to ensure a seamless distribution. But when the HD 1080p Scaler is connected to the 720p display, it will accept a 1080p input and downscale it to 720p, while all other displays receive 1080p full HD.


Tannoy drops versatile pendant loudspeaker into the mix

Latest Grass Valley technologies at InfoComm 2011

In what promises to be another significant product development for the commercial loudspeaker market, Tannoy has announced it is to debut a brand new range of ‘open ceiling’ hanging-pendant loudspeakers at InfoComm 2011. Entitled OCV Series, Tannoy’s new pendant loudspeaker promises to deliver the renowned acoustic performance and exceptional value of the ubiquitous CVS Series in-ceiling products but in an architecturally sensitive, self-contained, lightweight cylindrical enclosure. Engineered specifically for applications where predictable high quality audio coverage is required in high or open-ceilinged spaces – such as airports, railway stations, malls or large double or triple height commercial floors – without compromising clarity, intelligibility and SPL. The unique cylindrical form-factor has been conceived to meet the exacting demands of the architectural sector, minimising the impact on aesthetics and allowing the systems designer to locate the loudspeakers discretely, at a desired height without regard to the physical ceiling height, and in a manner that won’t conflict with other suspended systems such as lighting fixtures and ventilation.

Several of the latest technologies and systems from Grass Valley that solve complex A/V production and presentation problems in a highly efficient and cost-effective way were on display during the InfoComm 2011 conference. Among a number of useful technologies displayed in hands-on demonstrations, the ADVC-G Series of signal converters from Grass Valley represent a new benchmark in the industry by offering support for full bandwidth “any signal-in, any signalout” conversions in small footprint “brick-style” form factors that are as versatile as they are powerful. In addition to the new line of compact signal converters, several new options for the highly popular Grass Valley T2 intelligent digital disk recorder (iDDR) were highlighted, including a better operator experience—due to improved processing speed and several new keyboard shortcuts—as well as a new QoS feature that streamlines clip record and playback capabilities.

New CeilingVIEW HD HideAway PTZ Camera Lift

Projecta introduces a new projection screen surface Pearlescent is a vinyl projection surface for tensioned projection screens like electric tab-tensioned projection screens, fixed frame screens or Fast-Fold projection screens. Pearlescent has a gain of 1.5 and a full viewing angle of 80°. Many beautifully designed installations do not hold audio visual installations

Built for the Vaddio ClearVIEW HD 18/19/20 family of cameras, the CeilingVIEW HD HideAway Camera Lift provides an ideal mounting solution for concealing the camera above a ceiling when not in use. While in use, the camera is quietly lowered from the ceiling and when turned off, it will automatically retract back into the ceiling. “People tend

into account. When a projection screen has to be installed in an environment with a lot of windows and ambient light, a projection surface is needed that can still provide a clear and visible image. Pearlescent with an increased reflection performance of 1.5 gain, has been developed with this situation in mind. 45

to feel more comfortable when there isn’t a visible camera in the room,” explained Vaddio President, Rob Sheeley. “We created the CeilingVIEW HideAway Lift system for Vaddio cameras to provide our integrators with a architecturally transparent design for keeping cameras completely hidden in a room when they are not being used.” Adding the CeilingVIEW HD HideAway lift system creates a more aesthetically pleasing camera solution. You no longer have cameras hanging from exposed ceiling or wall mounts obstructing views of the presentation area. The cameras, mount and cabling are all concealed within the lift system backbox in the ceiling. The HideAway also provides a more secure mount for the camera, deterring theft or tampering.


SACIA completes CTS-D training programme

MECIA director honoured at PALME Awards During April’s PALME show in Dubai MECIA Executive Director Kevan Jones received a special award for his contribution to the development of the audiovisual industry in the Middle East. “It’s always nice to have your efforts recognized,” says Kevan. “Particularly when those efforts are channelled through a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the adoption of professional standards in the region’s Audio Visual

industry.” Kevan was involved in setting up the Middle East Communications Industries Association (MECIA) in 2005 and has served as a director of the Association since its inception. MECIA now has about 35 members representing the major AV industry players in the region. MECIA is an InfoComm licensed training provider and provides regular training and skills development programmes in the Middle East.

Over the last few months SACIA have been running an advanced training programme in Audio-Visual design. “Over the last six months we’ve run three courses in advanced audio-visual design, helping members acquire the skills they need to earn the InfoComm advanced CTS-D certificate,” explained Kevan Jones, Executive Director of SACIA. “For each course we’ve imported instructors from the InfoComm Academy in the USA so that we’re fully up-to-date on the international best

practice within our industry.” The InfoComm CTS-D course requires participants to demonstrate detailed knowledge of how to analyze, select and plan seamless audiovisual communications equipment interoperation. The CTS-D demonstrates his or her experience in the form of complete specifications and drawings that deliver a desired outcome to meet a client's needs. A minimum of two years' industry experience accompanies the theoretical and practical competencies.

MECIA members breakfast during GITEX 2011 During GITEX Technology Week MECIA will be hosting an industry networking breakfast at the Fairmont hotel in Dubai. This year see’s InfoComm International launching a new five-day exhibition that will be colocated with GITEX in Dubai. Known as InfoComm Middle East & Africa (IFMEA), the event will take place 9-13 October at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre. The joint

venture between InfoComm Asia and Dubai World Trade Centre comes at a turning point in the evolution of professional AV. “The migration of AV products onto IT networks is making systems integration a more net-centric process than ever before,” says event organizer Richard Tan. “Co-locating with GITEX Technology Week therefore makes technology sense as well as business sense.”

NEMISA and SACIA forge partnership With the imminent role-out of the DTT network throughout South Africa SACIA have formed an alliance with NEMISA to develop a new training programme for AV installers. The programme will kick off with an introductory course aimed at newcomers to the industry and then progress through a series of training initiatives that will provide a career 46

path for technicians in the programme. “By working together with NEMISA and the Department of Communication we’re aiming to encourage job creation and provide a structured programme of skills development that will feed technicians into the professional AV industry,” says Derek Marsden, project co-ordinator on the initiative.


SACIA training moves to Cabanga Conference Centre

IABM training in November The new IABM Academy will be travelling through Africa and the Middle East during November as we present the first in their new broadcast training programmes. ‘Broadcast and Media Technology - Understanding your Industry’ is a 2-day course that aims that to familiarise delegates with broadcast and media technology, the associated jargon and the role that technology plays in the

business in which they operate. It is designed for staff in broadcasters, their technology suppliers, postproduction, facilities and related businesses where their work requires an appreciation of the technology as opposed to an in-depth understanding of it. Typical delegates will include administrative and managerial staff in marketing, sales, support, purchasing, commercial, human resource and similar functions.

SACIA has switched all training programmes for the coming year to the Cabanga conference centre in North Riding. Cabanga is a Zulu word meaning ‘think’ or ‘imagine’ and the Conference Centre certainly offers an environment conducive to inspirational thought. It is a unique and exciting venue in which the earthy and organic African architecture and finishes has been combined with beautifully rich colonial furnishings and vibrant ethnic art and

materials. Since opening its doors in 1999, Cabanga Conference Centre has won an impressive array of awards and last year, the venue was recognized as the ‘Best Conference Centre’ in the West Rand. All conference rooms are fully quipped with well maintained state of the art audio-visual equipment, computerised AV control systems, data-video projectors, microphone systems, laser pointers as well as other specialised presentation equipment.

Mediatech breakfast for Government AV Forum During next months Mediatech exhibition SACIA and the Government AV Forum are working together to deliver a half-day workshop that will focus on the use of AV technology in Government and public service. The event kicks off at 9am with a networking breakfast and then continues until 12h30 with presentations from Ravi Kumar from Sharp (Trends and Technologies shaping the future of the Display market),

Sivan Pillay, managing director of Endemol South Africa (How to distribute and market content on social networks) and Stanley Edwards from Platypus Productions (Developing a cross-content media strategy). We also include a panel discussion on archiving and the management of digital media assets. The Government AV Forum is structured as a Special Interest Group within SACIA.

SARS Industry Task Group Earlier this month SITA (State IT Agency) called a meeting of industry professionals to discuss the recently introduced import tax and ad-valorem duty introduced on professional flat panel displays. At the meeting it was agreed that SACIA would convene an Industry Task Group to formulate a response to the imposition of new taxes, and define a strategy to engage 47

with SARS and other Government entities in order to achieve a more equitable tax and rebate structure for professional AV displays. The Task Group has engaged Deloitte’s to provide professional support. “I'm afraid there is no 'quick-fix' to this issue,” says task group chairman Kevan Jones. “We're in for a costly and time-consuming process.


Christie MicroTiles recognised at PALME 2011 awards Christie, a global visual technologies company, is proud to announce that Christie MicroTiles has the winning formula once again, as the virtually seamless digital canvas display technology was awarded the PALME Middle East Award for Most Innovative New AV Product of the Year.

C

hristie MicroTiles are no stranger to the limelight having received a dozen awards and distinctions across Europe, Middle East and Africa since the launch of the product into the AV marketplace in February 2010, which acknowledge the truly unique design technologies and forethought of the product and its position as a creative tool. Awards include Most InAVative Digital Signage Product from the InAVation Technology Awards 2010 and more recently, the Institut Français du Design (French Institute of Design or IFD)’s "Eco-Design" honours – an award which recognises only the most wholly ‘Green’ products, right from conception all the way through to usage. Christie MicroTiles are modular display tiles that can be stacked and clustered like building blocks to create display walls of any

Christie's Simon Smith and Mahesh Singh receive the PALME Innovation Award from Kevan Jones, executive director of MECIA.

shape or scale, using an entirely new, advanced optical design that produces unparalleled levels of brightness, contrast

48

and colour reproduction. The LED- and DLP-based system is designed for long, reliable commercial use in public areas, with no lamps or other consumable parts to replace. The LED light engine, a key component of MicroTiles, is rated at 65,000 hours to half brightness, or nearly 7.5 years of continuous operation. Recent successes for Christie MicroTiles in the Middle East include the HTC phone launch and the opening of the Armani Hotel, both in Dubai. MicroTiles are also widely recognised by the Broadcast industry and appear in a number of TV Sets including Channel Cuatro in Spain and BFM Business in France. In awarding this prize, the PALME Middle East panel of judges cited, “the quality, design, power of operation and rich list of features provided by Christie MicroTiles.”


AV Specialist Vol. 118  

AV Specialist is a magazine for the broadcast & AV industry in Africa & the Middle East

Advertisement