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Identity Parade

by Chris Newbould on Jul 22, 2012

Digital Studio caught up last month with the Yara Media Services team as they put the finishing touches to a series of new channel idents for the Ramadan schedule on OSN Yahala!

As Ramadan approaches, all the major networks are preparing for the traditional ratings bonanza that accompanies the holy month.

OSN is no exception, and as well as hoping to score ratings winners with its selection of new Arabic content on its Yahala! entertainment channel, the network has commissioned a series of new channel idents for Yahala!, which were recently shot and produced by Dubai-based Yara Media Services.

Yara was already behind the launch idents and channel graphics for Yahala! It was also the driving force behind the production of the first series of OSN’s hit Hindistani, Yahala!’s flagship show at launch.

It has now finished shooting the second series for the broadcaster too, Yara executive manager Usama AlSharqi tells us: “We’d actually already produced a similar show for the Iranian market, and when OSN saw it they really liked it and wanted to do something like it for Arabic audiences,” he explains.

“The original show had a smaller production budget than the Arabic version, but it was still a high quality production, so it was great to have the opportunity to work with a bigger budget and try and capture the huge Arabic market – especially Saudi, which is vital t for any broadcaster in the region.

“The first season was a massive success. We won the Digital Studio Award for Best Content Creation, and all the market research has showed really positive responses, so OSN were keen to go even bigger and better with series two.

It’s probably a 10 times bigger production – there are 23 new episodes, with 23 new songs and we’ve also recruited Saudi Arabia’s leading comic actor, Assad Al Zahrani, for the second series. Al Zahrani was previously the start of two of MBC’s biggest shows, so that should give the second series an even bigger audience appeal.”

The production was certainly a lavish affair, continuing where the first series left off and then some. It was shot on location in India and the Gulf, and its huge wardrobe of 980 wedding outfits, which were used during the show’s 13 opulent wedding sequences, is set to be auctioned for charity at the beginning of July.

We’ll have more on season two of Hindistani when it hits screens. For now, however, AlSharqi returns to the matter of the new idents: “The main idea behind the idents was all about beauty,” he says. “We show beautiful environments, beautiful girls, there’s a sense of reaching for the sky. The idents will be screened during Ramadan, and maybe for a couple of months after.”

Yara has produced six new idents for Yahala! The six clips were shot over a total of three days, with breaks in between as the crew were working up to 17 hour days in three different locations.

AlSharqi adds: “We shot in the desert, and also by the mountains and pools at Hatta. The biggest shoot was the one in Hatta – it’s the most dramatic in terms of scenery, and we also had both day and night shoots. The night shoots are particularly appropriate for Ramadan with all the feeling inspired by the moon and candles.

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