DS Awards 2020 Category Focus: Best Technical Installation

Technical upgrades are critical in an industry where its imperative to have the latest and greatest hardware and software to ensure viewers enjoy their viewing experience. This award honours a specific technical installation that stands out for innovation and technical precision
Award, Sky News Arabia, Tek Signals, Art Format Lab, ARET, Imagine Communications, Digital Studio Awards 2020

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Al Wousta TV studios – Tek Signals
Tek Signals was tasked with setting up Al Wousta 4K Ready SMPTE 2110 based TV Channel for Sharjah Broadcasting Authority in Al Dhaid - Sharjah. This is the first fully Broadcast IP based TV broadcast facility in UAE. Overall the project included a studio with six cameras, studio playout system from AVID (FastServes), MCR Playout consisting of Imagine Communications Nexio Servers, Backbone SDVN layer is implemented using Evertz equipment (IPX fabric Switch, Magnum, Evertz Gateway etc). This combination of different technological components which are tightly integrated was all made possible thanks to the strong SMPTE standard protocol.

SBA broadcast system – Imagine Communications
Saudi Broadcasting Authority (SBA), part of the Ministry of Media in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is one of the leading broadcasters in the region. Its channel playout system had evolved over time and was operationally inefficient, putting the output at risk of human error. There was also no fallback should there be any problem at the main playout centre. To boost efficiency and flexibility, and to set a vision for the future, SBA looked to create a new, unified, highly resilient content delivery platform for all its broadcast channels in the main facility. It also looked to secure business continuity by building five geographically dispersed disaster recovery sites, each capable of transmitting five channels, with full redundancy at each location.

It selected Imagine Communications as its key technology partner to develop and implement its new solution. This is a significant project and one of a kind in the region. The first step taken by Imagine Communications was to organise a series of seminars and workshops, bringing together all relevant departments of the broadcaster. This resulted in a clearly defined set of requirements. From this, Imagine Communications proposed a coherent system from planning to delivery, including ingest, asset management, transcoding, archiving and playout. Most important, it achieved this in a tightly integrated suite of software solutions, replacing the multi-vendor architecture and its inevitable discontinuities. The software is hosted on a network of industry-standard workstations from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).

Binary OB Van – Aret Video and Audio Engineering
ARET video and audio engineering delivered two truck to the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation. The Mauritian national broadcaster had two conflicting requests: on one hand the need to cover simultaneous events; on the other hand to have a big and powerful system to cover the large events.

The heart of the OB van is based on the Ross Ultrix hybrid matrix, a compact yet powerful masterpiece of hardware that allow you to control both the SDI streams and their embedded audio. As a natural companion, the Ross Carbonite Ultra has been chosen as the video mixer. Both the video router and the video mixer are fully ready to work with 12G signal, creating a future proof system ready to be upgraded to the new upcoming standard. The audio signals primary travel on the fully redundant DANTE network, assuring the best signal with a negligible latency. This gives the Ultrix the power to draw any sound processed by the audio mixer, embedding it into the video signals coming from the Carbonite Ultra.

Entertainment Experience – Art Format Lab
Emirates Entertainment Experience is a culmination of the efforts of Sharjah Media City (Shams). The Emirates Entertainment Experience involves a team of filmmaking professionals who will inspire talented young creatives who want to pursue a career in filmmaking. The team is comprised of director Nahla Al Fahad (UAE), actors Habib Ghuloom and Abdullah Haider, writer Mohammed Hassan Ahmed, composer Moustafa Halawany (Egypt) and director of photography Michal Sosna (Poland).

Shams in collaboration with Art Format Lab. Upon its coming together Art Format Lab’s chairperson Khulud Abu Homos expressed her pride in the people who were selected for the dream team, saying that the Emirates Entertainment Experience will enhance the Lab’s joint initiative with Sharjah Media City by recognising the creativity of young UAE and Arab talents and promoting their role in the community.

Sky News Arabia Studio
Sky News Arabia set out to build a studio addition to its existing facility with a dedicated control room that would increase production presence in Abu Dhabi. Diversified was engaged to design-build the studio, which would become the first Zero Density installation in the region. Diversified provided Sky News a workflow that allows for the existing gallery to control the new studio and for the new control room to have control of the existing studio—an integration that provided many complexities and challenges.

Apart from working within an aggressive and evolving timeline, we also had to ensure system configurations were completed late at night while the channel was not live. Despite these challenges, we delivered the project on time and on budget with zero down time or errors. Products include Vitec’s Vinten Robotic system; Grass Valley’s Vision mixer, glue and multiviewer; and the Calrec Brio 36 for audio mixing; and Zero Density’s virtual system—the epicentre of the production side.

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