Dubai TV has established a new media production facility in Lissaili to cover camel races. Digital Studio takes a close look at the kit being employed.
Located within the interiors of Dubai's desert is a deceptively quiet place called Lissaili, where six months of the year, Arab nationals gather together to indulge in their favourite local sport - camel racing.
These races are now broadcast on Dubai Sports, which is a part of the Dubai Media Inc bouquet of channels.
In order to enable the production and broadcast of these races, Dubai TV recently worked with Abu Dhabi based systems integrator Tek Signals to put in place a comprehensive production and broadcast solution as well as telecom network to facilitate communication between the cameramen and the control room.
"These are two new camel race tracks," says Hassan Chahine, head of technical operations at Dubai Media Inc.
"As the races take place for six months of the year, it was imperative that we have a permanent facility that could support the operations and technical teams for the whole time."
"We have, therefore, put in place a small audio and video control facility, a telecom network, small offices and a restaurant for the production crew."
There are about four tall towers at different locations of the race track, where a cameraman can stand with the camera and film the races.
Several additional locations have been identified for potential filming purposes and appropriate cabling has been undertaken to ensure easy plug and play.
In addition, three Land rovers have been modified and fitted with a base and a railing with a swivel chair in the middle so that the cameraman can seat himself on top of the vehicle and film the race as it drives alongside the camels.
Three cameras fitted with Gigawave wireless solutions will be available for the vehicles.
Four Thomson LDK 400 cameras with 4:3 aspect ratio have also been installed at specific locations in Lussali with Canon J35 super telezoom lenses while the other three for travel shots have been fitted with J 22 lenses.
Video signals from the cameras are sent to the Master Control Room, which is equipped with a Kayak video mixer and an Evertz multi-display system, a Pro-bel router, Genelec audio monitors, frame synchronisers from Snell & Wilcox, telecom systems from Gigawave, a radio system from Motorola and a talkback system from Telex, waveform monitors from Tektronix, graphics solutions from Vizrt and analogue sound mixers from Sound Craft.
Two of the key challenges of putting together a facility in the Middle East, according to Chahine, is shielding the equipment from dust and working to very tight deadlines.
"This is an extremely isolated area and, therefore, the likelihood of it getting dusty is a lot higher here."
"We have designed the facility keeping this issue in mind."
"There are also several different levels of filters inserted into the AC duct to keep the air clean."
"We have also invested in robust equipment that is capable of working efficiently in this environment."
Chahine is also heading the design and consultation for a US $8million Syrian TV project that was announced by Dubai Media Inc early this year.