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Director Benjamin Caron on shooting the last series of the BBC's Wallander

For the fourth and final series of feature length Kenneth Branagh Wallander films, director Benjamin Caron had only been signed up to direct two of the three films but found himself stepping in as a last minute emergency director on the third one too.

How did you get the job?
I’d just finished making Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This for Left Bank. Andy Harries set up meeting with producer Sanne Wohlenberg and then I met Ken and spoke about the previous seasons and what the ambition was for the last three films.

You directed all three films, but were originally only signed up for two?
As part of the tax break we did the post for the two Swedish set films in Cape Town while the third film, The White Lioness, was shot in South Africa.
Then the director who was there to do The White Lioness had to leave for personal reasons a week in to the shoot. So on a Sunday evening I was given the script and asked ‘can you turn up and direct this tomorrow? That was a first for me. I read the script until four in the morning, had about an hours sleep and then I was on set. I’d not met the actors, never seen any of the locations. Fortunately I knew the producer, it was the same Dop and I had a really good relationship with Ken by then. We managed to pull it off.

Did you continue to edit at the same time?
I was shooting from 7 in the morning and then back at eight in the evening and going to the cutting rooms and then struggling through the next day. It’s not something I d like to do again.

Do series benefit from having one director throughout?
As a director, yes, you want to do everything. It happens more and more. Tom Shankland directed the whole of The Missing for instance. It’s the time thing that’s tricky. Bringing individual directors in means you can keep the machine rolling. Whereas for a director to do ten episodes means the delivery might be later than they’d like.

How did you approach the look of Wallander?
The DNA of Wallander is very much established. Wallander to me was always a bit like a western. Instead of a horse you had him driving around in a Volvo through this stunning, beautiful landscape. I’m a huge fan of these Nordic noirs be it The Killing or The Bridge or the Larsson trilogy. For a filmmaker it’s the landscape that offers so much, the tonal colours, the pastels and these vast skylines that make the weight of melancholy feel heavy on your soul. That already exists. As a filmmaker on Wallander, you do have to appreciate what fine directors have done previously and make sure you’re not going to reinvent the wheel. We shot on Alexa with Cooke S4s.

Did you have time to prepare?
For the initial films, we started in August and didn’t start shooting until mid October so I had two and half months working with the designer Tom Burton and cinematographer Lukas Strebel, who’s previously shot earlier Wallanders.
Is there a danger a falling into Scandi-noir cliche now?
For me those landscapes express the drama. People bandy around the word cinematic but that’s exactly what it is. It’s beautiful but bleak. You have these heavy grey skies that feel like they’re pressing down on you, for me a landscape like that adds an extra dimension to the drama. Sweden has these really long dark winters which give the country a kind of melancholia which is very striking but also ripe for tails of dark deeds. I don’t know if that means we fall into cliché, I try not to. I try to find the truth in the drama and hope that that is enough. When you fall into cliché that’s when you start not being truthful, when you’re prepping or working you have to keep asking the question ‘are we being as truthful as possible?’

Kenneth Branagh has played the role so many times and is also an exec on the show, does that make things difficult for a director?
And he’s also a famous director in his own right! For me as a young director it is incredibly intimidating until you meet him. I was lucky enough to go New York and see him in Macbeth at the Armory and then after we would meet one on one to discuss the script and Wallander’s journey. He’s an inspiration. He wants to be challenged and he wants you to direct the film. That was the first thing he said to me and that was liberating. For him it meant he could focus on being an actor and not have to worry too much about the shots; he could just focus on the personal journey. Of course we collaborated. I would share cuts as we went along.

Was there anything new you picked up from the shoot?
One of the things we did do, and I had not done this too much in the past, was we would always start with Wallander’s close up. Every time you run a scene on set something happens for the first time. It’s always so hard to create and you want to be ready to capture that. By starting with that close up, you were capturing that first reaction to the characters around you on the close up. And then we worked outwards. Typically in drama you start wide and choreograph everything and actually you end up spending way too much time on the wide shot compared to how much you use it. That was an eye opener for me.

Wallander begins this Sunday on BBC1

Caron has recently finished shooting his block on The Crown and begins shooting on series 4 of Sherlock next week. He’s also soon to direct a live theatre broadcast of Romeo and Juliet in black and white.

Posted 20 May 2016 by Jon Creamer

Secrets of the fixed rig: the series directors

Four series directors of fixed rig docs tell Jon Creamer how running a rig is more akin to being the conductor of an orchestra than just a talented soloist

Alisa Pomeroy

Series director 24 Hours in Police Custody
Currently documentaries commissioning editor at Channel 4

On 24 Hours, we did a time and motion study. We had 15 people in the different rooms logging everything that was happening across the 24 hour period. That helped us to map out the stories geographically across the police station. By having people there with clipboards it helped us to work out where our cameras should be in order to capture all the different parts of the story because that’s quiet complex. We mapped the story through the station and then out of the station. Obviously we couldn’t do that with the rig. We did that with single cameras and we had to think how that material would look with the rig material. Would it work? Would it jar? Before we did 24 Hours the perceived wisdom was that it didn’t work to mix rigged footage with single camera footage but we did make it work. The reason it worked was if there’s a good narrative reason then the audience goes with it and accepts that it looks different.

When directing a rig the traditional producer/director documentary role is very fragmented. That role is taken up by lots and lots of different people doing different jobs and the series director sits above that with the general creative vision working alongside the executive producers. It’s very much a team effort. The floor producers are with the contributors negotiating access, explaining how the film is working and dealing with contributor issues, the director isn’t choosing the shots, the gallery and hothead operator do that. It’s a really different way of directing. It’s much more like conducting an orchestra rather than playing a solo.

But directing is the same role even though the role is very fragmented. You’re still looking how to tell a story visually and compellingly. All the really basic things are the same.
Your need to trust your team and be happy to devolve responsibility to other members of your team which is hard, not all directors want to do that.

The big limitation of the rig is you feel a bit distant from people. It all feels a bit fly on the wall and observed. That’s why there is now this convention that when you have rig films you have Interrotron interviews too. You feel quite distant from people in the actualite so you need to create that intimacy by looking straight into someone’s eyes.

With a rig your cameras are omnipresent. You can see everything in a scene, everybody’s minutest reactions to the unfolding story. Normally the really interesting dramatic story is on people’s faces and in their twitches. On the first episode of 24 Hours, the suspect said ‘no comment’ for an hour. If that had been done on single camera that would have been very hard to sustain but we broadcast about 30 minutes of it. The reason we could do that was the real story was in his twitches and the beads of sweat on his forehead and his grimaces. You can capture those with a rig and play them out really slowly in a scene, that is where the drama is. But we wouldn’t have been able to do that otherwise. It would have been boring on a single camera with not such tight shots

I’ve just commissioned a couple of single films that are rigged. That is becoming more and more affordable. It’s still expensive but more conceivable. What’s exciting is the mini rigs now operated by the director out a suitcase set up, so it’s more nimble. There’s also talk about a wireless rig. That’s amazing as it means you can move your cameras around, you don’t have to wire up the whole building and the costs come down.

Nicola Brown
Series director The Secret Life of Four, Five, Six Year Olds, series PD Educating Cardiff , PD 24 Hours in A&E

The biggest challenge on The Secret Life Four Year Olds was that the contributors couldn’t sit still. It was tricky in terms of getting the gallery ops to work in a different way. It’s not a controlled environment, the kids are running around. You might have a camera op who’s in control of ten cameras. We had to work at a much faster pace. On a conventional rig you might have decided who you’re going to mic up so actually you’ve only got four contributors in a group. For Secret Life we had ten kids all mic’d and, at that age, their conversations don’t really make any sense. The interactions are really subtle so you’ve really got to listen carefully. All conventional programme making narrative and logic went out of the window

Rigs are a big machine and everybody needs to be marching to the same tune. You have to have great people that you can trust in their role. The rig is quite a frantic environment  so you need to have people you’re comfortable working with and that you can have a shorthand with. The team plays a hugely important role. You have producers on the floor a lot of the time in rigs who have often done the casting and who know the characters and have a really good sense of where things might go. But you need everybody in the gallery to be really on it and across it too. You need gallery directors who are not just thinking visually but thinking editorially too – what’s the motivation? What’s the story? There’s a real skill in trying to tune into people and their personalities and their motivations and getting a sense when the story’s bubbling or when you’re about to have a breakthrough or when an important moment’s about to come up. You’ve got to put yourself in the contributor’s shoes the whole time and predict what’s going to happen.

The rig allows you to take a step back. It’s amazing how quickly people forget the cameras. It’s so unobtrusive and it takes off the pressure of having to put someone in that room, having to match up personalities, having to manage issues that perhaps arise because someone is physically there with a camera. Things happen in a very natural way and it’s all very genuine. There’s a charm to those interactions that feel truly observed which you wouldn’t get if it wasn’t the rig.

The rig gives a real intimacy. There’s never an off camera and on camera moment so contributors are much more relaxed. You get those quiet moments, at the end of a school day on Educating when teachers were alone in their offices. Someone might pop in for a quiet word. If you’d been filming in a conventional way you might have left already. It’s these little details I don’t think you’d necessarily always get if you were filming in a traditional way. But things happen in a very natural way and it’s all very genuine. There’s a charm to those interactions that feel truly observed which you wouldn’t get if it wasn’t the rig.

On the other hand, it is much more difficult to produce any content with the rig because you can’t intervene, you can’t throw in questions. You can’t produce in the moment which all of us are ordinarily able to do.

Paddy Wivell
Series director, The Tribe; director/producer Fast & Fearless: Britain’s Banger Racers; director/camera, Bedlam; director Keeping Britain Alive: The NHS In A Day

On The Tribe, there were four adjacent huts so it was ideal for a rig. It felt like walking into a film set with these exotic extras wondering around so I knew immediately it would work. We had this very charismatic family that fitted the template of a sitcom. I already I knew I had something reliable. It felt familiar but also really exotic at the same time. You want to promise the audience something they haven’t seen before but also a riff on something familiar. It had that essential buzz of excitement you get when you know you’ve stumbled into a really good idea. That was there from the off.

It was the first time I’d done a rig show. It wasn’t terribly difficult as I had a brilliant company called Complete Camera Company and Ben Hoffman who knows the rig inside out. He could advise on where to put the cameras. The trouble is it’s so expensive to do we could only afford two cameras per hut. We had quite a small scale rig compared to the hospital shows. But the form’s developed a bit more now. You rig certain spaces and then use observational handheld cameras too so you get the best of both worlds. When the family left the homestead we could follow them outside with crews. Some days you’re having a really slow day on the rig, sitting in 40-degree heat and watching absolutely nothing happen and you’re reassured by the fact there were camera crews following people outside of the rig space getting stories.

You become a team leader. Normally it’s me and another person on a film and suddenly there’s an enormous cast of people. It’s fun. Sometimes it’s such a solitary experience making documentaries. There’s something about the collective team that gives it a drive, energy and excitement. You’ve got to trust that people are good at their jobs. It works as long as you’re all working to the same brief and you think as one.

Once you’ve got beyond the fear of the apparatus, storytelling remains the same. You’re after compelling characters doing interesting things that are telling you something you don’t already know about the world. That’s a constant whether on single camera or a rig.

The rig gives you such versatility and allows you to explore moments in way you can’t with single camera. You can look at a single moment from three or four different angles and explore it and make it longer. It’s the grammar of eavesdropping that gives it a different quality. Filmically moments work differently on rig. You can’t ask questions when the actualite is being played out because it would break the spell. You are tied to a certain way of telling a story but once you’ve made your peace with that it’s actually quite freeing.

In future there’ll be much more smaller scale rigs and it’ll become cheaper to do. Up to now it’s kind of expensive so you have to make the most of a limited amount of time. You have to get all your action to play out in the space of a few weeks whereas when it’s cheaper it’ll mean you’ll be able to play stories out over a longer period. You might only get a small percentage of the programme from the rigged space with the rest of it playing out elsewhere. It’ll become more malleable and the rig will be just another tool at your disposal.

James Incledon
Series director, The Catch; series director The Supervet

I wanted to do the first fixed rig show on a boat. I’d spent a lot of time filming on boats and personal time too. I used to sail quite a lot, it’s a love of mine.

We did a test with a rig camera to prove it was going to work. Minicams made me a single rig unit – a single camera and controller and monitor and I went down and met (the captain of one of The Catch’s ships) Drew and he welded some plates on to the boat and we went out and moved the camera to different positions. We came back with these rig shots and it got commissioned.

We were worried. These outdoor dome cameras had never been tested at sea before. There’s constant salt water spray, things clanging around the boat and then the vibration of the engine and the winch to take into consideration. When we installed the big rig there were a lot of hurdles, vibration being the worst. The cameras we got for The Catch were the latest Panasonic heads. They had anti vibration and they were much higher quality, more responsive and faster. It was all about being able to achieve close ups that made it work. The vibration was the biggest challenge because the minute you zoomed in you could see the vibration and overcoming that with those new cameras was a game changer. Without those reactions and close ups I don’t think it would have worked as well.

There’s also the problem of getting to these cameras in rough seas. If there are any technical issues, some of them were mounted high up the mast. We had to clean all the domes every day. When you weren’t in the gallery you’d be harnessed up, climbing a mast or swinging out over the sea trying to clean a dome.

It was so much better with the rig. When I went on trips in the casting process, because it’s such a closed off environment, you walk into the galley area or the wheelhouse with a camera and everyone just shuts up and all this amazing Cornish humour disappears. 

A ship is very much an upstairs downstairs world. The skipper is upstairs running the ship and downstairs are the crew. You often have these cross conversations where they’re doubting the skipper’s decision and then upstairs the skipper’s mouthing off on the radio about the crew. There are beautiful scenes playing out at the same time constantly that you couldn’t cover as a single shooter.

It was all about achieving the maximum coverage on the budget we had. We figured out that 20 cameras was our maximum, not just financially but also because of the size of the gallery we could fit in one of the cabins. It was about covering the boat. But it was definitely worth going on the recces and seeing where people spend their time. You had to do a proper time and motion study and understand where things were going to happen.

Cameras always flatten the sea. It’s difficult to get an impression of a big sea as the camera has to be really low to sea level to get an impression of how big the waves are. With rig cameras being so high and not being able to zoom a massive amount we had a GoPro on a pole and covered it that way but you’re constantly making a decision about whether you should be in the gallery or out trying to cover the sea.

Posted 19 May 2016 by Jon Creamer

The Hollow Crown's Dominic Cooke on his first screen directing job

After a long career as a distinguished theatre director, Dominic Cooke had a baptism of fire for his first screen directing role when he got the call to helm the second tranche of the BBC2’s Hollow Crown Shakespeare adaptations – Henry VI part 1, Henry VI part 2 and Richard III.

How did you get the job?
Out of the blue I got a call from Sam Mendes. He said we want to make the next lot (of Hollow Crown films) and we want one director doing the whole series and we want you to do it. I was gobsmacked.

Why were you chosen?
Learning how to direct Shakespeare and the challenge of making the language feel like it’s actually being spoken takes years and years of experience in the theatre to get right. It’s hard to bring Shakespeare to life.

Were you able to rehearse as you would in the theatre?
I decided on six weeks of rehearsals. You can’t do Shakespeare by just turning up on set because no one knows what they’re talking about. You have to do the work to make sure everyone knows what the words mean.

Was it a big leap to direct for screen?
All theatre directors are very visual. You have to tell your story in pictures on stage as well. While you have much more range and technical opportunity with the cameras there are parallels.

What surprised you about screen directing?
What surprised me most was how much I enjoyed it. The real challenges were to do with budget and time. We did six battles and four coronations with, on most days, about fifty extras. But that’s quite creative to think how can we convey the sense of a big battle with a small number of people?

What guided the look of the films?
We had the challenge of compressing what is four three-and- a-half-hour plays into three two-ish-hour films. We found a pathway, a very simple spine through all the stories. So you’re choosing shots that support that. Also, you’re pressed for time and shooting very quickly. We had to be as economical as we could to tell the story in the simplest way we could. Very rarely did we have time to play.
In terms of the camera, you just try to find the best way to shoot the particular scene. We didn’t have a clear methodology. We just knew what we were trying to get with each scene so we used a variety of techniques from tracking to quite a lot of handheld. Sometimes we moved from a very static camera to handheld half way through because the scene dictated it. There was always a reason for what we were doing and it was ‘how do we land this scene?’ The driver of this project was to maintain the complexity of Shakespeare but make it accessible to audiences who have never seen Shakespeare before so the clarity of the storytelling is the most important thing.

How did you prepare?
I went on film sets and watched directors work. Then I did a pre-shoot and I thought ‘actually I can do this’ because so much of it was familiar. For the things that weren’t I was incredibly well supported. I had a brilliant team all round me and then you just get the hang of it.

Did you bring crew from the theatre?
Almost all the crew were new to me. The disciplines are very different. The skills in terms of how the job is structured, the budget-holding responsibilities and the managing of the team are different on screen.

How did you find the editing process?
Brilliant. In the theatre, in the end you have to step back and let the actors do it. On screen you have more control over how the story is told down to every nuance of the performances. We made some very radical changes in the edit. It was a lot like starting again.

The Hollow Crown begins Saturday May 7th on BBC2


Posted 06 May 2016 by Jon Creamer

Best of the month in post

Each month, Televisual’s print magazine runs a showcase of some of the best work from UK post houses. This is the May issue’s offering.

Union vfx
Bastille Day
Union was sole vfx vendor on new Idris Elba action thriller Bastille Day. Union completed over 350 shots covering invisible effects like architectural extensions, crowd multiplication, and added vehicles, props and gore as well as stunt-augmentation effects on driving sequences and shootouts and a massive bomb explosion at a Paris Metro station.

Baseblack completed a total of 210 invisible vfx shots on Anthropoid, a film starring Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan about two Czechoslovak soldiers sent to assassinate the head of the SS in 1942. Shots included taking back modern Prague to 1942 with several big establishing shots.

Run the Jewels promo

Finish worked with Pulse director Ninian Doff on the promo for Run The Jewels’ Love Again feat Gansgta Boo. Doff said: “The most intensive and bizarre post element of this job was probably making a real venus flytrap lipsync filthy lyrics and smoke a post coital ‘cigarette.’” It was graded by Julien Biard and Flame was by Andy Copping and Ross Macpherson.

Smoke & Mirrors
Dairylea: Feed the Fun

Smoke & Mirrors was brought in by BMB London on Dairylea’s new TVC. Working with Mad Cow director Phil Lind, S&M created a world (plus dragons) around two knights using matte paintings, rotoscoping and compositing led by Tim Davies and Dan Andrew. Grade was by Mark Horrobin.

Fifty Fifty
Shakespeare’s Globe films

Fifty Fifty Post was brought in by Shakespeare’s Globe to provide location post on 37 10-minute films to be screened along the Thames as part of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

The Five
Dock10 completed post on Red Production’s new Sky thriller The Five. Colourist Jamie Parry created the “bold, accentuated” grade and audio mixer Mark Briscoe aimed his mix at giving the drama a “contemporary and edgy soundtrack.”

Posted 05 May 2016 by Jon Creamer

How TV is going green

More and more productions are measuring their carbon footprint and finding ways to shrink it But there’s still plenty that can be done

While TV production may not be the industry with the biggest impact on the environment, it’s still significant.

On average, producing an hour’s worth of telly produces 9.4 tonnes of carbon when all the transport, production office energy, generators, flights and all the other essentials are totted up.

The last few years have seen more and more TV productions make an effort to lower their environmental impact. BBC in-house shows have had to measure their carbon footprint for a while now and those measuring tools have spread to the wider industry through the Bafta Albert Consortium.

The consortium is a group of indies and broadcasters that have teamed up to provide carbon calculators for productions along with a certification system for those who manage to lower their impact. There’s also advice on how to bring it down.

While lowering the amount of carbon pumped into the atmosphere is an all round ‘good’ thing to do, it’s fast becoming a pressing business need.

Sky and UKTV demand Albert certification as standard from all programme suppliers. BBC in-house shows similarly are required to provide this. It won’t be too long before it will want this from its indie suppliers as well and then ITV and Channel 4 won’t be far behind. “In years to come it will be business as usual to do this,” says Jez Nightingale who looks after the Albert+ certification process. “I suspect that there will be a lot more targets around carbon reduction in the industry and the government will be putting pressure on too. So the quicker production and broadcasters get on board the easier it will be in the future.”

There are financial considerations too. Nightingale reckons productions that go through the certification process end up saving money. “On average we’re saving about £6k a production. We’ve got shows where it’s getting into £20k.”

Most of the carbon savings are relatively easy to achieve too. “It’s not reinventing the wheel,” says Nightingale. “What we’re trying not to do in this is get production to feel it’s just another process they’ve got to go through, whether its health and safety or compliance. We want them to feel it’s important and they can do it without having to employ huge amounts of additional resource.” The easy wins are things most productions do as a matter of course now, like opt-in printing for call sheets and scripts when so many people prefer things sent direct to their device. General recycling is standard now too.

“What were trying to do now is get people to think about the bigger ticket items,” says Nightingale. “That tends to be around power usage when you’re burning red diesel in generators on location. It also tends to be around the transport.” Is there a taxi company or hire car outfit that uses hybrid cars for example? BBC drama The Interceptor hired electric vehicles and used them across the whole shoot. “That had a carbon saving of eight tonnes and saved serious money too,” says Aaron Matthews, Bafta’s sustainability manager. For international shows it’s often about hiring crews on location where possible. “That’s often an unpopular thing to say as people like working with people they know, of course,” says Matthews. “But if you use the carbon calculator it gives you the information to form an argument around why it might be better to do it a different way. Natural history shows by their nature have a huge travel footprint, but it’s not about trying to stop people doing what they’re doing. It just gives an opportunity to think is there anything they can do?”

“Power and transport and zero to landfill are the big targets,” says Nightingale. “That’s where we can get the carbon reduction.”

But the push can’t all be on production. “Production have got a lot to deal with already,” says Matthews. And production teams often only come together for short periods of time. “When we talk about the systemic changes we need in the industry, production will never be able to create that change themselves, which is why it must fall back to other organisations and broadcasters as well.”

It’s also about influencing suppliers. Caterers using biodegradable containers and reusable water bottles is one example. “Because broadcasters have got behind this, the caterers have had to start coming on board,” says Nightingale. “It almost becomes part of the competitive tender. It’s price first and then one of the next questions is their sustainable credentials. Increasingly suppliers are under pressure not just on price but to be more sustainable. That helps them to do the right things themselves.”

Lighting is another big energy sapper. “We’d like to see more and more lighting companies offering low energy lighting at a price that is comparable to the old tungsten stock,” says Nightingale.

Finding generators with a lower carbon footprint is an ongoing problem too. “The only way they can be more efficient is if they can be running some sort of biofuel,” says Nightingale. “But access to reliable biofuel is not easy and can be costly. Productions will do all of this within reason but if it’s going to start costing them with the pressures on budgets as they are,” then it’s unlikely to shift too far.

The next step, says Matthews, is to try to create changes that will mean productions don’t have to think or work too hard to bring down their environmental impact. “Generators are a problem so what else might we be able to do? Can we install access to the grid at locations with frequent filming across London? That’s something that’s happening on the continent,” says Matthews. “There are organisations that can help people recycle props and sets. If we had the facility to make that easy for production – centres specifically designed for them” then the end goal might be reached sooner. And that’s to simply “design waste out of the equation. To re-engineer it so that waste is something we just don’t create any more.”

Laura Djanogly, Hat Trick’s joint director of production, on making Boomers greener

Our main objective was to be realistic about what we could do, and not put pressure on a busy and stretched production team.

So we choose these as our main targets: water, transport, paper, catering and recycling, but added a few more on when possible.

We handed out Hat Trick recyclable water bottles to all crew and artists and supplied water coolers at unit base and on set for easy refills. We used low emission/hybrid vehicles for unit cars, taxis and couriers and asked all where possible to comply with a ‘no idling’ rule. We emailed out all call sheets, schedules and movement orders as a minimum and avoided printing whenever possible. Our caterers supplied crockery and stainless steel cutlery and sourced as locally as possible. We had clearly marked recycling bins throughout the unit base and set. We donated items left over from the shoot to The Refugee Council.

Introducing new initiatives on a production will always be a bit more time consuming to begin with; there’s a certain amount of measuring usage which can take time and time spent researching greener options. But as people get used to these practices over the months and come to view them as the norm it’ll all bed in I’m sure.

It was cost neutral. There were savings on paper, water bottles and fuel for sure, but these would have been offset by bringing in the water coolers, additional time for washing up the crockery and cutlery etc.

Change in itself can be difficult and some aspects of the production cannot be changed. For example, because we were shooting at numerous and various locations across a seven week period, we couldn’t rely on a mains power supply (to eliminate use of the Genny). Being at the mercy of the British weather we couldn’t be sure we could always use low energy lighting, but our Lighting Dept did try to implement these as much as possible.

Posted 25 February 2016 by Jon Creamer

Shooting starts on second series of The Missing

Filming has commenced on a second series of the 8-part thriller, The Missing.

Produced by New Pictures in association with Two Brothers Pictures for BBC One and Starz, The Missing will once again be written by Harry and Jack Williams, with Series 2 being directed in its entirety by Ben Chanan (Cyberbully, The Last Kingdom).

Tchéky Karyo will reprise his role as detective Julien Baptiste as The Missing returns with a new case, new characters and a new location. The series follows Sam and Gemma, played by David Morrissey (The Walking Dead, Extant) and Keeley Hawes (Line of Duty, The Casual Vacancy, The Durrells), whose daughter Alice went missing in 2003. In 2014, a young British woman stumbles through the streets of her German hometown and collapses. Her name is Alice Webster, played by newcomer Abigail Hardingham (Nina Forever), and she has been missing for 11 years. Alice’s return sends shockwaves through the small community. Told in dual timelines, flitting between 2014 and the present day, we follow Alice’s family as they are thrown back into a turmoil that threatens to tear them apart at the seams. When French missing person’s detective, Julien Baptiste, races across Europe to pursue a 12-year-old case that he never let die, we begin to explore the murky morality and emotional complexity of what happens when the missing child you've been longing to return comes back.

Tchéky Karyo, David Morrissey and Keeley Hawes are joined by Roger Allam (Endeavour, Tamara Drewe); Laura Fraser (Breaking Bad, Peter & Wendy, One of Us); Anastasia Hille (Show White and the Huntsman, Prey); Lia Williams (The Crown, The Foreigner); Abigail Hardingham; Jake Davies (X + Y, Yen); Florian Bartholomäi (Deutschland 83, Smaragdgrün, Tatort-Taxi nach Leipzig); and Daniel Ezra (Murdered by My Boyfriend, Blood Cells).

Harry and Jack Williams, writers (Two Brothers Pictures), said; “While we were writing the first series, we began talking about what the show would have been had Oliver Hughes been found. This story grew out of that discussion. It’s the other side of the coin to series 1 – an exploration of loss, of freedom, of how the past can shape the present in myriad ways that we cannot fully understand. It’s bigger, more ambitious, and we’re delighted to have such a brilliantly talented cast joining Julien Baptiste for a new case.”

Willow Grylls, Executive Producer for New Pictures, said; “I am so proud to have such a high calibre of cast attached to this project and, with the genius of Harry and Jack Williams’ scripts, I know the audience will be gripped to this series just as much as they were to the first. And the beloved Julien Baptiste is back! I am also thrilled to have the wonderful Ben Chanan as director leading the charge, telling the story as it twists and turns over two time frames. The Missing series two will be just as thrilling, heart wrenching and character driven as you’d hope it to be. ”

Polly Hill, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, said; “The success of series one and response from the audience was incredible, and I am extremely excited for what the second series holds. Harry and Jack Williams have delivered compelling original scripts yet again, this time with a completely new case from a different perspective. David Morrissey and Keeley Hawes are two of the finest actors in the country and we are thrilled to have them on board.”

Starz Managing Director Carmi Zlotnik said, “The talented Williams’ brothers take us on a thrilling journey in this next installment with a new story, characters and locations that ultimately explores what happens when the missing child you've been searching for comes home,” said Starz Managing Director Carmi Zlotnik. “We are thrilled to continue this limited series and collaboration with the BBC, New Pictures and Playground.”

The first series of The Missing received four BAFTA Television Awards nominations, two Golden Globe® nominations, and a nomination at both the Critics’ Choice Television Awards and the Primetime Emmy Awards.

The executive producers are Willow Grylls, Charlie Pattinson and Elaine Pyke for New Pictures, Harry and Jack Williams for Two Brothers Pictures, Polly Hill for the BBC, Eurydice Gysel for Czar TV, and Jan Vrints and Colin Callender. Producer is Julian Stevens. Series 2 was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Controller, BBC TV Channels and iPlayer, and Polly Hill, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning and will consist of eight 60-minute episodes.

The Missing is produced by New Pictures in association with Two Brothers Pictures, co-produced with Czar TV, VRT, and BNP Paribas Fortis Film Finance and is filmed with the support of the Belgium federal government’s Tax Shelter scheme. The Missing is supported by the Screen Flanders economic fund, under the aegis of Economic Affairs Minister Philippe Muyters and Cultural Affairs Minister Sven Gatz. The second series will transmit on BBC One in the UK and STARZ in the US. All3media international retains all US rights not obtained by Starz. All3media International handles overseas sales for the show. The Missing has sold into over 170 territories to date.

Posted 18 February 2016 by Jon Creamer

Report: the top ten rental cameras in the UK

Televisual’s annual top 10 listing of the UK’s most hired cameras is now in its tenth year. Jon Creamer counts down the most rented models of 2015, and reveals the models everyone will be after in the year ahead

It’s the fourth year in a row that the Canon C300 has topped our list of the most hired cameras.

Its staying power is derived from the factual TV market’s desire for a large sensor camera at a price that’s right (an average day rate of £139 according to our survey). But its popularity is under attack from its big rival, Sony’s FS7.

That camera is placed second this time and seems to be the model with the momentum. “At the start of 2015, Canon’s C300 was by far our most popular camera to hire,” says Shift 4’s Alex Trezies. “Sony’s release of the PXW-FS7 saw that change however, with the FS7 taking over a large chunk of C300 work.”

Canon’s update, the C300 Mk2 is building slowly but, say many in the hire business, it’s not eclipsed the Sony FS7 yet. Have C300 users gone over to the FS7 never to return? The C300 Mk2 sits just outside the top ten this year, how far will it rise through 2016?

Arri’s Amira and Alexa Mini have been a big success. The Mini is the camera highest on the shopping list of the hire companies for 2016 with the Amira and C300 Mk2 a close second. The Mini in particular has been a revelation. Arri may have intended it to be a gimble/drone camera, but it’s lightweight nature and image quality are seeing it being used as a cheaper, more flexible Alexa. The Amira too is proving extremely popular, and is also used as another alternative Alexa.

How the survey works
At the beginning of the year, Televisual sent survey forms to a wide range of camera hire companies, both large and small. Each was asked to list their five most rented cameras of 2015, along with the percentage of hires each model received. An overall ranking of the UK’s most rented models was then created by multiplying the average percentage usage of each model by how many hire companies listed it in their top five. Many thanks to the 21 hire companies who took part.


Average Day Rate £139
hired from 247, Alias Hire, Bluefin, HotCam, New Day, Procam, Pro Motion, Run Hire, S+O, Shift 4, Shooting Partners, The Kit Room, Visual Impact, VMI
hired for World’s Weirdest Homes (247kit), Steve Reich, Lucky Man (New Day), The Jump, Disappearing Britain, Classic Car Rescue, Wild Things (Procam), Unreported World, The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door, Walking the Himalayas, Mega Structures (Pro Motion), Pampered Pooches, Nadia, The Day Everest Shook (Run Hire), Off Their Rockers, Marriage at First Sight (S+O), The Voice, Hunted (Shooting Partners), Posh Pawn, Benefits Street, Bake Off Christmas Special (Visual Impact), Jabra Commercial, Secret Lives of Students (VMI)

The large sensor look at a keen price means the C300 still reigns supreme but Sony’s FS7 is taking a large chunk of that market now. “We thought the FS7 was the end of this camera but it’s still going strong,” notes  Visual Impact’s Nick Hill. The C300 Mk2 may win that share back but it’s still early days for the updated model which is just outside the top ten this year.


Average Day Rate

hired from 247, Alias Hire, Bluefin, Decode, Direct Photographic, Finepoint, HotCam, New Day, Onsight, Pro Vision, Procam, Pro Motion, Run Hire, S+O, Shift 4, Shooting Partners, The Kit Room, Visual Impact, VMI

hired for Dog Rescue (247kit), London Fashion Week (Finepoint), Okinawa (New Day), Doctor in the House, Meet The Roman Empire, Free Ride, Best Before (Procam), Age of Loneliness, Lord of the Fries, Summertime Ball (Pro Motion), Cameraman to the Queen, Car Wars, Animal Births (Pro Vision), BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words (Run Hire), FIFA 2016 (S+O), Made Over By, Famous, Rich & Homeless (Shooting Partners), Britain’s Wildest Weather, Britain’s Busiest Airport: Heathrow (The Kit Room), River Monsters, Wildest Tribes (Visual Impact)

The ‘C300 killer’ has been a big hit since launch. It has “shaken the camera world and is rapidly becoming the go-to camera,” says Run Hire’s Simon Hotchkin. Pro Vision’s Danny Howarth points to the “flexibility of on board codecs” as a big reason. “With the FS7, Sony managed – finally – to regain its footing in the mainstream, factual market,” says The Kit Room’s Rosemary Hill.


Average Day Rate
hired from Decode, No Drama, Onsight, Procam, Pro Motion. Pro Vision, S+O, Shift 4, Video Europe, Visual Impact, VMI
hired for Legacy: The 2015 Rugby World Cup (Onsight), Strictly Come Dancing Xmas Special, McCafe ads, Shark Week (Procam), Storyville, Horizon, Obsession, Future Sounds (Pro Motion), Hank Zipzer, This is England 90, Alan Carr (Pro Vision), Jamie’s Super Food, A Grand Night In: The Story of Aardman, Friday Night Feast, Drunk History (S+O), Travelman, Superdry, Plimsoll Cats (Visual Impact), The Jesus Code, BBC World’s End (VMI)

It’s been a big hit and Procam’s Paul Sargeant says “new kid on the block” the Arri Amira is “taking market share from its big brother the Alexa within the TV market rather than the Sony F55 which people expected.” Which ever camera is losing out to it, the Amira has become the “go to camera for high quality broadcasting,” says S+O’s Olly Wiggins. “The high daily hire rate doesn’t hinder its popularity. This is a clear sign that well shot, well produced television will always stand out, regardless of budgetary constraints.


Average Day Rate £667
hired from Decode, No Drama, Onsight, Pro Vision, Video Europe, VMI
hired for Sky Creative, Cherry Films, Passion Pictures, Warp Films (No Drama), Toast of London, Professor Branestawm Returns (Onsight), Beowulf, An Inspector Calls, 
Home Fires 2, Cradle to Grave (Pro 
Vision), Midsomer Murders, Friday Night Dinner (VMI)

Still the camera of choice for drama, but there’s a feeling that new additions to the Arri family will dent its popularity. “A lot of shoots suit Alexa Mini (for the versatility) and increasingly XT for the 4:3 sensor for use with anamorphic lenses,” says Onsight’s Sam Higham. Shift 4’s Alex Trezies says: “The versatility and cheaper price tag of the Amira has negatively affected Alexa work.” That’s because, says Pro Vision’s Danny Howarth, “the expansion of the Arri family has made the ‘Alexa look’ available to the wider production community.” And, says Decode’s Tony Shocash “as soon as the Alexa SXT comes out it will be a complete wipe out of any other camera for the high end market.”


Average Day Rate £235
hired from Finepoint, HotCam, New Day, Pro Motion, Video Europe
hired for FA Cup, Rugby World Cup (Finepoint), Rugby World Cup, CBS 60 Minutes (New Day), Mission Survive S2, MyGration, Running Wild (Pro Motion)

Discontinued a while back now, but the Sony PDW F800 is still considered an industry workhorse and is regularly hired for a variety of uses but particularly for multi-camera series where the workflow and archive-able disc offer financial and time benefits.


Average Day Rate £259
hired from Bluefin, HotCam, New Day, Onsight, Procam, Pro Motion, Pro Vision, S+O, Shift 4, Visual Impact
hired for Team Sky, Sydney Opera House (New Day), Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle (Onsight), Surprise, Surprise, Landscape Artist of the Year, Derren Brown, Pushed to the Edge (Procam), Mission Survive, Orca Waves – live music, Jimmy Carr – live show (Pro Motion), Ennio Morricone DVD, Hateful Eight (S+O), Ruby World Cup (The Kit Room), Dance Moms, Mafia with Trevor McDonald, Animal Births (Pro Vision), Big Fish, Gorilla Family and Me (Visual Impact). 


Average Day Rate £579
hired from Decode, No Drama, Onsight, New Day, Visual Impact
hired for Apple Pay HSBC (New Day), Ink Films,, G&B&Co (No Drama), Teletubbies, The Martian (Onsight), Japan, Patagonia, Wild West, Alaska, New Zealand (Visual Impact) 

A favourite among ad directors, it’s “unrivalled for high resolution glossy imagery,” says James Jones at No Drama. “The combination of a Dragon and Master Primes is unbeatable for this sort of work.” It’s a camera that’s in big demand for VR shoots too, says Sam Higham at Onsight.


Average Day Rate £187
hired from Alias Hire, Bluefin, Direct Photographic, S+O, Shooting Partners, The Kit Room, VMI
hired for Great American Railway Journey (Alias Hire), Don’t Tell The Bride, Almost Royal 2, Desi Rascals 2 (S+O), The Voice (Shooting Partners)

“The Sony F5 has become the popular multi camera system,” says S+O’s Olly Wiggins.Because of its “small file sizes,great recording options, it is lightweight and it fits all budgets without any visual trade offs.” The danger for the camera is that with so many of its features now also catered for with the FS7,  will demand for the F5 be hit?


Average Day Rate £101
hired from Finepoint, Hotcam, Run Hire, The Kit Room
hired for Horror Homes, ITV’s Trawlermen Tales

“The XF-305 is still a dominant workhorse, and the C300 isn’t far behind,” says Simon Hotchkin of Run Hire. “Both are still proving to be the favourites for many productions.” The XF-305 has been around for quite while now having been introduced by Canon in 2010. Its popularity is dropping but it’s still a firm favourite. Not all that surprising when budgets are getting squeezed. It remains a low cost option for the self shooter.


Average Day Rate £475
hired from No Drama, Pro Vision, Video Europe
hired for Jellylegs, Sky Creative, Swallows & Amazons, ITV Creative, Joyrider Films (No Drama), Home Fires, Beowulf (Pro Vision)

Launched by Arri as an “Alexa for gimbles”, it’s being used much more widely and “rapidly became more than a gimbal camera, used across a variety of productions for its lightweight nature and image quality,” says Pro Motion’s Duncan Martin. “DoP’s are very impressed and not just because it’s a winner with gimbles, drones and Steadicam,” says Procam’s Paul Sargeant.

Posted 18 February 2016 by Jon Creamer

OB in 2016: Has the 4K future arrived?

2015 saw new 4K tech come online and all outside broadcast operators are now gearing up for the UHD future but there are still problems to iron out. Jon Creamer reports 

2016 looks like the year when live 4K production will come fully into the mainstream.

BT Sport has already launched its UHD channel and with Sky’s new Q Box on the way, the demand for content will leap considerably.

All OB facilities providers are gearing up to meet that demand armed with the kit now available to make it happen.

Back in the day
Because 4K live production has moved on considerably in the past year. 12 months ago, there was little kit designed specifically to deal with capturing live sport and events in 4K with solutions cobbled together from 4K cinematography.

“Previously the most widely used solution was to use the single sensor Sony PMW-F55 with a fibre converter. While this ‘worked’ it wasn’t ideal as it gave a shallow depth of field that’s not desirable for sports production,” says Duncan Payne, sales manager at WTS Broadcast.

The solutions available were all rather “awkward” says Adam Berger, general manager of CTV OB. “With cameras like the Sony F55 and F65 you’re taking a digital cinematography camera with all the baggage that comes with that – the lenses, additional people to make sure it all works, technology to get it to interface to an OB truck.” And although it was a workflow that worked “it wasn’t good for sport. The lenses being used were shallow depth of field lenses. You needed a focus puller and it’s difficult to put a focus puller on a golf course or at a cricket match.”

But the latter half of 2015 saw the launch of a whole range of kit from major manufacturers that was dedicated to making 4K live production a much smoother experience.

“We’re now seeing the next generation of cameras come through,” says David O’Carroll, head of technology at Presteigne Broadcast Hire. The Sony HDC-4300 and Grass Valley’s LDX Universe, cameras with 2/3” sensors both came to the market in 2015. “This single development has made the acquisition stage much simpler,” says WTS Broadcast’s Payne. And the lenses have also launched to back those cameras up, Fujinon launched its UHD 4k 2/3 inch 80:1 box and 22:1 ENG lens and Canon has similarly brought its own UHD lenses to the party. “Now we’re getting to a point where the acquisition tools are comparable to what people were used to in an HD world,” says Presteigne’s O’Carroll.

Timeline was first out of the trap with most of this new technology when it launched its UHD truck for BT Sport’s new UHD channel back in June last year. Its truck, billed as the first purpose built Ultra HD 4K outside broadcast unit in Europe, ended up taking on the very first of much of this technology as it rolled off the production line. And it’s come online with surprisingly few hiccups, says Timeline’s head of operations, Nick Buckley who says that running a UHD OB has now “become commonplace. We’ve done 40 now. There are no major issues and they happen just like any other OB now.” And the new gear, despite having serial number 001 stamped on it, “worked pretty much right out of the box. Certainly the Sony 4300s did. And Fujinon delivered some amazing lenses right on time. Snell [SAM] too with the vision mixer.”

But there’s still a way to go. NEP Visions, after the fire that engulfed its Bracknell base in November, has had to speed up its upgrade plans as some equipment was lost. “For very apparent reasons we’ve had to accelerate our equipment purchase and replacement schedules rather rapidly so 4K is obviously a very important element of that,” says Brian Clark, sales director at Visions. “The key is making it future proof but there’s still a lot to thrash out - record mediums, archive, workflows, small cameras, radio cameras - all that stuff is still not 100% firmed up.”

Which way now?
Many others buying into the 4K world similarly find themselves “at a slightly awkward juncture,” as Richard Yeowart, md of Arena puts it. “We’re rolling out three UHD trucks next year, the first one will be ready in March and we have been waiting for the technology to settle. Even now we’ve been surprised how much we’re having to push the envelope to get the solutions we want in place.”  And much is still to be decided upon, “it’s not 100% clear right now which HDR version will make it into the mass market” for instance.

And there are plenty of other unanswered questions when it comes to live 4K. “The areas with ground to cover is on EVS and editing and super slow-mos,” says Timeline’s Buckley. “We haven’t really got a good super slow-mo system yet. In the HD world you’re used to being able to turn them around on EVS and get a fantastic quick slow-mo. You can’t really do that on 4K yet, the cameras can’t run that fast but I’m sure that’ll come over the 12 to 24 months.” EVS video server technology is also an issue with such a massive amount of extra data to crunch. “When you go to 4K, suddenly the machine loses functionality.”

All these technologies will catch up, but it could be a while yet. And, says Presteigne’s O’Carroll, “we’re beginning to see more of the less glamorous things come along now - the waveform monitors, the LUT boxes that will support 50P, monitors that are able to support wider colour spaces - those are only just beginning to come to market but quite a long way behind cameras and lenses.”

Looking backwards
But making sure you’re ready for the 4K revolution is only one part of the story for OB providers. “As a facilities provider for various companies we’ve got to react but you’ve also got to double check back compatibility,” says NEP’s Clark. “As we step into 4K you’ve got make sure you can still transmit in HD and you’ve still got to consider SD and at the moment you’re considering SD, in some parts of Europe you still have to consider Pal or the equivalent. There are a lot of elements to this that complicate the picture.”

UHD will become more and more available but “legacy is very important,” says Arena’s Yeowart. “There will be a massive spread in the next few years with people quite happily enjoying the content in SD and others wanting to have UHD. We’ve got to cater for both ends of the market. Legacy viewers don’t want the quality of the coverage to be compromised in any way so you need to come up with a truck design that allows us to simulcast in different outputs without the viewer getting upset. Even now we’re waiting for one or two solutions to come to market.”

The IP future
Moving the extra amounts of data around that 4K production involves is also an issue that needs to be solved. “The other difficulty is the signal path for 4K is a quad feed,” says CTV’s Berger who is currently upgrading to 4K. “The development of 4K over IP is something we’re looking at and seeing how that develops further and whether it’s practical in a live environment.”

Because while QuadHD is currently the most prevalent solution for moving the extra data around. It’s a short-term solution at best. “Ultimately IP seems the big next step, particularly in an OB environment where the last thing any OB truck owner wants is a heavier truck,” says WTS Broadcast’s Payne. “QuadHD can add up to 80% to the video cabling, conceivably QuadHD could add anything up to half a tonne of additional weight on to a major OB truck.”

Richard Yeowart at Arena is soon to come to market with his new 4K capable trucks that will jump over QuadHD. “We’re calling it UHD 2.0. We’re trying to miss out the standard dynamic range QuadHD version of it because we don’t think that will be very long lived. If we get the IP infrastructure right then it’s almost beyond Ultra HD because IP infrastructure will support everything up to 8k.” But it’s a big leap. “I’ve been doing this job for 25 years now and this is the hardest push we’ve had in terms of technology change. Everyone got very excited when we went to HD and all of a sudden we’re throwing all those bits of copper out of the window and everything is going down IP and fibre.”

Remote production
While 4K live production is the revolution that is happening right now, there’s another on the horizon. Whereas traditionally large teams and huge quantities of kit are sent to an event with the various camera feeds mixed and just a single broadcast feed sent back to base, the promise of remote production is that all camera feeds would be pumped back to network centre with production decisions made there. Fewer personnel and less kit would need to be sent out into the field. “It’s definitely a very hot topic in the costs that it drives,” says Presteigne’s O’Carroll. “It allows you to use a control room multiple times a day from different locations and that’s a very attractive proposition.”

The sticking point so far is simply the vast amounts of data that would need to be pumped back to a network centre and the costs that would entail. Newer compression codecs will mean more data can be pushed down smaller pipes but right now “You’ve got to save a lot of money on the production process when you consider what you have to pay in connectivity,” says Timeline’s Buckley.

And in the UK, geography means the costs savings of not sending as much crew and kit acroos the country would not be all that huge, says CTV’s Berger. There’s also the issue of “the reliability and the resilience of telecoms network in the UK which is not as powerful as America or the Far East”

And with UHD on the horizon, connectivity costs become an even bigger hurdle. “It’s a massive amount of bandwidth if you’re working in Ultra HD HDR and trying to send those 30 feeds back,” says Arena’s Yeowart. The problems are not insurmountable though and productions are already being run in this way. “If it’s pretty basic coverage and you’re doing six or seven camera coverage at a Football League ground and you’re having to do blanket coverage of the whole league then I can see the value in that,” says Berger.

For big events though, it’s not necessarily the tech that’s the sticking point, more the desire of the production team to buy in. “It’s whether there’s a will from the production people to be 300 miles away from their talent and the match,” says Berger. “That’s a change of production culture.” The drive for remote production will have to come from the rights holders at the top, not the technology.

MOTO GP for BT Sport

Timeline Television and BT Sport designed and built the first purpose built Ultra HD 4K outside broadcast unit in Europe.

The unit was built to provide content for the new BT Sport Ultra HD channel that started in August. The first UHD broadcast was the Community Shield and UHD events to be covered include UEFA Champions League, Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and Aviva Premiership Rugby.   

The unit contains the worlds first Sony 4300 2/3 inch UHD 4K cameras, Sony UHD 4K PWS-4400 server, the worlds first Fujinon UHD 4k 2/3 inch 80:1 box and 22:1 ENG lenses, Snell Kahuna UHD 4K vision mixer and Sirius router, Axon signal processing equipment & Axon Cerebrum control system,  EVS XT3 UHD 4K servers, Grass Valley Kaleido-Modular-X multiviewers & Belden cable.

“One of the key things we needed for a sports based UHD service was 2/3 inch chip cameras and corresponding lenses, both the long box lenses and the shorter lenses,” says Andy Beale, chief engineer at BT Sport. “We worked with Fuji testing their early lenses all the way through our test programme through early 2015. We’ve used the lenses on a wide range of sports on football on rugby and on the MotoGP. The picture they give is fantastic. We couldn’t deliver a genuine UHD experience without this next generation of glass. MotoGP at Silverstone was the first time we’d covered really fast moving content. We were nervous before we got there about possible motion blur artifacts but in fact the picture quality and the motion representation that the HDC 4300 gave us was phenomenal. The picture was movie quality pristine sharp and in focus.

Ikegami’s 8K truck for NHK

While the world gears up for broadcasting live events in 4K, over in Japan the ability to transmit those same events in 8K is currently in development.

Back in September, Ikegami completed what it describes as the world’s first 8K OB production vehicle.

The new vehicle is designed to operate as a complete mobile 8K broadcast production facility complete with 22.2 channel surround sound.

In Japan, the road map for 8K broadcasting announced by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has decided that trial broadcast transmissions will be starting in 2016 at the Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro. Regular 8K broadcast services are planned to begin in 2018.

The 8K OB vehicle was delivered to NHK in September 2015. It can handle up to 10 8K cameras such as the Ikegami SHV-8000 and SHK-810, which can be connected to a 16 inputs, 4 outputs, 1 mix/effects switcher.

NEP: Remote cloud production

DutchView Infostrada, part of the NEP group, launched its IP-based video production platform Cloud Production late last year.

On 22 November the TV show Carlo’s TV Café was broadcast on RTL4, a leading Dutch commercial TV channel, using remote-controlled Cloud Production. NEP are billing it as the first live broadcast to be televised using cloud-based technology. The day afer, Voetbal Inside was broadcast on RTL7 and was produced in the same way.

Cloud Production centralises resources so that they can be shared more efficiently and used across productions. The technology and teams can be used across multiple productions every day, “It was quite exciting to be the first shows ever to be aired live in the Cloud,” said Mark de Vink, Business Manager at RTL Netherlands Productions. “Cloud Production is more efficient than any other solution. We only use the resources that are strictly necessary for the duration of the recording. Because of centralised resources we need significantly fewer crew members on location, which also greatly reduces travel and accommodation costs.”

The studio location and all essential parts of Cloud Production were connected via IP network connections. All connections used DutchView Infostrada’s own fibre optic network to connect to its data centre in Hilversum, where the technology was housed. NEP say the new Cloud Production suite gives the same control over the production process as with traditional productions. Depending on the type of production, the director can either direct from a location near the studio or from the new central directing, audio and shading suites.

Posted 08 February 2016 by Jon Creamer
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