Al Ruwad TV is a new launch that joins the growing number of channels broadcasting from Dubai. Advanced Media was contracted to execute it as a turnkey project in a rather short period of time. Vibhuti Arora brings you details of how the SI executed this relatively small, yet challenging project
A new Arabic-language TV channel, Al Ruwad TV, was recently set up in Dubai and joins the growing number of TV channels broadcasting from the emirate. The independently owned channel started streaming live on social media platforms from July this year and is presently in talks with satellite companies for transmission deals.
Commenting on the project execution, Musbah Abdallah, General Manager, Al Ruwad TV, says: “We wanted to set up an entertainment and current affairs TV channel but we had a limited time frame and approached Advanced Media to build the channel for us. We required a small studio set-up where we could have the flexibility to do live programming as well as playback of the recorded content. As time was a major constraint, we wanted an SI who would take complete charge of the project and deliver it within the stipulated time. Advanced Media achieved that and handed over the channel to us in two months, enabling us to start operations immediately.”
Al Ruwad TV is a single TV channel capable of full HD transmission in live and production environments, and the project involved building a complete HD channel infrastructure.
Advanced Media, a well-established distributor of broadcast equipment in the region, has been expanding its scope of work to execute small- to mid-sized projects as a systems integrator. This project is a step further in that direction as the company diversifies its business to handle turnkey integration projects as well.
“The dynamics of broadcast industry are changing fast and you have to keep abreast of the pace in order to thrive and compete,” says Alaa Rantisi, Head of Video Division at Advanced Media.
“We no longer want to limit ourselves to being distributors and resellers but want to expand our scope of work to cover other aspects of the industry too. We are branching out into systems integration and took this up as a challenge to test our capabilities in the field. I am glad to say that we delivered the goods and hope to execute more such projects.”
It was a small yet challenging project for the company, mainly because of the tight timeline.
Fahad Hasan, Project Manager at Advanced Media, comments: “This project was challenging not for its scale but for the tight timeline. We built this channel from scratch. We were involved in the project all the way from design and implementation to execution and delivery. Sourcing equipment, setting it up and making sure everything worked in perfect condition, as well as training the staff, were all part of our remit.”
Al Ruwad TV operates out of a small studio facility in Dubai, and boasts a PCR and an MCR equipped to produce talk shows, and health- and sports-related documentaries. A separate equipment rack room was also built for the channel.
“It’s a relatively small facility where the floor includes a studio, a control room and a server/rack room. To save time, we started the rack assembly even before we received the equipment. The video and audio patch panels were fixed and marked, and the video cable patching was also completed within the rack and studio ahead of time. This is not the case usually, as it is extremely difficult to patch cables without the availability of actual equipment; however, due to time constraints, we adopted this approach, and it worked perfectly,” Hasan explains.
The fully redundant channel comprises three Sony HDC-1700 camera systems, Sony XDCAM servers, a Sony 2M/E production switcher, Ross glue and routers, a Yamaha audio mixer, Pebble Beach Systems’ Stingray channel-in-a-box playout and automation as well as Pixel Power production graphics.
The studio boasts a Lite Panels Astra 1×1 day light and a Sola 6 Fresnel day light, alongside a mix and match of key and fill lights fully controlled through a Strand mixing console. The channel operates on XDCAM HD as the native file format.
The channel’s audio centres on a Yamaha DM1000VCM digital mixing console, along with a mix of Sennheiser radio microphones and Sony wired microphones. A Sonifex telephone hybrid system has been installed at the facility for audio monitoring. With regards to communication and talk back, the system runs on the RTS matrix system, its relevant remote panels and an IFB system.
Pixel Power LogoVision is deployed to meet a wide range of automated graphics playout and channel branding needs. LogoVision was selected to achieve 24/7 mission critical reliable, unattended operation of graphics as it fully automates graphics playout and integrates seamlessly with automation systems.
“Choosing the right equipment in the given budget and time was critical to the success of this project. Stingray, for instance, is suited for quick deployment and offers a host of features that meet the end user’s requirement.
“We had several meetings with the end user to understand their requirement so as to provide them with the best solution. We went back and forth a few times to pick the best options within our scope. The manufacturers were of great help too, as they got involved and helped us in achieving the client’s vision.
“The training was only partially applied at the time of handover, as a major part of it was suspended as per the customer’s request. We expect this to begin by the end of this month,” adds Hasan.
The channel staff will be trained for operations on the vision mixer, the camera systems, graphics and playout.
Hasan says that the project has been implemented with help from the manufacturers.
“Pebble Beach Systems and Pixel Power offered us support all through the project. Pebble Beach Systems has already conducted the commissioning as well as training for the Stingray system. We intend to support Al Ruwad TV with extended training for the same. Also, at a later stage, once the customer is ready and willing, we shall have the training available from Pixel Power for the Logo Vision system,” Hasan explains.
The studio involves a typical file-based workflow where XDCAM HD is used as the native file format with the MXF wrapper. Content acquisitions from Sony cameras and IRDs are sent to Sony’s file-based recorder and G-tech storage. Pixel Power Logo Vision takes care of editing, post production and graphics. And finally, the content is played out from Pebble Beach’s Stingray.
The project was handed over to the client in two months, Fahad informs.
Emphasising the importance of time in the success of this project, Rantisi adds: “Time management was key in the execution of this project as the client demanded that. Presently, the final stage of customer training is underway. We are very happy and proud of what we achieved with this small but important project, by way of thorough planning and step-by-step implementation.”