In exclusive interviews with Vijaya Cherian, Samer Younes, consultant engineer for the Television Support Development Committee of Qatar; Fahad Essa Al Kaabi of Al Jazeera Arabic and Karim Abdel Massih of Oasis Enterprises, talk about the state-of-the-art lighting technologies deployed at four TV studios in Qatar As you drive down the streets of Qatar and […]
In exclusive interviews with Vijaya Cherian, Samer Younes, consultant engineer for the Television Support Development Committee of Qatar; Fahad Essa Al Kaabi of Al Jazeera Arabic and Karim Abdel Massih of Oasis Enterprises, talk about the state-of-the-art lighting technologies deployed at four TV studios in Qatar
As you drive down the streets of Qatar and watch the landscape flicker past in a haze of dust, you are as much likely to be struck by how this country has retained its uniqueness and escaped from an overdose of urbanism while also having launched an iconic brand such as Al Jazeera. Equally incongruous is the quiet and rather unassuming compound of Qatar Media Corporation, which houses the likes of Al Jazeera and Qatar TV. Its not until you step into their facilities that you become aware of the sophistication of their operations.
BroadcastPro Middle East had the exclusive opportunity to tour four of the studios within the compound two brand new studios built for Qatar TV, a new studio for Al Jazeera Sport and the networks Arabic studio. What all of these facilities have in common is brand new, state-of-the-art lighting technologies. Broadcast lighting specialist and systems integrator Oasis Enterprises was responsible for procuring and integrating the lighting at each of these four studios. The shining star among the four studios is Qatar TVs brand new 1100 sqm studio, thought to be one of the largest in the MENA region and equipped with some of the latest lighting technologies in the world.
The brand new studio is part of a multi-million dollar project undertaken by Qatar Media Corporation to revamp Qatar TV (QTV) in its entirety and undertake a couple of new launches as well under the QTV umbrella.
The finishing touches are also being put to a brand new 5000 sqm building that will be the home of Qatar TV in a few months. The building will house 21 HD edit suites, we are told. On the ground floor of the building, we had a sneak peak of a second brand new news centre that will be utilised for the channels news programming. An earth station QTVs first was also delivered in Summer 2012 as part of this project. Several new people are being hired to man the operations at the new facility.
Qatar TV has plans to bring new programmes to the market and launch more channels, confirms consultant engineer for the project at Qatar TV, Samer Younes.
It required a new facility that would enable it to undertake its ambitious vision of creating better content, providing better news coverage and so on. Before, they were limited to two small studios with analogue systems. We have now put in place a full 3G/HD studio with file-based solutions and the best lighting system on the market to ensure that they are well armed to compete in the MENA marketplace. Besides the high-end Sony cameras in our studios, we have invested in RED cameras and have placed an order for some Blackmagic Design cameras as well to enable field productions.
The 1100 sqm studio is a massive facility that can accommodate four different sets at any given time. It has been fitted out with a whopping 196 hoists 166 motorised mini hoists and 30 scenery hoists from Desisti and 288 pantographs. More importantly, this studio is equipped with the latest LED fresnel lights and has been designed to accommodate varying productions for Qatar TV.
This is the only studio in the region to be equipped with such a large number of LED fresnel units and they are a brand new technology from DeSisti, says Karim Abdel Massih, lighting system manager – Professional Projects Division, Oasis Enterprises.
In addition, all of the hoists in this studio are motorised and each hoist has four outputs two dimmable and two non-dimmable circuits as well as a DMX data output to control intelligent fixtures. The scenery hoists have a self working load (SWL) of 181 kg with a maximum travel of 35 feet. Each of the four steel lifting cables are 4mm in diameter, constructed in (7 groups X 19 wires), with a breaking force on each wire rope of at least 1,200kgs. These are designed to lift heavy equipment in the studio such as decor, cars and so on that are required for different productions.
Besides this, Oasis has fitted out power boxes on the catwalk, and distributed them on the floor, the walls and behind the curtains.
The project took a month to complete and was delivered in July 2012.
The catwalk area for the studio has also been designed to enable technicians to service the luminaires, remove the hoists and undertake maintenance work without disrupting activities on the studio floor.
Oasis undertook the entire installation including the trunking, the infrastructure and even, the brackets to be connected to the high beams in the studio. The screws and the accessories were also shipped in from Rome. We were reluctant to use any local accessories as safety was our prime concern.
22 engineers and technicians worked to bring this project to fruition owing to the tight deadline.
Every detail has been carefully planned, adds consultant engineer for Qatar TV, Samer Younes.
Each hoist can be individually controlled as they are all motorised. The software allows our users to preset a specific set up for each application and you can just recall them based on what you need. This can be controlled with an iPod.
More importantly, the modularity of the ETC system makes replacement and maintenance easy.
We have installed 3×72 modules for this studio. To expand further, they just need to add another rack or replace the present one with a longer one, chips in Massih.
Younes adds that the new lighting technology makes it easier for QTVs operators as well.
The big advantage of these systems is that these hoists can be moved vertically as well as horizontally. Most other hoists only move vertically up and down so theres greater flexibility in terms of tracking. This is unique to this studio. We are also the only TV station in the Gulf to have installed LED profiles at our studio.
Qatar TV has also invested in a brand new 500sqm studio that is fitted with 100 mini hoists from DeSisti and a combination of Tungsten and LED Fresnel lights. The studio boasts a huge Barco wall and several Sony cameras.
All four studios have been equipped with rigging and luminaires from DeSisti and ETC dimming and consoles.
The lighting element is only one part of the larger picture at Qatar TV although it forms a substantial chunk of the end users investment. The rest of the elements including two OB vans, integration of the studios by Sony, MCRs by Grass Valley among others are gradually coming together for the big launch.
In the meantime, Oasis secured a deal to undertake the lighting projects at all three of Al Kass new studios in Qatar.