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Newzroom Afrika goes live with Absen

Newzroom Afrika goes live with Absen

Newzroom Afrika goes live with Absen

South Africa:

Newzroom Afrika is a brand-new channel on Multi-Choice’s DStv satellite pay-TV service that went live earlier this year in time for the South African elections. In order to start broadcasting, however, the channel required a brand-new set to be constructed at its premises in Linden. Designed by Michael Gill Designs (MGD) and built by the Gearhouse Group’s Sets Drapes Screens (SDS) division, the studio was supplied with a selection of equipment from DWR, including Absen DW 2.9 LED panels, a Green Hippo Boreal+ and dot2 lighting console.

‘The project was very exciting,’ recalled Michael Gill of MGD. ‘The mindset behind Newzroom Afrika is that news breaks on your telephone these days and not always on TV. With an emphasis on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp, the idea is to link what is on your phone to the studio, hence screens were an important part of the set brief.’

The Newzroom Afrika studio is 20m x 20m and 4.5m-high. There was initially a deliberation on which screens to use. Projection was considered but it lacked the high-resolution quality on camera. The producers required that there be had to be no pixelation when filming 2.5m away from the screen. ‘It was imperative that we had the correct screen in regards to the moiré effect,’ said Roxanne Dare from Newzroom Afrika. ‘While I had been advised to rent a screen for a month because we were going live, DWR not only delivered on time, but it was far less expensive than what we had been quoted on by other suppliers.’

‘Ryan Toerien, a consultant on the install, phoned me and asked if he could bring his camera to our office,’ added DWR’s Duncan Riley. ‘He arrived, measured the 2.5m distance and did some tests to see if the Absen screen would work. He said it was the best results he’d had so far.’

The Absen Screens have three MCTRL 4K Processors fed from three Calibre LedView770SV scalers and Green Hippo Boreal+ sitting at its heart. Dylan Jones took care of the Green Hippo Boreal+ install and training. The Hippotizer has four SDI inputs, allowing content from the main studio to be routed onto the screens in the studio as a picture-in-picture or background using multiple layers pre-programmed on the MA Lighting dot2 console. The lighting design was by Joshua Cutts of Visual Frontier and Paula Modise, who programmed on the new dot2.

‘In the first weeks, there were mainly close-up shots, as all the directors were concentrating on getting the content on-air,’ explains Gill. ‘But now, some months later, they are exploring and starting to use the set to its full potential. One of the outstanding features of Newzroom Afrika is their vibrant team of graphic artists who produce visuals daily and which changes the look of the set consistently.’

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