Feature: Strength in numbers
Feature: Strength in numbers
A new central location for the Turkuvaz Media Group in Istanbul prompted a complete outfit with SSP lighting
It might have been a long time coming, but the consolidation of all of Turkuvaz Media Group’s (TMG) disparate studio locations under a single roof in Istanbul couldn’t have been realised at a more crucial time. The broadcaster’s vast services include the operation of a diversified media house which owns a variety of television channels, radio stations, newspapers and magazines. Launched in 1993, its flagship channel, ATV, is one of the most popular in the country.
By moving its distributed television studios into a single location, the broadcaster has been able to future-proof its 4K capabilities as well as deploy new scalable systems for future growth. Having grown rapidly in recent years, TMG over-saturated its existing capacity. The new centre in Istanbul will therefore enable it to continue to grow at pace and maintain its position as a leading private media group in Turkey. As one of the biggest in the country with 300,000m2 of closed space in the new Istanbul building, TMG should be well provisioned for the foreseeable future.
The new ATV media centre is the first all-4K IP-based production centre in EMEA and spans multiple television studios and control rooms. TMG was looking to complement this with a move to the latest technology of all-LED-based lighting rigs. For such a big project, heavily reliant on tried-and-tested production techniques and equipment, the fact that these spaces have been entirely outfitted with the products of a boutique lighting and audio brand, SSP, is an impressive commendation of the brand.
The broadcaster’s selection of SSP fixtures was no simple feat for representative Dinakord Elektronik, which worked diligently to convince the client of the products’ worth through multiple demonstrations. “TMG’s technical team and the head of lighting already had a specific list of brands in mind when we first started discussions,” recalls Ari Cavusyan, procurement manager of Dinakord Elektronik. “However, we are fortunate that we enjoy a great relationship with most of the major broadcasters in Turkey, and also enjoy an existing relationship with TMG supplying entertainment lamps, lighting filters, microphones, flight cases and a variety of other AV equipment on a regular basis.”
One product at a time, Dinakord set about convincing TMG of the SSP offerings. “Step by step we were able to persuade them that these alternative solutions were more than suitable for their project,” explains Dinakord Elektronik’s project and sales executive, Esat Alpay. “We first met to show them the initial product data quite a long time ago now and then invited their engineers to our company to experience a demo. Later, we travelled to their old studios and assembled the products one by one so that they were able to see the real-life results and how they fit inside their production environment. This also allowed them to control the products first-hand as they would in a typical scenario, and properly experience how everything functions.”
Able to match the capabilities of more recognisable global brands, the choice to adopt SSP for the studio’s lighting infrastructure also provides some additional benefits. “SSP is the only brand in the Turkish market capable of offering such a wide range of products and we can also promise good stock availability,” notes Cavusyan. “The variety and the availability are both very important aspects when it comes to projects of the scale such as this one. Furthermore, the products are regularly updated. We are constantly improving them based on the new demands from the market and feedback from clients. As a result, all of these meetings went very well but the whole process took around two-and-a-half years in total since we first engaged with them.”
One obvious challenge to put a halt to processing was the impending global coronavirus outbreak. While Turkey did not lockdown to the same degree as many neighbouring countries, the final stages of the project were still heavily impacted. Originally, everything was due to be finished by the beginning of 2020 at the latest; however, the construction of the building as well as some other issues within the media group delayed the project slightly. They’ve been in a transition period for more or less the last year.
All-in-all, Dinakord Elektronik has equipped TMG’s ATV, A2, AHaber and ASpor television channel studios with well over 1,000 pieces of new SSP equipment, from washes to profiles, spots and variety of different LED effects fixtures such as pixel-controlled audience lights, wireless wall washes, smoke and fog machines and DMX infrastructure products. The new spaces include three main 1,500m2 studios where big competitions are typically held, in addition to eight medium-sized studios of 700m2 which are used predominantly for news and discussion programmes, and a multitude of small-sized studios averaging 100m2 and capable of performing unmanned shootings. Since the integration took place, one of Turkey’s popular TV shows, Kim Milyoner Olmak İste – a Turkish version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire – has begun broadcasting its newest season on ATV in the all-SSP-outfitted studios.
“The large studios have a high ceiling at a height of approximately 15m and can also be subdivided into smaller spaces,” explains Cavusyan. “Some of the products that we have supplied have been permanently integrated, particularly the wall-mounted lights such as the profiles, and so on. However, they also do a lot of exterior shooting and so they needed mobile products for that reason. Some of the moving heads and profiles are stored in TMG’s various locations and will be taken out to events as required.”
The Dinakord Elektronik team also went above and beyond to ensure that the products would match TMG’s demanding needs through the deployment of bespoke control software. This upgraded certain fixtures, such as OPTOPIX-MEGA LED bars, with a smoother colour transition. “This was created especially for this project,” shares Cavusyan. “We made a number of special developments to ensure that, while shooting, there will always be perfect colour transition within the item and there will not be any screen flicker, and so on. What made us especially happy is, although we could have completed this project with other brand items, like we did on the audio side, for the whole lighting demand we were approved using only SSP brand products.”
In addition to the large quantities of SSP fixtures, the team has provided a selection of audio equipment spread across the studios, including 44 Yamaha DBR10 loudspeakers for reinforcement, 30 BSS AR133 active DI boxes, 10 Shure P9HW wired in-ear bodypack personal monitors and a selection of more than 30 microphones, such as Beta 52A, Beta 91A, Beta 58A, Beta 57A and Beta 565SD models.
After years of planning and thorough specification, the eventual installation was down to TMG’s team of experienced in-house engineers. “We provided them with all of the fixture details for the lighting, as well as some small software updates for certain products which would allow them to immediately be put to use. The installation of the fixtures themselves was largely completed by the broadcast’s technical team of more than 60 people. Of course, we shared some ideas, but every TV studio has its own style and different architecture to negotiate around.
“Furthermore, these studios are not permanent spaces that will also be used for the same show, so they need to be reconfigurable and frequently rearranged. There’s a structure and they are able to place the items wherever they want.”
With the new studios now primed to open their doors, the Dinakord Elektronik team can’t wait to see the SSP lighting infrastructure come to life for the first time. “Both Dinakord Elektronik and TMG are very happy with how everything has turned out. Considering the variety of models and quantity of products that we have provided, the importance of this project for our company cannot be underestimated,” concludes Cavusyan. “At more than 300,000m2 in total, the area is absolutely huge and TMG is one of the biggest media companies in Turkey. We are proud to have been able to beat the competition, the other global big-name brands, by providing a complete selection of SSP brand fixtures. This is just brilliant.”