NRL Scores with New Studio and Post Facility Designed and Built by Videocraft
Recently the National Rugby League commissioned Videocraft to design and build a new production and post production studio and facility at NEP’s Redfern HQ to take care of live and recorded online programming and content for their new Digital Network, www.nrl.com, including 16 clubs and 2 state associations sites and mobile applications. NRL media services manager Wayne Dakin explained, “Online properties such as nrl.com are hugely important now, as are the content they produce. With this in mind we engaged Videocraft to build us a studio and facility, based on their previous experience in this area, that would allow the creation of fast turnaround highlights edits of all matches, panel shows, pre and post-match content. As well as fast it all had to be reliable and cost effective.” With a strict brief from the client Videocraft designed the facility with quality, speed and efficiency in mind. Videocraft worked with NRL partners NEP and NRL production office provider to ensure that the solution design integrated seamlessly with existing NRL Bunker and new NRL NEP production infrastructure. The solution design integrates and utilises another NRL primary partner Telstra, utilising the DVN and satellite infrastructure for content delivery. Videocraft MD James Taylor added, “We saw very quickly that for the kind of fast turnaround that was required an EVS XS Server and IP Director production asset management system was definitely the way forward for the new nrl.com studio and post facility. There was also a requirement that the facility be able to manage all incoming feeds and studio records and then the playout of the material. In which case, as EVS is compatible with all of the NRL’s existing broadcast providers and partners such as NEP, Channel 9 and Fox Sports, this made the solution seamless.” With content for the NRL Bunker also managed by NEP the new Videocraft facility made it particularly easy for the NRL to continue down a well-proven path. Dakin continued, “Videocraft really thought through the design and build of the studio and with our specific requirements in mind made the studio Ross based with a powerful Ross Graphite production switcher at its core. They have used this switcher in studios many times before and it’s an ideal combination of power and reliability at the right price point for us. It also has a feature rich version of XPression 3D motion graphics, two channels of clip server and the RAVE audio engine all built in. This allows us to create very high quality graphics at a very reasonable cost.” The issues of cost and quality are not lost on Dakin who went on to explain their importance in the online space.He added, “As a result of the Videocraft solution nrl.com now has very high quality graphics and a replay system which are comparable to TV but without the engineering resource required for a big studio. This means we get TV quality, but online. The reason for this is that Videocraft treat online production with the same approach and respect as they would for a free-to-air studio build. This in turn means we can now create the exciting, high quality content that’s critical for us to truly engage our viewers and we have Videocraft’s 45 years’ worth of knowledge, expertise and forward thinking approach to thank for that.” In addition to the Ross Graphite switcher the Videocraft solution also integrated a 400TB Avid Media Central system to help with the fast programme turnaround and NEXIS storage for its excellent reliability and interoperability with EVS systems. Wayne Dakin concluded, “The new studio, post production facility, edit suites and storage are an excellent example of a clever, efficient, integrated, high-end Avid solution. With EVS taking care of the ingest and live production workflow and Ross the graphics and vision mixing we have not just a state of the art system but a bulletproof one. The best compliment we’ve had yet is that the content you see on www.nrl.com looks just like it does on television. Great job Videocraft.”
Videocraft builds first Esports Production Studio in Australia for Gfinity
The global esports market is booming with revenue predicted to reach US$1.65 billion in 2020. One of the industry’s drivers in this country is Gfinity Esports Australia with their new Elite Series competition which is delivering gamers and fans a clear and structured competitive framework within Australian esports. A key requirement for the Elite Series competition was the creation of Australia’s first, dedicated Gfinity esports production studio which has been designed and built by Videocraft. The Elite Series presented by Alienware sees 6 city-based clubs competing weekly in front of a live audience at Gfinity’s state of the art esports arena within the Hoyts Cinema Complex at Sydney’s Entertainment Quarter and it is here that Videocraft built the new production studio.Clubs compete across iconic game titles: Counter Strike Global Offensive, Street Fighter V and Rocket League, for a share in the some of the largest prize pools in Australian Esports history and each event is broadcast live on Twitch. COO of Gfinity Australia Sam Harris said, “Gfinity are setting the new benchmark for quality in esports in Australia. As such, we looked for experienced partners to help bring our vision to life. Videocraft played a pivotal role in the development of the high quality production capabilities for our first esports arena at the Hoyts Entertainment Quarter.” Videocraft’s Nick MacLean added, “Gfinity have produced esports events very successfully in the UK for years and set a very high standard for their productions. It was clear that all of our 45 years of broadcast experience would come into play for this project as the knowledge required to build the studio transfers perfectly into esports.”As well as creating and building a studio to create content for Twitch, Videocraft also had to send content, ready for playout, to TEN’s digital channel, One. MacLean continued, “For this studio we had to produce all the content to a much higher standard than for regular SD television which is usually 1080 50i. However, as the primary delivery and viewing platforms are online and in order to keep up with refresh rates, all of the content from the studio is 1080 60p.”Videocraft designed and built the new Gfinity esports production studio with one of their highly-acclaimed and well-proven FlyAway kits at the core. The kit also integrates Sony HDC-2400 cameras, HDC-P1 cameras, EVS XT3 video servers, a Sony vision mixer and full Yamaha audio. MacLean added, “We deliver all of the competition match content in 1080 60p live to Twitch who in turn put it out live to their viewers. For One we had to work with Channel TEN to come up with a solution that looked equally as high quality. This meant a workflow which involved sending One the content in 1080 60i - which is the same as a live feed from the USA - and then cross converting that to 1080 50i. From there it all went out via the Telstra DVN and the whole process was flawless.” The mix of broadcast expertise and workflows combined with the new generation of esports’ requirements is an interesting one as the production crew and equipment are all from a traditional TV environment which in turn makes the esports online production values particularly high. Maclean said, “We used all of our broadcast experience and expertise to give Gfinity, Twitch and One the very best quality content possible. We also broke new ground by using the clever new Bird Dog NDI converters for supplying vision feeds to monitors throughout the new facility. This meant we could control the units, get them to accept any material we wanted in 1080 60p and put this up on the screen whenever we wanted to. The Bird Dog converters enabled us to maximise the network infrastructure we built for the new facility and made life particularly easy for operators choosing content from a single screen. There were also complexities involving the project to the cinema location that we needed to overcome. The studio floor was built in the cinema and our CAR and control room built in one of the projection bio boxes on the other side of the complex. We had an extensive fibre install completed to enable us to send signals to various parts of the cinema complex. Utilising Mediornet and a 10gig Ethernet backbone made this very simple.” In a nutshell esports is already having a huge impact in Australia and now with dedicated arenas and high end production facilities, that impact stands only to grow further. Nick MacLean concluded, “This project was all about quality and experience. We had to use all of our experience and work closely with Twitch, TEN and One to make sure everyone got the pictures the way they required them, in a seamless fashion and looking amazing. In the world of esports gamers play at 1080 60p therefore the images we give them to watch also have to be of the same ultra-high standard. This creates the very best in engaging content which in esports, is all that’s acceptable.” Season 1 of the Gfinity Esports Australia Elite Series started on 2 June and runs for 7 weeks of competition, featuring Melbourne Avant, Sydney Chiefs, Brisbane Deceptors, Perth Ground Zero, Melbourne Order and Sydney Roar. Each of the Clubs 3 teams compete on Saturdays, CSGO 3-8pm and Sundays, Rocket League 10-1pm and Street Fighter V 4pm-7pm in an action packed 5 week regular season and 2 week Finals.
Videocraft brings state of the art Avid solutions to Studios 301
When Australia’s longest running professional recording studio, Studios 301 decided to upgrade their Pro Tools systems as part of planning it’s new multi-million dollar facility they brought Videocraft in to advise them on the best way forward, what equipment to use and critically what budget they would need to work within. Videocraft post production and pro audio sales manager Ian Parish explained, “Studios 301 brought us in at the early stages of this project because of Videocraft’s history in delivering Pro Tools HD systems and our extensive experience working with AVID solutions. There aren’t a lot of studios of this size that are being built from the ground up these days, and to be a part of that is unique in itself.” From that initial consultation the discussion expanded to include an AVID Pro Tools S6 modular control surface in a multi-purpose surround mix room and as Videocraft had already installed multiple S6 consoles around Australia, the team at Studios 301 sought their advice on how best to make this a reality. Parish continued, “This was a very large project as they were building an entirely new facility from the ground up with five control rooms, three mastering rooms, digitising facilities and vinyl pressing capabilities. It was clear, due to our experience in this field, that Videocraft’s role would be to supply and support all of the AVID hardware and software and the associated peripherals to make those systems work.” As the project plan developed the brief included 64 channels of analogue IO for the client’s Neve console in Studio One, 48 channels of IO for their SSL console in Studio Two and 32 Channels of IO plus an AVID S6-M40 for Studio Three. In keeping with the tech riders of their top tier international music clientele master clocking was to be provided by an Antelope unit and Apogee Symphony’s would provide AD/DA conversion. Parish continued, “This particular job didn’t require too much translation from brief to system design and quote as the stakeholders involved are all heavily experienced in the industry in particular on the technical side so we all worked incredibly well and efficiently together. Drawing on my experience upgrading Pro Tools HD systems to 64-Bit for SAE Australia, Box Hill Institute and also delivering new systems at Abbey Road Institute, I designed the most logical system that would meet Studios 301’s requirements. Another bonus for them was the fact that we could offer local support so that any issues could be dealt with promptly.” [caption id="attachment_3271" align="aligncenter" width="1440"]Image courtesy of Studios 301[/caption] As a result of Videocraft’s system consultancy and design, Studios 301 took receipt of and had installed a new, state of the art AVID S6 M40 32 Channel console. The console was in a fully populated 5ft frame and has the addition of the master joystick module for surround panning. Parish explained, “This means that there is one more module than the console can accommodate, however the logic here was that, due to the multi-purpose nature of the room, the console could now either be configured as a classic 32-channel mix console or for post or surround music work with a spill zone and locked master faders and stem metering. The changeover time from one layout to the other is only 15 minutes, so it can easily be done in between sessions.” Whilst the AVID S6 M40 console might be viewed as the headline act just as exciting are the Pro Tools rigs. Parish added, “The backbone of each studio is HDX2 cards in a Sonnet Echo Express chassis, with Apogee Symphony Mk II interfaces handling the AD/DA conversion. AVID SYNC HDs act as loop sync masters and communicate with the automation computers of the analogue consoles whilst being fed word clock from Antelope Pure 2 Master Clocks. The exciting part about all this is the scale of these systems, the track counts and processing resources available. There’s also the fact that we have been able to selectively choose products from different manufacturers that are the best at their chosen role, as opposed to being locked to a single hardware set, so we have the very best results that fit the 301’s very specific needs.” Ian Parish had the privilege of being in Studio One for the first playing of audio, an experience he found quite special. He concluded, “The room was amazingly flat even before acoustician’s Tom Misner and Jochen Veith had applied any tweaks to the monitoring, which really is a phenomenal feet and the Studios 301 team has done a great job to plan and build such amazing rooms. As any musician, producer or engineer knows what is just as important as the technology in a studio is the rooms themselves. If they sound good and are comfortable to work in then you will want to go back and work there.”
Videocraft takes the Australian Open Tennis to the Big Screen
The Australian Open Tennis (AOT) tournament is chronologically the first of the four Grand Slam tennis events of the year – the other three being the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Known for always employing the very latest in technology during the event, this year AOT organisers Tennis Australia wanted to take viewer experiences to the next level both on the web and on the big screen at the tournament. For this they turned to Videocraft.
Videocraft builds State Of The Art TV Studios and Production Facilities For RMIT
Recently RMIT University undertook a significant renovation of its Melbourne city faculty specifically to open their campus up by redoing its Swanston Street facade and substantially renovating seven floors across four buildings. This huge undertaking was known as the New Academic Street, or NAS, Project. The existing buildings were where RMIT had its TV studios, originally built in the 1960s, much used and loved but long overdue for an overhaul. The NAS project provided an opportunity for RMIT to replace the old TV Studios with world class, cutting edge facilities to support both current and future trends in media production as well as RMITs research requirements in the digital media realm. To help them with the design and build of the complete project they turned to Videocraft. Before the project could start the university put out a tender for the design, construction and integration of four control rooms (two of which were to be UHD), five studio spaces and a virtual and augmented reality system. The tender also specified some unique components including a fully distributed routing system, UHD record and replay solution and the ability to quickly move any studio to any control room, or multiple control rooms. Technical Services Manager School of Media & Communication College of Design & Social Context at RMIT University David Beesley explained, “We required world class facilities with a futureproof and flexible infrastructure - a big ask - and we required a company who could work with us to enhance our vision of what these facilities would look like and how they could support our specific pedagogical needs. In conjunction with other industry leaders and after extensive research and consultation, RMIT came up with a base design which was subsequently put out to tender. Videocraft's winning point of difference was their ability to add significant value to our vision and turn it into a functioning reality.” Videocraft worked with RMIT end users to finesse the design and ultimately supplied and installed the kit for four TV studios and control rooms, a master control room (MCR), RMIT’s 'Black Box' research studio and multiple fibre-linked OB points throughout the NAS Precinct. [gallery ids="https://www.videocraft.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_5135.jpg.jpeg|Head of ABC News speaking at the RMIT NAS Project opening,https://www.videocraft.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_5130.jpg.jpeg|James Taylor in one of the four control rooms designed and installed by Videocraft,https://www.videocraft.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_5136.JPG-e1522805026155.jpeg|,https://www.videocraft.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_5131.jpg.jpeg|James and Jeanette Taylor at the Opening of the RMIT NAS Project,https://www.videocraft.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_5132.jpg.jpeg|Panasonic 4K UHD Studio Cameras,https://www.videocraft.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_5129.jpg.jpeg|Checking out the studios on RMIT's Opening night for the NAS Project,https://www.videocraft.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_5133.JPG-e1522804985885.jpeg|Panasonic 4K UHD Studio Cameras,https://www.videocraft.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_5126.JPG-e1522804965720.jpeg|Installation by Videocraft at RMIT TV Studios,https://www.videocraft.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_5125.JPG-e1522804937190.jpeg|Installation by Videocraft at RMIT TV Studios,https://www.videocraft.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_5128.JPG-e1522804906693.jpeg|Installation by Videocraft at RMIT TV Studios,https://www.videocraft.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_5127.JPG-e1522804881286.jpeg|Installation by Videocraft at RMIT TV Studios"] Videocraft Head of Engineering and Projects Nick Maclean added, “We also designed a Central Apparatus Room for the 4 control rooms and 5 studios, plus supporting spaces such as green rooms, makeup rooms and production offices. Given that this was not a greenfield site, but a retro fit of an existing building, there were considerable constraints with the spaces, but with clever design we were able to come up with a solution that met the brief.” As part of the scope required a ‘distributed’ router Videocraft decided to install a large Riedel Mediornet system as, based on a 10Gig backbone, the system can handle up to 384x384 3G HD signals. For a distributed audio network they implemented a Dante audio network and ensured that all the audio mixers, stage boxes and tie lines were IP connected over a 10GigE IP network with a Cisco Nexus backbone. Videocraft also installed IP KVM systems, IP talkback using Riedel Smart Panels, and IP wireless comms using the new Riedel Bolero AES67 wireless keypanels. To tie all these systems together they used Lawo Virtual Studio Manager, a control solution that removes all the complicated backend components and presents a unified interface for operators. Beesley continued, Videocraft also installed the first UHD EVS system in Australia, which included IP Director and XFile for file-based ingest and delivery of both HD and UHD studio content. Critically they also supplied and installed kit for our temporary TV studios, constructed for the duration of the major build, to ensure business continuity. It really was a first class job and they met our every requirement.” Other kit supplied and installed by Videocraft included Panasonic 4K UHD camera chains, Sony vision mixers, a Zero Density 'Reality' virtual set and MoSys camera tracking, Ross Expression graphics, Yamaha audio desks and ARRI lighting. Beesley continued, “Videocraft took charge of face to face meetings, design workshops, numerous stakeholder and site meetings, design revision, installation, commissioning and testing. Their approach was professional and flawless.” Now complete the new facilities are used for teaching, including live broadcasts, research and more. As a result RMIT students can now learn on the same tools they will encounter in the field to which Beesley added, “These are the first purpose built UHD studios in Australia. They are at the forefront of technology for anybody, but for a teaching facility they are undoubtedly the number one studios in Australia. They are flexible and their unique infrastructure ensures that they'll be fit for purpose well into the future.” David Beesley, clearly incredibly pleased and incredibly proud of RMIT’s new TV and production facilities felt compelled to highlight the real shining lights of the project concluding, “There are many wow factors with the new facilities with their flexibility, extensive use of fibre, VSM, and 4K UHD capabilities but the real standout is the Zero Density Reality system. Videocraft installed a two-camera system with Star Tracker motion tracking which can render full virtual sets and augmented reality elements in realtime with unbelievable realism. The system uses the Unreal Engine for 3D design and rendering and the results are simply stunning. It’s the most realistic virtual system we have ever seen. I cannot speak highly enough about what Videocraft did for RMIT during this project. They were amazing to work with, incredibly patient, understood our unique requirements and worked with us to create something that is truly great, and the envy of many.”
Mint Pictures chooses Avid NEXIS storage from Videocraft
Originally founded as North One Australia in 2007 Mint Pictures has produced content for all the major free-to-air networks – Nine, Ten, ABC, SBS and NITV – as well as Foxtel and Fox Sports, and overseas broadcasters, including the BBC. They have also produced content for some of Australia’s leading sporting organisations including Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia and Football Federation Australia. Recently the innovative production company decided to upgrade their in-house storage solution and for this they chose the Avis Nexis platform which they purchased from Videocraft. Mint Pictures Managing Director, Head of Programming Adam Kay explained, “We had been running for many years with Avid Media Composer, Symphony and an old Avid Unity Storage system. Around two years ago, Videocraft who have been supporting us for well over 10 years, upgraded all of our edit workstations. So, when we decided to upgrade our storage solution we also turned to them for their help and guidance.” After discussions and consultations with Videocraft Mint purchased an Avid Nexis E2 chassis with 60TB of storage and also installed a new Dell switch to support their infrastructure. Kay continued, “The Unity system we were on was very outdated and was holding us back in a variety of areas. It had little storage, ran hot and was not compatible with many modern computers and connections. So staying within the Avid line-up, Nexis was an excellent choice as an upgrade.”Avid NEXIS is the world’s first software-defined storage platform that enables true storage virtualisation for any media application. Mint’s new Nexis system delivers significant media performance, scalability, and reliability to accelerate production in their most media-intensive broadcast and video post environments. It also offers them greater bandwidth to accelerate 4K/UHD and finishing workflows, plus new support for Pro Tools collaboration. Kay continued, “Nexis is a cost effective option for a company of Mint Pictures’ size. Its storage abilities and continued use and expansion on the Isis system that preceded it allows us to easily manage workspaces, which is another big plus. As always Videocraft made some key recommendations and walked us through the and pros and cons of choosing different configurations for our specific needs at Mint Pictures. Their explanations and breakdowns were very useful in making our decision.” With their new Nexis in place and running smoothly Adam Kay took the time to reflect on the performance of the new system and how pleased the team at Mint Pictures were with their choice concluding, “Firstly it gives us fast access to media. Then there’s also plenty of space to be able to cut at high res, without having to work with proxy files and we can efficiently organise workspaces according to our needs and the needs of individual productions we have in-house at any given moment. In other words the Nexis performs very well and does what it’s meant to. We’re also very grateful to Videocraft for their help with this purchase and their ever-constant and professional advice.”
Videocraft gets Mobile for Red Bull Wings for Life Run
Wings for Life World Run is the unique charity event that raises money by running for those who can’t. The twist? Everyone runs worldwide, on the same day, at the same time creating a race of epic proportions with runners chased by Catcher Cars to literally catch the runners not running towards a finish line but away from the finish line and culminating in just one lone runner left at the end. The OB for the Australian run, held in Victoria, was provided by Videocraft. Wings for Life World Run’s Australian production company was the award-winning Screencraft and their Michael Fardell explained some of the challenges involved in this year’s event, “The run kicked off at 1pm in Austria – home of Red Bull – which was 9pm in Melbourne. As the runners set off and try to get as far away as possible the Catcher Cars follow thirty minutes later. Bearing in mind the logistics with this event runners can get up to 80km from the start point so we needed the most flexible and nimble OB solution possible. I’m delighted to say Videocraft gave us just that.” After discussions with Videocraft’s MD James Taylor the company provided not only their fully-loaded, state of the art OB truck for the event but also an ingenious and cost effective mobile broadcasting solution. Fardell continued, “Videocraft had four wired OB cameras at the start line. Then, once the race started they had four mobile cameras on motorbikes following the runners and doing interviews along the way. The key here was that all the links were provided by 4G bonded streaming solutions.” On the ground and on the motorbikes Videocraft deployed four Teradek Bond 2 Encoders that were securely linked to Teradek Sputnik servers in the cloud. The Sputnik servers were in turn downlinked to the Videocraft OB truck and decoded using Teradek Cube decoders. Fardell added, “This was a brilliant, cost effective and efficient solution as we were able to broadcast the OB using 4G on the cameras and didn’t need to use helicopters which would have been tricky at night and very expensive. Once the footage arrived in Videocraft’s truck they switched and dealt with it as they would any normal camera source.” Although the clever OB solution was completely reliant on mobile communication lines Videocraft were still able to factor in redundancy and mobile dead zones by using multiple carriers and extracting the highest possible data rates. Fardell commented, “The data rates Videocraft were able to get were so high that we did the entire broadcast in HD. Quite a feat. Once we’d ingested the footage we then sent it to the Austrian world feed and received back the World Programme so people in Australia would watch the entire worldwide event. Again, quite a logistical feat.” In total there were 34 outside broadcasts worldwide all with no fixed end point and all of which covered a significant amount of terrain. This complicated set of variables meant advanced planning was key. Fardell explained, “Videocraft did their homework beforehand and checked there was mobile coverage with at least one carrier in all areas. The fact that there was enabled the four mobile cameras to be switched live in 4G and for me showed us the future for certain types of OB jobs. As this type of mobile solution becomes more robust it will only improve. This also means companies like Videocraft can offer live links for events at a reasonable cost that previously would have cost thousands and involved helicopters and satellite trucks.” In reality, for what was a very broad event geographically it was only the first 500 metres that were covered by fixed wired cameras. The other 79.5km was all covered by Videocraft’s mobile 4G camera solution and OB truck. Michael Fardell concluded, “I can’t speak highly enough about Videocraft or the mobile OB solution they provided. There were no drop-outs, black-outs or time lost for refueling. The only downtime during the entire event was a two minute battery change on the cameras. The 4G solution they provided us with was slick and efficient and proved to me that a new era in mobile broadcasting has arrived.”
Videocraft Scores Hole-in-One at Oates Victorian Golf
The Oates Victorian Open is one of the premier events on the Australian golf calendar. Both men's and women’s championships are played simultaneously over four days at the beautiful 13th Beach golf course. This year organisers Golf Victoria wanted to raise the standard and level of innovation higher than ever before and include live streaming of the tournament. For that they turned to Sean Mulcahy from Australian Network Productions and Videocraft who provided all the OB and live streaming facilities. Mulcahy explained, “This event has gone from strength to strength and the addition of live streaming really took it to new heights. As a result I wanted an OB company that were innovative and that I could trust. Having dealt with Videocraft for years I knew they would be the perfect OB partner. They are a boutique operation who have great people like Andy Liell and Mark Grooby on their team, stock the very latest in equipment, have great local support and backup and a fantastic work ethic.” Having again been entrusted with the coverage of the Oates Victorian Open, the job of integrating live streaming and knowing golfing superstars including Karrie Webb, Nick Cullen and Richard Green would be taking part Mulcahy knew a great tournament awaited them and for that they needed to provide the very best services to meet expectations. He continued, “We asked Videocraft for a professional, high quality production and live streaming solution that could be backed up and supported by a substantial local presence and be very cost efficient to work within our tight budget. I’m delighted to say they 100% delivered. Most impressive was the way they answered all of our requirements with the utmost dedication and commitment. This meant I could trust them as I always have and knew I could rely on their solution.” Mulcahy and the Videocraft team designed and implemented a flexible and powerful onsite OB setup that included Yamaha audio, six channels of EVS, a Blackmagic 4K switcher, Ross Xpression graphics and RF links all based around Videocraft’s unique FlyPack. With the production day at the Open starting early and the live feed going to air at midday everyone on the team had to be prepared.Mulcahy added, “Videocraft live switched the coverage whilst also integrating EVS replays and packages. The entire event was then played out to the Open’s official YouTube channel via a Livestream box. The aim was to provide a more intimate and informal coverage that included talking with the players in between shots. This also meant we had to be nimble and agile. We also set up a marquee where a host did player interviews. All in all the production was slick and efficient.” With a tight budget but a requirement for high production values Mulcahy and the Videocraft team in conjunction with the crew produced an end result which spoke volumes for the kind of OB production Videocraft has made such a name for itself in. Sean Mulcahy concluded, “I am extremely proud of our team for the job they did at the Oates Victorian Open. For such a small operation, the product was outstanding and in my view, has revolutionised golf coverage. Golf Victoria were ecstatic with the result and rightfully so as they can now comfortably lay claim to this country's most exciting golf tournament. I must again thank Videocraft who really went above and beyond in terms of service. They were committed, dedicated and professional at all times from prep to tournament to pack up and debrief, striving always to produce a job that everyone would be happy with. I genuinely couldn’t have done it without them.” To view some of the material that was streamed go to http://www.golfvic.org.au/oatesvicopenlive
Videocraft Supplies End to End Production Solution for NHK at 2016 Australian Open Tennis
The Australian Open is held annually over the last fortnight of January in Melbourne. As the first of the four Grand Slam tennis events of the year it features men's and women's singles; men's, women's and mixed doubles and junior's championships; as well as wheelchair, legends and exhibition events. This year’s Open was NHK’s second year at the tournament and a year where they were looking to expand upon the coverage they had produced previously. For this they turned to Videocraft. Videocraft’s Nick MacLean explained, “NHK were wanting to broadcast multiple matches per day with their own commentary and interviews, plus a twenty minute daily highlights show. Videocraft were one of the companies they approached to provide facilities and after a period of assessment and evaluation we were awarded the contract.” Videocraft supplied NHK with and end to end solution based around the company’s latest FlyPack and integrated a video and audio control room, a studio overlooking the Rod Laver Arena garden square and a smaller commentary booth and studio inside Rod Laver Arena. Videocraft also supplied all the local engineering, technical and operational staff as a compliment to the NHK crew who came over from Tokyo.MacLean continued, “NHK were looking for a cost-effective solution, but also one gave them great flexibility in their production needs. Most companies tend to use a cookie cutter approach but we have found no two jobs are ever the same and so have built our FlyPack to be easily scaled up or down as required. This gives us the ability to tailor systems to exactly what the client needs, so there is no wastage. We also based our proposal around the new Riedel Mediornet MicroNs for all signal transportation between our MCR, the host broadcast and our two remote studios. Using the MicroNs we were able to create a fully redundant video network over 10gigE fibre allowing us to send any of the 30+ feeds from the host broadcaster wherever we needed with minimum fibre infrastructure.” According to MacLean the feedback from the Japanese broadcaster was that Videocraft’s expertise in this area and their willingness to tailor the production solution to NHK’s requirements as closely possible with the least amount of over-engineering was critical to its success. He continued, “What impressed NHK the most was that we listened to what they wanted to achieve and proposed a solution that best suited them but also helped them in areas where we could see that improvements and new workflows could be beneficial. We are not afraid to use new technology and push systems to their limits in order to maximise content production and save costs. By integrating technology including Mediornet, Dante, Omneo and a Tallyman central control we were able to create an extremely powerful system within a small footprint, a benefit that was highly valued in the TV compound where space was a premium. Our entire MCR consisted of 4 x 20RU racks, whereas if we worked on a traditional way it would have taken at least double the space and power requirements.” NHK produced two matches per day and a twenty minute highlight show with Videocraft using an EVS solution for highlights editing, replays and archive. Although file-based archive was new to NHK, MacLean and his team were able to transition broadcaster to the new workflow smoothly. MacLean added, “It really was a seamless part of the workflow and one where our many years EVS workflow knowledge helped tremendously. The NHK team were very happy as their producers could focus on content creation without having to think about any technology restrictions. We also made sure any request was possible and simple to action.” As the tournament progressed the NHK team appreciated more and more how Videocraft’s innovative approach and unique FlyPack solution had made their lives not just easier but more efficient as Nick MacLean concluded, “The job went extremely well. Our engineers and the system were able to handle any extra or changing requirements with ease. Mediornet allowed us to add and remove feeds as needed without even having to touch a cable. As production requirements changed from day to day we could reconfigure much of the system with a click of a mouse using Mediornet and Tallyman system control. All in all and considering the size and scope of the Australian Open the production was a complete success.”
Supporting Storyhead's "Chasing the Light" with Ken Duncan and Ray Martin.
…AND THE ARIAS GO TO VIDEOCRAFT
Videocraft provides turnkey OB and post production facilities for 2015 ARIAsThe ARIAs is commonly regarded as one of the biggest, most complex live outside broadcast events of the calendar year and this year was no different. At the 2015 ARIAs, held at The Star, the entire turnkey OB and post production facilities were provided by Videocraft. Videocraft has history with the ARIAs having been contracted by former OB providers to facilitate the extensive onsite editing requirements into the OB EVS workflow for the previous two years’ shows. This year ARIAs production company, Gigler Communications, chose Videocraft to provide all of the OB and post production facilities. Gigler Technical Producer Phil Goulden explained, “I’ve dealt with Videocraft for many years so I knew what they were capable of. I also saw their large FlyPack kit at SMPTE this year and was impressed with both its capability and presentation. Their Sony F55 large sensor cameras in OB configuration, also displayed at SMPTE were what we were looking for to take the ARIAS into a new era.” Videocraft’s successful bid for the ARIAs came off the back of their proven large sensor camera solution for this season’s X Factor Australia where they demonstrated just how well the F55 could perform, particularly for live music events and shows. With X Factor a runaway ratings success Videocraft then embarked on major upgrade and systemisation of their F55 solution that included purchasing Sony CA4000 fibre adaptors, BPU4000 baseband processors, Fujinon Cabrio lenses, Canon lenses and a wide range of accessories. Videocraft NSW State Manager Andy Liell explained, “After everyone saw it, there was a huge demand for the large sensor camera solution that we’d provided to X Factor so we invested heavily in order to offer this on a larger scale. We were also able to demonstrate to the ARIAs broadcast partner Network Ten, Gigler and the ARIAs themselves how we had repeated our X Factor success on several other live music events including gigs by the Hoodoo Gurus, Florence and the Machine and #The Beebs. Having presented successful proof of this concept, the ARIAs awarded the turnkey OB and post production facilities contract for the 2015 ARIAs to Videocraft who in turn went on to provide a solution that incorporated 26 cameras, 2 control room areas, large Avid and EVS setups and an OB truck. Goulden continued, “The ARIA production effort had previously been achieved using multiple truck based facilities creating a headache for production staff working between the various zones. Improving on this, Videocraft worked with Gigler to design and construct a purpose built facility, containing all of the key production elements in a concise layout. The Red Carpet Production area was re-purposed during the main show as a Profanity Edit Suite, Network Coord and QC facility for the outgoing programme segments, bringing oversight of this key part of the production within easy reach of the executive team. In addition, the Videocraft MPC OB truck acted as a stand-alone production facility for Telstra’s expanded second screen requirements. It was overall a complex yet highly efficient setup.” Telstra’s second screen content came from red carpet and back stage interviews and was edited into packages for mobiles and tablets alongside the on air Network Ten TV broadcast. This workflow was carefully designed for rapid turnaround using EVS systems for the base edits, then moving into AVID for finishing, export and upload. Videocraft also provided shared EVS and CCU resources between the main show and the red carpet and a separate edit facility for both sides of the production where the EVS was also utilised for the final playout to Network Ten. The red carpet alone consisted of an 8-camera rig that included Videocraft’s Ross Furio robotic camera, Steadicam and jib. The main show raised the technical bar again with a 13-camera rig that consisted of Sony HDC-2400 2/3” cameras for the awards presentations and the large sensor F55s along with Steadicams for the live performance pieces. The entire main show was delivered in 25 psf. Liell added, “Our objective was to cater for long lens cameras for award presentation and utilise the F55s for performance pieces. The F55s did their job superbly giving a more cinematic look for the live performances due to the shallow depth of field and stunning dynamic range of the Sony sensor. With this at our disposal we used the F55s for mid to long length shots off Steadicam and handhelds, where the cameras excelled.” As Phil Goulden witnessed prior to the ARIAs, two of the main reasons Videocraft were awarded this prestigious contract were the look they were able to achieve with their F55 solution and the “can do” attitude that the company brought to the project. He added, “At all stages of the ARIA process, Gigler was able to engage directly with the people who would ultimately make it happen on site. This built a strong team spirit and generated confidence in the delivery right down to the minute details.” The Videocraft large production FlyPack worked particularly well at The Star as the venue is well provisioned for the latest in interconnectivity with the Videocraft team making full use of all the fibre at the venue to ensure a seamless workflow. Phil Goulden added, “Videocraft really did an excellent job at the ARIAs and this only further cements their position as one of Australia’s leading large OB providers. We also have to give special mention to the highly complex workflow they were able to create from capture through post to playout. This combined with the amazing look from the F55s made this year’s ARIAs the best yet in Gigler’s five year association with the production. Videocraft’s investment in the success of the 2015 ARIA Awards was outstanding.” With the ARIAs wrapped for another year it fell to Goulden’s colleague and Gigler’s Director and Creative, Vicki Gerrans, to have the last word about how Videocraft performed. She added, “I am so very, very happy and proud of a significant technical achievement and aesthetic that has polished an Australian icon and brought it into a new technological environment. Every single member of the Videocraft team wore a smile – led from the top – a team of extraordinary professionals, and a much needed and refreshing experience at this level of outside broadcasting.” For more on the ARIAs go to: http://www.ariaawards.com.au
Videocraft appointed the exclusive facilities provider for the 2015 ARIA awards.
Videocraft are proud to announce that they have been appointed the exclusive facilities provider for the 2015 ARIA awards. We will be providing all the outside broadcast and post production facilities for the main awards show, red carpet, and Telstra second screen web streams. In any industry exclusive, the main awards presentation will be covered with a combination of Sony F55 large sensor cameras and 2/3 inch HDC series cameras. Be watching on Network 10 Thursday 26th November. www.ariaawards.com.au
Videocraft Designs, Supplies, Builds and Installs New Television Studio for RMIT
Recently Videocraft played a major part in the delivery of RMIT’s New Academic Street (NAS) consolidation project which included providing teaching and learning environments for students in their Screen and Media, Screen and Media Productions, Communications and Journalism programs. The scope of works required to deliver this project involved Videocraft designing, building and being responsible for the full construction of RMIT’s new TV Studio A. Videocraft MD James Taylor explained, “This was a very comprehensive project and build and involved the acoustic treatment of ceiling, walls and windows, specialist acoustic doors, an upgrade of existing mechanical and electrical services and the relocation of existing equipment which was no mean feat. Bearing all this in mind Videocraft fulfilled all of RMIT’s audio visual requirements.” Moving studios is never easy. Moving studios and simultaneously building a new one is even more complex as Taylor detailed, “This was a challenge for all involved. Maintaining continuity of business whilst shutting down one facility and building and troubleshooting a new state-of-the-art studio definitely had its challenges. That said we approached the broadcast AV installation in our usual professional manner and completed the project on a very tight timeframe and within the budget.” According to Taylor the program constraints were difficult to achieve however he added, “Despite this major constraint we delivered in full and worked extensively with the end user to ensure their functional requirements were comprehensively addressed. I’m delighted to say RMIT were very happy with the end result.” When all was complete Videocraft built and installed a state-of-the art digital television studio and master control including fibre link to C31, live streaming capabilities and green lighting technologies throughout. To which Taylor added, “All of this on a very tight budget by and within a very short timeframe. I’m very proud of our team for making this happen. It was an incredible effort and they were so professional.” Videocraft supplied RMIT with the equipment for two TV studios with all associated cabling, two control rooms, comms, master control, cameras, audio, vision switchers, routers, racks, patch bays, CCUs and graphics. Now complete and ‘on-air’ the new studio is a dynamic and busy teaching facility catering to both VE and HE classes at RMIT in addition to RMITV. As a result students can now put live broadcasts to air on CTV31, live stream broadcasts over IP and cater for numerous pre-records and teaching activities. James Taylor concluded, “RMIT’s feedback is that the users are ecstatic with the new spaces and the overall user experience has been excellent. The students find the state-of-the-art gear we installed a joy to work with and represents best industry practice, which in turn ensures the graduates are industry ready.”
Videocraft Provides Multi-Camera, Editing and Production OB Solution for Top Australian Cycling Events
Recently Videocraft provided a four camera OB solution with edit suite and EVS recording for some of Australia’s most prestigious cycling events. The events were produced and coordinated by one of Australia’s leading television services companies, Editrix.Editrix Executive Producer Ian Gates explained, “Editrix has a long history of hiring facilities from Videocraft. The unique side to the relationship is that their MD James Taylor has a keen interest in cycling and understands exactly what I need to do the job properly. This year our brief to Videocraft was that we needed to provide fast turnaround daily highlights packages for all the events and to achieve this we would utilise their newly refurbished OB truck. As all the events I hire Videocraft’s production truck for are same day turnaround programmes for on-air, this requires a facility that can have a team of editors and producers efficiently working and sharing media.” The volume of work Editrix hired the Videocraft production facility for over the summer of 2015 included the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic (4 x 1 hour programmes), the Road National Championships (3 x 1 hour programmes + 1 x 1 hour combined highlights programme), the Subaru Track Championships (3 x 1 hour programmes + 3 x live stream telecasts) and the Jayco Herald Sun Tour (5 x 1 hour programmes + one international highlights programme). Gates continued, “Videocraft met all our technical, editing and production requirements but the star factor of the production is James Taylor’s knowledge as that enables us to get all the extras done. James and I have spoken about what is required to make the production less stressful and it basically means we need an extra editor and a clone of James who can split the, up to 18 hour, shifts!” Gates sees Videocraft’s newly equipped OB truck as essential to meet his tight deadlines and deliverables. The fully internally and externally refurbished, ten seat IP-based OB truck now has new air conditioning, racks, ergonomic production furniture and electrics throughout. The truck also has the ability to be configured as either a mobile edit facility complete with Avid edit suites, Isis storage and Avid Interplay, an EVS facility or as a traditional OB truck. As a facility for Videocraft’s clients the OB truck is a proper extension of what the company does best, post production integration featuring the latest in smart, IT-centric connectivity. Ian Gates concluded, “I honestly don’t think there is another mobile production facility to match Videocraft’s which would meet our needs in the market. The production values we were able to achieve by using the truck on this summer’s races were the best yet. Videocraft’s expertise, service and support were excellent. It’s a real labour of love for them and with James Taylor there to personally oversee each production we couldn’t ask for a better solution. We are very much looking forward to working with Videocraft on the next series of cycling events.” Videocraft’s mobile editing, production and OB truck will be at this year’s SMPTE exhibition held at the Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park, NSW from 14-17 July. For more information on Editrix go to: www.editrix.com.au
C3 Church Presence Conference captures quality vision with Videocraft’s new Sony HDC2400 studio cameras
The system was designed by Videocraft’s engineering team and built onsite across 3 key areas: Videocraft’s Mobile Production Centre was configured as the Camera Control Unit production space for four CCU positions. Alongside was a site shed containing the system backbone including the extensive EVS and Avid ISIS 7000 systems. The external master control room was built in the back dock of the QCU Arena, utilising the latest in IP technology to minimise connectivity between these locations.
Videocraft Provides Live Broadcast Facilities for the Westmead Hospital Endoscopy Symposium
Videocraft provides NSCC with Hybrid Broadcast Production Facility
New Australian Multi-Platform Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror Series uses Fujinon Cabrio Lenses, Sony F5 Cameras and Videocraft
Videocraft brings OB to MotoGP
Videocraft helps Design and Build New Studio, Editing and Training Facilities for Macquarie University
Macquarie University prides itself on providing its students with the very best courses using the latest and most advanced equipment. When it was decided that the university would run two new masters courses in Future Journalism and Creative Media there was a requirement for a new green screen studio, control room, digital news room and workstation classroom all linked to the Avid MediaCentral Platform with iNEWS and ISIS | 5500 storage. Such a facility requires a vast array of specialist equipment. The company selected to supply the majority of this equipment was Videocraft. Macquarie Uni’s Peter Ring explained the process and system design, “The courses are run out of our Futures Lab and the new facilities also had to become a tech hub for the university’s other production areas such as the music studios, video editing facility, screen production studio, radio and music studios, so there was a very comprehensive set of requirements.” Prior to selecting suppliers Ring set about researching what exactly would be required to teach the new courses. In addition to reviewing various equipment options there were also several meetings with broadcasters, including SBS TV, to fine-tune the courses’ needs. Ring continued, “The image of how we wanted the various areas to look developed over time and through conversations with broadcasters like SBS. It became clear that a key part of our requirement would revolve around an Avid iNEWS system. We spoke to Avid and a couple of their key resellers at that point, of which Videocraft was one.” Videocraft had supplied Macquarie Uni with various pieces of equipment such as cameras and some Media Composer | Software licenses in the past so Peter Ring and his team were used to the company’s level of service. That said, Ring was still impressed. He added, “Videocraft’s sales director, James Taylor, flew up from Melbourne to meet with us and nothing was too much trouble. The level of service they gave us was remarkable. These guys were really on their game.” Impressed with Videocraft’s level of service but having to remain within the uni’s charter of going with the best price Ring and his team were even more impressed when the quotes came in. He explained, “Videocraft offered more than any of the competitors, met our requirements exactly and offered the best value for money. This made the decision a no brainer.” The uni’s plan detailed five main areas – a training classroom, an open plan newsroom area, a green screen studio, a control room and an equipment room. Each had their challenges. Ring continued, “The classroom space is where the students learn to use Media Composer, iNEWS, and MediaCentral | UX (formerly Interplay Central), which allows us to use Macs and in turn enables us to do video editing via web browsers using content kept on our new ISIS 5500 collaborative storage. A very powerful system. Videocraft helped us set up each and every workstation in the classroom and connected them all to the Avid MediaCentral Platform.” The open plan newsroom area has five dedicated iNEWS workstations, three Mac and two PC. There is a hot desk where students can use any laptop to wirelessly access MediaCentral | UX for quick edits, and updating scripts for final production. A good portion of the content used on the courses is shot in the uni’s new green screen studio. Ring continued, “The studio is very versatile and allows the use of virtual sets from different angles via our new TriCaster 8000 content publishing hub. This is a very clever solution that, even when you switch to different angles from different cameras it keeps the same 3D experience and even the same reflections off people in the shot and the studio floor.” The new studio has been designed to be crewless and consists of three Sony BRC-H900 remote cameras, an autocue system and Sony LED monitoring. The studio is controlled by the operators and equipment in the control room with the cameras also under the control of the TriCaster 8000. A new Avid Artist Mix connected to the TriCaster 8000 provides control surface access to the TriCaster’s built-in audio mixer. The server and equipment room houses the Avid MediaCentral Platform, which includes the Avid AirSpeed 5000 server for base-band video feeds, ingest and playout plus storage. Videocraft post production sales manager, Rob Floro and the company’s Avid support specialist, Adam Spendlove designed the configuration for the best results. Peter Ring concluded, “Videocraft has done an amazing job with the design and install and all credit to them. We now have a fully-fledged system where students can learn to use iNEWS, Media Composer and Pro Tools | Software in order to create small productions and news bulletins. The students can shoot, compile and edit their bulletins and then output and upload to Vimeo, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The more technically advanced students will learn how to fully operate the control room and the dedicated edit suite for the addition of advanced graphics. It doesn’t end there. The new system will also be used for other creative projects, which will entail bringing in many different elements to create multimedia productions. Finally the control room now also links to our large performance space which means we can put together multi-camera productions with ease. I must say it’s been a pleasure working with Videocraft in particular James Taylor, Rob Floro and Shane Jones and as far as their knowledge, expertise and service levels are concerned they are very hard to beat.”