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Mediatech Africa 2019 attracts more visitors than ever before

The tenth edition of Mediatech Africa delivered on its promise to ignite the imagination of exhibitors and visitors alike during its three-day run at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg, between 17 and 19 July. Despite the challenges of a shrinking economy – the 2019 expo was well supported with a strong exhibitor profile. The show drew record crowds – attracting 7 700 unique visitors from four continents, representing a six percent increase in attendance since the last iteration of the show.

The Mediatech showroom floor played host to one hundred exhibitors, representing some of the leading local distributors and an impressive contingent of international equipment manufacturers who showcased their most cutting–edge products on their company stands.

Commenting on the depth of the exhibitors present, Mediatech show director, Simon Robinson says, “We are proud to confirm that more than 30 international equipment manufacturers had their own brand presence at Mediatech Africa 2019, demonstrating a strong vote of confidence not only in the show, but in the African market as a whole.”

As an expo Mediatech Africa presents the only opportunity for major players in six niche sectors to view and assess the latest media and entertainment technologies on home ground. The event showcases the same advanced technologies seen at the likes of international events such as NAB, and presents a rare networking opportunity for sector professionals from across the continent. According to Robinson, the exhibitors, many of whom participate in every Mediatech Africa, reported that the 2019 edition was as slick as any similar event abroad.

“Mediatech Africa prides itself in providing a platform for engagement not only for the South African market, but for the continent as a whole. We had visitors from all over Africa, including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Nigeria and Namibia – many of who came to the show to seek out professional tech solutions to support the continent’s rapidly growing commercial, broadcast and live events markets,” says Robinson.

He goes on to state that most of the exhibitors at Mediatech understand the needs of the African market, and showcase products and solutions that are designed to meet the market conditions. “There are a number of large-scale tradeshows on the international circuit which serve as a platform for the world’s leading product manufacturers to launch new products and solutions. What differentiates Mediatech Africa is that most of the exhibitors at the large international tradeshows showcase technologies that have been developed with Western markets in mind. At Mediatech Africa, exhibitors take into account the market that they are addressing and showcase solutions that are designed to meet our unique performance demands and costing requirements.”

The final day of the show was the highpoint for the finalists in the MasterMix competition for sound engineers – who eagerly awaited the results of the visitor voting which took place during the show. Competition hopefuls had the opportunity to mix the separates of Refuge, an unreleased Freshlyground track. A really funky upbeat multi-instrumental track with brass, piano, guitar and more, and a reggae influence; the piece was an instant hit with voters who moved with the rhythm as they listened to the eight shortlisted entries.

The ultimate winner was announced at The Academy of Sound Engineers (ASE) stand with Gavan Eckhart walking away with top honours. Eckhart received an ASE bursary valued at R100 000 and a selection of gear sponsored by Wild and Marr valued at R30 000.

A studio owner, sound engineer and producer, Eckhart has worked with the cream of the South African music industry – recording and mixing for industry giants like Miriam Makeba, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Soweto Gospel Choir, and Freshly Ground. He also tours with top South African and international bands providing great live mixes for a diverse listenership. He has been nominated for a SAMA for Miriam Makeba’s ‘Reflections’, as well as a Golden Reel Award for the soundtrack to ‘Book of Negros’.

With an already well established and illustrious career on track, Eckhart generously donated the bursary back to the ASE so that a deserving up and coming student can benefit from his prize.

With over 72 hours of educational talks, demonstrations and events – Mediatech Africa provides exhibitors with the ideal platform to educate the greater market. On the other hand, visitors who took up the endless show opportunities left the expo upskilled and educated on all the latest innovations in tech trends in their respective vertical. These presentations are a good mix of education and entertainment and they add enormous value to visitors.

Robinson’s astute insight into the professional tech market has been honed over the almost two decades that he has served as Mediatech Africa show director. “It would be remiss not to acknowledge that South Africans are struggling to overcome mounting economic pressures and there are few, if any, in the country who have not been directly affected by the current economic downturn,” he reflects. Robinson, however, points out that Mediatech Africa 2019 provided a critical platform for professionals across all six show verticals to interact with international representatives and showcase the strength of the local industry.

“Mediatech provides an opportunity to demonstrate the high levels of professionalism, skill and dedication so entrenched in the South African market. Despite the trying times, the expo provides an opportunity to ignite confidence in the market and in our industry,” Robinson states.

While there were fewer exhibitors in comparison to years’ past, the show still managed to exceed expectations on all fronts. “The feedback that we have received from exhibitors and visitors alike has been unprecedented,” says Robinson.

“The rate at which technology is developing across verticals is phenomenal, particularly if one considers the rapid evolution of IP-based technologies, which continue to dominate across verticals. The level of excitement on the showroom floor was evident from the moment we opened the doors to the point at which we had to ask all visitors to leave the floor on Friday evening. When the market is under pressure and we’re all feeling the pinch, it’s easy to become despondent. However, when one sees the enthusiasm, optimism and drive expressed by our industry partners and visitors to the show, ones faith in the promise of a strong and thriving industry in Africa is easily restored. This show laid the foundations for an incredible exhibition in 2021 where we will continue to build on the formulae for success that we have built over the last 10 shows. We look forward to seeing what the next iteration of Mediatech Africa will bring,” concludes Robinson.

Mediatech – the tech trade show shaping the way creativity: Inspires. Innovates. Delivers.

Telemedia partners at Mediatech 2019

Telemedia is exhibiting at Mediatech Africa 2019. The company’s solutions include the following connectivity services: fibre, satellite, VSAT, terrestrial microwave, 3G bonded devices and internet.

Additionally, Telemedia offers several products for broadcast applications, such as studios, OB vans, SNG vehicles, playout systems, MAM systems, microwave connectivity, video management and compression for satellite head ends and OTT; IP video routing solutions and much more. Whatever your broadcast needs, Telemedia will help you.

At Mediatech Africa 2019, Telemedia is hosting representatives from Nevion and Hitachi Kokusai.

Hitachi Kokusai Electric

Hitachi Kokusai Electric is a leading Japanese manufacturer of broadcast, industrial and CCTV camera systems – with cameras for all applications. Broadcasters all over the world rely on Hitachi cameras for their content and enjoy the great picture quality and solid reliability that Hitachi cameras provide.

Mark Capstick, general manager of Broadcast Solution Sales at Hitachi Kokusai Electric Europe GmbH, will be representing Hitachi at Mediatech Africa 2019. With 30 years’ experience in broadcasting, Capstick started his career as a broadcast transmitter engineer with the UK’s Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA).

He then moved to Thames Television – holder at that time of the ITV Licence for London Weekdays – where he worked in electronic maintenance covering all studio, MCR and presentation equipment at Thames TV’s Euston Studios. He spent a large amount of his time at Thames in camera, ENG and PSC (Portable Single Camera) maintenance – gaining very valuable and detailed knowledge of studio and portable cameras. In 1992, Capstick moved to a broadcast equipment manufacturer, taking a position as broadcast engineer looking after all technical aspects of their broadcast camera and monitor business. He quickly progressed to chief engineer and then, in 2001, he became general manager of the UK Office.  He remained in that position until 2016, when Hitachi Kokusai asked him to become general manager of their Broadcast and Industrial Camera operation for the UK, Western European and Africa.

Nevion

As the architects of virtualised media production, Nevion provides media network and broadcast infrastructure solutions to broadcasters, telecommunication service providers, government agencies and other industries. Increasingly based on IP, virtualisation and Cloud technology, Nevion’s solutions enable the management, transport, processing and monitoring of professional-quality video, audio and data – in real-time, reliably and securely.

From content production to distribution, Nevion solutions are used to power major sporting and live events across the globe. Some of the world’s largest media groups and telecom service providers use Nevion technology, including Arqiva, AT&T, BBC, BT, CCTV, EBU, France Télévision, Globo Grupo, NASA, NBC Universal, Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. and Telefonica.

Nevion will be at Mediatech Africa 2019 at the booth of its South African partner, Telemedia, where the company’s flagship products will be on show: Virtuoso, the software-defined media node; and VideoIPath, the orchestration and SDN software.

Ebby John, sales director for Middle East, Africa and India, is representing Nevion at the show. John has been performing a consultative sales role at Nevion for the past 15 years, ensuring his customers understand the value Nevion can bring to their business.

Visit Telemedia (Pty) Ltd at Mediatech Africa 2019, taking place from 17 – 19 July at the Ticketpro Dome, Johannesburg.

Jasco Broadcast Solutions’ partner experts at Mediatech Africa 2019

At Mediatech Africa 2019, Jasco Broadcast Solutions is showcasing their premium product ranges and brands in collaboration with their OEMs.

“Our portfolio of products on display encompasses everything that you need to meet your broadcast requirements, from cameras to editing systems, archiving to complete turnkey studio builds,” said a representative of the company. “Our engineers and technicians, as well as our partner experts, are present on the stand to guide you through choosing the right solutions to solve your broadcast problems and challenges.”

At the forefront of Jasco’s portfolio is the Avid product range. Encompassing everything from Avid Media Composer Editing systems, to Media Central production asset management and Nexis storage solutions, the Avid brand is well represented by a comprehensive demo system, plus both Jasco staff and salespeople and technical specialists from Avid.

Jasco is also showcasing the next generation of ClearCom intercom products. These include the new IP-based technologies for intercom panels, wireless beltpack systems, and IP interlinking. The stand includes the new IRIS intercom panels with their intelligent colour displays. In addition to Jasco staff, Clearcom is represented on the stand by their Regional Sales Manager for Africa as well as an Applications Engineer.

Miller Camera Support is on display with a selection of light- to medium-sized camera mounting and support systems. These include combo kits that will be of interest to those involved in ENG and field production. Miller’s sales staff are also on hand to answer any questions.

As a long-standing Sony reseller, Jasco has a selection of Sony products on display. The Jasco sales team is available to discuss the different camera solutions and assist in building combinations with the help of Miller Camera Support.

Ateme recently joined the Jasco Broadcast fold and is at Mediatech Africa 2019. Ateme’s linear TV, contribution, VOD and OTT software and hardware solutions is available to view and discuss with Ateme sales staff.

Leyard/Planar is also on the Jasco stand with a selection of LED modular and LCD professional display solutions, together with their related controllers and systems. Visitors to the stand are able to view and discuss the product ranges with both Leyard and Jasco staff.

This year, once again, Oracle is on the Jasco stand offering their OracleDiva HSM archiving solutions. Diva consultants are in attendance to discuss workflows and system requirements, as well as to assist attendees in deciding what they really need for their archive environment.

As a Jasco partner, Etere is on the stand with a comprehensive range of software-based automation, master control, media asset management, channel in a box, advert insertion and advert sales systems. For premium solutions in these areas of the media and broadcast business, visitors can discuss their needs with representatives from Etere.

At this year’s Mediatech event, Egripment camera support is displaying a TD Crane in an area specifically set up for the product. Come and see it in action on the Jasco stand. In attendance will be sales staff from Egripment to answer any questions on this specialist product range of camera support equipment.

Soliton supplies a selection of H265-based video streaming solutions using bonded cellular network connectivity. Their products are also on display on the Jasco stand at Mediatech Africa 2019.

Additionally, Jasco Broadcast’s Dubai-based SI partner, INC, is on the stand to meet with and discuss large-scale projects. Visitors to the show can meet the INC team and see what they have done in the past, as well as what they are capable of offering in the future.

Visit Jasco Broadcast Solutions at Mediatech Africa 2019, taking place from 17 – 19 July at the Ticketpro Dome, Johannesburg.

Black Box 360 at Mediatech Africa: An AV education centre that’s energetic, educational and entertaining

The exceedingly popular show stopper Black Box returns to Mediatech and if you were in awe of what the team pulled off in 2017 – you’ll be spellbound this year. That’s the opinion of Mediatech Africa show director Simon Robinson who adds, “It’s hard to improve on perfection but Creative Works and the team who has laboured on the project have exceeded all expectations, adding new elements and twists to the vibrant automated light and audio visual experience – which this year will break the constraints of the box.”

A show designed by the most creative minds in the industry – showcasing the most ground breaking technology available – in the most inspired and inventive way. That’s Black Box 360. A synthesis of high energy music, powerful lighting, pixel mapping and more – all packaged into one hour sessions that are enhanced with knowledge-rich presentations that unpack and reveal the skill that went into making the technology sing.

Joshua Cutts and Christopher Bolton of Collective Works are the masterminds responsible for the show in its entirety – from concept to design, music and partnership appointments.  Bolton says that the best way to describe this Mediatech event is an AV education centre. “We have designed something distinctive that’s captivating and really quite special. For people who don’t get to experience the wow factor of big shows – Black Box 360 will give you a taste of what it’s like to be immersed in an enthralling performance – put on by leading professionals in our industry.”

Adding to this he says, “But it’s more than just a show spectacular. It’s a learning experience that details what went into creating the seamless synchronicity and pinpoint accuracy of the show, the tech and design elements and how to create decent workflows in design.”

The informative presentations will include a rich mix of content and case studies. One that stands out in the line-up is “Eurovision 2019” which will be delivered by Bolton and Cutts.

The Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is considered to be one of the most spectacular and captivating television events in the world – and it’s renowned for delivering a spectacular feast for the senses by consistently pushing the boundaries of what’s possible from a staging and production perspective.  There are few lighting professionals who don’t have ESC on their gig bucket list. An army of lighting technicians are needed to manage the magnitude of this production and the complexity of the lighting rigs and Bolton and Cutts –two of South Africa’s most eminent lighting designers – were among those drafted.

Bolton and Cutts worked with an enormous team of technicians to oversee guest performances, as well as delegate rehearsals and the live shows with this year’s theme “Dare to Dream” in mind. They will share their story of ESC and walk Black Box audiences through this year’s spectacular show – which in the final rounds was in front of a live audience of 7,500 people, while the live broadcast was watched by approximately 200 million fans worldwide.

A collaborative effort – this year the core team has been expanded to include more industry professionals in the development of the show; a decision taken by Creative Works to ensure that Black Box is a tradition that lives on at Mediatech. The structure of each hour-long experience has been changed and will now be broken into two performances – each followed by a presentation. Other big hitters responsible for the line-up, include: Bad Weather [Andrew Bosman and Jonathan Bandli]; Sound GP [Christo Hattingh] and Multi-Media [Adriaan van der Walt], the Gearhouse Group [Nickolas Chapman – Showcom, Johann Moolman, Stuart Andrews, Robert Grobler]and a Cape Town band – Emerger.

“With a mix of backtracks and performances by Emerger – who play all original South African songs – when it comes to the music there’s something for everyone,” says Bolton.

In preparation for Black Box 360, well over 2 000 man hours went into controlling in excess of 8 900 different parameters and 16 odd universes.  As the technical sponsor – Gearhouse spent four full days managing the complexities of the Black Box build and supplied 3kms of tech cabling, a huge amount of LED video panels, around 150 static LED lights and 200 moving lights. Over a ton of rigging was used with a total of 30 motorised rigging points necessary to get the trussing design up and within spec. Multiple rigging bridles had to be used to ensure a safe weight distribution throughout the roofing system of the venue. Gearhouse experts – Reinier Robertson, Johann Moolman and Tanya Brown worked closely with Robert Grobler to ensure all weight and design parameters where taken into account when working out bridle lengths, positioning on the stand and point weights to ensure a safe methodology to the installation.

All the tech used during the show will be on display afterwards for the industry to review, including by way of example: Green Hippotizer media servers; MA lighting consoles; L-Acoustics Kara / KS28; as well as VPUs for Pixel Mapping.

“While just as awe-inspiring – it’s radically different to Black Box 2017 and we invite everyone to come and experience it and to take up the opportunity to engage with the presenters and the technology,” says Bolton.

In conclusion – Robinson says, “Prepare to be amazed. Black Box 360 is more than just education and entertainment. It’s an experience that will leave you invigorated and inspired by the possibility of opportunity and a fast forward glimpse into the arrival of the future. This show demonstrates, yet again, the magnitude of South Africa’s talent in this industry. Some of the country’s best lighting and show designers have contributed to the show’s development and we are incredibly proud to showcase this event. Spots must be reserved for these showings which are without doubt a new form of engagement and immersion.”

Don’t miss all the new creative being showcased at Mediatech 2019 – an amalgamation of skill, technology and creativity all under one roof – on the hour every hour. Download the show app to schedule all your show experiences. It’s free and available on Apple or Android devices, so download today and start tailoring your show experience. Search: Mediatech Expo Africa in your App Store.

Mediatech Africa 2019 takes place from 17-19 July at the Ticketpro Dome, Johannesburg.

Movievision hosts esteemed international guests at Mediatech 2019

Movievision is hosting special international guests Nicolò Oliva, Ron Knell and Till Sadlowski – who will be representing their respective brands at Mediatech Africa 2019.

Spotlight

Nicolò Oliva, partner and managing director of Spotlight, joined the Company in the late-80s right after his graduation in Robotics Engineering in Milan, Italy. At that time, Spotlight, founded in 1969, was about to face the upcoming booming decades of the entertainment industry, where “made in Italy” lighting was to take a primary role in the worldwide market.

Spotlight has traditionally focused on R&D and the manufacture of pro fixtures for the opera house, theatre and general stage lighting markets. Since then, a constantly-growing network of distributors has been built nearly all over the world, with Spotlight now represented in over one hundred countries with exclusive distributors and authorised after-sales centres.

In South Africa, Spotlight is proud to have Movievision as a long-term exclusive distributor, not to mention their qualified team of top consultants for project design.

Rosco

Ron Knell joined Rosco in March 2003 as UK sales manager, before handling the development of Rosco for South Africa in 2004. Since then, he has added extra territories such as Eastern Europe and the Balkans to his portfolio.

“During my time and many visits to South Africa, I have visited various establishments in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town,” says Knell. “In 2012, Movievision was appointed our dealer distributor for textiles, and we then followed with our range of LED lighting fixtures. Starting with Silk, and then introducing DMG Lumiere by Rosco, with the Switch Bi-Colour fixture. They now represent our new six-chip, full-colour MIX range. I’m very proud of our achievements in South Africa, developing a market from scratch to what it is today. I look forward to our continued success here.”

Carpet light

Carpetlight GmbH was founded in 2014 by Goetz Schmidt zur Nedden and Till Sadlowski to realise their idea of the “shining cloth/lighting textile” as a universal tool for new ways of finding lighting solutions. Till will be representing Carpetlight at Mediatech Africa 2019.

Based on their long-term experiences in motion picture and TV lighting, they combined their practical knowledge with new fields of technology, such as smart textiles, LEDs and industrial design, to develop a patent-pending product with ground-breaking characteristics.

With great support from Europe’s leading textile research institutes and innovative manufacturers, multiple materials and technologies were evaluated in the developing process. The results led to prototypes successfully being tested under both lab and real-life conditions.

It is their aim to combine science and craftsmanship on a high-quality level to give customers the most advanced lighting and design possibilities. Come and see this innovative technology for yourself at Mediatech Africa 2019.

Visit Movievision at Mediatech Africa 2019, taking place from 17-19 July at the Ticketpro Dome, Johannesburg.

Protea Electronics showcases AJA’s latest technology at Mediatech 2019

At Mediatech Africa 2019 – currently taking place at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg until 19 July – Protea Electronics (D17) is showcasing AJA’s newest products and updates for broadcast, production, streaming, post and ProAV professionals, including the Ki Pro GO multi-channel H.264 recorder, Ki Pro Ultra Plus multi-channel HD recorder or 4K/UltraHD2K/HD recorder, streaming tools, fibre solutions and KUMO routers.

Ki Pro GO

A portable multi-channel H.264 recorder, Ki Pro GO can capture up to four HD or SD channels simultaneously to affordable, off-the-shelf USB media. Genlock-free inputs eliminate the need to externally synchronise sources, while redundant recording provides flexible backups of each input. Ki Pro GO combines intuitive design with the production-proven performance of AJA’s Ki Pro family of products into a compact 2RU, half-rack width form factor.

Ki Pro Ultra Plus

Ki Pro Ultra Plus is a multi-channel Apple ProRes recorder offering up to four channels of simultaneous HD recording; in single-channel mode, it’s a 4K/UltraHD/2K/HD Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD® MXF recorder and player supporting the latest connectivity, including 3G-SDI, fiber and HDMI 2.0, as well as large raster HFR workflows, including 4K 60p. Suited for a range of environments, the portable device boasts a carry handle and is easily rackmountable.

AJA Streaming Solutions

AJA offers a range of streaming solutions, including KONA HDMI, which can be used to capture, stream and switch up to four HD camera sources using steaming apps like Wirecast and vMix. Portable and easy-to-use, AJA U-TAP SDI and U-TAP HDMI USB 3.0-powered capture devices connect directly to a computer via a USB 3.0 connection, with no drivers to install. The Thunderbolt™ 3-equipped Io 4K Plus makes it easy to transfer either four HD streams of video and audio from SDI and HDMI for streaming with associated software or one 4K signal, while HELO enables simultaneously streaming, encoding and recording of high quality video.

AJA Fibre Solutions

From frame synchronisation and conversion to recording and playback, AJA develops a variety of single and multi-mode fibre solutions that allow professionals to take advantage of fiber connectivity to transmit signals over longer distances with a smaller footprint. AJA fibre solutions on display at Mediatech include: FiDO 2R, FiDO 2T, FiDO-R-SC and the Hi5-Fiber

KUMO Routers

Available in multiple connector densities and 3G-SDI and 12G-SDI options, KUMO routers provide convenient dense routing solutions in lightweight form factors for use in facilities, OB trucks, post suites and more. The new KUMO 1616-12G and KUMO 3232-12G routers enable full range of 4K and UltraHD routing on a single BNC for rates up to 12G. All KUMO routers are easy to update, configure, and control with optional Control Panels for quick physical access for source and destination routing, with convenient USB ports, plus integrated web browser access across an Ethernet network.

 

 

Topshot.Africa 3D flying system brings viewers closer to the action

To get the perfect shot, film directors demand more – and they make it their business to push the cinematic medium beyond what was previously possible. The compulsion to achieve these creative visions has been a driving force behind the rigorous development of new technology, and no one can argue that technology has fundamentally altered how movies are made today.

Filmmaking is not for the shallow of pocket, and movies, particularly those for the big screen, have astronomical budgets. These bigger budgets have a direct correlation on how much tech can be deployed; yet another reason for the explosion of new technology in the world of entertainment.

Recognising this trend and spotting a gap in the South African market, Film Riggers directors Graham Terrell and Alard Hufner developed TopShot.Africa – a 3D flying camera system which provides dynamic, shake-free, premium-quality footage that brings viewers closer to the action.

According to Terrell, although this type of technology has been around and used internationally for roughly 15 years, in South Africa it’s been out of reach till now. “Local production houses would have to buy or hire in global counterparts like Spidercam, but the costs are prohibitive so no one does,” says Terrell. “With TopShot there’s now an opportunity for the local industry to access a more cost effective solution.

“Today’s producers and directors want angles and shots that would otherwise be impossible to achieve, but using TopShot it’s now possible to place cameras in close proximity to people for more intense, intimate close-ups. In such cases the audience tends to feel more present and in the moment because the lens they see through feels authentic. Filmmakers also spend less time re-shooting the same scene to get the right angle.”

From a film or TV set to sport events, conferences, live events, concerts and big church meetings, this tech solution is equally effective in each setting, delivering more dynamic shots. “It has unlimited perspective and possibilities – and you can do so much more with your shots.”

The system, which has no local competitors, enables film and TV cameras to move vertically and horizontally in a co-ordinated and synchronised manner along four motorised winches – typically positioned at the four corners of a venue.

Explaining in more detail how the technology works, Terrell says that an ultra-high-strength artificial fibre rope runs from each winch up to an anchored pulley in the roof structure where it’s deviated downwards to the centre of the venue. “Here all four ropes meet and connect to the camera platform. The winches reel rope on and off the winch drum to achieve movement of the camera platform in three planes; left and right, up and down, forward and backwards.”

The fibre optic strands that are woven into the locally-made rope relay picture, lens, camera and gimbal control data from the camera platform to the control station. A high performance, compact and versatile gyro-stabilised gimbal connects the camera to the camera platform. It’s this combination that provides shake-free, premium-quality footage for highly dynamic broadcast, film and TV production.

“We use high-quality fibre optics from Sweden. This is the only imported component of our locally-manufactured ropes. When it comes to broadcast, WiFi is not reliable in a stadium and fibre optics is the only option.  Data transfer is too high for wireless links, so the best and only viable solution is to weave a fibre optic strand into the rope,” says Terrell.

“The safety of the 3D cable system trumps drones, which cannot be flown above people in a stadium. Our current ropes have a one-ton break strain and can comfortably support a car. Other benefits include that the system is less obtrusive; it’s suspended from the roof and takes up less floor space, and has greater, more dynamic reach. As if that were not enough, there are more capabilities on the horizon, most notably the use of AR with TopShot.”

When weighing up the challenges this new technology is facing, Terrell says that despite the vastly cheaper price point compared to global alternatives, local budgets are still an issue. Adding to this, he says that although we have some of the best cameramen in the world, the technology is complicated to work with, and often used under highly stressful (live) conditions, so the relationship between pilot and cameraman must be tight. Lack of exposure means many directors don’t actually know how to work with this system either.

Mediatech Africa show director Simon Robinson says the addition of this bird’s-eye view technology to the expo is a first for Mediatech and a real coup. “Perhaps one of the brightest stars in the future-tech galaxy, visitors will have the opportunity to operate the state-of-the-art system – guiding it around a fully-rigged ‘stadium’ set-up.  Footage from the pan, tilt and camera zooms will be broadcast onto big screens, simulating an exciting in-field experience with TopShot.”

Robinson says that it’s truly remarkable to see how technology keeps evolving and as film directors continue to push the envelope and raise the bar within their craft, so technology will have to keep step. “It’s intriguing to see what’s next! So be at Mediatech for a fast-forward glimpse into the future of all things media and entertainment – and be inspired by the boundless opportunities made possible with technology.”

According to the show’s organisers, the visitor count achieved two years ago exceeded 7 500 delegates and there’s no reason to believe this year will be any different. The event which began yesterday, is once again taking place at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg and will run until19 July.

Mediatech – the tech trade show shaping the way creativity: Inspires. Innovates. Delivers.

Telemedia (Pty) Ltd at Mediatech Africa 2019

At Mediatech Africa 2019, Telemedia is showcasing a number of innovative and industry-leading products and solutions from their suppliers. Products and solutions on display include:

Hitachi

Hitachi manufactures a wide range of high-quality, professional broadcast cameras – with a camera for every application. Whether you are looking for studio, OB/EFP or remote / POV cameras, Hitachi has a camera to meet every technical requirement and budget.

  • SK-UHD4000

Hitachi’s top-of-the-range camera – the SK-UHD4000 – is a 4K UHD system camera with 2/3-inch CMOS sensors and a standard B4 lens mount. The Fibre CCU can output not only 4K (12G or Quad-3G) but also simultaneously outputs HDTV signals  – making it a great future-proof, multi-format,  multifunctional camera for studio or OB use.

Hitachi also has a range of 1080i/1080P(3G) switchable HD cameras, fitting all price and technical/feature categories:

SK-HD1300 with three 2/3-inch CMOS sensors and remote controlled filter wheel.

SK-HD1800 with three 2/3-inch (Global Shutter) CMOS Sensors and remote controlled filter wheel.

Z-HD5500 with three 2/3-inch (Global Shutter) CMOS Sensors with Manual filter wheel.

All these cameras can be used with a range of CCUs – offering fibre, triax or Wireless connectivity.

  • SK-HD1300-S3

The SK-HD1300-S3 is a fibre-based 3x Speed Super Slow-Motion HD camera system, providing a high quality, but cost-effective, Slo-Mo companion camera.

If 1080i format HD is all that is required, then the Z-HD6000 with three 2/3-inch CMOS Sensors and Z-HD5000 with three 2/3-inch (1 Mpixel) IT CCDs are – more budget-friendly alternatives, with lower-cost triax or fibre systems also available.

There is a range of viewfinders which are compatible with all SK and Z series cameras – including  2”, 7” and 9” LCD and 7.4” OLED viewfinders.

For remote pan/tilt systems and POV applications, Hitachi has a range of compact box cameras:

The DK-H200 (1080P – 3G), DK-H100 (1080i) and DK-Z50 (1080i with 1M Pixel CCD sensor) all have standard 2/3” B4 lens mount.

Broadcasters and production companies all over the world depend on the solid reliability of Hitachi cameras, and enjoy the natural, high-quality pictures that they produce.

Vislink Technologies

  • Vislink HCAM

The Vislink Technologies HCAM wireless camera transmitter is a highly flexible ultra-low latency, HEVC 4K UHD-capable solution that features configurable mounting options and the latest video interfaces – allowing the unit to be mounted to broadcast cameras for time-critical sporting events and entertainment programming.

The HCAM 4K Wireless Video Transmitter has recently been updated to offer improved HD operation. Now, with the updated HCAM HD HEVC technology, professionals can operate HD at lower bit rates and realise improved reception and transmission robustness.  Picture quality measurements and subjective video testing have recently demonstrated that the latest Vislink HCAM can provide equivalent quality 1080p HD video compared to the best MPEG-4 1080p HD resolution wireless camera devices, both at a significantly lower bit rate and with an equivalent latency. The HEVC compression gain and bit rate reduction that the Vislink HCAM offers is, in fact, significant enough to allow a reduction in modulation scheme from 16QAM to QPSK.

The change to the RF modulation that improved efficiency HEVC compression allows – compared to the best performing MPEG-4 HD transmission systems – provides 6dBs more robustness to the HD 1080p transmission link budget. Camera operators can utilise this increased link budget gain to ensure greater robustness of their wireless camera transmissions – ensuring less risk of picture drop-outs, reduced rigging of additional reception antenna installations or doubling of line-of-sight transmission range.

The HEVC compression gains now available in the Vislink HCAM wireless camera transmitter also benefit productions that are originated in 1080i. Despite the fact that HEVC has fewer enhancements in its toolset for interlaced formats – making compression gains in 1080i a significantly harder proposition for a HEVC codec – Vislink HCAM can now match the compression gain, latency and picture quality of the best MPEG-4 wireless camera solutions in 1080i formats, too.

The HEVC compression enhancements now available in the Vislink HCAM wireless camera transmitter allow this high-end device to be used not only in the top tier of UHD and HDR Event production, but now also as an all-round, everyday wireless camera device – providing 1080p HD feeds from twice the range that an MPEG-4 system can achieve, with the ability to match 1080i MPEG-4 systems in all respects and with the addition of encode-decode quality gain that comes from a full 10-bit 4:2:2 compression engine.

HCAM offers seamless 4K transmission capabilities for several applications including sports, broadcasting and event coverage. With highly flexible, configurable mounting options, HCAM works well with prosumer, broadcast and ENG cameras. The unit includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth control, compatible with iOS and Android handheld devices – ensuring that event operators can rollout a wireless camera solution that supports current and future technologies and operate it with ease.

Visit Telemedia (Pty) Ltd at Mediatech Africa 2019, taking place from 17 – 19 July at the Ticketpro Dome, Johannesburg.

 

Visit Egripment at Mediatech Africa 2019

Egripment Support Systems, manufacturer of high-end camera support systems and remote broadcast solutions for the film and broadcast industries, will join Jasco Broadcast Services on their stand (G20) at Mediatech Africa 2019 in Johannesburg. Egripment Support Systems and Jasco Broadcast Services will together showcase the Egripment TDT Modular Crane System.

The TDT Remote crane is a concept designed from the ground up for AR & VR use without losing its functionalities as a Lightweight remote camera crane combined with an own remote heads. Egripment Support Systems likes to add the TDT system as a “different” and completely “new” design offered at a very low price, but with the high Egripment quality all our products are known for. All sections are made from extremely stiff duralumin. The TDT crane systems can be purchased in different versions varying from 1.5 to 9 meters max. The TDT “one-man” remote crane system is a nice simple design and easy to build up. The TDT crane is a modular system with arm sections of 1,5 m / 5 ft. long. This gives the user the ability to transport the complete arm in a very small vehicle, OB-Van or in TDT flight-cases which can be purchased as an accessory.

With the increasing demand for Virtual- and Augmented use, Egripment now offers a High Quality Encoding Package to their cranes. Based on Egripment’s Crane Systems and Remote Heads, a fully encoded system is now available. High precision encoders in the crane arm and remote head, as well as optional encoders when using the crane dolly on track, both in combination with a superior tracking interface. Egripment delivers the answers for the market’s demands!

The Egripment 301 Remote Camera Head is the remote head within the extensive line of Egripment Remote Camera Heads we usually offer with the TDT crane system. The 301 Remote Head has all of the features which have become the  trademark of Egripment Remote Heads. It is strong, Responsive, Easy to use, and has an incredible Smoothness of Movement.

Visit Egripment on the Jasco Broadcast Services stand at Mediatech Africa 2019, taking place from 17-19 July at the Ticketpro Dome, Johanneburg.

The evolution and impact of VFX on film: If you can imagine it you can put it on screen

Special and visual effects have been part and parcel of movie making since the dawn of cinema. From the days of Thomas Edison, to King Kong (1933), Jaws (1975) and Jungle Book (2018); today’s Hollywood blockbusters are jam packed with explosions, CG imagery, mystical make-believe and intrigue, fantasy locations, and convincing characters created from software programmes. It’s hard to imagine a cinematic world where humans don’t teleport through wormholes while battling fiery dragons and interplanetary demons. Oversized blue people, who are bigger, stronger and more advanced than humans. Anything a screenwriter can come up with is now possible to put on screen in a way that’s authentic and convincing and not surprisingly, today nearly every major release comes with a hefty VFX budget.

According to Mediatech Africa exhibition director Simon Robinson, as with all technology centric industries, VFX has evolved dramatically over time and particularly over the past 10 years.

“VFX has a bright future and we are currently in the golden age of visual effects. There have been incredible and revolutionary breakthroughs in the way technologies have been used in a range of Oscar winning movies of late and progressively more on TV too. Growth is evident in the quality and complexity of visual effects, as well as constant innovation in photorealism. What’s more – all of these techniques continue to be rapidly improved upon as technology leapfrogs forward,” adds Robinson.

Today’s market is buoyant and on any given year, about eight of the top 10 grossing movies are likely to be visual effects-oriented or computer-animated films and many of the most popular streaming shows were also VFX heavy. The fact that studios spend tens of millions of dollars on visual effects has essentially turned VFX into a commodity. There’s absolutely no doubt about it – the business of VFX is booming.

VFX Doesn’t Come Cheap

“It’s true, VFX has elevated film making to new heights but it comes with a price tag. If you want evidence of this, HBO’s hit drama Game of Thrones eighth season is reported to be the most expensive one yet with episodes estimated to cost $15-million each,” says Robinson. “Despite the digital revolution, and off-the-shelf software, it still takes hours of labour intensive work by creative technicians and artists working behind the scenes.”

Influence of VFX

Visual effects now support so much of the storytelling that its influence is creeping into other departments – camera, lighting, costumes, sets, makeup, hair, production design and stunts – so there is more work than ever before. Companies are also leveraging new technologies such as VR and LED walls. Light-field capture, previs, cloud rendering, and game engines for real time production are other trends evident in the industry. The Jungle Book ushered in the use of game engines for virtual production which has been picking up greater adoption in the VFX community. Advances in lighting that have helped visual effects include smaller LED lights, that put out more light, and are remote-controlled, are responsible for improving the speed of set ups. Being able to programme lights makes interactive lighting more accurate.

What’s next for VFX?

Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) is reportedly working on using AI to de-noise the images produced by ray tracing which is expected to cut down on CPU and render time. They are also investigating techniques to recognise and replace human faces in a semi-automated way which is potentially a huge leap forward.

Of course the arrival of 5G – the fifth generation wireless system – will change everything and the industry eagerly anticipates this advancement. It’s expected to take down latency to below human perception and you will be able to move data in seemingly real time. “This will have a huge impact on production time and budgets,” says Robinson.

“10 years ago it would not have been possible to create The Jungle Book remake which was almost entirely created on computer and collected a healthy $103 million at the box office on its opening weekend,” says Robinson. “This Hollywood hit used extensive new and innovative technologies, including cloud rendering to handle the hundreds of thousands of processing hours needed to render an entire rain forest in photographic detail and so much more.”

Those in the industry expect AR will play a bigger role in the film making process and there are also big opportunities around AI technology and improved visual effects processes. Cloud computing is expected to have a massive impact on the industry with the achievement of photorealism in greatly reduced time frames.

“VFX has been responsible for iconic movie moments that have forever changed the industry and the next 10 years are likely to be even more innovative as technology continues to evolve in ways that help create movies that push VFX to new levels and improve the viewer experience. And you can take that to the bank,” concludes Robinson.

Mediatech Africa 2019 is on from 17 to 19 July at the Ticketpro Dome, Johannesburg. The show is the largest and only one of its kind on the continent attracting an extensive audience that covers six verticals including: Pro Audio (lighting and staging); Audio Visual Integration; Broadcast (TV & Radio); Studio (Recording – DJ); Digital Media (VOD – OTT); Film & Video (Production). Register before the 12 July closing date to avoid paying the R100 entrance fee and be exposed to the latest in VFX technology being used in local productions and so much more.

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