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Al Jazeera Installs ATEM Live Production Workflow In Partnership With KidZania London

Blackmagic Design this week announced that Al Jazeera Media Network and KidZania looks to inspire the next generation of aspiring broadcast talent with a purpose built television studio as part of KidZania London. The optical fiber based multicam 4K studio workflow features broadcast infrastructure from Blackmagic Design.

KidZania has more than 23 locations worldwide and is a mini City designed for children, where they can choose to experience one of more than 60 different professions. Developed to both entertain and educate, KidZania partners with leading brands. As broadcast partner in London, Al Jazeera Media Network has built a replica studio and developed a series of training modules that children can undertake.

The Al Jazeera Media Network had previously worked with KidZania in both the UAE and Qatar and when the decision was taken to expand that partnership, Manager of Technology – Europe, Anil Chaman lead on the project locally. “Our aim was to replicate the broadcast experience as closely as we could, without all of the complexity,” he explains. “KidZania has very strict guidelines for partners like ourselves and ease of use was chief among them. What I liked about Blackmagic’s offering was its physical packaging. It’s naturally very user friendly and intuitive to use, whilst still providing us with all the functionality we’d expect of our own studios.”

The studio is made up of three distinct components, all largely operated by children, under the supervision of KidZania staff: the studio floor where the presenter delivers a five minute news cast to three camera heads; a production gallery where children can take control of various aspects of the production process; and a color separation overlay (CSO) or green screen setup.

On the studio floor are three Blackmagic Studio Camera 4Ks providing a live feed over optical fiber, which is run via an ATEM Studio Converter and patched via SDI into a Smart Videohub 12×12 video router. The same optical fiber provides talkback and tally, with each camera operator having their own set of noise canceling headsets, enabling them to take direction from the gallery.

“The more complex roles such as vision mixing and audio are handled by a KidZania supervisor,” said Chaman. Blackmagic’s ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K with the ATEM 1 M/E Broadcast Panel was employed to produce the newscast on. “We then monitor everything from a series of preview monitors and while simultaneously recording to a HyperDeck Studio Pro. A secondary broadcast deck is used for VTs.”

Scaling was hugely important to Al Jazeera on this project. “We even went as far as building a replica version of the same desk used in our own news broadcasts,” he concludes. “It had to feel real in every aspect of its design and operation or it was never going to work, even down to the training modules themselves, which, were developed with our editorial team.”

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