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Antena 3 bigs up the news

7 July 2011

Spanish TV channel Antena 3 has updated its newsroom with a brand new studio featuring a 11 x 2.5m video wall, writes Fergal Ringrose.

Videoreport and Christie worked with Antena 3’s engineering department on a new set for the Antena 3 Noticias news programme. The new studio is spread over an area of 1,200m2 and is equipped with groundbreaking technological resources including a production system unprecedented in Spain.
The most striking element of this new studio set is a 11m x 2.5m rear projection display made up of 33 50” Christie Entero LED tiles with SXGA+ resolution, built on DLP technology with LED illumination. It is claimed to be the biggest display of any news programme in Spain and one of the largest in Europe. The videowall was installed jointly by Christie and Videoreport, a company belonging to the audiovisual group Vértice 360 (and a Christie partner in Spain).

“The idea was to create a different news bulletin, opening a window on the world through a giant display with superb quality image as the centrepiece of the new set, that would also be used as a backdrop for the news bulletin,” said Jesús Lozano Corchón, director of Image and Production at Antena 3.

“We were looking for a curved display, because this type of screen is more attractive from a visual perspective. We also wanted an image with the smallest possible seams between the cubes. We required a silent display solution giving off the least heat, because this screen was to be located in studio space with 150 people, given that the Antena 3 Noticias newsroom is part of the set.

“We also needed a display with outstanding brightness, considering the strong effect on the set of both the sunlight coming from the street and the artificial light. As such, after weighing up all these factors and studying other options on the market we concluded that Christie offered us the best solution.”

Spyder control
“To be honest, it was a very complicated installation and great effort and time was invested,” said Marcos Fernández, business development manager, Christie Spain. “It should be noted that there is a projector inside each of the 33 cubes units comprising this display. This involved some adjustments with regards to the geometry and colourimetry of each tile, requiring a lot of work. But it was definitely worth the effort, considering the incredible result.”

The display solution offers a resolution of 15,400 x 3,150 pixels, giving a total of 48,510,000 pixels, and one third of its surface is touchscreen. This application is mainly used for presenting the weather forecast at the end of the news.

The new Antena 3 display is controlled by a Christie Spyder X20 video-processor outputting the different signals. “As soon as we discovered the resolution of such a big display, we realised that we needed more than a simple video mixer to send the signal to the screen, and Antena 3 immediately asked us to resolve this,” explained Julio Chorro of Videoreport. “To tell the truth we didn’t make any other suggestion, because straight away we thought of Spyder X20 due to its power and the obvious advantages with regard to its compatibility range,” he added.
The Spyder system can mix a number of sources in multiple windows (up to 32 independent windows), display a picture inside a picture (PiP application), easily define, shape and blend edges and apply a wide variety of effects in realtime.

Nick Wheeler, who has worked very hard to set into motion the Spyder system at Antena 3, said: “The imagination that Antena 3 has put into the use of the Christie X20 video processor is amazing. They were able to grasp the concept and possibilities of the processor very quickly and I was amazed to see them already using some of the nice features such as PiP shapes and key frame effects. This gives the whole wall a very dynamic feel, also giving the director more choice and variations in his camera shots.”

Antena 3 also uses several systems to launch the content displayed on the brand new screen, such as a Grass Valley mixer, a Dalet system for launching content, a Chyron digital library and a Vizrt graphic solution.
 Newscasters go mobile
The Spanish TV channel’s new broadcasting style led to a new studio format, moving away from the conventional front shot of the seated newsreader to open up different possibilities for presenting the news. Newscasters are now more mobile and dynamic, making the news more accessible by analysing issues together with spectators using a whole range of available elements.

The display serves as a support for newsreaders to transmit the news giving, for example, the headlines with the powerful back-up of the display, showing data using the latest infographics or making closer live links with roaming reporters and correspondents. “Today the role played by newscasters is much more active. They can now move around the set, making the news more dynamic and presenting items differently,” explained Corchón. “All this has involved a shift in our way of working; now we have more staff working in production and we even have an outline script exclusively for the display feeds,” he added.
For the first time ever in Spain, Antena 3 used a Steadicam and a Polecam, added to the usual hot head. The lighting has also been upgraded, exclusively using LED lighting and fluorescent tubes for greater brightness while saving energy.

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