By Vijaya Cherian
Al Jazeera International has purchased a high definition Vizrt package to be deployed as the core graphics system at its four broadcast centres in Doha, London, Kuala Lumpur and Washington DC.
Qatar-based Al Jazeera International, the 24-hour English-language news and current affairs channel, which is scheduled to broadcast from the 1st quarter of 2006, has ordered a high definition Vizrt package to be deployed as the core graphics system at its four broadcast centres in Doha, London, Kuala Lumpur and Washington DC. The deployment will be carried out over Q3 and Q4 of 2005.
“We spent a lot of time considering all the graphics options available to us,” says Steve Jedowski, director of Technology for Al Jazeera International. “Switching operations to four international broadcast centres in sequence presents us with unique challenges. Deciding to go with HD added an extra list of requirements to our specifications. We found that only Vizrt could offer template graphics technology that could deliver high-quality real-time 3D in HD as effectively as it does in SD,” he adds.
Al Jazeera is building on the developments in the Arab and Muslim world that have changed the face of news within the region. It plans to extend that perspective from regional to global with Al Jazeera International.
The Vizrt system will be used for the channel’s breaking news graphics, maps and template graphics, all of which will be accessible through an Octopus newsroom system. News producers will be able to access animations and template files created in any of the broadcast centres through constantly mirrored graphics file servers permanently connected to one another across the globe.
Speaking about the role of the system, Morgan Almeida, director of Creative Design for Al Jazeera International, says: “We will be depending heavily on this system to build brand awareness for the channel and to develop a consistent graphics look that will become associated with the channel. We will be breaking new ground with our programming formats. Vizrt’s changeable real-time 2D and 3D graphics will give us the flexibility we need.”
Nigel Parsons, managing director for the new channel says the new graphics system will help the channel to create a distinct look and feel. “We can generate a large volume of consistently high quality graphics to enhance our constantly changing news agenda and still allow our designers to create original animations, because the more routine graphics are all derived from pre-designed templates.”
Earlier this year, Al Jazeera had installed Vizrt’s SD graphics systems at its Qatar office to support its Arabic news and sports channels.