Prominent Arab television network Al Jazeera is a state-funded broadcaster headquartered in Doha, Qatar. It is owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network, a major global news organisation which in turn, is owned by the government of Qatar.
The network has 80 bureaux worldwide and broadcasts to 310 million households in more than 100 countries. Initially launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite television channel in 1996, Al Jazeera was the first independent news channel in the Arab world. The network now offers television channels in multiple languages, including English.
The main Doha studio used for Al Jazeera’s popular 24-hour rolling news channel required renovations. A temporary solution of the highest quality was needed in order to continue screening the news. The Qatar-based network selected internationally renowned broadcast services specialist Gearhouse Broadcast to design and install a fully operational temporary studio that would enable it to retain high production values.
Due to the continual output of the channel, the switchover from the main studio to the new temporary one had to be seamless with only minimal external technical support to ensure continuity was maintained.
Gearhouse Broadcast had at the time of this project, already worked with Al Jazeera on a number of projects, including its Studio 2 upgrade and its coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Gearhouse Broadcast offered a complete bespoke service, providing the design, equipment and crew for the new studio, as well as full on-site training for Al Jazeera’s production team.
Once the initial switchover had taken place, the next stage of the project involved upgrading the temporary studio to a fully HD operation
The new studio is equipped with seven Sony HDC-1500 camera channels, three EVS XT3 production servers, four EVS IPDirector production asset management systems, three Final Cut Pro edit suites and a Snell Sirius router.
A Thomson XtenDD35 production switcher was initially installed and then replaced with a Grass Valley Kayenne video production software platform as part of the subsequent HD upgrade. Within the studio, Gearhouse Broadcast built and lit a full cyclorama green-screen studio to allow chroma keying so that the look of Al Jazeera’s regular studio could be recreated cost-effectively, maintaining the broadcaster’s easily recognisable branding
The team also needed to either modify or replace monitor stacks and desk furniture for Al Jazeera. Detailed planning and careful project management allowed the Gearhouse Broadcast to complete this whilst not disrupting the busy schedule and requirements of what was a working studio.
Gearhouse Broadcast’s vast experience in studio builds helped it successfully deliver this project on time and to budget. The careful planning and unrivalled technical expertise of the Gearhouse Broadcast engineers meant the work was carried out with no disruption to the channel’s output.