Videocraft Provide OB Facilities to Jalsa Salana Event
The head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad is currently on his second visit to the Asia Pacific region. As part of his tour His Holiness delivered the keynote address at the three day Jalsa Salana 2013 annual convention in Sydney speaking to 4,000 guests in attendance, with the event also broadcast across five continents to over 200 million viewers through the MTA International television network. The Jalsa Salana 2013 event which took place from 4th to 6th October at the Baitul Huda Mosque in Marsden Park required a flexible, temporary OB solution, which was provided by Videocraft.
Broadcast Director for the Muslim Television Ahmadiyya (MTA) Australia Chapter Mahmood Shah explained, “Videocraft has had a long relationship with our production team helping us with various projects over the years. However, this year the annual convention project – Jalsa Salana 2013 – and its transmission were the biggest challenges we had ever faced. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, travels all over the world and due to his spiritual status and leadership it becomes imperative on our counterpart teams around the world to telecast his speeches, sermons and addresses live to the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim audience through the MTA International television network. We accomplished this challenge very successfully with the professional assistance of Videocraft and express our gratitude for their support and work.”
There was a great deal of production planning that had to take place ahead of the broadcast due to the size, scale and profile of the event. In order to identify the specific technical requirements, particularly the best options for redundancy, Videocraft NSW State Manager Andy Liell met with the MTA production team over a period of weeks.
Liell said, “The MTA team wanted us to supply them with a reliable on air solution for the three day broadcast that would have airtight redundancy. With an audience of over two hundred million across five continents, a signal dropout was not an option. We also had budget and time constraints to deal with which made the use of our FlyPack solution ideal for this type of temporary outside broadcast facility.”
Videocraft’s video and audio FlyPack systems have been at the heart of many of their recent OB production solutions. Known for their flexibility and versatility the FlyPacks are often chosen over bigger, traditional and more expensive OB trucks.
Shah added, “Videocraft has been specialising in this type of nimble OB solution for a few years. That combined with their recent provision of on air hubs to Channel 7 for the federal election, the OB solution for the C3 Church conference and various reality TV shows helped convince us that their FlyPack solution was indeed the best way forward.”
The Baitul Huda mosque site covers over 28 acres. The large area, having to integrate feeds from a two-camera remote studio via fibre and linking three giant marquees housing the four thousand attendees made the production installation logistics a challenge.
When the Videocraft system was complete it consisted of eight Sony HDC-1500 cameras including one wireless, two Panasonic AVHS450 vision switchers (one for the broadcast mix and one for the Imag), a Yamaha O1V96 audio mixing console, a multi-channel EVS XS record and reply server, routing, monitoring and very comprehensive redundancy.
On the system’s redundancy Mahmood Shah commented, “Videocraft specialises in quality solutions for temporary environments where redundancy is a critical part of the system. Their policy is that when a client is on air they must have the most reliable broadcast possible with auto fail over switching as standard. Andy Liell actually designed, built and incorporated three transmission paths – a primary, secondary and fail over redundant – for the Jalsa Salana Australia 2013 event. The dual vision switchers also gave us added redundancy, despite this not being their primary function.”
Post-event Videocraft also supplied the Jalsa Salana Australia 2013 tour with desktop versions of its FlyPack kits for smaller broadcast events in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Mahmood Shah concluded, “I’m delighted to say the system worked without any issues. Videocraft seamlessly sent high quality vision and audio to the onsite satellite truck which duly uplinked the feeds to London where downstream graphics were added before the final programme was broadcast to its 200 million-plus audience. All in all an excellent job by Videocraft.”