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Giving Dramas and Documentaries the 4K Advantage

Just as Hollywood is often used metonymously to describe the US film industry, Caldecott Hill is synonymous with Singapore’s media industry. In the 1930s, the British Malayan Broadcasting Corporation set up the first broadcasting facility on the island. Today, it is home to MediaCorp, Singapore’s leading media company with a diverse range of interests spanning television, radio, newspapers, magazines, digital and out-of-home media.

2015/16 will see MediaCorp move its entire campus at Caldecott Hill to Mediapolis@One-north. Designed by award-winning architects, the new facility will move away from the ‘closed campus’ feel of its current facility into a new ‘fenceless’ design offering collaborative workspaces to unify MediaCorp’s numerous media outlets under one roof. And more importantly, provide numerous avenues for public engagement with its open plaza and public touring places.

In many ways, the new design is a tacit acknowledgment of the way MediaCorp has always operated. Collaboration and integration have been pivotal for MediaCorp’s rapid growth. More than just Singapore’s top media provider, MediaCorp has through the years formed strategic alliances with leading regional players to produce high quality TV programmes and dramas.

To create a more unified workflow, MediaCorp was one of the first broadcasters in Asia to implement a file-based workflow. It embraced Sony’s XDCAM system in 2003 and in 2008 progressively replaced its Betacam cameras with Sony’s PDW- 700 XDCAM 422 camcorder.

As part of its upgrade programme, MediaCorp recently added the Sony PMW-F5 CineAlta camera and Sony HDC-2400 system camera to its lineup. Explains Ng Say Hin, Project Lead at MediaCorp Studios on their selection, “The PMW-F5 fits seamlessly into our workflow and the camera’s excellent light sensitivity reduces time and manpower for elaborate lighting especially for night shoots. As for the HDC-2400, it was a perfect match as it fits our current studio needs and works well with our existing pool of HDC-1400s.”

A key reason for MediaCorp choosing the F5 was also the spectacular images the camera delivers with its 8.9 megapixels (effective) Sony 4K image sensor. Often referred to as the cinematographers’ dream camera, the F5 is the result of close consultation with top cinematographers. It is renowned for its gorgeous, super-sampled High Definition (HD), 2K and even 4K images – perfect for MediaCorp’s growing and very successful repertoire of Chinese dramas, which are televised outside Singapore too.

Adds Ng, “The F5 is used mainly for our Chinese dramas. The results so far have been very good. The ability to shoot in 4K is an added benefit as it equipped MediaCorp with the capability to produce in 4k production format.”

Besides delivering excellent image quality, the F5 features a variety of recording formats and also works on XDCAM 422 codec, a popular filebased platform for MediaCorp’s HD productions.

It is this synergy between existing and current products that has drawn MediaCorp to Sony, as Ng explains, “XDCAM 422 is one of MediaCorp’s preferred file formats, and this seamless cross-integration between current and new systems is an important criteria for us. The cross-integration not only improves workflow but also makes training our crew on the new equipment so much easier.”

As MediaCorp prepares to move into its integrated campus soon, it can rest assured that when it comes to its suite of Sony broadcast equipment, they are already integrated in more ways than one.


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