Al Mashhad builds broadcast facilities with a focus on digital-first production

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Al Mashhad (المشهد), the independent news network led by journalist Tony Khalife, launched in January with a digital-first concept aimed at appealing to a young Arab audience.

The network uses technology and unique storytelling styles to push the boundaries of messaging from its headquarters in Dubai Studio City.

Al Mashhad recognizes the generational shift towards digital consumption in the region and aims to provide its viewers with engaging, informative content that is accessible on all devices.

This new broadcast operation is made possible by a hybrid infrastructure broadcast facility that combines a variety of production formats and outputs and two 2,600-square-foot broadcast studios.

Overall, the facility is vendor-agnostic, relying on a variety of mix-and-match businesses that represent almost every major supplier.


Studios for virtual and physical production

Designed with a virtual focus, Studio 1 features a variety of moderator-driven programs, equipped with augmented reality and virtual set technology powered by Zero Density’s reality solution with rendering from Unreal Engine.

A large chromakey cyc is included in the studio used with three larger than life virtual sets designed by DreamWall in collaboration with the Paris-based Kennedy Agency.

These sets are used on a range of programs ranging from more traditional news hours to an interview talk show.

Studio 2, designed primarily for news coverage, is enveloped by a 32-foot wide motorized video wall and 16-foot long LED array, as well as three additional motorized video displays.

This studio features a muted palette with embedded lighting on the glossy floor.

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Both studios feature Vinten robotic camera systems with Grass Valley LDX-98 cameras and Autoscript prompters. Studio 2 also features a Blackcam Systems dolly.

Lighting for the rooms was provided by Oasis Enterprises using equipment from ARRI and Lupo lighting with an ETC control board.

control room tech

Diversified provided broadcast engineering and integration services to Al Mashhad and equipped the network’s two production control rooms with Ross video automation and tools from Grass Valley, including a K-Frame production switcher and Kayenne Video Production Center control surface, with audio mixing by Lawo and Intercom by RTS.

The playout for the facility is handled by Pebble’s software-defined architecture.

Another unique area of ​​the facility is three digital production areas, including wirecast systems combined with NDI for fast productions. These are fed into an Ateme Titan encoder before being streamed to Al Mashhad’s various platforms.

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