ATG Danmon completes first multi-camera 4K UHD flyaway installation for UMG
Completing the first stage of a global strategy to equip the music-based entertainment giant with advanced video production capabilities, ATG Danmon UK has formally commissioned the first of an international network of five-camera UHD flyaways for Universal Music Group (UMG).
Beginning at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, the project centred on the design, configuration and testing of a complete 4K production system housed in flight cases which can be deployed rapidly anywhere in the world. A second installation, at the world famous Abbey Road Studios in London, is now under way and will be completed later this year.
“This project is centred on UMG’s drive to open new opportunities for recording artists and songwriters through the development and production of film, TV, theatrical, live events and digital video,” comments Michael Frey, president of operations & advanced media. “We are building state-of-the-art video production and delivery resources to ensure UMG artists and their fans are connected utilising unrivalled technology.
“While this initiative gives us industry-leading capabilities to shoot and live-produce staged events in 16-bit raw 4K, it also embraces every aspect of the broad spectrum available in today’s market. Using integrated mobile technology, our artists can capture video and audio content whenever and wherever they choose, providing fans deeper and richer access to our artist’s stories across the breath of digital, mobile and social platforms available around the world.
“We selected ATG Danmon, following a careful evaluation of the system integrators in the market, because they understood our vision. This business is about people and relationships and their team worked hard to forge an ongoing partnership with us, providing technical and operational focus that continues to be a critical factor in meeting the project’s exacting deployment deadlines.
“This partnership will play a key role in enabling us to produce our industry leading content faster and cheaper while remaining technically ahead of the game. Striking the right balance between leading-edge technology and commercial practicality is critical, but for us 4K is just the beginning.
“Our content goes out on a wide variety of platforms. Theatrical, internet streaming, broadcast, discrete physical media and social media – it’s any device, anywhere. We worked closely with ATG Danmon to select the best palette for the practical production challenges we will face. With our live output, issues like capturing a performer wearing dark blue 300 metres away in full clarity or combining high resolution audio with high dynamic range video required a very robust and farsighted set of technical solutions.”
Jonathan Hughes, head of systems integration at ATG Danmon, adds: “The flyaway includes five Sony PMW-F55 compact camcorders capturing 16 bit RAW 4K direct to solid-state memory cards. Grass Valley fibre optic links connect via SMPTE fibre from each camera to a power unit. The multichannel feed is then combined into single-mode fibre for easy connection to a production control gallery. One of the cameras mounts onto a Ross robotic pan and tilt head, the other four being configured for manual operation.
“The system is equipped to allow creation of 1080/24p a high definition proxy from each camera chain. The proxies will be used to make an edit decision list for post-shoot 4K conforming. Also included is audio processing for Dolby Atmos which is steadily being adopted by cinema owners around the world.”
Following acceptance tests of the complete system at ATG Danmon’s Letchworth headquarters, Jonathan Hughes and Jon Brewer made a client site visit to complete final tests at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles and the system is already actively in use. The build at Abbey Road Studios is on the road to completion.