Major project completed: Studio Hamburg builds London TV studios for Al Jazeera

Studio Hamburg Workshops has finished building Al Jazeera’s new London bureau studios. The contract from Al Jazeera Media Network for its English satellite channel Al Jazeera English comprised the design, manufacture and construction of the new television news studios and adjoining newsroom on the 16th floor of the iconic Shard building in central London.

“Following the installation of a multi-purpose studio for Al Jazeera Arabic in Doha (Qatar) we are delighted to have completed a second successful project in London,” said Jörn Denneborg, Head of Studio Hamburg Workshops.

The client gave the go-ahead for construction to begin in January 2014 after a final test in Studio A1 in Hamburg, for which a replica full-scale model of the set was built. In July, 25 staff worked to install the set in London. The new studio set was designed in cooperation with set designer Stuart Veech (VMA, Vienna) and lighting designer Manfred Olma (Mo2, Cologne). Broadcasting from the new studios is due to start in mid-November.

Special technical demands made construction quite a challenge. In addition to a main news desk for up to four presenters (backed by a video wall of Eyevis rear projection cubes and a standing position in front of an 85-inch touch screen, for example for presenting weather forecasts), the design also had to integrate an adjoining newsroom with 45 workstations. The newsroom is also intended to provide on-air background for live reporting.

The studio is almost completely glazed and has an impressive panorama view of the London skyline. Camera technology and lighting design need to adjust to take account of the changing daylight.

“We were able to meet this challenge with the aid of Rosco View polarisation filters and motorised camera filters. Good white balance was achieved by using Robe 800 white light LED moving lights with configurable light colour synchronised with the colour temperature,” explained project manager Fabian Bäter.

The low ceilings (2.8m) in the office building also created conditions that are unusual for a television studio. With the special light concept in mind, the ceiling was simply incorporated into the design and is now completely filmable.

Al Jazeera, whose headquarters are in Doha, uses its London base as a broadcasting centre for Western Europe. Al Jazeera English has been on air since 2006 in addition to Al Jazeera Arabic. The channel broadcasts to around 250 households in 130 countries.

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