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TV studio in a box

A COUPLE of rooms in a private home in East Perth is the unlikely scenario for a broadcast-standard TV studio.

But thanks to the digital revolution, Glenn Darlington, former State manager of ABC Radio, GM of TVW Entertainment (City Theatres, Perth Entertainment Centre and Pioneer World), and previously, when based in Sydney, variously with MCA Universal, City Studios, Walt Disney Productions, News Ltd, runs his own TV and character licensing company, and he believes it to the only one of its type in Australia.

“When I first saw the concept of a TV studio in a box I thought, yeah yeah, here we go again, all bull and no bite,” he said.

“But when I saw it demonstrated it blew me away.

“It even has chromakey, something that one couldn’t do outside a professional TV studio before.”

Chromakey is the technology that enables TV studios to put images behind a presenter as they do in news and weather broadcasts.

Mr Darlington has signed an agreement to provide daily news video bulletins for Marlow’s Internet motoring magazine TheRide.com and Perth news bulletins for other Sydney-based Internet sites.

The dining room is the studio and the study has become the production room filled with a bank of TV monitors and an editing suite

“We have become a TV news production house for the Internet,” he said.

But that is just the beginning.

“Video on the Internet doesn’t have to be high quality, but we opted for broadcast quality because we have plans to expand into broadband on-line and we have plans to produce some broadcast-standard lifestyle TV features.

“We will have to give up the working from home concept if that takes off .”

He says he has been invited to Cannes to MIP-TV – the annual international TV festival – to present the documentary pilots and a game show.

“The MICRO TV studio may be small but it isn’t cheap,” he said ruefully.

“But it is paying its way.”

The heart of the system is a box that has the processing power of 27 Pentiums.

This handles all the TV digital video editing. The management system of the editing suite is run by a NT system, which sits on top of the video platform.

Cables run through to the next room where a special chromakey backdrop, lights and camera are set up as a mini studio.

The assignments including story scripts and still images are emailed from Sydney each day.

At 6am Mr Darlington and his wife, Judith, write the bulletins and insert the photographs.

The news presenter for TheRide.com, Kevin Newman, rolls up at 8.30am and sits in front of camera and, working off a teleprompter, reads the daily bulletin.

“That is all over in 10 to 15 minutes,” says Glenn. “Then we edit it to six minutes and put in the TV effects like wipes and page peels.

“It is then compressed and delivered to TheRide site where it is on air by 9.30am.

“A few years ago doing something like this was beyond the reach of anyone but professional studios.

“Now we can do it virtually from anywhere, even our home.”

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