Preparing for the Unexpected
comexperts’ client roster includes politicians, government officials, CEOs and business leaders from Switzerland’s public and private sectors. Its studio facilities aim to replicate the environment that they will experience when being interviewed on national TV news or appearing in televised debates. Training sessions are directed by Patrick Senn, a former TV and radio journalist, who uses his industry expertise to create realistic crisis scenarios and help clients understand the key messages and techniques to cope with potential situations they could find themselves in. A recent example was for the Swiss national administration, where the team developed a news show for a strategic crisis management exercise, in which national infrastructure such as telecoms and Swiss air space were compromised by a cyberhacking attack.
The ATEM Production Studio 4K has already been used to prepare Swiss politicians for Arena, a weekly ‘as live’ debate program, which is broadcast on Swiss TV every Friday evening. “Our facilities are just 200m away from Arena’s studio, so a few hours before we offer the opportunity for guests to warm up in a very similar environment,” explains Patrick Senn, director, comexperts. “The show has huge influence in Swiss politics, so debate participants have to be completely at ease in order to perform at their best. Nerves and lack of preparation can have major implications on a politician’s ambitions, so our studio offers a great way to get used to being on air.”
The ATEM Production Studio 4K was selected as it enables Patrick to offer clients the ability to rent a highly realistic studio environment, built around the latest broadcast technology, at an affordable rate. “We felt that although broadcasters are still working across SD and HD, upgrading to the ATEM Production Studio 4K means that our clients can experience a really high quality broadcast experience, to ensure they are completely prepared for what to expect in a real studio situation within an affordable budget.”
The switcher’s 6G-SDI and HDMI 4K video connections enable the studio team to handle Ultra HD 4K video sources via a single cable. There is also an HD down converted HD-SDI program output for when the switcher is operating in Ultra HD formats, but a regular HD program feed is required, which comexperts uses when producing video content in a format suitable for clients to take for review. The studio also has a green box for chroma keying, three cameras and monitors for instant playback and review, which will all also be upgraded to support Ultra HD 4K production, with three technicians operating the kit, and actors playing news presenters, angry customers or opponents in debates.
“Our clients vary hugely in terms of budget, market and training requirements, so it is important to be conscious of our logistics and technical costs, as well as our own consultancy fees, so this was a very important factor in our decision to move early to 4K,” Patrick continues. “Also, as my background is in journalism, rather than technical studio production, I need equipment for the studio that is broadcast quality, but extremely simple to use within our studio set up. The ATEM Production Studio 4K fits this brief perfectly.”