Live Point is a production company headquartered in Dubai, UAE with facilities in Istanbul and Amman. Offering a complete end-to-end content production solution and post-production service, they have built state of the art studios in JAFZA, with a live news studio created in 2017 and the production studio completed in 2018. With two studios, cameras, lighting, edit and post facilities in-house supported by a team of creative, video production and post-production specialists, it is a large facility located in the industrial area of Jebel Ali Free Zone.
In addition, the newly established Orient Training Centre has been conceptualized as a development centre to deliver courses for training professionals in all aspects of media production and broadcasting operations. With a 24-hour news channel operating from the studios, they are clearly capable of delivering a full range of production solutions from conception to final output. Digital Studio checks out the studio build and finds out more about the vision for the training center.
Live Point Studios
Nabil Eslim, Operations and Production Manager for Live Point says the company started studio operations in Dubai back in 2008. Initially based in Garhoud, they moved to JAFZA to start operations as a branch of Syrian TV network Orient TV.
Above: Nabil Eslim, Operations and Production Manager for Live Point Studios
“When we started it was for the general production of programs and especially for Orient TV,” says Eslim. Orient TV is a Syrian TV channel broadcasting 24 hours news and is owned by the Ghassan Aboud Group.
Eslim explains more about the group’s media operations, “We have established studios here in Dubai as well as Damascus. In Turkey, we have three studios as well as in Jordan we have studios in Amman. In this branch in JAFZA, the news studio was completed in 2017 and the production studio has been finished in 2018.”
“Both studios are fully equipped with high tech equipment and construction design. Within these studios, we can provide all services in media production. Both of the studios in JAFZA are fully equipped so that we can produce documentaries, general entertainment programs and even talk show programs.”
In an indication of Live Point’s scale of investment and ambition to become a leading player in the Middle East production sector, Eslim points out that “The total investment in our studios in Dubai, Turkey and Jordan is almost 6 million dollars.”
“Coming to the training center, it was established in March 2018 and so far the training programs are going well and we are seeing a lot of interest and demand for the courses.”
The decision to offer training courses for budding media and broadcast professionals was taken after the management noticed a gap in the market for such a training facility.
“I don’t think there are any training centers for both operations and creative production where trainees have the opportunity to learn in a live studio environment,” Eslim points out.
Elaborating on the vision behind their training program he says, “We identified that there is a gap for a training centre in the market. The advantage we have with our training center is that our studios are fully equipped and ready to go live. The trainees can feel it’s a realistic and practical training because we also have Orient TV here. We have the highest technology like 4K cameras and trainees can work on the live news broadcast. They can see how we go live and how we broadcast and edit the videos and live news reports and live programs. The trainers and instructors have a lot of experience in the media field.”
Among the many productions filmed at their studios, Eslim highlights the show co-produced with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. The title ‘Yalla Nehna’ translates to ‘Come On Us’, and is a show for children and adolescents produced with the goal of changing the reality of Syrian children in war, and providing them with knowledge, talents, and entertainment embedded with educational values. “We have done almost 64 episodes for this show which was especially for kids in Syria. We produced specialist material to help and support kids in Syria to continue their life,” says Eslim.
The training centre offers more than 20 specialist media courses covering both creative media and broadcast operations. The goals for Live Point now is to “have more share in the Dubai production market and we are looking to expand more in the Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia,” says Eslim.
Eslim is positive about future growth saying: “I think the production industry in Dubai is going to grow especially with 2020 Expo coming up. We are close to the Dubai Media City and we are close to the new projects in the Expo 2020 site so we are looking for more opportunities to get business.”
Building the Studio
Zaher Rehawi, Engineering Manager was responsible for the build out and installation of the new studios in JAFZA. He talks us through the implementation challenges and discusses the technical implementation of the studio.
Rehawi says the studio has been built so that it can be customized as per the requirements of any incoming production. “The infrastructure is ready in every way but there is no decoration. So we can make the decoration how the customer needs,” says Rehawi.
The massive production studio facility was built in co-operation with GearHouse Broadcast as the system integrator. “Gallery and audio construction was done in-house and GearHouse was employed for installation and system integrations,” says Rehawi. They also worked with Dubai based distributor and SI, UBMS.
For the Orient Training Center, the plan was to have a big production studio so we can use it to support the training center. The equipment and installation for the studio and master control room were selected from the leading vendors. “For the news, we have the basic workflow and we also have the active new gathering technology where we have a video wall which the new reporters can use.” Eyevis is the supplier for the video wall and the touchscreen is powered by WASP 3D.
Regarding the production capacity, Rehawi says, “The infrastructure can support up to 12 cameras as the same time and currently the production studio has deployed 5 Ikegami 4K cameras. The Green room has a curtain which is 5 meters high and can cover all types of productions.”
Since they operate a multi-studio network all the analyzing is done in the Live Point JAFZA studio Master Control Room, fitted with a fiber network and Nevion transmitters for uplink with the other production studio in Istanbul. For post-production the facility is fitted has 6 editing suites fitted with software from Avid and Windows machines with Adobe software suite. “We have the needed equipment which is not available normally for training purposes because it is very expensive. Trainees can feel that they are working in a live TV environment.”
Above: Live Point Studios Master Control Room
The biggest challenge they faced constructing the studio was of isolation of sound says Rehawi: JAFZA is an industrial area and the building housing the studio is close to the road where lot of trucks move. Rehawi says his team spent more than 6 months making sure the sound isolation was impeccable. Thick steel doors also ensure there is no sound leakage while moving equipment in and out of the studios. The studio as soundproof STC 60 meaning there is no sound entering from outside to inside and in terms of ground vibration as well, outside vibration does not enter the studio.
Rehawi says: “We spent a lot of time to choose our products. For example, a lot of people will ask why the cameras are Ikegami but actually if you look at the cameras which can upscale to 4K – its amazing quality. All the lighting is from ARRI – the Skypanels are the best in the market.” A commitment to quality is clearly evident in Live Point’s studio build out.