Making a splash with HDCAM SR deliverables

12th September, 2008

On Sight’s reputation in HD quality control and conversions now has an international reach. South African production company Aquavision Wildlife Filmmakers is just the latest to benefit.

With a progressing level of formats to choose from in the fast-developing HD marketplace it’s no surprise that broadcasters are setting increasingly stringent benchmarks of HD quality for producers to meet.

It’s certainly an issue in the world of natural history production, where HD formats have had a huge impact. Take South Africa’s largest natural history producer, Aquavision, for example. The company makes around six films a year for major HD broadcasters, shot in HDCAM on Sony HDW-750P cameras. The company, set up by cinematographer Peter Lamberti in 1990, has established a reputation for great HD work.

But even the most experienced HD producers appreciate support when it comes to meeting the exacting requirements of broadcasters such as National Geographic and delivering quality-controlled HDCAM SR tapes in multiple formats.

Aquavision turned to On Sight’s HD LAB for the format conversions and QC checks, following recommendations from their distributors.

One distributor, Off the Fence, this year outsourced the management of its entire HD catalogue to the HD specialist. On Sight and Off the Fence currently work together to deliver one of the world’s largest catalogues of HD natural history and documentary programming to international broadcasters. Says Aquavision producer Billi-Jean Parker: “What I particularly liked about On Sight is its flexibility. We had three films that needed conversion and QC work, but also wanted to take the opportunity to grow our knowledge of HD conversions along the way.”

On Sight handled video and audio conversion on Aquavision’s films Dolphin Army and The Clash of the Hyenas using a state-of-the-art HD conversion kit.

What Aquavision understands is that creating multi-track HDCAM SR audio masters can be complicated. “Some sound is recorded in the fi eld, some is additional foley, plus there’s dialogue and music, but National Geographic needs it laid out on separate tracks for re-versioning – dubbing English into French or changing the music as required,” says Parker.

“On Sight was crucial in providing the reassurance that the equipment we had would be up to the job. From the advice we were given by On Sight we were able embark on a journey. Now we can complete audio conversion at the technical level that Nat Geo needs, selecting the mode and playing it out at the frame rate required in our own audio suite.”

It is for this reason that more and more distributors and producers are turning to On Sight for advice and support on ways of working with the recognised international delivery format of HDCAM SR.