Phoenix TV Beijing's studio productions are now supported by the Shotoku TR-XT control panel, two TG-18 robotic pan/tilt heads on Ti-11 i-Height pedestals and a TK53LVR/TI-04VR crane system.
Phoenix Satellite Television, a Hong Kong headquartered Mandarin- and Cantonese-language TV broadcaster, began its first broadcast on 31 March 1996, striving to provide Chinese audiences everywhere with high-quality Mandarin and Cantonese TV programmes.
When Phoenix TV Beijing decided to move from its old Phoenix Hall to a new premises in Chaoyang in 2015, it decided to build a new broadcast system based on new equipment and technology, including camera support systems from Shotoku Broadcast Systems. Chang Li Xin, deputy director for Beijing Technology Centre, Phoenix Satellite Television, reveals more.
In the time leading up to the move, what were some of the factors you considered
when it came to choosing the right camera support and what was it about Shotoku Broadcast Systems that made the company the right choice for Phoenix TV Beijing?
Chang Li Xin: Shotoku is still a relatively
new brand in the Chinese domestic TV
industry. We recognised early on that a
system was needed which could guarantee
not only great performance but also be practical in a news studio. We wanted to
take advantage of the move to the new premises to re-build our systems using new technologies, and discover more flexible
and innovative ways of producing
We thorougly researched all our options and found that Shotoku would be able to provide a strong and stable camera support system that is intuitive, easy to use, allows our operations to run smoothly, and provides superb data tracking.
Officially opened in March 2015, Phoenix TV Beijing’s new premises in the Chaoyang district has installed the Shotoku TR-XT control panel, two TG-18 robotic pan/tilt heads on Ti-11 i-Height pedestals and a TK53LVR/TI-04VR crane system. Are there any specific aspects of these products that most appeal to your team?
Chang: I would say these solutions from Shotoku are “worry-free”. Because we face manpower constraints, we just don’t have enough people to adjust our equipment every day. The performance of Shotuku products, however, is so good that maintaining them is easy.
For example, we use the TG-18/Ti-11 for precise and highly repetitive productions, such as our special programme, Phoenix Evening Express.
Phoenix TV Beijing’s Chinese progammes make up 75%-80% of its total production output, and it cooperates closely with the Hong Kong headquarters to provide 24-hour news and other programming. What were some of the barriers to production you faced at your previous location and what new opportunities for content creation have been opened up since the move to Chaoyang?
Chang: In Phoenix Hall, our productions were limited and we faced many contraints. Our pictures were not rich enough and we could not make use of virtual graphics that move relative to the camera — we were restricted to the traditional ‘hard cut’ method.
Shotoku’s solutions make it easy to impose virtual elements in the foreground. The SPI-Touch is especially convenient, accurate and stable.
How has the adoption of robotic camera support changed the feel of production?
Chang: The robots let us set our shooting
track in advance to achieve standardisation
and consistency in our news shooting. The
time of our technicians is very valuable, and
for a 24-hour production, this has saved a
lot of manpower.
From very early in the planning stages, we
knew we needed practicality and performance. The robots provide exactly that — they are precise, stable, highly reliable and with a full manual mode, they provided the guarantee
we were looking for.
While we may be living in an age where
virtual reality (VR) and robotics are stealing
the headlines, it is the human element behind the scenes that is making it all possible. How was your interaction with the people behind the machine?
Chang: Shotoku has a small team, but we
were able to communicate effectively with
them, and process all details in a timely
manner. Their technical staff are highly skilled and are continuing to provide professional after-sales service.