A few months ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Yiangou, IT Officer at Digital Tree, a media conglomerate in Cyprus. After wrapping my questions about their new online broadcast network—Digital TV—Yiangou offered a rare opportunity: a tour of their brand-new TV production facility. How could I possibly say no to that?
Built amid the pandemic in just six months, Digital TV is Cyprus’ first hybrid TV channel. The network covers digital news production, comedy shows, and other entertainment programming for their multilingual audience in the Mediterranean and beyond. Here’s a look behind the scenes at Digital TV.
And So It Begins
We begin in the sound recording studio, a cozy room with a single iMac workstation and microphone stand under a small window. Yiangou eagerly leads our virtual tour with his laptop in one hand, gesturing excitedly with the other. The walls of this recording suite are covered from floor to ceiling with halved egg cartons. An adjacent door leads to the sound engineer’s booth.“Anything recorded in that room,” Yiangou explained, “is saved directly to our EVO video production server for immediate access.”
We leave the sound studio, encountering a staircase to Digital Tree’s employee break room. Just beyond that—down a hallway with all the incredible wall art one might expect at a production company—is their editors’ room. Three Adobe Premiere Pro workstations fill the space, with external microphones for virtual meetings and notes for current projects. George Christofi, Video Editor and Motion Graphics Artist at Digital Tree, greets us as we enter.
“Here you can see ShareBrowser is always open,” says Yiangou, clicking an icon from the hotbar on Christofi’s workstation to show his active search in the ShareBrowser media asset manager. ShareBrowser gives Digital TV’s editing team powerful organizational tools for tagging, searching, previewing, and commenting on their media.
The workstations are connected by optical fiber to their main production floor, giving their editors quick access to the media captured on the other side of the building.
The Core of Digital TV’s Live Broadcast Studio
From their editing room we pass Yiangou’s office, followed by a daylight-soaked welcome area for the studio’s partners, talent, and guests.
Just around the corner lies the nucleus of the entire operation: their control room. It’s not a tiny space, but it’s nonetheless filled from floor to ceiling with twelve monitors displaying SDI feeds from their JVC GY series studio cameras and outputs from the day’s digital news production.
Two desks hold as much Blackmagic Design broadcast equipment as they can fit, containing all the live production switchers and controllers needed for their studio. Each station is equipped with Tools on Air software for easy live playout.
The real magic, however, lies on the server rack in the corner of the room. Rows and rows of Blackmagic Design monitors, converters, and switchers live above their high-performance EVO video production server. “EVO is the cornerstone of our network,” said Yiangou. “It holds everything together. Without it, we cannot work.”
For more information about Digital TV’s production workflow, read Digital Tree Launches Broadcast Network in 6 Months with EVO.
Where the Voice of Cyprus is Made
Our tour has now arrived at its final destination: the broadcast studio.
Under dozens of adjustable lights and rigging is a flexible shooting environment that can be torn down, redressed, and adapted to nearly every show Digital TV produces. A newsdesk with a minimalist white and blue design lies to the left, ready for high-quality news broadcasts. To the right, a spacious kitchen set mimics an upscale, yet comfortable home ready for cooking and other variety shows.
Between these sets is an arched doorway, leading to something that resembles a living room. This set, Yiangou explains, can be adapted to suit the needs of the three shows that call it home.
Beyond this is a stack of rolling backdrops and setpieces, resembling a crowded theater workshop. One backdrop features a comic book style, another is covered in newspaper clippings. Each set can be redressed as needed, making the studio a handy, all-in-one location for their video team.
In one corner of the production studio works Alex, Digital Tree’s go-to set designer, production technology expert, and craftsman. Alex sits on a stool in front of a crowded desk of springs, metal clamps, and drawers. Behind him are tall black cabinets, presumably full of tools and other maintenance equipment.
Back on the production studio floor, broadcast cameras on rolling tripods are neatly lined up in the middle of the room. Work has already begun for tomorrow’s shoot, but the camera operators and production team have all gone home.
From the creative sets and custom lighting to high-tech gear in every corner, Digital TV’s studio is an impressive setup that should inspire many in the arts and media world. I would like to thank Chris Yangou for his time and hospitality, as well as the many friendly faces I encountered on my virtual tour of the Digital TV studio.
To learn more about EVO shared storage servers and how it works with the broadcast equipment in your television studio, get a demo today.