Utopia is on!

Powered by Ateksis for broadcast production infrastructure, Utopia was launched on October 29. A production such as Utopia requires a decent design of audio-visual coverage and innovative technology. High quality and redundant systems are put into use to meet such requirements.

Utopia is on! 

A production such as Utopia requires a decent design of audio-video coverage and innovative technology. High quality and redundant systems are put into use in order to meet such requirements.

A great number of cameras was a must not only for creating a unique drama perspective and sensation but also for Utopia itself.

Remote-control cameras are mounted at a lower level in an effort to consolidate Utopia's dramatic shoot. This is how we can shoot contestants at a low angle.

Audio track of each contestant is recorded for 7 days a week and 24 hours a day, and thus all the chats of any contestant can be saved as one single track for a year.

It was imperative to have a different structure than conventional production systems since the devices comprising the system called for an incessant and smooth run throughout the year.

What is Utopia?

A ground-breaking and brand new game show is underway on TV8...


Having never encountered each other before, 15 contestants met to build a life of their dream. Having left their life behind, these 15 contestants will start from scratch and create their own utopia. They share their earnings, expenses and lives. The contestants of Utopia will re-create their lives from scratch with no rule and under totally new conditions. One contestant will be eliminated by vote as a new one will join the ranks on this Utopia journey that will last for months. No one but 15 contestants striving to establish their own order in a Utopia. Neither a cameraman nor someone else! Making effort to build their own world, the contestants will be on live online broadcast for 7/24 with 110 cameras. 110 cameras will record a total of 2304 hours of recording. 


A production such as Utopia requires a decent design of audio-video coverage and innovative technology. High quality and redundant systems are put into use in order to meet such requirements. This document includes technical arrangements necessary to enable the Utopia to succeed as a production. The content comprises images, audio and other meta data to monitor, at many angles, what Utopia contestants are up to throughout the day. Huge amount of data is acquired during the production, and efficiently processed on live internet broadcast and shows aired on TV8 for the day. So, it was required to provide top quality software and hardware in order to make sure that the show goes on for 24/7 and 365 days a year.

* A database system to store selected video images and data about all contestants,

* Cameras, microphones, lighting system, directing and broadcast systems,

* Work flow of all events for 24/7

* Website and live broadcast for mobile applications,

* Editing systems for broadcast and online videos,

* Archiving important media,

* Online multicast "video streaming"


Utopia spaces

The Utopia site is divided into two: A living space where Utopia residents spend time all day long, and technical rooms where all means of production are located.


Living space


The Utopia living space consists of following spaces:

* A shelter where contestants live,eat and sleep

* A recreation area, a pond and surroundings where contestants spend time outside the shelter



* A barn with 2 cows and 25 chickens

* A pasture for cows to graze on

* Agricultural land where contestants grow fruits and vegetables



Connection infrastructure

System components were mounted in the main equipment room outside the living space, and 2 connection rooms within the living space but contestants can not have access to, and the major audio and video connections were performed between these rooms.

Connection rooms were situated behind the shelter and the barn. Images from many cameras were gathered in these rooms and conveyed to the main equipment room through single mode fiber cables since coaxial copper cables were unable to transmit picture signals at such a distance.

Electrical/optical and optical/electrical converters of HD SDI signals were products by Axon and Canare. Images from a total of 48 cameras gathered behind the shelter by Axon GFT80 (8 channel electrical to optical converter) were converted by Axon GFR80 (8 channel optical to electrical converter) at the headquarter while Canare EO-100B (E/O-Converter) and OE-101B (O/E-Converter) are put into use and imaged were conveyed to the main equipment room through some cameras around the shelter and the barn, and the cameras in the mid and side sections.  Images from a total of 55 cameras through fiber cables and 40 cameras through coaxial cables were transmitted to the main equipment room.

Images from some cameras and audio from microphones were transmitted to the main equipment room through copper cables. There is a speaker system to convey voice mails to contestants in the shelter and outdoor living space.

Copper and fiber local network (LAN) connections enable to keep constant track of humidity and temperature of the system for control and monitoring.

All the cabling of the system was conducted through the main cable channel outside the living space with a surface access between connection rooms and the main equipment room, and subsurface flexible plastic pipes where cameras and microphones were situated.



A great number of cameras was a must not only for creating a unique drama perspective and sensation but also for Utopia itself.

100 pieces of HD SDI cameras with a streaming quality that allows to control through remote-control units help the technical crew to capture multi-angle dramatic scenes. 50 of them are equipped with outdoor shields that ensure thermostat control ventilation and heating.



A 360° camera mounted within the shelter enables to watch the entire shelter live.



Cameras for the shelter

Remote-control cameras were mounted at a lower level (135-180 cm) in an effort to consolidate Utopia's dramatic shoot. This is how we can shoot contestants at a low angle. A limited number of cameras were mounted at a higher angle (300-500 cm) in order to capture a master shot and monitor whatever was going on.



Cameras were covered in colorful foil to camouflage them while some of them were mounted on the profile. Some cameras were positioned in a way to shoot in both directions and sections considering the walls to be built by the contestants in the future.  



Outdoor cameras

Outdoor cameras were mounted on robust and fixed posts through guards with thermostat control heating and ventilation while the cables were shielded by running through a pipe. Most of the outdoor cameras with remote control were positioned with lens levels of 25, 130 and 180 cm to reinforce and consolidate Utopia's dramatic shooting. A limited number of cameras were mounted at a higher angle (5-10 m) in order to capture a master shot and monitor whatever was going on.



There were a total of 100 Sony remote control cameras including redundant ones as well as 2 pieces of BRC-Z700, 84 pieces of BRC-Z300, and 14 pieces of EVI-H100S. IR feature of EVI-H100S cameras allows to shoot in dark thanks to the IR vision coming into play when the light is off in the barn and the shelter. BRC-SDP 12 cameras were used with matching mounting kit as an outdoor guard while the reverse ones were covered in a custom-made rubber guard to avoid any water leakage.



360° Camera

Developed for Utopia fans, this multi-lens camera with the ability to shoot surround videos can capture, paste and render panoramic HD videos for live streaming. Viewers can rotate their mobile devices for 360 degree or press on down/up/right/left buttons of browsers and watch live streaming within the shelter.



This camera and the system is provided by Talpa.



Another component to create not only a unique drama scene for Utopia but also a sensation is high quality audio throughout the production. The final audio of the production is composed of a combination of audio recorded from wireless microphones with different settings, and 48 high quality effect microphones.




Wireless microphones

Each of 15 contestants has an individual wireless microphone, and thus it was required to meticulously plan, design and mount the wireless microphone system in order to have a low-powered transmitter and incessantly gather the voices of the contestants across the entire Utopia area since such microphones are battery powered. To avoid static noise, a frequency spectrum analysis was performed in the location where Utopia would be situated to use the perfect hardware after ascertaining the best frequency intervals.

In addition, a wide diversity antenna system was put into use while the reception of wireless microphones transmitters was optimized. A total of 9 antennas helped to acquire perfect sound off microphones of each contestant even in imperfect positions for the use of wireless microphones such as when they lie down or sit.



Audio track of each contestant is recorded for 7 days a week and 24 hours a day, and thus all the chats of any contestant can be saved as one single track for a year. This is how to have a high quality work flow to minimize human error.

8 wireless microphones are reserved for visitors of contestants, and tested by miking before they check into the contest area. Visitors are photographed and the photos are uploaded on an automatic audio control system.

The system consists of 24 DWT-B01 waist-type transmitters, ECM-77BC miniature lavalier microphone, 12 DWR-R02D dual receivers, 3 WD-850 UHF antenna splitters/combiners and 8 AN-01 UHF antennas.


Wired microphones

Wired effect microphones are used in order to capture the noise of media volume, and make use of it for post-production, and capture voices of contestants who can not wear a wireless microphone due to one reason or another. A total of 47 shotgun-type effect microphones are put into use.



Since a part of the microphones are used for outdoor, some custom-made guards were used to make sure they would not be affected by rain or snow as they serve as wind breakers. These microphones were phantom-powered since they are capacitive.

47 pieces of ECM 674 effect microphones and Rycote Windshield Kit were used for outdoor guarding.



Production area

All the technical equipment on the site fed on an uninterruptible power supply while the generator steps in when the power is out.


Video mixing

In this room, two crews check on the broadcast for 24/7. 2 directors and 2 camera control operators in the first line of the video mixing desk perform 4 (PGM1/PGM2/ISO1/ISO2) broadcasts. It allows to perform more broadcasts or shoots when needed.



The second line is home to the story editor whose function is to watch the show to sustain the story, and guide 2 meta data operators by his/her side, and help to combine picture, audio and meta data. The third line consists of two audio mixers with fully automatic features requiring no operator.



Monitor wall

All operators in the video mixing room can watch images of 95 cameras mounted across the site, and 4 live streaming outlet on multi-screens. This is why 6 pieces of 65 inch screens run in connection with a HD SDI picture matrix. Colored camera notes indicating what camera belongs to what section help to have tally lights on screens, pointing to the fact the selected content is on air. 6 Sony FWD-65W855P 65" BRAVIA Full HD LED screen was used.




Each director chooses his/her PGM and ISO outlets off the matrix panel. There are buttons of cameras for each part of the area on the panel in line with the form on multi screens and painted in same colors. In addition, directors can touch on-screen pictures of contestants, and thus open/close faders of their own channels on audio mixers. The intercom system allows to contact with the relevant camera control operator.



Camera control operator

A camera control operator checks on cameras selected on the matrix panel thanks to 2 remote-control panel in front of him/her. Images of the selected cameras are monitored on two OLED screens, and the cameras are enabled to take desired actions while it is transmitted to the operator by the tally light on the monitor when the same camera needs to be selected for the broadcast. In addition, one can change settings of light, color, filter etc. when needed, and save them on the control panel's memory and recall them. In addition to the intercom system, a test measurement device for these settings is available for each part of the area to contact with the director.



Meta data inlet

This position allows to view 4 live broadcasts divided into four on a LCD screen.  Meta data inlets run through a web-based interface software and save all contents with audio and picture for 24/7. 



Story editor

This is where the intercom panel is situated to contact with both director, meta data inlet operators and editors. This panel makes it possible to transmit previously-recorded voice mails on touchscreen computers or its own sound to indoor and outdoor speaker systems. In addition, the touchscreen control (touching rems of contestants), and the pre-audio control of both audio desks allow to severally hear (solo) each contestant before faders.

The picture matrix control panel allows to choose 4 delayed live broadcasts on a screen divided into four on one of 2 picture monitors, and the image of any camera on the other. The keys that turn on/off tally light letting directors and meta data operators know thanks to specific keys on the panel when something major occurs allow to steer live online streaming to previously-selected cameras in case of an undesired situation. The story editor is also able to hear phone calls of contestants.




Audio mixer

Two audio mixers directed by automation under normal circumstances are mounted in the video mixing room so as to intervene in case of an emergency or complication (live concert broadcast etc.).


Central device room

Situated right next to the video mixing room, this space is where main cases of all the devices are mounted in 19-inch racks.




Mounted system components

* SPG system;

* HD-SDI picture matrix

* Multiviewer system within HD-SDI picture matrix

* Fiber-made HD-SDI picture converters

* Meta data servers

* Audio mixer and control computers

* 4 x 16 channel audio program and embedders to save ISO pictures 

* Wireless microphone system

* HD record and editing prompt

* Frame synchronizers for asynchronous cameras

* Intercom system

* Telephone system

* 360 degree camera processing servers

* Control servers

* Curse-bleeping system for live online broadcast

* Tally control system.

* Encoders for online streaming

Imagine Communication 9RU platinum picture matrix was mounted as 128x48, and there were 2 PX-SXP-64x6 multiviewers in the matrix.

To control cameras, 128-port RS-422 matrix required to run in conjugation with the picture matrix was Nevion SL-D128P+ while it was controlled by the Axon Cerebrum software. In addition to the Cerebrum software that runs on 2 individual servers with supplementary ones, 10 Axon CCP-4801 48 LCD key control panels were used in order to control matrices.

Axon Cerembrum software makes it possible for users to have multi-functional control panels with varying structures. For instance, 2 panels were combined for directors, and painted in the same color with multiviewer screens of all cameras in line with the same collating sequence or assigning them to keys in numerical order led to easy and error-free use.



The picture selected by panels to control cameras is viewed on Sony PVM-A170 OLED picture monitors in front of operators while Sony RM-BR300 remote control unit helps to change pan/tilt/zoom settings of cameras and perform brightness or color control.

in case a camera is selected for one more broadcasts out of 4 for the sake of camera control, then tally lights on the screen will be on and warn operators. Tally controls are performed by Axon Cerebrum system as well while cameras selected on big screens for live broadcast are shown in different tally colors. Turned on or off by a director or a story editor when a major story comes up, the tally light can be viewed both in live broadcast outlets on multiviewer screens and live broadcast monitors divided into four.



Imagine Communication CMN-91-3GB Compact Monitor Series multiformat signal analyzer with integral LCD helps to apply timing settings of all sources and other level settngs.

Multiviewers provide 6 big screens (a total of 95 cameras and 4 live broadcast outlets), and 3 types (live broadcast/recorded, delayed broadcast and emergency/delayed) of screens divided into 4.

B&B and WordClock Axon created by Imagine Communication VSG­4SYS­V fully-supplemented reference generator system was transmitted through servers to each camera, wireless microphone receivers and audio mixers. Imagine Communication X100-1RU-2PS Dual Channel Intelligent Frame Sync and Converter was put into use to synchronize for IR cameras with no reference inlet.

Yamaha DM-2000 VCM Digital Production Console  Dugan-MY16 16 channel automatic mixing cards were used as audio mixers. Effect microphones were directed to analog inlets on which phantom feeds were conducted. Wireless microphone outlets were directed into both consoles as AES by being multiplied by Axon servers. The console control is performed by selecting contestants on touch screens through an automation software developed by TV8 IT group. Dugan-MY16 16 channel automatic mixing card allows to select only contestants that start to speak for nice and smooth transition to the main outlet, and the channel is automatically turned off when they are done speaking.

Both PGM1 and PGM2 audio outlets are combined with 24 wireless microphone outlets severally and with effect microphones in groups for each of 4 live broadcast/recorded picture signals selected for a picture matrix outlet, and a total of 64 channel audio records can be saved on the system thanks to Axon HEB880 16 channel digital audio embedder.

Clearcom ECLIPSE-HX-PICO 36-port intercom system allows to have dialogue among all users and contestants.

Bosch Plena system and speakers were used for indoor and outdoor speaker systems.


Remote control and monitoring system for 24/7

It was imperative to have a different structure than conventional production systems since the devices comprising the system called for an incessant and smooth run throughout the year. Therefore, it was necessary to identify not only fully-supplemented systems but also breaking or underperforming devices. So, the following software items were put into use for control and contiunous monitoring of all devices:

* Axon Cerebrum

* Axon Cortex

* Imagine Communication Navigator

* Yamaha Studio Manager

* Dugan Utility 

* Clearcom EHX Eclipse-HX

The mounting of the equipment provided by Ateksis was kicked off in the final week of September 2014 while construction was still under way, and some parts of the system were mobilized within the first 10 days, and some rehearsals were performed on a gradual basis. Following a 30-day intensive effort, the entire system was ready for broadcast in a trouble-free fashion, and kicked off on October 29, 2014. Other systems (video recording, editing and broadcast encoders) of the project were developed and mounted by other companies and TV8 Technology crew.



Communication of Utopia residents in Utopia

As Ateksis, we provide the Utopia contest with all the telephone and message communications through Mitel Mx-One TSE IP-based operator and an IP Dect system by Ascom. The pillar of communications for contestants to make money over the course of the contest is built on a dect telephone by Ascom connected to IP-based telephone switchboard by Mitel. Ascom d62 Dect telephones allow contestants to move swimmingly across the entire contest space...These telephones with IP44 standards are splashing-water and dust resistant. In addition, Ascom d62 Dect is a phone that can receive and send messages... This is how all the calls and SMS can be submitted to contestants...


How does the system work?     

The TV management shares a GSM number with viewers as a result of the show's format. It is one single GSM number...Smart Mx-One IP Traffic Manager by Mitel directly submits all calls to contestants after they are processed by a smart audio response system.  If a contestant gives a call to someone outside, this smart system steps in to enable him/her to communicate with anyone and the outside world. Those who give a call to contestants or want to buy a product or a service they provide dial a GSM number just like a cell phone number, and the calls are processed by a smart audio response system... This audio response system warns outside callers about the fact that their call would be recorded. All the calls and messages are recorded and filtered if necessary for the security of contestants and the contest itself.  Another feature that makes the system unique is the Smart SMS management system by Ascoma. This system allows you to monitor all the messages sent for contestants.  Any "SMS" message for contestants are detected by the message management system by Ascom, and submitted to contestants after the content is checked. All the numbers and the content of SMS messages are recorded and retrospectively checked.



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