NEW YORK -- April 4, 2001
Weisberg recently supplied an elaborate media package and designed a show control system
for VH1's newest game show, "Name That Video". In addition to providing numerous
state-of-the-art NEC Technologies, Inc. 50-inch plasma display panels and large venue
projectors, and DoReMi video storage drives, the company designed a show control system to
streamline the production process by standardizing the way on-demand video material is
recorded before taping and accessed during production.
Studio contestants put their music video knowledge to the ultimate
challenge when the new VH1 series "Name That Video" - updating one of television
history's most memorable game shows, "Name That Tune" - premiered on the network
on Monday, March 12, 2001. The daily series of fast-paced games that test players' skills
in identifying videos, their artists and lyrics, "Name That Video" is a stylish,
high-tech and entertaining game show designed to challenge contestants' music video
knowledge, along with their general music expertise. The series incorporates
state-of-the-art video and graphics technology with fast-paced games such as Say It Again,
Finish the Phrase, and Bid-A-Vid (modeled on the Bid-A-Note signature round from the
original "Name That Tune"), drawing upon music videos from the 1980s to today's
"The interesting aspect of preparing for this project was the
fact that the producers wanted to record the 50 programs in an ambitiously short period.
Combine that with the fact that each program makes use of over an hour of video, all of
which has to be instantly accessible, and we had quite a logistical challenge,"
commented Scharff Weisberg's Vice President of Staging, Michael Halper. "Working in
conjunction with our show control department, we were able to devise a system utilizing 21
removable hard drives that allowed the producers to tape one program, while co-producers,
Broadway Video, were creating and recording content for the next. The idea was to record
the content of each show in a prescribed manner so as to allow for automated access within
any episode, regardless of the specific content."
package of equipment supplied by Scharff Weisberg includes nine DoReMi Hard Disc Recorders
with 21 removable, 18 gigabyte hard drives, a Dataton Control System, four NEC
Technologies NightHawk Series MultiSync XT5000 High Light Output projectors
with serial digital input (SDI), five (four and a backup) PlasmaSync 50PD1 public
display plasma monitors and two DaLite DA-Plex Rigid Screens (9x12 & 9x14).
Scharff Weisberg selected visual display products from NEC
Technologies for the VH1 set for a number of reasons. First, they support serial digital
which was required within Sony Music Studios' all SDI production environment. Second,
NEC's plasma display panels are among the best in the business, with color temperature
controls critical for any television studio application. And finally, the menu set up
options for the plasma display panels accommodate the vertically oriented screens used in
The basic set up of the show calls for video and stills from four of
the hard drives to be fed to four of the plasma panels and imagery from the two other
drives to go to the Sony facility's SDI switcher which plays into four projectors. The
plasma panels are set up to block the video projection screen. Music videos and other
clues play on the plasma panels and contestants make decisions based on it. The plasmas
then fly out to reveal additional video clips on the rear projection screens.
morning, six fresh hard drives arrive to the set with four shows worth of material,"
continued Halper. "While VH1 shoots four shows at the studio, the Broadway Video crew
is laying off four more to a second set of drives and, time permitting, a third set to
allow us a buffer. Since each show follows a set format, we were able to automate the
process fairly extensively. We designated time code locations for each segment of the show
to appear on the disk, regardless of episode. Using Dataton, we were able to create an
elaborate edit decision list that allows a programmer to run any show any way. We always
do the same commands to the same time code and Dataton is programmed to accommodate all
the possibilities resulting from specific contestant responses. The content changes four
times a day, but the time code address per command is always the same."
Lars Pedersen was senior technical consultant for the show control
design and programming. "It became quite clear early on that we would need to take a
somewhat different approach than we normally do with regard to content access management.
We decided, for flexibility purposes, to take advantage of the clip, playlist, and
sequence features provided by the DoReMi hard disk recorder/players. Even so, we still had
to find an efficient method of defining, modifying, and editing over 700 different clips.
This was ultimately accomplished by implementing a simple yet elegant solution. We used a
software utility called InstantQ put out by David Markie of Markie Enterprises,
www.serialtech.com. David's product and his technical support were key elements to the
success of the design. To facilitate clip playback, programmers Paul Vershbow and John
Kiphardt created several amazing user graphical interfaces in Dataton for each round in
order to select any of the myriad possibilities as the game is played. It's an awesomely
complex matrix of commands that they've boiled down to series of standardized button
clicks. The programmer must be on the set every day and follow the game very closely in
order to play each clip as randomly selected by the contestants."
The staging division of Scharff Weisberg Inc. specializes in video
wall design, video projection, image magnification, show control, computer data display
and sound. The show control division of Scharff Weisberg provides a full range of support
for show control including sales, rentals, programming, installation, design and
engineering. Scharff Weisberg is located at 599 Eleventh Avenue, New York, NY 10036. For
more information about the company's staging division, call 212-582-2345.
Copyright 2001 ScharffWeisberg Inc. For
more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org