AMIRA Multicam rises to broadcast challenge

The AMIRA Multicam System brings the picture quality you’d expect from ARRI and embeds it into existing infrastructure and technology. It’s part of a growing trend to raise production standards and bring a ‘cinematic look’ to TV shows. The makers of one popular German program made the change and have been delighted with the results.

Neo Magazin Royale, which has aired weekly on ZDF since 2013, is billed as a late-night satirical talk-show, a description that does not do it full justice. The star, Jan Böhmermann, can be a bit of a challenge for the people behind the scenes. The satirist has often courted controversy - sometimes on an international scale - but his increasingly popular show also poses problems of a more welcome kind for its producers.

It includes a stand-up section, sit down interviews, and video inserts. There’s also music (the Rundfunk-Tanzorchestra Ehrenfeld performing Britney Spears’ classic “Toxic” was one highlight), a large studio audience, performers emerging from unexpected corners, and even games of hide-and-seek.

Neo Magazin Royale’s crew have deal with a wide range of broadcasting challenges

The studio cameras have to capture every grimace or twitch of emotion of a guest, every glint of light from a saxophone, and every vibration of bow on violin string. Yet in the same show they are expected to deal with crane-mounted tracking shots of the audience, and wide shots to pick up every nuance of a sometimes very frenetic performance.

ARRI’s AMIRA Multicam system provides the production company behind the show, BTF, with the ideal solution. Their shallow depth-of-field, and the image quality for which the AMIRA is famous, captures every detail of facial expression and natural skin tones, drawing viewers into the image.  But the system also copes with the more kinetic aspects of the show and allows for a unified look.

The AMIRAs are flexible, give superb picture quality, and are controllable with Sony RCPs

“We’ve had a very good experience with the system”, says BTF’s Joachim Richerzhagen. “It gives me access to the cameras via the network, which enables me to see the camera from the top of the control room and operate it via remote triggering. The cameras also internally record as a back-up.”

A crucial first step in the development of the AMIRA Multicam system was to make the cameras controllable with industry-standard Sony Remote Control Panels (RCP’s), allowing technicians to continue to use the tools they are comfortable with. The system allows Sony RCP image parameter and iris control for ENG style PL and B4 lenses, and EF lenses, and Cinestyle lenses (with cmotion Broadcast camin).  

And above all, says Joachim Richerzhagen, ARRI cameras and lights make it look great. “We have a much higher dynamic range, which is definitely noticeable in the picture,” he explains. “And since the studio has been completely converted to LEDs, which can also be used to produce colored light, the cameras already look great without us having to add a lot of look”.

However, if more look is needed, Look Library looks and 3D LUT’s can be loaded, used, and modified using the Sony RCP.

ARRI lights are also crucial to the program’s look

The AMIRA Cinematic Multicam system knits a variety of components together to give program makers flexibility tailored to their very varied needs. A single investment gives renters or owners a system that can be switched from Cinematic Multicam, to Documentary, to Drama styles, with the same image quality and look options available for all three production types.   

Use of S35 sensor cameras in the broadcast sector of the market is increasing, and scripted TV productions have mostly already abandoned 2/3rd inch sensor cameras. The situation is so far been a little different for non-scripted production forms. But in this, as in other areas, Neo Magazin Royale can be seen as something of a pioneer.

You can find out more about the show, and Jan Böhmermann on the ZDF website:
https://www.zdf.de/comedy/neo-magazin-mit-jan-boehmermann


Photos: BTF