And the winners are...

The second annual Digital Studio Industry Leadership Awards was held at the Emirates Towers Hotel, Dubai on March 7, and was attended by more than 350 industry professionals. A look at this year’s award winners.

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By  Vijaya Cherian Published  March 27, 2006

I|~|aw1.jpg|~|From left: Sami El-Shafai and Bassam Abu Issa of Salam Media Cast with Moussa Nassibah of Al Jazeera.|~|TV CHANNEL OF THE YEAR: AL JAZEERA This award was sponsored by our platinum sponsor, Salam Media Cast. Al Jazeera won this award because it is always pushing the technology envelope. It is very modern in its approach to new technology and is willing to take on the role of early adopters not just within the region but globally as well. This award is not based on content; rather it is based on the kind of backend technology, equipment and investment a channel such as Al Jazeera has put into improving its production. ||**||II|~|aw2.jpg|~|Paul Merrington (right) of Condor collects the award.|~|POST PRODUCTION HOUSE OF THE YEAR: CONDOR DUBAI Some of Condor’s recent projects include the successful Pepsi Soccer campaign. This incorporated time slice sequences, but unlike normal time slice where the images are frozen, these were live action sequences shot at 150 frames per second, transferred on Telecine and composited in Flame. Others included Dubai TV's new sports channel commercial, the new Saudi Telecom commercials and the Bahrain Grand Prix. ||**||III|~|aw3.jpg|~|Naki Shinichi of Panasonic.|~|BEST CAMERA OF THE YEAR: PANASONIC AG-HVX200 The Panasonic AG-HVX200, the world’s first hand-held HD solid-state memory camcorder, is already creating waves in the region. Its local distributor confirms that at least 25 people have placed orders for the camera. The HVX200 combines multiple HD and SD formats, multiple recording modes and variable frame rates, and the benefits of P2 memory recording. Panasonic has also positioned itself in a very desirable position by providing its backend information to partners such as Apple, Avid, and remaining compatible with their existing formats. ||**||IV|~|aw4.jpg|~|Kristian Kim Eikeland (right) of Vizrt collects the award. |~|GRAPHICS SOLUTION OF THE YEAR: VIZRT Vizrt offers a complete 2D 3D graphics platform for broadcast and post. It offers real-time integration in a broadcast environment and has well designed user interfaces for simple, effective manipulation of broadcast graphics. Combined with appropriate studio technologies, it is one of the world leaders in virtual set and virtual studio applications. The vendor’s solutions have increasingly become popular in the Middle East and are used extensively by Al Jazeera as well as several other broadcasters in the region. ||**||V|~|aw5.jpg|~|The Rights Lawyers, Lara Haidar and Mark Hill.|~|SERVICE TO THE INDUSTRY: THE RIGHTS LAWYERS The Rights Lawyers took home the Service to the Industry award for its contribution and service to the production and film industries. This is currently the only boutique law firm set up in the Middle East to cater exclusively to the creative industries including production and broadcast. Its involvement includes pulling together top quality productions from the region, working with established and new regional TV and radio channels, providing training on industry issues and working with Dubai Media City to educate the industry about the legal aspects of production. ||**||VI|~|aw6.jpg|~|Karl Hijazi of Sony collects the award. |~|SYSTEMS INTEGRATOR OF THE YEAR: SONY PROFESSIONAL SOLUTIONS Sony Professional Solutions Dubai walked away with the Systems Integration Award this year because it had moved a notch forward in terms of systems integration over the last one year compared to its competitors. Some projects done by Sony Professional Solutions over the last year include systems integration for Victory International Production (Dubai), Kuwait Cable Vision, the ERTU African Football Cup in Egypt, Orbit in Bahrain, Al-Eqtisadia Business Channel, Al-Aan TV in Dubai and Syrian Radio and TV. ||**||VII|~|aw7.jpg|~|Mike Charlton.|~|DoP OF THE YEAR: MIKE CHARLTON, ATLAS TV Since Mike came down to Dubai, he has won the respect of the region for his good quality and prolific work. He has worked on commercials for Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Arabian Legends and the Citizens Foundation. He has done documentaries on the life of the late president of the UAE, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and documentaries for Discovery Channel and the Travel Channel. Corporate works include filming HD aerials of Saudi Arabia and corporate films for DIFX, Etihad and Aramco.||**||VIII|~|aw8.jpg|~|Aaron Shaw.|~|BROADCAST ENGINEER OF THE YEAR: AARON SHAW, CNBC ARABIYA Aaron Shaw has been in the broadcast engineering field for twenty three years. Having trained in New Zealand and worked for a number of years in South East Asia, Shaw joined CNBC Arabiya in Dubai in mid-2003. Since then, he has been responsible for the rapid expansion of CNBC's technical facilites, establishing nine news gathering bureaux and a number of stand-up camera positions across the region. In the last year, he has managed CNBC's transition to Avid editing and the installation of a full archive system. Shaw is a firm advocate of file-based TV systems and automation, and has created a solid platform upon which CNBC can grow. ||**||IX|~|aw9.jpg|~|Danielle Moussalli of Intaj Productions. |~|PRODUCTION HOUSE OF THE YEAR: INTAJ PRODUCTIONS From commercials for the Iraqi Constitution and the Iraqi election campaigns to commercials for the Cancer Centre of Lebanon, The Fairy liquid project for Procter and Gamble, Dano and Al Marai milk products, Intaj Productions in Beirut has worked on many productions across the region. ||**||X|~|aw10.jpg|~|Maitha Ebrahim (right) collects the award.|~|YOUNG FILM MAKER OF THE YEAR: MAITHA EBRAHIM This award was created by Digital Studio to acknowledge some of the local talent in the region, especially the United Arab Emirates, where very little support has been forthcoming for national fillmakers. This year, the award goes to Maitha Ebrahim. Maitha, a final year media production student at Dubai Women's College, a branch of the Higher Colleges of Technology. During the last one year, Ebrahim has directed several films including The Rock, Non-Verbal Language, A Roof Over Our Heads, The Scar and Adolescent Colours. ||**||XI|~|aw11.jpg|~|Aiham Ajib (right) of Real Image. |~|BEST ANIMATION OF THE YEAR: THE YOUNG ADVENTURES OF IBN BATTUTA The Young Adventures of Ibn Battuta, a 15-minute animation by Real Image, is a true attempt to try and create a series of cartoons that appeal to children of the Arab world. The story as well as the way it has been animated is exceptional and truly worthy to be commended. Real Image, since its inception in 1996, has led the animation industry in the region by insisting on producing animations that are on par with international standards. The company also recently won the award for Best Animation at the Cairo festival for Bozannah, a short environmental film. ||**||XII|~|aw12.jpg|~|Joe Sfeir of ABM and Eric Charles of Apple collect the award. |~|EDITING SOLUTION OF THE YEAR: FINAL CUT PRO Final Cut Pro is rapidly growing in popularity in the Middle East. It has better features, capabilities, and a better price/performance ratio than competing brands. It is widely supported in post as well as News and time critical TV applications. Most major master control and all broadcast servers now fully support the FCP format. It is also being widely used for feature film work in conjunction with additional software add-ons and upgrades. A plus is that SD and HD support are included in the base package. This product is widely respected and used in the Middle East. ||**||XIII|~|aw13.jpg|~|Harout Torossian (right) of Omneon collects the award. |~|SERVER SOLUTION OF THE YEAR: OMNEON SPECTRUM MEDIA SERVER The Omneon Spectrum walked away with the award for best server of the year. The judges thought it to be the most most flexible, reliable and scalable server among the shortlisted nominations. This server is also widely used in the region by Orbit, Samacom, Al Sumaria, CNBC and Al Eqtisadia, and is becoming increasingly popular here. The Spectrum maximises the use of IT-based hardware and software and is built on an open architecture that enables wide support by third-party applications for automated ingest and playout, media management, and archiving. ||**||

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