http://www.broadcastingcable.com/index.asp?layout=nocclamp&articleid=CA6338302#6389744 **Top StoryMetropolitan Divas In HDThe Metropolitan Opera is taking advantage of HD resolution and digital cinema distribution to take live opera telecasts off the small screen and onto the really, really big screen.
On Dec. 30 a new 100-minute version of /The Magic Flute/ will be shown live in movie theaters across the U.S., Canada, Europe, the first of six such broadcasts to be delivered during the 2006/2007 Met season. Even moviegoers in Japan will be able to see the event although they won't be watching it live.
The Metropolitan Opera has been doing live TV productions since 1973 and while Mark Schubin, engineer-in-charge of the Met's Media Department, says live productions are nothing new the production crew is experimenting with an aerial camera and a camera that could track back and forth in the pit.
"Every opera is different and this production has some interesting puppets," says Schubin. "We position the cameras so people in the audience can't see them." Camera pedestals on the extreme edge of the stage ensure paying audience members have clear sight lines.
Ten Sony HD cameras with Fujinon lenses will shoot the opera with All Mobile Video's Titan HD truck serving as the center of the production. The truck measures 66 feet long by 21 feet wide when fully expanded and also has a Studer audio console and a Sony MVS-8000 production switcher.
One big difference between the digital cinema distribution process is that uncompressed 1.485 Gbps HD signals with embedded Surround Sound will be sent out to a New York point-of-presence for Nexion, a Japanese transmission services provider that will feed the opera to Japan. The opera will also be compressed into an MPEG2 signal with Dolby AC3 encoded Surround Sound and sent up on the ACM5 for distribution to National Cinemedia that will feed cinemas. Arqiva will handle distribution to Europe.
U.S. distribution is being done through National CineMedia, LLC, which includes the AMC, Cinemark, and Regal movie theatre chains. There will be 56 locations for the first broadcast, expanding to 111 locations at the end of the series. Ticket prices in the U.S. will be $18 for adults, and $15 for children.