Catalyst Makes Its Play

Projected Image Digital has supplied a Catalyst version 4 system to ITV Productions at the UK’s Manchester Studios, makers of the popular Make Your Play game show, including an oval shaped projection screen built into the set and rear projected with a 12000 ANSI lumen Sanyo projector fed by the Catalyst.

This is broadcast live on ITV1 and the ITV Play channel on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights between midnight and 4.30am, presented by Ben Baldwin and Alex Kramer.

The Catalyst was specified by Neil Breakwell, the show’s executive producer. He sought a flexible, cost-effective method to giving the show high production values and a contemporary, “edgier” feel that provided an interesting background. He also wanted to be able to quickly introduce light, shade, or other visual moods to the show.

Catalyst was initially recommended to him by leading TV LD Chris Rigby. Having worked for MTV, and on music shows for several years, Breakwell knows the importance of maintaining pace and energy, and the relevance of having instantly accessible effects at your fingertips.

Breakwell approached PID to advise on and supply the Catalyst software, and they also provided a customised Macintosh computer to meet their exact requirements.

The presenters move around the set, designed by Julian Healey, as the show progresses. The oval shaped projection screen is built into one of the set pieces and rear projected onto with a 12000 ANSI lumen Sanyo projector fed by the Catalyst.

PID also supplied four sets of Beacon digi gobos and arranged for Catalyst expert Hugh Davies Webb to visit Granada Studios in Manchester where make Your Play is recorded, and train up members of the production team who would also be operators. Another important consideration on the practical level explains Breakwell, was that they wanted a solution that didn’t need very specialised technical staff to programme and run it.

It’s being controlled as a mouse driven stand-alone media server rather than via a DMX lighting desk, and this is proving an ideal solution.

With four and a half hours of show, it’s vital to keep the graphics and visuals rolling. The show’s content and animations have been created from a combination of the Beacon material and from some Digital Juice sources, They have a dynamic stash of backgrounds that can instantly be pulled up onscreen at any time, plus a Make Your Play logo sequence.

“They are maximizing the real-time capabilities of the media server by changing the backgrounds frequently, quickly and sometimes on-the-fly as the show unfolds, to match changes in the tempo, mood, and music,” explains Naomi Taviner, one of the Catalyst operators.

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