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Sesame Street Converts To High-Definition Production With Sony Cameras And Switchers


Popular Series Enters 39th Season in HD this August

LAS VEGAS (NAB Booth #SU906) April 2008 – Sesame Workshop’s Sesame Street program has converted to high-definition production using Sony HD broadcast cameras and switchers.

The popular series, currently shooting its 39th season that premieres in HD on August 11, has been based at New York’s Kaufman Astoria Studios for 16 years. It is the first production there to take advantage of the studio’s new HD infrastructure, which includes 10 Sony HDC-1000 portable and HDC-1500 studio cameras and an MVS-8000A multi-format production switcher.

“What has been so special about Sesame Street all these years is that it reflects a real inner city community,” said Carol-Lynn Parente, executive producer of Sesame Street. “The decision to shoot in HD has been so exciting because it has brought ‘the Street’ to life, making our neighborhood of adults, children, monsters, grouches and 8-foot birds come alive.”

According to Parente, the Sony cameras will be used for Sesame Street’s studio and “field” segments. Together with the MVS-8000A switcher, the HD equipment will help the production teams seamlessly capture and blend the show’s unique mix of live-action and animation elements.

“Our HD products are the perfect complement to a studio environment like Kaufman and a program like Sesame Street, which both require flexibility, high performance and, above all, exceptional image quality,” said Alec Shapiro, senior vice president of Sony Electronics’ Broadcast and Production Systems Division. “We’re excited and proud to be associated with the latest technological innovation in this show’s long-running history.”

In addition to Sesame Street, Kaufman’s six stages are also the production home for a range of television and independent motion picture productions including the re-make of Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” starring John Travolta and Denzel Washington, the new game show, Million Dollar Password and a yet-to-be named film by Woody Allen, starring Larry David.

“Soon all productions will require HD technology and we are thrilled to offer this state-of-the-art capability within our full-service production complex,” said Hal Rosenbluth, president of Kaufman Astoria Studios. “Having this high-definition capability defines our leadership position and affirms our ability to service any size and type of film, television or commercial production.”

NEP Broadcasting created and maintains the Sony-based HD system for Kaufman Astoria Studios.

According to Frank Lanzer, NEP’s head engineer at Kaufman, “As production companies look to create more HD content, the need for HD-capable production facilities has grown. Projects ranging from a small HD shoot to a large multi-stage production with highly specialized needs can be easily accommodated within the Kaufman Studios complex.” He added that Kaufman is the first independent studio – outside of the four major networks – to have permanent high-definition production capabilities.


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