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Vatican Television Centre Celebrates 30 years of Service

October 14, 2013
On Friday, October 18, 2013, a special Symposium (Convegno) will be held in Rome commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the foundation of the Vatican Television Centre (CTV). The important gathering will be held at the Sala Stampa Estera (Foreign Press Centre) in downtown Rome. Hosted by CTV, the program will feature messages from Pope Francis and the President of Italy, as well as interventions by professors and international and national leaders in television broadcasting. Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., Founder and CEO of Canada’s Salt and Light Catholic Television Network will moderate the symposium and Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, a priest of Milan and the new Director General of Vatican Television, will conclude the symposium.
The Vatican Television Center (CTV) was created in 1983 by Blessed John Paul II. In November 1996 it was officially recognized as an organization fully associated with the Holy See. The principal aim of CTV is to contribute to spreading the universal message of the Gospel by using television to document the Pope's pastoral ministry and the activities of the Apostolic See. (From the Statute of June 1, 1998)
The main services offered by CTV are the following: live broadcasts, production, archiving, and daily assistance to other broadcasters.
Every year CTV conducts around 130 live broadcasts of events inside the Vatican (the Angelus, the Pope's General Audience and other events or celebrations). In addition there are the live broadcasts associated with the Holy Father's trips in Italy and abroad. Live broadcasts are trasmitted by other Catholic television networks. On request by international TV networks CTV can coordinate satellite link-ups in order to relay the signal anywhere in the world. On an experimental basis, the Angelus is currently trasmitted directly from the Vatican via Intelsat towards America every Sunday. CTV is also promoting a project which includes the interactive and multimedial diffusion of certain major events marking the start of the Third Millennium.
CTV covers the daily public activities of the Holy Father and the main events that take place within the Apostolic See.
It distributes this footage to the press agencies and television stations that request it. CTV also distributes footage shot as part of the papal entourage during the Pope's trips abroad and coordinates special duplications centers within the press centers on these trips. Inside the Vatican, CTV offers assistance and facilities to foreign correspondents (TV crews, video and audio assistance, satellite broadcasts, editing facilities, etc.).
CTV has produced numerous documentaries over the past ten years of Pope John Paul II's pontificate, on the Vatican and the Basilicas of Rome. These have been broadcast on television and distributed on home video, often in other language editions including English and Spanish.Since Easter 1998 a weekly (25-minute) magazine program entitled "Octava Dies" is rebroadcast nationally by Italian Catholic networks and globally in "natural sound" by APTN. The Italian and English-language versions can be heard on this Internet site.
CTV manages a temperature and humidity controlled area housing a video archive with over 10,000 cassettes and approximately 4,000 hours of video recordings of Pope John Paul II documenting his pontificate since 1984. Television networks and documentary producers from all over the world constantly request access to this archive. A computerized filing system means the footage can be easily consulted according to subject matter, date etc.
Private individuals can request copies of CTV video recordings and productions on VHS by contacting the Vatican Television Center office which is open from 9 to 13, Rome time, Monday to Saturday.
In a recent Vatican press conference Thursday, the President of the Board of Directors of CTV, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, and director general, Msgr. Dario E. Viganò announced the addition of a new "master control room", capable of processing advanced digital signals, and the signing of an agreement with the Argentine TV "Canal 21".
CTV’s new "master control room" in the Vatican will sort incoming and outgoing digitized signals as "files." The project, begun in collaboration with Sony, offers clear advantages - said the director general of CTV - to exchange and archive images and sound in the digital format.In view of these new operations, the valuable CTV archives, documenting the pontificates of Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis, will be restored.
Meanwhile, the Argentine TV "Canal 21" has signed an accord with CTV for the acquisition of its archives documenting the activities of Cardinal Bergoglio for the period up to March 13, 2013 - the day of his election as Pope - for use in Italy and Europe. The agreement with "Canal 21", was greeted with satisfaction by Pope Francis, in a message read out to journalists by Msgr. Viganò:
“I'm glad that the agreement has been struck between the Vatican Television Center and Canal 21' - remember that Canal 21 television is the diocesan television for Buenos Aires - 'it is a concrete measure to make known, in Italy and in Europe, the reality of the Church of Buenos Aires, which, thanks to the solidarity and cooperation of the people and of the Italian Church, can count on a diocesan Catholic television. The use of images helps to build bridges and (allows us) to understand the ways of being Church in various latitudes of the world; this in some way helps make us less like strangers and feeds communion (in the Church)."
Msgr. Viganò stressed these projects converge to form a unique perspective:"The shoot, the audiovisual, is an important documentary source. While traditionally, the story was reconstructed from notes on paper, more and more, history is reconstructed in its complexity, in its events, from visual sources. "
Vatican Television Centre takes innovative approach to content management with Sony Media Backbone platform
CTV’s master control room will be completely updated with a move to full digital and HD broadcasting and archiving
On September 13, 2013, Sony announced that the Vatican Television Centre (CTV) has launched a modernisation project which will utilise the Sony Media Backbone (MBC) platform. The project is a part of a plan to completely digitise CTV’s production workflow. The upgrade will also coincide with the construction of a new master control room and signal sorting hub, to make the collection and distribution of content easier. At the heart of the upgrade will be changes to CTV’s archiving system, which currently holds over 10,000 hours of footage. The Sony MBC will offer better management and accessibility when collecting and redistributing CTV’s masses of content.
The upgrade will also see CTV renew and restructure its video housing to enable better management of all incoming and outgoing signals. This makes a complete move from SD to HD possible and is the start of a transition to a tapeless studio. All signals will be transformed into digital format, providing undeniable advantages in terms of exchanging and storing signals. Commenting on the upgrade, Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, director general of the Vatican Television Centre, said:
“The Pope believes that images and video are not just a way of documenting progress, but are vital when reaching out to, and increasing recognition with followers. Our broadcasts go out to millions, so we have to ensure they are of the highest quality. This modernisation represents a monumental shift for CTV. Our entire workflow will eventually be tapeless, which enables CTV to further develop a file-based exchange of historical, current and prospective CTV content.”
For more perspectives on the work of the Vatican Television Centre and those who have led it and supported its important work, please view the following WITNESS interviews done by Canada’s Salt and Light Catholic Television Network over the past years:
Via del Pellegrino - 00120 Vatican City
Director General: Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò
Tel. +39 06 698 85467/85233 - Fax +39 06 698 85192
E-mail: ctv@ctv.va (Office)
ctvteca@ctv.va (Video-Archive)
For further information, you may wish to consult:
Images courtesy of CNS /Paul Haring
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