tv broadcast / film - 2018

Soapstar Superstar

Soapstar Superstar

Belgium TV Revives ‘Soapstar Superstar’ with support from disguise and Notch.

Belgium TV network VRT recently revived reality singing competition, ‘Soapstar Superstar.’ The show which features soap opera actors performing in front of a celebrity panel, had a total of 96 performances, with each song highlighted by Notch real-time effects and played back on the disguise 4x4pro, supplied by our Studio and Rental partner Painting with Light.

Set Designer Laura Vermylen and Lighting Designer Karel Perneel created a dynamic 360º set for the show, called ‘Steracteur Sterartiest’ in Belgium.

VRT’s Head of Design Vincent Van Werde and Michael Al-Far, owner of content design company MalfMedia, discussed how Notch real-time effects could benefit quick-turnaround graphics. “We got the workload for the week’s episode by the end of the weekend and all the content had to be ready for Wednesday’s rehearsal, there wasn’t a lot of time to produce tailor-made motion graphics,” explains Michael. “It seemed logical to make use of Notch and disguise’s ability to seamlessly integrate this real-time effects engine. We needed a media server that could handle our Notch blocks and any other design elements we threw at it. There really wasn’t any doubt about using disguise.”

The live ‘Steracteur Sterartiest’ show ran on a disguise 4x4pro and VFC cards, which MalfMedia “pushed to the limits with mappings, Notch blocks, live feeds and graphical layers,” says Michael. “We had four inputs coming from the broadcast truck; at times we used live feed and VTR outputs as inputs for our graphics. At any given time, the director could reroute one of his 12 cameras to us, and it would then be used in the graphical content.”

The same held true with audio. “We could ask for a snapshot of a desired member of the live band and use that as a driver for the content,” Michael explains. “One of the disguise outputs was rerouted to the director to be used in the live emission. That meant that we could use the program mix as input, apply an effect to it and reroute it back to video mixing to be played out on air.”

Earlier, in prepro, the disguise software proved helpful in showing the set and lighting designers how well ideas worked. “The house graphics could be evaluated during pre-production meetings and any other brainstorming ideas could be visualised in next to no time,” says Michael. “It made decision-making very easy.” Then, during production, “the disguise software was worth its weight in gold testing our various design ideas and, of course, our Notch blocks.”

Other key features of disguise were MIDI integration, genlock and the ability for remote editing sessions to work on other parts of the show while rehearsals were ongoing. “Having editing run parallel to the media server allowed for offline editing and loading clips. This was a brilliant timesaver and allowed multiple operators to work together simultaneously. Remote control of the Notch blocks through a network connection enabled us to fine-tune the Notch blocks independently from the disguise operator,” Michael reports.

“By networking Notch and disguise, our Notch wizard, Maarten Francq, could remotely control the Notch block whenever that section of the show was called for,” he explains.  “That’s a real value-added capability. It also made for great collaboration between creative practice Painting with Light’s Katleen Selleslagh behind the controls and the content creation team to accommodate last-minute changes.”

In addition, Maarten calls disguise’s versioning “a magnificent tool.  We didn’t have to interrupt the operator’s workflow whenever an update was ready to be loaded, we just dropped it in.”

He also gives kudos to disguise support, which “as always, went above and beyond. We’ve got another disguise system booked for the show next season.”

Broadcast Director for ‘Steracteur Sterartiest' was Kevin Houben Karel Perneel was Lighting Director with Paco Mispelters of Painting with Light as Lighting Operator. At MalfMedia content was designed by Michael Al-Far, Aitor Biedma, Maarten Francq and Uwe Schroeder. The disguise Operators were Katleen Selleslagh from Painting with Light, Painting with Light also subcontracted Dave van Roon from Live Legends, and Jo Pauly of Visual Solutions.


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Broadcast Director

Kevin Houben 

Lighting Director

Karel Perneel 

Lighting Operator

Paco Mispelters - Painting with Light


Michael Al-Far - MalfMedia
Aitor Biedma 
Maarten Francq
Uwe Schroeder

disguise Operators

Katleen Selleslagh - Painting with Light
Dave van Roon - Live Legends
Jo Pauly - Visual Solutions