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Channel 4 & E4 Rebrand With Pixel Power Clarity Systems

A focus on Now, Next, Later menus from concept to launch (April 13, 2005)

Pixel Power Ltd. (, Cambridge, England, announced that Channel 4 in London have recently purchased their 10th Clarity system to use for graphics creation and graphics playout. As a result of the successful implementation of the initial graphical creation and playout requirements for Channel 4, Clarity systems have also been purchased for E4 and their Disaster Recovery Service.

The requirement
Pixel Power were first introduced to this project when they were given a tape containing a variety of menu design ideas and asked whether Clarity could play out the exact look but with the ability to have the content semi-automated using fast loading and easily editable templates which could be changed and ready for air in a matter of minutes. The design company Channel 4 used to produce the material was Rudd Studios. The impressive and innovative designs were thought up to present a visually dynamic and stylish way of showing viewers at the end of a program what Channel 4 programs were coming up for a particular time of day. Once the design had been decided upon the image sequence material was passed to Pixel Power to start building the project with.

The menu look
The menu look is built up from two layered video clips for an intro (one clip had embedded key and was cut out to reveal the background), video clips of the upcoming programs, specially animated auto-boxed text of the scheduled program times and names using Channel 4's special new font, coloured backgrounds and two layered video clips with cut out for the outro at the end.

The workflow
Due to the high frequency and quantity of menus needed between programs they had to be updated easily without using traditional, time consuming and costly post-production methods. Video clips needed to be inserted, the program titles and times needed to be quickly updateable too. So Pixel Power devised a simple Excel spreadsheet that was linked directly to the Clarity template pages. This made it very quick and easy for the operator using the Clarity to change the entire contents of menu and produce a new one without having to know anything more than how to type text into a spreadsheet. The text for the program times and names was imported directly from the spreadsheet into the Clarity template. The program video clips stored on the Clarity internal clip drives could be chosen easily from the spreadsheet by selecting from a drop down list. The intro and outro video clips used at the start and end of the menu sequence could also be changed easily. Channel 4 didn't want the same look every time a menu was aired so had a wide range of themed clips that could be accessed from the list and quickly inserted into the Clarity page ready for air. These themed clips would be short, quirky everyday life things like a close up of a piece of toast, an aspirin dissolving in a glass of water, ducks on a lake, traffic lights etc. All the elements, each with their own animation durations, were combined to form the look that can be seen on air now.

Earlier this year the same Clarity template and Excel spreadsheet system was modified slightly to launch E4's similar looking menu design for its program menu graphics.

This was a very unique and ground breaking project that Pixel Power were very proud to be a part of.

About Channel4:
Channel 4 was created by Act of Parliament in 1982. It transmits across the whole of the UK, except some parts of Wales which are covered by the Welsh language S4C. It is available on all digital platforms (terrestrial, satellite and cable) as well as through conventional analogue transmission.

As well as the main Channel 4 service, the Channel Four Group operates a variety of pay channels, including the E4 entertainment channel, E4+1, and three film channels. Through its Film Four division it produces and co-produces feature films for the UK and global markets. It also operates a wide variety of online and broadband services that cover entertainment, information, education, health, careers and many other areas.

More than three-quarters of the UK's population watch Channel 4 services in the course of an average week.

About Pixel Power:
Established in 1987, Pixel Power is dedicated to providing broadcasters and facilities with powerful graphics and character generator products. With a flexible, professional range of award-winning products, Pixel Power has over 2000 systems installed worldwide.

Pixel Power Ltd. corporate headquarters is located in Cambridge, England, with a wholly owned US subsidiary, Pixel Power Inc., based in Pompano Beach, Florida. Pixel Power maintains its global presence through a worldwide network of distributors.

For more information visit


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Related Keywords:Pixel Power, Channel 4, Clarity, graphics creation, playout, E4, Rudd Studios,


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