Henninger Media Services Brings High Definition to the Kennedy Center Honors

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The Kennedy Center Honors, airing at 9:00 p.m. on December 29th on CBS, will be broadcast in high definition for the first time. Henninger provided post production services and technical expertise for 25th consecutive year.

The significant difference in the post production and final mastering of this year’s show is that we had the added challenge of accommodating both 16x9 high definition and 4x3 standard definition images for the honoree’s biographical films.

Henninger Media Services (“Henninger”), Washington, D.C.’s premier production and post-production company, recently completed its annual post production work on the Kennedy Center Honors. This marks the 25th consecutive year that Henninger has been involved with this prestigious event, providing editing, audio, and color correction services for the biographical films shown at the gala on December 6, 2009. The two-hour event will air on CBS at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 29, 2009. This will be the first year that the show is produced and broadcast in high definition. Last year’s broadcast of the show won an Emmy for “Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special.”

The five distinguished recipients honored at the 32nd annual celebration of the arts were Mel Brooks, Dave Brubeck, Grace Bumbry, Robert De Niro and Bruce Springsteen. They were recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.

The Henninger staff looks forward to this project every year, which usually commences around Labor Day when members of the Kennedy Center Honors Productions staff move into Henninger’s Arlington facility. Over the next three months, the respective staffs work closely with each other every step of the way. Kennedy Center relies on Henninger for technical and creative expertise, including high definition editing and color correction; audio mix and mastering services; engineering and project management; and possible Blu-ray finishing.

Per Sam Crawford, Henninger’s Director of Engineering, “the significant difference in the post production and final mastering of this year’s show is that we had the added challenge of accommodating both 16x9 high definition and 4x3 standard definition images for the honoree’s biographical films.” To help overcome this obstacle, Henninger created custom “graticules”—lines to superimpose on the screen during the offline editing process, to show the editors what would be seen by both high definition and standard definition viewers.

The key members of both staffs always do a projection test at the Kennedy Center two nights before the big event, with a primary focus on the audio levels. The hardest challenge is met by Henninger’s Senior Mixer, David Hurley, who helps ensure that what the production team heard in Henninger’s audio suite transfers seamlessly to the amphitheater type of environment at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House. The Henninger staff takes notes and makes necessary changes that night or the next morning. Jef Huey, Henninger’s Senior Editor on the project, characterized the overall process as “a lot of fun, due to the films’ unique complexities. In the end, we are always confident that we’ll end up with an outstanding final product due to the collaboration of such experienced personnel at both organizations!”

Henninger Media Services
Henninger Media Services (“Henninger”) was founded in 1983 by Robert Henninger. The company specializes in a full range of interactive and high-definition services, including original script-to-screen production, video editing, compositing, color correction, film transfer, quality control, and duplication; as well as surround sound audio, motion graphics, design, Blu-ray and DVD. Henninger has served broadcast, corporate and government clients for over 26 years in Arlington, VA. Additional information can be obtained by calling Eric Hansen at 703-908-4225, or by email at hmsinfo(at)henninger(dot)com. Check out our new website at http://www.henninger.com.

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Eric Hansen

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