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Tuesday, November 16, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 16 NOV 2010 (VIS) - "New technologies at the service of the communications of the Holy See" was the theme of a press conference held this morning to present the new high-definition outside-broadcasting equipment which the Vatican Television Centre (CTV) will now be using.

  Participating in today's conference, held in the Holy See Press Office, were Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and of the administrative board of the Vatican Television Centre; Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director of the Vatican Television Centre; Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, and Gildas Pelliet, managing director of Sony Italia.

  Archbishop Celli highlighted the fact that the lorry containing the CTV outside broadcasting unit is being inaugurated just a few days before the Pontifical Council for Social Communications' newly renewed website "Pope2you" comes online. The aim of the website, which has existed for some time, "is to accompany the thousands of young people from every continent who wish to follow the Pope closely, listening to his words and, in some way, entering into dialogue with him. The site has thus far had some five million hits", he said.

  "The second project we have begun working upon is the creation of a new portal which will bring together, also using multimedia technology, the various sources of news within the Vatican", said Archbishop Celli.

  In his remarks Fr. Lombardi explained how the new equipment "certainly represents the biggest investment made by the CTV in recent years, and perhaps in its entire history, ... which began in the year 1983 by order of John Paul II. This is, then, a good opportunity to recall the goals and functions of this institution of social communications of the Holy See, and the criteria it follows in its activities.

  "The mission of CTV", Fr. Lombardi added, "as its statute says, is to ensure the tele-visual recording of the Holy Father's activities and of other important events that take place within the Vatican, ... and to create an archive of all these images, both as a source of documentation and in order to produce information services, documentaries, etc. All this, of course, is to serve the mission of the Church, making the Holy Father's activities and teaching better known".

  Doing this task well, he went on, "requires operational skill and a quality product, in keeping with advances in tele-visual communications and, more generally, in the modern use of video, for example on the internet. If we failed to maintain an adequate level ... we would effectively hinder the diffusion of the Pope's image, and hence of his message".

  For this reason CTV has greatly increased its live coverage over recent years, and currently "makes an average of 200 live broadcasts every year", said Fr. Lombardi. These include the great celebrations in St. Peter's Square, the Angelus, general and special audiences, and concerts in the Paul VI Hall or in the basilicas.

  The director of the Vatican Television Centre also pointed out that the majority of quality documentaries are now produced in high-definition, and that an increasing number of television channels are using this system. For this reason, he explained, CTV's move to the system "was a necessary step ... we could not fail to make, for otherwise the image of the Pope would gradually have disappeared from television screens over the coming years".

  The cost of the operation has been met from three sources: Sony, which offered favourable terms of payment; a notable contribution from the Knights of Columbus, and the resources which CTV has been earmarking for this purpose over recent years, thanks to its annual budget surplus.

  For his part Carl Anderson explained how the new high-definition outside-broadcasting unit "represents the most recent development in the long history of the Catholic Church's work in mass communication". The Knights of Columbus, he said, "is so happy to be able to support the great communications work of the Vatican" in the hope of reaching "to the farthest corner of this city, Italy and the world".

  Gildas Pelliet explained how the new mobile unit, "a lorry 13.9 metres long, ... is divided into four operational areas: audio cabin, equipment room, primary and secondary director's cabin, and camera control. The sixteen television cameras all have high-definition fibre optic connections".
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