Additional Services   Click here for full size picture (41KB) 

Office Space  - currently available to let

We have around 1000sq ft of additional office space at our new building in the Salford Quays area of Manchester just up the road from the BBC MediaCity site. Quays Reach is a development of mixed size office buildings (up to 20,000sq ft) on a small business park with its own 24hr security lodge. The office space is on the first floor above our premises on the ground floor, and is part of the "office village", a terraced row of individual 2-storey units. The package includes use of the facilities downstairs (entrance hall, mini-kitchen & two toilets) shared with the ground floor office. Access is via a shared front door and stairs from the entrance hall. The first floor comprises a large pillar-less rectangular area plus a partitioned-off store room and small office, with double-glazed windows front and rear, vertical blinds, suspending ceiling, cat-2 lighting, electric central heating and perimeter trunking. 3 car parking spaces are available.      See more Quays Reach pictures and office info

Live web streaming support services for small-scale events and webinars

Live web streaming and vision mixing from the desktopZEN Computer Services can offer support for live web streaming on smaller-scale events, product launches, training sessions, and suchlike. The service is aimed at video production companies and videographers with little or no prior experience of web streaming who have been asked to provide such a service as an add-on to existing video coverage.

At its simplest level, ZEN will provide the encoding equipment and operator, and provide quality-control monitoring of the stream during transmission.  

The supporting services can be extended to include audio mixing and software vision mixing, allowing multiple cameras to be used, along with caption overlays and vision inserts from virtual VTRs. Whilst not intended as a replacement for a full OB, the system allows many of the same elements to be included in a live web broadcast, operated from a desktop PC, at a relatively modest cost.

Final details and rate card are still being worked on, but please phone or email if this is of interest

    Video acquisition to broadcast HD spec

PDW-700 camcorder + standard & wide-angle lensesAlthough not strictly a "location facilities company", we have considerable experience of location recording from Martin Kay's previous (20yr) employment at Granada TV in Manchester. This covered the full spectrum from local news to major drama series and everything in between. We can therefore offer help in recording a wide variety of subject matter, from dramatised reconstructions to straightforward interviews or news reports. We can offer a full shoot & edit service, and fully understand the requirements of shooting and encoding for a web video audience.

We aim to maintain broadcast standards, in as much as a Sony PDW700 2/3" CCD camera qualifies as "broadcast", by ensuring that we only take on work for which our facilities are suited. We've also got a sound kit including SQN3 & 4 mixers, Audio & Micron radio mics and 416 gun mics, so 1+1 interviews, PTCs and GVs are what we can cope with best. Small studio area (with good acoustics) available with backdrops and lighting. However, if you need something more ambitious, we can act as consultants and have friends & contacts in the TV industry, some of whom are no strangers to the BAFTA awards.

    Filming in modern office buildings - a look at how creative lighting can improve on simple illumination


    George Telfer as Prince Philip in the one-man play
    "Do you still throw spears at each other?" (also on YouTube)


    DV2Broadcast website

    An audience with Jenny Vegas

    An Audience with Jenny Vegas

    shot at our Salford Quays premises

    see more videos here

    and on YouTube & Vimeo

    Martin Kay offers help and advice on audio, video & computer problems
    " I've been a regular contributor to user groups and technical forums for the last 20 years or so, and have written hundreds of posts offering advice and information on a whole range of computer, audio & video production topics."
    Read some of Martin's posts here...

    Previously at ZEN Computer Services...

  • Broadcast mastering from DV formats

ZEN edit areaHaving acted as technical consultants for Bakermedia's My North West TV series, in which we also carried out the processes of audio dubbing, picture grading and final transfer to DigiBeta tape format, we can now offer a "broadcast mastering" service. In particular, if you wish to use Avid, or Premiere Pro (with/without the Matrox RTX) for your initial editing, we can take your work directly on hard disk and apply the necessary "finishing" to prepare it for submission to the TV station's Tech Review, including transfer to DigiBeta via SDI. We can add the required test signals and clocks before the programme start, keep your audio levels within prescribed limits, and correct and enhance the picture levels (within practical limits). As such we'll also warn you when the original material is "past redemption" and in need of re-shooting or re-editing.  

  • 3D Animation & Graphics Render Farms

In the past we provided a 3D modelling and animation service using Lightwave 3D running on a PC "render farm". We can assist in the planning and building of suitable PCs for render farm use, including networking and shared keyboard/monitor/mouse control.

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  • Computers for Films

For many years we have been supplying computers and writing custom software for TV films in the UK. These have included the award winning Cracker,  Prime Suspect and A Touch of Frost series, plus many more from Game Set & Match in 1987 through to the present day (including a small part in The Full Monty).

Because of the need to have computer displays running at 50Hz to avoid a "roll-bar" when filming at 25fps, we have used the Amiga to simulate all manner of computer systems. To avoid undue fan noise when recording dialogue, the Amiga is usually hidden away out of shot, with an Amiga keyboard the only clue to the deception.

  • Prompting

We have our own prompting software (Smooth Talker) which runs on the Amiga, and have a flight-cased A1200 system available. We can also replace or repair existing Smooth Talker handset controllers.

  • Subtitling

Back in the Amiga days we developed a subtitling program called Eurotitler. Combined with a VITC/LTC timecode reader, this provides frame accurate subtitling for keying over video. We use the Harlequin board to provide a broadcast quality output with fully anti-aliased fonts, semi-transparent background boxes and linear keying over source video. Although we can still supply this software for Amiga users, we mainly use it ourselves to provide a subtitling service.

Aston 4 keyboardWe can take a video with or without a script, and prepare a subtitled guide version on VHS, which we submit for approval before generating an on-line subtitled master, usually on Betacam. Eurotitler works in an off-line mode using the Amiga's overlay, or in an on-line suite controlling an Aston 4 (if anyone's still using one), or generating 32bit RGBA from a Harlequin board.

PS We're looking for a working keyboard for an Aston 4, if anyone knows of one available...?

What we're about . . .      ZEN is not a traditional Audio-Visual dealer who started selling computers, nor is it a computer shop that also sells video products. You won't get any salesmen giving you the "hard-sell" when you call, just straightforward advice and information - which for some callers is the knowledge that they don't need to buy whatever it is they thought they needed! Above all you'll be dealing with someone with a wide range of experience and knowledge of both PCs and video production. We're not the biggest, nor necessarily the cheapest, but we are one of the longest established computer/video specialists in the UK.

Company history . . .      ZEN was started in the 1980s by Martin Kay, then working for ITV at Granada's Manchester studios, who built his first 6502-based computer in 1979 from an Ohio Scientific kit, bought in the USA whilst working as a Sound Recordist on a film shoot for World In Action. With the advent of the Amiga, which could be gen-locked to a video source, Martin started writing a variety of video-related software. This included subtitling & tele-prompting, ident clocks, scoring software for sports & gameshows, and specialist software to mimic other computer displays for use in TV film dramas like Cracker, Prime Suspect and A Touch of Frost. Martin left Granada in 1993 to concentrate on his computer-video activities with ZEN, following a natural path into non-linear editing systems, for many years the main business activity, although he still maintains an active interest in video production.

ZEN - Home Page Phone 0161 736 5300 Copyright 2019 Zen Computer Services.
All rights reserved. E&OE
Revised: 06 December, 2019