We at Media Powerhouse were approached by a major IT company to provide crew and equipment to service 2 x TV studios that were to be set up within a large exhibition held in Barcelona’s FIRA Centre. There were to be 2 studios, one that predominantly broadcast Live to air content and one that pre-recorded technical demonstrations. In addition to this we were asked to provide communications equipment and a system so that a Camera crew along with presenters could report from anywhere amongst the 2 square kms of Expo floor.
For the studios we were to supply all elements up until the ingest of content. The streaming and content management side was handled by the client. The Studio set and gallery area was being supplied by the Set company building the wider Expo and due to the premium on floorspace all our designs had to fit within their design.
Audio posed less problems than the other areas, but still wasn’t without its challenges, the first being that the live broadcast would be held in the middle of the expo Floor, a long way from the usual studio environment. For micing we made the decision to use our DPA Dfine headsets which gave us a lot of control and helped to dial out the background noise on the floor. That background noise presented us with our second challenge, despite the interviewer being just feet from the interviewee we needed to ensure that everyone could hear each other clearly. To achieve this, we used IFBs for both presenters and guests. The third challenge was the extremely busy radio space. As you can imagine on an Expo of this size there are all sorts of RF signals bouncing around, to ensure that we never experienced any problems with signal all IFBs and Mics were hardwired. We used one of our fleet of Yamaha QL5s as the console and this managed all the different mix minuses and program mixes with ease.
Lighting provided its own challenges, once again the environment was a large part of this. Due to the studio being based on the Expo floor there were several external sources to contend with, the trickiest of these being the spill from the Expo’s meeting area which boasted a huge sculpture that was being washed with colour changing LEDs. Once the decision was made that this was the main external influence that we had to overcome, we could get on with the job of re-jigging our original design to be able to cope with this. Fortunately our fleet of ETC ColorSource Fresnel Fixtures provided a great balance of power consumption, brightness and flexibility and whilst working together with the racks engineer we were able to produce the shot the producers requested which was a clear defined image of our presenters whilst maintaining a high level of detail in the background so as to relay the “live from the Expo” feel.
The Camera and video element saw us work closely with a partner to supply 2 complete 3 camera PPUs. Working to the clients specification we created PPUs that offered Flexibility and reliability. We were able to provide all the different feeds required and handle the 16 planned inputs and the extra ones that developed over the course of the show. At all times we worked closely with the producers, broadcast engineers and vision director to ensure all stakeholders requests were managed and delivered. A major part of the Live Studio was the roving crew, this team were tasked with a variety of assignments, from conducting live interviews with exhibitors, holding live post keynote interviews with presenters and capturing a “feel from the floor”. This was achieved by employing an RF HD Cobham Clip on kit attached to a Sony PXW Z450. 8 x receivers were strategically placed around the FIRA to ensure that we had rock solid signal wherever the producers decided to send the crew.
This rock-solid signal was also a requirement for perhaps the most critical element that we were asked to provide a solution for, Comms. In total 12 wired panels and 29 wireless packs were required (including 2 packs dedicated as IFB receivers for our presenters on the roving crew). Given the size of the Venue and the amount of competing RF signals there was really only one option, Riedel’s Bolero. We reached out to our friends at Delta Live and they pieced together a system as per the clients’ spec and delivered a flawless solution on site. Boleros flexibility and configurability meant that all the different requests for groups and point to point lines ensured that vital messages could be relayed clearly wherever in the venue you were.
In total Studio 1 ran live 9 hours a day for 4 days and studio 2 created over 30 hours of content. This enabled the client to push out fantastic engaging content on its numerous platforms.