Strictly Come Dancing’s one-off glitterball spectacular, which was broadcast live from Wembley Arena on Saturday November 17th in aid of Children In Need, involved an enormous effort backstage to ensure that the audio reflected the quality of the on-stage performances.
Behind the scenes two Outside Broadcast vehicles belonging to Red TX and CTV were working in tandem to provide BBC Studios and Post Production sound engineers Tony Revell, Andy Tapley and Richard Sillitoe with all the facilities they needed to capture and broadcast the audio in stereo and 5.1 surround sound.
Red TX, which has extensive experience of delivering live sound for broadcast, provided its RED II truck for this project, while CTV provided its main OB9 scanner.
Andy Tapley, who manned the Studer Vista 8 digital mixing system on board RED II, says: “It was a complex project that involved a lot of inputs to capture the sound from the audience, the presenters and judges, the dancers, the orchestra and the guest acts – Kylie Minogue and Girls Aloud. Usually Tony and I sit next to each other at the same console, but for this show we were in separate vehicles and had to coordinate our mixes using the technical infrastructure provides by Red TX and CTV.”
The two trucks were linked using a combination of MADI and MIDI interfaces. This allowed Andy, who was in charge of the audio from the orchestra and the dancers, to work in unison with Tony, who was handling the audio from the audience, presenters, judges and guest performers to create the main mix.
Red TX’s RED II truck is designed to cater for 3D and 7.1 surround sound productions and is ideally suited to complex live broadcast projects because it offers simultaneous mixes to a variety of different formats.
RED II also incorporates an additional production/overdub and video gallery room at the rear of the vehicle. For this project it was equipped with a Yamaha DM2000 console, which was also linked to the CTV truck and used by Richard Sillitoe to create the surround sound mix.
Red TX Director Ian Dyckhoff, who along with Red TX engineer Ollie Nesham was present on the night to support the BBC sound team, says: “This is the second year running that we have worked on the live Strictly show from Wembley Arena and we consider it an honour to be involved in such a prestigious project. Live shows are always nerve wracking and, although we weren’t manning the controls this time, we saw it as our responsibility to ensure that technically everything ran smoothly so that Andy, Tony and Richard could relax and get on with the job.”
Andy Tapley adds: “The RED II truck is a dream to work in and is, in my opinion, the best on the market for capturing broadcast audio, especially when it’s going out live. I particularly like the Studer Vista 8 console and we made good use of its snapshot function to fire cues through to Tony on the CTV truck. Ian and his team were incredibly hospitable and gave us masses of support. When you are doing a show like Strictly live from Wembley Arena you need the technical infrastructure and the reliability that Red TX and CTV can provide.”
More than 6,500 Strictly fans packed Wembley Arena to watch the live show – and millions more watched at home. Highlights of the show included live performances from Kylie Minogue and Girls Aloud, who performed their Children In Need fund raising single Something New.
About Red TX:
Red TX provides a comprehensive concert recording and broadcast service to the music and television industries. The company has state-of-the-art mobile recording facilities and can handle projects of any size or complexity. As well as recording audio for broadcast, the company also records live music events for subsequent release on CD or DVD. It is headed by Ian Dyckhoff and Tim Summerhayes, both of whom have extensive experience in delivering high-quality audio for broadcast. www.red-tx.com