Capturing the essence of Centrepoint’s star-studded fundraising gala and awards event at Kensington Palace
The second annual Centrepoint Awards which took place on 10th November 2016 in the stunning grounds of Kensington Palace, was held to celebrate the achievements of young people who have successfully overcome their difficulties with the charity's help and to raise funds for the charity’s work.
The gala event was attended by Prince William, Patron of Centrepoint since 2005, who was joined by a star-studded line-up of guests including Nile Rodgers, Ellie Goulding, Craig David and Liz Hurley to help raise £1.5 million for Centrepoint.
Coverage of the event was entrusted to Steve Graham, Producer/Director at Realise Films (top left) and Jason Kosbab, Producer/Camera Technician at DV Camera Hire who were to film highlights of the event and to make a series of short films on each of the nominees using a 9 Camera set-up fed into a live vision mixed output ready to be released and shared via social media, YouTube, Press & Promotion outlets the following morning.
The film crew and production team were kept busy at multiple locations throughout the event where they filmed and edited interviews with nominees, members of The Royal Family and celebrities and live performance sequences.
The complexities of filming this special event
Steve and Jason are both keen fans of F1 and knew of Kenwood’s long history in providing communications to the McLaren team, so realising the critical need for clear, reliable communications in co-ordinating this complex live event in multiple locations on a large site, their first port of call was Kenwood.
Jason details some of the technical challenges involved with filming this VVIP event: “It’s not often you get asked to film an event attended by members of the British Royal Family and high profile names in the pop world so we gladly accepted the job. As time went on, the organising and planning of the project quickly became extremely complex.
What started off as a small 3-camera shoot soon evolved into a 9-camera shoot with 7 fixed cameras and 2 roaming cameras on wireless transmitters.
With restrictions on cable runs and concerns on radio frequency availability for talkback, walkie-talkies and wireless video transmitters, Steve and I were worried about the consequences of interference or in the worst case, a total loss of communication and pictures; especially as we not only had to avoid the frequencies used by the Royalty and Specialist Protection (RaSP) team but also other communications equipment in use on site including, event production, staging and sound teams, security and catering.
Wired talk-back was out of the question due to the need for roaming cameras and the restriction on running cables from camera to camera. Finding a solution to this was where Kenwood’s experience and knowledge really came into play”.
On establishing the nature of the event, the requirements and restrictions, the team at JVCKENWOOD UK were delighted to help and not only arranged for temporary licensing from Ofcom but also specified, programmed and supplied all the Kenwood NEXEDGE digital two-way radio equipment and accessories that would be needed – and instructions on how to use them.
Steve Graham takes up the story:
“There was a lot that could go wrong and with a live event, there’s no second chances”. “Before the live event we had multiple cameras around the site picking up interviews with guests and VIPs arriving at the event where I needed to be able to coordinate all the camera operators over a very large area.
During the main event, which consisted of speeches, awards ceremonies, a charity auction and live performances from four major artists, we directed the crew on the manned cameras whose live feeds along with those from the fixed cameras were fed into a vision mixer outputted to two live recorders.
It was vital that I had the means to instruct, guide and lead each cameraman as to the type of shots, angles and feed we needed as we were cutting the show in real time. Throughout all this, my directions and cutting instructions also needed to be heard by the Vision Mixer who was performing the cuts from camera to camera on my instructions.
The radios allowed me to send my directions on an open feed to all the cameras and the Vision Mixer so every cameraman knew when his camera was on-line, and just as importantly when he was off-line and clear, allowing him to reframe and move to the next shot as directed. Similarly, the Vision Mixer could hear my directions and selections of which shot/camera to go to next”. “Without effective communications, the coverage we achieved of the event would have been impossible.”
The Director, Vision Mixer and each of the five cameramen were equipped with NEXEDGE NX-320E3 hand-portable radios. The radios provided for use by the cameramen were fitted with KHS-9BL covert kits while the Director and Vision Mixer used KHS-7A headsets.
Steve continues: “I have to admit I was surprised with the performance of the radios, not because I doubted the reliability of Kenwood radios, but due to the potential for interference from the sheer quantity of other communications equipment in use on site.
We experienced no issues with cross talk, interference or reception problems, just an instantly available clear signal and great reception.”
There were other unexpected benefits the radios brought including an occasion during the arrival of the guests when one of Steve’s crew spotted Liz Hurley in a chauffeured car pulling into the site and tipped him off so that he could station a camera in the perfect position to capture her emerging from her car onto the red carpet.
As he was also expected to film all the guest arrivals from the red carpet into the venue, the group communications capability made sure that there was a camera ready and trained on the door as each arrived.
Steve and Jason conclude: “We cannot stress enough that this event was a huge undertaking on a complicated site with many layers of security and red tape; so just getting the camera crews and equipment on and off was a huge task in itself. Having an open flow of communication allowed us to move all our resources, equipment and personnel easily around the site and know where, at any time where personal or equipment were needed very much looking forward to testing out their recently launched ProTalk DECT Wireless Intercom System too when its available.”
“The radios worked flawlessly, providing perfect cover, communication and reception. We couldn’t be happier!”
To find out more about the great work carried out by Centrepoint in helping the homeless, visit www.centrepoint.org.uk
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