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Client: BBC Music

BBC Music produce a broadcast over the weekends of the main UK Music Festivals usually lasting from late afternoon until 2am with multiple streams giving the viewer choice of artists they can watch. The content is multiple 30-minute highlights packages of selected bands live performances broadcast back-to-back with no breaks.

Now Cloudbass’ Graphics Producer, Gareth Cooper was drafted in to provide a graphics solution for the first such Red Button festival coverage, the 2007 Glastonbury Festival. He had previously worked for Red Button on BBC Sports output and so was experienced in the requirements of such specialist broadcasting. Performances were edited on site into approximately half hour sets and sent back to Television Centre where they were captured on EVS, scheduled and played out as soon as possible. With four streams offering viewers a substantial choice of music the challenge was to cost effectively title each performer as they arrived on stage and tell the audience each song title, as well as informing viewers of other options available, providing website details and warning of strobe effects etc. The Red Button graphics were created using the lower third strap designed for BBC Three but specifically amended to work best for the Red Button requirements.

By using Aston character generators and keyers the graphics operator could sit between two “Stream Producers” and key the output to the correct stream to ensure all songs were titled and bands were named based on the playlist of the songs provided with the edit. With a twin operation at the other end of the gallery all 4 streams received a full graphics package at a cost of only 2 machines and 2 operators. Gareth was actively involved in working with BBC Resources to layout the monitor stacks and audio monitoring (via switchable headsets) so the “Stream Producers” could monitor their outgoing stream with the graphics requested and hear the audio for that stream without having to be concerned with the output of the other 3 streams.

After the first event Gareth suggested an additional monitor for each stream where the Producer could see the timecode of the performance currently on air. He suggested the playlists provided from the onsite edit would have timecodes added to ensure the Producers could see exactly when the next songs began, in order to provide a graphics cue which may not have been obvious as some bands combined songs or played false endings as part of their live performance.

As well as providing graphics for the live broadcast of the streams, a special recording of graphics was made for performances selected to run on the Red Button on the five days following the festival.

With the success of Red Button Glastonbury, BBC Music then broadcast the 2007 Reading Festival in a similar manner and the following year added Radio 1’s Big Weekend to both the Glastonbury and Reading Red Button portfolio, all broadcast from Television Centre again employing current Cloudbass staff lead by Gareth, as its graphics team. This structure of 3 Festival weekends per year broadcast from Television Centre continued each year until August 2011. At some of the biggest festivals graphics would create in excess of a 1,000 lower thirds across the weekend.

Red Button moved all elements of its broadcast onsite for the Reading Festival in 2011 and again Gareth was at the heart of the planning to ensure the playout element of the job was made as easy for the “Stream Producers” on site as it had been at Television Centre.

In 2012 Radio 1’s Big Weekend was replaced with the pre-Olympics celebration, Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend and two members of the Cloudbass team were onsite in Hackney using our ClassX Liveboard machines to provide graphics for all the acts, culminating in the headliners each evening, Rihanna and Jay-Z. While Glastonbury took an Olympic break this year Gareth was back at Reading over the August Bank Holiday for the three nights of Red Button broadcasts where the Festival headliners were The Cure, Kasabian and Foo Fighters.

Acticle Published: 09/11/2012

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