Gearhouse Broadcast Refurbs Input Media’s London Facility, Supports Aussie Reality Show

European sports production company Input Media has again selected Gearhouse Broadcast as their SI partner for additional facility refurbishments at its west London facility. This has included the first UK install of Snell’s Kahuna 360 modular switcher panel, Kahuna Maverik.

Kahuna Maverik switcher panel at Input Media's London facility

Kahuna Maverik switcher panel at Input Media’s London facility

The project was completed in early January and incorporates an HD upgrade to their presentation studio and an additional HD gallery to Input Media’s facility portfolio. This latest addition builds onto the continued Input Media infrastructure upgrade project started back in 2012 which was engineered by Gearhouse Broadcast. The final element put in place by Gearhouse’s systems integration division was the Kahuna Maverik, Snell’s modular switcher panel. The bespoke design of the Maverik control surface enables valuable space saving in the gallery production area as the panel design is built from independent modules and only the required modules can be installed creating a bespoke panel design, which is smaller in footprint and more specific in function than factory shipped 1, 2 and 3 M/E control surfaces.

The modular nature of the Kahuna Maverik gives Input Media’s technical directors and technology team the ability to set up the panel specifically for each production’s requirements. Instead of being limited to just one or two M/Es, with fixed function, the panel can be continually reconfigured to control different functionality within the switcher. The panel offers modules for setup, source delegation, transitions, keyer control, effects and user function recall, colour correction, resizing and clip store access – functions which would typically occupy an entire side of a traditional panel. However, the space-saving nature of the Maverik allows for functions to be chosen on a case-by-case basis. It also features OLED buttons with user-assignable thumbnails, a touch-screen GUI module and the ability to assign RGB colour values to buttons for easier operation.

“This switcher panel will give these production galleries a much more flexible way of operating,” says Simon Smith, systems integration engineer at Gearhouse. “And integrating it was a great final piece of the jigsaw after this complex and interesting install for Input.”

“We’re very excited about being the first UK facility to have the Maverik built into our live production workflows,” says Nick Symes, Director of Technology at Input Media. “It offers us much more agility to quickly adapt the facilities and technology to meet the requirements of our live operations. Our Directors working in our London HQ are going to have a more flexible and reliable control interface, as well as reducing the job setup time.”

Gearhouse Broadcast Pulls Off I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
In other Gearhouse Broadcast news, the company provided production services and technical support to the first Australian version of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! Produced by ITV Studios Australia for Network Ten, the show has five live episodes a week.

aa6eeb953162c3c2_800x800arFollowing Gearhouse’s success in providing systems for the original UK version of the show for the last seven years, ITV Studios Australia wanted a similar set-up to be implemented in South Africa where its local version of the show is taking place. The live production support for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! Australia started on the same day Gearhouse finished providing production services for the German version of the show, which is housed in the familiar depths of the Australian jungle.

The brand new production base for I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! Australia required a completely from-scratch install from Gearhouse’s Projects Solutions division. The show, which began on Sunday 1 February, benefits from 18 Sony HDC 1500 cameras with Canon lenses and 13 Hitachi DK-H32 cameras with Egripment Minishot pan and tilt heads. There are also 13 Sony HD MiniZooms in IR mode for overnight coverage. The Lawo MC 56 and Yamaha MC7-48 sound mixers support the Sennheiser MKH-416 and Sony ECM 88B microphones in place for audio recording.

Gearhouse has provided production workflows and technical support to the German version of the show, Ich bin ein Star – Holt mich hier raus!, produced by ITV Studios Germany for RTL, since its third series in 2008. Technical specifications for the 2015 series include the same cameras and sound mixers as the Australian version with additional Lectrosonic UM400 and MM400 waterproof radio mics. Using the same location in New South Wales and largely the same equipment as the UK’s version of the show, Ich bin ein Star – Holt mich hier raus’s first 2015 episode achieved a record market share in terms of all German kick-off shows so far. The show ran for two weeks and finished on Sunday 1 February.

“Running major productions back-to-back is obviously a challenge, but we have lots of experience in delivering solutions to multiple events in far off locations which run so close to each other,” says Simon Atkinson, technical projects manager at Gearhouse. “The hostility of the environment is a factor we have to consider when planning for I’m A Celebrity, especially the January heat of both jungle locations but we‘ve done it many times before and have full confidence in what we’re delivering.”

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