Taylor Swift’s recent Sydney show was the largest live OB concert record in Gearhouse Broadcast Australia’s history. This master class in live OB production integrated no less than 41 cameras, a SpiderCam, a Helicopter, four Techno cranes and two HD supertrucks.
Gearhouse Broadcast sales director Manny Papas explained, “Not only were there over 40 cameras on this gig but it was the largest integration of large sensor cameras and broadcast cameras that we have ever put together.”
The request for Gearhouse to help stage the event came from U.S. production house DPS and it was clear to Papas from the get go that this event was going to break all kinds of records.
He continued, “DPS wanted us to use large sensor cameras and prime lenses for close ups and broadcast cameras with box lenses with stability and focal length for distance shots. As we started planning we realised the scale was going to be huge.”
All in all Gearhouse integrated ten Sony HDC-2500 cameras, one Sony P1 camera in a SpiderCam, 19 PMW-F55 large sensor cameras, two Phantom high speed cameras and nine show tour cameras. The cameras used 11 100x broadcast lenses and two prime lenses for each large sensor camera.
Then there were the big bits of kit that also came into play as Papas continued, “In supertruck HD6 we had CCU for all the cameras, the main record for the show and the production area for director Jonas Akerlund where the main line cut was produced. The HD10 supertruck housed the EVS back up record, more CCU control and the secondary line cut.”
Gearhouse also supplied all the crew, scaffolding, helicopter, comms and the touring shows comms and as Papas explained, more than one recording format. “We recorded the show in 4K for the large sensor F55s and also simultaneously 1080i/PsF 29.97. We also backed everything up on EVS and hard drives for total redundancy.”
Not only was the size of the production a first but so was the unique mix of technology and talent as Papas concluded, “We mixed film cameramen with follow focus guys alongside broadcast cameramen and wired each of them up to their own individual RF comms – which added up to over 30 UHF comms channels in total – using the same unique system our Event Comms Division developed for and use at all V8 Supercar races. We also had to integrate two 50-foot techno cranes, two 30-foot techno cranes and three Libre stabilised hot heads all with large sensor cameras on board. It was a production like no other.”
As those who attended the sell out show would attest it was quite a sight and sound to behold and for Gearhouse Broadcast it set a new bar in terms of size, scale and technology for live OB concert recording.