Bespoke Multi-Zone Audio Broadcast Solution

THE CUSTOMER

British television production company Thames, formerly known as talkbackTHAMES, works behind-the-scenes on more than a dozen UK shows.

These include Britain’s Got Talent, The Price is Right and Take Me Out, as well as the original UK production of global smash hit format, The X Factor.

The popular singing competition, much of which is aired live, has been produced by Thames every season since its 2004 debut.

THE PROJECT

Gravity Media – then branded Gearhouse Broadcast –, a leading supplier of technical facilities, crew and services used to capture the world’s most watched content, has devised and provided Thames with slick, seamless audio broadcast systems for The X Factor since the show’s inception.

In 2013, the tenth anniversary season of The X Factor, the challenge for the Gravity Media team was to identify ways of upgrading the show’s audio infrastructure using the latest technologies available at the time, whilst retaining cost-effectiveness. 

Solutions supplied had to meet demands of both the main ITV1 Saturday and Sunday evening shows as well as ITV2’s follow up Xtra Factor. This required a seamless audio broadcast system covering all areas populated by the contestants, including backstage areas, green rooms, dressing rooms and connecting corridors, in addition to the studio and stage. 

THE APPROACH

Gravity Media, in conjunction with professional audio equipment manufacturers Sennheiser, devised a bespoke multi-zone radio microphone system specifically designed to meet The X Factor’s unique audio RF needs.

A Sennheiser ‘Titan X’ aerial combiner was custom-built and used in conjunction with seven x8-way receiver racks rigged at the studios.

Additional top end audio equipment supplied by Gravity Media included 43 x Sennheiser SK 5012 lapel microphones, 43x Sennheiser 5212 transmitters, 5 x Sennheiser SKM 5200-U transmitters, 2x Sennheiser SKP 30 plug on transmitters and 2x Sennheiser wireless in-ear monitors.

Due to the 54 Radio Frequency channels throughout the building, a custom calculated frequency plan was developed in conjunction with Sennheiser and radio spectrum managers JFMG.

OUTCOME 

The bespoke video sound solution devised and implemented by Gravity Media allowed for full diversity coverage throughout the studio building during The X Factor and Xtra Factor.

Innovative technology from the industry’s top manufacturers combined with the technical know-how of the Gravity Media team ensured the delivery of top-class, seamless, error-free audio. 

The frequency plan ensured interference between equipment was avoided, meanwhile the Sennheiser wireless in-ear monitors introduced in 2013 proved integral, providing impressive audio quality, audio encryption facilities, long battery life and accurate battery life reporting

GEARHOUSE BROADCAST HAS BECOME GRAVITY MEDIA

On 31 October 2019, the four leading broadcast and production houses Gearhouse Broadcast, Hyperactive Broadcast, Input Media and Chief Entertainment owned by Gravity Media Group started trading under the brand name of ‘Gravity Media’. All Gravity Media companies around the world are making this transition and will now go to market as a single brand with a bold new look and purpose.

under 1 roof2

Gravity Media is a leading global provider of complex live broadcast facilities and production services to content owners, creators and distributors. We use the collective pull of our people and resources to capture, craft and create world-class content that inspires and excites.

We are driven by client service excellence, and we never stand still. We’re always looking and listening, keeping up with the latest broadcast innovations – or pioneering them. Above all, we channel our energy into maintaining our reputation for flawless execution, deep technical expertise, and efficient delivery.

Gravity Media is a brand-new company with a 30-year pedigree, a force to be reckoned with formed by the coming together of Gearhouse Broadcast, HyperActive Broadcast, Input Media and Chief Entertainment. Our 500 people serve clients across the sport, media, news and entertainment industries from bases in the UK, Australia, USA, France, Germany and Qatar.

At the centre of Gravity Media lie three broad categories of expertise: media services & facilitiesproduction & content; and equipment rental & sales.


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