Gravity Media helps BBC speed up production of its flagship Top Gear series

THE PROJECT

Produced by BBC, Top Gear is filmed in a hangar at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome in Surrey, England, where the official Top Gear track is located. Being a fully operational airfield throws up several logistical challenges for the production team to overcome. For example, in order to use the runway as part of the track, they need to close the airfield it to incoming aircraft during filming. And because the hangar that the set is housed in is used to store aircraft, the production team can’t run cables as freely as they would on a normal project.

THE APPROACH

Ahead of the 24th series in 2017, BBC turned to Gravity Media – then branded Gearhouse Broadcast – to supply the technical facilities required to be able to record the show to the highest standards inside the working hangar. Gravity Media's skilled team laid fibre under the road across the entrance to the track to allow connectivity from the production offices to the master control room (MCR). The permanent installation of the fibre at the site has since sped up the production setup for future productions at the airfield.

With the fibre in place and the road re-surfaced, Gravity Media then set up the media control room with four racks, and an audio supervisor room with a Calrec desk. Six cameras were also provided for the production, including Sony HDC-4300s, Sony MVS-6530s and a flyaway portable production gallery.

Each car used in the filming of the series was fitted with a wireless transmitter, so as they lap the track, the footage from the on-board cameras is sent to the production team in the main control room.

THE OUTCOME

This permanent set up meant that BBC didn’t need to waste time reprogramming any kit or on unnecessary and costly rig days. Unlike OB facilities providers that are only onsite during shoots, the Dunsfold Park Aerodrome became a proper studio facility. All the kit could be left in overnight except for cameras – saving time and money.

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.

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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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