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Britannia Row Productions in Chinese takeover of Trafalgar Square

Britannia Row Productions in Chinese takeover of Trafalgar Square

UK - It is estimated that by 2017 visitors from China to the UK will spend £1bn a year; currently there are approximately 150,000 Chinese tourists who choose to visit London each year. There won’t be many who don’t take the opportunity to visit Trafalgar Square, feed the pigeons, gaze up at Nelson on his Column and pop into the National Gallery before exiting through Admiralty Arch to walk down towards Buckingham Palace. These iconic images of London are at the top of the ‘must see’ list for every visitor.

So it comes as not real surprise that Weli Media, the London based Chinese media organisation that specialises in cross cultural events between the UK and China, chose Trafalgar Square as the setting for a Chinese TV advert. The project required recording facilities for a large group of performers singing as well as foldback to provide tracks for them to dance to. Sound Designer, Zhe Wu elaborates, "We had to record two hundred people singing in the middle of Trafalgar Square; there were eight camera to capture the visuals. We only had a slot of one and half hour to do everything and just to add to the madness, everybody speaks Chinese as well! I thought it was going to be a catastrophe because there were so many things that could go wrong. But as soon as the Britannia Row Productions truck arrived and seeing the speed and competency of their work, I knew I was in safe hands."

Inside the truck were FOH and recording engineer, Gavin Tempany and stage techs Paul Gardiner and Joe Standen along with an L-Acoustic KIVA loudspeaker system, a couple of Yamaha MSP5 monitors, a Midas Pro2c console, Sennheiser G3 EW500 IEMs for the main singers and a very necessary portable 6KW generator. Tom Brown, client liaison at BRP fills in the gaps, "The job was to provide a location record for an advert to be broadcast on the Chinese equivalent of ITV. We only had a one and half hour window to record and get off site at Trafalgar Square, so everything had to be ready to go and fully tested in advance; there was no room for error on this job at all. We had to provide realtime multitrack record of performers who would also be recorded in the studio again separately, so the ability for multitrack in Pro Tools was essential. In the playback rack along with the 32 channel Pro Tools Multitrack system was an SS HD 2trk recorder; a Madi Multitrack record computer and a DN9650 AES50-Madi network bridge."

"We used a Midas console and provided 4 stacks of L Acoustic KIVA to provide foldback for the performers to dance and sing to; the KIVA is ideal for this kind of application as it is small, light, quick to put up and delivers a quality of sound that is much more than its size would indicate. There were four main soloists who had IEM systems for their own bespoke monitoring. There was no audience, apart from some very curious passers-by!"

Zhe Wu sums the event up: "This was the kind of job where the possibility of disaster seemed almost inevitable given all the variables of location, language and the number of performers who required direction. The efficient and friendly professionalism of the Britannia Row Productions team swept all those concerns away. I know that BRP is known for handling all the really big shows but this job clearly shows that every job gets the same enthusiastic service and attention to detail – even when there’s no audience!"

In picture: Gavin Tempany, Britannia Row Productions FOH and recording engineer.

28th January 2015

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