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Hawthorn Partner with BBC Worldwide for Showcase 2015

Hawthorn Partner with BBC Worldwide for Showcase 2015

BBC Worldwide Showcase evening events were a big hit at this year’s annual TV sales festival at ACC Liverpool from 22nd to 25th February. Hawthorn, having worked with BBC Worldwide on their events since 2005, provided full technical production for the two celebratory events, attended by over 1,000 guests. This year’s events showcased some of the BBC’s greatest successes of the past year, including Death in Paradise and Wolf Hall, and highlighted key titles for the coming year including Banished and Interceptor. The festival welcomed an array of television stars, together with one of the worlds’ biggest boy bands The Backstreet Boys, who flew in to promote their feature-length documentary Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of, which is distributed by BBC Worldwide.

The highly anticipated Monday evening event held at the Echo Arena on the second night of the Showcase was a mix of exclusive previews, actor appearances and music performances. The event was hosted from a central position with the guests seated in zones around the main show area. Hawthorn director Peter Harding took the initial brief from the BBC Worldwide event team and developed the final layout and creative ideas to meet the event’s diverse requirements.

He commented: “I thoroughly enjoyed working with Sally Brookes and her team at BBC Worldwide. There was a massive amount of content to squeeze into a show and some of the logistics were quite demanding. As it was an in the round show, one of the tasks included moving Paulo Nutini’s set in and out seamlessly during the drinks reception. These sort of design challenges are what we thrive on and we haven’t failed to come up with a workable solution yet!”

The event design included creating a reception area with a reveal, without the use of partitioning or drapes. Hawthorn’s solution was the use of over 106 Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures, rigged on a 25m x 25m box truss, to create a 'light cage'. The addition of special effects haze prevented guests from seeing into the dining area. The 'cage' lights then pivoted and changed colour in a line formation and in synchronisation with LED wrist bands that guests were given on arrival. The wrist bands flashed blue, red, green or yellow in co-ordination with lighting in the area to direct people to their designated zones for dinner; a brilliant idea masterminded by BBC Worldwide’s events team.

Many more lighting fixtures were required to facilitate the wide spectrum of entertainment throughout the evening, which included performances from Paolo Nutini, The Backstreet Boys, and some of Strictly Come Dancing’s professional dancers. Guest appearances throughout the evening included John Cleese, ‘The Hoff’, Russell Tovey and Trevor Eve, whilst Coldplay’s Chris Martin joined through a live Skype link and Sir David Attenborough via satellite phone from his filming location in Patagonia.

The event had complex audio requirements combining multiple stage locations and varying requirements for the artists. Mark Hornsby, head of audio at Hawthorn Cambridge designed an installation based around Hawthorn’s d&b V-series controlled by Digico D8 desks which gave superb sound clarity and fidelity for the whole audience.

The challenge faced by Dave Barton head of video at Hawthorn Cambridge, was ensuring the large amount of content and live links were visible to all guests; and his solution was impressive!

He stated: “A mixture of live feed and pre-recorded content was displayed on three huge LED cubes, the largest measuring 5m x 3m. These were flown on Kinesys and could therefore be raised, lowered or tilted independently depending on the show requirements. We were really pleased with the results.”

James Hunter, Hawthorn senior project manager stated that: “It was amazing to work with the BBC Worldwide team again to produce this event. Each year the bar is raised and we rise to the challenge of producing a unique TV studio standard event within a live event environment. This year we surpassed even our own expectations and this was down to the talent of the team involved and their passion to deliver at the highest level.”

Sally Brookes, head of global events for BBC Worldwide, commented: “We could not put on events of this scale without the ability to rely on the professional dedication provided by our known and trusted suppliers. We have been working with the Hawthorn team for a number of years and their expertise in this area along with freelance experts is key to ensuring we continue to deliver BBC Worldwide Showcase.”

12th March 2015

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