Show Support is supplying video and sound for the current CBeeBies Live UK arena tour produced by BBC Worldwide. It's the second year that the West Midlands-based company has supplied sound, and this year, production values have been upped with the addition of projection.
Show Support's Rich Rowley says, “It has been great this year to get involved in both sound and video on a grand scale. The sound design was not over complex but the need was to design an ‘in-the-round system’ to fit with the lighting rig. On the video front—it was nice to get our Pandora’s Box media system controlling not only video playback but an element of audio too.”
Show Support’s video department on CBeeBies Live is overseen by Ade Moore.
The projection screen at the rear of the stage measures 32 by 18 feet, and is supplied by 3 rear projected HD35 digital projection machines fed from a Pandora's Box digital media server running at HD output.
Two additional side screens are each fed by a 4kW Pani projector, complete with DMX controlled film scrollers on the front. These are controlled from the grandMA lighting console operated by lighting director Ewan Cameron.
Main screen video content was supplied by the BBC in DigiBeta format. This was digitized and stored on the Pandora's Box, then programmed and edited by Show Support’s projects director, David Mulcahy, to create the show's timeline.
Pandora’s Box ability to send and receive SMPTE timecode is used to trigger the “spot on” unit to ensure that character dialogue syncs with the video on screen.
Using the Pandora’s Box Media Manager and controller, show caller Monique Seeff is able to control the show from FOH and step through the action at will.
The sound system is four hangs of 12 L-Acoustics dV-DOSC elements, positioned to spread sound dynamically all around the arena. The stage is a thrust shape with a rounded end, so it's almost an in-the-round show.
There are two additional hangs of three dV-SUBS in the air, one per side, plus eight of the new self powered 108P speakers on the ground, arranged around the stage lip for near fill.
The system is powered by L-Acoustics LA48 amps with XTA "there's none finer" processing throughout—a 448 distributing to two 226s.
The cast of 24—4 people and 20 characters—have their voices routed into the desk and then sent to a Sennheiser G2300 IEM system, operating on 12 RF channels. He runs monitors from FOH for several reasons, a primary one being space saving, with lots of room required to facilitate the quick change areas backstage.
There are four live mics for the actors, and the animatronic voices come off a “spot on" HD touch screen interactive polyphonic replay unit. The often quick-fire scripted conversations between the real people and characters are triggered manually by sound crew member Fergus Mount.
Craig Pryde is once again mixing FOH and monitors. Pryde is using a brand new Soundcraft Vi4 audio console purchased for the tour.
It's the first time that Pryde has used the Vi4, which he says "Sounds brilliant." Heprogrammed the desk during production rehearsals at Elstree, after which they had one pre-production day before the first show at Glasgow's SECC. "It's very much a show that has to be mixed live," he explains. Although it all runs so slickly that people could be forgiven for thinking it was plug-and-play scenario.
Pryde and Mount are joined by Richie Schnider looking after RF, Telex wireless and radio comms on the Show Support audio crew.