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Televisió de Catalunya TV3, Spain
Televisió de Catalunya TV3, Spain
For the engineering department of "Televisió de Catalunya TV3", the making of the second series of the choral TV contest "Oh Happy Day!" posed a big challenge, which they met by using Shure wireless systems.
I think that the whole team did a fabulous job. The challenge was immense and thanks to the combination of the equipment we had and the common effort everyone put in, the results were excellent in each of the shows produced.
Up to 40 Shure wireless systems used on TV3’s Show "Oh Happy Day!"
With careful planning and use of Shure wireless technology, namely ULX-D and UHF-R systems, TV3 provided the necessary technical coverage throughout the latest series of this weekly talent contest.
Based on NBC’s American choral contest "Clash of the Choirs", "Oh Happy Day!" is a popular Catalan TV show whose second series was transmitted between September 2014 and January 2015. The program gathers 9 choirs that compete to become the favourite choice of the show’s jury by performing songs in various styles. The series began with all nine choirs competing, but one was eliminated each week until there were only three left. These three choirs then went on to compete in the final show.
"When we heard about the project and we watched the American version, we were very surprised. We knew then that we wouldn't be able to cover the needs of such a show with our gear", said Francesc Salinero, TV3’s Technical Director. "The choral nature of the show, and the fact that we had to capture the singing whilst also taking into account choreographed performances, meant that we needed to be capable of monitoring the stage perfectly, while simultaneously guaranteeing the artists complete freedom of movement."
As only one take was allowed per performing choir for time reasons, retakes were impractical. Francesc and his team needed equipment which was completely dependable. Moreover, the setup process had to be fast and safe, because the choirs would perform one after the other with almost no time in between their performances.
"We had to narrow the production demands and set a limit of two groups of 20 wireless mics per choir”, continued Francesc. “There were groups with more than 30 singers and they had to adapt to that. Furthermore, each program had guest artists or groups that also performed live and we had to mike them and mix them."
The TV station used 20 Shure ULX-D1 bodypack transmitters, 10 ULX-D 4DE dual wireless receivers, 20 UR1 bodypack transmitters, 6 UR2 SM58 handheld transmitters and 10 UR4D dual receivers. In total, 40 wireless systems coexisted in harmony throughout the show’s second series, offering excellent results.
"Due to the quantity of wireless microphones needed — up to 50 — we had to use digital technology with control software that would allow TV3 to coordinate the frequencies and to monitor RF parameters as well as battery levels and audio signals. The A/V rental company Twincam Audio provided us with almost all of their Shure ULX-D1 digital bodypack transmitters, as well as 10 Shure UR2 handheld transmitters", Francesc explained. "Then all of our Shure UR4D dual receivers were added and we got to mike all the choirs, the presenters and the members of the jury."
Shure’s Wireless Workbench software enabled the team to coordinate the frequencies, to adjust the whole system and to monitor any problems during the shows. While the soloists used handheld microphones, the members of the choirs used the bodypack transmitters so that they could perform their choreographed routines. During the recording, the TV station deployed a mix for the audience and for the members of the jury. At the same time every mike was recorded on a multitrack system so that the signals could be mixed again on transmission. Later, a commercial CD featuring the best performances was also produced from the same stems and released in time for Christmas 2014.
The mobility of the performers was one of the biggest challenges TV3 had to face, as Francesc explained. "The monitoring was very demanding, because every member of the choirs moved throughout the stage. We had to set up many monitoring sources distributed throughout the stage, and this generated some conflicts with the lighting equipment that this type of show needs. We also had to provide the audience with a good sound, so we had to use more than 40 speakers. Everything was operated from a central mixing desk which, thanks to its versatility, made the job easier."
The show that closed the second series of "Oh Happy Day!" took place in January. It was a special show with a festive and non-competitive approach in which the participants were children's choirs from all over Catalonia.
Francesc is very pleased with the outcome of all of the TV3 team’s effort. "We are already working on the third series of "Oh Happy Day!" and we are likely to use pretty much the same system configuration we did for the second edition, after the great results we achieved with it. The results were very satisfactory, and the equipment used fulfilled our expectations."