Covering motorcycling, specifically the F1-equivalent MotoGP, first for the BBC and for many years now with BT Sport, has been a mainstay of their business. They also work on the Martin Lewis Money Show Live on ITV with Stadden also having worked on Blue Planet Live and Planet Earth Live. They handled Alaska Live, too. Wrigglesworth says, “We also worked on the Alternative Elections for C4 before Xmas and that was the first outing for the Calrec Brio console. We mixed all the outside sources with the Brio using Dante (AoIP). That was amazing. It worked very well. We also provided kit and crew.”
But then came COVID and as for so many, the impact was swift and extremely tough to take in. Wrigglesworth says, “I was doing a job for an advertising and marketing publication on a ‘digital festival’. It was the last job as COVID became a reality. We’d set up a de-rig studio at their location and then people joined in via the internet, rather than in the studio. That was the last week before lockdown. And we thought, hang on a minute…”
In a twist of fate, it turned out to be advantageous that the MotoGP season was very quickly postponed, allowing Tall Audio to tackle the overall situation head-on. Stadden says, “That’s when we spoke to Timeline Television. A Director friend of ours told us about this technology they were going to use for parts of the Olympics (Timeline’s Stream Anywhere app) which became invaluable. We started chatting to Timeline and within a few days I had a talkback panel and a Unity Connect, which is public internet transport technology we’ve been using, to see if it worked over public internet for us. Timeline played a massive part in this. They are very experienced in remote production and this helped hugely when it came to remote working. Within a week or so, we handled a corporate internal job for BT Sport. Then quickly after that we pre-recorded a football show and then on the Sunday a live Moto GP show! After that it exploded.”
Stadden and Wrigglesworth were based in their respective houses – well, garages – both with a Calrec Brio and an AoIP Dante network.
When working with Timeline on BT Sport lockdown projects, they are all embedded feeds that come in, whether that be from an iPhone or Mobile Viewpoint hardware unit, a satellite feed or from an EVS system. These were then put onto a Dante network and sent across to Tall Audio via Unity, which can have up to 64 mono channels of audio. But over public internet it did vary, and they had to play around with buffer times and latency.