Event and show technical specialist CPL created an all-encompassing production design and supplied set, rigging, lighting, audio, video – cameras, screens and PPU / control – plus SFX for a high profile 3-hour live broadcast for cosmetics brand Tropic Skincare, which combined product launches, awards presentations and recognition for top distributors and advocates plus reports and updates on the organisation’s charitable work.
Staged at Kinetic Studios in Corby, UK, the design was turned around and approved in a short timeframe for the biannual event, known for its razzamatazz and high production values, which has been delivered online since the start of the pandemic.
All production elements were sourced by the CPL including the location and a talented crew of 30 crew headed by Lee Gruszeckyj, right down to the plants, foliage and other finishing details completing an impressive set design.
The client was keen that absolutely no compromises were made in presentational quality for the transition from live in-person to live digital, and upping the game from the spring event, a new zoom gallery of 400 invited guests was integral to CPL’s studio design.
“The set aesthetic was inspired by Ant & Dec’s SNT (Saturday Night Takeaway) variety show and various breakfast television formats, with a bit of 24-hour news channel hustle! Effectively we created our own unique televisual environment,” explained Lee, who helped mould the look and co-ordinated all the necessary technical logistics including building the set in the studio and the broadcast transmission.
On site, everything started with the rigging installation which entailed the construction of a completely new grid, so all 6 metres of max headroom could be utilised. The three large LED screens were also flown on the first day and the laminate floor came in to cover the full width of the space.
The main screen was 20 metres wide and included a gap with a staircase for walk ons and exits, with another ground supported section of LED immediately behind making the gap seamless.
The stage right screen was 6 metres wide, and the stage left 9 metres wide, with loft-style distressed scenic brick ‘walls’ in between that looked highly authentic. Plants and exotic foliage to finesse the loft chic look. All screens were running with backup processors for full ‘loop redundancy’.
disguise media servers were supplied and programmed with video playback content, graphics and other stings, and the d3’s 3D modelling was used to build and present the concept to the client.
The three presenters sat on different parts of two brightly coloured large sofas and were joined by a succession of live linked guest appearances. For the product launches that featured in the first part of the stream, and CPL built a custom curved desk.
Five operated Sony HD cameras included one on an 18ft jib fitted with a wide-angle lens to catch the impressive wide shots, and the set design featured an inbuilt ‘camera pool’ area so these could be quickly and easily deployed around the space as needed for different segments.
Calling the shots was the broadcast’s producer / director Nigel Harris.
Primary key lighting was achieved using Gemini LED Litepanels, with ARRI L7 LED fresnels for back light.
Astera Titan Tubes – running wirelessly – highlight some of the vertical stair balustrades, adding a nice depth to the picture, and Robe LEDBeam 150s rigged either side of the staircase were used in conjunction with confetti cannons to boost the general excitement and anticipation for entrances.
Additional Astera tubes were ensconced in the bespoke display cabinet constructed for the new products.
Six Robe Spiiders coloured and textured the studio floor together with Clay Paky Mythos for further gobo layering and spectral detail. All lighting was run via an Avolites Quartz console.
Two portacabins outside the studio provided separate environments for the directing, vision mixing and switching and other technical elements, with the other one dedicated to three social media wranglers live posting and co-ordinating the simultaneous chats and other threads. These included six satellite ‘diamond’ chat rooms each comprising 250 Tropic ambassadors, who were also called up at various times for input into the broadcast feed.
Providing quality audio was straightforward. Each presenter was double mic’d with Shure Axient lavaliers, again for full redundancy, and they also had in-ear monitoring. CPL’s audio wizards pushed their Riedel Bolero comms system to the max, operating an open talkback system so Nigel Harris could talk directly to all the cameras and the presenters via their IEMs
Loudspeakers were secreted behind the sofas for VT play-ins and Zoom wall volume.
This was one of the largest productions to date at Kinetic Studios, with a smooth and efficient get in over two days paving the way for the event including a full rehearsal to be hosted on day 3, followed by a three hour get out!
“We were all delighted with the results, there was a fantastic team spirit, some great camaraderie, and we were proud to deliver another inventive and class event production for Tropic,” concluded Lee.
Photo: © Tom Horton