Riedel Communications’ Bolero wireless intercom and Artist digital matrix intercom system are playing a unique role in BBC Radio’s coverage of a global, open-wheel auto racing series. Taking advantage of Bolero’s high audio quality, on-location production crew members for USP Content use the beltpack with an external mic to transmit live, on-air audio for the radio broadcasts of races throughout Europe and beyond.
The auto racing series covers a significant part of the calendar year and moves back and forth across the globe between the series start in Australia and its finish in Abu Dhabi. USP Content, a multiplatform production company based in London, latched onto the use of Bolero as a cost-effective means of delivering each race to BBC Radio listeners without having to deploy extensive technical and production staff at each location and without having to sacrifice audio quality.
For races in Europe, USP Content sends its presenters for BBC Radio to the track, where a Riedel Artist 64 digital matrix intercom frame connects via managed Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) circuits to Frankfurt and then via VPN on to another Artist frame in London. The presenters use Bolero for remote interviews on pit row and elsewhere around the circuit. For race events beyond Europe, the presenters stay at home in London and only the Bolero equipment and a few staff make the longer journeys.
“Dispatching a technical crew to cover all of the events of the racing series would present a daunting cost to even large radio broadcasters such as the BBC,” said Chessie Bent, Field Producer, USP Content. “We were looking for a more efficient and cost-effective way to cover the entire race circuit, but remote broadcasting was too challenging using equipment from several vendors and sources. Now, Riedel’s Bolero has completely changed the way we work — no more worries about complex cabling, buying licenses, carrying antennas, or painful frequency coordination. Plus, the amazing sound quality of the Bolero system ensures clear, broadcast-quality audio at all times.”
Use of the Bolero intercom has made a marked improvement for the USP Content crew. Bent and her presenter, Jennie Gow, previously relied on a multi-vendor, high-powered RF wireless system with a cumbersome antenna that had to be physically carried around along with the other gear. Since one Bolero antenna can cover the entire pit and backstage area of a race, Bent and Gow are free to roam around and grab interviews with drivers and celebrities at will. Equipped with a Bolero beltpack and noise-isolating MAX headset, Gow simply presses the ON button to begin an interview. The beltpack is fitted with a Y-cord that enables the use of a high-quality interview mic; at the same time, Gow is able to use the MAX headset to take direction from Bent.
“This clever and innovative use of Bolero is a great demonstration of its built-in flexibility to support any workflow,” said Jakob Stellbrinck, Motorsports Solutions Specialist at Riedel. “Bolero’s ease of use, simplicity of setup, and light weight have made it a game-changer for USP Content’s remote reporting for BBC Radio. Bolero has more than met USP Content’s expectations by delivering outstanding sound quality and ensuring smooth and agile productions in the highly demanding racing environment.”
Further information about Riedel and the company’s products is available at www.riedel.net.