FEED Issue 15

52 THE LIVE LIFE Blue Planet Live

BC One celebrated marine life great and small this March by immersing its audience in Blue Planet Live , a follow-up to its

Timeline Television supplied a remote production service with a flyaway (facilities for an outside broadcast (OB) set-up configured for flight cases) at each location, with satellite links back to Timeline’s Ealing Broadcast Centre, where the majority of the production team was based. Here, Timeline was able to offer the series the use of a new gallery dedicated to remote production. It’s the third – and largest – remote gallery in its Ealing premises. SAVING MORE THAN THE PLANET It’s certainly not the first time that the BBC has broadcast a natural history show live, but according to Quinn Cowper, head of vision at Timeline, benefits of the remote approach were seen with savings both on cost and environmental impact. “We’re carting less kit around,” says Cowper. “There are three locations we’ve gone to around the world, but we’ve got a lot less kit than you’d get with a major flyaway OB or a truck, and only four or five Timeline technical crew at each location.” Although remote production can use a number of network set-ups, including fibre-

award-winning nature sagas, Blue Planet and Blue Planet II . This latest installment broke new ground in remote production by broadcasting live from locations in The Bahamas, the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, the west coast of America and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – all while the show was being directed and produced from a base in Ealing, west London. The four-episode series was made by BBC Studios Natural History Unit (NHU) and co-produced with the Open University and BBC Learning. Timeline Television provided the technical know-how and infrastructure required for the ambitious venture, which saw wildlife presenters Chris Packham, Liz Bonnin and Steve Backshall get up-close and personal with whales, sharks and sea turtles. Presenting live to the camera, presenters handed over to each other across a distance of thousands of miles, in a (mostly) seamless example of event television.

WHALE OF A TIME Blue Planet Live included footage from drones and helicopters to raise awareness about various species of whales

or mobile-based internet, the feeds for this series came back by satellite. “It’s so remote at these locations that there’s no way of getting a direct, faster internet connection,” points out Cowper. “Satellite is the only way, really.” When the production company made PBS’s Wild Alaska Live in July 2017, they were all shipped out to a very remote location, but had OB trucks they hired from

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