IBC 2014 Perspectives: Alan Bright, director of operations, Presteigne Broadcast Hire

With major sporting commitments including Formula 1 and the Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race (both on behalf of BBC coverage) to its credit, Presteigne Broadcast is currently riding the crest of a broadcast rental wave. During IBC 2014 earlier this week, SVG Europe caught up with director of operations Alan Bright about projects past, present and future.

In March this year, Presteigne secured a contract from BBC Sport to provide on-location technical resources for its coverage of Formula 1 motorsport. How is that working out to date?

It’s all going well so far. We have put some innovation into the set-up, including the use of the Cobham IP Mesh system to give saturated coverage for the paddock and pit lane. Other core technology includes Riedel digital radios, Lawo sound desks and an EVS system featuring two XT3s and one XT2.

The mid-level storage infrastructure contains every race since 2008, and theoretically it could be possible to archive back to the 1960s. The tagging of clips has changed in the last few years, [as a result of which] it is very easy to go back and locate specific moments.

The BBC is doing 10-12 hours of live transmission per day, as well as red button material, so it’s a lot of transmission time.

When did you become involved with the Boat Race?

We won a four-year contract, with CTV, starting from 2013. Once again, we have deployed Cobham Mesh, which really helps us to have excellent control of the RF function. We are also making good use of Stagebox [a broadcast camera-mounted device that enables TV programme makers to link with multiple cameras and move HD video and audio content over a standard internet network].

After your successful involvement with the Winter Olympics, will you be looking to compete for Rio-related contracts? And what impact has all this new work had on the structure of Presteigne?

Yes – the tenders for that will start coming out on the broadcast side towards the end of this year, and we will be hoping for some RF work in Rio.

The workforce has remained fairly stable number-wise, with between 40-45 in Crawley [South East England] and three in Manchester, although having said that we have just recruited five extra people. We also maintain a freelance database of regulars totalling about 150; during the Olympics we probably had about 80 people working for us altogether.

We’re delighted to have so many big projects on the go… it really is a great time for us.

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