Presteigne Charter innovates to win America’s Cup IBC contract
Presteigne Charter has been awarded the contract to supply the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) facilities for the 34th America’s Cup World Series, which is reinventing itself as a global programme of regattas ahead of the legendary America’s Cup itself in 2013. Presteigne won a competitive tender that was put out by the America’s Cup Event Authority to half a dozen companies worldwide, largely down to its innovative idea of housing the IBC in easily transportable sea containers.All in all, 16 40ft containers containers running up to two stories will be used to make up the broadcast compound, with the main IBC housed in eight of them. The containers are currently being worked on in Australia, with custom cutting underway so that some can be joined together to make larger production spaces. Six of them will then be shipped to the UK for wiring and installation, with tight timeframes meaning that two more will be completed onsite at the first regatta at Cascais in Portugal at the start of August.
The containers will then be shipped round the regattas’ global venues in a specially charted ship, Presteigne taking great care to make sure that the kit will be able to withstand any rough seas along the way. Monitors are being mounted to walls, equipment racks bolted to the floor, and all the kit going into the IBC is of a suitably ruggedised nature. “Think of it as an OB truck that floats on water,” says Presteigne CEO, Mike Ransome.
The IBC containers will be home to three recently purchased LAWO three mc256 digital audio consoles and Nova29 router, three Avid Suites, a transmission area using the latest in EVS technology, and a specific area to transmit four live web streams. Two of the HD Digital Production Control Rooms will provide continuous live feeds from each yacht to the rights-holding broadcasters. All in all, eight Presteigne engineers will support a production staff of over 100.
Similarities between the America’s Cup broadcast compound and the one used in Formula One are intentional (though FOM uses airfreight containers), with the idea being that a high-profile, branded compound also helps market the event further to the crowds at the harbour-side. It also helps a lot with rigging and derigging compared to the usual portakabin -type IBC approach, with Ransome estimating a two to three day rig and single day de-rig. It will need all the time it can shave off the schedule too.
“It’s a two and a half year contract,” he says, “and there’s very little downtime in it.”