Bexel beats the heat in Gordon Ramsay’s HELL’S KITCHEN
Bexel, an NEP Broadcast Services Company, has served up two more seasons of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s culinary competition series, HELL’S KITCHEN. Under its deal with the show’s producer, ITV Entertainment, Bexel provided a full wireless communications infrastructure and a complete technical production solution for seasons 17 and 18 — just as it has for all previous seasons of the popular reality show.
Although HELL’S KITCHEN is based in a studio production facility, it has a particularly broad scope within those studio walls. The set features two working kitchens, an on-show restaurant and dining room, interview areas, and living spaces for the contestants. In addition to the stage build, the show’s technical crew is challenged with small, medium, and large off-site shoots, ranging from a one- or two-camera ENG shoot to a 10-camera flypack shoot with a full video village and live audience.
For seasons 17 and 18, Bexel deployed over a dozen diversity zones for wireless microphone coverage using the Bexel/ASG Managed Antenna System (MAS), a custom-engineered solution that allows for combining, filtration, and gain compensation. The MAS fed roughly 40 channels of Sennheiser and Lectrosonics wireless microphones, which enabled sitewide coverage. Supported by the Bexel/ASG MAS product line, the IFB system was powered by custom-built transmit amplifiers, combiners, and power dividers, which enabled multizone coverage for the venue.
To provide sitewide communications coverage for the HELL’S KITCHEN technical crew, Bexel used a combination of the Clear-Com Free Speak II wireless intercom system and the Bexel/ASG RI1000 custom two-way radio interface. The Free Speak II system integrated well with the Clear-Com Omega system, which incorporated over 180 ports, MADI connectivity, and a remote monitoring and control system to drive more than 40 Clear-Com V-Series panels.
Bexel enabled sitewide coverage for microwave cameras by deploying an RFX microwave camera system, in conjunction with the Fiberant RF-over-Fiber system. Bexel deployed the full technical package, including a 25-position master control room, hard-disc recording system, custom robotic control system, both robotic and ENG cameras, and a full MADI audio distribution system.
“Each new season of HELL’S KITCHEN presents unique challenges, and this year was no exception. After supporting the show for 18 seasons and counting, we really value our close working relationship with the incredibly talented technical operations team,” said Rod Allen, senior project manager at Bexel. “The requirements of the production and technical crews are always changing, and we remain agile to support them with necessary equipment and engineering labour, including redesigning wireless communications systems for the show’s helicopter aerials, and scenes with contestants scuba-diving or jumping off buildings. We’ll work with them to make it happen.”