Red carpet launch event sees Strictly return to BBC Studioworks’ Television Centre
Strictly Come Dancing 2019 launches this weekend, bringing glamour and show-stopping dance back to Saturday nights on BBC One.
In advance of the main series, an exclusive red-carpet event introduced the stars, judges and professional dancers of this year’s show to the press and a select audience on Monday 26 August. This pre-recorded event forms part of the Strictly Come Dancing launch show which will broadcast on Saturday (7 September).
BBC Studioworks, facilitator of Strictly Come Dancing since its inception in 2004, drew upon the expertise of its team to deliver the red-carpet event.
For the first time in seven years, the event was held on the lower forecourt at Television Centre, home to three of BBC Studioworks TV studios and the HQ to Strictly’s production company, BBC Studios (sister company to BBC Studioworks).
Here, BBC Studioworks reveals what it takes to bring this visual spectacle to our screens.
Setting the scene
The build for the event took Studioworks’ expert scenic team three days to complete with the main set being constructed the Friday before the August bank holiday weekend, followed by the technical and sound rig on the Sunday. The set included a large stage area, display screens, and pyrotechnics – to create a glitzy backdrop for the Strictly cast and a performance from Kylie Minogue.
There were also a number of operational areas and undercover control tents to protect the technology from the unpredictable British weather. Once in-situ a full rehearsal took place on the morning of bank holiday Monday, before the event was recorded later that evening.
For the first time, this year’s red-carpet action was captured by eight cameras and included HotHeads, a Steadicam, two track cameras and a 44ft Technocrane. In addition, an EagleCam (an airborne remote-controlled camera), flew up and down two wires suspended from the roof of Studioworks’ Studio TC1 and across the forecourt.
Visually, it enabled elevated camera views, creating a bird’s eye view and placing the audience right in the middle of the action as it unfolded.
From an audio perspective, the red-carpet launch is a big, live outside event, so a sophisticated PA (Public Address) system was set up to enhance the overall sound experience for attendees. A mix of personal hand mics and radio mics were deployed to provide the best audio coverage possible, ensuring the dialogue pick-up was fully controlled and avoiding any noise spill.
The technical crew relied on the infrastructure of Studioworks’ neighbouring Studio TC1, so they could seamlessly plug into the sound desks, vision mixers and lighting desks already in place on site.
Filming in any new location is always a challenge for a production and this year was no exception. In addition to Studioworks’ three TV studios, Television Centre is home to residential apartments, office space, a hotel and a mix of cafes and restaurants.
The crew and production teams therefore had to be respectful of their environment and ensure the event worked in harmony with the rest of the site, including in the installation of the EagleCam and the performance stages.
Post production and the main show
The event was recorded tapelessly across nine streams and was edited at Studioworks’ Elstree post production village.
Following the red-carpet launch event, Strictly Come Dancing moves to Studioworks’ impressive 15,700 sq. ft. George Lucas Studio in Elstree for the series run, home of the famous dancefloor.
The crew will implement the production’s tried-and-tested technical workflow which features an 11-camera set-up, including a 30’ MovieBird Techocrane, four Pedestals, a radio Steadicam and four handheld/lightweight tripod cameras.
The production will make use of four of Studioworks’ Avid Symphony suites – rushes are ingested, logged, edited, reviewed and incorporated into the main show, and Sunday’s results show.
BBC Studioworks also provides post production services to companion show, Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two, with five Avid Symphony suites dedicated to the show.
The launch show airs on BBC One at 7.10pm tomorrow (Saturday 7 September).