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Technical facility on I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!Technical facility on I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!Technical facility on I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!Technical facility on I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!

ITV Productions awarded Gearhouse Broadcast the technical facilities contract for I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!" ITV's autumn reality programme set in the Australian rain forest. Gearhouse worked with ITV for months prior to transmission to plan and prepare for Series 8 using our broadcast facilities knowledge to create the best technical solution for the show and supplying a technical team to provide onsite support.

To deliver extensive coverage of all the jungle action, which was broadcast on both ITV1 and ITV2 Gearhouse integrated numerous technical facilities for the show including the build of the main Technical Base which contained a large Production Gallery, two Audio Rooms, the Master Control Room and Vision Control. They also created three technical huts.

Technical Base

The technical base comprised the Production Gallery which consisted of three tiers of desks which seated 21 personnel. On the front desk were the two vision mixers for the ITV 1 & ITV 2 live shows and the streaming mix, the middle desk seated four loggers, graphics and producers. And the rear desk consisted of three hothead operators for the mini cameras, 2 loggers and the technical producer. There were two audio rooms, the main one housed the Calrec Omega audio desk for the ITV1 and ITV2 shows, and the second room had two Yamaha M756 desks for audio coverage of the two camps. The MCR consisted of 8 racks of equipment containing the glue, the mixer crates and engineering monitoring. Vision control had 6 vision control positions using Sony Grade 1 monitors and Tektronix 601 E Waveform monitors plus a vision supervisor's position using a Sony MSU 900.

In addition to the Technical Base, there were three technical huts, Tech 1 hut was situated by Camp 1, Tech 2 hut was near Camp 2 and Tech 3 hut was located by the trials area. These three tech huts were some distance from the main tech base due to the size of the entire site which required us to use a fibre optic solution to get audio and video back to the main technical base. The tech huts consisted of Evertz SDI to fibre multiplexers. The daylight cameras came into the hut from various tree positions on SDI feeds which were then sent back to tech base via the fibre, but the Infra red cameras/night cameras were PAL and 4:3 and therefore had to be converted, using Imagine Communications glue, into 16:9 and SDI to enable us to send them down the fibre back to Tech base. All three tech huts and the main tech base were on an optical fibre ring, which enabled us to distribute all audio microphones and feeds throughout the facility.

The Audio Solution

The audio solution for I'm A Celebrity began with a custom designed wide area RF antenna system allowing totally reliable radio mic coverage of over 1 square mile of Jungle terrain. This fed into a single receive site in order to allow one fader operation per artiste whatever their location. This was further supplemented by fixed microphones which were fed to one of three technical nodes. At this point all audio sources were fed into a fibre-optic network which allowed free distribution of any source to any of the audio technical areas, (2 Yamaha stream mixers, a Calrec transmission desk, and a Master Control area for any further signal distribution).

The prime advantages of this system are that: Due to the extreme distances involved, both in RF acquisition and audio signal returns, up to 1km in both cases, signal loss and quality degradation are virtually eliminated by the installation of the custom built wide area antenna system, and the minimal loss characteristics of the fibre optic network. Secondly, by use of the fibre optic network any source becomes available to any destination in a very quick and efficient manner with no additional infra structure and none of the quality losses associated with an analogue solution as has been previously used. Thirdly the introduction of an extensive fibre network minimised many of the potential causes of problems due to adverse weather, particularly the violent lightning storms experienced in this area of the jungle, by providing total electrical isolation. Fourth, the fibre Network enabled the use of remote head amps at each Technical node which reduces copper cable runs to a minimum thus removing most sources of noise and hum. And finally the use of the fully integrated Calrec and Yamaha audio desks into the fibre network gives a level of flexibility and future-proofing that is simply unobtainable in a comparable analogue system. The new and unique nature of this design gives the production team as broad a scope as possible to rapidly develop new creative ideas in a system which has more potential for seamless expansion than has been previously available in this role.

The Trials

The trials took place in several locations spread over a wide area of the jungle site. Each of these areas connected back to Tech Base via fibre, via the tech trials hut. The trials involved the use of our four wheel drive Suzuki jeep which acted as a small OB vehicle and contained Evertz fibre multiplexers, Imagine Communications decoders and arcs and 4 Sony LMD7050 monitors. Each trial varied in technical requirements using up to 8 specialist cameras that could be fed back via the Suzuki jeep to Tech Base. This enabled production to direct the trials from the comfort of Tech Base regardless of where the trial took place each day. Series 8 saw the shows first ever live trial, where Robert Kilroy Silk faced the jungle gym watched by his fellow celebrities.

Hothead Remote Cameras

There were 72 Camera Corps cameras, with a mixture of daylight and infra red/night cameras. These came into the MCR via the fibre system, as described earlier and were distributed on both the 96 sq² and 256 sq² video routers. The smaller SDI router was then used to feed 6 Evertz VIP 12 multi viewers, the outputs of these were then sent to 6, 37" Vutrix LCD monitors; 3 for hothead control and 3 in hothead vision control. The router was then programmed so that we could switch between daylight mode and night time mode with the flick of one switch for both the hothead control and the streaming gallery. The hothead operator controlled each individual camera by typing its number into a key pad. It was requested during this operation, that the operators preview monitor also switched to the same camera, the solution to this was a bespoke interface unit which controlled both the Pro-Bel router and the camera corps data control system.


Due to the nature of the live show the outgoing feed was put through a five second delay, and then the pre-delayed feed was monitored in a compliance area to enable us to remove profanity or slander before its transmitted.

Thunder and Lightning: The Australian Weather

In 2008 the jungle weather was unseasonably wet, something not encountered in previous years and which presented a few challenges for Gearhouse Broadcast. The biggest challenge came on the night of the great storm when there was thunder and lightning for about four hours which resulted in several local lightning strikes. Several pieces of equipment failed over night. However we had plenty of spares on site and were able to source some audio DAs from our Australian office. The affected equipment was repaired over the following few days.


Production Gallery: 2 x MVS 8400/8350 Sony vision mixers
Production Stack: 12by 4, with 148 viewable sources. Mix of Vutrix & Sony monitors
Cameras: 25 x BVP E30s, 4 x HDC 1500s with split blocks, remote robotic heads, 26 x Panasonic E800 (camera corps), 35 x EX1010 Sony night vision (camera corps)
VTR- 2 x EVS XT2 & 13 x Digibeta M2000 VTRs
MCR: 256 sq² SDI Pro-Bel router, 96 sq² and 256 sq² SDI Pro-Bel router and a 256 sq² Pro-Bel audio router
Non-Linear Editing Facility - Supplied by Cutting Edge
Evertz Fibre: cameras link to MCR via fibre and audio optical fibre ring
Yamaha M756 desks, Calrec Omega
Imagine Communications distribution & glue
Gearhouse worked alongside Cutting Edge who provided the post production facilities and content management system

Diana Focke, Line Producer said "Gearhouse Broadcast was selected for their expertise and their determination to provide a comprehensive solution with excellent client service."

Kevin Moorhouse, Chief Operating Officer at Gearhouse Broadcast said "We were delighted to return to the jungle to work on Series 8 of I'm A Celebrity. Working in the jungle presented an interesting challenge, but as the world's leading flyaway Company we had the skill and experience to deliver a high quality programme."