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Case Study: Engineering a Unique Live Broadcast Facility for Clear Channel at the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles


Challenge

Clear Channel had a vision to create a state-of-the-art performance space in their new iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles, which would utilize cine-style cameras in a broadcast environment. The new 20,000 square foot performance space, located in the former home of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, would serve a variety of purposes, including live concerts, album release parties, and promotional events. The content produced here would reach tens of millions of fans via live radio, video streaming and television networks.  

A particular event at the venue might include a performance, interviews with the artist, and questions from the audience. Therefore, the video control system needed to be flexible enough to accommodate fast cuts and quick camera moves, while operators required the freedom to move around the venue.

Clear Channel had worked with AbelCine on a previous project in New York, and turned to them once again to achieve their project objectives within their budget.  

Solution

Because of the broad range of services offered by AbelCine, the company was uniquely qualified to design and build the new facility’s video control system. This included switching, routing, video playback, engineering, and recording, as well as providing streaming media capabilities. Nearly every department of AbelCine supported the project at some point.

AbelCine recommended 4K-capable Sony F55 cameras because they offered the precise combination of cinematic look and broadcast features that Clear Channel required. These large sensor cameras have the exceptional low light performance and shallow depth of field associated with cinema production, yet they are compatible with a live broadcast workflow, including being fully remote controlled. The studio was outfitted with six Sony F55s, along with Canon, Zeiss and Arri / Fujinon lenses. Miranda Copperhead 3200 camera fiber adapters, and a Carbonite production switcher from Ross Video were also part of the package.

Because the iHeartRadio Theater employed a combination of wired cameras and mobile units on Steadicams, AbelCine developed a custom tally system. The Service department built custom tally lights, and then, when the need arose late in the project installation, the Engineering department designed and built a wireless tally system in only two days to meet Clear Channel’s deadline.

When the installation was complete, AbelCine Training made sure the staff at iHeartRadio was fully trained on all aspects of their new facility, including operating the camera gear, switchers and live streaming by Haivision. iHeartRadio has also drawn on AbelCine’s rental department for supplemental gear as needed for shows. 

The iHeart Radio Theater Los Angeles opened with a successful launch party for Katy Perry’s Prism album on Oct 22, 2013. The show was streamed live on 175 Clear Channel stations around the country and later aired on the CW Network. This was followed by One Direction’s Midnight Memories release party on Nov 25, which was also streamed live on Clear Channel stations and Yahoo! Music and was broadcast on the CW.

 

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