Reuters-TIMA hits the red carpet at the Oscars

11 Mar 2015

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Martin Veal not only looks sharp in a tuxedo, he also has the mammoth task of overseeing coverage of special events for Reuters-TIMA Location Services. We asked him to keep a diary detailing our coverage of the Oscars, the inaugural event of our partnership.

Friday February 20th

The eyes of the world will be on Los Angeles this weekend as the 87th Academy Awards take place in Hollywood.  Reuters-TIMA Location Services have landed in California and begun to set up the live facilities on site.  This is the exciting culmination of weeks of careful planning and coordination between the Reuters bureau in Los Angeles, and staff in Washington DC and London from both Reuters and TIMA.

Our base in Hollywood this weekend’s far from glamorous. It’s a trailer sitting in a car park behind the scenes, but it means we have everything we need close at hand. Over the day the parking lot fills up with identical trailers and satellite uplink trucks, as well as catering and bathroom facilities.

Our live camera is being set up on a specially-constructed steel bridge over the red carpet on Hollywood Boulevard. It’s right at the entrance of the Dolby Theatre where the awards ceremony takes place.  It’ll give a perfect backdrop for client ‘lives’ as the nominees arrive for the awards.

IMG_8097We’ll be broadcasting live for clients in Europe as well as Latin America, so we need to ensure that our transmission route’s working as planned.  The US has a vast fibre network crossing the whole country which means we don’t need to hire our own satellite truck to broadcast from the Oscars.

Our Engineer Mark and Camera Operator Todd test the circuits and confirm that our engineers sitting in Washington DC and London can see the view from our red carpet live camera – they can! We’re finally up and running!

Saturday February 21st

The weather forecast for Sunday’s awards isn’t looking good – it seems that for the second year in a row it’s going to rain. Organisers prepare by constructing a temporary rain cover running the length of the red carpet – unfortunately it will block our view of the celebrities arriving and there’s nothing we can do. Everyone’s in the same boat, so we double check our transmission paths and prepare for our first live broadcast.

Shortly before midnight, Polish Television arrive to broadcast live into their Sunday breakfast news programme – a Polish film is in the running for an award for the first time.

With that live transmission complete we head for our hotel nearby for a few hours sleep – we need to be back early for the big day.

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Sunday February 22nd

It’s Oscars day – and we arrive on site early because a Middle Eastern client has booked a live transmission. It goes without a hitch.

As midday approaches, the plastic cover on the red carpet is removed, and we all change in to formal clothing – black tie for the men, ball gowns for the ladies – it seems strange to be wearing a bow tie at work but it does add to the grand occasion.

From 4pm the stars begin to arrive.Reuters-TIMA broadcast several more transmissions for clients in the Middle East, Poland, Japan and Argentina.The heavens open and the rain pours but doesn’t dampen our spirits – we’re all glad to be a part of this famous event.

Between live bookings we all keep a close eye on the Oscars, which we watch with our clients in the trailer. We’re also sharing the trailer with the Reuters Video News team, who’re editing the Oscars footage and writing scripts for the news service, so the place is a hive of activity.

As this year’s Academy Awards draw to a close and the actors leave to attend various after-parties, it seems fitting that our last transmission at midnight is for Polish Television, delighted that the film ‘Ida’ has won the best foreign film award. Once that live feed is in the can, we say good night to a successful Oscars operation and begin to pack up all our equipment.