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We’re still getting our breath back after the climax of this year’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, in which author, TV presenter and blogger Giovanna Fletcher was crowned the first ever ‘Queen of the Castle’.
As logistical challenges go, bringing the show to Gwrych Castle in North Wales from its usual home in the Australian bush due to Covid was about as big as they come. A 250 acre site requiring radio communications for crew, radio mics for contestants, which were prone to being dropped in water and mud, and an opening arrival by rope from the Welsh hills were just some of the challenges we met as we joined the ITV series for the first time.
Our chief survival tool was the Q5X Aquamic radio system, first used by Plus 4 on ITV’s Love Island, with its current format developed in partnership with the Canadian manufacturer to now be the perfect solution for I’m A Celebrity. We spent a week positioning and tuning 60 antennae around the castle site to give full coverage, finally feeding combined signals into Wisycom MFL fibre systems for transmission to the receivers over 1km away.
Providing the kit, including the Motorolas for crew comms, was the relatively easy part; the biggest challenge was engineering the channel frequencies in a very busy area for TV transmission. This made sure everybody could communicate wherever and whenever required, even between mountains (legs are still aching after the climb for that perfect antenna position!).
We worked with Series Technical Managers Roy Callow and Steve Kruger, as well as Gravity Media’s Andi Goodman, to calculate the system requirements, and provided technical support leading up to the broadcast. One Plus 4 engineer (thanks, Paul Carter) was stationed on-site throughout the series, with further support provided remotely.
It was amazing to see first-hand how this iconic series is put together and how it adapted to its new surroundings, and a real privilege to be involved. Thanks to both Ben Corbet, the show’s sound supervisor, and Dave Loudoun, sound guarantee, for their trust and support.
Plus 4 Audio is one of the only providers of large systems of the Q5X AquaMic.
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