News Production & Post Production

Calrec’s compact, high-performance Brio console goes on the road with New Zealand’s WhitebaitMedia

After 36 years in a studio, the producers of New Zealand’s long-running kids show What Now decided to go on the road in 2018 so the programme could reach out directly to far more children around the country and bring even more dynamism to the format. And they are using Calrec’s high-performance Brio36 compact audio console to do so.

The show airs live at 8am each Sunday during a non-advertising time in New Zealand on TVNZ 2. It’s also part of Television New Zealand’s South Pacific Service that sees the show broadcast on a number of Pacific Islands.

The two hours consist of “fun, mess, games, mess, skits and more mess” according to Tim Murdoch, Technical Manager at production company WhitebaitMedia, all in front of a live studio audience. The show regularly hosts celebrities and live performances of all types.

Murdoch said, “We’ve been producing ‘What Now’ for 14 years in Christchurch, Starting in TVNZ’s studio and moving into our own studios in 2009. When we decided to take the show on the road, we needed to build an OB truck and find equipment that would fit inside a small space without compromising on quality.”

WhitebaitMedia is a full-service production house, based in Christchurch, and it chose Calrec’s Brio36 compact audio console for its new 26- foot mobile production unit. This is Whitebait’s first purchase of a Brio and first Calrec purchase ever. The installation was managed by Australia-based Synchrotech Systems, which installs a range of broadcast equipment across the radio, TV, film and outside broadcast sectors.

Murdoch continued, “Due to its size, our current audio console was deemed too big, and it was starting to show its age. To replace it, I began the search for a new audio console. Like most people looking for a lower budget compact audio console, I looked at options from the live PA market. However, these lacked the power and flexibility that a show like ‘What Now’ requires, where no two shows are the same and the script is more of a guideline. The Calrec Brio was the logical choice because it was the only one to offer the power and flexibility of a larger broadcast console but at the budget and size of the smaller consoles normally fitted in small-to-medium OB trucks.”

Murdoch added, “We were immediately taken with Brio’s features; it has excellent built-in loudness meters and its detailed metering means we don’t need to purchase extra meters. It also has an impressive number of faders, so our operators have access to everything, which is really useful for a show like ‘What Now’ that doesn’t follow a dedicated script. The Brio also allows each of our operators to set up their own user file, as well as show template files, and this is a real bonus when using multiple freelance operators.”

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Anthony Harrison, International Sales Manager, Calrec said, “We’ve achieved considerable success over the years in the Antipodes and it’s an important region for us. We’re delighted that WhitebaitMedia is taking advantage of the powerful capabilities of our Brio36 console for its new OB truck. We designed Brio with versatility in mind and to work across a myriad of broadcast applications, with mobile trucks being a key example of where Brio really shines as a compact yet powerful console.”

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