Panasonic cameras bring Southbank Centre experience to online audience

London_s Southbank Centre Brings Live Music, Dance, Theatre & Comedy To an Unlimited Online Audience With Panasonic Remote Camera SoSouthbank Centre is a world-famous arts centre on the South Bank of the Thames, described as the most vibrant arts centre in the country and Britain’s leading arts institution.

Every year, thousands of musicians and artists perform to millions of visitors, making this one of the most popular cultural destinations in the country.

The Challenge

Southbank Centre’s Artistic Director Jude Kelly challenged the production team to help extend their 2013 Festival of Neighbourhood beyond the physical confines of the centre by engaging a new online audience with their range of diverse performance arts.

With two very large performance halls and a huge range of potential stage uses from dance to spoken word and music to lively debates, the production team at the Southbank Centre needed the ability to capture video content in superb quality without the need to engage expensive production companies for every event.

Furthermore, as with all theatre events, the camera system had to be installed with little disruption to the seating arrangements. This is to maximise both the theatre-goer’s vision and experience whilst maintaining revenue by not removing or de-commissioning seats for camera positioning.

The Solution

To overcome the significant challenge of being able to simultaneously capture the action from multiple performance venues across their 21-acre site, the decision was made to centralise capture and control of an array of Panasonic integrated remote cameras back to one control room.

In consultation with Panasonic, Southbank Centre installed high specification AW-HE120 cameras in both the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Royal Festival Hall. Despite the size of the auditoriums and their steep seating arrangement, the HE120’s powerful 20x zoom lens enables all events to be captured in crystal clear Full-HD. The U.L.T. 3-MOS image capture system also performs fantastically in low-light which is perfect for conveying the atmosphere of the event.

In addition to the HE120’s, the production team also installed AW-HE60’s remote cameras in each location for wide-angle “anchor” shots of the stage. The HE60’s were fitted with the optional infrared light to enable the choreographer and artistic director to manage the stage in very low light conditions.

With over 4km of cable laid in the 10 days preceding the event, the cameras connect to the central control room where the performances are framed using two AW-RP120 remote camera controllers for each venue. The newly designed controller features an incredibly smooth pan/tilt control joystick which the team at Southbank believe surpasses even experienced camera operators.

The RP120’s simple set-up and operation minimises the time the team have to spend preparing to capture each show. As it’s not feasible for the production team to extensively view every show and write detailed camera cues, the ease of real-time control and quick trace-memory recall has enabled the team to capture broadcast quality footage with limited investment and human resource.

The Result

Southbank Centre can now reach a global online audience of millions, engage it’s hundreds of thousands of social media followers and deliver new and exciting performance arts experiences to a whole new demographic of viewers.

Simon Wingfield, Production Manager at Southbank Centre commented; “With the Panasonic remote camera solution we can bring the atmosphere and magic of live theatre to a huge audience in amazing HD. The astounding zoom and low-light performance of the cameras matched with the simplicity and smoothness of the control has enabled the stages in our large, steep auditoriums to be captured with an accuracy and intimacy we could only have hoped for.”

Simon continued; The centre can now also capture shows for the artist’s records to enable emerging performers to benefit from having video content for their own marketing purposes.”

The Southbank Centre, a registered charity, is now looking to develop revenue and commercial support for the live streaming of shows via the implementation of more Panasonic remote camera systems in performance spaces around their site.

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