Various factors must be taken into consideration for this type of project, and Videe’s satellite booking office analyses those most suited to the type of transmission, examining their footprints and America>Europe and Europe>America connectivity, checking each one’s coverage, visibility and elevation. The company’s R&D chief Luigi Nespolo explains, “Once it reaches Honduras by air or sea, equipment is transported over 400km to the location, along roads that are often damaged, and the part used on the island is eventually moved by hand. Then there’s the weather: in the past, we’ve worked with hurricanes, 42 days of non-stop rain and a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. If the sea’s rough, you have to use a helicopter and, if that can’t take off, you’re stuck on the island!” Equipment is subject to wear and thermal stress, due to the area’s typical humidity, salty sea air and poor air-conditioning. So all Videe material is redundant, with opportune supplies of technical equipment ready to face any eventuality.
Transmissions from Honduras
to Italy used two fixed antennas, positioned at the main production control room and on Cayo Menor. Their positions ensured transmission redundancy as, working in a zone where tropical storms are frequent, their space diversity provided greater back-up possibilities. The main Honduras
production room (with round- the-clock air-conditioning) was on Cayo Menor. There, excluding the director and assistants,
Main Honduras production room (with round-the-clock air-conditioning) was on Cayo Menor where, excluding director and assistants, Magnolia had a 30-strong team
“Humidity, sea air and constant exposure to all kinds of weather CAN cause considerable equipment problems, but we have at least one back-up unit for everything”
Magnolia had a 30-strong team, including local staff and the production manager Popi Albera, who explains, “We had a flight- cased digital set-up, featuring a FOR-A HVS 350 video switcher
and Harris Platinum router with multiviewer, four Planar Clarity 46-inch monitors, Yamaha M7CL audio console and Sony HDV HVR1500 VTRs. The cameras were eight Sony BVP-E30, two
Popi Albera, Magnolia
Camera Corps Q-Ball remote heads and two in Amphibico underwater housings.” Two locations (Paloma and
Uva) were connected via fibre (Paloma underwater and Uva
over land) and Cayo Solitario via radio link. The technical crew and equipment (apart from the earphones used during link-ups with Milan) were strictly invisible to viewers and, as far as audio on the islands was concerned, custom wireless loudspeaker enclosures, Wisycom microphones and Phonak earphones latched onto the closest radio link. Albera continues, “Humidity, sea air and constant exposure to all kinds of weather can cause considerable equipment problems, but we have at least one back-up unit for everything. Expert technicians check cameras and other kit every day, which is all stored in air- conditioned rooms overnight. For electricity, we have generators running 24/7 for the production and editing rooms, both with two back-up units.” Daytime segments of the show
are covered by ENG crews, each with an author and reporter, who follow the contestants constantly, whereas, at night, there’s a cameraman with a night camera. Recorded material is edited and sent to Italy the next morning.