Discover new technologies at the BBC
Harvey Church and Myles Caddell are both on the broadcast engineering apprenticeship at the BBC
2022 presented Harvey and Myles with the opportunity to work on some large scale outside broadcasting events in TV and radio, including the Jubilee Weekend, Radio 1’s Big Weekend and Glastonbury.
For the Platinum Jubilee Weekend the BBC events team asked for people to crew the radio shack and control the distribution and management of the radios on site. They were all based around Buckingham Palace and were responsible for handing out, charging and keeping track of the radio comms systems for the duration of the rig and the event. During this event they got to see the concert and rehearsals and how it all worked.
The next big event in the calendar was Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2022 in Coventry. Here’s what Harvey Church had to say about the experience, which he described as very ‘digital heavy’.
Here’s what he learned: “Radio 1’s Big Weekend was across four stages, with acts such as Sam Fender, Harry Styles and Anne Marie and this was broadcast across Sounds, iPlayer, Radio and two deferred transmissions of a compilation and Harry Styles’ full set to BBC One.
“Two stages where streamed for the entire day, landing in London with playout via Salford. These streams were handled via a Fibre connection onsite, via the ‘NuPod’ —a fully integrated IP system, built into a truck and normally managed by BBC News. It has roamed across the country and formed a pivotal role for the Jubilee at the beginning of June.
“NuPod provided the majority of connectivity for the event. All streams landed in Broadcasting House, London, to be recorded for the archives and for compliance checks, and then piped northwards to Dock10 (in Salford) for encoding onto iPlayer.
“These links saw up to 200mpbs of throughput, which made me want to permanently follow the truck around for the better upload speed.
“If you find the iPlayer streams for the Future Sounds stage or Main Stage, the gallery portions and VT inserts are all driven from Salford. Queuing for this was signified by the truck in Coventry, moving to a wide shot of each stage and bringing up the stage’s atmospheric sounds.
“As my fourth placement, moving most recently on from the Master Control Room, it has been great to see the actual usage of circuits and how fibre is becoming the main backbone.
“It comes with its own challenges; getting a large company to put in a temporary fibre is currently a big challenge, especially to a site that is comparatively remote like the War Memorial Park in Coventry. Totally different to a densely connected city like London. But it is the future, so I’m glad that I got to see it before it dominates the space.”
If Harvey’s account of his apprenticeship has struck a chord with you, and if finding out about new technologies is something that excites you too, then take a look at our engineering and broadcast technology apprenticeships.
And not content with Jubilees and Big Weekends, Harvey Church even got himself down to Glastonbury about a week before the big event to help the BBC teams setting up the Pyramid Stage, where artists like Billie Eilish and Sir Paul McCartney were due to perform.
For more information about apprenticeships at the BBC, visit bbc.co.uk/careers/trainee-schemes-and-apprenticeships/