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30/06/2005

BBC Outside Broadcasts rescues Glastonbury 2005

While simultaneously covering Wimbledon tennis, BBC Outside Broadcasts was down in Pilton, battling freak storms, floods and mud to deliver coverage of Glastonbury 2005 for BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, 'Top of the Pops' and three interactive streams.
BBC Outside Broadcasts also recorded the festival in HD for Japanese broadcaster NHK and a US HD channel.
Using eight trucks and thirty-six cameras, BBC Outside Broadcasts captured four stages, including two in high definition for international broadcasters and to support worldwide DVD sales. It was the first time the 'Other' stage was captured in HD and the second year for the 'Pyramid' stage, which featured Coldplay, Kaiser Chiefs and Basement Jaxx. The 'John Peel' stage and the 'Jazz' stage were acquired in standard definition.
BBC Outside Broadcasts and Radio Resources rescued dozens of hours of output from some of the worst freak weather conditions in festival history. Lightning cut power to the site on Friday and flood waters rose; the BBC Two tent had to be abandoned, cameras and cables dragged from under water and a whole unit re-rigged in the BBC events marquee, as it had to be pitched on higher ground.
Safety advisors were on hand on advise on handling submerged mains cabling and lighting sets. BBC Outside Broadcasts’ Engineering Manager Peter Taylor and his team completed the rebuild in half a day, re-routing a BBC generator in transit and sending out for hair dryers to dry the kit that would keep the shows on air. In the end, only one act was not recorded as planned from the main stage and everything else was covered as scheduled.
"The festival's priority was getting the stages up and running, so we were on our own," Taylor said. "We had a crisis meeting with executive producer Mark Cooper and BBC Two producer Alison Howe and decided to battle on, even though we thought we’d have no mains power till Saturday.” Taylor saves special praise for the riggers who dug out a flooded gully over two days to rescue connections for the hoist camera, just in time to capture those wide HD shots of Coldplay on Saturday night – “the shots that are Glastonbury on TV”.
Jana Bennett, Director of Television said: “You had to see it to believe it. I saw it and I’m incredibly grateful to everybody for literally pulling us out of the mud.”
(GB)
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