Getting the public engaged in politics is a major challenge in any country, however, Denmark takes a simple, yet effective approach to encouraging political discourse. Each year, four day political festival The People’s Meeting (Folkemødet), takes place on the island of Bornholm. High ranking members of each political party, as well as mayors, councillors and government ministers give speeches and take part in live, open air discussions on public policies with more than 11,000 members of the public. The events are not only screened to the meeting’s audience on the island, but are also broadcast live in HD on TV2, one of Denmark’s public service television channels.
TV2 hired a mini OB van, nicknamed OB-Van-Kenobi, from GlobalConnect, Denmark’s fibre network provider, containing a full live production workflow from Blackmagic Design. “The OB van might be small in size, but the Blackmagic hardware ensures that it is more than a match for the larger outside broadcast vehicles in terms of quality and reliability,” explains Birger Hauge, head of public affairs, GlobalConnect. “Of course, the van’s smaller footprint meant that we could pitch ourselves really close to the staging area, giving the production team a great feel for the atmosphere and how the public was reacting to the various political viewpoints.”
Three HD cameras, both fixed and shoulder mounted, captured the debates from the stage and in the audience, with SDI runs feeding the camera outputs into a video rack containing an ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K. Lower thirds graphics and titling are added into the media pool, enabling one of the team to produce the programme mix from the back of the van. “The ability to add professional touches such as lower thirds credits directly from the van, means that not only can we ensure all politicians are identified to the viewers, but also that the content matches TV2’s broadcasting standards,” explains Birger. “We also had two HyperDeck Studio Pro broadcaster decks on board; one is used to capture the programme mix, and the other captures each of the isolated camera feeds, so that additional material can be added to future versions of the broadcast, for example, highlight packages or updated web content.”
High production values
A SmartView Duo and SmartScope Duo are also fitted in the OB van, which helped the production team keep signals and content monitored throughout the live broadcast. “Although it is a small production team for the van, it is still a limited workspace, so everything has to be accessible from one seated position at the back of the van,” explains Birger. “The monitors provide all of the information the switcher operator needs to keep production values high.”
An optical fibre connection was used for the live stream, to connect to Denmark’s high speed fibre network. “The Danish fibre infrastructure does not only facilitate fast, reliable online streaming, but it also provides a direct connection to national and international broadcasters,” continues Birger. “As part of the onward workflow, we use a fibre based broadcasting solution, which enables us to connect wherever we are, even when several production teams are all wanting to broadcast simultaneously from a small island.
“Blackmagic Design has helped to broaden the broadcast perspective, as the equipment makes high quality live production so much more accessible for events and production teams irrespective of their budgets,” concluded Birger. “Because of the higher quality of content that can be produced, the coverage has the production value that is essential for national broadcasters, in turn opening up the events to a wider viewing audience. For political events such as The People’s Meeting, this is a critical element for helping to build awareness and encourage active participation in public policies that affect an entire population.”