Satellite media tours (SMT) have become the conduit for global media promotion, with London, New York and Hollywood being the usual bases for movie and TV stars seeking to charm audiences ahead of the release of major motion pictures and TV series. It is an area in which The Switch, the platform for the production and delivery of live video content, gained valuable expertise working with major film promotion partners – hosting some of the broadcast and cinema world’s biggest stars in all its studios.
For any organisation tasked with launching and promoting a movie – whether an arthouse film or a global blockbuster – making the process as painless as possible for everyone involved is critical. The Switch has aimed to ensure that promoting a media property or product is always easy and straightforward by providing a seamless, one-stop-shop service backed by state-of-the-art technology, as well as the ability to tap into world-class pools of directors, creatives and technical crews. All of these elements contribute towards the delivery of a high-quality, efficient service that enables film promoters and producers – and the stars thrown into the mix – to get their message across effectively.
When PREMIERETV, the industry leader in SMT, was tasked with the international promotion of the new film Escape from Pretoria, produced by David Barron and featuring Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, The Switch made for a logical partner. With Radcliffe set up in its central London production studio, The Switch was able help PREMIERETV maximise the international promotional campaign with best-of-breed crews and unlimited satellite downlinks for participating stations.
“Satellite media tours are a great way for a company or brand to reach a global audience at one time, yet this can’t be done without access to a top-quality, plug-and-play production facility and a reliable studio crew,” says Shayne Fraeke, president and CEO, PREMIERETV. “Having leveraged The Switch’s London studio and robust, low-latency Cross-Atlantic network into the US previously to promote movies and shows such as The Grand Tour, Europe in Chaos and Inherit the Viper, it was a no-brainer decision to turn to them again for the promotion of Escape from Pretoria. Their professional set-up ensures there is no time wasted during the set-up, filming and production process, meaning the client gets a highly cost-effective service without compromising any quality.”
For the project, which took place shortly before the release of the film in March, The Switch provided Sony full HD studio cameras, professional virtual and static custom backgrounds, catering, make-up, satellite space and uplink capabilities. To ensure the entire project ran as smoothly as possible, The Switch dressed the set and set the lighting to studio specifications while Radcliffe prepared for the interview in the greenroom. The filming then took place over several hours, as live coverage was uplinked to satellite. Uplinking live feeds to satellite means all participating stations can downlink the signal, wherever they are, and conduct the interview with the star back in the studio in London or whatever other media centre they’re located in.
A critical element to the success of an SMT is the ability to offer a flexible and personalised virtual background. As well as offering images of iconic London landmarks, The Switch’s London studio can also provide a static pipe and drape with the project’s poster or jpeg image in the background, as well as options for customising and dressing the set tailored to the clients’ specifications.
George Lopez, senior vice president of operations at The Switch, said: “Our goal is always to be client specific. We can take a video or still image and produce a custom background, depending on what the client’s needs are. With 25 years of experience in the satellite media tour business we understand the format and size that works best and produces the highest quality by introducing the correct colour scheme and layout.”