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Speed and Concentration

03/01/2022

Speed and Concentration posted: 03/01/2022

by Bernhard Herrmann

The 8 HD from Studio Berlin and the associated rescue vehicle were in a cordoned-off area at Reichstagsufer.

Berlin was the political focus of national and international TV reporting. There was a lot of activity in the ARD capital studio to report live until late at night about the federal election in 2021 and two state elections. The ARD production management had called in almost all personnel and material to realize this live program. We had a look at what was happening from behind the scenes.

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Saturday afternoon, a good 24 hours before the last votes are cast in the federal election in 2021: A quartet of security staff in black suits and with earphones is standing in front of the entrance to the ARD capital studio on Wilhelmstrasse in Berlin, which is within sight of the Reichstag building near Marschallbr cke. Despite the intimidating first impression, the greeting is friendly and the sliding glass doors eventually open. In the lobby on the right there is a reporter set from Bayerischer Rundfunk with a camera, monitor, microphones, LED lighting and a high table. On the left-hand side, Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk has set up a similar structure. Before the next closed sliding glass door, the identity and 3G status are checked. Wearing an accreditation tape around the wrist and an FFP2 mask, we were joined Werner Melzer, by production manager of the ARD capital studio, and went to see the rooms relevant for TV production, which stretched over five floors, and the set of the election studio on the first floor of the atrium. Outside, two power generators whirred, delivering an output of 500 kVA for the voting studio and the OB van, operating completely independently of the general power supply. About 100 meters of power cable were laid in the building and to the OB van. The guarded courtyard gate led to the blocked Reichstagufer, where the 8 from Studio Berlin was parked.

REDUNDANT WORKFLOW

According to Andr Schumann, project manager for the 2021 Bundestag election broadcast from Studio Berlin, special attention was paid to the reliability of important devices and the connection lines to the branch offices. Therefore, among other things, the picture control of the OB van was linked fully redundantly with the picture control in the ARD capital studio. In the event of a failure, the other directing unit could have taken over seamlessly. A transporter from MTI Teleport Munich and a technician stood next to the OB van. From there all fiber optic connections of the MTI teleport network ran to the branch offices in the party headquarters in Berlin and Munich, the state parliament in Schwerin, the House of Representatives in Berlin, the ARD network and the OB van.

Eight Grass Valley LDX86 cameras were used for the broadcast from the ARD capital studio.

During the run-through rehearsal, the mood was still relatively relaxed. Particular attention was paid to stable and interference-free communication between all protagonists, the OB van, the ARD in-house control, the Tagesschau in Hamburg and all branch offices. Therefore, each switch was explicitly rehearsed with image, sound and on the day before the elections. For this purpose, a workstation for a technician from Riedel Communications was set up in one of the the OB vans, connecting to the stations in the party headquarters of AfD, B ndnis 90 / Die Gr nen, CDU, FDP, Die Linke and SPD in Berlin and the CSU in Munich. For the state elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania there was another stations in the state parliament in Schwerin, plus three additional stations in Potsdam, D sseldorf and a Munich beer garden.

In the 8 HD, three EVS with one operator each were used. Two systems had eight channels, one had twelve channels. This ensured that all statements from politicians or interviews in a field station could be recorded at any time on election Sunday and then accessed as required, even if they took place at the same time. Infratest dimap, a company for trend and election research, took a great deal of technical and personnel effort and collected and evaluated all the data on the elections for ARD in the capital city studio and output them as TV graphics. These data were provided by moderator J rg Sch nenborn for the image direction and an 84-inch-touchscreen. All data used for the prognosis, the extrapolations and the allocation of seats that were used during the rehearsals of course still fictitious. The lighting cameraman had a couple of headlights adjusted in the studio. Then the run-through rehearsal ended with a final meeting.

Presenter position and steadicam: in the voting studio, almost every square centimeter was occupied.

SETUP AND CAMERAS

In the ARD election studio on the first floor of the atrium in the ARD capital studio, almost every square centimeter was occupied. Meter-long cables had to be laid between the OB van, power generator and the voting studio for cameras, lighting, sound, monitors in the moderation table, video walls, several fiber optic stage boxes and network data connections for countless computers having to be invisible in the TV picture. The setup work started a week before the first rehearsal. On the previous Wednesday, the 8 HD from Studio Berlin was added to the setup.

ARD director Andr M ller had eight Grass Valley LDX86 cameras available, four were on a pump, one each on a crane camera, a wireless steadicam, a shoulder camera and a camera on the roof of the capital city studio. The HD picture was produced in the OB van in 1080i and transmitted as a program to the ARD network at Hessischer Rundfunk in Frankfurt am Main via fiber optics. Studio Berlin deployed 32 employees for the TV production. All presenters of the election program and the ARD Tagesschau were equi
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