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Global Citizen Live: 24-Hour Live Production Is the Olympics of Music' With a Cause

24/09/2021

Global Citizen Live: 24-Hour Live Production Is the Olympics of Music' With a Cause Transcontinental concert is among the most complex productions in history By Jason Dachman, Chief Editor

Friday, September 24, 2021 - 2:24 pm

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More than 70 performances, 100 standups, 30 features and profiles - all done over six continents in 24 hours. A live music event the size and scale of Saturday's Global Citizen Live comes along once in a generation. With that in mind, the production team behind the scenes is taking a page out of the largest live sports production on earth in carrying out this monumental live show.

This is not just a music-festival stream from a production, ops, and engineering point of view, says Broadcast Lead Jeff Jacobs, a veteran of multiple Olympics productions at NBC and music festivals at MTV. It's a music Olympics. That's why we are utilizing many live-sports-broadcast-workflow principles and people with experience in both entertainment and live sports to get this show done. If you've done a live Olympics, you can do anything. So we have people for this show at master control who, a month ago, were working in Tokyo and Stamford for the Olympics. And this gives us a major advantage for a show this big.

Executive Producer Jane Mun has devised a 24-hour run of show that includes a multivenue Opening Ceremony and cross-venue pop-ins connecting the globe via behind-the-scenes cameras and a series of cross-talk.

To pull it off, Jacobs and the Global Citizen team led by SVP, Broadcasting and Events, Lee Rolontz brought on production companies Ken Ehrlich Productions, Deviants, Done + Dusted, and LiveWire out of London, which have deployed mobile units for live feeds from Lagos, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, and Sydney (as well from the International Space Station), pulling all feeds into All Mobile Video's 57th Street Manhattan facility, which will serve as the Global Operations Control Center for the broadcasts.

NEP's mobile unit is on hand at the Eiffel Tower in Paris for the Global Citizen Live production.

We put together an all-star team of the best creative and technical producers in the live-TV business to create a master feed and feature shows for Global Citizen. Global Citizen Live is broadcasting to and from six continents, notes Rolontz. With no direct network affiliation, we had to create our own bespoke international operations control. When we get to create with our partners and artists this caliber of music entertainment and at the same time spread the message of Global Citizen, everyone wins.

To Make a Difference: From Ending COVID to Promoting Equity for All Global Citizen Live is a 24-hour global event starting on Sept. 25 to unite the world to end COVID-19 for all, end the hunger crisis, resume learning for all, protect the planet, and advance equity for all. Produced from six continents, the broadcast will feature artists, celebrities, and world leaders who come together to create change and impact climate change and poverty.

The 2019 Global Citizen Festival at Central Park in NYC.

Finding the right technical partners to customize their facilities - or build one - to the needs of this show was [challenging]. There is no turnkey solution that fits the requirements of our production, says Technical Producer Gayle De Poli. The biggest challenge [involved] the number of remotes coming in from all over the world simultaneously. What made this show even more complex was the length of time we are on the air: 24+ hours.

The entire event will be live-streamed on ABC News Live, YouTube, Apple TV, and Twitter and is being carried by more than 30 broadcasters around the world. In addition, on Sept. 26 in the U.S., ABC will televise a one-hour Global Citizen Live special, and FX will broadcast a four-hour show. In the UK, Global Citizen Live will be broadcast live on BBC One on Saturday night with a special highlights show on Sunday.

Colossal Undertaking: Seven Locations Across Six Continents Each venue around the globe has at least one mobile unit, one audio-mix truck, and several editors onsite. All Mobile Video is providing mobile units and satellite-uplink trucks at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and at Central Park in New York City (plus one outside AMV's Manhattan facility). NEP has supplied mobile units and satellite uplinks at the Sky Garden in London, Eiffel Tower Paris, and the Sydney Opera House in Sydney.

All Mobile Video has provided a mobile unit at Central Park in NYC.

Last year, [Rolontz] invited me for coffee and told me this was going to be the largest global music festival in history, says Jacobs. That's when I said, This ain't no music festival; this is the Olympics of music.' My next two emails were to [NEP Broadcast Services Global President] Mike Werteen and [AMV President] Eric Duke, and I said, We can't do this without your involvement and global reach.' And they have delivered exactly what we needed for such an epic show like this.

These mobile units will serve not only the live broadcast but also the onsite video-display production for attendees at the respective venues. Performances at Lagos, Mumbai, and Rio have been taped, but these locations will also have live elements.

Our executives and production teams have worked with the best production companies in the world, says De Poli. They were able to bring in the best of the best to put together the local festivals in each country. In turn, our technical team has worked around the world and has relationships here and overseas that broaden our spiderweb of connectivity for transmission and production facilities.

NYC Central Production Hub: AMV Is the Axis on Which the Operation Spins Global Citizen has taken over a co
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