Hundreds of television buyers from across the globe headed to ACC Liverpool for BBC Studios Showcase 2019, the world’s largest international television market hosted by a single distributor. Taking place on 17-20 February, the event brought together producers, talent and BBC executives as well as Britain’s most successful creatives. For the 13th year running, creative technical event production company Hawthorn supported BBC Studios to showcase its premium programmes, delivering two hotly-anticipated evening events.
Previously known as BBC Worldwide Showcase, the 2019 event marked a new chapter for Showcase, the first year under the Studios banner. Celebrating British creativity, the exclusive events previewed some of the BBC’s exciting new programmes including Top Gear, The Planets and One Planet: Seven Worlds. Led by the BBC Studios team, Hawthorn’s Group Creative Director Peter Harding helped to produce and deliver a spectacular production design for the two awe-inspiring evenings.
Putting premium British content right at the centre of the global stage, Night One saw the M&S Bank Arena transformed into a glamourous gala dinner. With top BBC talent including Brian Cox and Sir David Attenborough taking to the stage, our team delivered an impressive set-up. Ensuring the beautiful BBC content was showcased in all its glory, the team surrounded the dining space with 12 large LED screens, created using 576 panels of ROE CB3 3.75mm LED supplied by 80-Six. A striking LED strip chandelier, designed by Hawthorn’s Head of Lighting Jack Sayer and created by the team over at Light Initiative, formed the perfect dramatic centrepiece. Created using 70 intelligent pixel mapped tubes, the custom-made chandelier worked alongside the lighting and video content to create a striking focal point in the space.
To create a truly immersive experience and bring the lighting right up to the table top, Hawthorn created bespoke LED table centres that stretched the entire length of the dining space. These were created using 520 meters of RGBW LED tape, giving the team control of a staggering 31,200 LED pixels. A spectacular lighting design by Russell Grubiak utilised over 600 fixtures to light both evenings. The rig included Clay Paky Sharpy, Martin Mac Aura XB, Martin Mac Viper Performance, Robe BMFL Spot and Robe LED Beam 150 fixtures.
For sound, Hawthorn installed the latest d&b audio system, providing even coverage in the round so that each guest received the same excellent audio experience regardless of their position in the room. On top of this, the Hawthorn team also installed surround sound, enhancing the on-screen content and furthering the immersive experience.
To round off an evening of exceptional entertainment, guests partied the night away in a secret space revealed after dinner. Hawthorn used Mac Viper Wash, Martin Mac Viper Profile, Martin Mac Aura XB and Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures to provide the perfect party atmosphere whilst their GLUX LED panels created a vibrant stage background.
Night Two brought to life the BBC’s latest natural history offering; One Planet: Seven Worlds, with guests treated to a VIP dining experience. With just twelve hours to transform the arena, the team utilised the LED from the previous night to create seven 6-metre-high portrait screens that hung in the centre of the dining space. Flown using Kinesys, the panels moved independently, rising to reveal an in-the-round stage which played host to legendary composer Hans Zimmer. If that wasn’t enough, guests were then treated to an exclusive first look at the new natural history programmes, accompanied by a rousing performance from a live orchestra.
Pete Harding, Hawthorn’s Group Creative Director, said “It always a privilege to work alongside the BBC Studios team to deliver the two evening events for Showcase. Their in-house events team are true creatives and it’s amazing to collaborate with them on such an exciting project, bringing their unique and exciting visions to life. With each night featuring a very different event environment, the key for us is to get really creative with the technology, repurposing the equipment in different ways. BBC Studios Showcase always presents us with technical challenges but that’s what we thrive on here at Hawthorn.”
Sally Brookes, Head of Global Events at BBC Studios “We love working with the Hawthorn team to create such memorable evenings to celebrate the very best of our content. It is, without doubt, their personal energy and passion which always means so much to us. This is what really helps us win through when the timelines are against us, not mentioning of course their careful attention to detail and the absolute brilliant creative flair to bring all things technical together.”