OCTOBER 19, 2016 – BURBANK, CA – While the on-stage debate has been frenetic and even chaotic during the 2016 Presidential election season, the activity of the technical crews tasked with bringing it to the American public has been equally fast paced. All of the major television networks have gone to great lengths this year to make their coverage stand out from the competition, offering live coverage of the political conventions and presidential and vice presidential debates, as well as full-day coverage of panel discussions, man-on-the-street interviews and post-debate analysis to help viewers make better informed decisions. From the conventions to the debates, all the way through inauguration, Bexel, a Vitec Group company, is playing a key role against the dramatic background.
Wall-to-wall coverage at this level takes extreme coordination of logistics and multi-faceted support for broadcasters. Leading networks have turned to Bexel for nearly 35 years to make complex productions happen flawlessly. This year, as in past political seasons, Bexel is supplying a full complement of gear and expertise to CBS News, CNN, Fox News, NBC News and Sirius XM radio. All have their own crews and technology, but have sought the support of Bexel with expanded coverage to include daytime and late evening segments leading up to, and immediately after both national conventions and all of the candidate’s debates. Last minute requests for a wide-angle lens or fiber multiplexers are not uncommon, and Bexel has met the challenge every time.
“Our goal is always to work with our clients to identify and provide exactly what they need within the budget they have,” said Julia Rodgers, strategic account manager at Bexel. Rodgers has been extremely busy since September, working with the networks to configure equipment rental packages in anticipation of a series of hotly contested events. “The networks come to us because they know we can supply all of the equipment they need in a timely fashion, and that it was pre-tested before it left our shop to ensure it all performs properly.”
The range of equipment provided by Bexel includes numerous Sony HDC2500 and Panasonic AJ-PX5000G cameras, camera shading racks, a variety of Fujinon and Canon 2/3-inch broadcast lenses, a Panasonic AW-HS450 compact production switcher, Autoscript Teleprompters, MultiDyne fiber-optic equipment, custom Andiamo MADI Intercom systems and Lectrosonics wireless microphone packages. This equipment has come from a variety of Bexel locations across the United States, including Washington DC, Burbank, California (Bexel’s main headquarters), and Dallas, Texas.
“One of the Bexel advantages to our clients is our ability to supply equipment into venues very quickly,” Rodgers said. “For example, there was a very short window between the vice presidential debate (held in Farmville, Va.) and the second presidential debate (St. Louis, Mo.).
“With such a tight time frame, we were able to support CNN by supplying additional cameras, wide-angle HD lenses, Autoscript teleprompters, and a Panasonic switcher to St. Louis for CNN’s daytime coverage and panel coverage prior to the debates. We met every deadline and it all went off without a hitch.”
Bexel also supplied fiber-optic multiplexing technology from MultiDyne along with Sony monitors for CBS News program “Face The Nation.” For CBS News Los Angeles, they supplied analog audio fiber hardware from Grass Valley’s Telecast brand.
One of the hallmarks of a Bexel rental package is the pre-configuration and extensive testing of entire packages before they leave the warehouse; with all inputs and outputs accurately labeled. This diligence makes all of Bexel’s rentals easy to use and protects against onsite technical set up problems.
“We like to say that every one of our rentals is plug-and-play,” Rodgers said. “I recently had a longtime client tell me that they appreciate the ‘idiot-proof’ nature of our packages. And they like that we can have a replacement piece of gear to them either on the same day, or certainly the next. Outstanding customer service is something our clients know they can count on.”
Bexel is well known for their expertise in fiber networking. For NBC News, Bexel supplied Fiber Sheds from Grass Valley’s Telecast Fiber division to allow the camera signals to travel a greater distance – more than 3,000 feet – than they could otherwise over a standard SMPTE cable. Because crews in some locations were not able to set up close to the venue or the venue was not equipped with a fiber infrastructure to handle all of the various audio and video signals being distributed throughout the venue, Bexel was called on to help.
After supplying equipment to both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions (in addition to the debates), Rodgers said she is already in discussions with all of the major news networks about providing gear for the networks’ ancillary coverage of election day on November 8th, and the subsequent inauguration day festivities.
“We supply gear to hundreds of events each year, including some of the world’s largest broadcast events. Even with that experience, the 2016 political season has been especially hectic. With all of our resources in different locations across the country, this is the environment in which Bexel really shines,” Rodgers said. “We’re also anticipating expanded coverage for the inaugural day speeches, which will need our equipment to capture and move signals around. We can also provide onsite engineers if required, so we do it all. This is live television and there are no second chances. You have to get it right the first time. Bexel makes sure it does.”
Celebrating more than 35 years of broadcast excellence, Bexel Global Broadcast Solutions skillfully delivers unparalleled production services and engineering expertise for some of the world’s largest televised events. Bexel has mastered the art of service from concept to completion, and its unique solutions equip broadcasters to capture powerful content anywhere in the world. Bexel’s specialized broadcast offerings include fiber, specialty cameras, 4K solutions, graphics, custom flypacks, and intercom, as well as systems integration, managed services, enterprise solutions, and product sales. Since 1981, Bexel has continually enhanced and evolved the media production experience. Bexel is a Vitec Group brand.
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