According to Nick Gleeson, Videocraft’s Rentals Manager, the equipment and workflow they provided to Southern Star Entertainment for Hi-5 Series 11 was some of the most seamless yet for the highly successful and popular children’s television programme. Southern Star Entertainment produce Hi-5 on behalf of the Hi-5 joint venture between the Nine Network and Southern Star Entertainment.
Gleeson explained, “Videocraft have had a successful relationship with Southern Star and Jim Walpole (senior cameraman on the shoot) dating back from when we supplied equipment for the RAGGS children’s show, series 2 and 3. Thus when Southern Star began pre-production on Hi-5 series 11, the first under Southern Star, they asked us, along with several other rental companies, to quote on all the production equipment.”
Southern Star went through a vigorous and comprehensive assessment process of Australia’s top rental equipment companies, one that required Gleeson and his team to be at the top of their game. He continued, “Southern Star chose to shoot on Digital Betacam, a format we have had a great deal of experience with over the years. When they had completed their evaluation, our experience and knowledge of the format were big factors in their decision to use Videocraft for Hi-5 series 11.”
The equipment used on the show was broken down into components and segments with ‘Song of the Week’ shot at Silk Studios in Willoughby and the rest of the production in the ABC’s Artarmon studios. For the ‘Song of the week’ live recording, Videocraft supplied a 4-camera OB setup with four DVW970P camcorders ISO recording, a Technical Director’s station with technical monitoring and routing, alongside distribution and video monitoring for the director and production staff.
Gleeson continued, “To keep within the show’s budget, the Artarmon studio shoot consisted of two cameras along with a Technical Director’s station, technical monitoring and a Panasonic MX70 Vision switcher to allow checking of the chroma keying levels to avoid ‘road blocks’ later in special effects. This setup was the most cost effective and efficient solution for this major, fast moving production.”
Hi-5 Facilities Manager Bruce Dufty, said, “We were impressed with Videocraft’s level of service and support and their knowledge of efficient workflows. We particularly liked the ease of matching two Sony DVW970 cameras together through the Technical Director’s station they supplied. I found Videocraft carefully considered all the best options with a view to making the whole digital process as seamless as possible. A job well done.”
Due to strict time constraints Hi-5 series 11 is shot on Digital Betacam with cameras on pedestals and a dolly fitted with a mini jib to allow lots of different setups throughout the day. Tapes are passed to on-set editors and off-line begins almost immediately on site. The show involves many green screen shots and pieces to camera with the cast often singing and dancing.
Nick Gleeson said, “Hi-5 series 11 is a very typical and successful rental project for Videocraft. After careful consultation with the client we provided the best equipment and workflow to suit their requirements. In terms of support we installed, set up and configured the cameras with the TD station at each location and were responsible for moving our facilities from the Song of the Week location to the second studio location. We also supplied and installed cabling for monitoring throughout the facility. I’m pleased to say all of this has gone very smoothly and we are already looking forward to the next project with Southern Star.”
Bruce Dufty concluded, “Our shooting schedule was hectic to say the least, so we needed a rental company we could rely on. I’m delighted to say that Videocraft delivered. They’re very much a company with all of the necessary equipment and provided us with kit that our staff are highly familiar with and support equipment available immediately as required.
“Thankfully we had only one minor issue on series 11, that was quickly resolved with no downtime. However, it was great to have the added confidence and to be safe in the knowledge that Videocraft support was only minutes away when we needed it. Needless to say, we’re very pleased with Videocraft’s excellent service.”
Hi-5’s Casey Burgess, Tim Maddren, Lauren Brant, Stevie Nicholson and Fely Irvine will hit screens August 31, 2009 on the Nine Network.