SHOOTING FOR THE STARS AT BBC WORLDWIDE SHOWCASE 2018
Over 700 international television buyers from across the globe headed to ACC Liverpool for BBC Worldwide Showcase, the world’s largest international television market hosted by a single distributor. Taking place on 18-21 February, the event brought together producers, talent and BBC executives as well as Britain’s most successful creatives. For the 12th year running, we supported BBC Worldwide to showcase its premium programmes, delivering two hotly-anticipated evening events.
Putting premium British content right at the centre of the global stage, the exclusive evening events showcased the very best of BBC talent and creativity to an audience of the world’s top TV executives and producers. Led by the BBC Worldwide team, our Group Creative Director Peter Harding helped to produce and deliver a spectacular production design for the two awe-inspiring evenings. Celebrating British creativity and exclusively previewing some of the BBC’s exciting new programmes, Night One saw the Echo Arena transformed into a glamourous gala that was truly out of this world.
Giving a first look at the broadcaster’s latest natural history programmes Dynasty and Serengeti, an immersive drinks reception welcomed guests for the evening. Featuring a life-size acacia tree, our team used a complementary lighting design and mesmeric soundscape to transport guests to the plains of Africa, whilst projection and LED screens showed content from the exciting new shows. With a storm sequence and lightning strike heralding the switch between each program, attendees then passed through a geometric vortex-inspired tunnel created using LED Pixel tape and custom-made metal frames.
In celebration of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the moon landing, guests were then treated to an out-of-this-world dining experience. Shooting for the stars, we created a stunning projection-mapped planet that formed the focal point of the extraordinary evening. From the Moon to Mars, we used five Christie 20K projectors to cast the stunning visuals onto a 7m Airstar sphere hung in the centre of the space. A mammoth 30m wide x 9m high projection screen – created using six, triple-stacked Christie Boxer 4K30 projectors – and an immersive NASA style soundscape completed the deep-space setup, later brought to life with the appearance of an astronaut who floated over the heads of the audience members.
Adding another surprise twist to the evening, with dinner complete, the enormous screen rose up to reveal the entrances to a secret urban themed after-party. Celebrating the very best of BBC crime programming, including the return of husky-voiced detective Luther, the secret space was transformed with graffiti walls, neon signs and corrugated iron. Electronic music duo Goldfrapp and renowned DJ Benny Blanco and the Allstars kept revelers dancing throughout the evening.
Other key technical features used for the annual spectacular included:
- Four of our disguise 4x4pro media servers using VFC cards to run content.
- Spectacular lighting designs by renowned Lighting Designer Russell Grubiak utilising over 930 fixtures.
- The latest d&b audio system, array processed to provide even coverage of the space from front to back, ensuring each member of the audience received the same excellent audio experience.
- A striking set created by set design and construction specialists S2 Events.
Night Two saw Doctor Who take over the arena for an incredible intergalactic dining experience. With the highly anticipated Series 11 heralding the arrival of 13th Doctor Jodie Whittaker, and the evening seeing the very first reveal of the show’s new logo – launched online moments after - we were on hand to help create an evening to remember.
With just fourteen hours to transform the arena floor into a dining space fit for the Doctor, we repurposed the large projection screen from the previous evening, adding unusual curved LED wings to display the latest Doctor Who content. An exciting reveal of the evening’s entertainment, Hacienda Classical, brought the proceedings to a close with party-goers dancing the night away to classic iconic dance tunes performed by the 40-piece orchestra.
Peter Harding, Group Creative Director at Hawthorn, said “It’s always an honour to be asked to work with BBC Worldwide for their annual Showcase event year on year. Their in-house events team are true creatives and it’s great to work collaboratively with them to bring their exciting visions to life. With each night featuring a very different event, the key for us was to get really creative with our technology and repurpose the equipment in unusual ways for each evening. Showcase always presents us with technical challenges but for me, that’s the bit that’s the most fun!”
Sally Brookes, Head of Global Events for BBC Worldwide, said “We are proud to have partnered with Hawthorn again this year to create two extraordinary evening events back to back in the Echo Arena, defying expectations from our guests who attend our annual global Showcase each year. Hawthorn are a joy to work with. They are an extremely talented team, with each member driven with undoubted passion to find the technical solutions to realise our vision to immerse our guests in our content in a new and exciting way. Their expertise makes it feel easy for us to achieve high stakes together and we know the complexity and imperative attention to detail required for the creative technical production planning and execution will not be overlooked to achieve success.
“Our 2018 Showcase evening events proved to raise the bar again, defying expectations and providing unique event experiences for our international guests.”