Merging’s Pyramix has been utilised on set in some capacity since Strictly Come Dancing first aired in 2004 from the BBC Television Centre. Now 11 years since that first airing, the technology is still in use, albeit at a different location.
Now transmitted from the George Lucas studio used by BBC Studios and Post Production, Strictly Come Dancing’s producers realised that the technology needed updating in some capacity; but quickly realised that merely updating the Mykerinos-based Pyramix was not going to be sufficient.
Instead, the decision was made to completely replace the system with a new Pyramix MassCore 256 Music Pack with new hardware. This included a Horus Networked Audio Interface.
VCube Essentials pack was also part of the package, due to the need to post-produce some of the shows transmitted from the studio.
Sound supervisor, Andy Tapley, was responsible for the decision to continue using a Merging rig as the recording tool to complement BBC S&PP’s new Studer Vista X.
Several factors were involved in that decision; including the team’s long-standing familiarity with the Pyramix platform, as well as the ability to handle high track counts.
Show producers also required the ability to record all of the rehearsals and the shows over two days and to refine the mix and produce stems for post-production; which means that there is often the need to record as many as 152 tracks. The MassCore 265 and the 128 channels of MADI plus 24 AES/EBU I/O connectivity between the Vista X and the Horus helped achieve this result.
The company’s UK distributor, emerging, supplied all Merging Technologies hardware; including a new 4u computer chassis with a RAID 0 array of 3 x 1TB media drivers.
Despite the brand new equipment in the studio, each year the show is broadcast from the ballroom atop the Blackpool Tower. Andy describes the change of scenery: “Even when we are in the comfort of the Red TX sound recording truck on the Blackpool seafront, capturing the show is simple because Pyramix is part of their standard kit. We can record here and easily transfer the project to our base in Elstree for post-production work. Making the move to Horus has been seamless.”