Strictly Merging for BBC S&PP’s new-look Elstree Studios26 November 2015
BBC Studios and Post Production (BBC S&PP) has invested in a new Merging Technologies Pyramix system for the George Lucas Stage at its Elstree studios, home to Strictly Come Dancing.
Strictly was first aired in 2004 from BBC Television Centre, and Merging’s original Mykerinos-vased Pyramix DAW software was used for those early productions and on successive series. For the current series, it was replaced totally with a Pyramix MassCore 256 Music Pack with new hardware, including a Horus networked audio interface and a VCube Essentials pack for post-production.
Sound supervisor – and PSNPresents alumni – Andy Tapley was responsible for the decision to continue with a Merging rig to complement BBC S&PP’s Studer Vista X desk. Aside from the fact that the Strictly team was familiar with the Pyramix platform, the key point was the ability to handle high track counts, with long recording times now the norm: The requirement to record all of the rehearsals and the shows over two days, refine the mix and produce stems for post-production means that there is often a need to record as many as 152 tracks. This is easily achieved with the MassCore 256 and its 128 channels of MADI plus 24 AES/EBU I/O connectivity between the Vista X and the Horus.
One special Strictly show each year comes from the iconic Tower Ballroom in Blackpool. Tapley reveals: “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.”