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Hey now – Saturday Sun from the HMV Apollo

Bow Tie Television broadcasts songs via satellite from Crowded House's recent HMV Apollo to popular Australian TV show Hey Hey It's Saturday, writes Paul Watson.

In its 20th year of operation, Kent-HQ’d Bow Tie Television broadcast two numbers, including new single Saturday Sun, from New Zealand band Crowded House’s recent gig at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo for long running Australian variety TV programme Hey Hey It’s Saturday.

Ross Banks, broadcast engineer for Bow Tie Television, took feeds into his analogue Soundcraft B800 console from FOH engineer Angus Davidson’s Avid VENUE Profile console; he also used a pair of Davidson’s Earthworks mics (positioned at FOH) and a number of his own Sennheiser 416 mics, which were dotted around the arena, to pick up the crowd noise.

Banks explained that one of the main challenges he faced was battling with the live band itself.

“The biggest problem I have to deal with is the dynamics of the songs; some of the tracks are nice and gentle at the beginning and really rock out towards the end,” he says. “This translates really well inside, but going down to tape it doesn’t always work, so we sort of squash the ends – squeeze the whole mix with a little bit of compression.”

Banks used a pair of Rogers LS63 monitors and recorded the tracks onto DigiBeta tape; his outboard consisted of BSS DPR404 compressors and a Yamaha SPX1000, the latter of which he used to give his mix room to breathe at his end.

“As well as the FOH feed, I am also taking separate music groups and vocal groups so that I have something other than their mix,” reveals Banks. “And because the feeds are so pristinely clean, I have got a little bit of reverb across the lot to liven it up; it’s very different being out here than it is in the venue.”

Unlike a number of the more modern OB trucks in Bow Tie’s inventory, this one featured an analogue broadcast console; Banks says it wasn’t in any way compromising and that he was more than comfortable working from it.

“The Soundcraft B800 is a really nice bit of kit,” he says. “Considering its age, the specification is particularly good and it’s got all the right modules inside it and a nice EQ; all in all it’s a very nice console to work from.”

He went on to explain that although his role was “fairly straightforward”, because the broadcast was live and that time was of the essence, it put a little extra pressure on him.

“Straight after the show, the tape gets couriered to a London venue,” he reveals, “Then it goes on an uplink; basically, straight up on a satellite and they’ll bring it back down in Australia and record it at their end.”