BURBANK, CALIF.: Following its recent success on location for the new reality TV series, “Love in the Wild,” Vitec’s Bexel again teamed up with Lock & Key Productions for the ninth season of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” The show’s production the team relied on Bexel to create and provide production solutions, including engineering support, custom microwave management systems, production trailers, wireless systems, cameras, frequency coordination and other high-quality production gear.
“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” produced by Lock & Key Productions, a division of Endemol USA, entails two production teams working simultaneously, each at a different production location. This allows for setup in one location, while the cast and crew tear down and rebuild a custom home in seven days in the other location. Throughout the week, the neighborhoods are filled with hundreds of crew members and volunteers--creating a production campus as the community comes together to build the new home.
A reoccurring, particularly memorable section of the show is when host Ty Pennington surprises the unsuspecting homeowner and family with the design team’s presence. In order to ensure this moment is captured in real time, Bexel built two custom 24-by-8-by-8-foot trailers to house the director, executive producer and story producers.
“Since this element of the show is done on the fly, we needed to ensure the crew could roll in, set up quickly and get the package completed on the first shot,” said Greg Bragg, general manager of network rentals for Bexel. “They needed a solution that could be powered up quickly, so we built two custom production trailers that would also allow the team to monitor both audio and video via the microwave systems.”
In addition to the production trucks, Bexel provided 40 channels of Wireless Microphone, RFX diversity microwave systems, Sound Devices 788T digital recorders, Lectrosonics wireless ENG systems and Sony PDW-F800 XDCAMs for each team. Frequency coordination was strategized for each city visited during the taping, requiring Bexel’s expertise, as lead times were typically short.
“Oftentimes we didn’t get the location information until a day or so before they needed the coordination, so we were charged with coordination of all the wireless devices for that particular area,” said Rod Allen, RF/audio production specialist for Bexel. This detail was especially critical during episodes with special guests, such as the First Lady, Michelle Obama, during the season’s debut. “For this episode in particular, it required both production teams to be in the same location, demanding additional resources and all 80 channels of Wireless Microphone.”