Burbank-based rental house Bexel announced that it is providing equipment and engineering support to a wide array of reality programming in the fall TV season. Ranging from competitions like American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Hell’s Kitchen, RuPaul’s Drag Race and Utopia, to the real world exploits of Beyond Scared Straight, Black Ink Crew, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, The Real Housewives of Orange County, Vanderpump Rules, Watch What Happens: Live and White Girl Problems as well as sports-based shows including The Big Break, Deadliest Catch: The Bait and Hard Knocks.
Bexel provides a variety of gear for these shows, including complete ENG camera packages with wireless monitoring, full ENG audio packages with multi-track recording, Cat-5 monitoring for offstage production offices, fiber booth kits, flypack systems and director/DP monitoring systems. The company’s services also incorporate on-site design and installation, overall project management of the technical production, customized communication systems and frequency coordination and consultation.
Chopped, which will soon begin airing its 22nd season, has been working with Bexel from day one. The popular cooking competition works with a 12-ENG camera flypack from Bexel, using 10 Panasonic AJ-HDX900s cameras and two Panasonic AK-HC1500G robotics systems. The show is provided with CopperHead and SMPTE fiber cable, as well as Bexel’s custom camera harness, to make the ENG cameras work as needed in a studio application.
“From season one, we’ve worked with the great team at Chopped to build a camera package specific to their needs,” said Ernesto de la Torre, business development manager for Bexel. “To be cost effective, they need a very versatile system. With their 12 cameras, they have the flexibility to do what they need in the fast-paced Chopped kitchen, while still being able to go ENG, which they do for the contestant bio packages. We’re also able to support their Steadicam operator, who uses a Teradek Bolt Pro system. It allows him to record on board with the Bolt, and transmit his signal to the control room integrating it into the full production process.”
Bexel also provides hands-on engineering support. Timothy Quinn, a system engineer for Bexel, serves as the engineer in charge on Chopped. In that role, Quinn oversees the technical engineering aspects of the production. “Tim is an integral part of the show, and he’s truly considered to be a member of the Chopped crew after all these years,” said de la Torre. “We also provide a video operator who’s charged with making sure all the cameras are matched when the show is being produced, which helps manage time and budgets during the editing process.”
Bexel has also enjoyed a longstanding relationship with The Apprentice franchise. The popular series, featuring Donald Trump, will soon begin airing its 14th season, and Bexel has contributed from the beginning. Every season, the company sends a team of engineers to oversee the installation in The Apprentice’s Trump Tower studios. For the upcoming season, the production is using 24 cameras from Bexel, including 18 Sony PDW-F800s cameras and 60 channels of wireless audio from Sennheiser and Lectrosonics.
“From the start, versatility was key for this production,” said Gregory Bragg, vice president of global sales for Bexel. “Their field crews are able to use the 18 ENG cameras to shoot the contestants in reality situations and set up mini-fly packs with six to 10 cameras to cover a task delivery in the field. Then all of those cameras are able to come in when they shoot the boardroom material. They get tied into Bexel’s control room facilities and become part of the studio flypack as well. The Apprentice franchise is the reason we originally developed our custom harness system.”