Bexel Global Broadcast Solutions recently outfitted Televisa’s reincarnation of Big Brother México with a master control room and custom infrastructure for the show’s broadcast premiere after 10 years off the air.
Fifteen participants will spend three months in the house, which Bexel Global outfitted with 43 cameras and more than 42 Sennheiser MKH 416 shotgun microphones. The company also worked with Televisa to build out the show’s master control room. As the house is located 1,000 feet from the control room, Bexel created a tightly integrated fiber infrastructure to link the two, comprised of SMPTE fiber cable to support the large studio camera feeds and 48 strands of tactical fiber cables to move all of the video, audio and data signals.
“We provided virtually all of the equipment for the Big Brother México house, but the show’s main control room was a true collaboration between Bexel Global and Televisa,” said Johnny Pastor, director of technical services for Bexel Global. “We really created a hybrid solution with them, which was quite unusual, but there was an existing television facility there, where they had actually done the show in its past incarnation.”
Bexel Global provided an all-Panasonic camera system for the show, including 35 robotic cameras and eight point-of-view cameras. “The Panasonic AW-HE130W/K pan-tilt cameras were perfect for this show,” noted Pastor. “They are PoE+ powered, so we are able to power them through just a switch and a Cat 5 cable, which also carried the data. We provided Panasonic AW-HE2 point-of-view cameras because it allowed us to use one control system. The robotic operator can actually control the pan-tilt, plus the parameters and telemetry of the color on the cameras, all to one control panel. And that flows through both the point-of-view cameras and the HE130s, so it’s very seamless.”
“Big Brother México is using our custom-designed touchscreen interface as well,” Pastor commented. “We created it to alleviate the robotic operator from having to press multiple buttons to get to a certain camera, allowing production to move quickly and not miss a shot. With the touch of just one button, it will switch the video, it controls our router and it controls the button on the camera control. So when you press the button for a certain camera, the router switches the feed on the monitor to that camera, and then it’s ready to be operated through the controller. It’s amazingly beneficial on some of these larger shows where you have 35-plus cameras running.”
Several engineers from Bexel Global were on site in Mexico to support the installation out from the earliest stages. A specialist in both robotic camera and fiber installations arrived on the scene early on, followed by three engineers specializing in systems, audio and maintenance. “Our team, most of whom are fluent in Spanish, worked very closely with the Televisa engineers to get all the gear installed, programmed and integrated,” Pastor said.
Sergio Castillo, strategic account manager for Latin America, and Ernesto de la Torre, business development manager, managed the project for Bexel Global.