We were ‘Tasked’ with the challenge of delivering a fun, interactive and engaging hybrid event for 8,500 Severn Trent employees which would launch a new internal initiative for them called ‘The County Cup’.

With only a few weeks between the initial brief and the live event, and with Christmas right in the middle, our team had to work fast to come up with a complete concept, storyboarding, content creation and overcome complex technical challenges.

The brief set just before Christmas was to produce a broadcast based on the hit Channel 4 show ‘Taskmaster’ from the organisations Coventry based headquarters and incorporate 2 satellite audiences at other offices in their region.

Our producer worked with the Severn Trent internal comms teams to fully storyboard and script the one hour event whilst creating physical task challenges for live participants and ‘play at home’ interactivity to engage the stream audience.

Post Christmas, our in-house video team to shoot a series of challenges at a remote client location which would act as one of the pore-recorded challenge elements. We provided storyboarding, challenge creation and all props/tools for the challenges in order to shoot various employees completing these within a single day. We provided full editing by our in-house team including an opening sequence and transition stings in keeping with the TV show.

In parallel, our in-house digital team worked quickly to create a bespoke registration and stream platform site capable of dealing with nearly 10,000 employees to log on, watch or cast to a TV as well as interact with the games or submitting photos. The in-house photo submission system allowed for moderation prior to being output for either directly into the live stream or a bespoke format to fit the modular LED wall set.

The set and technical setup in the busy head office Atrium was orchestrated by our technical production managers working closely with IT and facilities departments to ensure a safe and efficient studio build. The Taskmaster style, complete with the famous red carpet flooring, thrones and DaMask style pattern panels, allowed space for a physical audience and the daily operations of the offices to be unaffected.

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5 x 1.5m wide x 3m tall LED columns of our Absen 2.5mm wall created totums to showcase content as well as the scene setting background patterns. These would be offset on black drape backdrop with LED battens creating depth of field for camera shots. The set design allowed for two set ‘performance zones’ allowing for various prop or setup changes mid stream.

The stream team provided all streaming and remote location management via VMIX and LiveU to a main and secondary stream server, plus utilise our Barco E2 system to manage content on the screen totums.

Audio would be managed via our Yamaha QL5 desk and include remote comms systems via Unity to link up live with remote sites, plus utilise our wireless Altair Comms for floor management of the studio.

As the storyboard developed, it became apparent that we would need to pre-record some further challenges on the live day itself, with a real studio audience at 3 locations and so with just 2 hours until live time, the same painting challenge was filmed at 3 separate locations and footage sent off to a central editor on our team to quickly pull-together an edited output in order to playout during the live stream event.

As well as the central studio, 2 additional remote location sites which would each take part in a live challenge and have a physical audience were set up by smaller crews. At each location we provided 2 x Sony cameras, vision mix, audio systems and 2-way streaming via VMIX in order to link up in real-time with the main studio in full HD quality.

In the central studio, a team of camera operators and vision mixers captured the event on our range of Sony cinematic cameras including 1 x FX9, 2 x FX6, 2 x FR7 PTZ, and an A7S on motorised slider. All recorded also in 4K on our Atomos racks.

One of the tasks during the live stream incorporated our silent disco headsets for a ‘Guess that tune’ lip sync / dance challenge where the remote audience of 8500 people had to guess and type in the answer of what song they thought the presenters were miming too with the fastest responses winning more points for their County team. The Crowdpurr web app handled the quiz interactivity allowing for teams gameplay with algorithms to average points within the team for a fair competition. Live leaderboard results were displayed and reports downloaded in real time to calculate ‘spot prize winners’ to be revealed at the end of the stream.

The event went well and the feedback has been amazing. A successful launch event for Severn Trent and their employees!

“I know it was a tough gig – and that we pushed our luck with what could be achieved in such a short amount of time, but it was absolutely amazing what you all managed to turn around. Feedback has been unanimously brilliant, engagement was high – and it was exactly the kind of launch we needed to get a buzz going around the county cup – so thank you very much.”
White Event Production
Internal Communications Manager
Severn Trent
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