back to article From stage to stream: The unseen tech at the BRIT Awards 2013

If you think you know all about the O2 Arena having visited it when it was called the Millennium Dome, then think again. When the site was sold to entertainment biz AEG in 2004, it was gutted and turned into a concert venue; all that remains of the original structure is the tent. Today, its owners claim it’s the busiest live …


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  1. frank ly


    I remember fitting many triax connectors to triax cables for a 1553B test rig in the late '80s. Ahhh, those were the days. I wouldn't want to do it again, that's for sure.

  2. K
    Thumb Up


    And puts things into perspective, when I complain about cabling my meager 2 racks :P

    Some more articles like this please :)

  3. Russ Tarbox
    Thumb Up

    Better than at Earl's Court

    When I worked at the Brits back in 2000/2001 there were cables everywhere. Everything seemed very temporary - in fact one year we had cables leading out the back to a transit with a temporary studio in it. And we were responsible for output to the BBC radio stations...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rather them...

    That "The back of the Arena patch room" pic just gave me a panic attack

  5. Oli 1


    A fascinating look behind the scenes!

    1. the-it-slayer

      Re: Thanks!

      Ditto! I hope the guys and girls rigging and derigging all this stuff get plenty of Friday beers.

  6. Skinny


    I've done rigging for local theatre work before, and network cabling for offices but this is a whole new level.

    Brilliant article, it covered everything I didn't realise I wanted to know, from connector types to what a CCU was etc.

    More like this, and lots of beer for the people trying to keep track of what cable goes where!

  7. Heineken Please
    Thumb Up

    Nice article

    O2 is one of the modern generation of venue where the site is compehensively precabled for broadcast use. The idea is that minimal cabling needs to be done within the venue, the OB trucks "just" plug in to the interface panels. Much quicker for all concerned and less disruption to the venue. Enables faster turnaround between events.

  8. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    More please

    Love these sort of articles. If I could upvote it I would ..

  9. User McUser

    Video Blocked

    "This video contains content from SME and Warner Chappell, one or more of whom have blocked it in your country on copyright grounds."

    Good thing too, as I was about to stop spending money on music and/or entertainment forever as soon as I was able to watch this short excerpt from a 17 year old awards show. You win this round content producers...

  10. SirDigalot

    I always was too dumb...

    To know I should have stayed in AV and not moved to IT exclusively.

    Brings back fond memories of a job I loved, and loved to learn, with real tangible results at the end and a warm fuzzy feeling that is not just the beer in the pub after a long hard working gig.

    I will go and cry on my keyboard for a while now

    awesome article

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I always was too dumb...

      Yeah, me too.

      To think I was on the lighting team of the original production of "Smike", and got asked back to school to do the lighting for school plays once I was at Uni. So I must have had something. But the lack of jobs in the broadcast industry in '76 took my career on a different trajectory. I should have hung around the stage world, done some volunteering, but hey, we all have 20/20 hindsight. Then bad decision no. 2 - walked away from an engineering job in particle physics research for the bright lights of IT manufacturers. Noooooooo,,,,,,,,

  11. ClammyLammy
    Thumb Up

    Made Me Smile

    "from stage to stream without a hitch"

    From my 20-odd years sitting back of house in live event production it's not so much "without a hitch" as "without a hitch the audience notices" - the two are very different as many a pair of boxer shorts can attest :)


  12. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Luverly stuff

  13. Don Jefe

    Good Article

    This was a good article. The Reg needs more like this.

    Also, what's a BRIT award?

  14. Marco van Beek

    Nice to see the vidiots haven't caught up with the lampies yet

    When I did the BRITS in 1987, the bit of the lighting rig I operated (the vari*lites) were run by a 6 processor control console. When I did the show in 1988 (Adele has nothing to complain about, Rick Astley never even made the stage for his award that year, and even then the Who ran into the News by at least a minute) every single one of our lights had a 68000 processor in them. It was a fully distributed control system capable of controlling 1000 moving head units. These days almost every piece of lighting equipment plugs directly into an Ethernet network, So the fact that the video industry is only 10 years behind is newsworthy?

    The coat's for Mick Kluczynski, who went to advance the Big Gig in 2008.

    PS A BRIT is an award given out by the British Phonographic Industry Aka BPI. As well as the BRIT Awards, the is also a BRIT Trust and a BRIT School.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stunning stuff.

    A world away from 4 people turning up with their rigs and using the shitty house PA to play numbers for their few fans and nothing like pokey little club gigs I go to see bands play to maybe 150 people!

    1. John 62

      I was at a gig recently (can't remember if it was The Once or Karine Polewart - both recommended though) where the band did a song about the only audience member being the bar man!

  16. Mark #255

    nice article, shame that the freeview broadcast was compressed to pixellated hell.

  17. Flywheel Silver badge

    talking of which

    "its owners claim it’s the busiest live venue on the planet"

    Yes, I'd agree with that, but they seriously need to get the toilets sorted out. There's definitely not enough loos for that many people!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "just show us where the power distro and the toilets are...thanks"

    Good article. While incoming crews might have an easier time rigging in a place like the O2 arena, most venues have no such luxuries - if you want to run a cable from one end to the other, you have to pull it in yourself. And this is hard, shitty work. A good crew might have to pull in many kilometers of cable. Interestingly, even in a venue like the O2 that has a good built in infrastructure, many crews prefer to start from scratch with their own (trusted) gear.

    I agree with Clam's comment too, over the years I've seen the most hilarious fuck-ups caused by gear, including a bad genny switchover fault that borked our expensive HD projectors, most of the audio and quite literally blew up the GFX OB truck. The resulting crisis production meeting during an early ad break was a total shitstorm. People screaming and ripping up scripts etc.

    Finally, many people will not be aware that the terms of the broadcast license usually include a few seconds "profanity" delay. This is the nuclear option however. It might not be justified to cut the TX and show a cartoon if Jarvis Cocker gets on stage and waves his arse about, but perhaps would be if someone threw a petrol bomb at James Corden....or maybe not.

  19. ElNumbre
    Thumb Up

    Brilliant Article

    A really interesting look, behind the scenes of what we don't normally get to see. I knew it was a complex operation, but never realised quite how complicated.

  20. Dave Perry
    Thumb Up

    As an occasional AV tech this is just what I wanted. Great production, shame about the host - the joke about the Adele speech being cut short was the most unfunny thing ever (and showed by distinct lack of laughs from the O2 audience). I agree with the point about using your own kit - a radio station I OB for usually uses 80% my kit as I know and trust it (leads and IT particularly - their folio mixer is about the one thing in the OB case I rate).

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