New York, NY (October 22, 2020)—It would be easy to overlook the intercoms necessary to capture the annual Kitten Bowl, a popular pet-adoption broadcast event that airs during Super Bowl weekend every year. After all, the stars of the show don’t need them and the sets are relatively small, right? In fact, they’re always necessary, and when it came to creating and capturing the show to be aired this winter, COVID precautions were in place, so production company 3 Ball Productions used Clear-Com Agent-IC Mobile App and LQ Series IP Interface technologies in a unique configuration to keep production moving.
Daniel Farmer, co-owner and DP of KatFarm Productions, has combined his cinematography skills and love of cats to handle the technical production for the last seven Kitten Bowls. Forced by COVID restrictions to shift to a remote workflow for this year’s event, he worked with Gotham Sound & Communications to deploy the Clear-Com gear.
Under normal circumstances, the production team builds up to five custom sets, including the main football field set, bars, locker room, parking lot for tailgaters and more. “Usually we use the existing comms system and tech structure in whatever studio we’re filming in that year,” Farmer said. “This year, we were using a raw, empty studio, and we had to build the show systems in flypacks.”
For 2020, the set was scaled back to only a main stage and a cat-scession stand with fewer crew members and kitten wranglers allowed on site. As an added challenge, the director and executive producers couldn’t travel to the New York location as planned, but still needed to view the set and communicate with the production teams.
“The director needed to see the live feeds of multiple cameras remotely from his home,” Farmer said. “We had been testing other equipment that could do this prior to COVID, but nothing worked with a separate walkie system, three comms channels and a separate video channel, all seamlessly and within a limited budget. Plus, with our accelerated timeline, we couldn’t afford any mistakes.”
Peter Schneider, VP at Gotham Sound, recommended the Agent-IC and LQ Series interfaces. He suggested using Agent-IC as everyone’s virtual interface, working with the hardwired LQ on-set, with programmable buttons that could be hit to switch between camera views.
During the event, the on-site production team maintained social distancing in the control room and studio, with everyone else working remotely. “It was no different than all of us being in the same room,” Farmer said. “The system became invisible. Everyone wondered, ‘How is it working so well? There is no delay.’ Our communications were actually cleaner and crisper than anything we had used in prior years.”
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