TCS Skquattro captures The Voice at Salford Quays

TCS Skquattro pedestal in use at Earls Court, London snapshot

A Skquattro pedestal from TCS (a Vitec Group company) formed the basis for creative new shooting techniques during production of The Voice UK in early April. Blind auditions for the second series were shot for the first time in HQ1, the 12,500 square metre Dock 10 studio at Salford Quays, for transmission on BBC One.

“The Skquattro pedestal was high on my wish list of camera support mountings for the studio recordings of The Voice – The Blind Auditions,” comments camera supervisor Phil Ingamells, working alongside director Richard van’t Riet.

“The Skquattro, made by and rentable from TCS, offered us fantastic possibilities for new shots that would not have been achievable on
another camera mounting. I wanted full control of the camera and ped whilst being able to crab, in vision, at variable speeds. This unique mounting, a Vinten Quattro ped column mounted on a skatewheeled based skid, gave me, the operator, an extensive range of options.

“We laid 15 metres of track with a 90 degree curve in front of the coaches’ chairs (they only spin their chairs upstage once they’ve decided they
want the act they’re listening to) and then crabbed across to their positions; this enabled us to keep two shots and singles with focus pulls to and from the acts in the background. Production were delighted with these new variations in shots. Using an HJ14 lens also gave us an exceptional 4 shot from a variety of heights and angles with seamless in-vision moves between positions.”

The Voice is a multinational singing competition developed by Dutch media entrepreneur John de Mol’s company, Talpa Media. It is produced for the BBC in close co-operation between London-based Wall to Wall and Talpa Media. The BBC series is executive-produced by Moira Ross, and series-produced and edited by Clodagh O’Donoghue and Ed Booth.

Developed by TCS from the Vinten Quattro pedestal, the Skquattro gives camera operators the ability to deliver low and high angle shots while moving laterally along a track. The pedestal supports a camera and viewfinder combination weighing up to 100 kilogrammes and enables up to 99 centimetres of ‘on-shot’ elevation adjustment. Originally developed in 2010 for use in the restricted area of a theatre, the Skquattro is now used on some of the largest productions in British television.