Behind the Scenes: Singapore Summit News Broadcast
The June 12 meeting between the US and North Korea ended two weeks ago. The future looks rather promising with Trump and Kim agreeing to work towards a “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.” This article is a behind the scenes look at what it took to put together a live news broadcast in Singapore.
Fox News got in touch with us shortly after the announcement that Singapore would be the location for the event. Fox News had planned to bring a number of their top rating shows, one being “The Hannity Show” to Singapore to cover the summit live. And with that, we started a month-long of pre-production planning to put together one of Fox’s News most watched shows on all of US television.
The request: a 24-hour live position with two other live locations, satellite uplink, fibre connectivity, secure Wi-Fi, roaming live units, 18 men crew, camera equipment, lighting, transport, security and 50 hotel rooms for the Fox team.
Producing a live news broadcast is exciting and at most times seat-of-the-pants. Therefore without experience and careful planning, it can go horribly wrong. Having prior knowledge and experience in putting together live broadcasts globally, we were able to attend to the requests of FOX’s team.
One major thing I’ve learned over the past 30 years is: the key to these big news events is securing the crew and resources immediately. Having covered live shows for the Royal Weddings, Conflicts in the Middle East and G8 summits, I knew exactly what was required. With the relentless help of my Producer – Krystal, we fulfilled Fox’s requirements by securing a full crew, all the required camera equipment, locations and multiple technical add-ons three weeks before the summit.
But wait, nothing comes without a challenge!
In many live broadcasts, the background/backdrop does not stand out as much as the reporter in front of the camera. However, it is still important that it is still visually pleasing. Our goal was to secure a rooftop location for Fox’s main live broadcast with a view of Singapore’s Central Business District. It was not an easy task as most buildings with a nice rooftop were within the CBD itself. But there is a solution to every problem, resourcefulness is something we pride ourselves in. We secured a hotel just outside of Singapore’s CBD with an amazing view. That would be our backdrop for the “The Sean Hannity Show” for the duration of the live news broadcast.
Preparing for the Singapore Summit was no easy feat, and there were challenges that we had to overcome.
There was the possibility that the event would be cancelled. We were always checking the latest reports while regularly updating our crews and suppliers.
There was uncertainty on how many days would the live show go on for. It could go on for 4 days or extended to 6 days. Location and crew had to be on standby.
There would be a 12-hour time difference for our local team as the the news broadcast was for the US time zone, this meant that we are working against our body clock.
Despite the uncertainties and challenges, we maintained constant communication with our clients and that allowed us to be productive and operate effectively. Having a fundamental communication plan in place between our producers and Fox ensured respect, transparency and flexibility. We were on top of things at all times and able to adapt quickly to any changes. While still in the US, Fox had complete trust in us that this would be managed and executed properly.
With a live new broadcast, you must not leave anything to chance. I strongly believe in the saying:
You are only as good as the people you work with.
This rang true for this event. With a team of highly professional DoPs – Scott McKinnon, Jason Tai and Jason Wong, an excellent Audio Engineer – Jason Yun and his two assistants, gaffers and grips, hair and make up team, teleprompter operators and production assistants. We are lucky to have a team of loyal and professional crew whom we worked with on numerous productions.
At the end of the Summit, Fox landed an exclusive interview with Donald Trump. This goes to show that live shows are unpredictable, and anything could happen. The interview took place on location at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island, we arranged for a secure transport for Sean Hannity to get there. Our lead make-up artist went along to provide touch-ups for Sean Hannity and Donald Trump.
A week has passed since the news broadcast went live, The Sean Hannity Show had more viewers than any other program on US television, even beating ABC’s highly successful “The Bachelorette”. It was reported that millions of people tuned in to watch Fox’s coverage of the historic US and North Korean summit.
Fox News was impressed with our service and our professionalism, noting that “this is one of the best projects we have done”. It really was a flawless production, even the weather worked in our favour!
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