Two Emmy-award winning production companies have joined forces to help bring live performances from the venerable Grand Ole Opry performance stage to televisions around the country.
Through the fall, the Scripps-owned country music entertainment network Great American Country (GAC) will broadcast six Opry Live episodes featuring live performances from country music stars. Nashville-based production companies High Five Entertainment and TNDV will come together for the project.
The Grand Ole Opry contracted High Five Entertainment, the Emmy-award winning entertainment production company, to produce the live shows. High Five Entertainment has contracted mobile production company TNDV, owned by Nic Dugger, to provide the HD mobile production systems and technical crew needed to produce the events. The SD shows will go live via dual-path, satellite-uplinked signals fed to GAC’s network operations center, and GAC will archive the HD feeds for future use.
“Nic and TNDV are a tremendous asset to the Opry Live shows on GAC because Nic’s vast technical knowledge, his unwavering work ethic, and his insistence on going above and beyond expectations allow us as producers to focus our creative energies on making every show an unforgettable, world-class event,” said Edie Lynn Hoback, vice president of production for High Five Entertainment.
Historic Opry Live in HD
These star-packed country music showcases, part of the Grand Ole Opry’s month-long “86th Birthday Celebration,” are also significant because they mark a rebirth for the program, which for various reasons has not aired since 2009. Among those reasons was flood damage incurred in May 2010 that ruined video, audio and electrical equipment within the venue’s in-house production facility.
For this reason, High Five Entertainment turned to TNDV—which helped them in the past on hundreds of broadcast productions—to handle televising these live events. In a stroke of luck—which is essentially preparation meeting opportunity—TNDV had just completed Aspiration, its new 40-foot expanding-side SD/HD/3D mobile production truck. Aspiration is built to meet the high-level production needs such as Opry Live.
“Aspiration was our first choice because High Five Entertainment and TNDV share the vision, perseverance, attitude and talent to guarantee every Opry Live is a work of art,” said Hoback.
Aspiration Ready for HD Primetime
“While designing our new HD truck, I had made significant changes to its layout and configuration in anticipation of the needs of the Opry Live production team. While there was no indication that Opry Live would be televised again, I wanted to be prepared for the day the show was to come back,” said Nic Dugger, president and owner of TNDV as well as engineer-in-charge of the Opry Live HDTV productions.
“Three months after our truck hit the road, we got the call from High Five Entertainment that the project our truck was literally built for was ready to shoot,” Dugger said.
Aspiration rolled up alongside the Grand Ole Opry this month to produce all six shows. The first show, which aired on October 4, featured George Jones, Alan Jackson, Lee Ann Womack, Jamie Johnson, the Oak Ridge Boys and Eric Lee Beddingfield. Other performers scheduled for this season include Trace Adkins, Lauren Alaina, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Sara Evans, Martina McBride, Ronnie Dunn and Kellie Pickler,
Aspiration is carrying an array of high-end broadcast equipment including: up to 12 HD/SDI fiber-backed Hitachi Z-HD5000 cameras with assorted Fujinon HD lenses; a Harris Platinum routing system with integrated Harris HView Hybrid SX multiviewers; nine HD/SD AJA Ki-Pro digital disk recorders; a 32-input, 3-M/E Ross Vision3 HD production switcher; a 72-track Soundcraft Vi4 digital audio console; a massive monitor wall; 3D/SDI multi-format scan converters and a 64-port digital intercom, among other systems.
“We have a long history of handling broadcast productions with High Five, including more than 100 episodes of PASSTIME on the SPEED Channel, a series for GAC: Into The Circle, and the Emmy Award-winning Levon Helm: Ramble at the Ryman,” said Dugger. “High Five Entertainment is truly a one of a kind client, and it’s both an honor and privilege to provide the video systems for this historic revival of Opry Live.”