NEP UK Powers Up ‘The Circle’

- NEP UK returns as trusted technical partner for the award-winning social media reality show –

NEP UK, the leading provider of outside broadcasting, fixed rig, remote production and media workflow solutions, reveals that is has played a critical role as key technical partner for a second year for the largescale production of Studio Lambert’s social media reality TV series, The Circle, for Channel 4.

The Circle returned to Channel 4 for its second series this autumn, with NEP UK remaining its’ trusted partner since the show’s inception in 2018, refining its talented team and adapting the equipment used to ensure it can meet the evolving requirements of the huge reality production.

Over 135 cameras cover a total of 18 apartments and breakout rooms, the largest number of cameras NEP has deployed on a single production to date, allowing up to 36 video streams to be recorded simultaneously, and editing is undertaken on an EVS backbone with a 25-minute turnaround. One of NEP’s key workflow innovations, and one that distinguishes it from previous reality show successes for the company, such as its long running support of Big Brother, is the use of 10 mini galleries in the production each using a bespoke NEP camera control platform and router setup Each of these galleries in turn feeds into a Master Gallery which stitches all the elements together.

“At NEP, we adapt our technology solutions accordingly to our clients’ needs and proactively take our existing technology knowledge and extensive experience to create new and original ideas,” comments Jason Spencer, Creative and Commercial Director at NEP UK. “When preparing for the second run of The Circle, we asked [Studio Lambert/Channel 4] if there was anything that we could improve on the workflow design and material handling from Series One, their answer was simply nothing – which is a great vote of confidence in what we do and how we understand the creative requirements, but yet we still strive to further refine our production offering.”

The Circle has a complicated technical set up, involving 24/7 monitoring by multiple teams across three interlinked sites which demands a rigorous production plan that was first put in place by NEP UK for the original series in 2018. With The Circle in control, there are games, surprises, twists and turns, with NEP facilitating the combination of new experiences for the players, additional live shows and the extension of transmissions, the 2019 production has followed an evolving production workflow to the first series of the popular late-night show.

“The Circle is a complicated build because it has to cover three large technical sites; the apartment block, the studio for the live programme, and the production building,” explains Jason. “The apartments are in fact on the other side of a busy road from the other two areas and are connected by over 130km of fibre. We also have to balance the ongoing 24/7 demands of the production, with the requirements of producing a massive live show from the middle of it, especially as any of the live sources can be put through to the live programme at a moment’s notice.”

The Circle sees players isolated and moved into individual apartments within a dedicated building in Salford, only able to communicate with each other via a bespoke voice-activated social media platform, called ‘The Circle’. Over the course of a three week series, thirteen contestants play a game of words, creating alliances either as themselves or by assuming an alternative identity as a tactic to win. Contestants build up their ‘ratings’ each day to become ‘social influencers’, whilst trying to figure out who is genuine and who is the catfish, with a goal of eliminating each other by ‘blocking’ other players from The Circle. With a £100k prize up for grabs for the most popular at the end of the competition, a winner is eventually chosen by the public in a live finale, hosted by TV’s Emma Willis.

Following on from its success in the Entertainment, Documentary and Reality TV genre earlier in the year with ITV Studios Entertainment for the summer’s biggest reality show, Love Island, NEP’s work on The Circle confirms its status as the go to provider of cutting edge rigs for the very largest, fast turnaround reality projects, as part of the NEP Worldwide Network.

The Circle completes its second series on Channel 4 on October 18.

SCROLL POSTS

A Few Kind Words...

Gavin Bunker, AE Live

Bubble were fantastic throughout the whole process and helped us deliver a successful event to celebrate our 30th corporate anniversary with industry peers.

Robert Cloudt, Synchronized

Bubble has been tremendously helpful to bring our marketing communication to the next level, very responsive and thinking with us together on the rightful messaging and timing across different media’s. Definitely a recommendation in case you need a well balanced media agency to help you out.

Carla Molina Whyte, Farmerswife

Working with Bubble Agency for a tradeshow has been truly amazing. The bubble team is incredibly helpful and talented. We are very happy with the results and with all the coverage we got prior and during the tradeshow!

Silvia Candido, Ateme

As usual, we were super busy before and during a tradeshow this year. What a luxury to have Bubble take care of our media relations and our social media accounts! We saw a surge of followers on LinkedIn and got good coverage in a number of publications.

Meg Travis, Iron Mountain Entertainment Services, Director, Global Head of Marketing & Communications, Entertainment Services

The Bubble team made everything easy at MPTS! From advising before the show, to facilitating client and press conversations during the show, to making recommendations on how to make the most of the connections we made there - we rely on Bubble as a key strategic partner for our sales and marketing teams.

Dan Pike- Covatic

Bubble brought their significant experience of NAB to support Covatic in kicking off a big US push at the Show. Their support was holistic, assisting us before, during and after the show and well appreciated. We had a successful show, gaining high profile new sales leads and even winning a Product of the Year Award - thanks in no small part to Bubble’s assistance with the application An experienced, credible team and a joy to work with.

Éva Szász – Lightware Visual Engineering

We’ve been working with Bubble for a couple of months now and luckily we found a common voice right away. They always have an easy, quick understanding of what we need and are delivering not only the materials we want, but more and more PR opportunities, in a proactive way. Bubble have been instrumental in raising awareness of Lightware in the run up to ISE and did a great job faciliting us onsite at ISE too including securing and conducting press appointments and manning our social accounts.

Paul Weiser – ASG

I have been working with Bubble for the past eight months. I run marketing for Advanced Systems Group based in Northern California. ASG is a technology company focused on providing technology solutions for the Media and Entertainment industry. Our business is broken down into four diverse areas. One of the challenges that Bubble helps me solve is how to market a company with multiple business units, yet still deliver a unified message for our brand. The key benefits that Bubble provides in helping guide our marketing efforts include: Industry knowledge, Expertise in all functional areas of marketing, Client service & Worldwide brand. The first year of working with Bubble has been a great experience. I’m excited to work with the team to see how we build the ASG brand in the future.

Catherine Watling – Visual Data

The Bubble team have been fantastic and the quality of the work is always exceptional – even at short notice. Our work with Bubble has produced some of the best coverage we have ever had!

Mark Forth – CVP

Working with Bubble has been integral to a rapid improvement in the delivery of our PR and communication strategy. The entire Bubble team are always friendly and professional as well as knowledgeable and well-connected. A real joy to work with!