Wanderful Quiz Time
One of the most popular and widely read franchises of all time. A whole universe hidden just out of sight of us ‘muggles’, and The Boy Who Lived facing his destiny against The Dark Lord. You know what we’re talking about right? It can only be Harry Potter. The overwhelming popularity of the book and film series made Harry Potter the perfect candidate for a half term quiz for our Sky VIPs – building off the success of ‘The BIG Sky Quiz’ and as the full Harry Potter boxset is made available once more on Sky Cinema. And so the Sky VIP team devised The BIG Harry Potter Quiz, in partnership with the Harry Potter Fan Club, to bring a virtual live quiz experience featuring music from a super-group ‘band that needs no introduction’, famous faces from the Harry Potter films, and of course a play-along at home for VIP customers. And who better than to execute this demanding technical extravaganza? Cue SPS.
True Virtual Wizardry
Initially, the Sky VIP team had hoped to run a hybrid event for this quiz, with some lucky VIP Customers attending to play live and in person at the Harry Potter Studios. However, due to lockdown 3.0, the team had to pivot quickly to switch the event to an entirely virtual experience. Instead of the original hybrid format, all families played along from home, with 3 lucky families featured in the event along with host Alex Zane and talent – all dialled into the virtual production platform and the band played from their studio in Oxford. Much like the last BIG Sky Quiz, this seamless involvement of multiple people and technologies (hello, quiz randomiser!) was possible thanks to Sky’s Virtual Production Suite – and it looks to the viewer like a slick Sky programme.
Magical Dream Team
Like all great events, this multi-faceted operational effort required a huge amount of collaboration across teams within Sky. Sky Sports Director Mike Allen, used to working with the Virtual Production Suite, teamed up again with Sky VIP’s freelance Producer Sophie Hodgkins, driving VPS and playing in pre-cut VTs made by SPS Post Production. In the background, SPS’ Tech Management, Graphics, Vision Mixing, Scenery teams were making sure everything happens where and when it should. All the magic that happened before your eyes on the quiz was the collective handiwork of these behind-the-scenes superstars, and weeks of work planning, organising, and editing in the run up to the event.
And the success of the event speaks for itself; over 27,000 VIP households played along, and 95% of the players stayed engaged on the journey right to the very end.
How It Was Possible
As Kelly Taylor, Technical Supervisor, told us: “Most of my work is done in the prep of the software ahead of the show including importing videos, arranging the call inputs on screen, routing the correct audio channels so everyone hears what they need, and creating commands that allow several actions to happen with the press of one button. During the show, I keep an eye on the connectivity of the calls, adjust audio and video levels, rearrange box setups and generally tackle any tech issues as they come.”
Karen Swift, Sky VIP’s Senior Producer, said: “We absolutely love working with our colleagues in SPS – not only are they technical experts and wizards in their craft, but they are fun to work with and THE ONLY production team who could’ve helped us produce such an innovative, ground-breaking and premium broadcast event delivered seamlessly for our VIP customers to enjoy.”