Bexel Supports 90th Academy Awards

As it has for the past 16 Oscars, Bexel provided multi-level support and a fiber optic network for the live global broadcast of the 90th Academy Awards on March 4. Bexel, an NEP Broadcast Services Company, once again collaborated with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to deliver a host of solutions for the Oscars broadcast, with a worldwide viewing audience of more than one billion.

Bexel worked with the AMPAS to implement the logistics-defying, custom fiber infrastructure, supported by a credentialed staff of more than 40 Bexel fiber engineers and support technicians onsite. Connecting multiple production locations beyond the Dolby Theatre, the network linked the Hollywood & Highland Center, the Red Carpet on Hollywood Boulevard, the Loews Hollywood Hotel, and the domestic and international television compounds located more than a block away behind the El Capitan Theatre.

Besides serving as the main production conduit for the Oscars, the infrastructure enabled point-to-point connections for more than 50 different media entities to ensure live, simultaneous broadcasts of all of the red-carpet pre-shows, backstage media and (Oscars Backstage)”, and the official Governors Ball.

“Each time we support the Oscars, our fiber network grows larger and more comprehensive. It’s really critical to our ability to support such a large number of broadcast customers over such a widely distributed venue,” says Craig Schiller, vice president of engineering and operations, Bexel.

Bexel began working with the AMPAS in 2001, the year the Oscars moved back to Hollywood and the production was relocated to the Dolby Theatre (then the Kodak Theatre). Bexel installed a permanent fiber network that included four miles of multi-strand cables from the Hollywood & Highland and Dolby Theatre complexes, as well as underneath Hollywood Boulevard.

That underlying backbone has been enhanced by Bexel every year to meet the show’s unique and evolving requirements, and the fiber infrastructure has now effectively quadrupled in size.

In addition, more than 20 miles of temporary fiber was deployed to transport massive amounts of HD video, audio, data, and communications signals, as well as digital images for the photographers covering every aspect of the star-studded event. This included photographers from the Associated Press, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Reuters, USA Today, and many other outlets that required sufficient bandwidth to connect to their workrooms in the Loews Hollywood Hotel and deliver still images immediately worldwide.

“During the 30-plus years that Bexel has been involved in the Oscars broadcast, (17 years at this location in Hollywood) we’ve become very familiar with the overall event and the unique complexities of this production,” Schiller added.

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