Bexel Helps Produce Will Smith’s ‘The Jump’ YouTube Live Stream
Bexel, an NEP Broadcast Services Company, was instrumental in bringing Will Smith’s The Jump live to viewers for a YouTube Originals production. On his 50th birthday on September 25, Smith fulfilled a challenge from Yes Theory by bungee jumping out of a helicopter over the Grand Canyon.
Yes Theory was founded on the premise that life is best lived outside of your comfort zone. The founders ‘seek discomfort’ by setting challenges for themselves and others, then make videos about that experience.
To support this Heli-Bungee challenge, Fly On The Wall Entertainment hired Bexel to handle the Technical Broadcast portion of the event, including technical design, technical management, broadcast engineering, and communications design and engineering. Broadcast Sports International (BSI) supplied and engineered all the wireless cameras, mics, and IFBs.
Since the NEP Group acquisition of Bexel in late 2017, it enabled Bexel to provide the cutting-edge NEP twin HD Mobile Unit, “Black and Red”, for this event. This pair of trucks gave the technical operators the tools they needed to make this event happen, and gave the engineering and production teams additional work areas. This relationship also allowed Bexel to use the talented NEP truck engineering team for system engineers and overall technical management.
In addition to the broadcast facilities, Bexel provided the Clear-Com FreeSpeak II system to handle the wireless communications and various remote equipment for the site, as well as an onsite engineering team to manage all the remote equipment.
Bexel brought in and partnered with PSSI Global for the satellite transmission and Saunders Electric to provide all the technical power for the event.
“The location of this event presented challenges in itself,” says Rod Allen, Senior Project Manager, Bexel. “The location was an hour and fifteen minutes from Flagstaff, AZ in a remote part of the Navajo Reservation. The only access was a single lane gravel road that lead to an uneven gravel pad. There was very little cellular coverage and no data coverage at the site. We had to work closely with all the entities involved to manage the use of the road, manage the space on the site, and make sure everyone had a safe working environment.”
Bexel partnered closely with BSI for the high-power microwave camera systems, wireless microphones, wireless IFBs, high-power intercom systems, and a motion-stabilized camera with wireless prompter. BSI’s Clay Underwood and his team were responsible for making sure all the camera feeds came back to the trucks, with 90% of all the sights and sounds of the project going through BSI’s proprietary wireless system.
For the helicopter-based shots, a Shotover camera system was interfaced with the BSI wireless system, which brought the signals back to the NEP mobile units.
In addition to the challenge itself, Smith partnered with Global Citizen to have the proceeds from the event benefit education access for children in poverty-stricken countries. With 16.2 million views on YouTube and counting, viewers can watch the event as it happened here.