Bexel Supports 90th Academy Awards

As it has for 16 past Oscars programs, Bexel provided multilevel support and a comprehensive fibre optic network for the live global broadcast of the 90th Academy Awards from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California. 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 AMPAS to implement the logistics-defying, custom fibre infrastructure, supported by a credentialed staff of more than 40 Bexel fibre engineers and support technicians onsite. Connecting multiple production locations beyond the Dolby Theatre, the fibre network linked the Hollywood and 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 fibre 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 photo rooms, pre- and post-show programs, ‘The Oscars: All Access’ (formerly The Oscars Backstage), and the official Governors Ball.

“Each time we support the Oscars, our fibre 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,” said Craig Schiller, vice president of engineering and operations, Bexel.

Bexel began working with 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 fibre 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 fibre 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.

Schiller added, “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.