When GemsTV made its debut on our screens just under a decade ago, it became the UK’s first ever 24 hour live shopping channel. The unique reverse auction channel directly sources gemstones for their jewellery and is available to viewers of Sky, Virgin Media, Freesat, and Freeview.
Based at Studios near Birmingham, both GemsTV and RocksTV which is transmitted to the US, are successful channels renowned for their high energy style and high production values, using a range of fast edits and dynamic camera work that create engaging viewing.
Paul Freer, Head of Engineering at GemsTV, has invested in an array of leading broadcast equipment to produce the channel’s exciting format. The GemsTV studio includes the Vinten Vector 430 pan and tilt head, Quattro L pedestal and talent monitors from Vinten’s sister company Autoscript.
The equipment was recommended by GemsTV’s broadcast equipment partner, Thameside TV, specifically for its robustness, reliability and longevity. For the pan and tilt head, the requirement was for a versatile head that would reliably manage the cameras, lenses and monitors for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Having worked closely seen the demanding environment of GemsTV over the years, Thameside TV knew Vinten was the ideal solution.
Freer explained: “GemsTV house style is non-stop dynamic movement. “We needed a head that combined a wide range of perfect balance with smooth and effortless performance and exceptional reliability. The pedestal criteria were for ease of movement both vertically and around the studio, making light of our very active camera work. We’ve had a great response from our camera operators, they say the combination of the Vector 430 fluid head on the Quattro pedestal is smoother, lighter and much easier to work with than what we used previously.”
The Vinten Vector 430 pan and tilt head was designed for the applications that use both the compact box lens and large barrel lenses with teleprompters. The company’s unique Perfect Balance technology has been incorporated into an extremely large tilt range. The performance of the head is complemented by the Quattro L pedestal which has a revolutionary pneumatic design to maintain vertical Perfect Balance throughout any of its four-stages of elevation.
As GemsTV is on air 24/7 seven days per week, on a practical level it was essential the equipment would keep working in the demanding environment, with maintenance that could be rapidly delivered.
Freer continued: “Because of the length of time the channel is on air, the equipment has to be built to last - and regular servicing is one of our key priorities. We were particularly impressed by the support Vinten offers. The company’s engineers efficiently swap out a head within a scheduled two minute break so it never impacts the live programme.”
Vinten customers are supported by a global network of service centres that provide local technical and after sales support. Customers are offered preventive maintenance that matches their needs. For GemsTV, the company’s engineers can change the kit within a live TV environment without the audience ever knowing. The GemsTV studio set up also includes a monitor from Vitec Videocom’s leading prompting solutions provider, Autoscript, enabling presenters to look at the exact picture that viewers are seeing on-screen, ensuring they keep the gems in clear shot and not obscured in any way. The monitor also aids in selling, as the producer uses it to inform the presenter about what viewers have bought so they can engage with customers directly.
The innovation in the way the channel operates has produced sparkling results for GemsTV. The family run business behind the successful channel, The Genuine Gemstone Company, has created direct relationships with gem communities around the world, making its prices extremely competitive in the market. The company’s business potential has received high recognition, and it was ranked as the number one ‘fastest growing private company’ in last year’s Sunday Times listings.