28 May 2011
Last updated at 09:53
Springwatch, the Bafta award-winning wildlife programme, has moved to the RSBP's Ynys-hir reserve in mid-Wales following three years at Pensthorpe, Norfolk. The move to Wales has taken a year's planning. The first edition of the 2011 series is broadcast on Monday 30 May at 8pm on BBC Two. Photos by Martin Barber.
"We're delighted the Springwatch team has chosen Ynys-hir as their new location. It does a fantastic job of inspiring millions of people about wildlife," said Mike Clarke, Chief Executive of the RSPB. The studio has been created on the reserve from the extensive refurbishment of an old tractor shed.
The Springwatch production holds a detailed rehearsal before the first live show. Due to its remote location on the edge of the Cambrian Mountains, the move to Wales is the most ambitious live location the programme has visited since it began in 2005.
The Springwatch production village took six months planning. Built over seven days it is the temporary home to nearly 100 staff for three weeks with the team on duty from 0400 to midnight each day. There is also a remote unit broadcasting from Knapdale Forest, Scotland, Skomer Island off the Pembrokeshire coast and Pitsea, Essex.
The main production gallery is the nerve centre of the live programme. Director James Morgan (front centre) controls the action at Ynys-hir, with up to 30 camera shots available at any time. The Springwatch team has installed more than 90km of fibre-optic cables at the location.
A large-scale live production like Springwatch requires a full rehearsal. Director James Morgan and presenter Martin Huges-Games (centre right) visits the studio to plan the first programme with the camera crew and floor managers.
The Springwatch studio was designed by Sarah Milton (left). Working with the 'sparks' and lighting designer/engineering manager Ian Dewar (right), final tweaks are made before the start of rehearsals to ensure the set looks perfect ahead of the first programme.
"We've come to Ynys-hir simply because there's a lot of wildlife here in a relatively small space and that's due to the sheer variety of habitats," said series producer Roger Webb. During rehearsals Kate Humble spoke Charlie Hamilton James from the Springwatch team at Knapdale Forest, Scotland.
The Springwatch 'story gatherers' watch and record wildlife activity from more than 20 specialist cameras around the reserve. They control what feeds the Springwatch webcams and provide live text commentary from 0400 to midnight each day.
Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games present from the new studio decking and discover the reserve's midges are keen to get their moment in the Springwatch spotlight! "Because of the huge mix of habitats on the reserve we get a lot of wildlife," said series producer Roger Webb.