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A new sound and vision for BBC Proms

Posted by Mike Cooke - Director of Production at PHMG on

The world’s greatest classical music festival returned in July, and this year is set to be one of the biggest yet for the renowned event. After premiering both a brand new look and sound for 2017, we’re exploring how this long-running festival is attempting to reach out to new and younger audiences this year.

The first ever Proms took place in 1895, when co-founder Henry Wood established his aim to ‘present the widest range of music, performed to the highest standards, to large audiences.’ It’s now been 90 years since the BBC took over, yet the original purpose still remains very much the same. Running for eight weeks once a year, the festival comprises concerts, talks, workshops and more, ending with the famous Last Night of the Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The aforementioned venue is the feature in their latest campaign, which debuted at the start of this year’s festival. The animated TV titles signal a new direction for the Proms, as they attempt to reach a wider audience of specifically younger viewers and listeners. The Royal Albert Hall is brought to life through animation, with the red velvet auditorium chairs performing a rippling Mexican wave, while one of the upper boxes becomes a flying ship that soars around the concert venue.

“Our core idea was to embrace the fact that music has a transformative power” commented Executive Creative Director Laurent Simon, “It can profoundly affect the listener’s mood and their perspective of the world around them.” The creative titles explore the idea of music enabling the listener to conjure images and emotion in a way that other mediums can’t. As the Albert Hall is filled with the sound of musicians and their instruments marrying together in perfect harmony, the whole venue is brought to life – and the campaign really showcases the feeling that music has given us all at some point in our lives.

At the same time as revealing their new look, BBC Proms has also revitalised the way they sound too. For the first time, BBC Radio 3 will stream the entire season in the highest audio quality the BBC has ever broadcast. The concerts will be available as a lossless audio stream, letting listeners experience the events as if they were actually at the Royal Albert Hall. Lossless audio is produced when the file is compressed, and with this method the audio quality remains the same – in comparison to lossy compression where data and sounds are permanently removed. Whilst the BBC have consistently kept up with innovations in sound and broadcast in HD Sound as standard, this stream will produce the clearest audio they’ve ever achieved. For discerning music fans, the quality of the sound is almost as important as the quality of the music itself, and the introduction of lossless audio is sure to enhance what’s already more than just music – it’s an overall experience.

By streaming the concerts in unprecedented quality, the BBC has immediately made the event much more accessible and inclusive. Music fans across the globe will be transported to the Royal Albert Hall with just the click of a play button, and people listening for the first time will enjoy an uninterrupted experience of the highest quality sound the world of classical music has to offer. This year’s BBC Proms proves that it’s never too late for a brand to rethink the way they sound, as it may open the door for audiences they never expected to appeal to.

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