Ifta blames technical problems for poor sound quality at awards

Academy says it is unfair to blame the audience for noise levels

Brendan Gleeson at the Iftas on Saturday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Brendan Gleeson at the Iftas on Saturday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Tue, Apr 8, 2014, 16:32

The Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) has released a statement detailing the technical issues which caused the sound problems at Saturday night’s awards ceremony.

The academy, which runs the Iftas event, said audience mics were left ‘open’ in the broadcast truck and fed back into speakers which multiplied the level of ambient background noise into the room.

“TV audiences therefore experienced a major change in audio levels in the final quarter of the show with the background noise being distorted and amplified,” Ifta explained.

“The technical issues also caused problems with the outside broadcast service with general acoustics creating difficulties for engineers.”

The technical delays caused a knock-on effect to the evening’s televsion schedule. The programme ran 25 minutes over schedule causing RTÉ to cancel a proposed repeat on Sunday afternoon.

Ifta continued: “The technical issues experienced and poor sound are regrettable, especially as it impacted on the great work of the ceremony’s co-hosts and guest presenters during the final segment of the show.

“It is the first time in 11 years that that such a situation has occurred. Guests at the ceremony are nominees, members and industry peers who gather each year to celebrate the extraordinary creative achievements of the home industry.”

The statement concluded with Ifta saying it will undertake a full review of the technical production and broadcast services for the annual awards ceremony.

Last night Ifta chief executive Aine Moriarty said it was unfair to blame the audience for the noise in the last segment on the show as many viewers watching at home had done.

She told The Irish Times: “It’s not a fair reflection of the people in the room. You could see for the first three parts that there was a very good audience. It is unfair to think that people were not being respectful.”

She acknowledged that 40 awards is too many and they will now have to review the number of categories for next year. “It is difficult to do all these awards on the same night. It has become problematic. There’s just too many.”

Some 73 broadcasting crew worked across the event which is an Ifta production.

As to the future of the event, she stated: “It would be very silly to let a setback of technical difficulties hold back something that is very important for the industry.”

This year’s awards were watched by an average audience of 382,300. RTÉ said it will now review its coverage of the event based on the critical feedback from its viewers.

The Irish Film Board said it too was reviewing its support of the event. The IFB chief executive James Hickey said he was disappointed that the technical issues surrounding the event overshadowed the awards themselves.