A Triwizard Tradition: Harry Potter's Yule Ball Brought to Life with Wireless Solutions

Hogwarts entryway.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When Harry Potter comes to town, it’s always a big deal. In the case of Harry Potter: A Yule Ball Celebration—a live re-creation of a gala that takes place in the film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The event’s Houston debut on November 18 marked the first time this international recreation has taken place in the U.S. Previous iterations were held in Mexico City, Montreal, and Milan, according to co-producer Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment. 

The Triwizard Tournament tradition, a night of fabulous and festive dancing and pageantry, took place at Houston’s recently reopened Paraiso Maravilla venue. The events (up to five of the two-and-a-half-hour-long soirees took place each day as it ran over the next several weeks) were also notable for something that didn’t happen: RF dropouts were absent on any of the one-dozen channels of Shure UR4D wireless microphones deployed by the event’s AVL producer, Houston-based GTX Productions. That was thanks to their use of wireless antenna systems from RF Venue.

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An RF Venue wireless antenna brings to life a recreation of the Harry Potter Yule Ball.

(Image credit: RF Venue)

“The action was rather spread out, over three areas: mainly the lobby and the ballroom, as well as the hallways leading to the green rooms for the actors,” explained Darwin Zelaya, audio engineer at GTX Event Productions. “The actors made their entrance on the staircases and then spent about 40 minutes roaming the floors, talking to visitors and doing things like teaching magic tricks, really helping everyone get into the Harry Potter experience. Then the MCs came out to start the dance, which is the focus of the event. It was a lot of action, and we did between two and five shows a day, and each one had to be perfect.”

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And they were, thanks to the deployment of the Diversity Fin Antennas. Zelaya said he had initially used a pair of antennas from another company during setup and rehearsal, awaiting the arrival of the RF Venue units, and found that even with two paddles, he was getting dropouts, especially in the hallway leading to the green rooms. “Using just one of the D-Fin antennas I was able to get perfect wireless performance, far better than using two of the other ones,” said Zelaya, who had only used RF Venue systems once before. He then deployed two Diversity Fin Antennas, one in the ballroom and one on the ceiling of the lobby, for complete redundancy. “With two, the coverage was absolutely perfect,” he said. “I used the 4ZONE to create the two zones we needed, between the lobby and the ballroom, and I was able to reach all the way to the back of the building and to the green rooms from my mix position, which is where we also had the DISTRO4 Antenna Distribution System located. It all worked perfectly, with zero dropouts.”

An RF Venue wireless antenna brings to life a recreation of the Harry Potter Yule Ball.

(Image credit: RF Venue)

That perfect performance is why GTX audio technician Alex Perez chose to use the RF Venue products for this critical event. “RF Venue works as intended, every single time,” he said. “That’s important for a company like ours, because for an event like this, which has a very specific look to it, we have to keep the system out of sight. The D-Fin lets us cover very large areas with a single antenna and still completely avoid dropouts. It also lets us achieve a very clean look and is very simple and intuitive to use. RF Venue is a winner.”

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