Bringing the team together
Ben Hammer, a photographer from the cologne artist collective Chips & Champagner teamed up with Boinx Software’s head of marketing, Steffen Skopp, to video stream a concert of a german newcomer band called KLAN. The show was planned to take place during the Cologne co/pop festival live 2019.
Because mimoLive is an easy and lightweight video streaming solution, Ben and Steffen thought it would be a great idea to give it a try. Ben focused on the management of the event itself, while Steffen took the responsibility to get the equipment and the tech team. They got heavily supported by the Chips & Champagner Crew and several more friends.
The team had to face two main issues. They started to discuss which cameras to use and finally, they chose two NDI dome cameras on stage, two handheld cameras left and right of the stage, one camera from the sound podium for the complete observation of the stage, and one iPhone to get some impression from inside the audience.
The venue CBE in Cologne is an old railway station that has thick walls made of stones. On the roof of the venue, there is a busy railway track which lots of close-distance trails for the many commuters working in the city. The team marked the circumstances as a risk for using a radio transmitter for the video signals.
The next main headache for Ben and Steffen began when they received the schedule of the slot for the band. KLAN was scheduled first to play on stage, which set the time for tearing down the equipment and clearing the stage to 1 h. Because of the short time for tear down, they wanted to use radio transmitters instead of long SDI cables for the cameras. But there was this risk of interfering signals from the trains and their magnetic fields.
In the end, they decided to use a mix of SDI and NDI™ cameras and utilize iPhones via a private WiFi network. They even used two TeraDek transmitters that send the SDI signals from the stage to the video-mixing Mac. The resulting video met the high standards of the band’s record label, Warner Music Group. Only in some scenes you see video noise caused by the interfering signals of the nearby train station.
Camera setup for a concert
- 3x SDI cameras
- 2x NDI PTZ cameras
- 2x iPhones via mimoCall
In order to stream to two destinations at once and save a recording to disk in FullHD 1080p30, the team decided to use a 10-core iMac Pro which turned out to provide much more power than was actually needed.
Two of the SDI cameras were handheld and operated by experienced camera operators. These cameras were hooked up via the TeraDek wireless SDI transmitter, allowing for free movement in front of the stage.
One BlackMagic SDI camera was mounted in the back of the venue to provide a wide-angle shot. Two remotely operated Lumens NDI PTZ cameras were positioned on the stage to provide close-ups of the musicians and a reverse view of the audience.
The mimoLive set up
Multiple different camera views were stored in the presets and allowed the director a broad choice of images. To capture the emotion of the audience, two team members were using their iPhones in the crowd wirelessly via mimoCall. A separate sound mix was provided for the live stream from a secondary mixing board via stereo XLR into a Zoom H5 digital audio interface. The director used an iPad with a mimoLive Remote Control Surface to operate mimoLive with a single touch of his fingers.
Challenges and Learnings
It was impossible for the team to install cables from the video booth to the stage because of time constraints for set up and tear down. Since NDI® is a network protocol, and since multiple video signals can be sent over a single LAN connection, bringing the two NDI cameras on stage online was simple. Fortunately, there was an existing LAN cable connection from the director’s area to the stage.
The team chose to use Teradek Bolt transmitters for the other two SDI stage cameras.
Video and Sound Quality
For the outgoing uplink to the internet, the stream bandwidth was limited to 1500 bps by mimoLive to secure a stable streaming connection. The team chose stability over quality. mimoLive allows a very precise limiting of the uplink streams to Facebook and YouTube.
Typically, the first audio mixer optimizes the sound quality of the room and the audience. Because these settings are not great for listing outside the room, the team had a second audio mixer. He optimized the sound quality only for the stream. It is a good idea if you can afford to hire a second audio engineer.
- Apple iMac Pro (27-inch with Retina 5K Display, 3.0GHz 10-core Intel Xeon W, 64GB RAM, 1TB SSD, Radeon Pro Vega 64)
- mimoLive™ – Video switcher software for Mac
- Blackmagic Design DeckLink Duo 2 SDI card
- Sonnet Echo Express SE1 TB3 PCIe Expansion Box
- Apple iPad
- 2x Apple iPhone 8+
- 2x Lumens VC-A50PN NDI Camera (PTZ Cameras on stage)
- 2x Sony PXW-X70 Camera (Shoulder cameras left / right in front of the stage)
- Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera (Extreme long shot from the directors’ point of view) )
- TeraDek Bolt Pro500
- TeraDek Bolt Pro300
- Zoom H5 Handy Recorder
- Ubiquiti Networks 8-Port UniFi Switch
KLAN – Stefan & Michael Heinrich, Joël Fonsegrive, Carlo Caduff
Live Sound – David Trapp
Broadcast Sound – Beray Habip
Director – Marcus Nitschke
Camera – Henning Frosch, Johnny Brungs
Production – Ben Hammer, Steffen Skopp, Laura Giltjes
Production Assistance – Johanna Keuser, Sonja Hegel
Tech Support – Oliver Breidenbach
Video Documentation and Cut – Tobias Witzgall