In 2015, I met Dusty Kraatz of XI Media when he asked me to handle the engineering and cinematography for the Fader Fort concert series at South by Southwest. After delivering live streams for remote locations from the Americas to Europe, this was an opportunity for me to take live streaming to the next logical step – 4K.
When you’re stretching the limits, it helps to have amazing technology partners. XI Media, GogoHD, RED Digital Cinema, Dell, Intel, Sharp, and Omega Broadcast joined forces to knock it out of the park.
Five cameras covered the stage, two with long lenses at the front of house, two in the pit at the edge of the stage, and a fifth on a 20-foot jib. The setup provided sufficient angles for full coverage and creative framing of the very kinetic and unpredictable musical acts. No rehearsals or set lists for a showcase.
In the control room, I managed the color and exposure of each camera, quickly dialing looks as day progressed into night and stage lighting snapped dramatically between moody blues and white-hot strobes.
The Nitty Gritty
The workflow began with RED Epic Dragon and Scarlet Dragon cameras equipped with REDCAST 4K Broadcast Modules. The REDCAST modules sent quad SDI to on-camera Nipros LS-750 GTS where it was converted to fiber for the control room.
In the control room, Nipros LS-850 GTS Fiber Base stations converted back to quad SDI to a Blackmagic Multiplex where video was finally converted to a single 6G SDI stream before entering the Blackmagic ATEM 2ME 4K switcher.
From the switcher, the 4K signal was distributed to Dell UltraSharp displays throughout the venue over HDMI as well as over 6G SDI to a Dell Precision Tower 7810 equipped with a Blackmagic DeckLink 4K Extreme capture card. The Dell tower ran CogoHD’s custom 4K software that encoded and streamed to the internet at 6Mbps to a CDN for viewing by a national audience on their home computers via the Fader.com website.
The cameras were remote controlled with Sony color control units in control room. On each camera, a REDCAST module provided remote access to the camera’s color settings and a RED WMD FIZ controller to handle the manual iris on each lens.
Wrapping it Up
The Fader Fort creative and technical team delivered four days of solid 4K live streaming with 100% up time.
Reach out to Tall Tale Pictures and XI Media to learn more about how we can deliver your live stream project to the world.
Watch RED Digital Cinema’s behind-the-scenes recap of the event and Dusty Kraatz talking about the tech, below.