Live streaming a concert with mimoLive

Ben Hammer of production company Chips & Champagner teamed up with Boinx Software's head of marketing, Steffen Skopp, to stream a concert of German newcomer KLAN at the Cologne co/pop festival live to YouTube and Facebook. A first for the band which would not have been possible without mimoLive, which provided a way to keep the costs down and comply with the tight set up and tear down schedule of the event.

Using a mix of SDI and NDI™ cameras and utilizing iPhones via a private WiFi network, the resulting video met the high standards of the band's record label, Warner Music Group.

Overview

In order to be able to use 3 SDI cameras, 2 NDI cameras, 2 iPhones via mimoCall, 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 where mobile and operated by experienced camera operators. The cameras where hooked up via a wireless SDI transmitter, allowing for free movement in front of the stage.

One SDI camera was mounted in the back of the room to provide a wide angle shot to fall back on.

Two remotely operated Lumens NDI PTZ cameras where positioned on the stage to provide close ups of the musicians and a reverse view of the audience. 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 where 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.

Challenges and Learnings

It was impossible to run cables from the video booth to the stage because of time restraints for set up and tear down. Fortunately, there was a single ethernet connection. Since NDI is a network protocol, multiple video signals can be send over a single network connection, so the two NDI cameras on stage simply required us to set up a network switch at the end of the ethernet cable.

In hindsight, we should also have used NDI to transmit the signal of the two mobile cameras over the same network link. Instead, we chose to use Teradek Bolt devices to transmit the signals from the stage to the video booth which suffered from quite a bit of interference causing signal drop outs.

As with many other venues we've worked with over the years, this one was no exception to the rule that Internet connections are always a major pain point. During the concert, we experienced heavy fluctuations in bandwidth on the line provided by the venue. Fortunately we'd chosen a very moderate data rate of 1500 bps to send out to Facebook and YouTube respectively, so the streams were stable.

Sound is also a big topic to consider when live streaming a concert. For one, putting cameras on tripods on the stage or even in the audience can lead to shaking video due to the vibrations caused by the low frequencies. The audio engineers typically optimize the mix to how the room sounds and that is quite different from what you want on your stream. A separate mix for the live stream is always a good idea if you can afford to hire a second audio engineer.

Equipment List

Credits

  • 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
  • Showcase Video – Tobias Witzgall