Thank You For The Music
To stream six Edinburgh International Festival concerts to viewers around the world, via the festival website, and subsequent broadcasts on the Classic FM digital platforms.
Eight Panasonic AW-UE150 PTZ cameras, three AK-UC4000 system cameras, three AW-RP150 remote camera controllers, and a Panapod.
Stagecast and Panasonic have helped the Edinburgh International Festival reach a wider audience than ever before by streaming six classical concerts from the world-renowned annual arts event. As specialists in live streaming and filming of both classical music and opera, Stagecast drew upon its extensive experience of bringing remote audiences closer to the orchestra.
“The past 18 months has proven to be a rollercoaster for both Stagecast and the performing arts in general. Orchestras haven’t been able to perform to audiences, so the performing arts rapidly shifted to live streaming performances behind closed doors,” explained Matt Parkin – Co-Founder/CEO, Stagecast.
“It has also given us the opportunity to change the way in which classical music is presented. We have seen traditional orchestra layouts starting to change to accommodate live streaming. For instance, sometimes we position soloists so that they are looking at other members of the orchestra to enable them to connect more, and we can position cameras to convey that connection to an audience.”
New venues bring new filming challenges
By using Panasonic broadcast solutions at one of three specially constructed outdoor pavilions, located at the Edinburgh Academy Junior School, Stagecast was able to broadcast the concerts to viewers around the world, via the festival website, and selected concerts were also broadcast on the Classic FM digital platforms.
The spectacular temporary pavilions provided a Covid-safe alternative to the festival’s traditional concert halls. However, the venues also posed the new challenge of filming in a semi-outdoor environment, with daylight and all the variabilities of the Scottish summer climate.
Stagecast used a rig system to film the concerts built around a total of eight Panasonic AW-UE150 PTZ cameras, one of which was mounted on a Panapod. They also used three Panasonic AK-UC4000 Studio System cameras – one on a crane and the other two at the back of the venue with super-telephoto lenses for front coverage of the enormous venue. Using the UC4000 cameras meant that the images could be accurately picture-matched with the UE150 cameras using scene files provided by Panasonic. Scene files are special files that alter the image output from a camera to ensure that each camera can be picture-matched despite having different sensor sizes. Panasonic has a host of scene files available for the UE150 for download from its website to enable picture-match to a host of its other cameras.
The backstage production team consisted of the director, script supervisor, vision engineer and two camera operators, working four cameras each. One of these operators also controlled the upward and downward movement of the Panapod, for shots behind the orchestra. The vision engineer’s role was to maintain the colour shading of each of the UC4000s on the Panasonic AK-HRP1000 remote operation panel.
“Control of the PTZ cameras was handled over IP, with video signal routing over SDI,” added Matt. “This allows us to get full broadcast-quality video feeds back to the control room. We use a lot of automation to deliver complex, fully scripted shows with a relatively small team, including our own monitor switching and tally solutions built with Bitfocus Companion and Elgato Streamdeck controllers. We also use custom software for recalling preset camera shots on the AW-UE150s from a playlist.”