Panasonic Helps Stagecast Live Stream Edinburgh International Festival For Home Fans
Stagecast and Panasonic helped the Edinburgh International Festival reach a wider audience than ever before by showing six classical concerts of the annual world-renowned arts event. As a specialist in live streaming and filming classical music and opera, Stagecast has used Panasonic’s PTZ camera and broadcast solutions and drew on its vast experience to bring distant audiences closer to some of the festival concerts.
Using Panasonic streaming solutions in one of three specially constructed outdoor pavilions, located at Edinburgh Academy Junior School, Stagecast was able to broadcast the concerts to viewers around the world, via the festival website and Classic FM digital platforms. . The spectacular temporary pavilions provided a Covid-safe alternative to the festival’s traditional concert halls. However, the locations also posed the new challenge of filming in a semi-outdoor environment, with daylight and all the variability of the Scottish summer climate.
Stagecast used an editing 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 room with super telephoto lenses for front coverage of the huge room. The use of UC4000 cameras enabled images to be matched accurately with UE150 cameras using scene files provided by Panasonic. Scene files are special files that modify the image output of a camera to ensure that each camera can fit the image despite different sensor sizes. Panasonic has a plethora of scene files available for the UE150 for download from its website to enable image matching with a plethora of its other cameras.
The behind-the-scenes production team consisted of the director, script supervisor, vision engineer, and two camera operators, each working with four cameras. One of these operators also controlled the up and down movement of the Panapod, for hits behind the orchestra. The role of the vision engineer was to maintain the color shading of each of the UC4000s on the Panasonic AK-HRP1000 remote control panel.
âThe control of the PTZ cameras was managed via IP, with routing of the video signal via SDIâ, explains Matt Parkin – Co-Founder / CEO, Stagecast. âThis allows us to send complete 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 counting solutions built with Bitfocus Companion and Elgato Streamdeck controllers. We also use custom software to recall preset shots on the AW-UE150 from a playlist.
âFilming orchestras have a range of specific requirements,â Parkin explains. âThe cameras we use have to be quiet for use in concert halls. They must also be compact and able to disappear on a stage. We’ve never seen a musician complain about sitting next to a camera, or even about moving around during a concert.
âWhen working with social distancing measures, we had to keep physical presence on stage to a minimum, which the UE150s really helped. We are also able to place PTZ cameras in positions where you would not be able to place a camera operator. This helps a lot in full capacity rooms, as you don’t need to take up that many seats to accommodate the camera positions. This is a real advantage for us and the concert organizers we work with.
Matt added that he has worked with PTZ cameras for about 10 years and has advised several prominent concert halls, orchestras and opera companies on setting up their own camera systems. He considers the AW-UE150 a game-changer for performance filming due to the excellent picture quality, 4K / HDR capabilities and the improved smoothness of movement offered by the cameras.
âWithout Panasonic’s PTZ technology, we would not have been able to provide the quality and range of concert coverage that we were able to do last year,â said Parkin. âThe PTZ workflow allows us to be fast and efficient in a way that nothing else would have allowed us, especially with the restrictions and challenges of social distancing, and it has transformed what we are capable of. to do for musicians. “
Andrew Moore, Head of Music at the Edinburgh International Festival, added that the festival captured significantly more on-demand content this year than any other year.
âWe managed to integrate video capture in a really low-key and subtle way, capturing a wonderful film without the audience there even noticing until they saw it at home,â says -he. âI think the way all of our technical providers worked together is fantastic. They shared their knowledge, expertise and infrastructure across all disciplines – be it sound, video and lighting – to make the festival run. They’re back doing what they love and it’s great to see.