We just finished day two of the SXSW Music 2014. First let me say, the tragedy that happened in Austin last night was horrible and has deeply affected everyone associated with the music festival and all Austinites as well. All of us at Polycom send our prayers to the families that were involved.
Let's talk about the quality of music that this festival has. With over 1000 bands attending from all corners of the world, there is definitely something for everyone and the quality of the music is absolutely phenomenal. I hope that you have been able to enjoy some of the live streams we are helping deliver at www.waterloorecords.com from 12 PM to 6:30 PM Central through Saturday.
Today for instance, we had Aloe Blacc, A Great Big World and Mary Lambert starting the day off. Aloe Blacc was possibly the best show I have ever seen in the years I have been attending SXSW. Of course, these shows were all streamed out to the web in HD with Polycom equipment as part of the core.
Streaming out a concert sounds easy enough...take a camera, plug it into your computer and point your browser to a service provider to stream it out. However, when you are trying to provide an in-person experience to viewers at home, it takes a lot more than.
Our setup here at SXSW includes 5 cameras, a Blackmagic Design ATEM 4k Mixer, Mackie audio mixer, Acer touch screen, PC, MAC, Tempest wireless communication system, audience microphone, wireless microphone system for the aftershow reporter and let's not forget the Polycom Capture Station Portable Pro system. Setup of all this gear is not for the faint-at-heart with a mile worth of cable that stretches around the venue to get to the best vantage points and wireless mic repeaters so the camera crew can hear me clearly.
I have been planning the setup for many months, tweaking the plan over and over again until I think it is just perfect. However, let me say, 15 minutes before show-time yesterday one of my pieces of gear was not operating properly and at the last minute I had to change the plan that we had been working on for months and come up with a plan that would work. What is funny is that part of my planning was to plan on equipment failure.
The moral of this post is that stuff will happen when you are working with technology, but how you recover is going to be the difference between success and failure. As the old adage goes, plan for the best, but be prepared for the worst.
I do encourage you to join us for the stream at www.waterloorecords.com Friday and Saturday starting at Noon Central. Even though the Capture Station was not designed specifically to capture, encode and record concerts, it is a flexible architecture that will allow you to do just about anything with it!