The Berlin Philharmonic has a long-standing reputation for excellence, and this year´s program is no exception.
Recently the orchestra hosted the worldwide debut of Grammy Award-winning composer Wynton Marsalis´ Swing Symphony, conducted by Simon Rattle. The production was accompanied by 170 students from local Berlin schools performing a choreography by Rhys Martin.
The landmark performance was recorded live in HD, using a multi-camera setup that included video ingest solutions from ToolsOnAir´s innovative just: Broadcast Suite. As resident engineer and videographer Stephan Hermann Kelch explains, this was the first production to utilize ToolsOnAir´s LiveCut and just:in Multi, along with Telestream Pipeline HD interfaces, and the results were impressive.
"I had heard about ToolsOnAir´s Broadcast Suite, and was intrigued," says Kelch. "I visited the company in Vienna and was impressed with LiveCut´s potential, and felt that it could be a good solution for some of our live broadcasts. I was interested in trying it out in a live situation, and the Swing Symphony performance was a good opportunity."
With a full orchestra, 170 dancers and numerous other performers and production personnel, space inside the venue was limited, so the decision was made to set up production suites in a mobile truck outside the venue. "Typically that´s a fairly complex undertaking," says Kelch, "so it was pretty impressive when the ToolsOnAir guys showed up - just two guys in a Volvo - and built the entire eight-camera HD recording setup in about an hour." Hardware was provided by Hamburg-based MPEC Broadcast & Production.
The production was done in 1080i using Apple ProRes, and is entirely server-based. LiveCut and just:in Multi create a multi-camera sequence in Final Cut, incorporating all cameras, cuts and fades. All incoming files are available for editing even during ingest.
Not surprisingly, the Orchestra´s standards for video broadcast are exceptionally high, and the ToolsOnAir system did not disappoint. "The video signal is very high quality," says Kelch.
With the orchestra´s busy calendar of events, Kelch points to LiveCut´s ability to streamline the ingest process as an invaluable time-saver. "We typically stream around 30 to 35 concerts per year in HD," he says. "Using LiveCut, we could immediately access the incoming streams from eight different cameras - far faster than with our usual hardware-based system. The director sat with me during the broadcast and was able to set markers as the material was recorded, making the final editing process much easier."
"The program is wahnsinn,*" Kelch concludes. "It´s so immediate. The producer was very impressed, and was already talking about using it on some future projects." (*rough translation: crazy cool.)