Dec. 20, 2022 - Streaming is ubiquitous across entertainment markets, enabling event organizers to reach wider audiences through hybrid event formats. For the 25th anniversary of Japan’s most anticipated outdoor music festival FUJI ROCK, the live broadcast experts at Tokyo’s Nouvelle Vague Inc produced the event’s official YouTube stream for hundreds of thousands of remote fans. To pull off the stream without a hitch, Nouvelle Vague developed an efficient, reliable live production workflow comprising a range of AJA solutions deployed at the event venue (Naeba Ski Resort) and Nouvelle Vague’s main control center. We spoke with Masayoshi Ikeda, Vice President & Director at Nouvelle Vague, to learn more about the project. Check out the interview highlights below.
Tell us how Nouvelle Vague was involved in FUJI ROCK 2022.
Nouvelle Vague is a technology provider for live broadcasts, including productions in studio, on location, or at live events, such as FUJI ROCK. For the three-day festival, we developed a workflow to capture concert performances from the venue’s four main stages and produced the official festival stream for the FUJI ROCK YouTube channel. While stream quality was always paramount to the success of the event, we also wanted to capture the highest fidelity audio of all performances, as the recordings would also serve as demo materials for the artists. 69,000 fans attended the festival in person, and more than 200,000 viewers tuned in remotely to watch the stream.
Please walk us through your preparation for the festival and rehearsals.
We joined the project six months before the festival to develop the streaming workflow in advance. Our on-site staff consisted of 25 crew members working across two teams; one managed infrastructure setup, while the other handled technical and editorial aspects of production. Three days prior to the show, our infrastructure team arrived to set up and configure the streaming system. A day ahead of the event, the technical team showed up and the crew conducted an equipment rehearsal to test out the full streaming workflow.
What AJA solutions did your workflow include?
We used AJA’s FS4 for converting video feeds to 29.97p for ingest and streaming, KUMO 6464 for routing signals, Io 4K Plus for editorial I/O, Ki Pro Ultra 12G and Ki Pro GO for redundant recording to both Apple ProRes and H.264 files, OG-DANTE-12GAM for audio embedding and disembedding across Dante networks, T-TAP Pro for output from the playout system, and BRIDGE LIVE for encoding from SDI and RTMP streaming output.
What did your workflow entail from ingest to final delivery?
For the on-site system, we transmitted SDI 59.94i feeds from each of the four venue stages to FS4, which converted the signals to 29.97p for ingest and streaming purposes. To route the converted signals, we used KUMO 6464, which provided us with the flexibility required to distribute a single video feed to multiple channels. Our ingest system included Apple Mac Studio with Softron MovieRecord to capture and continuously record three channels for all four stages (totaling seven sources) to NAS storage.
In case of any issues with the NAS network, we used Ki Pro Ultra 12G for redundant recording and simultaneous baseband capture without requiring a network connection. Feeds from all four stages were also recorded with Ki Pro GO as a backup, in case of any network errors.
For audio embedding and disembedding, we used eight OG-DANTE-12GAM cards, including two for audio disembedding at each stage, two for playout, two for embedding the program output, one for disembedding looped play videos (to be broadcast during intervals of the YouTube stream), and one for backup.
During the festival, editors cut together performances for the stream immediately following capture, with Io 4K Plus used to ingest network recordings into DCCs. For playout, the final edited videos were generated with Softron’s OnTheAir solution for live production, with T-TAP Pro handling output. BRIDGE LIVE managed encoding and simultaneous YouTube streaming with three RTMP channels.
Why did you choose AJA Gear for your workflow?
We started to transition to IP workflows last year and developed an audio system that primarily uses Dante to handle large-scale networks with ease, helping us considerably reduce system development costs. We integrated OG-DANTE-12GAM to eliminate the process of converting from SDI to analog audio, while also minimizing the deterioration of sound quality. By implementing an audio workflow with OG-DANTE-12GAM at the core, we’re able to transmit sources to I/O boxes with simplicity by using a single LAN cable. For streaming, we needed a flexible solution that would allow us to work with HLS, SRT, and RTMP, as clients require us to adjust and operate across various live events, studios, and broadcast locations. We ultimately chose BRIDGE LIVE because we prefer AJA products for offering compatibility and broadcast-grade quality and stability.
What’s next for your team?
We’d like to further integrate IP workflow technologies into our system, and also expand our capabilities to offer SRT transmission with on-site operations. Another challenge we’d like to take on is linking sources from event venues to our nOOb Studio in Tokyo, which will allow us to create a remote workflow for recording, editing, and streaming, while reducing production costs. In anticipation of implementing IP technologies at nOOb Studio, we have two 10Gbps network circuits and enough bandwidth available for receiving several SRT sources.
Do you have any advice on system development for others in your field?
For remote workflows that link studios and streaming sites, it may be possible to transmit videos at SMPTE ST 2110 or SRT, but there may still be issues with audio. To overcome audio challenges, using an IP audio system with Dante products – such as OG-DANTE-12GAM – is ideal. As long as you have a Dante controller mounted with the card, it’s possible to transmit embedded audio for up to 16 channels per video stream.
In many cases, infrastructure at event venues can be insufficient and not provide enough network bandwidth for remote production, so it’s important to consider all of the possibilities for your production environment, and implement new technologies or products to innovate your workflow and produce world-class content.