NEP Connect (formerly known as SIS LIVE) worked with the Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA), Channel 4 and YouTube to deliver an ambitious and unique project to mark the RBMA’s 15th birthday with a celebration of club culture which saw 30 music gigs from the Coca-Cola London Eye broadcast live and streamed simultaneously online.
Coca-Cola London EyeThe Coca-Cola London Eye is the largest Ferris wheel in Europe and comprises of 32 passenger capsules. On the 14th November 2013, 30 capsules played host to 30 legendary club nights, with over 100 DJs and artists, in a celebration of UK club culture. Over 2,000 clubbers danced in the silent disco on the pavement at the foot of the Eye. In addition to the 30 feeds from the pods there was also a bespoke Channel 4 live webcast featuring presenters captured by two RF cameras, mixed with the best of the action from the capsules, a helicopter camera and beauty shots.
Broadcast in real-time on Channel4.com in the UK and YouTube for the rest of the world, more than a million viewers tuned in and later in the evening, there was a highlights stream capturing all the best moments.
Thirty NEP Connect RouteCase® systems were used, one in each of the capsules, to edit the two video and audio feeds which were then transmitted to the production unit. RouteCase, designed and manufactured by NEP Connect, is a portable and affordable HD live production studio featuring a 4 video input vision mixer and 10 channel audio mixer, making it ideal for this kind of project where space was at a premium. Set up was a challenge as the Coca- Cola London Eye is a popular tourist attraction and NEP Connect was granted only a two hour window in which to rig and test the equipment in each pod! Detailed planning was crucial to ensure that everything was loaded on and off in the right order as each capsule passed by ground level.
As each of these sources was constantly on the move it was impossible to use fibre to transfer the signals, which meant that thirty five RF signals from the London Eye pods, the Heli-tele and four RF cameras were simultaneously linked live into our RF hub vehicle.
With the current squeeze on suitable RF frequencies available to broadcasters it was a challenge to fit everything in, however JFMG and OFCOM were extremely helpful throughout and temporarily released some additional bandwidth. NEP Connect’s good relationships with these governing bodies and our expertise in spectrum management helped make this event possible.
A total of 31 streams were encoded onsite by eight servers located in a NEP Connect vehicle and delivered via fibre for online streaming. NEP Connect devised a system which minimised the risk of disruption to the broadcast, with all equipment UPS powered, each server with built-in redundancy and incoming feeds was monitored closely. A 200MB pipe was used to deliver the streams in full 1080 HD format, for file upload and provision of on-site internet connectivity. This was the first time that 31 simultaneous live HD streams had been broadcast through YouTube and Channel4. com from a single event and was the successful culmination of a period of detailed planning and testing by NEP Connect and the many project stakeholders.
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