How a live streaming launch comes together....


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Well it’s that time of year again. CALL of DUTY Launch. That’s right it’s been a whole year since I wrote about the successful launch of Call of Duty Black Ops, and now we have the new Call of Duty MW3 launch.
Just as last year, myself as part of the Mediakinetic team were once again asked by Headstream and Five by Five Digital to live stream the launch of the new Modern Warfare 3 title. However this year it was to be even BIGGER! As if Battersea Power station and live link ups with Oxford Street wasn't big enough, this year we were to go all out and wow the viewers.
So what’s the plan? Well we needed to have two live link ups with an event running in Germany and France as well as another link up with the Game Store in Oxford street. This time the link up need to go through the main control room and needed to be full HD.
The venue for the event was Old Billingsgate Market, on the Thames, which is a very large building now used for events like this. It also has multiple levels, and these were to be used for an assault course, two stages and of course the gaming areas. All needed to be covered in full HD by our camera crews.
It’s at this point you realise it’s all about THE TEAM and getting the right people in to do the right job. And boy did we have a good team. Lindsay (MD of Mediakinetic) and overall in charge of the whole project, put together an amazing team of camera crew, directors, sounds guys, editors etc. The whole event from build-up to teardown was done within 24 hours. I’m not going to go into too much technical detail, as I want to concentrate more on how we all worked together on an event like this but if you want to know a bit more about the tech then feel free to tweet me and I will happily answer.
We were basically split into three teams. 1st being the camera crews with the second being the control room guys. We had five roaming crews at the venue all transmitting via microwave to the production switcher, as well as the three live Satellite remote video feeds from Germany, France and Oxford Street. This team was amazing, how they managed to set up the huge amount of kit they needed and have the system up and working in a matter of hours is still a mystery to me. They really knew their stuff.
The output was sent via our time delay guy (needed to filter all the profanity) to my team who looked after the live streaming and recording of the event. This year we were streaming through Livestream. All well and good, as they can create nice mobile versions of the stream as well as your typical flash versions. However I was unable to use my beloved Wirecast software as Livestream only support the use of their Procaster for multi-bitrate streams. BOOOO!! This did mean that we had to off load some of the work back to the control room guys. I was unable to add Lower thirds, switch to pre-recorded material as this is not possible with the Procaster software. However, we were able to get the stream out to many more viewers thanks to Google/Youtube pushing the stream and Livestream's nice integration with Facebook. I used a SiSLive Routecase video mixer as well, mostly for monitoring the multiple feeds I had and it gave me a simple way of switching to a backup feed if needed, including an analogue audio option if required. I will be doing a full review of the route case next month, so stay tuned.
We were also recording the program out onto the nice new Sound Devices Pix240 SSD recorder. Why, I hear you ask? Well I will tell you. We wanted to turn around a highlights edit of the entire 5 1/2 hour event as quickly as we could and had an amazing editor sitting in another room waiting for footage. The beauty of the Pix 240, is we could have it record the program out and create 15min long files on the SSD, then when that SSD was full, swap it out for another. We were not worried about the odd few seconds of missed footage when we swapped as we had another recording the entire show. Once we had our SSD full of footage we could send it to our editor over the network to his Mac.
The Mac being a new iMac 27" with the nice 12TB thunderbolt drive array attached. The great thing about this setup was that our editor could just continue to work on the footage while we copied new files onto the drive. It worked so well that at the end of the event, it was only about 15 mins before we had a completed and rendered out highlights video. Again it’s all about how we worked together and getting the right people in.
Success on the event not only came from having good people, but working together well. Everyone needed to trust the other that they would do their job and do it well. I knew I could leave the guys in the control room to get me a quality video feed, our editor knew he was going to get event footage as quickly as we could get it to him, and the directors knew the camera guys were going to be in the right places at the right time. A lot of this hinged on Emma Hay tying everything together and communicating with all the relevant teams, a good producer and assistant producer were critical and Lindsay and Emma did an amazing job.
All in all the event went very well, the client was very happy and let’s just say the game has proven very popular.
Feel free to ask questions on twitter @jpratchett
If you’re interested the highlights edits can be viewed here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc2RXc9idaw

Tags: iss060 | cod | call of duty | call of duty black ops | mediakinetic | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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