Live Switching with Wirecast

Live Switching with Wirecast

Aardvark Video Puts a Dozen Crew Members to Work During a Recent Live Switching Project

We recently completed a project where we were hired for a Las Vegas trade show and we needed to provide live-mixed recordings of a presenter on camera and their PowerPoint presentation. We had to do this in 10 different rooms. The goal was to have a live-mixed file immediately available after the presentation for online upload with no other editing needed.

blackmagic-ultrastudio-live-switchingLive video switching is a common task at many shows. What made this unique was that we used ten MacBook Pro laptops, which were fed a camera source and PPT (PowerPoint) source through two Blackmagic Design Ultrastudio SDI to Thunderbolt external units. The sources were switched using Telestream Wirecast software and mixed files were encoded live. Audio was sent from a manned soundboard to the cameras where we received an embedded audio feed from the SDI connection.  During breaks the files were uploaded to memory sticks and subsequently put online the same day. This required a 10-person operator crew and 2 supervisors.

Like anything else we do this required a great deal of preparation. The company that hired us also put a lot of preparation and testing into the process. They sent us guidelines for what they envisioned the process would be. We tested it with the equipment planned and made changes where appropriate.

From there we sent the guidelines to the crew members we had assigned and asked them to become familiar. The next step was having the crew come in for several hands-on training sessions. Unlike many of the companies involved with this type of work, we don’t expect our crews to show up and know the equipment and the process. We plan and train as needed for the job.

The day before the show, we loaded the laptops with Wirecast and physically tested all the connected equipment including the cameras and scaler feeding the SDI connected PPT. Practically a full day was needed for the 10 installations. We also brought in 2 spare laptops, 2 spare Blackmagic Design Ultrastudios, extra Thunderbolt cables, and anything else we thought might be needed.

As with most projects of this scope, there were problems with the audio and lighting that also needed to be adjusted on the setup day.

Largely because we took the time to prepare and train our crew, the project went well and the files were available online the same day.

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Our client was very pleased with our work and how we helped other members of the project not on our crew such as the camera operators.

For something like this we could have even taken it a step further and with the capabilities of Wirecast, live-streamed it. Large-scale video production projects like this are commonplace to the work we do here at Aardvark Video in Las Vegas. If you’d like to learn more about us browse our website at https://aardvarkvideolasvegas.com.  We can be contacted at 1-702-897-4477 or via email at creators@computer.net

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