Defqon.1 Delivers Ultra HD for Dance Fans

Blackmagic at Defqon.1
Photo: Michiel Ton

As well as keeping more than 78,000 hardstyle fans entertained over three days at Q Dance’s Defqon.1, a dedicated live production team from NEP was also working to deliver UltraHD content from the festival’s main stages for the first time, through its UHD2 OB truck, a mobile control room and a newly built mobile UHD PPU for content production.

With stages up to 1.5km away from each other, NEP designed a live video solution around a central production hub, which received all camera signals, tally and intercom from the ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ stages via optical fibre, allowing for reliable signal delivery for Ultra HD over long distances.

“We set up UHD2 as our broadcast gallery, which had several advantages,” began Alain Dikken. “As well as keeping cable run length as manageable as possible, it also meant that all the stages’ directors were working together in close proximity, so they could work as a team, covering someone else’s seat during breaks and encouraging a more collaborative approach where possible.”

Signal distribution was handled by a Smart Videohub 40×40 matrix, managing up to 18 camera inputs from across the festival site simultaneously, and the mix was delivered on two Atem 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K switchers.

The Red stage relied on a series of Sony F55s, while four URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 with Blackmagic fiber chains and PL optics covered the Blue stage. Both stages were rigged up with a pair of Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera 4Ks for close up detail shots of the DJs.

“Live dance music events are a unique genre within live events and really need an innovative approach to content production. There’s never a dull moment, with lasers, light shows and atmospheric backdrops to cover,” explained Dikken. “At times during Defqon, we wanted to be able to film at 24 or 25fps to give us a more cinematic feel, and then be able to switch back to a more traditional live production format. The URSA Mini Pro G2 gave us the creative latitude that we needed.”

This was complemented by a dynamic camera rigging design, including dolly tracks and a crane mounted unit, which could sweep across the crowd to help capture the atmosphere.

An Ultra HD PGM mix from the Atem 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K was taken directly out to 55 inch Samsung OLEDs at either side of the stages, and to a streaming provider for Defqon.1’s social media channels. An additional live feed was downconverted to HD via a Teranex AV standards converter and taken through to a separate OB studio onsite to deliver content for broadcasters.

Dikken concluded that as well as providing great, high quality video content throughout the event, a major advantage of the system concept was the time saved during pre-production and build days. “Because so much of the system was designed with single cabling to handle a wide variety of data from the cameras, it simplified our technical drawings hugely,” he explained.

“So, our engineers onsite could just get on with the job, without having to have long briefings to make sure everything was correctly translated from our designs into the physical set up.

“This not only saved a huge amount of time during a very busy and pressured schedule, but it also immediately demonstrated to our client that the team was proactive and productive from the second they got onsite,” he concluded. “Everyone can instantly relax, and get on with producing a fantastic event ready for all of the fans to enjoy.”