Dan Graetz is a filmmaker who wears a lot of hats. He directs, shoots, writes, edits, colour grades, does voiceover, and produces his own political satire show, soup to nuts. But he never dreamed, until recently, that he would also do his own broadcasting—all out of his home studio in Brisbane, Australia.
In the days of COVID-19 it pays to be resourceful. When his client Violent Soho, one of Australia’s top independent rock acts put the final touches on their new album, they knew traditional live tour promotion was out of the question. In the age of social distancing, even a listening party would take some doing. Graetz had shot the band’s tour work and music videos, so if anyone could pull it off, he was it.
The release date and listening party for Everything Is AOK was scheduled for 3 April 2020, at the height of the six-feet apart, stay-at-home order. “Australia has a prehistoric Internet infrastructure,” Graetz said. As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, he adds, “I live 25 minutes from a major metropolitan city and the best I can get is a 3.5mbps ADSL1 connection.”
As a self-professed tech-nerd, he quickly familiarized himself with his new Teradek VidiU Go encoder and the accompanying Core Cloud platform. Graetz was no stranger to the brand. He said: “I already owned Teradek’s Bolt DSMC2 and RT Latitude 2-axis system on my RED Monstro, and a SmallHD Focus Bolt system on my Canon EOS C500 Mark II— all products that have served me well.”
The Core cloud-based streaming management platform is designed to enhance and simplify IP video workflow. VidiU Go facilitates quick and easy, high-quality live streams to Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
To prep he “had to run a 50 meter 3G-SDI from my home studio to the top of my house so my collection of bonded 4G SIMS could each get two bars of coverage. It ended up holding solid for a 2-hour stream to Facebook Live and YouTube Live simultaneously.”
For the listening party, guitarist James Tidswell and drummer Michael Richards joined Graetz in the studio, sitting at far ends of a sofa. The other musicians, Luke Boerdam (lead singer/guitar) and Luke Henery (bass) participated via Zoom. By utilizing VidiU Go’s HEVC compressions and Core’s cloud-based transcoding, Graetz still had enough spare bandwidth to “satellite” in the two band members over Zoom into the stream mix.
“We played the new album in its entirety. For the tracks that had been made into music videos, we played the relevant clip just to add some visual interest. For the remaining songs, I created animated lower-thirds with a spectral analyser synced to the tracks.”
Audio quality was their key goal. “And thankfully,” he said, “the audio transmission quality compared to traditional broadcast was excellent. Using VidiU Go I was able to bump the audio bitrate up to 256kbps. Both the band and their label/management commented on how good the audio sounded.”
There was one hitch. All was going smoothly until halfway through the show when YouTube yanked the live stream due to a misconception that the music being played was a copyright violation. It took a few minutes for the label to convince YouTube that the authentic band was playing their music. Graetz said: “It turned out to be a real benefit that the Teradek gear let us stream to both Facebook and YouTube. The simultaneous streams gave us the failover and Facebook kept streaming so folks could just switch over.”
The listening party was a success and Dan Graetz learned a lot. “It was my first time using Core and VidiU Go and I couldn’t be happier. Wait till you see what we plan to do next.”