To engage and connect with target audiences virtually, companies and organisations across industries are increasingly turning to high-quality video and audio live streaming. As the pandemic has further amplified these content demands, the founders of Taiwan’s Makee Studio recognised a unique opportunity to establish the first studio-as-a-service offering in Taipei for corporate entities. Today, the studio provides state-of-the-art production facilities, professional technology, and experienced talent to help clients produce high-end content and better communicate brand messaging through rich audio and visual media.
“In the last two years, we’ve witnessed increasing demand for virtual and hybrid events with live and on-demand video segments,” said Louis Lu, General Manager, Makee Studio. “Our studio has helped some of the largest events in Asia transition to hybrid and fully virtual formats. In 2021 Computex Taipei, one of the biggest computer exhibitions in Taiwan, filmed and live streamed more than 30 live event segments at Makee. The InnoVEX startup pitch contest for the ICT industry, AWS Accelerator Demo Days, and SEMICON Taiwan have also produced content for online events at our studio.”
Because Makee Studio was established to function primarily as a studio-as-a-service, the facilities feature VIP guest areas for clients that are separate from the main control room, an LED wall, an AR stage, and additional areas designated for crew. To avoid cable clutter in the halls and guest areas, the team installed eight wall-mounted boxes dispersed throughout the studio that house SDI and NDI cabling. This allows the crew to move PTZ cameras to film in any location around the facility and connect to the internal system by plugging into the SDI cables. The cables lead to two AJA KUMO 1616 compact 16×16 routers, with one receiving incoming SDI inputs and one transmitting outputs. A single AJA KUMO CP control panel enables the team to monitor, configure, and control both routers remotely or from a central location. Inside the control room, KUMO feeds two-to-four incoming signals into an AJA Ki Pro GO for convenient, high-quality H.264 recording.
“We started out capturing recordings in Apple ProRes 444 or 422, but soon realized that H.264 files were sufficient for our clients’ needs. Most projects are uploaded to websites or YouTube, so H.264 compression is ideal,” stated Lu. “Ki Pro GO is now our main recording device, which offers the stamina and reliability to capture content all day. While typical broadcast stations might record a show for an hour a day, we’re shooting for eight-to-ten hours per day, which Ki Pro GO handles with ease. During production, we’ll switch between each of the four USB drives, which we backup to our computers and conveniently hand off to our clients at the end of the day. They’re always impressed with how quickly we’re able to share files.”
Makee Studio also relies on AJA FS-HDR for real-time colour correction and frame sync between camera feeds, including remote signals brought in from clients or participants who can’t film in-studio. Because the studio is equipped with a range of PTZ and studio cameras from different manufacturers, FS-HDR is critical for live frame syncing and matching each camera’s color to create a unified look. Additionally, the team uses AJA’s HELO standalone H.264 streaming and recording appliance for live streams, which offers reliable and stable performance under the most rigorous real-time production environments. Lu added, “We’ve even tested HELO for more than 72 hours of non-stop streaming to evaluate its capabilities, and it handled the live workflow without any downtime.”
To help clients produce the most visually engaging content possible, Makee Studio recently built an LED wall to shoot real-time backgrounds using Unreal Engine.
According to Lu, “For the workflow, we’re currently using AJA’s Io 4K Plus for SDI signal input and HDMI signal output for live previews while we’re setting up the LED wall. We view the previews on an external monitor prior to filming, which has saved our team a lot of money.”
Looking ahead to the future, Lu expects to see continued demand for hybrid events with a virtual component – even after pandemic restrictions fully subside. Shows have reported as much as a 600 percent increase in the number of attendees for virtual events, due to increased accessibility for global audiences.
Lu concluded, “We’re helping brands rethink the way they work by providing new opportunities to communicate and connect with target audiences through high-end video content, and AJA solutions have been integral to making that possible.”