Sunday, February 5, 2023

Tokyo’s Nouvelle Vague Streams 25th FUJI ROCK Festival with AJA

Streaming is ubiquitous across entertainment, enabling event organisers to reach wider audiences through hybrid event formats. For the 25th anniversary of FUJI ROCK, the largest outdoor music festival in Japan, the live broadcast experts at Tokyo’s Nouvelle Vague Inc produced the event’s official YouTube stream, which reached a remote audience topping hundreds of thousands. To pull it off without a hitch, Nouvelle Vague Vice President and Director Masayoshi Ikeda and his team developed an efficient, reliable live production workflow comprising AJA solutions deployed at the event venue (Naeba Ski Resort) and Nouvelle Vague’s main control centre.

Ikeda shared, “We used AJA’s FS4 for converting video feeds to 29.97p for ingest and streaming, KUMO 6464 for routing signals, Io 4K Plus for editorial I/O, Ki Pro Ultra 12G and Ki Pro GO for redundant recording of Apple ProRes and H.264 files, OG-DANTE-12GAM for audio embedding, and disembedding utilising Dante, T-TAP Pro for output from the playout system, and BRIDGE LIVE for SDI encoding and RTMP streaming outputs.”

For the three-day festival, Nouvelle Vague developed a workflow to capture performances from the venue’s four main stages and produced the official festival stream, which 200,000 remote viewers tuned into. While stream quality was paramount to the success of the hybrid event, the team also wanted to capture the highest fidelity audio across performances since the recordings would also serve as demo materials for the artists.

Having produced the stream for the 2021 festival, Nouvelle Vague joined the 2022 event six months before showtime to refine the live workflow. The company’s on-site staff consisted of 25 crew members working across two teams; one managed infrastructure setup, while the other handled technical and editorial aspects of production. The infrastructure team arrived to set up and configure the streaming system three days ahead of the show. One day prior to the event, the technical team then showed up, and the crew conducted an equipment rehearsal to test the full streaming workflow.

For the festival’s on-site system, Nouvelle Vague transmitted SDI 59.94i feeds from each of the four venue stages to FS4, which converted the signals to 29.97p for ingest and streaming purposes. To route the converted signals, they used KUMO 6464, which provided the flexibility required to distribute a single video feed to multiple channels. The ingest system included Apple Mac Studio with Softron MovieRecord to capture and continuously record three channels for all four stages (totaling seven sources) to NAS storage. To prepare for any NAS network issues, the crew used Ki Pro Ultra 12G for redundant recording and simultaneous baseband capture without a network connection. They also recorded feeds from all four stages with Ki Pro GO as a backup.

For audio embedding and disembedding, the team relied upon eight OG-DANTE-12GAM cards – an openGear 12G-SDI embedded audio to Dante IP audio bridge. They used two cards for audio disembedding at each stage, two for playout, two for embedding the program output, one for disembedding looped play videos (to be broadcast during intervals of the YouTube stream), and one for backup.

During the festival, editors cut together performances for the stream immediately following capture, with Io 4K Plus used to ingest network recordings into DCCs. For playout, the team generated the final edited videos generated with Softron’s OnTheAir solution for live production, with T-TAP Pro handling output. BRIDGE LIVE managed encoding and simultaneous YouTube streaming with three RTMP channels.

Ikeda shared, “When it comes to integrating new technologies into our live workflows, we’re always looking for the newest and most innovative products that support workflow flexibility, like tools from AJA.”

Nouvelle Vague began transitioning to IP workflows last year and developed an audio system that uses Dante to easily handle large-scale networks, helping to reduce system costs. The team integrated OG-DANTE-12GAM to eliminate the process of converting from SDI to analog audio while also minimising sound quality deterioration. For a flexible streaming solution that works with HLS, SRT and RTMP, the team integrated BRIDGE LIVE. Ikeda added, “We chose BRIDGE LIVE because we prefer AJA products for offering compatibility and broadcast-grade stability.”

Ultimately, the stream for FUJI ROCK 2022 was a success, with improved network bandwidth and the addition of Mac Studio to record up to eight channels at 60p, offering greater system stability. In the near future, Nouvelle Vague is looking to further integrate IP workflow technologies into its system and expand capabilities to offer SRT transmission with on-site operations. By linking sources from event venues to its nOOb Studio in Tokyo, the team will further develop a remote workflow for recording, editing, and streaming, while reducing production costs. “The important thing is to consider all the possibilities for your production environment and implement new technologies or products to innovate your workflow and produce world-class content,” added Ikeda.

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