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Hardware Purchasing for a Unique Live Music Show

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Christopher Walker
Hardware Purchasing for a Unique Live Music Show
on Mar 16, 2010 at 2:07:50 am

Alright, as a heads up, this is a multi-part question.

Some back-story though:
I've been producing a live video show for an exciting indie band called Pilotdrift for the last two years.
Due to band logistics and such, this show is bringing five rockers down to one in support of a new album. How does this work? Gorillaz style!





Now, as you can see, there is a virtual band, projected in a near 3D fashion, with nice, grooving audio synced to it. Obviously, this is a multi-million dollar production.

For our project, there is the band frontman playing live, with his virtual "Imaginary Friends" band behind him on a single, very large screen.

We've spent the last two years shooting the band on green staging, and compiling the live video song performances in a creative fashion via FCP and After Effects.

We're nearing the end of our post-production and are starting to formulate the necessary requirements for the show. And thus, my questions:

1. What would be a great video-presentation software to go with? I need something that is streamlined (organizable, good run lists.), HD compatible, and has the capabilities of multiple/surround sound audio selection. I have thus far looked into programs such as Pro Video Player from Renewed Vision. and Playback Pro from DT Video Labs.

2. Secondly, audio here is very important! We're thinking that outputting the audio either by firewire or fiber from our MacBook Pros to a variable IO with 4-8 channels. Meaning, we want to preserve our stereo audio while adding a click track for the frontman on stage. Thus, 2 channels go to the venue's mixer, and possibly another 2 go to the performer. What would be recommended hardware wise for this? We're employing "Late 2008" MacBook Pros, with Express34 Card slots.


I know this is a lengthy post, but any help is very much appreciated!

-Christopher Walker


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Walter Soyka
Re: Hardware Purchasing for a Unique Live Music Show
on Mar 17, 2010 at 4:49:54 am

Most media for concerts is played from media servers like Hippotizer or Pandora's Box, and controlled from the lighting board.

[Christopher Walker] "What would be a great video-presentation software to go with? I need something that is streamlined (organizable, good run lists.), HD compatible, and has the capabilities of multiple/surround sound audio selection. I have thus far looked into programs such as Pro Video Player from Renewed Vision. and Playback Pro from DT Video Labs. "

These are both good products.

I've never tried to use multi-channel audio with either product. You might try contacting both developers and asking them about multi-channel audio; I think you'll find they're both very responsive.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Christopher Walker
Re: Hardware Purchasing for a Unique Live Music Show
on Mar 17, 2010 at 7:46:57 am

Alright, I've sent correspondence to each company, and will hopefully get responses soon.

I will say though that the full on media-servers will be a no-go. Much too expensive for our budget.

To continue the audio side of the discussion, I'm thinking about utilizing an Apogee Ensemble connected via firewire to handle the audio. Through its Maestro control interface, I (hopefully) can designate which audio channels can be sent through which 1/4" TRS outputs.

Does that sound logical?

-Christopher

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle


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Scott Buford
Re: Hardware Purchasing for a Unique Live Music Show
on Mar 21, 2010 at 1:44:39 pm

I think your biggest hurdle here is going to be finding a video playback/media serverish system that supports multi-channel audio. Even the high end media servers like Hippotizers and MBox extreme only support stereo audio playback at this point.

I have limited experience with the two software solutions you presented, so hopefully their tech support will get back with a multichannel audio solution for you.

If not, I can see two other non budget-blowing options. One would be to have two DT labs playbackpro plus systems running off a sync roll. One could playback your video track with your audio that will run through the PA, and the other could play back basically a "dummy video" that will play the click track. Not the most elegant solution, but it would avoid the more costly solution of having seperate audio and video playback units with timecode sync, etc.

The other option would be if you have a lighting control desk that has timecode capabilities. You could have an audio playback system to playback your audio tracks, you could play them through an audio interface like the MOTU ultralite which could generate LTC timecode for you. This timecode could be fed to the desk and then used to cue the video playback in sync from Arkaos mediaMaster, which is a more cost effective (in comparison to Hippos, etc) dmx controllable media server.

Hope this helps, sounds like a cool project.


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Christopher Walker
Re: Hardware Purchasing for a Unique Live Music Show
on Mar 21, 2010 at 10:39:23 pm

Thanks everyone for your help and insight.

I believe we're going to go with DT Video Labs and Playback Pro. I emailed them really late one night, and they were johnny-on-the-spot, getting back to me within the hour.

Their representative stated that through "discreet output channels" within QT settings, that Playback Pro can manage multi-channel playback with the video. So this is great! His example of such is the massive amount of multi-audio channelling that the Blue Man Group stage productions employ with their product.

So there's my answer. That, with an M-Audio ProFire 610 to physically split the audio, and all in all, my client and I are spending less than $6000 for all of the hardware for the production. This makes the two of us very happy.

When we're out there gigging, I'll make sure to post some some pictures or video for this thread to see the end result of your advice.

Thanks again!

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle


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Thomas Leong
Re: Hardware Purchasing for a Unique Live Music Show
on Mar 22, 2010 at 5:24:25 am

Glad to hear you've got your problem solved. I did not respond initially though I had a possible solution 'cos I'm on Windows and using a multi-video display , multi-audio channel software from Austria with the M-Audio 410.

One caution with the M-Audio units: you must use the supplied Firewire cable. Short, but the generic stuff from the shops don't seem to work except for the supplied cable. If you need a longer cable, best to ask/buy from M-Audio themselves to ensure it works.

All the best to your project,
Thomas Leong



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Christopher Walker
Re: Hardware Purchasing for a Unique Live Music Show
on Mar 22, 2010 at 5:27:49 am

Thanks. I'll keep that in mind! FireWire can be so finnicky.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle


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Walter Soyka
Re: Hardware Purchasing for a Unique Live Music Show
on Mar 22, 2010 at 7:13:42 pm

Glad to hear DT Videolabs was able to help, and thanks for posting your solution back here to the forum.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Larry Jones
Re: Hardware Purchasing for a Unique Live Music Show
on Jan 22, 2011 at 11:30:19 am

I am looking for a similar solution(no multitrack needed) that will run on PC. Any recommendations?
I am a singing Impressionist and would like to sync graphic files and/or video clips(e.g. pics of Sammy Davis as I sing Sammy Davis) to an audio track that I will sing to live. There can be up to 75 voices in a 1 hour show and there are some pauses between segments....
It would be convenient but not necesscary(perhaps another issue) if the same program could automate reverb on/off cues as it runs. This is all new to me so any help is appreciated. I have experience editing audio with wavelab and video with sony vegas.

Thanks!
Larry

http://www.lasvegasacts.com


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Andy Innes
Re: Hardware Purchasing for a Unique Live Music Show
on Feb 6, 2011 at 8:27:23 pm

We're running multitrack audio for live shows ( pro touring application - 4 tracks to the house and click to the drummer) using Sonar, a PC notebook and an Edirol UA101. We've been on this system for about three years now @ roughly 70 shows per year, a new city for each date - mainly festivals and some club / theatre dates. No problems yet. Sonar can run video in sync with audio, so that might be your answer, although I couldn't say what extra draw on the system the video footage would generate.

HTH

Andy


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