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Farewell to Live Production GmbH

21/01/2021

Farewell to Live Production GmbH posted: 25/01/2021

After 11 Years we say Thank you to all our Customers, Sponsors and Readers

Live Events is the only industry that is and will be totally shut down for over a year and more with zero income. The companies and the people in the industry cannot gain commercial loans or financing because their balance sheets and profit and loss statements are negative, and they have no income stream that will allow repayment of a commercial note. The Live Events Industry in particular is at the point of extinction, as every firm is closed and will be until June 2021 or longer.

Some reflections of the past 40 years in Live Production. I work in this Industry since1980 for most of the time on the Hardware side improving the production and transmission of Live Events. We moved the videosignal quality from FBAS Recording to Component recording (U-Matic to Betacam) and from analogue to digital recording.

The Betacam Format proofed its reliability at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary where the lady's downhill winner Marina Kiehl was recorded with a Betacam camcorder during the flower ceremony at the finish area following her straight to a helicopter flying her directly to the German broadcast studio at the IBC with temperature differences from -10 to +30 degrees Celsius. The recordings on the Betacam cassette were played back during her interview in the studio without any dropout.

Marina Kiehl at the Olympics in Calgary

In parallel we promoted the move from SD 4:3 production to HD 16:9 production.

At the end of the 1980's, the Eureka initiative of manufacturers and broadcasters in Europe triggered the development of analogue HDTV equipment and production facilities, key suppliers being Thomson and BTS. The initiative was based on a) the analog transmission standards (HD-MAC, D2-MAC for standard definition), b) Test production & transmission during the Olympic Games 1992 in Albertville (Winter) and Barcelona (Summer) and c) numerous productions in Europe, organized by the European Consortium VISION 1250 with production facilities provided mainly by Thomson and BTS. The European Consortium VISION 1250 was responsible for the production and distribution of the HDTV programs produced at the Olympic venues in France. Transmission of the signals at the time were provided via Satellite using the analogue HDMAC-transmission standard, reception was provided at about 150 special viewing sites throughout Europe. European production teams from France (SFP), Italy (RAI), England (BBC), Sweden (SVT), Spain (RTVE) and Portugal (RTP) produced the individual events. However the European VISION 1250 system didn't succeed. After burning some 100 million ECU it disappeared.

VISION 1250 equipment at the Olympics in Alberville and Barcelona

After this Intermezzo the focus was solely on the Japanese 1125 lines system. A first terrific example was the test of the NHK 1125 lines system during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta where the mens 4x 100m rely was covered with one camera on the roof of the stadium, starting with a totale covering al eight start runners following them by zooming in to the first exchange then following all eight athletes to the second exchange, then zooming back to cover the third exchange following the eight athletes the last 100m to the finish line documenting the win of the quartet from Canada.

The Summer Olympics in Atlanta

The real success of HD took place in 2006 where the FIFA soccer world championships in Germany were covered in SMPTE certified 1080 lines. At the FIFA championships2010 in South Africa and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London the TV viewers also had the chance to see some of the events in 3D. However, the 3D experience found a home only in the cinemas.

The FIFA world Cup in Germany and in South Africa

But not only in sports HD became a success - also in the recording of high-end show events like Robby Williams concert in Knebworth 2003 and the industry continued to introduce the next Quality step in video recording and transmission with 4K UHD by covering the 2013 concert of MUSE Live in Rome. And the Eurovision Song Contest from 2017 onwards was covered in 4K

Robby Williams - MUSE - Eurovision Song Contest

I believe every human being has one or more strong memories of live events, in my mind currently Images of the Opening ceremony of the 2008 Peking Summer games and images of the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Summer games are popping up.

Opening Ceremony at the Peking Olympics - Closing ceremony at the London Olympics

In parallel to the quality improvement of the video signal we moved from linear editing to non-linear editing and finally into the cloud which enabled us to go around the planet in 80 milliseconds and produce the first-ever fully decentralized production of a live, global music event. On Nov. 22 the live-streamed program opened with Purple Schulz playing an intimate, center-stage concert in the One2One Studio in Bottrop, Germany, with Stephan Ullrich and Daniel Klein thrilling audiences with a performative reading on Nov. 23.

In 80 milliseconds around the world

iPads were placed in seating positions around the stage enabled interaction between the streaming audience and the artists, adding a powerful immersive element and making the event more tangible for all. The on-site production team worked with a minimal cast, with the director working remotely and in real time from Vienna, the lighting designer from Munich, and the lighting operator from Frankfurt. FOH and broadcast sound was mixed in Cologne, and the parallel sound recording was controlled in 5.1.4 from Valhalla Studios in New York. The TV Skyline Skycenter in Mainz acted as a hub for camera control, image mixing, and stream delivery, while teams in Berlin managed quality control and remote audience aspects.

The technol
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