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Feildin’ Stream: Roland Streams Own Festival

BURBANK, CA—Roland rolled out more than two-dozen new musical instrument products on “#909day” with an around-the-clock streaming online music festival from eight major cities worldwide under the banner “The Future.

BURBANK, CA—Roland rolled out more than two-dozen new musical instrument products on “#909day” with an around-the-clock streaming online music festival from eight major cities worldwide under the banner “The Future. Redefined.” The final stage of the broadcast, hosted by Six01 Studio in Burbank, CA, delivered five hours of performances from a long list of musicians and DJs that included Linda Perry, Mike Garson and Judith Hill and was produced exclusively using Roland Professional A/V equipment.

Roland set up three stages—a main stage featuring traditional rock bands, another stage for piano-oriented performances and a smaller stage spotlighting DJs and technology—at Six01 Studio, the headquarters of an artist collective and think tank that operates event, recording and rehearsal spaces within its facility. The evening also featured performances by Saint Motel, DJ Pierre, DJ

Trayze, Echosmith, Masego, MOON, Ric’key Pageot, SAARA, She Wants Revenge, Smallpools, Tal Wilkenfeld, Gregg Bissonette, Josh Stevens, Lola Astanova and others.

A single Roland M-5000 digital audio mixing console positioned between the three stages and operated by front-of-house engineer Brian Belcher received a total of 94 audio inputs via individual S-4000 S32x8 digital snakes. A second M-5000, manned by monitor engineer Tomas Wolfe, was located beside the main stage. Between them, Belcher and Wolfe generated the house PA feeds and monitor mixes for all three stages using the consoles in combination with M-5000 iPad App and M-5000 remote control software on wireless tablets.

A third M-5000, located in the Six01 recording space, was used by broadcast mix engineer Andy Santos to create the webcast audio mix that was then fed to a Roland V-1200HD video switcher. The V-1200HD was used to switch between 16 different video input sources, including wireless remote mobile cameras, two fixed cameras, a camera on a jib and a number of remote-controlled cameras, as well as video playback and graphics. The selected video feed and live audio mix were embedded by the switcher and sent to a computer capture device running Wirecast by Telestream, one of the event’s sponsors. Wirecast encoded the stream for delivery and internet broadcast by hosting service Ustream, a title sponsor of the event, which also provided the embedding links for dealers and Roland’s TFR websites to be able to support the webcast.

Christian Delfino, vice president of product management for the Roland Professional A/V Division, comments that, while Roland has staged streaming events previously, the production at Six01 was the company’s most ambitious. “It was the most audio inputs we’ve ever used, 16 different video sources, plus directing and coordinating multiple cameramen,” he says.

Many artists played throughout the streamed festival, including MOON, with Dan Silver and Chelsea David.

Wrangling a roster of 28 different performances on three separate stages was not without its challenges, either. “Artists make the best efforts to give you a technical rider, but sometimes show up with different pieces of equipment or different gear or different requirements,” he says.

But the Roland gear was equal to the task, he reports. “Because of the M-5000’s flexible architecture, we were able to add additional input channels based on each band’s need to the setup. For example, one band showed up with eight playback tracks, so we had to very quickly add an additional eight channels. The M-5000 makes it easy—you just grab those eight channels from your 128 available audio paths.”

As for the audio mixes, says Delfino, careful preparation by the three engineers during the two days of soundchecks ensured that everything went without a hitch on the night. “The M-5000 made it easy with the ability to quickly recall scenes. As each band got onstage, the team recalled one of 28 scenes on each respective console and the band was ready to go with all of the monitor, front-of-house and broadcast settings.”

Despite the complexity and scale of the event and the large number of artists, adds Delfino, “There was never a doubt that our equipment and our own in-house staff would be able to handle the job.”

The #909day event on September 9, renamed by Roland in honor of its iconic drum machine, which was released 33 years ago, kicked off in Tokyo with a keynote from Roland CEO Jun-ichi Miki. During the following 24 hours, the broadcast handed off to a succession of cities to the west, passing from Japan to Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Toronto, New York City and, for the grand finale, Los Angeles.

Additional Roland gear was deployed in the performance space to manage signal distribution to numerous video displays. The main performance and smaller piano stage were each flanked by two video screens, while the DJ stage had four screens, including a large Chauvet LED wall. Longtime Roland video switcher users Opticus video used a Roland XS matrix switcher to manage video along with additional in-room camera switching using a Roland V-800HD.

Remote cameras and graphic content for the DJ stage were switched using a Roland V-1SDI, with graphic content, visuals and video switching for the DJ stage provided by Grant Davis, who performs under the name of VJ Culture.

Roland Professional A/V