Welcome back to our 4th installment of Pivot Point. Pivot Point is designed to explore what production professionals from all over are doing right now to keep working. This means going from on location and studio multi-camera to more remote like “at home” productions. This time around we catch up with Nick Walsh, Creative and Technical Director from LiveX. LiveX is a very interesting company that does some of just about everything. They(LiveX) are no strangers to challenging production situations and have been able to turn the corner and keep pretty busy. Here’s what Nick had to say about the current production environment for LiveX.
PW: What’s it been like to be in the middle of NYC and the epicenter?
NW: A little scary, but the 7 p.m. applause that NYC does is an incredible experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life – it’s amazing seeing folks come together in a time of need.
PH: Tell me a little bit about yourselves and how you got involved in production?
NW: I actually have a Theatre background – started on stage and eventually got into Directing and the technical side of theatre, which led to Live – which is like theatre but with a lot more things I can break!
PH: How long have you been doing production and what kinds of production?
NW: I’ve been doing live for almost 4.5 years now, doing everything from multicam livestreams, to concerts, to studio shows. A little bit of everything!
PH: What is going on with LiveX right now and what are clients asking
NW: We are doing a lot – we’re upgrading our facilities to be able to handle a lot of simultaneous remotes because all of our clients are trying to do their typical live events, but completely remotely. We’ve seen things from small studio shows trying to run a studio remotely, to live event teams that normally sell out convention centers trying to do their whole event remotely. It’s been a really exciting challenge.
PH: Can you give me an example of a production that might have been a traditional multi-camera shoot and how it turned into a streaming thing?
NW: We actually have a client who had their debate show canceled and we’re working with them to see if we can do a debate remotely. It’s a big psychological challenge because trying to do a traditional debate (with interruptions, etc.) over remote workflows. It will be difficult, but not impossible. I’m genuinely curious how our brains will adjust to being on Zoom and Skype, etc. – when we’re on these calls we encounter more latency (or delay) than we have in normal life, so I wonder what it will be like when we’re back to having face to face conversations.
PH: What is your current tech streaming set up?
NW: Oh a lot, and it changes every day. We’ve been loving SRT, it’s been a life-changer during times when networks are congested. ClearCom and
ProductionBot has been incredibly powerful for us as well – we’ve been able to rapidly expand our facilities as well as create remote home studios with full capabilities. Wowza Clearcaster has also been an incredibly reliable and remotable hardware encoder. We’ve been turning every stone over to find solutions that can make life easier for operators and get high-quality streams out as quickly as possible. And of course – Chrome Remote Desktop.
PH: What kind of info do you need from a potential client and how quickly can
you turn it around?
NW: We like to know how many talents will be needed, as well as how many clients will need to watch a low latency stream (which we try to keep to a minimum). It’s not as simple as plugging in a camera anymore, and workflows can grow in scope very easily, so having a really clear Run of Show and requirements early on only helps everyone have a good, clean show.
PH: Anything you want to add?
NW: I’m really excited to see creatively we’ll be able to do with remotes. I know it seems stressful and confusing, but I’m so interested in seeing all of the creative solutions the broadcast/live streaming community will come with. Necessity is the mother of invention, so I’m pumped for all of the cool inventions that will come out of this turbulent time.
So I am sure most of you are just like me. I can’t wait to get “out there” and get some actual field production underway. But of course, we have to be patient and
make sure that no matter the production, we are working in a safe manner. I know that goes without saying. Also as with any production, never let anyone compromise your safety or that of your crew. It just isn’t worth it.
Before I forget, let’s make sure we say Thank You to the hundreds if not thousands of production professionals that have kept working through all of this.
Local crews, network crews, engineers and more, have been at the front line of all of this. Without those brave production professionals out there how would we know what is going on in the world around us? Let’s just say we owe all of you a “beverage of choice.” Lastly, I would ask if you have any great stories of the above and beyond, send them to me and the production stills to firstname.lastname@example.org or @markfoleyeditor via twitter. Please stay safe.