The technical quality of the shows at Blue Rock Studio is our responsibility to the artists as well as the viewers. The look and sound of the broadcast must do justice to the song. When everything flows properly, a synergy is formed with everyone involved. The artists’ movements and emotions amplify the song, feeding energy to the cameramen and audio mixer who fall into the rhythm and groove of the song. When the audio and visuals are locked into the performance, the viewer is delivered a sense of live energy right to their computer screen. In turn, viewers encourage, chat and tip the artist, which feeds back into the cycle.
If at any point this chain were to be broken, we’ve failed the artist and viewer. If a camera 2’s white balance is not properly calibrated with camera 3, the flow of energy stops and the viewer feels uncomfortable about something, though they may not be sure why. If the vocals are too loud, the viewer feels a vague sense of embarrassment. Everything matters, and because of this, everything is thoroughly tested and checked before every webcast here at Blue Rock. We make sure that we are lighting key points of interest and that it looks good in camera frames. We don’t have a movie budget, so we have to be smart to make the most of the equipment that we have. We take time to learn the details, like how dark colors encode when they go out for broadcast, and how to shoot for a small video window. We have regular tech meetings to rehearse our roles.
There is elegance in the technical aspect as well. Just because we have signal passing doesn’t mean it’s worthy. Framing an artist to showcase her best angle, letting the drummer know his shirt is unbuttoned, making sure the candle behind the bassist doesn’t make his head look like it’s on fire, etc. Missing these little details can add up to a distracting show. Of course, we aren’t perfect, but we love this stuff and we love the music, so it’s worth the effort to aim as high as possible.
We use three primary HD-cameras to shoot the artist, and various additional ‘spy cams’ throughout the studio. All cameras feed to a Blackmagic Designs Switcher where the video director controls which camera is live. The video feed is then encoded and broadcasted via Wirecast.
At Blue Rock, our goal is to present a show that is so easy and enjoyable to watch that the technical aspects become transparent. They never cross the viewers mind.