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Red Bull Streams 31 Live Music Events on YouTube Simultaneously
A record-breaking live music webcast could be the swan song for SIS Live's outside broadcast capability.
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Only 2 years after streaming 4 live video streams and 26 audio streams of music concerts simultaneously from tourist attraction the London Eye, Red Bull Music Academy has surpassed itself by streaming 31 video webcasts.

Red Bull claims that the event, which took place on November 14, is the first time that 31 simultaneous live HD streams have been broadcast from a single event.

Red Bull's technical partner on both occasions was SIS Live, which installed and managed the live, two-HD camera feeds in 30 of the 32 capsules of Europe's largest Ferris wheel. Channel4.com streamed the event live in the U.K., and YouTube streamed the concerts to rest of the world.

In addition to the 30 feeds from the pods, Channel 4 created a bespoke live webcast featuring presenters captured by two RF cameras mixed with helicopter shots and the best action from the capsules.

The EDF Energy London Eye dominates the skyline of the Southbank area of the River Thames and stands 135-metres tall. In 30 of the pods a SIS Live-designed RouteCase system was used to produce video from the cameras plus audio feeds which were then transmitted to SIS's flagship outside broadcast production unit. The RouteCase is a portable HD live production studio featuring a four input vision mixer and ten channel audio mixer.

“This was the most RF-intensive programme we, or probably anyone, has attempted at a single venue, having thirty sources from The London Eye pods, Heli-tele, and a further four RF cameras simultaneously linked live into our RF hub vehicle,” explained Pat Blackburn, lead RF communications supervisor.

Setup was a challenge since London Eye owners EDF Energy gave the event organizers only a two hour window to rig and test all the equipment in each pod. As each of these sources was constantly on the move it was impossible to use fibre to transfer the signals, which meant that a comprehensive RF network had to be employed.

 “With the current squeeze on suitable RF frequencies available to broadcasters it has been a challenge to fit everything in, however [spectrum management company] JFMG and Ofcom [the Office of Communications] have been extremely helpful throughout and have managed to temporarily release some additional bandwidth for us," added Blackburn. "Our good relationships with these governing bodies and our expertise in spectrum management have helped make this event possible.”

Streams were encoded onsite by 8 servers installed in SIS Live’s MPV1 vehicle and delivered in 1080 HD by 400MB fibre for online streaming. SIS minimised the risk of disruption to the broadcast by using uninterruptable power supplies for all equipment, building in redundancy for each server, and monitoring all incoming feeds closely.

David Meynell, managing director of SIS Live said, “The planning and preparation for this event was meticulous, particularly owing to the tight turnaround and intensive RF and IP requirements. Being central to the delivery of such a high profile event, and working with multiple parties is what SIS Live does best and we are proud to have delivered this exciting and elaborate show so successfully.”

It is not clear whether or not SIS Live will be in a position to facilitate an event on this scale again. Last month, it announced the closure of its outside broadcast division from March, after failing to regain any contracts for BBC Sport in the most recent round of tenders.

The decision affects 240 jobs, while SIS Live's fleet of 14 HD trucks, 4 SD trucks and ancillary equipment -- Europe's largest -- is being put up for sale.