Pickathon Music Festival Relies on Blackmagic Studio Camera and ATEM Production Studio 4K
Blackmagic Design announced that Pickathon Music Festival used five Blackmagic Studio Cameras and six ATEM Live Production Switchers, as well as a large number of additional Blackmagic Design products, as the backbone of its live production and live streaming workflows. Held outside of Portland, OR in early August, Pickathon brought together more than 50 musical acts across seven stages for a three day music festival on the Pendarvis Farm and in the surrounding woods.
Not only is Pickathon unique in terms of location, with one stage nestled in the woods and made entirely out of tree branches, but it also relied on a unique live production workflow. Pickathon’s producer and a production veteran, Ryan Stiles, coordinated a crew of 68 staff and 223 volunteers to handle live broadcasts to monitors around the festival grounds, as well as 44 hours of live streams to a global Internet audience via the festival’s and local station KEXP’s websites. Tens of thousands of people enjoyed the festival, whether at the event itself or watching live streams online.
Located near the main stage, a 57 foot broadcast truck housed an ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K and ATEM 1 M/E Broadcast Panel, which were the heart of the live production workflow. The switcher handled all the stages’ feeds along with three computers feeding it edited content.
“The ATEM switchers allow Pickathon to accomplish tasks that would otherwise be impossible. We needed stability and a universal system that’s the same no matter what stage the directors are at. The simplicity and ease of use of the software and control over the network is an all around win for us,” said Ryan. “The importance of using it cannot be stressed enough. One of Pickathon’s challenges is that we are not a crew during the year. We come from all different types of employment in the industry, and I need everyone to understand the equipment within a five minute period so they can focus on our aesthetic rather then fuss with technology. The ATEM switchers and Studio Cameras allow us to do just that.
“When putting together the production for this year, I knew we needed to use the Blackmagic Studio Cameras because of their functionality and mobility, perfect for live production,” he continued. “When shooting live, menus inside of menus are not an option, and the Studio Camera’s easy access to camera options is amazing. And the two color settings worked out great. We shot flat for post editing color grading and then switched over to video for richer tones when streaming live.”
Ryan added: “By the end of the first day, our senior camera operators had nothing but praise for the Studio Cameras. I would say that the Studio Camera is the future of multi camera live production.”
The staff were divided among the rest of the stages and used a mix of cameras, switchers and converters, including the Blackmagic Studio Cameras HD, ATEM Production Studio 4K, ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher, three ATEM Television Studio switchers, six ATEM Camera Converters, three ATEM Studio Converters, HyperDeck Studio Pro and three HyperDeck Shuttle SSD recorders to record the footage, two H.264 Pro Recorders and 13 Mini Converters. 3,800 ft. of optical fiber cable connected the stages to the main broadcast truck. A Blackmagic Design Production Camera 4K was used to shoot private sessions around the farm with the musicians called “On the Farm.” These sessions were also streamed during the festival and will be released throughout 2015.
“This is Pickathon’s 16th year, and since day one the driving force behind it has been to create the best music festival possible for music lovers. And that’s across the board, from the lineups and stages to eliminating plastic and normal festival hassles, as well as putting decisions in the hands of the online community,” concluded Ryan. “I’ve been producing the festival for the last six years, and each year we try to make the production better for festival goers and online viewers. It’s why we rely on Blackmagic Design for much of our live production and streaming workflows.”