As the UK and other countries across the world look to reduce public gatherings, one metal band from Pittsburgh, Code Orange, alongside veteran videographer Sunny Singh may have delivered a way forward. Whilst venues cancel shows and postpone gigs music fans are left missing out. So what’s the alternative? How about streaming the event live? That is what Code Orange did and it led to the event being watched by 13,000 fans live on twitch. Original Article by Stan Horaczek and can be read here.
The venue was basically empty but the band smashed out its new album. Yet the stream had 13,000 individual streams hitting the homes of fans meaning that the actual figure watching could have been in excess of 20,000.
Veteran videographer and cinematographer Sunny Singh was onboard to help. He keeps an extensive archive of punk, heavy metal, hardcore, and other alternative band concerts on his site, Hate5Six.com. He had done live streams in the past, but only for very simple productions. “If we were going to do this,” he says, “we figured we would set a standard and try to show bands what you can do without a huge budget.”
Watch LAST ONES LEFT: Fear of the End // 3.14 9pm EST from codeorangeofficial on www.twitch.tv
Some venues have live-stream setups already installed, but they typically involve static wide-angle cameras positioned at safe angles designed to capture the entire scene. For Code Orange’s set, Singh used an array of six cameras, including several mounted around the cub and two hand-held camcorder-style Canon cameras on-stage to get close and add motion to the scene.
From a viewer’s standpoint, the human camera operators helped match the energy of the performance. “The band was fully committed,” says Singh. “They went out there and played as if the room was packed.” In reality, there was only around 20 people inside a venue that typically seats 1,500 to 2,000 fans.
Media Quest, a local production and logistics company, provided some of the extra gear that the crew needed in order to pull off the shoot. A director at the board worked in real-time—with cues from the band’s production team—to switch between angles. The band also created slick, pre-produced material that’s meant to play on a large screen at the back of the stage that the director cut into the stream in real time.
“We got in there at 11 AM and set up and spent all day running tests and doing dry runs,” Singh explains. “I spent time doing internet speed tests and making sure that the stream wasn’t going down.” Even if the footage looked and sounded great in-house, however, getting it out to the public isn’t quite as simple.
Singh set up a dummy account on Twitch just to see how it would ultimately look for viewers once live. “If someone had randomly stumbled into that dummy stream,” he laughed, “they would have gotten to see the band practising.”
For qualified accounts, Twitch allows streamers to accept donations and subscriptions, which come with a monthly fee. Collecting funds from viewers directly through the stream could help to offset some of the revenue bands will lose because they can’t sell tickets to the shows. Down the line, it could also include pay-per-view options. Services like Cleeng and Lightcast.
The Code Orange stream seems to have been a complete success. Social media buzz—and a general atmosphere that encouraged people to stay home on a Saturday night—had people in the stream’s waiting room before the band even started playing. And more than 13,000 concurrent viewers tuned in during the live stream.
The comments during the set were rowdy and enthusiastic. A regular flow of emojis popped up, but it remained largely civil.
As of Monday Morning, more than 30,000 viewers have watched the recorded broadcast, and an even higher-quality version will go up on YouTube in the coming days. With shutdowns in effect for the foreseeable future, more bands and venues have already announced more live-streamed performances from empty venues.
Singh says that, going forward, the most important thing venues can do in order to make streaming simple is to provide ample reliable internet. If you don’t already follow bands you like on social media, now would be a great time to do so in order to find out if and when the streams might happen.
Also, if you have some extra cash, there is a ton of would-be tour merch up in bands’ online stores and they could use the support. Watching a stream and online shopping can’t match the experience of going to a show and handing cash to the merch guy. But, at least your new shirt won’t have as much other people’s sweat on it when you get it home.