Modern musicians have access to more opportunities than ever before, with high-speed internet making it possible to conduct interviews, collaborations, remote song and soundtrack recordings, videos, lessons, and even live-streamed performances, all from the comfort of their home or home studio. For Ron Wikso, the prolific touring and session drummer currently playing with the Steve Miller Band on their 20-plus date summer tour, when he’s not on the road, remote gigs are a vital source of work.
After recognizing that the quality of his conference calls was limited because of the integrated laptop camera and microphone he was using, he recently upgraded his home studio’s capabilities with ClearOne Aura Versa cameras that deliver crystal-clear video with powerful features that enable far greater creative flexibility.
When not on tour, drummer Ron Wikso expects to continue collaborating with musicians around the world remotely with ClearOne’s collaboration solutions.
“I’ve been interviewed on podcasts, I record drum tracks for musicians I never meet in person, and sometimes I’m even involved in performance videos where I film myself and the project lead uses it in their final product,” Wikso explained. “These opportunities have been growing and became especially important when COVID-19 began shuttering live performances. Going forward, I expect to continue collaborating with musicians all over the world, and thanks to the new ClearOne cameras and microphone in my home studio, I’m confident that the quality will be excellent and I’ll be able to test new creative concepts through the use of multiple cameras.”
Wikso learned about ClearOne’s class-leading Aura cameras and microphones from two industry friends who had each upgraded their home recording capabilities to improve virtual communications in the pursuit of more remote projects. After conferring with a ClearOne rep about his needs and expectations, Wikso settled on ClearOne’s Versa 50 package that includes a CHAT 150 speakerphone and a UNITE 50 4K Ultrawide ePTZ camera, then added an additional UNITE 180 4K ePTZ 180-degree Panoramic camera to enable dual-camera recording and placement flexibility. The UNITE 180 camera features three lenses and internal processing to stitch together an ultrawide picture in real time, allowing an entire room to be captured.
Wikso utilizes an additional UNITE 180 4K ePTZ 180-degree panoramic camera to enable dual-camera recording and placement flexibility, allowing an entire room to be captured.
“Technology has changed the music industry so much that bands can now even continue on when a member leaves, because they can quickly and easily host online interviews and/or auditions for performers all over the world,” Wikso added. “For remote collaboration and interview purposes, my new ClearOne equipment is a major step up in terms of quality, flexibility, and how much of my studio can be captured in a single frame.
I wanted two separate cameras so that I can have both a wide view and a zoomed in view at the ready, with the ability to relocate both of them and quickly switch inputs to ensure effective, focused visuals when I’m collaborating or showing someone how a part is played.”
The ability to move the cameras freely around the room relies on the use of USB-C PD cables that provide both power and data transmission through a single cord. Before the upgrade, if Wikso wanted a different view, he had to move his entire laptop around the room, which added complications to calls and could even affect internet connection and recording quality. Now he loves being able to instantly control the zoom functionality with a remote, as well as the UNITE 180’s people tracking feature that automatically keeps him in the frame as he moves around the room, greatly improving his on-screen presence.
“I didn’t truly realize just how basic my laptop’s camera and microphone were until I saw and heard the clarity and quality of this ClearOne gear,” Wikso said. “I really feel this is a game-changer for what’s possible and what types of projects I can pursue.”
Wikso has had a long, illustrious career as a touring and studio drummer. In addition to his current role in the Steve Miller Band, he’s worked extensively with many other world-class acts including Foreigner, Cher, David Lee Roth, Gregg Rolie (Santana and Journey), Richie Sambora, The Storm, Player, Randy Meisner (the Eagles), Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Eddie Money, the supergroup World Classic Rockers, and more.