Blackmagic Design is hitting the road. The Billie Eilish: Happier Than Ever, The World Tour has implemented a multicamera live production workflow using URSA Broadcast G2 cameras.
Video production specialist Vis a Vis, led by Stuart Merser, has embarked on a yearlong tour spanning 43 dates that included a live performance at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. In addition to the on-stage visuals, Vis A Vis also streamed the singer songwriter's headline set to the festival's YouTube channels.
While venues differ each night, the core production setup remains the same essentially and includes six Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2 cameras with SMPTE fiber chains. Several smaller camera systems complement this, including a Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera 4K with a detached fiber back solution rigged on a Polecam system.
"All of the cameras around the stage are on railcam systems from Blackcam," explained Merser. "Storytelling is vital, and so by extension, is the need for consistency. Those positions are all remotely operated from dedicated stations featuring SmartView 4K and SmartScope Duo 4K preview monitors, allowing the operators to view their TX (transmission) and returns."
The main production desk is built on the ATEM Constellation 8K live production switcher with an ATEM 2 M/E Advanced Panel for hardware control. Signal management relies on a Smart Videohub 12G 40x40 router with multiple HyperDeck Studio HD Mini recorders. The engineering rack also features a Teranex AV standards converter for up, down and cross conversions.
As part of the tour video package, Merser specified the use of 5mm LED panels from PRG. "I didn't want this to be projected," he explained. "We've got 16x9 side screens on either side of the stage, with portrait screens on stage and a central LED wall, which means we can feed live IMAG to every surface."
When it came to planning for Coachella, much of the tour's video elements were adapted to the festival stage. According to Merser, "That included incorporating disguise xR and Notch Blocks to create stunning and dynamic backdrops for Billie to perform against."
Vis A Vis also had to cater to special guest appearances and a live stream on YouTube. As a result, two additional URSA Broadcast G2 cameras and a dedicated production desk for the stream were incorporated.
"Having to cater for wide shots in the live stream, I had a second desk put next to me running an ATEM Production Studio 4K so I could throw in wides on the stream cut," explained Merser.
Many artists, including Billie, go straight to their Instagram after the show finishes explained Merser. “And more often than not, if I get any feedback, it's from a clip they've watched on social media," he concluded. "With fans filming the screens and sharing that content to social media, it is vital more than ever that what we produce is the best possible quality, regardless of how or where fans will consume it."