Progressive Rock Band CHON Live Streams “Live from the Living Room” Performance with Help from Blackmagic Design
Since forming in 2008, CHON has become one of the most buzzed-about acts in the new era of progressive rock, with more than 40 million Spotify streams and tours with the likes of Coheed and Cambria, Animals As Leaders and Circa Survive.
Ahead of the June release of their self-titled third album, the trio, consisting of guitarists Mario Camarena and Erick Hansel and drummer Nathan Camarena, wanted to connect with their fans. However, due to stay-at-home restrictions, an in-person performance was out of the question. So, the band turned to Kevin Garcia of MixOne Sound to create a special live streamed show, partnering with Ibanez guitars and Tama drums to air the performance across all of the parties’ social media channels, including YouTube Live, Instagram Live and Facebook Live, garnering more than 80,000 viewers.
Professional Live Streaming from Home
“Live from the Living Room” featured CHON performing their 2015 debut album “Grow” in its entirety for the first time ever, right from the band’s living room.
“Given we were live streaming in close quarters, along with respecting social distancing guidelines, space was at a premium and gear was limited,” explained Garcia. “We had one camera operator in the living room with the band, a stream tech and I were in the dining room/kitchen area, and our audio engineer was in a bedroom on the other side of the house.”
Even with production limited in terms of gear, crew and space, Garcia still had to deliver a flawless live stream, so he turned to Blackmagic Design. His setup included two Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and two URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 cameras, an ATEM Television Studio Pro HD live production switcher, a Video Assist 7” 12G HDR monitor/recorder and a DeckLink Duo 2 capture and playback card.
“I choose the Blackmagic Design cameras for their ease-of-use, color science and wide dynamic ranges,” explained Garcia. “The band wanted a ‘live from the living room’ look, and we couldn’t bring in a real lighting package. I used two lights and dialed the cameras in, and with the different LUTs, I was able to get it to look great. It still had that authentic vibe of being at home, but it didn’t have the bad tones that you’d normally see filming in a living room. We had several large windows as our backdrop and did the stream at 5pm PST with no cloud coverage that day. The cameras’ dynamic ranges allowed the band to be exposed well and not have the back windows blown out.”
All four cameras were fed into the ATEM Television Studio Pro HD, which was connected to a computer with a DeckLink Duo 2. “One of the URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2s was also connected directly to the DeckLink Duo 2 just in case anything happened, so we had a spare master shot that bypassed the switcher,” noted Garcia. “We used the DeckLink Duo 2’s two outputs to send a program feed to the Video Assist 12G HDR to record onto an SSD via USB-C, so we’d be able to hand a recording to the band directly afterwards, and the other to a monitor just off camera for the band to be able to see while they were live.”
Garcia continued, “I am very comfortable with the ATEM Television Studio Pro HD. The HDMI and SDI inputs came in handy when mixing the Pocket Cinema Camera 4Ks with the URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2s, especially not needing to convert anything as it kept the workflow as simple as possible, which is what we needed for this project. Also, CHON’s songs are all over the place as far as timing and cuts, so the ATEM Television Studio Pro HD made it easy to use the preview and hit ‘auto’ to dissolve for all the cuts. It was the smoothest setup, and the way the switcher is laid out makes it very easy and comfortable to do that.”
With the ATEM Television Pro HD’s program out routed to the DeckLink Duo 2’s first input, Garcia was able to pick up the feed in his computer’s live switching program. “From there, I was able to connect to multiple streaming platforms either through a link already provided by the program or by acquiring a custom RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) and stream key. The program allowed me to stream to three locations simultaneously, and an external send was also being picked up in two OBS instances cropped to a 9:16 format to distribute a feed to Instagram,” explained Garcia.
“Instagram has a different aspect ratio, and we had a few ideas on how to accomplish delivering to it, while simultaneously streaming to Facebook and YouTube,” he added. “In the end, we decided to duplicate the stream over from Facebook and YouTube, while making sure the framing was able to work for both. Using the grid lines on the camera, we centered it to Instagram’s aspect ratio and had our camera operator panning as needed throughout the performance to make sure no one was ever out of frame.”
Little Things Make a Huge Difference
“Given the special circumstances, this project required a lot of flexibility. Even little things made a huge difference, such as having two inputs and two outputs on the DeckLink Duo 2. It helped with simultaneous monitoring, the backup shot and recording, and being able to hand a recording right over to the band from the Video Assist 12G HDR with no rendering or converting directly after the performance was such a luxury,” concluded Garcia. “Luckily CHON was amazing, we had a great crew and we could rely full on the gear and our workflow to pull off a seamless live stream.”
About MixOne Sound
MixOne Sound is a full-service professional audio, video, lighting, live stream and staging company based in Orange County, CA, specializing in elegant and high-profile entertainment events locally and nationwide. Our knowledgeable, personable and professional staff strive to exceed the expectations of all our clients by providing unmatched service quality.
From large concerts, to corporate events and conferences to weddings and social events, we provide the best tools and expert staff to make your event memorable and amazing. Since 2008, MixOne Sound has been committed to providing only the highest quality event production.