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Tuesday 27 November 2018

Admittedly 'fast cars and videotape' may be a little misleading but 'Porsche-sponsored event streamed using Real Time Messaging Protocol' just didn’t have the same ring to it.

The Media Technology programme’s Outside Broadcast truck was off the road tonight for a livestream from Popham Airfield. The high-profile event, jointly sponsored by Porsche and Denon, featured a couple of techno DJs headlining inside of one of the airfield’s hangers.

There were plenty of challenges for the crew including watching how much current they drew as the three hangers had limited power available – at least the air conditioning wasn’t required being such a chilly winter’s evening. The crew rigged and operated three system cameras and a DSLR to be livestreamed over social media platforms to an expected audience of 13.5 million people. An audio feed was taken directly from the DJ, which proved to be a challenge in itself as the interconnects and signal formats differ from those used in traditional broadcast systems. Fortunately the students were able to put their knowledge and soldering skills to good use to connect the unbalanced output from the DJ to balanced inputs on the truck’s audio interface.

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Engineering the cameras was also difficult given the vast dynamic range produced by the dark environment and bright lights. This really tested the raw ability of the camera sensors as well as the operational skills of the racking engineer who was tasked with balancing the pictures from the various camera feeds.

The event organisers seemed impressed with the quality of the output and have proposed another livestream from Germany on the strength of this event. On top of that another large organisation have also expressed an interest in arranging something similar. Our involvement came from a third year BA (Hons) Television Studio Production student. The lead is testament to the professionalism and awareness of Solent students and also demonstrates the combined strength of production- and technology-focussed students from within the School of Media Arts and Technology.

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