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Remote live streaming test performance

Hey funkateers! Yesterday was our day #3 of testing remote live performance streaming.  On previous Saturdays James and a friend from a broadcasting TV company made us the willing guinea pigs to experiment with their remote live broadcasting software.  

The first time we tried was borderline ‘horrific’, however the 2nd test was quiet good – so good in fact that it gave us confidence to mention a remote live streaming performance on Facebook at 14:00. We started to set up at midday – James being in the head office of the TV company to hook it at all up with Dan.

The tech behind the scenes is far from Zoom or Skype – and – from what I gather – rather complicated – diagrams like these were shared around – a bit above my pay grade. 

How it all works? I think James Welch from Masterlink Productions might be the man to ask. On my end one of the major tasks was to make sure to have as much wifi bandwidth as possible for my audio signal to go out and also to hear back what the other guys are doing. Teamviewer sessions were a frequent occurrence and at one point we had to install Tripe Mode 2 on my Mac to makes sure that nothing was running in the background of my Mac OS – iCloud backup and all. This was after switching off all computers, iPads, phones in the house –  much to the dismay of my wife who needs wifi for her ‘serious’ work. 

And routing – something I’m personally not great at at the best of times – the audio routings just on my computer resembled a plate of spaghetti bolognese (in my mind at least) and it is great to see James Welch gobble up all these complications. 

Aside from all the technical stuff – how was it for us to do this? Well, it was difficult! As impressive the tech kit is – playing together in the same space seems to me an unbeatable experience on many levels. As we are testing this system we spent many hours on experiments to improve the tech – in this time we would have managed to record and film a fair view Masterlink Sessions as of pre-lockdown.

Granted, this is not possible right now hence our willingness to try this during these lockdown times. However, it is a stark reminder why we are creating Masterlink Sessions videos in first place. People together in the same space room can create a creative energy that goes far beyond what seems to be possible with remote recording. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, for sure.

Also, from a practical and time-management point of view – it is much more efficient and not as resource heavy to produce Masterlink Session videos. The pre-production element is comparable and there is more travel required by all – however, this can’t outweigh the ultimate result – the music.

Listening back to the remote live streaming video – to my ears it lacks cohesion and the one constant seems to be that the latency is inconsistent. Latency might be an issue that is unsolvable – however, even assuming this could be technically fixed – it still doesn’t make up for the lack of feel and integration. This is also the reason why we have decided to not leave the video in the public space via our socials.

Don’t get me wrong, I think everyone has done a great job – musically and technically and everyone is brilliant in what they do – however, the ultimate result does not reflect well on the music in my opinion.

It would be interesting to hear your thoughts!  Aside from the usual pranksters and wind-up merchants we really appreciated your enthusiastic support nonetheless. Some of you asked us to learn more about the in and outs of the tech but I think I’ll have to ask James to spell the beans on this channel instead.

We tried  and will keep on trying with this explorations – however, my heart desires to get back with all involved to make music at the same time in the same space. This is where I get my mojo from. Let’s hope that this will soon be possible again.

Carpe funkem, Stefan

CREDITS

  • Mike Sturgis – drums
  • Ross Stanley – Hammond organ
  • Mike Outram – guitar
  • Stefan Redtenbacher – bass
  • James Welch & friends – sound and tech

PS: A big thank you also to all the musician’s families who had to endure some time without any internet connection. Support beyond the call of duty, I’d say! 

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