UK-based live recording, production, music mixing and broadcast outfit Spiritland Productions has integrated Dolby Atmos audio solutions into its live streams.
As the pandemic has all but put a stop to live music events, streaming of live performances (small, socially distanced productions) has taken off.
Antony Shaw, director, Spiritland Productions, commented: “As soon as we started playing around with the demo, we were sold. We were surprised by just how enjoyable the mixing experience can be in Dolby Atmos, not to mention all the tools and flexibility that it also gives you to shape spaces. We’ve come a long way since then and continue to develop new techniques to capture audio in the space we’re working in but keep everything aligned to avoid timing issues. Doing this makes the stereo fold down a lot easier.”
To complement its new Dolby workflow, Spiritland Productions bolstered its audio and video encoding strategy with a portable setup using AWS Elemental Link devices at the venue, streaming into the AWS cloud with the AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaPackage video processing services providing the final encoding and packaging for onward delivery.
Having little AWS experience, the team, supported by AWS, experimented to bring the two streams together in a unified setup integrating into a selected player that supports a stereo feed of each live production for the audience as well as a Dolby Atmos version.
Spiritland Productions first put its AWS and Dolby-enabled workflow to the test for a live performance by Hot Chip, which was streamed via ticketing agency website DICE. Audiences bought tickets to the virtual experience weeks in advance, and on the day of the concert, received a link through which they could access a HTML5 player to watch and cast the live stream.
Audio from the stage was fed into SSL SB32.24 stage boxes through Cisco switches and multiplexed onto CWDN fibre. At the truck this was then un-multiplexed into DANTE and mixed on an SSL System T console to create the Dolby Atmos mix. The stereo fold down was embedded with pictures from the gallery which was then fed through an SDI router to two AWS Elemental Link devices on-premises and from there into AWS Elemental MediaLive, where it was transcoded to meet various quality levels, ranging from 1080p to 240p.
“We had no previous experience with AWS prior to this production, yet it went off without a hitch, and that’s a testament to AWS and Dolby, and their development teams,” shared Shaw. “AWS Elemental Link combined with AWS Elemental MediaLive is incredibly user-friendly and easy to get up and running. Adding AWS Elemental MediaPackage, combined with Amazon CloudFront for content delivery means we can easily scale globally. It’s provided us with a solid foundation to build on, so that we can continue innovating for clients, especially as 5G becomes more of a reality.”
In the coming months, as Spiritland continues to deploy this workflow for future productions, it’s aiming to deliver a cinema-grade streaming experience for viewers. Shaw concluded: “At the end of the day, for us, it’s all about bringing music fans a more immersive experience and driving it to become the standard across live concert and festival streams. With scalable, reliable technology from AWS and Dolby, we’re able to speed up the process and the possibilities will only grow as 5G technology proliferates.”