The four-day SQLBits conference at the Manchester Central exhibition and conference centre is the largest community-led SQL server and Microsoft Data Platform conference in Europe.
Sheffield-based Stream7 was contracted by SQLBits to provide coverage of multiple seminars taking place throughout the conference, including a major announcement by Microsoft of particular interest to the SQLBits community.
Stream7 established NDI event broadcasting and connectivity facilities for eight breakout rooms, each of which included a presenter with a laptop. Stream7 added a camera to each room, equipped with a BirdDog Studio NDI encoder to cover professional seminars on database language.
An additional BirdDog Studio NDI was connected to another laptop for production purposes, resulting in a total of 16 NDI feeds that were fed back over a fibre network to a central location in the exhibition centre. Production team members equipped with NewTek TriCasters created a composition of the live camera and laptop feed from each room and recorded them for On Demand viewing.
Stream7 Managing Director Darren Wain said, “We felt that SDI would require more cable than we could effectively run video over without inviting problems, so on advice from DigiBox we decided to deploy camera-mounted BirdDog Mini NDIs, not necessarily to avoid SDI limitations but to ensure we could achieve what we needed to for the job.”
Stream7’s brief was to record and edit all sessions onsite and have them online almost as soon as they finished. Because the nine rooms were some distance apart within the exhibition centre, Stream 7 deployed 17 operatives, including BirdDog-equipped camera operators who pulled video signals to a central location, and a dedicated network team to monitor the system throughout the four-day event.
“The video backbone from the BirdDog NDIs we purchased from DigiBox enabled us to do that,” said Stream7 Technical Director Pete Amos. “If a seminar was full and we were able to use the NDI signals and project video onto two screens outside the room in order to be more inclusive.
“Using the BirdDog Studio NDIs gave us the flexibility to route video wherever it was needed and worked really well. Many of our camera operators come from a broadcast background and were surprised at how easy it was to use the BirdDogs and TriCasters to get video from whatever room we needed when compared to traditional SDI scenarios. We could, if necessary, log into the system from anywhere in the venue and resolve any issues without disturbing what was taking place in the room.”