It was a star-studded performance boasting a retinue of international performing artistes like Toni Braxton, John Legend, and Manhattan Transfer BABY FACE, amongst others at Indonesia’s recent Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta.
But the silent stars of the show who didn’t take to the stage but did everything to deliver high quality HD images to the screens for millions of viewers was none other than Sony’s high performance HXC-100 cameras and MVS-6000 switchers.
Billed as Indonesia’s number one jazz music and song festival, and one of the largest in the world, the Java Jazz Festival in March this year drew over 90,000 visitors to the 3-day extravaganza in the Indonesian capital.
According to Sony Indonesia General Manager, Mr. Naoyuki Nagase, this was a “first” for Sony to help joint festival organizers, PT. Java Festival Production and PT. Indomedia Pekar Sentosa, adopt HD video production for an event of this magnitude.
“The adoption of HD video production for large scale events in Indonesia is still in its infancy. The Jakarta International Jazz Festival is the largest music festival in Indonesia, supported by international big-name artistes. This year, all of 90,000 tickets for the shows were sold out,” he said.
Sony Indonesia collaborated with the event organizer, PT. Java Festival Production and PT. Indomedia Pekar Sentosa, to deploy Sony’s HD system camera (HXC 100) and multi-format production switcher (MVS-6000), Sony HD equipment is already well accepted by the Jakarta’s broadcasting community.
Nagase pointed out that Sony has previously deployed the HD production system at smaller events including sport event (Indonesian Volley Ball League), TV Station anniversaries, Live Music Events, local drama productions and local TV station reality shows.
“As the technology leader for live HD production, Sony offered a new dimension in visual experience in terms of higher picture quality to its partners. For the organizers, the content was going be acquired and archived in HD format, and subsequently distributed in HD format in future,” he added.
The need to improve material quality on the production was crucial to the Java Jazz organizers as part of the sales and marketing effort called for distribution and sale of recorded content for specific artists like John Legend and Diana Warren in Blue Ray versions. This necessitated the input of high quality raw material for post-production edits achievable with Sony’s HXC-100 and MVS-6000 HD equipment.
Explaining why previous live programmes were not done in HD format, Nagase said the cost for adopting Live HD production in the past was costly. Operationally, equipment required to do this was extremely cumbersome for TV recording crews.
“Today, the introduction of affordable live production systems comprising the HXC-100 system camera and multi-format production switcher MVS-6000, has reduced the cost barrier to deployment substantially,” he said.
Furthermore, he pointed out, the versatility, flexibility and performance of Sony’s HD equipment addressed the operational needs of the production crew in terms of ease of use and portability to difficult locations.
This was Sony’s first collaboration in a major show event in Indonesia and as the organizers’ key technology partner, Sony got involved in several aspects of pre-event work. This included the number of HD cameras to cover the main stage, key camera locations, stage lighting for best quality picture recording, and type of recording formats.
As this was the first time that HD equipment was being deployed for the show event, Sony Indonesia had to familiarize the crew with special technical training. “We conducted several training sessions before the event for the crew to understand the HXC-100 HD camera and MVS-6000 switchers. To ensure that the best quality material was captured, we allocated one senior Sony technician in the master control room,” Nagase said.
Nagase explained that the organizers had a good relationship working with other brands of video recording cameras. Sony Indonesia had to convince them through lengthy discussions to convince them. “But in the end, thanks to the superb quality rendition of the HXC-100, our cameras spoke for themselves, and the organizers agreed,” a happy Nagase said.
After several pre-show discussions, Sony recommended that 10 units of the HXC-100 cameras be deployed for live production during the performances by John Legend, Diane Warren and Tony Braxton. This was to ensure that all possible angles were covered for post-production edits.
Nagase added, “This was a very important collaboration for Sony Indonesia as it was a large scale music event. The Java Jazz is supported by many international performers. There were specific requirements in terms of equipment needed to support them as material recorded had to be transferred to DVDs and Blue Ray. Hence all our equipment had to be approved by their technical directors too.”
A key challenge for covering such a big event usually is the backup needed in case of equipment failure. However, because of limited time and the amount of equipment needed, Sony Indonesia ran the whole setup without backup.
Nagase said, “We are extremely confident of the reliability of our Sony equipment. You can depend on it at any crucial moment and we assure you that you will not lose any key recording moments.
“To overcome this hurdle, we made sure that all the equipment rolled out for the show was rigorously tested before set up and as a fail-safe check we also did intensive equipment tests prior to show opening,” he added.
The Java Jazz show recordings went on without any glitches!
The success of any huge event, especially a live music event like Java Jazz that had to be recorded in HD, hinges primarily on good teamwork, ensuring all minute details are covered and very good electronic equipment. “We had all of these with us,” Nagase smiled.
He said that despite his small team number in Sony Indonesia, they rolled up their sleeves and worked vigorously – some even overnight – during pre-show equipment set up and during the event.
“We set up our hospitality booths outside the venue for our key customers who managed to catch the show via live HD feed on to 52-inch plasma displays. Similar screens were also put up outside the main stage performance areas for those who failed to get tickets to go inside the main stage venue,” he said.
Both the organizers, performing professionals, and Sony Indonesia were extremely pleased with the picture quality rendered by the HXC-100, especially the recordings made under low-light shooting conditions. “The detail of happy facial expressions of the singers with captured with unprecedented was the highlight for all of us. We were really, really satisfied,” he beamed.
“However, the only downside of course was that we all got very, very little sleep over the weekends,” Nagase laughed, “but it was all worth the effort.”
A particularly pleased Chairman of PT. Java Festival Production, Mr. Peter Gontha, said the choice of working with Sony on this grand scale event was primarily because of Sony’s brand name and a brand synonymous with many professionals in Indonesia’s television and video production arena.
“We are extremely pleased with Sony’s HXC-100 HD camera which was deployed for the event,” Gontha said, adding that the images obtained were very good because of the camera’s high resolution and practically no noise interference with the recordings.
“In addition, the camera provided good depth of dimension and with the support of more detailed lighting, we can extract the best optimal images for use,” he said. Gontha agreed with Nagase’s comment that despite some of the scenes recorded were under very subdued lighting, the image results obtained was far better than other video cameras used to record previous events.
He also said that Sony’s MVS-6000 switcher was extremely user friendly and supportive of Sony’s multi-system HD cameras. The available output worked well with other recordings that needed format adjustment from analog to digital.
Asked what his thoughts were for future collaborative productions like this, Sony Indonesia General Manager, Nagase, said that Sony will work towards deploying other related products in its huge range such as HD projectors and digital signage which can showcase Sony’s full suite of solutions for live productions.