Bhakti Fest

Bhakti Fest, produced by Sridhar Silberfein and Amy Dewhurst

Enlightened Films was called in by producers to Bhakti Fest 2017 to manage AV Production for the Amphitheater, Joshua Tree Retreat Center, California.

The Main Stage at the Amphitheater outdoor seating area was the largest space for attendees to view the festival. The Amphitheater filming platform was about 80 feet back from the Main Stage. Minimum HD signal resolution (HD 1200 x 720 pixel) was used for transmission and streaming. The film platform and sound platform were sturdy wood construction. We still had to advise people to tread softly. We were also seeing shaking of the camera platforms nearest the Main Stage.

Spelman’s crew, which included Brewster, Pete, Mikey and others, brought HDMI and SDI video signals out from six cameras into a 2K Blackmagic HDMI switcher. The video standard they are using is 720 HD, because of the length of the cable runs, and the video output is to streaming video. At the end of the show on Sunday, some video artifacts started coming through the camera feeds. (Diagonal green lines, and flashes.) The camera crews video quality was pretty good, but sometimes there was no direction to focus on the speaker. So the framing of the shots could be improved.

The 720 HD video camera mix was output through my Mac to Ethernet and the Ubiquity bridge to the internet. We used an Ethernet cable to connect to that and Time Warner internet, and when that speed dropped too low to transmit video, we switched to the Verizon hotspot. We used speedtest.net to test the speed of the internet service. If it dropped below 3 mbps upload speed, the video would pixelate and fall apart. When we could, we switched video streaming to the Verizon hotspot, which was between 3 and 4.55 mbps upload speed.

The camera HDMI video mix and the computer graphics HDMI video output was sent to the AJA conversion units, which convert the signal to run over Ethernet CAT5. Two 150 foot Ethernet cables carried the camera video mix and the computer graphics to the NEC projectors to the left and the right of the stage. (Two separate cable runs to two separate projectors.) The projectors needed to be calibrated to the hanging projection screens, Ethernet needed to be selected as the input type, and the image had to be reversed. When the projectors lost signal a couple of times, they indicated the fault was the Ethernet connection. In those cases, there was actually a problem with the video that was being sent. When that issue was corrected, the camera output would display on the NEC projector.

Video out was sent to a Blackmagic Ultrastudio Mini-recorder to Daniel Sitaram’s MacBook Pro Retina running Arena, and mixed with the projection screen graphics from the MacBook Pro Retina HDMI port. Spelman’s HDMI camera video was also sent to my MacBook Pro Retina via Magewell Plus HDMI digitizer and broadcast to Facebook Live using OBS software, over Ethernet to a Ubiquity wireless bridge to the office. I did the social media marketing and Facebook Live announcements during the broadcast.

Because of the rain, we also had to move to the Sanctuary for Krishna Das. His performance was recorded by my Panasonic Lumix GH4, with a shotgun mic mounted on top. HDMI video out from the GH4 was sent via 75 foot HDMI cable to my MacBook Pro Retina, via a Magewell digitizer. The video was encoded by OBS app and streamed Facebook Live, and to Daniel Sitaram’s MacBook Pro Retina. This output was displayed to the screen/wall with the NEC projector. Some people were not happy that the sound healing was cancelled in that room. Most of the people did not stay for the overflow projection.

For future development in the Sanctuary, I would want to record a higher quality video mix. I would like to have two or three 4K cameras, an audio feed from the soundboard, and mix that live on my MacBook Pro Retina.