TourGigs Live Streams 4K Concert Video At SXSW

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TourGigs utilized BlackMagic 4K cameras and a ViaSat satellite dish to stream live over the Internet to Samsung 4K televisions.

TourGigs, the concert-film technology company, on March 14, 2015, successfully live streamed possibly the first ever concert in 4K video over the Internet. TourGigs, along with local design firm Airshp, hosted a number of bands at the Loudmouth Rentals studio space in North Austin.

Specifically, TourGigs filmed the Austin-based group, A-Town GetDown, during SXSW using 4K BlackMagic cameras, the footage was switched on a BlackMagic 4K ATEM switcher, the program feed was encoded at 3840 x 2016, 23.98p video using a TourGigs custom-built encoder known as the Hydra 4K. The encoded video was transmitted to the Internet at 9Mbps over satellite IP provided by ViaSat. TourGigs invited guests to their offices where the live streams were displayed on Samsung 4K televisions. See photos, here.

TourGigs head of technology R&D, Casey Charvet, PhD, put the finishing touches on his Hydra 4K encoder just a few days before the concert. Charvet’s previous generations of custom-made encoders have been a key part of TourGigs’ production equipment.

"When we first started producing live-streamed concerts, TourGigs had to use existing video encoders and streaming services,” said Dr. Charvet. “We quickly realized that both the quality and cost of third-party platforms wouldn’t work for us or our fans. In 2013, we built our own end-to-end live streaming platform centered around our encoder and web-based video playback system."

The system Dr. Charvet built 2 years ago could not handle 4K video. "4K encoding requires enormous computational power,” said Dr. Charvet. “Compressing 4K footage using the same h.264 codec that we use on our HD encoders becomes problematic. We decided instead to compress with h.265 which can achieve compression efficiencies twice that of h.264. It also uses twice the computing power, but fortunately, we have the know how to make it work."

"By using the satellite dish, we proved that TourGigs can stream 4K video on to the web without having to rely on unstable local bandwidth options found at most music venues," said TourGigs co-founder/partner Jake Saxbe.

During the event on March 14th, the 4K playback only worked on a computer that was hooked up to a 4K TV. But TourGigs has plans so that viewers can watch 4K concerts on Smart TVs. "We have a good relationship with Samsung,” said Dr. Charvet. “For over a year we’ve been streaming all of our concerts in HD on Samsung TVs and devices through an app that we built for their Smart TV Apps platform. We look forward to integrating our 4K streaming system into a publically released app soon.”

The Samsung integration should be ready in time for the next 4K concert that TourGigs has planned in April with a national touring act. A pending announcement coming soon..

About TourGigs
TourGigs is a technology company which provides an entire suite of services to produce, film, market and distribute high-­quality concert films. By solely focusing on creating exceptional live streams, downloads, DVDs and Blu­Rays, the Austin based company has pioneered efficient techniques to film a single show, or an entire tour, with almost no out-­of-­pocket costs for the band. Within the past year, TourGigs shot or live streamed shows from Jack White, The Head and the Heart, My Morning Jacket, Umphreys McGee, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Jon Bon Jovi and The String Cheese Incident. They have also filmed and streamed festivals like ESPN’s Summer X Games, The Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Jam Cruise and Phases of the Moon Festival. Rather than using traditional bulky video gear, TourGigs incorporates compact cinematic cameras to achieve, under the creative direction of partner Danny Clinch, an unobtrusive style with a small production footprint. TourGigs can set up within hours in any venue while not disrupting the band’s orchestrated production routine. The TourGigs philosophy is simple: capture the show in it’s natural state; don’t get between the artist and the fans.

For more information, visit TourGigs.com.
PR Contact: Jim Walsh, Big Hassle, 607-275-7141, walsh@bighassle.com
Technical Contact: Casey Charvet, casey@tourgigs.com

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Jake Saxbe
TourGigs
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