On September 9, 2016, otherwise known as “#909day”, Roland premiered more than 30 new products to a global audience during a 24-hour streaming online music festival — The Future. Redefined. — featuring live performances from VIP events in eight major cities worldwide.
The final encore event, at Six01 Studio in Burbank, California, was the most ambitious and complex, production-wise, and relied exclusively on Roland Professional A/V equipment to deliver five hours of performances from three stages to viewers around the globe.
The artist lineup at Six01 Studio included Linda Perry, Saint Motel, DJ Pierre, DJ Trayze, Mike Garson, Judith Hill, Echosmith, Masego, MOON, Ric’key Pageot, SAARA, She Wants Revenge, Smallpools, Tal Wilkenfeld, Gregg Bissonette, Josh Stevens and Lola Astanova, and others. Six01 Studio is an event and rehearsal space, gallery space, and photo studio, as well as the headquarters for Six01, an artist collective and think tank.
“Roland supported the three unique and individual stages — a main stage with traditional rock bands, a DJ-oriented and technology stage, and a piano-oriented stage — with their own Pro A/V equipment,” reports Christian Delfino, vice president of product management for the Roland Professional A/V Division. The equipment included three M-5000 live audio mixing consoles, V-1200HD video switcher and V-800HD multi-format video switchers, and the V-1SDI video switcher that was launched at the event.
Front of house engineer Brian Belcher at the M-5000 handled a total of 94 audio inputs fed from the three stages via individual S-4000 S32x8 digital snakes. Belcher along with monitor engineer Tomas Wolfe were able to mix the three stages successfully with a single monitor console and single front of house console thanks to the remote capabilities of the M-5000 iPad app and the M-5000 remote control software on Apple iPads and Windows tablets.
A third M-5000 was used by broadcast mix engineer Andy Santos to provide an audio mix to a V-1200HD that switched between 16 different video input sources, including wireless remote mobile cameras, two fixed cameras, and a camera on a jib, plus a number of remote-controlled cameras. Those camera feeds, together with graphics and video playback were switched and combined with live audio that was embedded by the V-1200HD and transported to a computer capture device running Wirecast by Telestream, one of the event’s sponsors. Wirecast encoded the stream for delivery and internet broadcast by Ustream, a title sponsor of the event, which also provided the embedding links for dealers and Roland’s TFR websites to be able to support the webcast.
Although Roland has produced previous streaming events, this was the most ambitious so far, according to Delfino. “It was the most audio inputs we’ve ever used, 16 different video sources, plus directing and coordinating multiple cameramen. Managing and coordinating 28 different artists rotating through the three different stages was a challenge. But despite the complexity and the scale of the event in terms of the number of artists, there was never a doubt that our equipment and our own in-house staff would be able to handle the job,” he says.
For instance, says Delfino, “The M-5000 made it easy with the ability to quickly recall scenes. As each band got on-stage, the team recalled one of 28 scenes on each respective console and the band was ready to go with all of the monitor, front of house and broadcast settings that they had following their sound check that happened over the previous two days.”
There were some unforeseen challenges, he continues, but the Roland equipment was up to the task. “Artists make the best efforts to give you a technical rider but sometimes show up with different pieces of equipment or different gear or different requirements. Because of the M-5000’s flexible architecture we were able to add additional input channels based on each band’s need to the setup. For example, one band showed up with eight playback tracks, so we had to very quickly add an additional eight channels. The M-5000 makes it easy—you just grab those eight channels from your 128 available audio paths.”
The main performance and smaller piano stage were each flanked by two video screens, while the DJ stage had four screens, including a large LED wall that was provided by Chauvet, another event sponsor. Longtime Roland video switcher users Opticus video used Roland XS matrix switcher to manage video along with additional in-room camera switching using a Roland V-800HD.
Remote cameras and graphic content for the DJ stage were switched using a Roland V-1SDI, with graphic content, visuals and video switching for the DJ stage provided by Grant Davis, who performs under the name of VJ Culture.
Tens of thousands of people tuned in to watch as Roland introduced new synthesizers, digital pianos, electronic drums, DJ equipment, BOSS guitar-related products, accessories and a new genre of musical instrument never offered before by Roland. The 30-plus new products included the flagship Roland TD-50K/KV V-Drums; GP607 baby grand; and DJ-808 DJ controller, co-developed with Serato; as well as the BOSS Katana guitar amps, among others. Roland established #909day and chose 9/09 as the date of this historic event in celebration of Roland’s 909 drum machine.
Artists performing at Six01 Studio autographed a variety of Roland gear that will be auctioned at a later date to benefit MusiCares, the non-profit organization established by The Recording Academy to help music people in times of hardship.