Bringing “The Next Web 2019” to the world using LiveU’s Wireless-At-Home Production

Operator with a LiveU streaming unit in TNW Event

Author: Ronen Artman, VP of Marketing, LiveU

Remote production is a hot topic. It has clear benefits across both the broadcast and streaming markets but there are also technical complexities that have had to be overcome. LiveU is leading the way with its wireless-at-home solution with multiple deployments already. Read on to find out how it was used at The Next Web (TNW) technical festival this year to bring the event alive for viewers around the world.

Leading speakers from the world of the Web

Larry Sanger, Co-Founder of Wikipedia, Michael Martin, Global Head of Digital Products, Nike, and Cassie Kozyrkov, Chief Decision Scientist, Google: that’s just a glimpse at some of the illustrious names that spoke at The Next Web 2019 in Amsterdam. TNW has grown from its first event in 2006 into a complete online tech portal with the annual conference growing to become widely recognised as the web tech event.

Attending the event several years ago, we were struck by not only the quality of content, but the fact that it’s so dynamic, with a free-flowing air yet also a sense of intimacy and personality not often associated with events like this. We were really impressed with its feeling of a tech festival and that innovation was everywhere, with the possibility of the next big thing being revealed at any moment.

The partnerships behind 2019 coverage

We first worked with TNW at IBC 2012 for our on-stand studio. 2017 saw our initial involvement with The Next Web annual festival in Amsterdam, partnering with them to build a small, plug and play studio to create unique content. We set up and operated the studio, working with long-time LiveU streaming partner and production team Stream My Event, whom we also began working with in 2012. TNW used the studio to create a wide variety of content, including live video for social media reach. The TNW Conference video team had access to two LiveU Solo best-in-class plug and play live streaming bonding solutions, designed for the online market.

We worked together again in 2018 but it was at the 2019 event that the partnership between the three companies took things to the next level to create TNW TV and bring it to audiences around the world. This was streamed live across the two-day gathering on the TNW website and across social media channels. We all wanted to bring the real flavour of the expanding tech festival to viewers, including keynote presentations, ad-hoc conversations with visitors, conducted by TNW’s team of roving reporters and extras like reviews of the food in the food court, all moderated by two TNW anchors. This year there was also a Ferris wheel, upon which hopefuls could pitch their ideas to TNW Co-Founder Boris and we wanted to cover this. Quite a challenge.

Nino de Vries, Rich Media Manager at The Next Web, says, “Our experiences with LiveU’s technology gave us the confidence to put on a live show this year that would normally be way too ambitious for our relatively small team. We managed to cover every square inch of our huge conference without a hitch. We could easily adapt on-the-fly when we needed to, and the at-home-production technology allowed us to run this massive operation without needing a huge booth on the conference floor. Because LiveU’s technology is so reliable and easy to use, I can simply focus on putting on an amazing show, without having to worry about all the technical details.”

LiveU's streaming devices at TNW

LiveU’s wireless-at-home production

As de Vries says, at the heart of the production was our wireless-at-home solution, which allowed Stream My Event, who managed the live production, to use its centralised studio control room in the Netherlands, reducing costs and increasing flexibility. Using LiveU’s Precision Timing™ technology, we ensured precise end-to-end delay and automatic multi-camera sync.

Floris Porro, Technical Producer, Co-Founder, Stream My Event, takes up the story, “On this production we had to switch between three stages, all creating independent content and running their own schedules, as well as four cameras in the field doing a variety of cool things like chilling on a Ferris wheel. We used an LU2000 server and four LU200s for the camera feeds, each unit using four SIM cards with latency as low as 1.5 seconds. We were pulling all feeds into our Amsterdam cloud control room, where we added pre-recorded segments and bumpers. We switched with a Blackmagic 2 M/E switcher and tied everything together using Bitfocus Companion. I think this method of production is the future for us. The cost of cellular data is far outweighed by the reduced cost of personnel and equipment on-site.”

“We find that remote production also allows us more freedom to think about camera positions. For example, if we’d shot on the Ferris wheel the traditional way, we’d had to have used a powerful RF system, and have spent time thinking about line of sight and running power to receiver stations. Using LiveU, all we needed was a small Peli case with four Sim cards and a V-Mount battery. That gave us a great and unique vantage point with zero additional preparation.”

The Next Web’s annual tech festival is far removed from traditional conferences with its genuine feeling of interactivity; of ideas being aired and shared, bringing the future of online to the world.

The figures released by TNW highlight the success of the project: 1.1 million views of the live stream over the two days with 2.6 million minutes of total viewing time.

The final Word

We’ll leave the final word to Thom Verdenius, Senior Producer and Co-Founder, Stream My Event. “Following us all working together at IBC in 2012, all three companies went through an amazing development, so each year the combination of sponsorship and partnership needed to be re-established. That can be hard sometimes, especially with three companies that always strive to do the next cool thing; we simply don’t like doing the same thing each year. We had to find a creative solution to keep everyone involved happy, which led to LiveU providing Stream My Event with hardware to keep so we could lower production costs, its wireless-at-home technology for this festival and TNW got what they wanted: a beautifully curated live stream with only the best content.”

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