GoPro Integration at the 2014 CBGB Music Festival

Nov 11, 2014

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GoPro Integration at the 2014 CBGB Music Festival
Production Manager Andrew Ryback Behind The Scenes

In October 2014, Broadcast Management Group was contracted to provide turn-key video production services for the 2014 CBGB Music Festival in Times Square. We were absolutely thrilled to be asked to take part in the event and wanted to make sure we put a unique stamp on the show. In order to capture the raw spirit of CBGB and everything the brand stands for, we engineered GoPro integration into our live broadcast, which gave the show an extra “live” look and feel. It took some ingenuity, planning and lots of troubleshooting, but the end result was well worth it.

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how we did it:

Step 1: Buy your GoPro gear

The first step in GoPro integration is buying the right gear. We owned a Hero 3+, but used the project as an excuse to add 3 GoPro Hero 4’s to our repertoire. The Hero 4’s were released the previous week, so we were looking for an excuse to make the purchase. In addition to the Hero 4’s, we needed a power supply for each camera as we didn’t want to run off of the camera battery. We purchased a mini USB to USB cable plus a universal AC adapter to accomplish this (we used the USB cord that comes with the GoPro, but after the event ended up purchasing a 15’ cord from Amazon to give us more flexibility). We also needed micro HDMI to HDMI cables and stands and clamps stands for mounting each camera. We quickly made some close friends at the electronics store we stumbled into looking to make these acquisitions.

POV camera integration
GoPro HDMI Cables and Power Supply
GoPro Mounting Stands
GoPro Mounting Stands

Step 2: Configure your GoPro gear for broadcast

We needed to run a power source to each camera location. Given that the show was an 8-hour event, we wanted to run off of AC power and not battery power. Because our video signal was ran to a truck and ISO recorded, we did not need (or use) micro SD cards for any of the cameras. We also needed an AJA HDMI to SDI/HD-SDI converter box (pictured below), which we connected to each camera using the micro HDMI to HDMI cable. The AJA box also needed to be connected to a power supply (thus another reason for a power source each location). From the AJA box, we ran a fiber line to our production truck where the signal was up-converted from 720p to 1080i. All GoPros, power strips and AJA boxes were mounted to mic stands or to some of the stage rigging using the stands and clamps we purchased and, of course, gaffers tape.

AJA Converter Box for GoPro
AJA Converter Box for GoPro

Step 3: Update the GoPro settings

The biggest step in completing your GoPro integration is configuring the camera settings. All cameras had to be set to record in 720p, which meant changing the configuration on each GoPro. Additionally, there’s a menu item for “OSD” in the GoPro settings menu (on-screen display). This had to be set to OFF – otherwise the GoPro menu would display on the monitors in the truck. One thing that proved to be problematic was using the camera’s WIFI and the GoPro mobile app to monitor each camera. Whenever we tried to preview a camera on stage using the app, it seemed to interfere with the signal and would often revert all of the camera settings back to their default. Eventually we began communicating with our director in the truck to work out positioning of each camera. In the future, we plan to integrate some sort of monitoring station on stage so we can easily check any camera adjustments.

GoPro Setup - CBGB Cam Placement
GoPro Setup – CBGB Cam Placement
GoPro Setup - CBGB Cam Cabling
GoPro Setup – CBGB Cam Cabling

While the GoPro integration did take some time to perfect, eventually we were able to work out any technical kinks and the signal from the GoPros matched very well with our other broadcast cameras. The end result was 4 unique POVs that we wouldn’t have been able to capture any other way. Below are some real screen grabs from the event that were captured using GoPros.

GoPro Shot CBGB - Cheeky Parade
GoPro Shot CBGB – Cheeky Parade
GoPro Shot CBGB - Devo
GoPro Shot CBGB – Devo
GoPro Shot CBGB - Janes Addiction
GoPro Shot CBGB – Janes Addiction
No Comments
  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2018-03-07 21:55:41

    We're glad you found this to be useful, Margaux. Let us know if there's anything we can help with.

  • Margaux Ford Reply
    2018-03-07 05:57:06

    I appreciate the tips on hiring a production staffing company to have more time to focus on the creative aspects of the project. Hiring a production crew is a tedious task, and can take up much of your time. We're currently working on a huge production, and I'll share this article with my boss so he'll consider on delegating the recruitment to a staffing company. I like that you mentioned that staffing company can ensure to have the right team onboard for the project. Thanks!

  • Robert McWilliams Reply
    2017-10-31 19:05:18

    Todd:I have an ad agency in addition to our production company. We put one of our clients on OTT two months ago up in Nevada. Seems to be working!Thanks again for the work earlier this month.Rob

  • Nicole Rohde Reply
    2017-05-27 22:28:45

    Hey Andrew, Any word as to whether or not the Jokers will be back for Comic Con this year? Please let me know. Thanks!!!

  • Aaron Estabrook Reply
    2017-02-23 16:26:57

    I'll be tuning in for sure!

  • David Patton Reply
    2015-01-16 13:16:02

    Interesting blog post Andrew. For those who are nearly ready to cut the cord, but still want access to key channels such as ESPN, I'd recommend checking out Dish Network's new service, Sling TV. It provides access to a handful of channels for $20/month.https://gigaom.com/2015/01/15/sling-tv-details-price-devices-networks-resolution-bandwidth/

  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2015-01-13 14:44:19

    Go for it! I'll admit that I was a little apprehensive about pulling the plug at first, but honestly, the transition away from DirecTV has been seamless. The only missing link is live sports, but there are a few work arounds depending on what sports you watch. Good luck!

  • Gregory Hart Reply
    2015-01-13 06:35:00

    While I am part of the 55 year old demographic that still has TV boxes and does TV viewing, I do my viewing using DVRs and networked PCs playing video files from an in-home server. I too have noticed that I view a handful of shows on a regular basis and have found various other sources for these shows. And now it has gotten to the point to where I am seriously considering ending my very long relationship with DirecTV and going streaming. Working in the TV industry also helped to open eyes to this as well. This transition from "old" TV is coming and the networks (Les Moonves, I am looking at you!) had better plan for it.

  • Gary Reply
    2013-08-08 09:44:39

    You've left out a HUGE part of this story by not mentioning Howard Stern's effect on the Sharknado buzz! #siris-ly

  • Marybeth Harrison Reply
    2013-08-07 14:46:29

    I can almost hear the theme song from Jaws as I read your post!