The imperative to isolate and physcially distance through COVID-19 threw calendars into disarray as conferences, plays and festivals were forced to postpone, or abandon events all together. As restrictions began to lift, the inability to meet in groups or host crowds at in-person events due to ongoing social distancing measures has meant many local businesses, associations and performance groups have struggled to continue operating as normal.
In a bid to build industry resilience and help local business spark virtual creativity, Sydney Masonic Centre (SMC), Create Engage and Audio Visual Events (AVE) collaborated to deliver ON AIR, a state of the art semi-permanent studio offering the forefront of audio visual and virtual event capabilities.
Located in the heart of the Sydney CBD, the ON AIR studio re-imagines the future of professional events and creative performances. Using three Panasonic AW-UE150 ProPTZ cameras, the studio space provides users with access to leading technology to stream their message to the community, their staff or customers, virtually during a time of travel restrictions and social distancing.
Until now, these types of production studios have been limited in existence, with most organisations opting for a more traditional and familiar style of venue or event space for production. In the current operating climate, there is a clear appetite for these alternative spaces. Since it's opening the studio has been booked out by clients for months, opting for half-day or full-day sessions. With the support of innovative Panasonic solutions, the ON AIR studio has turned an unused conference room into a fully-booked livestream and recording studio.
AVE made the decision to incorporate three Panasonic ProPTZ AW-UE150 cameras, operated by one central AW-RP150 controller. Already familiar with the Panasonic ProPTZ cameras from other venues and setups around the country, the AVE operations team can now quickly and seamlessly organise each camera angle during rehearsal, improving efficiency at the operations desk as the event requires just one operator for all three 4K cameras.
The technology utilised within the studio also enables operators to adhere to social distancing measures, without compromising video and image quality.
General Manager at AVE, Paul Keating, emphasised that the construction and design strategy for the ON AIR studio was centred around reliability and flexibility due to the global pandemic.
“The use of the Panasonic ProPTZ camera system within the studio has enabled us to deliver our clients live streams with very high production,” said Mr Keating.
"We have stocked a range of Panasonic ProPTZ cameras and controllers for years, and the use of pre-sets within the AW-RP150 enables perfect repeatability and control over each camera’s setting. Our technical operators enjoy working with them during shows and clients love the results, flexibility and cost savings these products deliver."
“The health and safety of our team and clients has remained of utmost importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The use of three Panasonic cameras with one central controller allows us to reduce the number of people required in studio, and respect social distancing needs. This also allowed us to carefully manage client budgets at a time when many organisations are looking for efficiencies across their operations,” said Mr Keating.
Scott Cooper, Director of Sales at SMC Conference & Function Centre also said, “the refitting of this space at the Sydney Masonic Centre has allowed us to continue supporting local artists and business pursuing their creative passion and utilising streaming services. With uncertainty around ongoing restrictions of business travel, some organisations have also considered hosting national and international conferences with us too. It really is an incredibly unique and versatile space which will fulfil a range of needs in the months – and maybe years – to come.”
With an impressive list of ongoing events and conferences, the ON AIR studio has been receiving great reviews from its clients, including Blackmores Group, Salesforce, Vinnies CEO Sleepout and Palliative Care Australia.
Through the use of the ON AIR studio, Vinnies CEO Sleepout transformed their annual fundraising event from a state-based physical event to a national online platform, connecting 1,500 CEO's to an audience of 5,000 people. Palliative Care Australia – which runs Palliative Care Week in May each year – was able to creatively sidestep the inconvenience of COVID-19 distancing measures to transition their annual in-person convention to a livestreamed Q&A style event hosted by ABC broadcaster Dr Norman Swan, reaching audiences across the nation.
For more information on the ON AIR studio, visit https://www.onairstudio.com.au
About Panasonic ProPTZ cameras
Panasonic Professional Pan/Tilt/Zoom (ProPTZ) remote controllable cameras offer the highest quality optics; smooth, precise and quiet operation; and high grade sensors and digital signal processing. These functions combine with IP control, IP video streaming and PoE power, to make remote production possible without compromising on the final result.
These functions have made Panasonic ProPTZ cameras the most popular choice for many applications. Remote broadcast studios, web studios, visual radio, music festivals, music halls, live events and corporate seminars can all benefit – with remote operability allowing resources to be deployed efficiently, while also permitting cameras to be mounted where an operator may not be able to work.
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