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Pytch Goes Virtual

Fri 10, 07 2020

Having staged large-scale brand events including launches for Nike and Bentley GTS, and sales conferences for Spar and IBM, Pytch (previously known as SXS Events), when faced with the recent lockdown, looked at how it could use that experience to serve the evolving needs of new and existing customers. The live event specialist has now developed the ‘Virtual Venue’.

The way that corporate events and communications are delivered is changing for the long term, and Johnny Palmer, founder and managing director at Pytch echoes this: “Content and events need to be delivered digitally, however the high production values of large live events also need to be translated across to an online platform.

“We made the decision to transform one of our warehouses into a huge Ultra HD virtual event delivery solution, including multicam production and videowall capabilities, as you would normally have for a venue setup,” he continues.

“Clients can film engaging and dynamic presentations, training, conferences, and more, and have them broadcast to an infinite global audience.”

Four Blackmagic URSA Broadcasts are used for acquisition, using Canon HJ22 lenses, and Johnny explains that the solution runs two distinct but overlapping systems. “The video wall backdrop is using 4K infrastructure and a non-standard aspect ratio. Meanwhile the cameras and vision mix are all HD-SDI with standard 1920×1080 resolution.

“We have a few different ATEM switchers, including the latest ATEM Mini Pro. The cameras run through those, and signals are colour matched with an ATEM Camera Control Panel. Where things get interesting is when we want to do a picture in picture (PIP) onto the backdrop, or bring PIP elements of the backdrop into the live vision mix – for this we use a sophisticated and often-complex routing and switching system to get precisely what is needed between these two systems.”

Content is brought online with the team’s in-house streaming platform, Intelligo. This offers features such as a paywall, networking, multi room presentations, sponsor options and data capture.

According to Johnny, the Virtual Venue concept isn’t just a compromise for real events, nor is it only for lockdown. “It’s about rebuilding a new, more innovative industry that’s more eco-friendly, and more accessible.” Adding, “I believe in the long term we will see events taking a television studio audience kind of vibe – a great experience for people in the room but very much targeted to looking good and engaging for people watching on a screen at home.”

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