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How we did it - Christmas Light Switch On

I love my job and I want to share a few stories, and a few jobs ive been on. Today I want to talk and show you how I pulled off a Live Stream to replace the event of a Christmas Light Switch on.

These events are very popular but the year of 2020 and 2021 put a stop to these live events as we know it. Working with Rockstar Promotions who were commissioned the job of event organiser and planner, we spoke about replacing the event and hosting this online.

The normal event would have hosted thousands of guests with food stalls, games, market stalls and an all round festive event to celebrate the Christmas Light Switch on. In 2020 this was not permitted and instead we ran a virtual event. There was to be no audience, no gathering or anything happening publicly.

The lights still had to be switched on and to start the festive period in Blaby. So with 3 cameras, 1 choir and Santa we made it happen.

The proceedings happened as usual, having speeches from the local authorities, the council and entertainment but with no audience and inside a small area fenced off. And through the lenses of 3 cameras and 1 drone we streamed the 'ceremony' online.

This video above is the highlights video of our Stream in December 2021 which was a hybrid of having the public there and it being streamed online again. And you can really see the difference in the two events when scrolling down to see the BTS from December 2020 below.

So let's talk technical details. There was so much pressure on the stream that we had a large crew. We had myself operating the stream and vision mixer. We had Jasper from Yellow Glove Productions operating the main cameras. And Seb a great drone pilot capturing the aerial shots which were invaluable with the Christmas lights.

All of the cameras and drones fed into the Blackmagic Atem Pro with 3 ground cameras (Sony FS5ii, Sony A7Riv) all wired in and the drone (DJI Inspire 2) connected wireless (Acsoon Cine Eye Pro) allowing Seb to maintain his distance from people and buildings when taking off and landing. Thankfully we had a strong connection with the drone and it made for a pleasant experience for the viewer at home, giving them the full view of the event.

The stream had a very professional look and feel, not only because of the high end equipment we were using and the lighting created by Jasper. We also had a lot of content to share digitally, before the proceedings started we had a slideshow of messages from home. Family and friends in the area all writing in and sharing messages with us which made for a perfect holding countdown. Along with the messages we also streamed with a transparent overlay with branding and logos.

This was no easy task, the simple fact of being outside in winter with no electricity and internet connection made the equipment list even more extent. We had a sound engineer from AVH supplying the microphones and sound equipment to capture the choir and speakers.

The event was a great success with thousands of people watching online, such a success we were invited back to do it all over again in 2021. However this time the stream didn't take priority as the majority of people were there on the night, the stream still allowed vulnerable and at risk people the option to stay home and witness the festivities. And as you'll have seen from the video above, it was a magical night with the lights.


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