An evening with Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson
Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson
The Marianne Williamson campaign called me again to see if I was available for a high profile shoot in New York. ‘An evening with Marianne Williamson and Deepak Chopra‘. After checking my schedule, my response was a resounding yes!
This was my fourth Live Stream shoot for the Marianne 2020 US Presidential Campaign.
This shoot meant traveling with all my gear to New York City! Let me tell you, that is a lot of equipment to schlepp. My wife, Leia, assisted me on the shoot, and we set out a plan of action.
Outside the New York Society for Ethical Culture
The shoot was Live Streamed for an audience who paid to see the event from the comfort of their homes. This was also a fundraiser event with high priced seats.
Weeks prior, campaign emails billed the event as a ‘historic livestream’ so I really had to be on my game. A lot of people signed up for this and it had to be spectacular!
I really had to be on my game. A lot of people signed up for this and it had to be spectacular!
We arrived in New York on the evening of December 15, 2019. It was cold and rainy, but lovely this time of year. Christmas decorations and good cheer filled the air.
The next day we got up early. The hotel was only 5 minutes from my favorite video store, B&H, so I managed to make a quick pit stop to satisfy my video cravings.
Outside my favorite video store B&H
The event took place at the New York Society for Ethical Culture – a beautiful old stone building next to Central Park.
The New York Society for Ethical Culture
Multi-Camera Live Stream set up The first task was to find a great shooting location for the cameras with a clear view of the front stage. We had to take into consideration the audience waves signs high in the air when Ms. Williamson makes an important statement.
An enthusiastic crowd waving signs
Eventually, I found the right location, slightly above the mezzanine in between seats with a raised clear view of the stage and very stable footing. The area had to accommodate two cameras with tripods and two stands, all sandbagged for extra support.
The second camera person was introduced to me, coincidentally named Alan, and I quickly went through all the camera details. We set a location on stage left for audience reaction shots.
All the three cameras were wirelessly connected to my Sling Studio streaming hub, which is then connected to an iPad for video switching. Once connectivity has been established, it’s on to the next task.
The iPad switches the video sources
There are many factors to take into consideration:
Finding a great location for all three cameras with no blocked views
Setting up cameras on stable ground
White balance, color match and exposure test all cameras
Make sure wireless cameras connectivity work
Coordinate with in-house A/V technicians and connect audio transmitters or hardwire to venue sound system
Check upload speed of facility ethernet connection
Check with lighting technician to make sure lights are balanced
Decorate stage and detract what can be removed if necessary
Test live stream remotely
Trust in the universe that everything is going to work
Deepak and Marianne in conversation
Internet Connectivity Next, I ran a speedtest on the facility ethernet and the upload speed only registered 2mbps. Way too slow for livestreaming! The facility manager was immediately informed and it took over two hours before everything was reset. After some frustration, we eventually had a satisfactory streaming speed of 29mbps and we were good to go.
Audio We then tested the hardwired audio feed from the sound desk, only to find there was scratchy distortion in my headphones. I tested the audio on both cameras and had the same result. This meant it had to either be the facility cable, connection or something out of my control. Brandon, the A/V guy and I tried to solve the problem.
Marianne Williamson at the NY Society for Ethical Culture
Williamson’s production manager was not pleased. The venue had connectivity issues that we did not expect. Our paying audience were relying on us and we had to solve problems fast! The event started in just over an hour and I needed a clean audio feed. After pondering what to do, I decided to try my backup wireless AVX Sennheiser audio system.
The cameras were located under the balcony and the sound desk above the balcony at the back of the auditorium. It seemed almost impossible that the wireless signal would be received with no clear pathway. Surprise surprise, it worked like a charm! A clean beautiful audio feed using my system and not relying on house connectivity.
I’ve always invested in the best equipment and have backups of all my essential components.My obsessive attention to detail and preparation paid off.
With internet and audio issue solved, I was feeling relaxed and confident we were going to have a great broadcast.
The event eventually started at 7:30pm. A young woman who had worked closely with Marianne gave an elegant intro speech and Deepak Chopra appeared on stage to an overwhelming crowd.
Deepak spoke for 20 minutes about the perils of our political climate and emphasized that the future is in our own hands.
An enthusiastic audience as Marianne takes the stage
He then introduced Marianne to rapturous applause. The enthusiastic crowd went ballistic waving their placards. Eventually Marianne came on stage and spoke with the conviction and integrity of a true leader.
Rapturous applause for two icons
It was a momentous evening. Some would say historic! It certainly was a memorable shoot for Leia and myself, and when done, I knew I pulled it off with a great result!