Woodstock 2007

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I'm claiming this as YSTV's biggest ever outside broadcast. RAG decided they wanted to go to town on Woodstock in 2007, running a second stage in Vanbrugh Dining Hall as well as the outdoor stage, which was located on Vanbrugh Paradise again due to University restrictions.

Due to some controversial decisions about which stage certain high-profile campus bands were to play on, and to try and avoid long gaps between sets on the main stage (during which there isn't usually much to broadcast), YSTV decided to cover both stages. This meant finding enough equipment, cables and crew to run two live rigs simultaneously from 12pm (when both stages started) until 8pm (when the indoor stage ended), and then the outside stage on until 12am finish. A mixture of the two feeds was broadcast live around campus and streamed (plans to create two separate streams for the two stages being thwarted by lack of computing team resources to set them up), with all sets from both stages being recorded and placed on the YSTV website for download.

The Rig

To support this mammoth endeavour almost all the serviceable equipment in the station was pressed into service. The outdoor stage was covered by a "normal" woodstock rig based very much on that used at Woodstock 2006. The three MS5s provided two roving cameras in front of the stage and one behind, Death Star was slung from the lighting rig, and the Sony DV provided a wide shot from the Ents front of house desk. The Canon DV was used as camera for the Wireless Camera rig to grab interviews with audience and performers around the event in between sets. Each of these fed a 9" monitro in front of the Director. Together with VT playback and a feed from the second stage (on a convenient wall-mounted monitor) this provided 8 inputs into the control room in V122. The station's main P169/DaVE rack was used to vision mix, with the station's newly acquired touch screen used to control the P169 routing the required 4 sources from the bank of input monitors onto four Cub Monitors for the vision mixer to work between. Program and preview monitors completed the rig, feeding video to the DV capture box + laptop and VT B for recording.

Sound feeds came from Ents main mix, the roving camera and VT playout into the YSTV OB desk, with sound feeds to recording, broadcast and Ents desk for playback.

The indoor stage was covered by a minimal rig based around the Panasonic Max. The Panasonic DV provided a wide shot, two F10s were dusted off to provide roving stage front cameras, and the JVC Hi8 camera usually used as a chroma key camera was pressed into service to provide a drummer shot, simply by mounting it on a table-top tripod and standing it on top of the drum fill monitor speaker. Monitors in the control room, which was set up in the Vanbrugh SCR, were whatever was left in the station - a little 9" JVC, a mostly black and white cub, the white Phillips TV and one decent 14" Sony as output monitor. I think the wide shot didn't have a monitorUnverified or incomplete information.

Sound came straight from URY's independent mix of the stage (which was being done in the same room) and was fed through the audio mixer on the Max to VTA which both recorded to SVHS and provided DV to Edit PC 1 acting as record computer.

From each of these rigs came an audio and video feed for potential broadcast. These combined in the main stage control room at the network control desk. Here the DSK acted as video mixer between the two vision mixer outputs (having first ensured that the two signals were synced by genlocking DaVE onto the picture output coming over the JCR roof from the Max). Audio was mixed using two inputs on a 4-input Behringer mixer borrowed from John Poon.

This broadcast feed then passed through the Coriogen providing overlay from Graphics PC and out to broadcast via the Return feed to Goodricke and the normal infrastructure.


Projection at the event got off to a bad start when RAG failed to budget anything for hire of equipment to do it with. Many bold plans were hatched to rig a large screen onto the side of Central Hall to give maximum impact, however costs, lack of a suitable projector and lack of time to design and assemble it conspired against this, and at one point it looked like we might once again be without live event output. However Drew Perry kindly loaned us a pair of 1800 Lumen projectors, and RAG found 50 to cover the hire of a screen from YSL. YSTV paid another 50 to ship the projectors back to Drew, having used them for YSTV 40 the following week.

Paired up on the same screen the projectors gave us a reasonable brightness, however it was obviously not going to compete outdoors with no shade until well into the evening. The last-minute decision was taken to cram the 6'x7' screen into the dining hall, and feed the indoor stage mix onto it. This ran for the whole duration of the indoor stage, proving surprisingly visible in the dining hall even with sunlight coming in the windows. After the indoor stage ended, the screen and projectors were then transferred to the outdoor stage, where thanks to good weather we were able to erect the screen in the open on a pair of Ents wind-up stands (suitably ratchet-strapped to the ground), with the projectors in a pile of flight cases back-projecting onto the screen. This provided live output from 9:30pm until the event finished.

Network Output

With two stages running continually, there was always a question of what to send round campus. In the end it was decided to pick and choose between the two stages to try and provide a continual broadcast throughout the event. This required an extra video and audio mixer to mix between the two feeds available from the two stages. This was done using the Down Stream Keyer as a two-input video mixer, and a borrowed Behringer UB802 as an audio mixer.

The audio mix was straight forward enough, with a single mono signal from each of the feeds being mixed into a single mono signal to go to network. Video was a little more complicated, because the DSK requires syncronised video inputs, and one of the video sources (the Panasonic Max) was a significant distance away, with a shortage of video signals to send it a sync signal. The solution was to lock the local frame-store vision mixer (Magic DaVE) onto the incoming signal from the Max, so that the two were in sync, following the Max's master oscillator. Thus the DSK could be used to mix between the two video feeds, once the dirt has been worn off the control pot by rattling the T-bar around.

In the main control room the audio was balanced using one channel of Magic Alice, and the video with a Rediffusion video line driver. The audio went off down a standard XLR cable, and the balanced video down a couple of lengths of spare CAT5 cable scrounged from contractors in Goodrike a few years earlier. These ran to the Vanbrugh vent room, where the audio was passively split to go to Vanbrugh Stalls (for local broadcast) and over the return feed back to YSTV in Goodricke. To split the video, it was first de-balanced using a Rediffusion receiver, fed through a composite DA, and re-balanced for the trip to Goodricke. Another output of the DA fed the co-ax cable to Vanbrugh stalls and thence the netbox for the local TVs.

This allowed the station to broadcast to Vanbrugh despite the fact that the single working link between Vanbrugh and Goodricke was in use for the return feed.


The original intention was to stream both stages in their entirety, on two independent video streams. One would be the normal hardware located in Goodrike, and the other would be a specially commissioned machine located in Vanbrugh and sending the stream back over the campus computer network. This required a separate video return to Goodrick for the stream (as the network would be showing a mixture of stages), as well as the extra computer system, and outlets for two streams at once.

In practise, it didn't get sorted out due to a shortage of people and time. The second return feed was obtained via AV's feed from Central Hall to PX001 and thence the old Derwent return from PX003 to YSTV in Goodricke college. Matthew Tole sorted out some website improvements to support multiple streams, however the computer to encode this 2nd stream was never commissioned - the fact that the TV card supposed to capture the video refused to work wasn't a good start, and computing services also failed to register the MAC address needed to get a network connection in Vanbrugh.

The fall-back position was therefore adopted, with the network video feed being hooked into the main streaming set-up in Goodricke, the single stream carrying the mixture of the two stages, which worked fine.

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