TomorrowlandTV tunes-up its production workflow with CatDV
“Live today, love tomorrow, unite forever.” So reads the motto of Tomorrowland, the world’s largest, annual, electronic dance music festival. Renowned for its stellar line-ups and psychedelic carnival atmosphere, Tomorrowland also maintains an active online TV channel to keep fans fuelled with a range of related musical and promotional content, the wrangling and production of which has been brought under control by CatDV media asset management (MAM) systems.
The client: TomorrowlandTV, Brussels, Belgium
Tomorrowland has taken place in the appropriately named town of Boom, near Brussels, in Belgium since 2005, steadily growing year-on-year into one of the biggest festivals in Europe. Its unique, phantasmagorical atmosphere is complemented by an electronic and dance music line-up from world renowned artists including Carl Cox, Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia, Martin Solveig, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Fatboy Slim, Pendulum and Armin Van Buuren. The popularity of Tomorrowland is such that, after 180,000 people enjoyed the festival in Belgium, TomorrowWorld was successfully launched in Atlanta, USA, in 2013 and the first Tomorrowland BraSil took place in Sao Paulo, in May 2015.
For this who miss out on the physical experience of attending, TomorrowlandTV streams up to seven hours of live television per day across the three days of each festival, including a selection of live sets, backstage interviews and atmosphere reports. For those who want to re-live some of the madness of being there, it also regularly publishes a range of video promotions plus highlight packages from previous festivals.
“Tomorrowland is one of the most amazing and spectacular festivals in the world – music, dance, pyrotechnics and lots of fun all-in-one,” says Bernhard Schepens, technical producer at CK Productions, which provides support services to Tomorrowland. “As it has grown in popularity and scale, so too has the need to maintain a community spirit and to keep promoting to the worldwide fanbase via TomorrowlandTV. Keeping track of a large and ever-growing volume of material, and being able to readily access it for on-going marketing purposes, is vital. However, until we installed CatDV, this was a situation that threatened to get completely out of control.”
The challenge: finding materials in expanding archives, linking XML metadata
With a catalogue of footage from Tomorrowland festivals dating back to 2005, and being aware of international editions in the US and Brazil, the Tomorrowland management began investigating its media asset management options.
“We were spending increasing amounts of time searching for materials by eye, and it was becoming quite a burdensome, time-consuming and ultimately expensive task,” says Schepens. “In some situations, it was almost proving too much to have to groom though perhaps 40 hours of footage from a single festival to find a particular section of footage.
“Furthermore, TomorrowlandTV harnesses outside broadcast, digital video production systems from EVS. One of the really tantalising aspects to the situation back then was that, although footage was being logged and tagged in EVS during live production, we had no cost-effective way to read and relink the XML files containing that metadata to the images downstream.”
The solution: CatDV Server, Worker Node plus multiple Desktop and Web clients
With the support of CatDV reseller VP Media Solutions in Brussels, TomorrowlandTV has implemented CatDV MAM technology in a cross-platform environment. The CatDV Server and Worker Node both run on Windows, with multiple CatDV Desktop clients running on Mac. The Desktop clients and additional CatDV Web clients are used by a broad range of the Tomorrowland team – editors, production assistants, producers and directors – to search, review and select footage for forthcoming promotions – with very little training required.
During a typical Tomorrowland festival, footage of live sets, plus backstage interviews and events – captured from a selection of RED, Sony XDCAM, DSLR cameras and footage recorded by an EVS server – is ingested into CatDV Server, and all of the RAW footage is made into proxies. The RAW and proxy materials, which average around 36TB per festival, then reside on the CatDV Server ready for use. Along with the auto-captured camera metadata, the RAW footage is also logged and tagged using EVS technology during live recordings, with a range of keywords covering details of the artist, song and stage, as well as more general terms covering firework displays and events such as crowd surfing.
Effectively, by the time the RAW footage and proxies arrive in CatDV, the images have accreted a lot of helpful metadata that aids searching and archival later on. As CatDV can read the EVS XMLs, reformatted as FCP7 XML, the transfer and linking of metadata to the RAW and proxy files is automatic. Ultimately, this means that the TomorrowlandTV team now has easy access to all footage at any time. In practice, when creating a new promotion or after-movie, all they have to do is type in a keyword – such as an artist’s name or fireworks – and CatDV presents the complete selection of footage. The subsequent archive of materials is managed from CatDV with Archiware to LTO-tape systems.
With spin-off festivals now taking root on other continents, many key members of the Tomorrowland production team spend a lot of time travelling around the world on business. They appreciate being able to log into CatDV via the Web client, from their hotel room or during a meeting overseas, and to search, playback and download proxy or RAW footage, view the latest editorial cuts, make notes and enjoy a rich and creative interactive experience remotely.