Diversified Production Services - Gayle P. De Poli

iHeartCountry Festival 2020

Captured September 29 - October 3, 2020 Airing Friday, October 23, 2020, at 7:00 PM CST via LiveXLive

The Steel Mill - Nashville

Broadcast Audio Capture was fed from The Steel Mill in Nashville to John Harris in Philadelphia via Remote Production Group’s proprietary RFN Network Tunnels directly into John’s ProTools and monitoring systems.  RPG recorded 64 channels locally with full redundancy while John remotely mixed and monitored via public, high-speed internet: building and refining his mixes during line check, soundcheck, and performance capture to achieve best-in-class fidelity, major network quality, and unbelievably short turn times. 

Onsite recording in Nashville was achieved using a curated combination of DiGiGrid and AVID I/O devices: 

One (1) Avid HD Native Thunderbolt Core

Two (2) DiGiGrid IOX 12 mic/line input SoundGrid interfaces

Five (5) DiGiGrid IOS 8 mic/line input SoundGrid interfaces

One (1) DiGiGrid MGB 128 channel MADI SoundGrid interface

One (1) Waves DN32-WSG SoundGrid interface card

One (1) DiGiGrid DLI SoundGrid to Avid DigiLink ProTools bridge

Microphone preamp levels and patching were managed and configured on a per-artist basis using 64-channel licenses of Waves’ SoundGrid Studio ST Mixer, chosen for its flexibility and extremely low processor load due to dedicated DSP on a server inside each of the IOS units.  Waves’ new FIT Controller provided local hardware control of preamps and the SoundGrid PFL buss (completely independent of ProTools), making a true multi-operator workflow a reality and giving local engineers Brett “Scoop” Blanden and Todd Wines the ability to audition individual sources without affecting ProTools (primary) or Reaper (backup) recording feeds.

Audio was recorded locally to AVID ProTools Ultimate running on a 2020 Apple Mac Mini i7 as the primary show capture while a second Mac Mini connected via the SoundGrid driver recorded redundant backup files using a commercial license of Cockos’ Reaper.  Both computers were mounted in a Sonnet RackMac Mini and connected to their own OWC Mercury Elite Pro Duo Mini portable RAID configured in RAID1 (mirror) mode for automatic, hardware-based redundancy per system.  Main record drives were 1TB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD.  A second and third set of backups were made after each take to a third OWC Mercury Elite Pro Duo Mini portable RAID1 with 2x 2TB 5200RPM spinning drives.  After hard-drive backups were complete, a fourth backup was uploaded to Google Drive cloud storage for archiving and distribution as needed to production, artist management and representatives.

RPG relied on AudioMovers for ProTools’ primary output with additional reference outputs over Unity Connect for multichannel audio, intercom, and talkback functionalities.  Unity Intercom was deployed to provide instant communication between The Steel Mill and all remote personnel and stakeholders.

RPG deployed its proprietary LookingGlass™ and RFN Video Transport products for internal communication and stakeholder viewing opportunities in real-time.  Onsite, two RPG cameras provided views of the stage and onsite audio engineers Brett Blanden, Scott Pederson, and Todd Wines, plus a director’s cut program feed from MooTV.  Video feeds of John Harris (Philadelphia) and Anthony Falcone (Nashville) completed the RPG team’s ability to hear, see, and communicate with each other as if in the same place.  

For client proofing on-demand, RPG’s Anthony Falcone embedded John’s ProTools mix outputs into the above video feeds, creating a composite that could be viewed (and heard) by project stakeholders via RPG’s RFN secure weblinks on any internet-connected device ad hoc.

“In the last seven months during the Covid-19 pandemic, our business had to pivot hard to deliver the best possible productions to our clients.  Producing live music events and keeping people safe is not an easy task. The goal to keep staffing to a bare minimum for the safety of talent and crew was on the line.  Finding audio solutions and methods where every artist could achieve the best recordings possible was the task. I reached out to John Harris from Remote Production Group (RPG / RemotePro).  John’s reputation in the music industry is legendary. In the 30 years we have worked together around the globe, he has delivered the finest recordings every time. 

John told me about his remote recording solutions over IP and the wheels started to turn.  Having full confidence in the RPG system, I brought the idea to my clients for the iHeartCountry Festival in Nashville. John was positioned in his mix studio location outside of Philadelphia. His partners with equipment were in the Nashville studio working with each band’s monitor engineer to get all of the splits into the RPG system. Flawless. Real-time ProTools sessions captured, mixed, and sent back to embed into video signals in Nashville for screeners.  Near-zero latency. Ten bands tracked, mixed, and remixed in record-setting time for a show this size. As the artists signed off on their recordings, they were sent into video Post-Production for the final edit.”

Gayle P. De Poli – Technical Producer & President – Pink Slip Productions