How To Go Live From The Queen Mary

THE HISTORY

The infamous Queen Mary is said to be the most haunted ship in the world. During its 31 years of service, this WWII War Ship has been the home of many people’s last breath. She is currently docked in Long Beach, CA as a 1930s attraction, 343-room hotel & paranormal investigation hotspot.


THE GOAL

Leading up to Halloween of 2020, the ship had been closed to the public for nearly 8 months. The Dark Zone wanted to give its online audience exclusive access to the ship from home.


BC Live Productions assisted in streaming 24/7 for 4 straight days from 6 cameras placed in the most haunted areas of the ship. We then provided a multi-camera live show for 8 hours each day, where some of the world’s leading paranormal researchers investigated the ship’s most eerie locations.


THE TECH


In terms of live video production, we were in uncharted waters, as the Queen Mary came with a unique set of challenges that had to be navigated. There were multiple decks, thick reinforced steel walls, cellular dead zones, and water below us - which all translate into a NIGHTMARE for wireless video systems.


So how did we do it?


First, we needed IP stability. We brought in a 100 Mbps internet circuit using a microwave satellite solution. We then rigged the entire ship with internet access points, and ran over THREE MILES of Fiber from our Control Room on the R-Deck to these access points & our 6 isolated camera feeds.


Roaming cameras & reliable communication were another concern, which is why we turned to LiveU. Using 4 LU300 HEVC backpacks, we were able to stream 4 cameras with audio from any area of the ship in full HD with less than 1 second of latency. Utilizing LiveU’s IFB talkback feature, we were also able to tie in our production comms to direct & cue our 4 remote hosts.



Considering we were STILL in a pandemic, we continued to embrace the hybrid model of remote production, and brought in 6 channels of Skype using Newtek Talkshow & 2 channels of Zoom for a live Halloween Costume Contest. Engagement was key, and we were able to interact with the remote audience, celebrities, historians & paranormal researchers from the ship in real-time.


All in all, we had 19 video feeds from around the ship, and every feed had to be recorded & used in the live show. We can’t say enough about our love of Newtek utilizing the TriCaster TC1 & NC1 IO for all our live switching. We had a lot of success using NDI for this project, there was even a point where we went live from an iPhone. Why? Because we could.



THE OUTCOME


Paranormal investigation is all about flexibility. It is, in my opinion, the toughest content to live stream because paranormal teams want to be able to go anywhere at any time.


Being tied down by tech is not an option! BC Live Productions was honored to be a part of this extremely complex IP workflow on the historic Queen Mary! If the tech is strong enough, even the ghosts can’t take you off-air.


You can watch the Queen Mary live shows by visiting www.thedarkzone.endavomedia.com.

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