The uncertainty of COVID-19 and strict physical distancing measures across Australia saw event after event cancelled in 2020. In the twelve months from April 2020, the global pandemic will cause an estimated loss of $35 billion and 92,000 jobs across the Australian events sector. But, for all the hardship faced by the industry, digital adoption and virtual events have taken a quantum leap. With small businesses, friends and families unable to meet in large groups, event planners and innovators took important strides to develop and evolve their capabilities in digital and hybrid event production.
In a bid to bridge the physical gap between businesses and their consumers, Melbourne-based events company WooHah Productions has transformed to deliver prospective clients with access to a state-of-the-art digital streaming studio – Studio45.
Complete with the latest audio, lighting and video technology, Studio45 recognised the essential role of streaming for live events, and has seen enormous success as a result. The production studio facilitates live streaming for everything from corporate events and activations, to webinars and virtual conferences, educational events and online courses, the performing arts, weddings, funerals and house-of-worship events.
Founder and Managing Director at WooHah Productions, Arosh Fernando, has successfully positioned Studio45 as an industry leader in hybrid and virtual events, hosting the likes of the Arnold Sports Festival, Daryl Braithwaite’s performance for the ABC show, The Sound, and numerous corporate events for some Australia’s largest companies.
Following Melbourne’s stage four lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, WooHah built Kasō, a virtual event platform designed to host the likes of virtual conferences and awards ceremonies. The technology harnesses 3D architectural visualisation to allow attendees to explore a number of ‘rooms’, visiting various exhibitor stands, performance stages, and games rooms. Integrating with video-sharing platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, the Kasō platform allows up to 15,000 virtual attendees to mingle with each other through both chat and video links.
“We pride ourselves on finding creative solutions for our client’s needs, through a ‘can-do’ attitude and deep understanding of the technical elements of event production,” Mr Fernando said.
“We are a solutions-driven creative hub, pushing the boundaries on what is possible to create new and exciting experiences for our customers and event attendees.”
In order to support this business philosophy, Studio45 has incorporated several of Panasonic’s professional ProPTZ (AW-HE130) Full HD cameras, operated by one central AV-HS410E vision mixer. Already familiar with Panasonic’s ProPTZ camera and accessories from previous events, the Studio45 team selected the AW-HE130 to stand at the forefront of production due to its flexible functionality and overall reliability.
Studio45’s digital streaming solution is also equipped with a 16m wide digital LED digital backdrop screen, broadcast cameras, the Kasō Virtual Event Platform and an array of other website features, which link seamlessly with the Panasonic solutions. The ProPTZ camera’s high-sensitivity pan/tilt/zoom, and low-noise 1/3″ 3-MOS imagers not only produces stunning visuals, but allows Studio45’s team of talented technicians to abide by physical distancing measures while creating the most engaging experience for their customers’ virtual audience.
Mathew Alexander, Product Marketing Manager, Broadcast, Cinema & Professional Video at PSSOC, Panasonic’s business arm, said, “When organising a virtual event there are so many moving parts, and technical operators require solutions that provide flexibility and seamlessness. Panasonic’s AW-HE130 is one of the highest performing Full-HD ProPTZ cameras available, and provides virtual audiences with exceptional colour reproduction.”
Panasonic’s AW-HE130 camera boasts a range of innovative new features and has become the standard in remote-control cameras for educational and government use, and is also popular in news, staging, sports and reality television production. Features include a 3G-SDI output (up to 1080/60p), stereo mic/line-level inputs for embedded and streaming audio, an Optical Image Stabiliser (O.I.S) and IP-Live Preview for remote control and management of up to 16 cameras via Browser.
“WooHah Productions has built a fantastic product for individuals, local organisations and the wider Australian business community. They are a best-practice example of how to approach virtual events in 2021 and beyond, while resolving the ongoing challenges of a global pandemic,” Mr Alexander continued.
“We are working closely with leading companies, including the likes of Studio45, that produce solutions for hyper-realistic rendering and compositing within the Unreal Engine platform. These solutions go hand in hand with streaming solutions – by using these engines you can transport your presenters and audience to anywhere in the world for a presentation. It is a very powerful tool to keep audiences engaged and a cost-effective way to utilise studio space.”
While things are looking more optimistic for the events industry in 2021, the Studio45 team believe that virtual and hybrid events will become commonplace in the future.
“As the country starts to re-open and physical events begin to make a comeback, we believe that virtual and hybrid events will still play a vital role. We’re proud to be bridging the gap and providing virtual experiences that are fun, interactive, and engaging and can be accessed from anywhere in the world,” Mr Fernando said.
For more information on Studio45 or WooHah Productions, visit: https://www.woohah.com.au.