Dec. 22, 2021 - At the height of the pandemic restrictions, all live events were scratched out of our agendas. Zoom and Teams shows were the new hit – and frankly, also the only possible solution. As with all new situations, these virtual events were led by trial and error. At first, hoping the situation would be short-lived, organizers settled for 'good-enough' basic solutions. But in the end, they couldn't deny that nothing beats the real thing. From U.S. Election Day to the Rugby World Cup 2023 Draw, the E2 proved its capabilities again running virtual studios and web productions. These are the pandemic stories of our image processing portfolio.
It's just not the same
Software-based switchers were already increasingly common in the industry for smaller conferences or presentation environments where video quality is not the main priority. But these tools have their limits. They're designed for small (virtual) productions with a single operator. They don't have the capabilities needed to run hybrid events nor larger events.
With the ability to drive multiple screens, presenter support and multi-operator features, the Barco Event Master processors support both the big hybrid shows as well as smaller virtual events – yet with more functionality.
"So nice to get my hands on a real switcher. vMix is cool and all, but nothing beats the real thing!" Ian Greenwood, Senior Video Specialist at Encore Canada (Vancouver)
More layers = more virtual guests
PiP performances and layers got really important during the covid-19 virtual events with high-res virtual calls and conferences with large online audiences. Especially if you want to show the virtual faces of all your attendees to lift engagement and interaction to the max. More layers equals more (virtual) guests. Shows with +20 PiPs were the new standard. With up to 32 single scalable PiP or key layers available in HD, the E2 Gen 2 can customize the layer configuration to meet the increased needs of the virtual conferences.
"We did this award show where we had one Zoom room with 800 people and we had to pin groups from 2-14 on screen at a time... It took 20 computer inputs into the E2 and four outputs for the pips. The regular broadcast switchers only allowed up to 8x pips, so we used E2 to give us more active pips. It was totally insane with a cue every 10 seconds, but it worked out great. E2 to the rescue!" testimonial Barco E2 user
A familiar face
Driving backgrounds with zoom pips on studio displays, pushing processed content to streaming platforms, and providing multi-view and playbacks to camera switches. You'll never hear us say it is easy, but operators knew they could rely on the familiar Barco image processing products to help them keep up with customer expectations and deliver top-notch productions in the relatively new and challenging virtual studio environments. The E2, as much as the operators, were confronted with the new virtual reality, but it has held its own and proven its worth through its versatility.
"We had 12 hours to turn a hotel ballroom into a high-tech 4K-and-beyond fully immersive and interactive live virtual event experience. The event had 3000 virtual attendees and we had to manage over 40 breakout rooms. This six-day event was produced at the highest level possible with a superb team of skilled E2 specialists who make it seem easy." Jeronimo Terife, Video Engineer and Barco E2 operator at the Spanish Teen Choice Awards
Due to hygienic reasons operators were often not allowed to be in the same room with the speakers. The easiest way to handle this is fiber linking, a solution that allows you to manage video over a distance. With native 4k60p processing using SMPTE standard fiber formats, Barco's peer to peer fiber solution eliminates the need for external fiber extenders saving users both time and money, as well as reducing possible signal drop-outs caused by weak signal chain components. And if you expand the system with our fiber extension solution, there's zero compression and no additional latency, preserving full signal bandwidth up to 300m!
"The E2 is crucial and relevant in the live event world and even more so in the online streaming scene!" Ran Lee, Manager Video
Barco image processing is ready for the next level
Our Event Master platform is updated on a regular basis. Taking into account, the growing needs of the past two years, the latest Event Master software releases bring some user-requested and powerful new features to the line. Now supporting Tally indicators and Multi Operator mode, the system is further gearing up for post-covid virtual and hybrid events.
And we don't stop there. Staying in touch with the voice of our customers, we're listening to their needs and suggestions. One of the most common requests today is to route audio into our Event Master platform. Well, you'll be excited to hear that we're working on this! We have joined forces with Audinate, a leading provider of professional digital audio networking technologies, to work on the integration of digital audio switching in Barco's image processing portfolio. The PDS-4K is Barco's first Dante-enabled presentation switcher managing both high-quality video and pristine digital audio from source to output through the same device