California Streamin’ With TriCaster® and Brian Sheil
February 07, 2020 by Claudia Kienzle
Imagine a picturesque place that’s sunny and pleasant year-round, where live music is often performed on gorgeous beaches near nightlife, bars, and a world-famous comedy club. While this may sound like a distant dream for most, for Brian Sheil it’s a dream come true.
His dream of working in comedy and music clubs led Sheil to the little town of Hermosa Beach, CA, one of several lovely Los Angeles-area beach cities where people’s creative energies and talents run high. It is in this setting that he launched his company, Entertainment Services LA Inc., which has since spread nationwide, with offices in New Jersey and Las Vegas. Today, as a successful Certified NewTek TriCaster operator and owner of many TriCaster systems, Sheil considers himself his clients’ “Dream Catcher” as he uses his TriCaster to live-stream their talents from the town and region he loves.
“Since the TriCaster is a feature-rich video production powerhouse in a compact, mobile package, I’m able to set-up quickly in a small footprint within a club or venue, and use it to produce high-quality, multicamera video shows that stream to multiple destinations simultaneously, all without disrupting the patrons, performers, or ambience,” Sheil said. “As a ‘client dream catcher’, it’s my pleasure to now make a lot of other California Dreamers’ dreams come true—streaming their media events and acts so they can be seen, recognized, and appreciated for their art—and TriCaster is helping me do that.”
One such California Dreamer is Alan Sanford, a club owner and music concert promoter who has long dreamed of having a star-laden music festival on the beach that would draw thousands of spectators. Adopting this dream as his own, Sheil helped Sanford by producing video of his many smaller concerts and events as he steadily built enough momentum to swing his much bigger concert vision. Over those years, Sheil brought in one of his many TriCaster systems, which impressed Sanford with just what this technology could do.
With the recent “Beach Life Music Festival”, a 3-day event featuring headliners—such as Willie Nelson, Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, Jason Mraz, Ziggy Marley, and the Blues Travelers—Sanford’s concert dream came true. These acts were captured performing from two separate stages on Redondo Beach, a public beach just south of Hermosa Beach.
“’Beachlife’ was created as a passion project for me to deliver a top-quality national festival to the community I grew up in, and also to create an example of a live streaming model I believe in, where a festival can capture 20 to 50 times the audience—beyond those that physically attend the event—by delivering it as a live broadcast digitally,” Sanford said.
“As the first of hopefully many festivals to come, it’s increasingly important to augment the social and digital footprint of a festival early in order to gain market share and awareness,” Sanford added. “Live-streaming was at the center of this promotional strategy and we believe it contributed to the unique success that ‘Beachlife’ achieved.”
During the festival, Sheil set-up a TriCaster 860 control center consuming a super small footprint in a tent that was downstream of the main tent where Screenworks—the live events production services arm of mobile video truck giant NEP, Inc.—was producing program line-cuts of the event for the live stream.
Serving as Director and Content Manager, Sheil took these program feeds into the TriCaster, and single-handedly added lower-third and full screen titles, sponsor logos, and other graphical elements as he streamed out the finished show. At times, he was streaming full-resolution, high bitrate HD video to as many as five separate, over-the-top (OTT) destinations, including the “Beach Life Music Festival” YouTube channel, Sanford’s “Live List” streaming calendar page on social media, and the performers’ own Facebook pages.
Concurrently, while streaming performances from “Beach Life’s” two main stages—known as “high tide” and “low tide”, Sheil monitored all the live video and audio feeds flowing through the TriCaster. He also managed the media playing from the internal switcher, DDR, graphics cards, standby cards, and CG as they flawlessly played out 13 hours a day for three days.
As part of this ample workload, he also inserted and mixed completely different multi-camera video segments—such as recaps, crowd shots, and sponsored content—into the program output and live stream. The program video was sent from the TriCaster as an aux-out to jumbo screens at either of the two stages between acts to entertain folks while crews set up for the next performers. The recap videos, which contained highlights of each day’s events, were produced by the “Beach Life Festival” team.
“Brian’s mastery of the TriCaster, and his dedication to staying current with the technology in this always-changing environment, is a great asset to have on the team,” Sanford said. “By integrating several powerful video systems onto a compact, centralized platform, TriCaster provides a level of simplification that I believe contributes to a smooth, problem-free show.” Sanford is already at work producing a bigger, better music festival and live stream for 2020.
Sheil also takes pride in being a dream catcher for Mike Lacey, the owner of The Comedy and Magic Club, a famed comedy club in Hermosa Beach where Jay Leno has religiously done his stand-up act every Sunday since 1978. A few years back, Sheil had helped Lacey design/build the room’s video infrastructure—including lighting and audio—so that the TriCaster could be set-up and rolling “at the drop of a hat,” Sheil said. “Since then, we’ve done many live streams there for a variety of entertainment companies, among others.”
In his work, Sheil usually arrives a few hours before the start of any show to set-up his cameras as well as the TriCaster for live multi-camera switching. With its integrated functionality, the TriCaster enables Sheil to manage all aspects of live streaming production, often as a one-man video crew.
The TriCaster has been instrumental in opening doors to many wonderful once-in-a-lifetime experiences where he’s been able to meet high-profile people. For example, Sheil recounts one particularly memorable, dream-come-true moment when he walked into the Comedy Club’s greenroom to find comedy stars Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, George Wallace, Adam Sandler, and Kevin James all sitting around together as they waited to go out on stage that night.
Then, Sheil explains, there’s also “The Laugh Factory, a nationwide comedy club chain where it’s notoriously difficult to become a part of their regular professional roster.” Helping the club’s owner, Jamie Masada, with live-streaming, and installing their own TriCaster, has led to Brian being a regular in their line-up and even helping with the opening of a new Laugh Factory, in San Diego CA.
Now entrenched in the comedy world, Sheil recalls another high-profile event—a comedy reunion—that took place at the world-famous Comedy Store, a legendary comedy venue on Sunset Blvd., in Hollywood. Sheil regularly performs there with his comedian friends, such as Bobby Lee (ABC’s Harold and Kumar), Stand-up Comic Brett Ernst, Iranian American Comic Maz Jobrani (Superior Donuts), and Sebastian Maniscalco (Host of the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards).
“Because of influential people like Alan Sanford, Jamie Masada, and Mike Lacey,” Sheil explained, “I was in the right place at the right time, and I absolutely love what I do. The artistic side, the corporate side, I just love my TriCasters and meeting all these incredible California dreamers, whose dreams I can now help come true.”
While working on the “Beach Life Music Festival”, Sheil’s work also made a huge splash behind the scenes with the Screenworks crew, who couldn’t help but be impressed with what he and his TriCaster could do, especially compared to their 40-input, heavy iron vision mixer. During the two days of video pre-production to set-up and rehearse for the music festival, another event, an International Surfers Award Show, was taking place on the beach near their site.
Since Screenworks was hired to work on both events, their plan was to take their massive switcher and re-configure it closer to the surfing awards set. But Sheil cautioned them that this move could cause them to have to work all night to get their switcher set-up and re-configured in time for “Beach Life”.
By comparison, Sheil suggested that his TriCaster would be a snap to move and configure, and it wasn’t long before Screenworks was so impressed with the TriCaster’s mobility, ergonomics, and high performance that they are now considering buying it for use at next year’s “Beach Life” and Surfer Awards. Sheil, who will now help with both events, indicated that next year, NDI networking will also be used for IP-based on-site signal routing. (He’s also pleased that working for his friend Alan Sanford has put him in a position to score Screenworks as a new client doing the work he loves.)
Referrals and word of mouth from happy clients have opened many doors of opportunity for Sheil. Listening to every client’s needs, wishes and dreams, Sheil said, “Being in the right place at the right time, you know, where luck meets preparation, has helped me grow my business with work from major broadcast networks, like Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, CBS, Viacom, and hit NBC Universal shows like The Voice and America’s Got Talent.” Sheil also keeps busy with experiential marketing gigs, like the annual Comic Con and Vid Con conventions, as well as Suzuki corporate international video conferencing presentations, and Adobe trade show videos.
“I definitely credit the TriCaster, and my knowledge of that technology, for making my company, Entertainment Services LA’s dreams come true, and my friends’ dreams come true,” Sheil said. “Having the TriCaster in my back pocket all these years has put me in positions where I could help my colleagues, friends, and associates by live-streaming their big media and entertainment events, making all our California dreams come true.”
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