Large Steel Orchestras Take Control of their Live Stream Broadcast and Production

When your competition is Shakira and J-Lo on Super Bowl Sunday - You had better come with an A grade production...

In an effort to showcase their franchises to the world in the most professional and positive light, several large legacy steel orchestras again took complete control of the Panorama Prelim broadcasts from their respective panyards. Most notably, Trinidad All Stars, Renegades and Desperadoes employed the services of professional streaming companies/videographers to live-stream their performances before the judges and fans this past weekend.

 Setting up for the streaming of the preliminary performance of Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, February 2, 2020.
Setting up for the streaming of the preliminary performance of Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, February 2, 2020.   photo:  Lyndon Spencer

And competition for ‘attention’ and visuals was as stiff as it will ever get.  They were going against America’s NFL Super Bowl LIV, with J-Lo and Shakira as half-time musical artists.  Of note  -- One industry expert explained to Forbes Magazine that the Super Bowl is “the single biggest promotional vehicle for a music star on the planet.”

Similarly, getting your Prelim video production and video stream correct can go a long way on how the world of Pan views your organization and its musical and promotional prowess, long before it even leaves the panyard for the prestigious ‘Super Bowl’ competition of steel orchestras known as Panorama. In addition, the orchestras’ investment is a sizable financial commitment every season.

 Lighting set up at the pan yard to facilitate streaming of the preliminary performance of Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, February 2, 2020.
Lighting set up at the pan yard to facilitate streaming of the preliminary performance of Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, February 2, 2020.   photo:  Lyndon Spencer

Indeed, in an era where how you look and sound on the internet is a critical component to expanding market share, and growing brand recognition in an increasingly competitive arena for the recruitment and attention of potential fans/supporters, and business collaborations - orchestras have stepped up their game.  Their responsibility to protect and promote the image of their brand is a sound business investment in their future. 

 Daryl Joseph (left) chats with TTEN TV's  Peter C. Lewis while at the panyard of Trinidad All Stars for the orchestra's preliminary performance 
			before judges, February 2, 2020.
Daryl Joseph (left) chats with TTEN TV’s  Peter C. Lewis while at the panyard of Trinidad All Stars for the orchestra’s preliminary performance before judges, February 2, 2020. 

For example, Daryl Joseph, former PRO of Trinidad All Stars understands this well, especially with regard to the fans of the globally-loved music organization.  The main focus was  “To satisfy our legions of loyal fans around the world with a quality ‘home-away-from-home’ experience” explained Joseph.  The band engaged TTEN (Trinidad and Tobago Entertainment Network) TV.  “We have developed a good relationship” says Joseph about the broadcast company with which they worked.  Indeed, on hand as event host was Peter C. Lewis, one of those in charge at TTEN.

“Trinidad All Stars - 2020 Preliminaries Performance”

Desperadoes Steel Orchestra engaged the services of Livestream T&T for the online broadcast of its preliminary performance.  One of the band’s current Operations Managers Lyndon Spencer (the other is Ronald Warren) provided some context:  “We brought in our own streaming company because we wanted our supporters all over the world to be a part of the entire night, not just the performance.  We knew others would have been streaming the performance - however; Desperadoes supporters deserve more than 8 minutes of music.  Also, we are giving the public a sneak peak on what’s to come in regards to the re-branding of the band.”

With 4K video already here and 8K on the horizon, high quality streams and entertaining productions are essential at all times.  A bad stream or broadcast can doom, damage or wreck the image of an orchestra globally among millennials.  The standards for professional, acceptable broadcast have been set as users routinely stream everything - from award shows like the Grammys and Oscars, to sports on their workstations, exercise bikes, gaming devices and of course phones, while being engaged in anything, anywhere and anytime.  As we said earlier, this week it was the Super Bowl.  Also, to attract and retain the interest of Generation Z, the orchestras must include them in their target audience, and meet this younger demographic on their platforms of choice such as Twitch and Mixer, with comparable quality and technology.

The question is:  can you attract viewers to your stream, and can you retain them with so many choices competing for their attention?  They can easily watch/entertain your broadcast on their cell/gaming device - or switch it to something else.

The truth is:  there have been (and continues to be!!) many not-ready-for-primetime steel orchestra streams floating on the internet, that only die-hard steelband music enthusiasts would watch or listen to.  The sad thing is many of these videos were placed on the internet by entities that should have a vested interest in the steelband art form and its musicality.  A poor broadcast can turn the hard work - and financial outlay, tuning, arrangement, practice and visual investment of an orchestra - into distortion, noise and an out-of-focus blur or the like.  More alarming is the fact that these videos can be the enduring (and sometimes sole) representations of an orchestra—as we recognize at WST—becoming a “Moment in Pan” forever.

Horrible, bad quality videos on the internet are a fact of life.  Anyone with a cell-phone can contribute to the pool of poor videos.  However, as we have seen with a few of the large steel orchestras this past weekend -- they don’t have to be part of that group - as they brought their ‘A’ game to compete against none other than America’s NFL Super Bowl with J-Lo and Shakira...  The steel orchestras understood the importance of their moments, and how such are immortalized.

 At the panyard of Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, visitors are greeted by the sign:  "Audio/Video recordings are prohibited."
At the panyard of Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, visitors are greeted by the sign:  “Audio/Video recordings are prohibited.”    photo:  Lyndon Spencer

A bad video on the internet is like a bad marriage - but with absolutely no chance of divorce - ever.  As more steel orchestras move towards embracing the business of music and entertainment - controlling their brand/image globally has become an essential part of their marketing strategies.  While many of the orchestras discourage or ban video and audio recordings of their performances without their permission during the Panorama season, this is increasingly difficult to enforce.  If only for this reason, and to counteract same, the orchestras and management are forced to create quality productions that cannot be matched by cell phone paparazzi.   However, while producing very good visuals and capturing the ‘beauty,’ that is - the video component of the orchestras, the local production houses continue to lag behind in capturing the power and magnificence of the sound of the steel orchestra.

“Renegades Steel Orchestra - 2020 Preliminaries Performance”

 Gerelle Forbes, hosting the live streaming at Renegades Steel Orchestra's pan yard
Gerelle Forbes, hosting the live streaming at Renegades Steel Orchestra’s pan yard -  photo:  Renegades Steel Orchestra

And unsurprisingly, Renegades Steel Orchestra too again brought in the stellar talents of Gerelle Forbes to helm the broadcast as their on air host.  Utilizing the skill set of 868 Live.TV, the orchestra’s live stream was enjoyed by music enthusiasts around the world.  Once more, these music franchises took into account their global appeal and fame, and approached their respective preliminary appearances with an international perspective.

Click for Gerelle Forbes’ thoughts on presenting relative to Pan.

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