Are you ready for summer music festivals? Dell sure is!

Lollapalooza banner

Dell workstation technology is helping to bring two of the summer’s biggest music festivals to millions of music fans worldwide via a livestream on YouTube. This unprecedented digital access to Lollapalooza (August 5-7, 2011 in Chicago, IL) and then Austin City Limits (September 16-18, 2011 in Austin, TX) comes at a special time for each, with Lollapalooza celebrating its 20th year and ACL marking its 10th. Just as Dell Precision workstations power U2’s massive screen for the band’s 360º tour, we’re seeing a larger intersection between music, video and technology.

Capturing some of the biggest acts like the Foo Fighters, Kanye West, Coldplay, Arcade Fire, and others is no small feat, especially since so many of us want to see our favorite acts perform in HD – if you can’t be there in person, the second best thing is to watch them in high definition video and audio, right?

Well, that’s exactly why C3, an event planning and production company that produces more than 800 shows nationwide, turned to Dell Precision workstations with AMD FirePro graphics as they could provide the horsepower, performance and reliability needed to broadcast a live feed of HD video straight from Lollapalooza and then Austin City Limits. In addition to the live performances, C3 will be using Dell technology to shoot and edit interviews with bands, audience interactions and some backstage action.

The technology will be set up in a command center dubbed the “video village” and will include Dell Precision workstations, Dell UltraSharp monitors and Dell PowerVault Network Attached Storage. Here is how the livestreams are captured, edited and uploaded to YouTube:

  • The two biggest stages with the biggest acts will be streamed live to viewers at home.
  • There are 3 – 4 cameras per stage with one switcher that will send video feeds over HD-SDI to one express card / Matrox MXO2 capture device and one to Black Magic Design UltraStudio Pro through USB 3.0 to two Dell Precision M4600 mobile workstations.
  • There will be additional videographers around the festival capturing video of the fans, backstage interviews with musicians and other live shots. They will return the raw footage, stored on memory cards, to the “video village” and then load it onto the workstations via integrated memory card readers.
  • The mobile workstations with AMD FirePro M5950 graphic cards will capture all of the footage that will then be stored on the Dell PowerVault NX200 Network Attached Storage (NAS), which can hold up to 3 terabytes of video. All four workstations are connected to the NAS via gigabit Ethernet.
  • One Dell Precision T5500 tower workstation with AMD FirePro V5900 will be used for editing with Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects and the other T5500 will stream back to YouTube.
  • Two Dell UltraSharp U2410 monitors will be paired with each T5500 to provide pixel perfect color and reproduction of the footage and large screen real estate to make editing easy.
  • With this mix of Dell Precision workstations, C3 Presents has the processing horsepower and reliability to ensure a great show for all the people who can’t be there live.

Previously the video production team used Macs and Final Cut Pro but with that workflow they had to ingest footage, convert it to an editable format, export it from Final Cut and re-convert it for the web. The various steps of conversion of video assets made live streaming very difficult which led to their decision to switch to Dell Precision workstations and Adobe Premiere software. With the new workflow, they can decrease the turnaround time on the editing because there is no encoding / decoding / rendering and they can stream raw camera footage off the timeline. This saves an enormous amount of time on input and output – approximately 40% time vs. working in Final Cut Pro. Also, Apple doesn’t offer some key technology features that help to streamline the video editing process like ExpressCard slots, Memory Card Readers and USB 3.0 to capture things like HD-SDI.

If you happen to be lucky enough to attend one of these festivals, go by the Dell Lounge for hands on demos of several different Dell Precision workstations. You can also capture your own video of your favorite bands on a Dell Streak and use Dell M4600 and M6600 mobile workstations with Adobe Premiere Pro software to edit it. In addition, a T7500 workstation will be used to edit your video while a T3500 workstation will project your video footage on the multi-display video wall through AMD’s Eyefinity technology.

We have recently seen more creative professionals in the music and entertainment industry take interest in our popular and powerful Dell Precision workstations, from Live Nation Entertainment’s work with U2’s hugely successful 360º tour, to recording artist Carmen Rizzo and TC Crawford, Paul Oakenfold’s lead engineer, use of Dell Precision workstations to mix, record and produce their music.

Be on the lookout for more great news about our Dell Precision line, and in the meantime be sure to catch the concert footage at the YouTube channelsbelow. The lineup of acts that will be broadcast is still in the works, but we’ll update the post as soon as we find out!

Lollapalooza –

Austin City Limits –

About the Author: Kirk Schell

Kirk Schell is senior vice president of Dell’s Commercial Client Product Group. In this role he is responsible for overseeing strategy, planning, launch and sustaining programs, brand and messaging for Dell Latitude commercial client products and Dell’s Internet of Things edge computing portfolio. Mr. Schell has held multiple leadership roles in his 18 year career at Dell. Previously, he led the Marketing organization for Dell’s Business Client Product Group and was responsible for product strategy, product planning and management, messaging and overall business performance of the Latitude, OptiPlex and Dell Precision brands. Before that role, he served in Shanghai, China as director of the Vostro Product Group for Dell’s Small and Medium Business (SMB) division. In that capacity he was responsible for the Vostro desktop and notebook product line and Emerging Market products in Dell’s portfolio of SMB products worldwide. Before joining Dell, Mr. Schell served as an officer in the United States Navy in the US Navy Nuclear Power Program. He also served as the United States Navy Liaison to Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in Devon, England. Mr. Schell holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from The University of Michigan. He now lives in Austin, Texas after repatriating in June 2010 from Shanghai, China and the Dell China Design Center.