MyEvent Productions (myevent.io) provides live event technical solutions to clients across eastern Australia. When the company took on its largest live streaming project to date – streaming more than 20 simultaneous feeds for RMIT University’s December 2021 graduation event – they chose Ultra Encode universal live streaming encoders from Magewell to provide the flexibility and robust reliability they needed. MyEvent also uses Magewell’s Pro Convert encoders and decoders to transport media using NDI technology for a variety of projects.
Based in Melbourne, MyEvent offers event services ranging from production and design to equipment rentals and IT consulting, with an emphasis on live streaming. The company specializes in corporate events, with clients ranging from financial services corporations to health promotion foundation VicHealth.
Bringing Students to the World Stage
RMIT is a global university of technology, design, and enterprise that placed in the top 250 schools worldwide in the annual 2021 QS World University Rankings. The school held its 2021 graduation ceremony at the sprawling Marvel Stadium in December. With the institution’s students hailing from more than 200 countries, live streaming of the event was important in enabling graduates’ family and friends worldwide to share the moment.
MyEvent received the project assignment just five weeks before the event, creating very tight timelines for planning and implementation. With a much larger scale than MyEvent’s typical projects, the team needed to quickly expand its equipment roster.
“We were tasked with getting live streams of feeds from all 21 presentation stages out to the world,” explained Duncan Underwood, Live Streaming and Production Manager at MyEvent Productions. “The most we had ever done before was four simultaneous live streams, so we had to bring in additional products.”
Solid Solutions for Success
MyEvent had previously used a small number of Magewell Ultra Encode devices on an earlier project for live, point-to-point, remote video contribution using the SRT protocol. In that project, SRT streams created by Ultra Encode were pushed to Magewell Pro Convert for NDI to AIO decoders, which decoded the streams for output to a massive three-projector display.
The success of that project, along with recommendations from industry peers, led Underwood to choose Ultra Encode for the large-scale RMIT event. “I’m always talking to other professionals about their experiences, and the Magewell name keeps coming up as a trusty product,” he recalled. “So even though the Ultra Encode product itself is fairly new, I had no hesitation in buying many more units for this project.”
Magewell devices are distributed in Australia by Corsair Solutions. In addition to the units MyEvent purchased for the RMIT event, they hired more Ultra Encode devices from another production company – also a very satisfied Magewell user – to round out its needs.
During the graduation event, multiple vision switchers combined live camera feeds and PowerPoint presentations from each stage. Ultra Encode units were used on all stages except one, which used one of MyEvent’s earlier existing products. SDI outputs from each switcher were routed to the Ultra Encode devices, which encoded them into high-quality, live H.264 streams for viewing through RMIT’s multiple YouTube channels.
Underwood notes that with so many live streams, the stadium’s network infrastructure was a massive factor that required extensive consultation with the facility’s IT engineer and made network monitoring critical throughout the event. MyEvent also took advantage of the newly-introduced Magewell Cloud management software to centrally monitor the status of the Ultra Encode units and easily access individual devices’ web-based dashboards as needed. “Magewell Cloud is an exciting development for us,” he said. “It was very useful for the RMIT event, which required us to closely monitor the infrastructure for so many devices and streams.”
Another MyEvent team member also quickly developed a multi-viewer application that allowed operators to see the dashboards of all Ultra Encode units on a single monitor at once, with each cropped to focus on the video preview. This provided at-a-glance confidence monitoring of all streams on one screen.
The Magewell solutions performed flawlessly for MyEvent during the RMIT graduation event, and Underwood praises their ease and reliability. “Our out-of-the-box experience with Ultra Encode for this project was 100% gold,” he said. “We had no issues at all. It sounds cliché, but they really do ‘just work.’ We’ve tried products from other major brands before and had multiple issues, but Magewell has been very good.”
MyEvent also uses Magewell’s Pro Convert HDMI Plus encoders to bring PowerPoint and Zoom sources into vMix software via NDI for virtual and live events, with the devices transforming the HDMI output of the presentation computer into full-bandwidth NDI streams. Underwood often also uses NDI and SDI feeds in parallel during live events to provide both flexibility and redundancy if any part of the infrastructure fails.
MyEvent now owns 17 Ultra Encode units – 12 with SDI inputs, and 5 HDMI models – and looks forward to using them on future projects. “Nobody else in the market is doing what Magewell is doing with the feature set and price point of Ultra Encode, making them an easy choice,” he said. “While we bought them specifically for the RMIT project, they’re so flexible that there’s lots more we can do with them. The live events business requires dependable products, and Magewell devices are our ‘go-to’ solutions.”