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Opportunity in Adversity: How I Landed a Livestreaming BTS Gig

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

In every adversity, there is an opportunity. And indeed there was and still is an opportunity for me in a new venture doing plurimedia works and directing livestreams.

As the COVID19 pandemic disrupted all live music, venue gigs, and festivals around the world, musicians and producers thought of ways how to adapt. Livestreaming became popular and has been currently considered a necessity among artists and producers. And for me, I got the opportunity to learn and apply how to do livestreaming behind the scenes.

Since the lockdowns and quarantines, I've been learning how to use video editing and live broadcasting programs. I've been interested in doing plurimedia since these complement my music side of things. But with the limited equipment, software, time and patience to learn stuff before, I didn't pursue it. But with my current situation now, and given the time that the pandemic basically provides everyone at home, I decided to give it a go this time. And I'd say, the pluriverse conspired for me to do this.

It started when the President of a Filipino organisation in Brisbane asked me if I know someone who could help them in editing a video that would resemble a virtual choir, which they will use as part of the first Filipino online festival this year. They originally planned to do a physical festival on 13-14 June 2020, and my band is supposed to play there.

So I said, I'll see what I can do since I have done a few picture-in-picture videos for my covers. It was not that pro, but I said I'll give it a try. At the back of her mind, she was also just thinking of giving me a try. So I gave instructions to Filipino singers who are based in Queensland on how they are supposed to do the video and audio recording. After a few days, I sent my draft of the video. It turned out good.

At my end, it was a complex one because you need to really be able to hear the nuances and balance the voices. Pick the best parts for each person, which is difficult if you haven't even heard these people sing before. I'd say, it helps to have diverse skills and meticulous eyes here. But one of the most difficult things to deal with also is the way you think about what one person will say when he/she sees that his/her face has only been seen once or twice. So it was also my job to ensure that the singers are equally distributed and the best vocal parts with their good-looking features (read: no awkward ahhs and oohs) will be seen. Tried different scenes here and there until I got the final result. It was satisfying to see the video and hear that people actually wept after watching the video. My late-night editing sessions were well worth it.

Watch the video here:

So I asked them, how do you actually plan to do the livestreaming? They said, just do the Zoom meeting and share the screen while running the Facebook live on our event/group page. And I said, ok. But how do you do the transitions and how do you ensure the quality of the audio? Well, they were not thinking about it. I said I'd be happy to help.

I know I could do it but I didn't expect that the actual thing is more complicated than it seems. It was the most stressful 3 hours of my life as I became a director of photography, sound production and technical stuff. And it was a challenge I would grab anytime because I learned a lot from it. Fortunately, we pulled it off though with few hiccups here and there.

Watch the full Brisbane Filoz Festival 2020 Livestream replay here:

3 weeks after, I interviewed one of the 'We Heal As One' singers for my PhD research. We talked about a bit of his plans as the restrictions are slowly easing in Queensland. He mentioned about their plan to do a livestream performance of his group Popera Classics (a portmanteau of pop and opera). Told him about my stint at the online festival and told him that I'd also be glad to help.

The event is broadcasted here on 18 July 2020:

As the pandemic might have hurt us in some ways, we must also bounce back and see the best things we can do while at home. For me, I came into a decision to upskill and get opportunities that would enhance my skills and learning things along the way. I guess, we just need to be open and recognise that there's still a lot of things that we don't know, then allow ourselves to embrace change especially if it will benefit us in the long run. Yes, having COVID19 around as is really really bad, but we should not always be dwelling on the negative side and see how we could recover instead.

So did you have any opportunities amid this recent adversity? Any skills you upgraded while you were at home due to community quarantine? Tell us about your experience.

Stay safe!

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