Real-time concert videos at the touch of a button

by

Staff Writer

Live Earth (officially written LiVEARTH), a trio of IT workers who invented an application that helps bands turn their live performances into music videos, was awarded the grand prize at Billboard Japan’s first Live Music Hackasong on Jan. 26.

The competition rewards groups and individuals who use new forms of technology to create innovative stage performances. The presentation and ceremony was held at Billboard Live Tokyo in the capital’s Roppongi neighborhood.

The winning app, Live CJ (Camera Jockey), automatically edits real-time recordings captured using multiple cameras at a concert and turns the footage into a single video. It uses an algorithm that switches between cameras depending on the loudness of the instruments played.

“It’s difficult for artists to make high-quality videos (of their shows),” the team said during its five-minute presentation.

The members explained that creating one cohesive video from a live performance currently can be very difficult, requiring multiple videographers to shoot and edit everything together. For example, if one hour of a performance is filmed using four different cameras, editors will then need to go through each camera’s footage, which could take up to four hours.

That is why “we created Live CJ, which does all of this automatically,” team leader Sanefumi Shoji, 40, said.

The team demonstrated the technology by using three cameras to record a live set by Musilogue, a group produced by Jazztronic member Ryota Nozaki. A music video was projected onto a screen behind them that demonstrated the real-time editing by Live CJ.

The results were impressive, the app successfully captured the most exciting moments of the performance by switching back and forth between the band members. While the algorithm may lack the artistic nuance of a human director, it served its purpose — an MP4 file was automatically saved as soon as the performance was done.

Yoshinari Hirayama, who works forconcert organizer and promoter Creativeman Productions and was a member of the Hackasong jury, was enthusiastic.

“The system could immediately be introduced to live house venues,” he said. “It would be especially valued at smaller venues.”

Jury head Ichiya Nakamura, a Keio University graduate school professor and former producer for rock band Shonen Knife, praised the invention by saying, “It’s likely that it would soon become a real product.”

A total of 10 contestants presented their inventions with technological assistance from corporations including Dentsu, Toshiba, Napster and Reco Choku. Participants were given three months — lengthy for this type of contest — to prepare their creations.

Among other entries were an application that coordinates drone movements with songs played off streaming service Napster and a VJ program that taps into a performer’s brain waves to create CG-animated videos in real time.

For more information, visit http://livearth.space/app.