Pixel Nation has recently inaugurated a brand new virtual production studio in the heart of Johannesburg’s vibrant Rosebank district with content delivery based on StreamWorks infrastructure from Stage Audio Works. StreamWorks is a new initiative from SAW that provides full end-to-end streaming services comprising hardware and software, as well as support and expertise.
Pixel Nation was created by a team of AV professionals who have always operated in the live event space, particularly in the corporate market. As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced in-person events off the agenda for the time being, Pixel Nation was formed in order to be able to deliver events virtually, and not just as a pre-recorded show, but as fully interactive, live events with participants from all over the world.
“In creating Pixel Nation, we’re leveraging our expertise in AV event content creation, production and delivery and transferring it to a virtual environment,” explains Pixel Nation director, Mike Fynn. “We’re still creating amazing events, but participants are now located all over the world instead of under the same roof.”
Already long-standing clients of SAW in the live events market, when it became clear that the business model would need to change, Mike Fynn and fellow director Bradley Hilton, turned to SAW for help with the live streaming element, an area in which they had little experience. “We knew what we wanted to do – we just didn’t know how we were going to do it! Fortunately, Nathan [Ihlenfeldt] and the guys at SAW were already working on their StreamWorks initiative so we essentially handed over the project to them,” recalls Fynn. “Our new virtual production studio in Rosebank is built entirely on their StreamWorks platform for live streaming services, and they also provided much of the hardware that we didn’t already have. However, the most valuable part of the service has been the advice and guidance we’ve had throughout the whole process, and that we continue to benefit from for every event that we host.”
“We now have a completely SDI workflow which was totally new for us and works like a dream,” continues Fynn. “We have about 20-odd screens throughout the studio and we can have audio on all or any of them whenever we want. We can create virtual environments and ‘teleport’ speakers in from around the globe so that it feels to the audience as though the speakers are on the same stage. The possibilities are endless.”
“In addition to being rock-solid, the StreamWorks platform enables us to extract far more data than we could from a live event, so we can deliver much better stats than previously,” he adds. “For corporate business sessions, this is actually an improvement over a live event. Questions are much more targeted and relevant and can be dealt with more efficiently. Gone are the days of people passing around microphones that they don’t know how to use!”
According to Bradley Hilton, the success of the StreamWorks integration has enabled Pixel Nation to compete globally, not just locally. “We’re working with international clients every day now. One of our most recent events was the Cornerstone Conference for the International Women’s Forum which brought together hundreds of participants in over 50 countries. It was a fantastic event that went off without a hitch and is a testament to the quality of the StreamWorks service. Nathan and his team helped us to bring our vision to life and I’m proud to report that we’re now doing better than ever.”
SAW CTO, Nathan Ihlenfeldt, is heartened to see how Pixel Nation has reacted to the pandemic: “It’s been inspiring watching companies like Pixel Nation make the best out of a potentially disastrous situation. It shows that innovation is still at the heart of success. We created StreamWorks to enable this, and I’m looking forward to seeing what challenges our clients pose us next!”