How to Broadcast Music in Wonderful Quality from the Comfort of Your Home?
Updated: Jul 12
An interview with Anna Ouspenskaya, the co-founder of Virtual Concert Halls, an initiative aiming to bring together musicians and audiences even in times of social distancing. Each performer plays from home on the virtual stage VCH is creating, connected virtually to the audience. All separated physically yet brought together by music.
How did you come up with the idea?
As professional musicians and educators we were not happy with video calling solutions because the sound is poor. We were also not happy with OBS and other interface streaming solutions because they are a very lonely experience: they allow streaming from one source only. Can't have any real-time interaction. We were not ready to give up performing music the way we want: live to the audience, and with live interactions between musicians, in real-time. There is nothing wrong with prerecorded videos. But we wanted the vibe of live performance and interaction.
What's your vision?
"Connection" is our underlying concept.
We envision the world of classical music connected like never before, through our Virtual Concert Halls, and through many other platforms like ours. The most exciting thing is to envision a 3D concert hall that has no limit to its capacity and delivers live music performance (with fabulous sound quality and pic), to unlimited "first-row" audience members who can also interact with each other.
What's unique about VCH that other platforms like Facebook or YouTube don't have?
Individual broadcasting is great. But it is also a lonely experience, not suitable for many forms of music presentations.
We are about "Connection". We join many musicians in a real-time live interaction, we can stream multi-performer events like competitions, students' recitals, auditions, etc, any events in which musicians share the stage.
What unique challenges did you encounter while preparing and broadcasting concerts?
We laugh our heads off when preparing for our broadcasts. Because our events involve sometimes as many as 40-50 individual participants, and often young music and art students, there is always something going wrong and funny. Even the majority of experienced performers are often not familiar with the specifics of performing on camera. We had people dropping their laptops in the middle of performances (imagine how that looks? While the beautiful sound keeps going?); walking and dancing out of the frame and leaving just one part of their body visible; pulling their headphones out of jacks and starting to yell: "What? WHAT????" We had dogs and lizards waltzing into the frame (people sometimes own quite exotic pets). We had countless "headless" bows when people assume all is set (while sitting at the piano, ONLY!!!!, but then forget that they aren't really set to get up for taking their bow. We had little siblings kids getting their fingers on the performers' laptops and accidentally "sharing" other tabs....which weren't meant to be shared or even open during the broadcast.
How do you think recent events (pandemic wise) will affect the music industry?
I think it depends on what people do with it. It can boost and promote more and better Connection, it can also devastate.
Virtual Concert Hall initiative is broadcasting live performances on a regular basis with top musicians from around the globe. We highly recommend taking a look at their event calendar here.