VR Live Concert – How sofasession rocked SXSW’s music tech scene

If you follow our Facebook and Twitter you might have noticed what we’ve been up to the last weeks – To present sofasession at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas we came up with a crazy genius idea. We thought: Why explaining the sofasession technology to people if we could just show them. Right? We simply wanted to present what our audio technology is capable of.

VR Live Concert feat. sofasession & Bitten By

What is the VR Live Concert?

We started a cooperation with a very talented Austrian musician Patricia, who is currently working on her solo project as “Bitten By“. So we showed our technology at SXSW by giving Patricia the chance to present her album, which will be released in autumn 2017.

Patricia flew over to Austin to play a concert there (synthesizer & vocals). But she couldn’t take all her band with her. So they were performing with her – but from Vienna (Wiener Konzerthaus, such a gorgeous location).

Both sides could hear each other like they were playing on the same stage. Just that they weren’t.

You can also check the Facebook event of the VR Live Concert: https://www.facebook.com/events/262002577576646/

How did we connect the audio signals?

Patricia was playing a synthesizer and singing. The signals from both instruments were connected and sent as one signal to our sofasession online client.

The musicians in Vienna were mainly playing digital instruments already: e-drums, e-violin and omni chord. The trombone and vocals went through microphones. The whole signal was then connected and sent to Austin.

Preparing for VR Live Concert in Vienna
Preparing for VR Live Concert in Vienna

How did we handle the latency?

We used a pre-recorded click to ensure both sides have a stable signal to play to. But luckily the connection between the two cities was amazing anyway!

What’s the 360° Virtual Reality part?

The sound is one part – Patricia heard her band and was playing with them like they were on the same stage. The musicians on the Vienna stage were hearing Patricia. Everything cool so far.

But how to show the audience in Austin that they are actually listening to a REAL, live playing band right now? And that this band is located in Vienna?

This is where the VR idea came up. Didn’t you always wish to beam into a location just for a second, a single glance?

Everybody watching Patricia at SXSW received the link to the stream and could take a look at the stage in Vienna throughout the concert. Amazing, right?

360view_Vienna_VR Live Concert
This is how the video looks like if it’s static. With a phone or VR glasses, you can actually turn your head around and see everything in the room. Awesome!

Let’s use the live stream everywhere?

Yes! Then we thought: Wait, if we create a live stream for the audience in Austin, why not streaming it out into the world? Make the concert accessible to everybody, no matter if they are in Vienna, Austin or somewhere else.

Hundreds of people were live with us – and this was an amazing feeling. Scary, challenging, but simply amazing! And people still keep watching the recorded stream.

Watch the concert here, if you didn’t have the chance to attend live:

How did it look in Vienna?

VR Live Concert Vienna at WienerKonzerthaus _(c)sofasession copy

How did it look in Austin?

 

VR Live Concert at Austin, Texas

Patricia at Austin during VR Concert © German Haus / Initiative Musik. Photographer: Dan Taylor Photography
Patricia at Austin during VR Concert © German Haus / Initiative Musik. Photographer: Dan Taylor Photography
Patricia singing in Austin__Copyright German Haus, Initiative Musik, Fotograf Dan Taylor Photography
 

Which musicians were involved?

Partners involved:

This whole huge project wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing partners.

 

Live feedback on the VR live concert

You can find more about the VR live concert at http://en.vrkonzert.at/

And if you are looking for official press materials on this event then have a look at http://press.vrkonzert.at/