JVC and M3 Media shoot Music Muster

02 November, 2009 by IF

Press release from JVC Professional

Once a year a strange pilgrimage takes place at the Amamoor State Forest near Gympie in Queensland, Australia. The Gympie National Music Muster (aka Muster) is set within the tranquil state forest whose population swells to over 30,000 people by the end of the festival. Muster has a 25 year history of showcasing some of the best Australian and international artists and has been a launching pad for some of the best in the business including Keith Urban and Casey Chambers. At this year’s six-day event there were 16 stages hosting musicians playing the best in country, blues, folk and rock music.


Parked behind the main stage, as it was at the last six festivals, was Brisbane based production specialists M3 Media’s OB Van capturing the sights and sounds of the live concerts each afternoon and evening.

M3 Media’s Marty Hankins described the event and his company’s involvement. “With a capacity crowd on the hill, the van video output fed large projection screens, various back stage plasma screens and the corporate boxes. As well as the IMAG requirements, various record formats were also incorporated and distributed to multiple media outlets. At times we have had numerous formats recording simultaneously including: XDCAM, BETACAM, DVCAM, Direct to Hard Drive, H.264 recording and DVD recorders, all taking an output. This year, as with the previous six years, we have provided broadcaster WIN QLD with programme content which they packaged into a broadcast special to air on their network later in the year.”

Each year the Muster’s Rural Aid Appeal, which is organized by the APEX club, raises funds to give to a chosen charity. This year’s charity was Blase Aid which assists survivors of the devastating Victorian bush fires. As part of this fund raising, ABC Landline was there to tell their story.

Hankins continued, “ABC Landline utilised our footage in an hour long special, of which we contributed 45 minutes of its final content. Another major part of the job was the audio production. Main stage is actually two stages side by side. This allows for quick band changeovers; while ‘band one’ is performing on ‘stage one’, the curtain is closed on ‘stage two’ where ‘band two’ is sound checking. The OB Van took a full audio split of 80 plus inputs and crowd mics. Not only were we doing a multi-track record (48 track) but also a complete live mix that fed all the record VTRs. We then provided live audio mix to a local narrowcast that serves the Muster grounds, regional radio stations, and over 100 ABC radio national stations. From dusk till around 10:30pm our four cameramen were kept busy chasing band after band.”

The changing light from day to night is always an ongoing challenge for the M3 Media crew at Muster, but once fully dark, other lighting issues became apparent. The main stage venue, as a structure, also presented a challenge as its very low fly points for the lighting rig meant that some lighting fixtures were only a few metres from the performers’ heads. This caused some very intense hotspots throughout the stage. The front thrust of the stage, which was out beyond the lighting rig itself, also meant a total reliance on spotlights.

Hankins added, “The variation in intensity of the lighting challenges the camera sensors. This year a combination of two JVC ProHD GY-HD251E and two JVC GY-HD101E cameras were used with great success. As a golden rule, the bigger the sensor, the better it will cope in such harsh concert lighting situations. The JVCs are built with a 1/3” sensor and responded amazingly well in these conditions. We really did get some incredible footage from these cameras which have always punched way above their weight. I have always really loved the way the JVC GY-HD251E produces its black levels — the depth of the blacks tend to accentuate the saturation in the colours. This is really important in a live situation where the audience can compare what they see on stage to what is captured and projected on the screens. Another big plus with these cameras is their battery efficiency. We are “on air” from 4:00pm till 10:30pm and they easily make it through on two V-Lock batteries. In addition to the great cameras we had an excellent crew and everyone was delighted with the results we achieved.”

For the past six years at the Muster, M3 Media has provided all the OB services for the event’s production company Balls and All Media.