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LiveU Lends a Hand With The Ocean Cleanup's San Francisco Launch

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LiveU’s involvement in The Ocean Cleanup’s launch started back in November. van der Kooy was well-acquainted with LiveU thanks to his previous job at Turner Sports, working with PGA.com, PGA Tour, NASCAR, and NBA. His first experience with LiveU came when producing a live NASCAR show in 2009. Called GarageCam, it offered hour-long live tours of garages at NASCAR tracks. These were places where live streaming should have been difficult, but LiveU made it simple. After that, Turner Sports turned to LiveU for many other projects, and even turned CNN on to the company.

For this project, LiveU was the first vendor van der Kooy turned to and the only one he seriously considered. From the start, he found the team supportive and confident. Throughout the testing and the event itself, The Ocean Project didn’t experience any issues.

“We tested the LiveU a week in advance. I think it was even a little bit longer because LiveU wanted to also make sure that everything was okay throughout the day,” van der Kooy says. “Because we didn’t know exactly where we would be in the bay as we towed this out, we worked with the Blue & Gold Fleet, which also donated a lot to The Ocean Cleanup. They took us out on a trip throughout all parts of San Francisco Bay. Everywhere where I knew we would be doing shots, we took the LiveU and tested it, and the tests were just unbelievably sharp and clear. Then, we knew this was definitely the way to go.”

van der Kooy worked with George Klippel, director of channel sales for North America at LiveU, who was excited by the project from the start. It would take full advantage of LiveU’s Wireless At-Home production workflow and, more than that, it was a worthwhile project LiveU wanted to be part of.

“Number one, it’s for a great cause, right? I think anything that can help our world get a lot cleaner or anything that has to do with cleaning the environment or something healthy like that is really positive and I wanted to be involved for that reason,” Klippel says. “But it also was a challenge, right? I mean the San Francisco Bay Area is a very challenging environment surrounded by big mountains out in the middle of the bay and what they were trying to do was going to leverage all the technology that we have. I really wanted to be involved with it from that angle just to see if our technology could pull it off and do what they wanted to do.”

LiveU worked on The Ocean Cleanup project with Key Code Media, a reseller based in Burbank, Calif., and one of LiveU’s biggest resellers. LiveU provided its Wireless At-Home production workflow and the hardware, while Key Code took care of the editorial operation.

Field reporter Rachel Richardson watches as cameraman Brett Sims streams a live shot using a LiveU 600 during the launch of The Ocean Cleanup’s System 001. The Ocean Cleanup launched its first cleanup system toward the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from San Francisco Bay on Sept. 8, 2018. The entire launch was streamed live using seven different LiveU units from various locations around the bay on land, sea, and in the air. Photo courtesy The Ocean Project

If the cleanup goes half as well as the launch coverage, then the Pacific is as good as spotless: “I think it was one of the best productions I’ve ever been involved with. Everything basically came off flawlessly, and I think the LiveUs performed beyond what my expectations were,” Klippel raves. “It was an amazing production to be involved with. The images, the quality of the images, and what the people said on the live streams, it was amazing to watch and amazing to see.”

The live coverage went so well that van der Kooy’s only regret is he didn’t record more. The drone footage he got was spectacular, and he wishes he’d had a second unit showing a different perspective.

The full event was 2.5 hours long, essentially a full documentary played out in real-time. It provided an emotional experience that can’t be delivered in a 3-minute promotional clip. It captured the interest of viewers around the world, and perhaps it captured the imaginations of kids who might go on to make history themselves someday.

“It’s like when I was a kid watching the Space Shuttle take off. You’re watching something that is history in the making,” van der Kooy says. “I remember my dad waking me up at 3 in the morning and just sitting there for an hour, watching this thing standing there, waiting for it to take off. I’ll never forget those images. That’s what I think this was able to bring to kids, adults, anybody that’s interested in it.”

[This article appears in the November/December 2018 issue of Streaming Media Magazine as "LiveU Lends a Hand to The Ocean Cleanup."]

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