AP Live, based outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee, is using its Analog Way Aquilon RS2 multi-screen presentation system and videowall processor to drive virtual production in the company's new studio. Known for providing AV solutions for corporate meetings and live events nationwide, AP Live found itself pivoting to a new business model when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
"We took delivery of the Aquilon RS2 at the beginning of this year and our sister company, OCD-Labs, built a rack for it to support it for our work on the road," explains Cole Abshier, Technical and Creative Coordinator at AP Live. "Our Aquilon rack wasn't ready for live events before the pandemic hit, so in early March we decided to set up and staff our 12,000-foot Franklin warehouse with full virtual production capabilities." The acquisition of a larger warehouse in La Vergne, Tennessee had freed up existing space in Franklin to house a new virtual production studio featuring a 40 x 10-foot curved Esdlumen 2mm LED videowall powered by 20 MacBook Pro sources and driven by the Aquilon RS2.
Now, AP Live supports everything from small-scale virtual conferences to full virtual productions with multiple people on screen, choice of backgrounds and live streaming.
"The possibilities are limitless thanks to Aquilon," notes Abshier. "We can set up eight people on screen simultaneously along with graphics input, video, lower thirds, PIPs -- up to 16 layers on one source. Nothing else can do this. The Aquilon's Web RCS interface is so flexible that we can make changes in real time, which would require a lot of programming on any other system. And we can integrate Bitfocus Companion for hardware interface control. It's all scalable to the client's needs."
Leading pharmaceutical firms, government agencies, beverage companies and music industry professionals have taken advantage of AP Live's new virtual production capabilities for "the smallest to the largest events," Abshier says. "Clients have seen how they can fulfill a lot of the functionality of big events here; when virtual production is paired with our proprietary, secure web platform and they can add in our live support for breakout rooms and an exhibit hall for a better overall product."
Additional customers have included government agencies for meetings, a band for a live event/music video crossover, and local non-profits, which afford AP Live "the opportunity to give back to the community," Abshier says.
"Virtual production is a sustainable solution now, but post-pandemic we believe it will still go hand-in-hand with live events," he points out. "We don't see a time we won't be doing both. We can always take our studio and the Aquilon on the road with us to power a live event."
"AP Live has been a valued partner of ours since they began using our VIO 4K multi-format converters," notes Brian Smith, Southeast Regional Sales Manager at Analog Way. "We're so glad that the company has been able to expand their business at a challenging time with the Aquilon RS2."