Lee Kernaghan is Australian country music royalty and one of the hardest working musicians in the country. Almost constantly on the road since the mid ’90s, Lee has been out touring most of 2019 supporting his 15th studio album, Backroad Nation.
This tour sees the introduction of Lumens PTZ cameras into his live show. Two A60S cameras play a key role in the video production.
“I’m always looking at ways to raise the standard of our shows. People don’t come to a show to just hear the songs, they’re at the show to experience something. That’s the whole idea of the Lumens cameras, to put the crowd on the stage with the band,” commented Lee Kernaghan, prior to appearing on stage at the Ballarat Civic Hall where around 1000 locals gathered, more determined than most city crowds to have an amazing night.
One of the Lumens A60S cameras is mounted on a tripod and positioned at the back of the room while the second is side of stage, again on a tripod. Setting the cameras up is easy: a run of SDI and daisy chained Cat6 for control.
“Lee’s always looking for ways to interact with the audience,” commented video tech, Michael ‘MJ’ Simjanovski. “And what better way of doing that than putting them on the big screen!”
MJ’s rig is compact but powerful. He controls the content that hits the large portable projection screen. Many of the songs are run to a timecode clock. The drummer triggers the click via a laptop running Ableton Live. The timecode hits MJ’s primary and secondary laptops kicking off the song’s video package (effectively, a music video clip). As the set progresses, MJ begins to incorporate more A60S camera footage — sometimes of the band, sometimes footage of the audience getting involved. MJ uses a Lumens VS-K20 joystick controller for the PTZ cameras and a compact Roland V-1SDI video switcher to call the shots.
“I selected the Lumens A60S cameras because they’re great in low light,” continues MJ. “While the powerful optical and digital zoom [30x optical and 12x digital] means I can place one of the cameras at the back of the room and still get a great, tight shot.”
It’s unusual to see PTZ cameras on a live show but MJ’s stint in corporate AV made him think: ‘Why not?’ “People are familiar with the remote control benefits of PTZ cameras in corporate AV but the advantages in a live situation are pretty clear to me. Not many tours can afford the cost of extra personnel to stand behind cameras, while I can control two cameras and, thanks to the pan, tilt and zoom control, I can get the shots I need. The fact the Lumens image quality is excellent completes the picture.”
Lee Kernaghan may have collected 37 Golden Guitar awards over his illustrious career but he’s not looking backwards. He’s already considering how cameras might play an even greater role in future shows: “The future for us is all about delivering shows that make people want to get involved. The lumens cameras allowed us to take this tour to a whole new level.”