Mikupa comes to Japan with help from Blackmagic
JAPAN: Created by Crypton Future Media, Hatsune Miku is a computer generated vocaloid pop star based around the concept of allowing a user to type in lyrics and a melody, which will then be sung by a voice synthesised from recordings of a voiceover actress. Due to the software’s popularity in Asia, many Hatsune Miku live events have taken place, most recently the ‘Hatsune Miku Live Party,’ also known as Mikupa.
Taking place in west Japan, the concert – starring the 3D CG character, Miku – attracted a reported 5,000 fans. Concert organiser Mages Inc installed an acrylic screen on stage onto which they projected Miku’s image. The transparent nature of the screen created the illusion that Miku was actually on stage with the band, which played live during the concert.
Blackmagic Design’s capture and playback device, UltraStudio 3D and HyperDeck Studio SSD recorder and player were used for the Mikupa concert. Yohsuke Ikuta, system designer at Mages and Ogikuboman, CEO at Ogikuboman Inc – which was involved in the video production aspect of the live concert, discussed the use of Blackmagic Design solutions at the event.
‘We mainly finalise the CG images from the CG artists, as well as the actual video to be projected on a screen,’ explained Mr Ogikuboman. ‘Also, we create some images to show on the LED screen on a stage. For example, pouring cherry blossom petals on stage, or creating other effects for when Miku changes her stage outfit. We understand what the director visualises and create the actual videos by making them into files.
‘The first priority with regards to the technical aspect is outputting a high quality 60P image,’ he continued. ‘They had used a solution which only allowed them to output a 30P image at a previous Mikupa event. We wanted the best quality video to project on the screen. So we researched solutions to achieve this, and came upon the UltraStudio 3D. Our staff are mostly Apple Mac users, and Blackmagic Design products work really well with Apple’s.
Blackmagic Design’s Media Express software installed on a Mac book Pro was connected to an UltraStudio 3D via Thunderbolt, as well as output video and audio. Then, the video was sent to a switcher via HD-SDI, and the audio was sent to Pro Tools to sync up. The video was sent to a projector to be displayed on the screen. Mini Converters HDMI to SDI were used to input HDMI video to HD-SDI service monitors on stage.
‘I was surprised to see how simple the system was to do this job,’ said Mr Ikuta. ‘All masters came from the Media Express software. Four HyperDeck Studios were used for the event and two out of the four were used as backup players. The main feeds were from the UltraStudio 3D, fed by Media Express on a Mac, and backup video was played from the HyperDeck Studio so that if something unexpected happened, such as if computer trouble were to occur, we could switch to the backup feed.
‘It’s good if everything is prepared nicely before going to the concert venue to set up, so that we’re ready for the show to start,’ he continued. ‘However, there were constant changes and fixes right up until the last minute. We knew that we had to change some CG, render it, and then bring it to the computer on the set up day. The combination of Media Express and UltraStudio 3D was very simple and easy. It is part of the reason why we chose this solution, as we could just play back the finished data on the computer. HyperDeck Studio also saved us time as all we needed to do was simply copy the data onto SSDs.’
‘Blackmagic’s support team really helped us,’ furthered Mr Ogikuboman. ‘That is another reason I chose Blackmagic solutions. I didn’t know how to use HyperDeck Studio at all, and this might not be a common way to use HyperDeck, but they took good care of us.’
The team are now considering creating video for Mikupa in high quality 2K or even 4K.
Vocaloid is a registered trademark of Yamaha Corporation.