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“The Digital Stage”: making way for digital culture

“The Digital Stage”: making way for digital culture

The "#WirVsVirus Solution Enabler" project "The Digital Stage" creates an opportunity for larger music and theatre ensembles to rehearse and perform via the Internet.

These days, recordings or live streams enabled by internet technology are the primary sources of the concerts we attend, our theatre evenings or other culturally engaging live performances. However, these shows are rarely satisfactory. They usually do not work in a live format, as most offers the Internet provides are not able to deliver the necessary technical structure and resources. Features such as a real audio mix, for example, commonly do not work because of the intention to reduce data transmissions. Valuable solutions are usually expensive and/or demand special hardware or requirements such as fibre optic connections.

The Digital Stage” intends to solve this problem. Project Lead Julian Klein declares,

“we want to develop a possibility that allows larger music and theatre ensembles to rehearse via internet, distributed from home and with existing household technology, and to perform live on a digital stage together in front of an audience. In a later step, 3D audio and virtual reality formats are to be integrated.”

A European stage

The project that has originated from the German “#WirVsVirus hackathon” proceeded to enter the “#EUvsVIRUS hackathon“, in April of 2020, to develop their solution further. The English pitch video, produced by #EUvsVIRUS Project Lead Martin Burr, demonstrates how the team has developed their idea of a digital stage further.

Due to the contact restrictions following the COVID-19 outbreak, many artistic productions seek to jointly rehearse from various separate locations. Further, to finally perform in front of a live audience again.

Audio-video rehearsing

The existing possibilities are video conferencing systems with voice optimization, which often allow for hearing only 2-3 people simultaneously. According to Julian Klein, a long transmission delay further complicates, if not makes it impossible, for ensembles to perform together, “our solution: an audio-video conferencing system with a flexible mix of decentralized and peer-to-peer connections, designed specifically for the needs of music, dance, theatre and visual arts. We plan to implement three versions with different focuses and quality.”

  1. a browser-based version
  2. a locally installed PC-application and
  3. commercially available hardware (PC not required)

Service will be free of charge to artistic institutions and independent productions.

The project initiated by the “!KF – Institute for Artistic Research Berlin” is now part of the “Solution Enabler programme” by the social acceleration platform Project Together, where the solution is supported in a quick and broad-scale implementation.

About the “#WirVsVirus Solution Enabler” programme

The “#WirVsVirus Solution Enabler” is a six-months implementation programme for 130 selected innovative solutions developed for coronavirus-related challenges. The programme that is supported by the Vodafone Institute with startup funding, know-how and digital expertise, encourages projects from 12 action fields, such as health, everyday life and crisis management, to successfully implement their solutions on a broad scale. The Institute supports the project teams with individually tailored support by providing access to the Vodafone corporate network. Particularly the startup programme Vodafone UPLIFT with their PACESETTER offering supports the teams in the areas of IT infrastructure, public cloud, IoT solutions and individual consulting. The programme under the patronage of the Federal Chancellery has started working with the projects on April 8 of 2020. Find further information here.