Behind the Scenes at Lollapalooza with Dell Precision workstations

Wow, what an amazing event. Watching the Foo Fighters with tens of thousands of other fans jumping in thick mud during a heavy downpour was an experience I will never forget. Lollapalooza in Chicago was nothing short of incredible for me because:

  1. I got to see some awesome bands (ColdPlay, Eminem, Foo Fighters – among many others)
  2. Despite the showers, the 83 degree weather in Chicago was a heck of a lot better than the 103 degree weather in Austin
  3. Seeing Dell Precision workstations working behind the scenes at the festival was very inspirational.

Dell Precision workstations were used to capture and edit footage for webcasts of the biggest acts over YouTube. We utilized four workstations with AMD FirePro graphics: Two Dell Precision M4600 mobile workstations captured HD video through USB 3.0 high-speed connections and transferred the files to our 4TB Dell PowerVault network attach storage (NAS), two additional Dell Precision T5500 tower workstations with Adobe Premiere Pro were used to edit the video.

Previously the production team used Apple Macs and FinalCut Pro. However, when using FinalCut Pro to edit video, the raw footage had to be converted to a different format before editing, and then reformatted again before the video could be shared. With Dell and Adobe, the footage didn’t have to be converted throughout the entire process. The software and hardware are powerful enough to directly edit raw footage straight off the NAS making everything much faster and simpler – no encoding, no decoding and no waiting. This time savings allowed C3 to share much more footage than in previous years because they were able to incorporate video of bands that played just a few minutes before as opposed to bands that played hours ago.

If you missed Lollapalooza you can still check out many of the bands at YouTube.com/Lollapalooza including the aforementioned Foo Fighters. In addition, Dell workstations will be used to power webcasts at the upcoming ACL Fest in September; and if you’re going to be at the festival and want to check out some of this cool technology be sure to stop by the Dell Lounge where we’ll have mobile workstation systems with AMD FirePro graphics running Adobe Premiere Pro that anyone can come play with. Plus, we’re working on a behind the scenes video which documents the video team making the webcast, which we’ll share with you in a future post. See you there!

About the Author: Jason Devos