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USC lab assists in Emmy-nominated music special

An audio-visual streaming system developed with the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab allowed T-Bone Burnett, above, to play with rockabilly Chuck Mead as if he was sitting right beside him in Tennessee.

Gig City Roots, a music special featuring the first use of gigabit-per-second connectivity and new video conferencing technology, nabbed two Emmy Award nominations for the 28th Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards to be held Jan. 25 in Nashville. The performance was facilitated by the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab (AIL).

Grammy winning producer/musician T-Bone Burnett performed with rockabilly singer/guitarist Check Mead before a live audience of 4,000 people in Chattanooga, Tenn. The LOw LAtancy audio-visual streaming system, developed with AIL, enabled Burnett to play with Mead as if he was sitting right beside him.

In addition to the real-time coast-to-coast jam session, engineers deployed an eight-camera high-definition production facility on the riverfront in Chattanooga with live streaming throughout Chattanooga’s Coolidge Park.

“We’re proud to have played an integral role, working with partners who had the vision to execute a truly innovative event and special that is justly reaping recognition,” said Professor Jonathan Taplin, director of AIL.

Producer Todd Mayo added: “A confluence of great folks at the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (EPB), the Annenberg Innovation Lab team, RiverRocks organizers and others allowed us to do something singular: a live cross-country duet in real time, over 3,000 miles of distance and in only .66 milliseconds of time, literally a blink of an eye. We look forward to doing more with Chattanooga’s Gig as it relates to music and technology.”

The show aired live online and was also broadcast on WTCI, the PBS affiliate in Chattanooga and across the state on The Tennessee Network, which includes Tennessee PBS stations in Memphis, Nashville, Jackson, Cookeville, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Tri Cities.

The long-distance duet was a collaboration among the AIL, the USC Thornton School of Music, EPB Fiber Optics, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, RiverRocks and Heng Dai Media.


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USC lab assists in Emmy-nominated music special

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