University proud to be the technical driving force behind United We Stream

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

The rise of Covid-19 has catapulted live-streaming into the homes of millions around the world. As people look for alternative ways to be entertained, United We Stream Greater Manchester is leading the way.

Since it launched last month the free service has been busy broadcasting the finest music, art, entertainment and culture from Greater Manchester to audiences around the world.

The technical force behind the project is the University of Salford’s Media Production Team. The team manage multi-input live streams on location to create content for web, Facebook and Youtube, all while adhering to official safety guidelines.

“In our line of work, it is a natural instinct to be interactive and in close proximity to people but we learned quickly how to adapt to the situation we were in. Honouring the social distancing guidelines is paramount, and I think that is clear to see when viewers spot us on set,” said Colin McKevitt, Media Production Director at the University of Salford.

The team wear protective gloves and face masks during filming and ensure they keep a safe distance from the acts and each other.

“It’s been a new way of working operationally for us all,” adds Colin who is also a consultant at digital agency Badger and Combes LLP. “Through our work at Badger & Combes we’ve been able to take advantage of our high profile network and partners, connecting them directly to the project, I’m immensely proud of our team for being able to facilitate this”

Recent takeovers from the Hacienda, Funkademia, and Spike Island have earned the service over 4.3m million streams from around the world. The service has also raised just over an astonishing £300,000 in just five weeks.

United We Stream was initially founded in Germany, until Sacha Lord, Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Advisor, launched the British branch.

Sacha said: “When we decided to create United We Stream, it was important that the content we put out was high quality, not just in terms of artists, but also in terms of production.

“Undoubtedly, the most integral component to the success, has been Salford’s Media Production Team. No-one anticipated it to be not only such high quality, but also so well thought out and produced.”

While live music will undoubtably return, streaming has provided a welcome substitute during the pandemic. Covid-19 has forced the cultural sector to explore new ways of working, in turn increasingly moving into the digital arena.

When asked if live streaming will have more precedence in the future, long after lockdown measures ease, Colin says: “Live streaming does something really special that mainstream media cannot in terms of connecting to an audience authentically. I think going forward we will see more and more brands making use of technologies like object-based media methodology and immersive media consumption. Live streaming has proved to be an affordable way to connect to audiences and share experiences.”

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk or phone 0161 295 2238.