50 hours of Rebellion

A look inside the organised chaos of the 50-hour livestream from last week.

For those not aware of what Rebellion is, it is an annual livestream that raises money for charity, with this year’s charity being Essex Cancer Research. This year, the Rebellion raised £402, four times the initial target of £100, and it’s clear to see why, as the programming this year was incredible.

But before we get into that, the technicians had to get the livestream working, and that wasn’t so easy. 

Vir, the ‘unofficial head of photography’ told me about how their biggest technological hurdle was before Rebellion and that it was surprisingly audio.

“It was the hardest thing to do because we had the setup to get everything onto radio, seamlessly, but we don’t for Twitch, we had to improvise for the whole thing”. 

What ended up happening was they would use the external microphones on the cameras to record the speakers in the radio studio.

Vir explained how this was unusual as it “leads to a lot of loss in the sound quality but we worked around it.” 

Once all that had been sorted out, the livestream managed to work fairly smoothly. However, there were some tense moments. Such as an interview that needed to be conducted over zoom, the call was being made on the laptop in order for it to be recorded, which meant that the interviewer would cause an echo.

“Everyone was like we need to get the producer out of the room” Vir recalled, “and I chimed in like, it’s gonna be much easier to move the interviewer into the other room.”

This was a success, and the interview was broadcast without any issues.

Shaun, the host of several segments as well as the Deputy Head of the video, described another intense moment during the live stream, as he experienced difficulties during a drawing request segment.

“A pretty cool guy called Richard had come on and he had done a musical segment where he would play music and at the same time he would draw whatever would be requested on the livestream chat”, but with the livestream setup it was difficult to show the host the livestream chat, possibly derailing the entire segment.

“Because I was the producer I had to tell him what the requests were from the chat, but because my voice wasn’t that loud and the music was loud, there was difficulty in communicating”, however, despite this, Shaun was able to communicate with Richard and as a result, another memorable moment was created through the various requests posted in the chat.

Looking at more fun moments, there was a prank on the livestream early on, as several SU leaders had pens thrown onto their heads, as a result of a surplus created by Essex Cancer Research sending Rebel a care package before the livestream.

Most of the fun was had because of the incredible guests. DJ Rad Dad blew up the livestream at midday Friday, the karaoke hour was something that was absolutely worth preserving, as well as all the different societies that came forward to be interviewed by the various hosts.

However, the hosts were extremely busy themselves. “It’s very tiring” Elliot, the Events Officer, said after 15 hours of on-air time as well as 6 hours producing. When asked how much coffee he had drank throughout the rebellion, he responded “I’d say in pints… 2 or 3 pints a day, but then the days all merge into one.”

The other presenters like Vir, Shaun, and Teo also kept the atmosphere varied and lively, with various discussions being had ranging from films to the food on campus. 

One of the segments that ran throughout the entire event was the Societies showcase, where various Societies from the university would be given the opportunity to advertise the various activities that were being organised by them. 

As it wrapped up, a small send-off was organised with the people in the studio coming on camera for a conversation hosted by Elliot, which culminated in a packed studio celebrating the conclusion of a tough but successful livestream.

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