VocaNoIro @ NekoCon 15 Report
Hey guys! Re:VB-P here!
Some of you may or may not know, but last weekend I flew out to Virginia to host a series of events titled VocaNoIro (“The Colors of Vocaloid”). These events included two panels, and a live concert powered by the newest, unreleased version of my AniMiku software.
The first panel was on Friday from 9-10PM in Panel Room 1, and featured panelists Tempo-P from Vocalekt Visions and EmpathP. At the panel, they provided an introduction to Vocaloid and how they make music with the software. In this panel, EmpathP also announced that she is the artist for Zero-G’s new Celtic Vocaloid Avanna and also previewed her first demo.
The second panel was on Saturday from 2-3PM in Panel Room 2 and featured panelists Tempo-P and myself (Re:VB-P). At this panel, we explained who we are, what we do, and how our concerts are run. I also provided a quick explanation of how the technology of the projection screens works, and gave a history of AniMiku and my events. Unfortunately because we were forced to start late, we had to cut out Tempo-P’s portion of the panel, and I had to paraphrase and shorted my portion. The rest of the time was used to answer questions.
The concert was in main events from 10-11PM Saturday night, right before the dance. At this concert I used the AniMiku 3.9 beta, the newest version of the software which is currently unreleased. This version features a rendering engine completely coded by me, replacing the older MMDAgent engine. The newer engine supports better shading, physics, smoother animations, animated textures, and many other features.
Update: Official Concert Footage Added
Vocaloid Producers Panel
This panel had a moderate turnout, about 50 people I would guess. It’s not a huge number, but it was great to see that many people there. It was a bit of fun on my part to get everything put together though…
Ahead of time in the morning I had come down to the panel room and ran audio cables and a power cord to the spot where I would be filming. The audio cables were hooked up to the mixer’s record out so that I would get a cleaner recording than audio just from the camera’s mic. After doing sound checks in the morning, I had everything where I needed it to be. However, when we came down for the panel, things had changed and it was not set up the way I needed it. I had to do another sound check to make sure that everything was going to the recording PC, and that all mics were working. Of course, one mic wasn’t working, and the PC audio wasn’t either. If you watch the video, you can see me running around (guy with black hat) trying to fix the audio while the panel was going on. I was never able to figure out what caused it, but somewhere in the cable run something came loose, and the channel for PC audio was outputting electronic buzzing instead of the audio. Luckily I had brought the extra cables I needed and hooked it up to another channel in the mixer, which fixed the issue.
Other than that, this panel went very well in my opinion. There were a few people who were actually interested in learning how to use the software to compose music. There was also the fact that Avanna’s demo was released, which really surprised me. I was talking with EmpathP about doing this at NekoCon ahead of time, but she never got the response from Zero-G giving her permission to show the demo. She did get that email at the convention, so in the end we did end up having permission to release the demo. Avanna (at least from what I heard in the demo) is probably the most realistic English-speaking Vocaloid I have ever heard. I also loved the fact that she was unique, in design, voice, and in the fact that her voice provider is Irish.
AniMiku & Vocalekt Visions Q&A Panel
This panel had a turnout of less than the Producer panel, but I kind of expected it since not many people know who we are or would be interested in the technology of the concerts. However, I still think the panel went fairly well because most of the people that were there were interested in the technology and asked good questions.
Unfortunately, we did end up starting late for this panel. Because of that, we ended up having to cut out Tempo-P’s Vocalekt Visions portion of the panel, and I had to skip through much of my explanations, paraphrasing as I went, which resulted in sounding like we were rushing and giving out incomplete information. I also ended up choking out at the end because the water the con was supposed to bring us never showed up, and someone else had to run and get me some. Not exactly the best circumstances for my first panel, but oh well. It was great to hear some of the audience’s questions and answer. I also ended up meeting a few interesting people who actually appreciated what I do from a technological standpoint.
Here we go. This concert was insanely fun. Very stressful, but fun. I ended up being able to work with everybody on tech crew, who were all great people to work with and helped us out a lot. Since this was a large venue, we had to work together to get tech set up and the stage cleared for the concert.
On Thursday we went down to main events to do our initial setup, rehersal and testing, but because tech didn’t end up getting most of their eqipment until 12PM, we lost a few hours of prep time. Even so, we managed to pull everything together in the 1:30 setup time before the concert.
The concert itself went flawlessly. There were no hiccups in the animation, projection issues, or tech issues. Since I was stationed in the tech crew booth at the back of the room, I was able to see the whole concert for myself from the audience perspective, and not from the side of the screen like I did at AOD and Tora-Con. From where I was, the concert looked epic. Since we handed out 1000 free glowsticks, you could see right through the wave of glowsticks to the screen, and it felt like a real concert. Besides that, there were two side projection screens that showed the video feed from the cameras, making the whole thing feel even more professional.
As for attendance and audience, I did say ahead of time that our attendee size was drastically increased to 1000, which is how many people we were expecting. The room can hold 1400 people without the stage. The door clicker read 1357 after the concert was over! The line itself (video below) began outside the door to main events and went down the hallway, looped around the outside walls of the convention center, then came back in on the other side of the wall – WAAY more people than I was expecting. Including staff, we did go above fire code, which is 1400 people. The best part was that the fire marshal was there and he knew that, but couldn’t care less because he was enjoying the show. We also ended up making NekoCon history, now holding the record for the single largest event in the convention’s 15 year history, more than doubling the previous record which was 600.
Now to give a bit of perspective on the atmosphere of the concert. If you read my blog post “AniMiku Concerts: What Can and Cannot be Improved (as of now)“, you would have read how I stated that the atmosphere is what makes the show. That atmosphere consists of audience, sound, lighting, and room. We nailed all three of those at this concert. The audience was enthusiastic with almost every person in the room waving their glowsticks in sync with the song. The sound (60,000 watts of awesomeness) sounded perfect, with clear audio and bass that you could feel. The lighting was perfect, with gobos adding effects to the walls, a backlit fiber-optic star curtain behind the screen, and multiple movable studio spots stationed around the stage and lighting trusses. This was one of the parts that made this truly feel like a full-on concert. Below is the official recording of the concert (in full HD!).
I know some of you would like to know the full setlist, so here it is:
Project Diva Desu DX Remix (t.Komine/UtataP)
Welcome to the Future (made specially for this concert by car.ess(zalas))
Nekomimi Switch (daniwellP)
Easy Dance (Mitchie M)
Lemon Ice Bar (Vocalekt Visions)
Tatsumaki (Vocalekt Visions)
Overseas Travels (Vocalekt Visions)
Leaving Donna (EmpathP)
White Knight (EmpathP)
Ievan Polkka (Otomania)
Summer Festival (Vocalekt Visions)
So yeah, this was definitely a fan-made concert to remember. I know my team and myself had a lot of fun, and that fans who saw the concert did too. Other videos from the events are available on my YouTube channel