Nary a word in the article addressed Bodie's current passion, streaming live events, has established his company, Florida-based Studio 26 Productions, as the go-to live event webcast provider in his region and in some key entertainment areas, including-though not limited to-Christian rock concerts and other music shows, ranging from concert series in the spring to festivals in the summer and one-off arena gigs such as the Hillsong United Christian rock show he produced and streamed in August. Bodie estimates that his crew does roughly 80 live events per year, with maybe half of those involving music.
Live webcasting is much more than Bodie's "current" passion. He and his crew have been shooting, switching, and delivering shows live over the web for 7 years now. His projects have ranged from concerts to corporate gigs to conferences, lectures, and more. I had the opportunity to speak with him when on the cusp of a new adventure, a series of live-produced and delivered, MTV Unplugged-style shows featuring popular and up-and-coming Christian rock acts. Designed to be shot, impromptu, in a band's home or rehearsal space, Bodie's new project has the working title "Home Invasion."
The new show, Bodie says, "came about by accident. A good friend of mine is a DJ who's extremely well known in the Christian radio world. Last year, he was voted Christian DJ of the year." Over the past year or two, Bodie says, he's gotten into the habit of stopping by DJ Jayar's The Joy FM studio when he had guests on such as for Friday cooking shows. "Sometimes I would tape it and sometimes I wouldn't," Bodie says. Two Jayar events he's shot offsite were "celebrity challenge" shows involving Tampa Bay Rays 2nd baseman Ben Zobrist and Christian artist Toby Mac ("Toby vs. Zoby"), which developed a sizeable following on YouTube and Vimeo.
Jayar has "been in the business 15 years," Bodie says, "and he knows all of these artists who come down all of the time. We'd take them out to a local place to eat and hang out and get to know them." Talking to Jayar one night, Bodie recalls, it occurred to him that "what we should do is if someone comes in town is say, ‘Hey why don't you come over tonight and we'll have you guys do an acoustic set. And so we did it. We did it recently with this band named Leland. We just came over unannounced and said, ‘All right, man, live acoustic set, we'll live-stream it. We'll live record it and switch. And we'll see what happens.' So we went to his kid's room, where there were toys, literally, strewn about the entire room. We were stepping on squeaky ducks while we're walking to the chair for this Christian artist to play one of their new hit songs. And so it was just really fun. We had about 10 to 15 kids and people just in the room hanging out. And we shot it and streamed it. And it was very successful. And so we decided, ‘We're going to start doing this all of the time."
Not every show happens exactly like the Leland show, Bodie says, but the template for the show is established. "We're not going to shoot every artist in his kid's room' that was a novelty thing. Now we're actually going to do it in a living room or have a little bit more room to work with lighting and my crew, because we were really limited upstairs. But now we're going to start doing this thing where when the artists come in town, and we're going to be either going to them or having them come to us, and do live streaming of two or three of their songs."
What's perhaps most surprising about Home Invasion so far, Bodie says, is that his studio is actually making money at it. "It's turning into another revenue for us where we'll go somewhere and bring our equipment and our audio equipment and full-on set up in about an hour. We'll set up all of the microphones, all of the equipment that we need, the lighting, the live-switching stuff. And then we live stream for about 10 to 20 minutes of a few songs. And it's now allowing us to generate extra revenue because it's pretty simple to do and a lot of people want to do it. We're starting to get requests to go places and do this. What started off as just a fun thing to do because I love music is turning out to be a pretty solid web show where we'll start booking guests and interviewing and doing it all live and recording it for archiving on the internet."
Bodie's Home Invasion crew currently consists of 2 camera operators and an audio tech. The crew sets up with 3 main cameras and sometimes a GoPro, and Bodie will operate the moving camera. One of the challenges for him, Bodie says, is whether to shoot or handle the switch and run the audio, since he loves to do both. "It kind of just depends on the situation, if I need a shooting fix, so to speak. It depends on how long it's been since I shot something that I liked. Directing and switching is cool, but once we get set up, I love being behind the camera."