NEP Thought Leadership 1
What is remote production and what are the benefits
Remote Production in the live TV production world is defined where the majority of the live production creation is done in a remote location as oppose to a traditional approach of having an Outside Broadcast truck or onsite gallery at the event location itself.
You just have to look at the benefits of remote production to understand why there is a current migration trend to implement this away from traditional onsite productions, especially when it comes to the televising and broadcasting of live events.
Outsourced production companies, such as NEP, have been analyzing the benefits of remote production, which additionally as a consequence of covid, has accelerated the live sports events industry into enabling more enhanced remote workflows due to the restriction of people working in close proximity.
The definition of remote production, also known as Remote Integration Model, or REMI for short, allows the capture of TV content from a remote location but the production itself is produced from a centralized location. However due to covid this definition has shifted. The central location was typically the broadcast center where the gallery would be used to direct the content. But new workflows have been forced to evolve quickly to a cloud based set up where the production team can be distributed, in many cases at home, and can utilize a range of cloud based platforms to perform their duties such as direction, graphics, highlight replays and commentary. All these tasks can be done remotely and successfully in a distributed model.
One such example of this was recently enabled by NEP at a live production for bobsleigh. Due to covid19, the commentator (Martin Haven London) could not travel. The production company asked NEP for a solution. NEP created a VPN tunnel between the Truck (with compounds in Lithuania, Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and the commentator’s home (London), and provided him with a low latency sub-second delayed video-stream and took his voice commentary return over an IP-codec. Low latency and reliability are critical in such a media workflow, especially given that it is a live production.
The original move to a remote production model was driven by other factors. Sending a whole team and an OB truck to site is costly. Especially if it is abroad. By only sending the camera team to the sports event and having the bulk of the production staff stay back at base not only saves costs but has other tangible benefits. This includes an environmental impact as people are travelling less resulting in a reduced carbon footprint. But also after the event, members of the production team can immediately return to their families resulting in a more positive home life where family members are not away for long periods. And the risk of forgetting equipment or having a hot standby in the event of a hardware failure or sickness is better managed.
So how are REMI remote production workflows managed? The broadcast industry continues to innovate with a range of new initiatives which includes the move from baseband video to IP, the use of cloud platforms and better use of remote connectivity included bonded cellular, the move to 5G, private LTE networks, and fibre where it is available. Low latency is a key feature of remote network communication, but actually ensuring a reliable, high quality feed with predictable latency is paramount, with a solid layer of error correction and security to ensure an extra layer of safety.
The camera feeds are fed back to a remote location, which globally can be situated anywhere, and from the there the production is directed, and the live program produced to include replays, interviews and commentary.
A second demonstration of network resilience and redundancy required when it comes to remote production, a recent UEFA match was being downloaded via satellite into Hilversum, the media center of the Netherlands. The local NEP team could see that a thunderstorm was closing in and so switched the download of the feed to Oslo and could easily transfer over their dedicated fiber network without any noticeable latency. The result was that their client had no interruption on air while their competitors did.
NEP Belgium are leading the way in REMI workflows and with their datacenter partner, KevlinX, is implementing cutting-edge workflows with high levels of redundant connectivity to ensure highly reliable network connections. This, coupled with cloud based workflows using best of breed application media platforms means NEP is now delivering on new cost effective and greener methods to produce live events for their global customers. All of this is part of NEP’s companywide strategy of becoming the worldwide leader in centralized and remote production, enabling us to deliver the most innovative, end-to-end solutions for our customers in [Belgium / Europe] and around the globe.
Contact NEP for more information on how they can help you deliver on your live events for the broadcast and OTT market.