At-home production. Literally (Part I)



Part I – Covid-19 accelerates the media transformation


Per Lindgren,

CTO and Co-founder at Net Insight

Net Insight’s Covid Series investigates the “new normal” in media production and contribution. In this first part, let’s look at how the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is changing workflows, with staff forced into distributed and remote workflows by stay-at-home measures.  

The global crisis, with businesses endeavoring to keep up with containment measures, did not have only negative consequences: it has also unleashed creativity and adaptive ways to produce and deliver engaging consumer experiences. A first effect of this is the acceleration towards all-IP openness and cloud platforms. What was put under investment scrutiny has now become the “new normal”.

Click on the button below to find out the must-ask questions when making the switch to IP.

When it comes to production workflows, the industry is really leapfrogging to distributed and at-home production (or remote production). Even performers and hosts are participating in content production from their homes, and production crews sit in at-home or local studios.

A recent example was mentioned by Renard T. Jenkins, VP of Content Transmission at Warner Media, during the IABM Online State of the Industry Conference: the latest episode of All Rise, a CBS-hosted US drama, made headlines for being 100% remote-produced. Of course, this puts a lot of requirements on these new workflows, on the networks, and on how you build your production environments.

One thing is clear – many of these changes are here to stay, and they will become the new normal after the crisis.

This is just a small part of the transformation the industry is undergoing right now. Traditionally in on-site data productions, particularly in large-scale produced events, there are dedicated satellites or media networks to do contribution or primary distribution, and there are a big variety of distribution platforms. Some have already started to move into remote productions, especially for big leagues and permanent productions, but also for other large-scale events.

The live production value chain in times of Covid-19.

Swedish Television (SVT) is a great example from 2019. SVT wanted to be more ambitious than ever, deploying more cameras and delivering more angles and live replays for a rich, captivating viewing experience. They partnered with Net Insight and Grass Valley to undertake remote IP production for the broadcast of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. The production setup for the competition boasts the largest number of cameras deployed and the highest volume of remote signals – video, audio and data – transmitted to date from a live location to SVT’s headquarters in Stockholm, over 600km away. The blueprint for that event was used by SVT only two weeks later for live production of the IBU World Championships.

Find out more about how SVT achieved the world’s largest remote production powered by Net Insight by clicking on the button below.

Another side of this shift is that traditional dedicated satellite is moving more to IP networks; at the same time, dedicated media networks are complemented by more IP and even internet contribution, and primary distribution solutions. On the distribution side, the big growth is definitely in IP distribution and internet OTT distribution, and this is affecting the whole workflow, going towards more of an all-IP end-to-end workflow.

The next step is virtualized productions, elastic and cost-effective.

The industry is starting to see more distributed, hardware-agnostic – in other words, fully virtualized – production environments, where you can have your resources anywhere in the cloud, in a private cloud, on a server or on dedicated hardware, and workflows are really built on demand, thanks to products like Net Insight’s Nimbra Edge. The same goes for contribution and distribution networks becoming more and more open, and of course the growth in OTT (and virtualized OTT platforms) is moving into the cloud as well. This also opens up for new, enhanced services with more graphics, metadata and multiple camera angles.

Find out more about what are the keys to a cloud-based workflow in my other webinar.

Usually I would say that today’s production is a huge waste of resources. There are 20, maybe 50 cameras capturing content, but only one feed is sent to the consumers – and this will change. Also, on the camera side, especially for Tier 2 networks, we are moving towards utilizing more AI and machine learning, for example to let the cameras follow the action themselves without having to have camera crews on site.

Another field that is gaining traction is enterprise broadcast productions. With many employees working from home, it is now more important than ever to keep them engaged and make collaboration between teams more efficient.

Learn more about how LinkedIn boosted employee engagement with Net Insight’s remote production solution by watching our expert talk video.

In summary, this global crisis has accelerated the existing production technology trends towards all-IP, cloud-enabled, open workflows. At the same time, production crews everywhere are being forced into remote or at-home and distributed productions, and workflow changes are here to stay in the effort of keeping viewers engaged. These transformations will become the new normal, and the key is to understand how to stay ahead of the curve once the crisis is over.

Watch the video recording of my live webinar on this topic.

Find out what things you need to consider when resuming your live production in the next issue of the Net Insight Covid Series. Part II of “At-home Production: Literally.” will be available soon. Stay tuned!