At-home production. Literally (Part II)
#NETINSIGHTCOVIDSERIES – REMOTEPRODUCTION
Part II – What to consider when resuming your live production
CTO and Co-founder at Net Insight
The Covid-19 pandemic is causing businesses to leapfrog into remote or distributed workflows – but what will happen after the emergency is over? In the second part of the Net Insight Covid Series, let’s look at what are the things to consider when resuming a live production in a post-Covid world.
If you haven’t read the first part, click HERE to get access to it.
1. Workflow flexibility
The first aspect to keep in mind is the flexibility of workflows. Producers must have the ability to bring a new host or performer into production environments – even if they are sitting at home or coming from another studio. The first mile also becomes very critical: there is the need to achieve a successful live production even over open Internet, and to bring that into the production environment, so that it becomes a consistent part of the normal production workflows.
2. Quality vs costs
Balancing quality versus cost is also vital. I always say that doing a high-quality production with unlimited budget is very easy, and it is also easy to do a bad production at low cost. The key is achieving high-quality production at low cost. The industry is learning that right now, using virtualization, remote work and cloud for contribution and distribution to address the need for distancing. The experience and creativity deployed during this time will be put in practice and productized in the post Covid-19 world. We are now doing high quality multi-camera productions over Internet and even sending the streams directly into the cloud for remote cloud production. In this we see a harmonization between sports news and live enterprise productions, as well as other Tier 2 segments.
3. End-point protection
Security and resiliency are becoming even more critical moving into all-IP workflows. It is common to see unprotected services in the current emergency situation, where we were forced to adapt on the fly and sometimes even improvise. However, security and resiliency, together with time synchronization of distributed production environments, are areas to carefully consider when using these new workflows in the future.
4. Internal process – social distancing
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused widespread enforcement of social distancing, affecting all internal collaboration processes among staff. When things start to open up again, it is likely that large-scale entertainment and sports events will have to move forward behind closed doors – as the Premier League is doing right now for example. Another potential issue is that talents like commentators or moderators might have to work remotely. This poses a challenge, as the exchange with the crowd and the interaction with the community are big parts of the live viewing experience. How do you make sure that you still can get that type of enhanced experience through these workflows? The things we have learned during the crisis will have to be maintained in these new production environments.
Social distancing measures will be maintained long after the emergency is over; ensuring remote collaboration is key to stay ahead of the curve.
A recent example of this is the One World: Together at Home concert, a six-hour show broadcasted on April 18 on ABC, CBS, and NBC among others, and produced entirely from in-home studios, where our customer The Switch helped deliver critical services on a global scale.
Watch my SVG Chairman’s Forum webinar with The Switch’s Sales Director Linda Hannan to learn more on Covid-19’s impact on live media production and delivery.
We have also learned that openness is critical. The need to harmonize the workflow, to be very flexible and to be able to connect to others translates directly to the need for open platforms. Not only that, but for flexible and agile platforms – that is why our strategy has been focusing on open IP and virtualized platforms. We provide a new architecture spanning across platforms where our customers can tailor, set up and orchestrate their workflows on demand. It should not take days – or even weeks – to be able to set up your workflow. It should take minutes, or even seconds, to adapt them, and in combination with open IP and Internet connectivity this truly opens up for next-generation workflows.
The value of openness in the post-Covid world.
One of the keys, of course, is also low latency, especially when going over internet. It’s quite easy to achieve it if you have dedicated networks, uncompressed feeds, or feeds compressed in ultra-low latency formats like JPEG-X or JPEG-2000. But when you need to do this over Internet, and bring that functionality into your normal production environments, it is key to have low or medium latency in combination with good timing support in order to synchronize frames and sources.
Read more here on our remote production solution offering stream synchronization.
At Net Insight our focus is to evolve the whole Nimbra platform to include virtualized distributed environments. In these environments there are microservices or apps –whether it is transport apps for the network, resiliency protection apps, or media processing apps for encoding, format conversions, or security. This setup allows you to combine your apps and microservices and truly tailor and customize your workflows for your customer’s needs.
On top of that, the Nimbra platforms are fully hardware agnostic. You can use the same apps and microservices on the dedicated Nimbra appliances, on off-the-shelf computer servers, or in open cloud environments – this is what the future looks like. That allows you to also build distributed platforms. Of course, in cases where high scale, great efficiency and very low latency are required, dedicated appliances are necessary to succeed, but some other setups fit very nicely into off-the-shelf servers or cloud environments. Going forward, it is going to be fundamental to have the same type of services and apps on all possible platforms. The future of workflows is open, virtual, flexible and secure.
A few years ago the Nimbra platform was required on both ends of the workflow with its own dedicated networks to provide the excellent service it is renowned for. That is no longer the case. Today we have also opened up to be one of the most agile and flexible IP gateways on the market. We are also adding all the ARQ and Nimbra 400 capabilities to connect and tie together different Nimbra platforms, including the new Aperi platform that we acquired in the beginning of 2020. What’s more, we are also able to ingest that content directly, whether it’s from a Nimbra 600 series, or a Nimbra 400 series, into the cloud. This is where our new Nimbra Edge platform comes into play – a virtualized all-software platform for building distributed contribution and primary distribution solutions. On the receiver side, it can of course be Nimbra to Nimbra, Nimbra to Aperi, or Nimbra to any other type of appliance following the open protocols, whether it is ST 2022, ST 2110 or new internet protocols. We are supporting all of them – RIST, Zixi, SRT — and that means that we can work directly with any third-party appliances supporting those protocols.
Learn more on how to achieve openness with the Nimbra portfolio.
In summary, when preparing for the future we must think beyond workflow requirements caused by the emergency and anticipate the “new normal” in a post-Covid world. To understand how to stay ahead of the curve once the crisis is over means to consider the flexibility of your workflow environment, to keep high quality at cost, to ensure end-point security, and to enable smooth remote internal collaboration processes. Most importantly, having an open IP- and cloud-enabled and virtualized approach is key to achieving successful content production and delivery in all conditions.
Watch the video recording of my live webinar on this topic.
Learn more about some examples of remote production use cases in the next issue of the Net Insight Covid Series. Part III of “At-home Production: Literally.” will be available soon. Stay tuned!