The evolution of distributed live production
Over the past few months, agile and more streamlined production workflows have quickly become the norm. The media industry has adapted to fewer or no on-site staff and the need to produce from the home. This has accelerated the migration towards distributed productions, which depend on connected and elastic technological solutions.
Covid has also generated a lot of buzzwords – including the ones used above. There is a need for clarity about the practical implementation of remote distributed live productions.
We can take our cue from the latest webinar Open up to the Cloud featuring experts from Grass Valley and Net Insight.
It asks us to imagine a use case of three camera production of a touring car race. The commentator for the event is working from home, as are race analysts and all operators while the presentation is from a studio. The director is in one country, the switcher is in another, the producer is also at home.
All video feeds are encoded and sent to the cloud wrapped in ARQ or industry-standard retransmission protocols (Zixi, SRT, RIST). These protocols quality assure that the streams will ingest on time and at the quality required for this production.
A cloud-based transport and switching solution for live video such as Nimbra Edge ingests the streams. It ensures synchronization and makes media available to a media processing platform such as Grass Valley’s AMPP. Importantly, both Nimbra Edge and GV AMPP are cloud-agnostic. They could deploy on any of the major cloud providers, on a private cloud, or a hybrid of the two.
The combination of GV AMPP and Nimbra Edge enables you to connect multiple locations and inter-cloud locations across the globe. It enables you to deliver a user experience on par with anything done in a traditional manner.
There are several ways of perfecting this interconnection. One of the simplest is to use Net Insight’s Edge Connect software which is designed to cloud-enable any third-party device or workflow.
Once handed off to GV AMPP, our sports production team can access all the apps that it has specifically requested for this workflow. In this case, the functionality is a switcher, clip player, audio mixer, multiviewer, and conversion tool.
All production staff working from home can switch the show live as if they were in a central hub. They can produce various programming and localization before handing the feeds back to Nimbra Edge. That’s useful because not only does Nimbra Edge take care of all inputs but in the same system at the same time it takes care of output distribution too. The feeds are entirely selectable by the producers in accordance with rights holder contracts.
Far from the monolithic production blocks of old, this is a fully microservices-based infrastructure – giving the producer the power to call up apps on-demand.
Among the many benefits of this approach is the ability to shift CAPex to OPex using infrastructure-as-a-service to pay for just the resources you need for as long as you need.
It means a technical director can work on several events in a single day, regardless of where in the world they are or where the events are taking place. On-air talent can cover multiple games without having to travel. This is the evolution of the centralized to a virtualized and decentralized gallery in action.
What we’re seeing is just the beginning.
Advances in media processing technology will deliver even greater power to the cloud. Producers will be able to interconnect to an array of production solutions and a community of marketplaces in the cloud revolutionizing how we create media today.