The Covid-19 pandemic is causing businesses to leapfrog into remote or distributed productions and is changing workflows – and some of these changes are here to stay in a post-Covid world. But what do these new workflows look like? In this third part of the Net Insight Covid Series, let’s look at some examples of these innovative remote productions.
If you have missed the previous blogs, read part 1 HERE and part 2 HERE.
One of the main use case examples for new remote or distributed workflows is news and live events. The largest change has been with hosts and performers for big live shows now broadcasting directly from their homes. Recently, we have even seen performers playing together from different locations, as in the One World: Together at Home concert I mentioned in my previous blog. The same is happening on the production side. While some staff are still able to access their studio locations, many might be forced by containment measures to work from home, or sit in separate studios, changing workflows significantly.
One of the most important aspects to news and events productions is the balance between scalability and quality – the ability to scale these workflows without losing quality, as well as having flexible first-mile last-mile solutions, has become key for providing the agility and flexibility necessary. Another aspect of this is the automation and orchestration of workflows. It is easier to set up these environments when time is not an issue, but it is now fundamental to be able to do it very quickly and on demand. This is going to be key going forward, which is why one of our efforts in the last few years has been to tie together the whole Net Insight platform as a step towards automation and ease of orchestration. We have also moved to open APIs based on REST.
Our industry is undergoing a huge transformation, and this creates very heterogenous ecosystems. One good example is high-quality Internet streaming with 3 major ARQ protocols, RIST, SRT and Zixi. We made an early decision to support all three protocols in our products, together with the ability to convert between all of them. This simplifies things for our customers and partners, as they are not restricted in working with Net Insight. The same is true for the IP broadcast video standards, where ST 2022 is being replaced by ST 2110, while many customers are still sitting on SDI and ASI plants and equipment. Again, the Nimbra and Aperi platforms will support all of the standards and ensure a smooth transition, as well as the possibility to connect old and new studios and plants. We also support SDKs that can be directly inserted into any third-party appliances – for example, for connecting to Nimbra Edge and being part of that end-to-end cloud-based workflow.
A second important aspect for news and events productions is the relationship between latency and synchronization. Latency is of course at the core of remote productions, especially those where performers are geographically spread out. However, synchronizing your flows is the one feature that allows you to compensate for higher latency in the production environment. This means tagging all content with timestamps and making sure that different sites are synchronized. Synchronization is going to be key going forward and increasingly important when working in open IP environments, but I do believe that most of the technology is already there now.
Multi-camera productions over Internet and cloud with Net Insight open platforms.