Remote Production: Revolutionizing the Broadcast Industry
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the broadcast industry experienced a radical transformation in the way people collaborate on live production, as well as remote editing and post-production for movies and TV shows. This transformation was driven by the need for original content as a substitute for human connection during a time of social distancing. However, the shift to remote work presented logistical challenges for production teams, who were suddenly separated from their professional equipment and studios.
The Challenges of Remote Production
Working from a remote location typically meant transporting and staging expensive production equipment along with a crew of operators and techs. Other forms of remote production workflows, which relied on file exchange, did not support real-time collaboration. Additionally, these solutions required dedicated appliances and expensive transport channels, e.g. satellites, making them impractical for modern remote workflows.
Signal Quality: The Holy Trinity
Effective remote production tools must operate within a less-than-ideal environment, yet still provide a broadcast-quality signal. This includes color accuracy, pixel-perfect resolution and audio quality. The challenge lies in ensuring these quality standards are met while using affordable solutions and working over the public internet.
Near-Zero Latency: Effective Real-Time Collaboration
Maintaining real-time collaboration and interactivity is another challenge in remote production workflows. Traditional video conferencing apps often introduce significant latency, making it difficult to manage interaction between constituents. To achieve seamless collaboration, super low-latency solutions are required, allowing team members to review and provide feedback with the same experience as that on premises .
Cost: Making Remote Production Affordable
Traditional remote production equipment and infrastructure are costly, with hardware encoding and streaming systems reaching prices as high as $50,000. Some of these solutions require a dedicated private network, which is unrealistic for many productions in remote locations. To make remote production a practical reality, cost-effective solutions are needed.
Streambox Avenir Micro 3: Empowering Remote Workflows
Streambox, a leading provider of streaming solutions, recognized the need for a comprehensive solution to address the challenges of remote video production. Avenir Micro 3 supports broadcast-quality output, real-time collaboration, and affordability, which is why CNN has many dozens of them in both the US and International bureaus.
Micro 3 is a compact, full-duplex HD codec with superb technical specs. CNN has deployed them to their field reporters - in fact, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta came to you live from his home studio during the Covid WFH era using the Avenir. Since it is full duplex, he was able send a signal to a broadcast center/affiliate and get back a live monitoring signal from the control room, with a single, easily deployable desktop device.
Micro 3 is one part of a family of products that address every touchpoint in a remote production. Micro 3 provides signal origination and local monitoring. On the receiving end Streambox offers a number of unique, high performance half duplex encoder/decoders in a variety of form factors. Our multi-channel, rack-mountable Chroma product is perfect for a multi-camera remote. We also offer an IFB server to support real time communications. Finally, our free Media Player for iOS and Media Player for Apple TV support very low cost, high quality monitoring for the remote crew.
Streambox REMI solutions enable team members to collaborate with the lowest possible latency, even over sub-optimal networks. Leveraging Streambox's expertise in signal processing technologies, our solutions provide 4 frames glass-to-glass latency, ensuring real-time feedback over IFB and interaction.
Transport: Optimal Performance, Reduced Costs
Avenir Micro 3 codecs offer award-winning compression, reducing bandwidth and data costs without sacrificing quality. In addition, our LDMP transport protocol combines error-correction and latency/bandwidth measurement to compensate for network loss, which is particularly relevant in environments where you must use whatever is available.
Remote Video Production Applications
Live Sports: Redefining the Game
Remote integration models (REMI) have long been utilized in live sports production. By capturing content from remote locations and managing it from a central control room, broadcasters can reduce infrastructure and production costs without impacting quality. REMI workflows are especially suited for multi-camera setups, where signals from different locations need to be transmitted and switched in real-time. Streambox multichannel encoders can handle up to eight synchronized camera feeds (see diagram above)
Live News: Breaking Barriers
Remote video production is also transforming the world of live news programming. With correspondents located in everywhere in the world, REMI workflows enable real time interviews and live-to-tape segments. The ability to transmit high-quality video and audio feeds from multiple remote sites to a central control room ensures a smooth production process.
The Future of Remote Video Production
As the world continues to adapt to the challenges, remote video production is here to stay. Its cost-effectiveness, global reach and reduced environmental impact make it an attractive option for broadcasters, studios and other content creators. Embracing remote workflows and leveraging cutting-edge technologies will shape the future of the broadcast industry, creating new opportunities for collaboration and content creation.
One of the more interesting new models to evolve is deploying complex production activities to the cloud. AWS Media & Entertainment is pioneering a whole new way to build live control rooms, which support broadcast workflows for live events and 24/7 channels. Streambox, an AWS solutions partner, has developed a number of new products, including Streambox Spectra VM and Streambox Bridge, to address ingest, transcoding and monitoring solutions for cloud deployed authoring systems such as Avid Media Composer, Flame and even Unreal Engine. Welcome to the future!
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