The pandemic forced many broadcasters to adopt remote working policies out of necessity. But this move revealed something more: remote operations using the cloud and IP-based networks are an effective way to transmit content and streamline costs.
This in turn also helps broadcasters optimize their resources and talent, whether in a centralized broadcast facility or across a decentralized production team, and prepare for the future.
REMI (REMote Integration), or remote production, is a workflow in which live event content is captured at a distance and live camera signals are transmitted to a central studio for production and distribution.
Already widely used by large media producers, remote production presents several advantages, the most significant being that it minimizes the costs and bottlenecks associated with traditional on-site production.
For instance, remote production removes the need to send OB vans and additional personnel to the venue. “Expensive” production staff can remain in the central production facility, and only a few camera operators are required on-site.
With REMI, the same crew and production equipment can cover both the same day. For example, the crew could cover an afternoon soccer game in New Jersey and be in New York City by evening for a music concert.
According to the paper, use of the cloud is changing the nature of remote production and allowing for new ways of working. The cloud-based approach involves live production migration from systems on premise to cloud-based platforms, where they can be offered as Software as a service (SaaS).
Cloud-based production represents another opportunity for massive savings.
“REMI helps broadcasters get maximum use of existing production gear while cloud-based REMI enables them to save on the cost of the traditional production gear.”
With more broadcasters moving to OTT and Direct-to-Consumer business models, cloud-based production is fast becoming an efficient solution that provides opportunities to increase content output, streamline workflows, and reduce costs.
The vision outlined in PwC’s Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2021-2025 is that every part of the “live program will be produced at a fraction of the cost, in the cloud, with audio, graphics overlays, switching and replays, staff as well as talents all in different locations, collaborating in real-time as if they were in the same physical venue.”
The reality, however, is more complex, with mainstream adoption not quite here yet, “due to the unpredictable (and often overlooked) costs associated with cloud computing, such as bandwidth, storage, and contract fees,” suggest Matrox.
The paper also warns of equipment failure where instability in one piece of equipment can lead to errors in the data flow and signal degradation.
“The sheer number of possible hardware and software configurations, the quality of the network infrastructure, and the reliability of each device, highlight the intrinsic complexity of these setups,” the paper continues.
“Moving any operation to a different infrastructure provider often means not only overcoming technical design limitations but also finding cloud developers who are familiar with the underlying technology of multiple cloud infrastructures and can help make the transition as easy as possible.”
The implication is for users to integrate their systems with Matrox gear.
“Although not yet mainstream, cloud-based production is set to become the norm,” the white paper concludes, “as it significantly reduces the cost to produce and distribute content.”