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Outside Broadcast Production Television On The Road

Outside Broadcast – Television On The Road

If you have ever watched live coverage of a football match, an Olympic event, or a Royal Wedding, then you have watched an outside broadcast production.

Outside broadcasts use the same kind of television cameras, microphones, and vision and sound mixing equipment as a TV studio. The key operating equipment is installed in a specialist truck (a ‘scanner’ in BBC jargon), and a fleet of outside broadcast vehicles carry everything else: from lights and cameras to cables and rostrums.

Creating a live outside broadcast was a complex process involving technical planning, rigging cameras and sound, lining up the cameras, rehearsing and finally the moment of going live itself.

A brief history of outside broadcast

The earliest television transmissions came from studios, where cameras and equipment were safe from unpredictable weather conditions. But broadcasters, including the BBC, soon began to experiment with producing television from external locations.

Sport coverage soon became a key part of the TV schedule. Outside broadcasts, as they became known in Britain, added variety and immediacy to the television schedule. They also decentralised television. Outside broadcast crews could travel to almost any location in the United Kingdom, reducing the sense that television was a metropolitan industry which sent its programming from major cities to regions and provincial capitals.

Outside broadcast technologies allowed a diverse range of light entertainment and sporting events to be transmitted to the nation from almost any corner of Britain. They provided live coverage of some of the nation’s most significant events, from FA Cup Finals to Royal Weddings, from variety shows to live location reports.

North 3 and early colour outside broadcast

By the 1960s, outside broadcasts were a staple of the British television schedule, and they were soon to play a central role in one of the most important technical developments since the beginning of the service: the launch of colour television.

After a series of experiments and tests, the BBC formally launched its colour service on 1 July 1967 at the Wimbledon tennis championships. Further colour outside broadcasts were mounted using the first generation of colour outside broadcasts trucks, developed in-house by the BBC.

Meanwhile a new generation of BBC outside broadcast trucks, known as the Type 2 Colour Mobile Control Room, was developed by Pye TVT Ltd. Equipped with either Pye PC-80 or EMI 2001 cameras, a single Type 2 truck contained all of the equipment needed to run up to six colour camera channels. Separate compartments inside the truck provided room for vision engineers, sound supervisors, and production staff.

Nine Type 2 CMCRs were constructed, and from 1969 until the early 1980s they travelled the length and breadth of the country as the workhorses of the BBC’s colour outside broadcast service. Eventually, as the technology within them became outdated and worn out, the fleet was scrapped and replaced with updated equipment.

Of the original fleet of nine only two of the Type 2 CMCRs survive. One is held by the Science Museum and resides in the museum’s stores at Wroughton Airfield in Wiltshire. The other, CMCR9 (renamed North 3 after it was relocated from London to Manchester) has been restored by retired lighting director and television historian Steve Harris.

As Steve Harris’ website explains, North 3 was found in a badly deteriorated condition: impossible to drive, and stripped of much of its equipment. In the years following his acquisition of North 3, Steve spent countless hours restoring the vehicle to roadworthy condition and reuniting the bare racks and desks with the complex electronic equipment.

Recreating an early colour OB

In conjunction with Steve Harris and his colleagues, the ADAPT project was able to reunite a full team of former BBC television production personnel in order to mount an ambitious reenactment of early outside broadcast.

The aim was to provide an opportunity to document the skills and working practices which went into the production of television events during the 1970s.

North 3 was driven to a hotel near Steve Harris’s base in Flintshire, where the ex-BBC crew assembled. The crew was challenged to rig and light a set in which a darts contest would take place. EMI 2001 and Pye PC 80 cameras would then film the contest – directed from North 3 by the producer, Geoff Wilson.

The project’s digital producer, Amanda Murphy, has written about the hard work required to assemble the veteran team and get North 3 ready for live production.

Thanks to the hard work of the restoration team and veteran crew, the reenactment was a success. The ADAPT team was able to film hours of footage cover the entire outside broadcast production process, from rigging to broadcast. This is as close as we can get to recreating the complicated activity of producing live TV using analogue equipment.

For more information on our Outside Broadcast Production Services click here or contact us

Outside Broadcast Production 01 Links Broadcast

Outside Broadcast Production 02 Links Broadcast

The original version of this blog was first published in www.adapttvhistory.org.uk

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4 Multi Camera Production Techniques

4 Multi Camera Production Techniques

Using multiple cameras for your live broadcast has its advantages. You can cover more territory and enhance the content with varied angles and interesting shots—all of which have the potential to make your live stream more appealing to viewers. In case you missed it, the key word there is potential. Multi-camera production is usually considered a step up from the single-camera broadcast, but it can also be a step down if you rush in without thinking it through.

Let’s take a look at some multi-camera shooting techniques that can enhance your live stream. Some might take time to master, but the end result will be well worth the effort.

4 Smart Multi-Camera Production Techniques

1. Follow the 180-degree rule.

Knowing where to put your cameras is one of the biggest challenges for most production teams moving from a single-camera to a multi-camera setup. Here’s why: In a basketball game, for example, Team A is going right to left; Team B is going left to right. If you place two cameras on opposite sides of the court, the teams will be running in the opposite direction every time you switch cameras—and your viewers will be left dazed and confused.

All of your shots need to make sense as a whole. The 180-degree rule ensures that all of your cameras are filming from a singular direction. Think of an imaginary line across the center of the court. You can place your cameras anywhere behind that line on one side, choosing a variety of angles to mix up the shots—but not on the other side. That way, all of your cameras are strategically placed to ensure that directionals remain consistent.

2. Nail down the logistics of your central camera location.

With a single camera setup, things are fairly simple—you have your computer or encoder right next to the camera, 10 feet of cable, and everything plugged directly in. With multi-camera production, you’ll have to do things a bit differently. First, determine where your broadcast will originate from. Will it be where the primary camera is, or will you be able to choose a dedicated space at the venue for the computer and the producer?

Once that decision is made, you’ll need to figure out how to get your camera feeds—some of which originate from cameras located 100, 200, or even 300 feet away from the central camera—to that location. Wireless technology is still somewhat challenging to use and expensive (though it’s getting cheaper!), so the most cost-effective way right now is still cabling. Get the right cabling and converters, and, if you’re using a venue often, figure out a way to embed the cabling so you don’t have to pull cable each time.

3. Make communication a priority.

Multi-camera shooting techniques are complex enough that you need to make open communication among your team a priority. Each of your camera angles should be different enough that shot changes are clearly new and purposeful to anyone viewing the live feed (two shots that are too close in perspective—both following the ball from a slightly different angle, for example—might actually unsettle viewers).

There are two ways for a producer to manage multiple camera shots:

  1. Meet with your camera operators before the event, telling each one what to shoot throughout. It’s somewhat rigid, but it could work if you’re just starting out.
  2. Use walkie-talkies and headsets—or a full broadcast communication system—to provide directions on the fly. You’d still probably want to set some parameters ahead of time, but open communication allows for a greater degree of creativity in a broadcast.

4. Have a clear vision for your multi-camera production.

Graduating to a multi-camera setup for your live stream events is a natural step in a lot of cases, but it’s only beneficial if you have a clear idea of how you’re going to use all of those cameras. What are you hoping to achieve? Do you want to bring in specific shots that you aren’t currently able to get? Once you get started, you’ll likely feel compelled to splice in multiple camera angles when the action of the scene may not really require them. As a result, you could end up with a disjointed broadcast. (A well-placed single camera is better than a poorly orchestrated multi-camera production every time!)

So before you make the leap, talk it through with your production team or your platform provider. Come up with some loose guidelines as to when and how often to switch—sometimes it’s best to stick with a certain angle for five or even ten minutes. A producer’s vision is key to pulling off most of these multi-camera shooting techniques successfully.

For more information on our Multi Camera Production Services click here or contact us

Live Streaming Event Links Broadcast

Live Streaming Links Broadcast

The original version of this blog was first published in www.prestosports.com

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The Ultimate Guide To Live Streaming

The Ultimate Guide To Live Streaming

With over 57% of marketers live streaming their content, it’s not hard to see why brands are jumping into the streaming business. But for plenty of brands and content creators, learning how to live stream can be a hurdle.

There’s no shame in admitting the technical side of live streaming can be, well, pretty technical to understand for the majority of us.

Don’t lose hope! In this guide, we’ll unpack all the complicated business of streaming. We’ll walk through how to set up a live stream, what gear to consider, and how to get it set up.

We’ll also tackle how to find the right streaming platform and share tips for a stable internet connection when live streaming.

There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s jump into it.

How to set up a live stream

Ultimately, live streaming your content boils down to five steps:

  1. Connect the audio and video sources that capture content for live streaming to your streaming device (PC or laptop).
  2. Configure the encoder – one that translates the audio and video content into streamable files ready to be shared on the internet.
  3. Connect the encoder and streaming platform using the stream key and URL that your streaming platform provides.
  4. Test your internet connection and upload speed
  5. Stream away!

In other words, your live streaming process includes CED or capturing audio and video content, encoding it, and distributing it using a live streaming platform.

You probably noticed there’s lots of gear and live streaming software involved. We’ll address those first, then share the details on how to set everything up.

What equipment do you need to live stream?

Building a streaming setup for beginners is pretty simple. You’ll need a camera, mic or microphone, lighting, and a stable internet connection.

You’ll also need to get your (digital) hands on some live streaming software. More on that in a bit. For now, let’s get started with the live streaming equipment you’ll need.

Camera

If you’re only getting started with testing the live streaming waters, our Live Production Lead at Vimeo, Tom Gott, suggests you’ll only need a single quality camera.

In other words, a webcam will do the job.

But if you’re looking to explore other camera choices, there are plenty of options for every budget. We have great options if you’re aiming to go low-cost into live streaming before upgrading your gear.

Beginner level video sources:

  • Your phone’s camera
  • An entry-level live streaming camera like DJI Osmo Action, GoPro Hero, Logitech C930e, or Mevo camera.

Intermediate level video sources:

If you do have some budget set aside for investing in a camera, say up to $2000, you can level up your live stream’s game by investing in any of the following:

  • Canon XA15 or XF100
  • Panasonic LUMIX GH4
  • Sony A7 II for this price range.

Can you use any camera to live stream?

A webcam, point and shoot, camcorder —all will work for live streaming as long as the camera you use is able to capture a minimum of 720p at 24fps footage.

Audio

Even if the video quality of your live stream is up to par, your audience will check out if the audio quality is poor.

So don’t overlook your live stream’s audio quality. That’s why Gott advises, “Don’t rely on the built-in microphone on your camera, invest in a proper one.”

If you’re just starting to explore audio equipment options, we’ve got a great guide on how to find the perfect mic for your videos. Here are the options at a glance.

Beginner level audio sources:

  • Shure’s iPhone Microphone
  • Shure MV88 digital stereo condenser mic
  • Rode VideoMic
  • Topaz DeNoise AI audio software
  • Yeti Nano USB mic

Intermediate level audio sources:

  • Lavalier mics aka clip on mics (yes, the ones that look pretty cool)
  • Handheld microphones such as Shure SM58s that our team has used

Not planning to invest in an audio source? Your phone can help capture sound. Well, at least temporarily as you get to grips with the live streaming business.

Capture card

The third piece of live streaming equipment that you may need is a capture card./p>

A capture card is an intermediary device that transfers video from its source to your main live streaming setup.

But hang on: why do you need a capture card? So that it can show your computer what your camera is seeing.

To use a capture card, your camera needs an HDMI port/output to attach the HDMI cable. This will transfer the video feed to your computer.

And, when do you need to add a capture card to your live stream setup?

✔ You need a capture card when you’re using a software encoder (more on this below).

❌ You don’t need a capture card when you’re using a hardware encoder as it usually comes with an internal capture card. You also don’t need it when you’re using a USB camera or microphone that you can directly plug into your computer.

For now, know that if you are planning to use a capture card, you’ll need to pick between a USB interface capture card or one with a PCI-e interface.

Here are some of our capture card recommendations:

  • AV.io HD
  • Elgato CamLink 4K
  • Razer Ripsaw HD

Whatever you select, be sure to check that the capture card is compatible with your streaming platform. For instance, there are a handful of capture cards supported by Vimeo.

Lighting setup for live streaming

Okay so you now have most of the tech list that partly answers how to live stream. But there’s another essential aspect that you can’t skip — lighting for streaming.

A well lit stream can help your live video look more professional and help you engage your audience. Think about it: you don’t want your viewers to cringe at how poorly lit your live streaming setup is and you certainly don’t want the overhead lights in your office to cast harsh shadows on your speakers or presenters.

The good news? You can perfect the lighting set up with these two sources.

Lighting for entry level streamers:

  • Sunlight
  • Ring light

Sunlight is your best friend and a free source for lighting your streaming space. Test your video to find the right balance of natural light. Too much sunlight can mask the details of your speaker’s face and too little of it will obscure their features.

Here are a few tips for creating a flattering look with natural lighting:

  • Face the natural light source
  • Use a bounce to fill in any dark shadows
  • Avoid having a window behind the speaker
  • Avoid harsh white or fluorescent lighting

Experiment with opening and closing the window shades to find the right setting and the perfect balance between the natural and artificial lights in your room.

Want to make the most of the sunlight and shoot outdoors? Dive into this guide to get a rundown of how to perfect outdoor lighting.

Another option that’s become popular among live streamers is ring light. These are budget-friendly lighting sources for beginner-level streaming that don’t pose a fire hazard or heat the room, making them great to use. Their circular design also means ring lights help remove shadows from your face.

Lighting for intermediate level:

  • A three-point light kit

Have some money to spend? Get a three-point light kit to polish up your lighting. These kits include three lights: a main/key light, fill light, and a backlight that bring warmth, depth, and quality to your stream.

You can also pair lights from this kit with the overhead lights in your office to light up the scene professionally. How? By removing the main light since overhead lights do its job instead.

Where should I position my lights for streaming?

Using a three-point light kit, position the main light across the subject to illuminate. Next, position the fill light across the other end of the subject to balance the light from the main light and position the third, backlight behind the subject to separate them from the background. See where each light goes in this short video.

Accessories for live streaming

As for the bits and bobs for the perfect setup, here’s a quick list:

  • A green screen (chroma key) for changing your background
  • A tripod stand for holding your video camera
  • A microphone arm where the audio source rests (unless you’re using a clip on mic)

Encoder

Let’s talk about encoders. To share your stream with the world, you’ll need an encoder.

An encoder is a device that converts video files from one format to another. Put another way, it takes the raw feed from a camera and transfers it into viewable content in your main live streaming station.

There are two types of encoders at your disposal: hardware encoders and software encoders.

Here’s a quick rundown of hardware encoders and software encoders.

Hardware encoders

  • Specially designed for live streaming. They free up your computer for other tasks.
  • Does not require a capture card.
  • Less affordable and difficult to upgrade.

Because hardware encoders free up your computer for focusing on other tasks, these are great for more professional broadcasts and live streaming gamers. This way, the PC can focus on the game while the encoder works in the background.

As for which hardware encoder to buy, read on to find out budget-friendly options below.

Beginner-level hardware encoders:

  • AJA HD10AMA audio embedder

Intermediate level:

  • AJA HD5DA HD-SDI distribution amplifier
  • Datavideo DAC70 up/down/ cross converter

Software encoders

  • A great option for beginner-level streamers. Keep in mind they rely on your computer’s processing power.
  • Capture card may be needed
  • Variety of price points and upgrade options

The good thing about software encoders is that they work on their own, not taking up much of your attention.

Here are a few software encoder options:

  • Livestream Studio 6
  • OBS Studio
  • Streamlabs OBS

Switcher

Last on this list of live streaming equipment is a switcher. Like an encoder, you may or may not need it. It all comes down to your requirements.

Essentially, a switcher helps switch between different video and audio sources, production elements, and control graphics.

So if you’re using two or more cameras for live streaming or want to show graphics/presentations between your live stream, you’ll need a switcher to capture the additional feeds for you.

If you’re a Vimeo Enterprise user (or plan to be one soon!) you’ll get Livestream Studio with your package. Not only does it handle a software encoder’s job, but it also plays the switcher’s role.

What’s the right streaming platform for me?

With live streaming equipment out of the way, let’s talk about the distribution side of how to live stream.

Live streaming platforms are video hosting services that let you broadcast video content. Depending on the platform you choose, you can stream on multiple channels at once to reach a wider audience.

There’s no one answer to which streaming platform is right for you as the correct answer is: it depends on your requirements.

For live streamers who are using video for internal communications (like town halls or employee trainings) or for virtual events, there are a few key features to keep in mind.

Five key features for your live streaming platform

High quality, professional video

For high quality, professional streaming video, you’ll want to find a solution that supports full HD 1080p and cloud transcoding so that viewers can enjoy beautiful video across devices.

Broaden your reach

If you’re a business looking to reach customers wherever they are, you’ll want to find a platform that supports simulcasting to other platforms like Youtube Live, Facebook Live, Twitter, and Twitch.

Security and privacy

Secure video streaming is a must for businesses. Look for platforms that include features around privacy, authorization, customization, embedding restrictions, and security.

Powerful engagement

You’ll want to include ways for your audience to interact with your live streaming content via live chat and polls as well as advanced analytics to help you better serve your audience.

An all-in-one home

Get all the tools you need for your live and hosted videos: edit and replace post-event video files in up to 4K, spread out with up to 5TB of storage, and sell your videos after the big event.

Five streaming channels for your video

There are a lot of places for your audience to view your live stream. Here are a few main destinations where you may want to broadcast your next live event:

  • Branded site: For businesses with a dedicated website or event site, embedding your live stream video can be the simplest and most effective way to share your content with your audience.
  • Vimeo: With an audience of X, Vimeo is a great place to reach your audience. With Vimeo Enterprise, streamers can create showcases to broadcast HD quality video and organize videos into custom categories to create a more Netflix-like experience for audience members.
  • LinkedIn Live: LinkedIn’s native livestream feature is a great place to connect with business-minded professionals, hospitality workers, and even students.
  • Instagram Live: Instagram’s livestream feature lets you broadcast content as part of your IG stories. The key differentiator here is that the stream is ephemeral. Meaning: it disappears once the broadcast ends. No replays are available.
  • Twitch: With 3.8 million streamers, Twitch is the go-to live streaming platform for gamers. But, it’s now opening up for other stream content too.
  • Facebook Live: Once started as mobile-only streaming, Facebook Live lets you now stream from both mobile and desktop.

What if your audience is spread across multiple channels? You don’t have to pick just one place to stream! Simulcasting allows you to stream to multiple destinations at once.

How to live stream in 5 simple steps

At the start of this guide, we gave you a quick overview of how to live stream. Now that you’re familiar with the gear needed for a streaming setup for beginners, let’s dive into the details of how to set up a live stream.

1. Connect your audio and video sources

This involves physically connecting the audio and video sources to your main live streaming setup (the PC or laptop). Connect these sources to your hardware encoder to feed the content into your livestream station or use a capture card if you have a software encoder.

2. Configure the encoder

If you’re using an external encoder, you’ll need to configure the device’s setting using an app or Web UI. For a software encoder, you’ll work internally.

You can leave the configuration setting to default as the software automatically adjusts to the streaming platform.

Ask you configure your encoder, keep these three points in mind:

  • The resolution or your video’s frame size needs to be at 1280 x720 resolution to start.
  • The bit rate or the rate at which data is uploaded should be set at 3000 Kbps.
  • Lastly, the frame rate or the number of images/frames displayed in a second needs to be 30

3. Connect to the streaming platform

With the audio and video set up with your livestream station, you’re now left with linking in your streaming platform into the picture.

Use the streaming key/name and streaming URL that your live streaming platform gives you and enter it into the encoder to complete your live streaming setup.

Doing so allows the streaming platform to identify your encoder. On the other hand, the encoder is able to understand where to send the audio and visual details.

4. Check your internet connection

Your internet connection is the elephant in the room when it comes to streaming. Unreliable internet connection equals slow streaming – something that can make you lose viewers fast.

To prevent lost views, start test your internet speed using a site like Speedtest.net. Here are a few other tips to make sure your internet connection is stable.

  • Upgrade your bandwidth or how much data you can upload to the highest available.
  • Ask any other family members, roommates, or colleagues share your space to stay offline during your stream.
  • Use your cell phone’s hotspot as a worst-case scenario backup.
  • Test your tech including audio and video quality.

5 important ideas to consider with upload speeds and streaming

What is upload speed?

Your upload speed is the speed at which your ISP lets you share content on the internet. It’s measured in millions of bits — or megabits — per second and it matters because a slow upload speed would mean spotty livestreams.

While there’s no answer to the perfect upload speed for a live stream, we have a few benchmarks to keep in mind:

  • 3 Mbps for 480p
  • 6 Mbps for 720p
  • 13 Mbps for 1080p

Just remember, the higher your video quality is, the more upload speed you’ll need.

Your upload speed can also be impacted by four things.

Upload rate

This is the speed at which your internet can upload content. The higher it is, the better your upload speed.

Your internet service provider’s (ISP) bandwidth

To recap, bandwidth is the capacity of your internet to upload or download data. The larger the video content, the greater bandwidth required.

The content quality

High-quality and fast moving visuals can impact your upload speed.

Your streaming platform

Every platform has its recommendation. Here just few platform-specific suggestions to give you an idea:

  • Facebook Live recommends max 4,000 kbps bitrate and a max audio bitrate of 128 kbps.
  • Twitch recommends between 2,500 and 4,000 kbps for video, topped with up to 160 kbps for audio.
  • Vimeo requires 10 Mbps or faster for live streams in 1080p.

5. Start streaming

With everything in place, click start streaming in your encoder and get the show running! Remember, it’s okay to be nervous with your first time going live. Add a few practice runs before the live data and you’ll be good to go.

With enough planning and a few live streaming sessions under your belt, you’ll start enjoying the process in no time.

For more information on our Live Streaming Services click here or contact us

Live Streaming Event Links Broadcast

Live Streaming Links Broadcast

The original version of this blog was first published in www.livestream.com

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What State Is Outside Broadcasting In Now?

What State Is Outside Broadcasting In Now?

Who knew from those early days of Outside Broadcasting (OB) for King George VI’s coronation way back in May 1937 that Outside Broadcasting would become such an integral part of everyday broadcasting? The technology may well have shifted dramatically since, with digital replacing analogue and then HD pushing out SD, but the desire for on-the-spot filming has continued to rise exponentially. The need to be in the know at all times, exacerbated by the immediacy of social media and the multitude of ways that information is broadcast and consumed means that while the nature of delivering OB constantly changes; the need for it remains.

New OB technologies will constantly evolve. Whether that is from 3D OB trucks, through to the extent of the 8K OB kit used to capture all the spirit of the London Olympics 2012. Now well over nine years ago, and a world pandemic since has forced it all to shift further. So, how has OB technology changed more recently? The most noticeable feature for many is how everything has got smaller. Equipment such as large racks of VTR decks, have now been superseded by file-based servers which save significantly on space. Equally flat screen monitors enable multi-viewers to be the norm compared to the days of cumbersome CRT monitors. Meanwhile the practicalities of fibre have increased capabilities and limited the volume of cables required for on-site productions. The result of which, combined with the introduction of 4G video uplink and KA band, has also led to the reduction in the cost of kit.

Practically while technology advances the need for OB trucks in some guise remains. Currently there are always occasions where this type of kit is a pre-requisite. Live events are coming back and in many ways some areas, such as sport, meant that actually an element of live production survived through Covid-19. But more compact and efficient technology united with a significant viewing appetite, means that both large-scale national events and other smaller scale events such as music, festivals and events can be captured.

However equally today, remote production is increasingly being used. This is because it helps deliver more content, through multiple streaming channels, across more devices. The challenge for modern broadcasters here is that as IP broadcast technology grows, combating latency while mixing live TV content with local commentary is tricky. To make it effective, so outside sources can hear the programme they are contributing to, requires a mix minus feed. This creates latency. Small latencies are manageable, but remote production with lengthier latencies can start to affect the flow of conversation. Importantly while there may be a skeleton crew in the field, there ultimately remains the need for onsite OB trucks to capture the action at source. So, as the channels of communications grow, the future of OB is going to need to continue to rise to the challenge of meeting these demands.

As an asset management company specialising in broadcast and telecommunications, Hickman Shearer are constantly approached to look at how changing technology practices can best be used to strengthen a business and its assets. The ideal is to re-purpose, re-furbish and re-life something within the business, but if not feasible then the options are to raise awareness and encourage their sale. Such as an upcoming sale we have closing in the very near future on three HD and UHD 4K Outside Broadcast trucks with tenders – ideal as the live events industry recovers or to be re-furbished to work as part of a remote production unit.

For more information on our OB Production Facilities click here or contact us

Outside Broadcast Production Vehicles 01

Outside Broadcast Production Vehicles 02

The original version of this blog was first published in baproductions.tv

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The Advantages of Outside Broadcasting Production Vehicles

The Advantages of Outside Broadcasting Production Vehicles

The Advantages of Outside Broadcasting Production Vehicles and why you should use these during a video production of any live events such as concerts, sports events, and news.

Outside broadcasting or OB, as it’s more well-known, is usually done using mobile remote broadcasting. There is different equipment involved in this type of production, such as a professional video camera and microphone. All of this equipment have signals that come into the outside broadcasting production vehicles which are then processed, recorded, and also transmitted accordingly.

When there are outdoor events that cannot be recorded in an indoor studio, outside broadcasting is used. An OB mobile production vehicle is a mobile studio. It has cameras, vision control, sound mixer, vision mixer, and any other equipment needed to produce a television or video production and these are all housed inside the vehicle. The equipment used is broadcast quality and can be used for various broadcast programs.

Outside broadcasting is usually used in live events and is not the same as the indoor studio where the director can re-take a shot as the cameras need to roll continuously for the sake of recording everything that is happening in the present. Everything is recorded as it happens, from the video, audio, special effects, graphics, and commentary. Even a small mistake can greatly affect the video production and should be taken into consideration while in production.

What Are the Advantages of Using Mobile Production Vehicles for Outside Broadcasting?

Mobile production vehicles are better than hiring a purpose-built TV studio and will also depend on the production requirements. Here are the advantages of using mobile production vehicles:

  1. It is cheaper than using TV studios and is easy to maintain.
  2. It can cater to larger audiences like concerts, indoor and outdoor sports events.
  3. It can be set-up anywhere, perfect for television news or sports television events.
  4. It can be used and modified according to video production needs.
  5. It only needs a very small parking space and can easily accommodate larger audiences.
  6. A TV channel or station can use a mobile production vehicle to serve its purpose as its presence at any event. It can also be used as an effective marketing tool, giving an edge to the company.
  7. It helps the broadcaster have an advantage of providing accurate and exact details of the news or event that is taking place. This also includes taking photos, live audio and video, interviews by reporters, etc.

Outside broadcasting is the term used for video production done outside an indoor studio. Outside broadcasting can be useful in shooting unique locations and are capable of capturing live events that cannot fit inside or take place within the confinement of a purposely built television studio. These events are usually sporting events, special political conventions, news, or concerts.

If you are in need of mobile production vehicles, Links Broadcast can help you. You can be guaranteed that you are purchasing something that is tested well and with great quality. We have been servicing our clients for more than 20 years and we know how to help you find the gear that you need. We are confident that you can find a partnership with us, try working with us and we will not let you down.

For more information on our OB Production Facilities click here or contact us

Outside Broadcast Production Vehicles 01

Outside Broadcast Production Vehicles 02

The original version of this blog was first published in baproductions.tv

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Outside Broadcast Production Facilities For Bentley

Outside Broadcast Production Facilities For Bentley

When Bentley Motors announced their latest investment in their site at Crewe and the production of their first electric vehicle, we were delighted to be asked by Connect Live (UK) to provide the outside broadcast production facilities which helped them deliver their message. With Connect Live (UK) delivering the overall production they approached us to provide the facilities and crew to film the on-site staff briefing, which was delivered to several thousand Bentley workers prior to the announcement to the press. As dawn broke over the Crewe plant, our cameras and OB production vehicle, S100, filmed the Bentley executives message and delivered the feed to a large LED screen on site as well as providing the feed for streaming by Connect Live (UK).

For more information on our OB Production Facilities click here or contact us

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Why Do I Need LU600 LiveU Cellular Bonding?

Why Do I Need LU600 LiveU Cellular Bonding?

LU600 LiveU Cellular bonding has made it possible for broadcasters and sports broadcasters to produce some of the most powerful live moments on TV in recent years. In fact, you already watched hundreds of “live shots” on TV that were contributed over cellular bonding, you just never knew it!

Let’s talk a little history first.

Twelve years ago, LiveU disrupted the broadcast industry by patenting its first cellular bonding solution, which eliminated the need for expensive satellite or microwave trucks to transmit high-quality live video from out in the field. From there, major news organisations took notice and started using LiveU to go live outside the studio. Over the years, LiveU became the standard for live news gathering and reporting.

Three years ago, LiveU revolutionised the online industry by taking that same technology and incorporating it into a smaller, plug-and-play encoder for the prosumer market – making the technology accessible to the growing online streaming market.

Today, social media networks have made it super easy to go live. Just sign in to your account, hit the go-live button, and boom you are live streaming to your audience. This is good way for people to start live streaming but once they need to scale up, they need a more robust solution.

We commonly hear people say “If I can go live on my cell phone, why do I need cellular bonding?” Short answer is, your one network cannot guarantee you will stream at the quality you want. Long answer is bandwidth is always fluctuating depending on different variables like your geographic location, people on the same network in your area, if you are inside or outside, and more. If the one network has little to no bandwidth your stream will either look pixelated or not even show up at all.

Many content creators started streaming outdoors using their cell phones simply because there was no alternative way to do it that they were aware of OR other solution were just out of their price range. Besides the bandwidth issues that come with mobile streaming from your cell phone, other hiccups include someone calling your phone (yes, the phone you are using to stream!) which can disrupt the content or end the stream completely. What else? Your phone needs to be free so you can use it to interact with your community. Isn’t that what producing live is all about?

The LiveU Solo uses cellular bonding technology (LRT) that adds multiple cellular networks together to create redundancy and reliability to the video encoding.

Our LRT technology expects cellular bandwidth fluctuation and corrects it in real- time, so your stream will stay HD quality your audience knows and loves.

LRT is optimal for content creators who are live streaming from different places. With cellular bonding, streamers don’t have to worry about cell service holding up in certain locations with questionable connectivity. With LRT, you know you will get your HD quality stream online, stress-free.

If you are serious about streaming and you have the means to make the upgrade, then cellular bonding is something you want to make the investment in. You’ll start to see the benefits very quickly – from going to places where you couldn’t stream before in the highest quality to freeing up your cell phone for more interactivity with your viewers. The viewers will respond to it and it will help you grow even more.

For more information on our LU600 LiveU Services click here or contact us

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The original version of this blog was first published in www.liveu.tv.

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Streaming Into your Webinar or Online Meeting Using LiveU LU 600

Stream Your Webinar or Online Meeting Using LiveU LU 600

By now, pretty much everyone has used Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Verizon Bluejeans, Facebook Workplace, or Google G-Suite to conduct a virtual meeting or a webinar with their co-workers or clients. In fact, you have probably done it so often that you no longer consider these meetings virtual. But did you ever consider using your LiveU field unit as a kind of super-webcam input for these meetings? Read on to see how LiveU LU 600 can provide a way to get high-quality and reliable video and audio into your webinar or virtual meeting from anywhere in the world, without having to acquire a network connection on-site first.

Why Use LiveU LU 600?

Whether you think of it as a meeting or a webinar, you may want to use a dedicated, portable encoder to stream live video into the meeting or webinar. For example…

  • Your CEO might need to address the company from a remote location.
  • You might want to present a new product directly from a location that just won’t fit in a meeting room – such as from under the hood of a car looking at the engine, from an airplane hangar looking at a plane, or from the assembly line of your manufacturing plant.
  • You may even want to use your webinar for things like government meetings, non-profit meetings, or large enterprise meetings, where you have a large audience with a single or few presenters.

…and to make this happen you would want:

  • The reliability of a dedicated encoder vs. software in your laptop.
  • The quality of a professional camera with a real lens vs. a webcam.
  • The bandwidth provided by bonding and cellular networks, whenever you don’t have access to reliable bandwidth at the location.

In these cases, LiveU can serve as the perfect live streaming solution to stream your meeting or webinar.

But before going live, let’s look into some considerations to take into account and some special setup options.

Starting Considerations

First step is to see if your meeting/webinar type can really match the use of a portable encoder such as LiveU. Think about who will present, and if they need to see or hear the audience they are presenting to. While it’s possible to setup a two-way connection to a meeting or webinar using LiveU, it does require a few more setup steps and special features / hardware. In this blog, we will explore only the basic use case of one-side video/audio where a single/few presenters are presenting to any sized group of viewers. Those viewers will interact with the presenter only via chat/built in Q&A that doesn’t require two-way audio and video.

Now let’s take a look at your platform of choice. If your platform has a webinar mode that accepts external encoder input, this setup is likely to be quite simple. However, in some cases, such as Zoom, your setup may require a few more steps to convert your LiveU feed into something that appears to Zoom as a webcam.

Platforms with Webinar Mode and RTMP Input Options

If your platform has a webinar mode and/or options for RTMP input, you can stream to this destination directly from your LiveU Solo or LiveU broadcast unit using the normal RTMP output options. Examples for such platforms include Microsoft Teams and Facebook Workplace and probably some others (check the support/help section on your platform of choice).

If you’re using such a platform, here are some typical steps to start streaming to them:
1 – Setup your webinar
2 – Get your RTMP ingress info from the platform
3 – Setup a destination with that ingress info on LiveU Solo Portal or LiveU Central
As a specific example, here are Microsoft’s steps about how to embed an encoder-sourced video into your Teams meeting.

Platforms Without a Webinar Mode

Some platforms do not have a webinar mode or even if they do, that mode will not accept input from an outside encoder. Examples for such platforms would be Zoom and Google G-Suite.

For such platforms, you have several options of how to get the video output of your LiveU 600 system into the platform as if it was a feed from any other webcam. Use the option that seems to fit your available hardware and use case the best:

Baseband to Webcam

If you are a LiveU broadcast user, and you already have an LU2000 or LU4000 receiving server, you can take the baseband output (SDI) of this server and plug it into a converter (e.g.: Blackmagic Design, AJA, and Magewell) which will make this input appear as a webcam to another computer such as a laptop.
*Note, video over USB is sometimes called UVC, the actual USB protocol used to transport video.

In this scenario, your LU2000 and the computer or laptop it will be plugged into via this adapter are at some central location with good bandwidth – away from the field location where you actually have the camera, presenter and LiveU unit. This lets you still have the presenter be anywhere in the world you want them to be while still being able to pull them into a program like Zoom as if they were on a webcam.

Stream to NDI, NDI to Webcam

When using LiveU Solo, or any LiveU broadcast unit, it is possible to receive the LRT stream and convert it to NDI (for the LiveU broadcast units), or receive the RTMP push stream and convert it to NDI (using the Garanin RTMP Mini Server). Once you have the LiveU stream as NDI, you can use the NDI to webcam driver to input the NDI feed to Zoom (or other programs that accept NDI) as if it was the computer’s local webcam.

In many ways this setup is similar to the physical setup above, except that it can be “all software”. This allows you to do it both at a central location, or even entirely in the cloud.

Conclusions

Present your next webinar in your resort chain from the poolside, your next CEO address from the factory floor, or your next book club meeting from the community center – big or small, it’s possible to have the presenter in your meeting or webinar be anywhere in the world and still presenting to a large (or small!) group of people.

While the setup may take a few extra steps and some extra software, you will be streaming in no time and become an expert at producing top-level webinars!

For more information on our LiveU LU 600 Services click here or contact us

The original version of this blog was first published in www.liveu.tv by Dan Pisarski, VP Engineering, LiveU

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Under the hood of OB Production Services Pt 2

Outside Broadcast Providers

Exploring the future of the supertruck and changing OB culture

Supertrucks used to be all the rage in Outside Broadcast Providers sports broadcasting, but are they still today? Although we are still seeing the launch of brand new large, cutting edge outside broadcast providers services trucks to enable live sports coverage, we are also seeing a rise in demand for smaller vans that are being used to facilitate remote broadcasts.

Here we talk to a panel of experts from the outside broadcast providers industry in part two of our series exploring the future for uber OBs and where this industry is going moving forwards.

Modular trend setters

Prior to the pandemic, new supertrucks were big news. Although several large vans have been launched over 2020 and into 2021, Christer Pålsson, president of NEP Central and Southern Europe, says modular systems are setting the trend today.

“Outside of the deliverables for specific contracts, we don’t have any current plans to build more of the really big supertrucks in the next year or two. When it comes to speculative builds, we’ve seen a shift in demand and our solutions need to be more modular.

“With technologies evolving so rapidly at the moment, the typical depreciation cycle of core technology is decreasing, meaning we need to amortise our costs over a shorter period of time,” notes Pålsson.

“The best way we can do this is through increased utilisation,” he states. “By having a modular approach, and ensuring our facilities are all cross compatible, we can combine a number of medium size units to create the ‘super size’ fire power, when required, but we can then split them back out and have them working harder on a week to week basis.”

Arena Television’s deputy director of operations, Daf Rees, has noted the same trend towards modular set ups for outside broadcast providers: “The days of supertrucks aren’t numbered quite yet, but I think there’ll be a shift toward a different configuration of units.”

He continues: “Our goal is to send fewer trucks to site as that has the greatest impact on sustainability, so I think we’ll see more versatile trucks that can carry cable and equipment, as well as serve as the technical hub of the on-site operation. Our trucks will always be super!”

Peter Bates, EMG UK managing director, agrees: “Supertrucks will always have a place in delivering major OB productions, however new builds will reduce to allow smaller, but still powerful units to deliver the increased requirement for remote productions.

“We launched OB12A and its sister unit OB12B last summer,” continues Bates. “This is a scalable setup with its datacentre located at the front of the tender connected by four fibre cables, enabling maximum operational capacity for personnel within the production units.”

Neville Hooper, NEP UK’s deputy head of sound, says that while we will see less uber trucks being built in the immediate future, they still have a place: “It is unlikely that any new large trucks will be built in the short to medium term. Focus has shifted to advancing remote style delivery, which often does not require such a large vehicle. But there are still those jobs which, for a variety of reasons, are not able to be delivered remotely. Jobs such as state events, due to their size and complexity, still require large trucks, along with certain major sporting and entertainment events.”

While Dan Regan, sound guarantee at Timeline TV, comments: “Full size OB trucks still have a part to play in the coverage of large sporting events. These smaller more compact vehicles are enabling the sports that previously might have struggled to justify having a full OB unit onsite, to be covered with the high-end production values a large OB unit could facilitate.”

Meanwhile, Andrea Buonomo, Cinevideo’s executive sales manager, says that OB truck providers have spent recent years preparing for demand for the latest technologies, so the lull in large truck builds now is simply part of the natural cycle. He explains: “I think that outside broadcast providers [have already] moved in time for the next future request about 4K, so this is why [over] the last three years we have seen a lot of new OB’s [being built]. Actually in Italy we have 10 or 12 UHD trucks [at Cinevideo] but [there is] no request for UHD (or very poor demand). Maybe in the future [this demand] will increase.”

Big love for big trucks

As to where the big trucks are needed in sports broadcasting today, and where we will see this changing as we move ahead, Pålsson comments: “For the big premium broadcasts the demand for big trucks will remain, and for a variety of reasons. A lot of clients want to be on site and have their preferred crew alongside them. Often it will be linked to the spec of the production where there is a lot of additional kit, high SLA’s, or other pressures; some clients feel more comfortable in known surroundings and the technical fire power of the big truck makes sense. Sometimes it’s a straightforward financial decision, where often it just doesn’t it doesn’t make commercial sense to remote everyone. For this reason we believe we will continue to see big trucks on the roads for many years to come.”

However, Pålsson adds: “Where we have seen a transition is on some of the big ‘once every four years’ type of productions, who are now looking more closely and remote and centralised workflow solutions. For the high volume work, this is where we have seen the biggest shift in demand across Europe. Many clients now actively request comparative remote solutions at the RFP stage, and once engaged more and more are shifting towards centralised solutions due to all the known benefits it can offer (agile scale, efficiency, reliability, environmentally friendly). This also offers the agility to ability to onboard additional content production tools, that previously may have been technically or financially prohibitive.”

Buonomo notes: “Big trucks are needed in sports broadcasting due to a large quantity of people on site. For example a normal Serie A game involves a crew of up to 35 people (cameramen, EVS, shading, etc,) which means we need to accommodate inside the OB a large number of technicians (three shading, five EVS. one engineering manager, one audio manager, one video mixer technician, plus the people from the client like director, producer, assistant director and so on.) It is also true that the space is never enough, because on a big event the truck will be a meeting place point with clients, producers, and technicians.

“Last but not least, there is a lot of technologies inside an OB for doing these kind of productions,” continues Buonomo. “Also for coverage of an event with 10 to 12 cameras it is necessary [to have a] support truck that needs to move a lot of equipment.”

Supertrucks are still a vital part of the OB arsenal, Bates notes: “Supertrucks with their flexibility, firepower and space will still be required at major sporting events such as finals, ceremonies and major special events. These will still be the tool of choice for single event day productions and are able to deploy and deliver full production facilities or remote surface productions with short lead times from event to event, irrespective of the location’s connectivity capabilities.”

Adds Rees: “Big trucks are still needed where either connectivity isn’t available, or the event itself is of such importance that there is still a strong desire to be on site. What changes, I think, is the number of big trucks on site as one truck might service both on-site and remote production demands, and there may be fewer visiting broadcasters using on-site facilities.”

Remote future or decay?

As to whether our experts believe that the trend towards remote working is here to stay, Regan says: “Since the start of the pandemic, most Timeline TV sporting OBs have made use of some form of remote production. This includes everything from remote graphics operators, to full multi-camera coverage, with only a handful of people onsite. There has been a very quick uptake with these remote technology and Timeline believes these changes are here to stay.”

Regan says remote productions are the future. “With all companies pushing to get to net zero carbon emissions, reducing travel is a key. OBs going forward will be a mix of onsite and remote production, with all roles evaluated to see which can be done remotely to ensure the least amount of travel for both crew and equipment.”

Rees agrees: “Yes, it is [here to stay]. Whether you’re thinking of remote or decentralised workflows, or smaller units operated by multi-skilled operators, there are technical, commercial and work-life benefits to be found in ‘the new way of working’. That’s not to say those benefits are to be found in every production; some will continue to operate in a ‘traditional’ manner as that will be the best fit for that production, but the new way provides us with a great set of tools in the box to leverage benefits and efficiencies in places where they fit.”

However, Buonomo believes remote working has the potential to kill the OB industry. He states: “I think that something will change in the future, but not so early. I believe that the OB on site will be always a good part of this job. If everything goes remote… I think this work is dead.

“It is necessary to safeguard the human side of this work, because we can have all the artificial intelligence we want, but only a human can put passion into what he does (and he needs to be on the field to feel the [emotion of the] game.”

Buonomo adds: “I’m not very convinced about [remote working being here to stay, especially] in a small country where you can reach all locations in short while.”

Changing OB culture

However, despite some scepticism about remote working, the majority of our experts are excited about where the OB industry is right now.

Bates says the last 12 months have pushed technology and ways of working for all, including OB providers, forwards. “This period has driven innovation across the industry,” he notes. “The move to remote and decentralised productions has allowed for production flexibility without compromise to the screen output. There are now so many options that can be used across delivery; no OB is the same and that is exciting!

“The OB culture is changing, and for the next generation of production and engineering talent this will be their normal,” Bates states.

Rees is also enthused about the state of the industry right now. He explains: “It’s an exciting time! The most noticeable change will be the appearance of remote operation hubs, like our CoreTX production facility based in Redhill or our portable CoreTX facility that can be built at a location convenient to the client. The technology within these production centres will utilise on-premise, cloud, remote production location and data centre co-location physical and virtual processing to create the most flexible production workflows we’ve ever been able to offer.

“Our fantastic fleet of OB trucks will continue to be a major part of what we do, and the new technologies and concepts augment our existing services to open up many new ways of working for the benefit of our production partners,” says Rees.

He goes on: “There’s a really interesting mesh of factors going on, between new technology, better connectivity, travel limitations, sustainability goals, better work-life balance and commercial pressures to name a few that’s driving this generational change to question the way we cover events. It’s a self-reflection that’s overdue and I’m convinced will lead to a much more diverse and sustainable industry.”

Hooper notes: “Moving forwards, the next steps will be more contracts delivered in various styles of remote and centralised models, and as contracts are renewed, it is likely their mode of delivery will be revisited. As technology and connectivity improves, there will be more options available. As already suggested, while things have changed, it’s more of a diversification than a complete change of direction, and ‘traditional’ outside broadcast providers are not yet a thing of the past!”

Finally, Pålsson says: “The future for NEP is to remain flexible. Our clients come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes so our solutions need to match. We believe in a modular and likely often hybrid approach, where both on location, remote and centralised workflows will need to co-exist and be interoperable. And while trucks are firmly here to stay, that’s not to say they aren’t going to look different as time goes on.”

Concludes Pålsson: “There will always be a request from some clients to be on site, to be closer to the action. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we need to have all the equipment on site. Advances in virtualisation, growing network capacity and emerging technologies means we can now remote more equipment off site to centralised and even cloud facilities. We can build and deploy lightweight production gallery facilities built for monitoring and control, but we can have all the dedicated hardware located centrally, which on any given day could be working different productions, different clients and even different countries!”

For more information on our Outside Broadcast Production Services click here or contact us

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The original version of this blog was first published in www.svgeurope.org by Heather McLean

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Under the hood of OB Production Services Pt 1

OB Production Services

Exploring the rapid evolution of today’s OB Production Services usage in Europe

OB Production Services have never been more in demand than they are today. The pandemic has created new opportunities for service provision as live sport attempts to recoup time lost to lockdowns, and broadcasters battle between schedules, COVID protocols, and new remote productions.

In this article, the first of two, we talk to a panel of experts from the OB production services industry to find out how OBs are being used across Europe today, what demand is being seen, and where small trucks are stepping into the breach.

Tricky times

On how truck usage has changed over the last year, Christer Pålsson, president of NEP Central and Southern Europe, comments: “The past six to nine months have been some of the busiest in recent memory. Due to the rescheduling of the sporting calendar, we’ve seen a huge peak in demand for OB production services all over Europe.

“However from a regional perspective, we’ve noticed demand coming in waves. So with the Nordics being one of the first [regions] to reopen, we saw a large number of sporting fixtures shift to that region as federations looked to clear the backlog.

“To cater for this our fleet has never been more European, with trucks regularly moving across the continent to cater for the demand,” continues Pålsson. “Of course trucks are easy to move, but people are more challenging, and being a responsible company we’ve done our best minimise cross border travel for people and have tried to crew all our productions using regional crew wherever possible. Brexit of course further complicates this!”

While Peter Bates, EMG UK managing director, comments: “With the worldwide travel restrictions introduced due to the COVID pandemic and especially the varying isolation and quarantine requirements for entry and exit from country to country, it makes complete sense to reduce the amount of travel across borders by sourcing facilities locally.

“At EMG we are very fortunate that we can call upon resources across the whole of central Europe from within our Group sister entities,” continues Bates. “For our customised golf fleet we carefully manage all the different logistical issues to ensure safe passage and timely delivery of onsite facilities together with remoting of many facilities. Within the UK we regionalise crew to limit travel and reduce accommodation requirements where possible.”

From a UK perspective, Neville Hooper, NEP UK deputy head of sound, says: “Because of the dual complexities of both Brexit and the pandemic, there has not really been any call to leave the country for anything other than regular contract work such as Formula F1, or the Women’s Tennis Association Tour. Obviously, this doesn’t include the Euros, but to be fair, this was a project initially planned long before the pandemic hit, and it will be our first major venture into Europe this year.”

Arena Television’s deputy director of operations, Daf Rees, has noticed a marginal truck usage change over the course of the pandemic, but he notes that innovative technology use is enabling more broadcasts to happen safely. He says: “[We’ve seen a] slight change, but we’re also seeing great technology like mixed reality environments evolve, that allow broadcasters to stay at home, but make it look and feel as if the presenters are at the venue, tempering the need to be at the far away venue.”

Meanwhile, Andrea Buonomo, Cinevideo’s executive sales manager, says there has been no change for Cinevideo in Italy. “None at all, in Italy from June 2020 (when we restarted our productions), we returned to covering all our events in person, everywhere.”

Evolving facilities

Production facilitation has definitely evolved over the last 12 months. Bates says: “Several factors have influenced how we facilitate productions since the return to sport in June 2020. These include the availability of connectivity from site, the size of the production teams, and safety and COVID protocols.

“EMG UK’s focus has always been to provide a safe working environment for our clients without compromise to the delivery of their production. We have been able to offer remote production solutions using our ROCs in High Wycombe, Salford and Stratford, as well as providing overspill solutions on site where connectivity has been an issue or our clients have requested it.”

More trucks have been needed on site to allow for social distancing, Timeline TV has found. Dan Regan, sound guarantee at Timeline TV, says: “Currently we’re providing more trucks to aid social distancing and within our Ealing Broadcast Centre, spreading operators across more rooms and providing COVID screens.”

While Rees agrees more OB vans are currently being used, he says remote production is also tipping the requirement the other way. He elaborates: “Yes, to aid social distancing we’ve deployed additional trucks or cabins, or built additional production space within a venue where the number of people on site can’t be safely positioned within one truck. That said, the remote production models our clients favour enables us to remove one of the production trucks from the venue, so the net result – presently – is minimal.

“As the need for social distancing subsides, the truck footprint in the OB compound will shrink because of remote production workflows moving some of the staff elsewhere and allowing equipment to be consolidated into fewer vehicles on-site,” Rees continues.

Pålsson agrees that more trucks are needed overall due to social distancing, but remote productions mean less truck space is needed on location. He explains: “This has been the case. We’ve seen a lot of outboarding of positions, so whether that’s additional primary OB units on site, or as it is quite often the case, the addition of some of our multipurpose production units.

“Of course, however, it all depends on the OB and its particular editorial requirements, but in some instances, working with our clients, we have been able to remote entire departments off site. For example, using our VT replay facility we’ve purpose-built in Manchester, we’ve freed up valuable space in the truck while also being able to avoid having to have crew members having to travel the length of the country,” Pålsson adds.

For Buonomo, as all the biggest productions in Italy have continued to be carried out as before the pandemic on site, there has been little remote production carried out. He states: “One thing that has changed is the add-on coverage for the football, Serie A. Before the pandemic we normally used our second gallery room for the rights-holding broadcaster; now, for the add-on with more than one camera, we need to use a separate truck. For example, on the Serie B, where normally one small truck is used, now we use two trucks (one for the director, shading and audio, and another one for EVS operators,) due to social distancing.”

Big is not always better (he said)

Some of our experts are seeing a new or increased role for smaller OB vans, while others believe it is business as usual. Pålsson comments: “We’ve not seen any real shift in demand in terms of truck size; some clients require big trucks, while others need and want smaller trucks. There has however been a steady increase in demand across remote and centralised production, so in this use case our smaller remote capture trucks are proving very popular.”

Bates says smaller trucks have always been popular. “We have had four vans working on remote production for IMG’s Premier League Productions contract since 2016. Smaller footprint trucks have always played an important role within the EMG UK fleet, enabling us to give our clients choice and flexibility. Now with the increasing popularity for both remote and simplified projects, we are able to deploy them on a larger variety of projects.”

Hooper comments: “It is a question of the type of work that will dictate the size of vehicle required. As was seen recently in the UK, we had two large trucks at the funeral [of Prince Philip] and with the nature of these type of jobs, they wouldn’t be possible in smaller trucks, due to the numbers of cameras, kit, and people involved. In some respects at these times, a larger truck can also be useful, as it allows more social distancing.”

Buonomo says small trucks are not the solution for Italian productions, agreeing with Hooper: “Small trucks are definitely not more popular; with the pandemic situation the request is to have more space inside the trucks, so it means bigger trucks. For example, our Dolphin7.0 in a normal situation can accommodate up to 39 people; now we can accommodate maximum 20 people, with plexiglass walls and so on.”

Rees notes: “Our fleet contains trucks of all shapes and sizes to cater for the wide variety of projects we undertake. Different truck sizes suit different productions, but the large trucks are still popular and provide a great working space.”

Nice things in small trucks

As to the value of small trucks in today’s remote productions, Bates says they are helping to simplify productions: “We have deployed smaller trucks on a large variety of projects from full remote off-site, delivering presentation facilities with an off-site production team, to simplified productions using a Simplylive system on site with a smaller production team.

“With the advancements in technology and the introduction of cloud solutions, smaller trucks not only meet the production requirements of our clients, they also dramatically reduce our carbon footprint; helping us to achieve our own sustainability targets,” notes Bates.

Pålsson comments: “We have a selection of capture vehicles, ranging in size from small flypacks up to large rigid tucks, all dedicated to the remote capture. The benefits of these solutions is they are fast and efficient in terms of deployment. They normally require less people to rig, and they have a smaller footprint on site. They can also get in and out faster, meaning we can do more jobs with them. Also they are often a lot cheaper to build, so we can afford to have more of them on the road at any one time.”

While Rees says: “Smaller trucks have an important part to play in fully remote workflows for certain events, where the truck at the venue simply becomes a signal gateway into the remote facility. They’re an important element in enabling a commercially realistic method of covering lower tier events.”

Hooper agrees: “Small trucks are invaluable, as their smaller footprint brings several benefits, reduced transport costs, for one. Also, reduced set up and strike times enable faster turnarounds between events. They also require fewer personnel to operate in many cases.”

Timeline TV is finding many benefits to using smaller trucks today, to the point that has recently launched a new one. Explains Regan: “Timeline’s fleet of remote working trucks have been used extensively to facilitate remote productions. As such we have launched a brand new ultra-compact OB production services truck, Streamline 2. This new outside broadcast truck boasts many benefits, being a smaller vehicle, it requires less fuel to get to site, less space in the broadcast compound and significantly less power compared to a full-size OB unit.”

Streamline 2 enables remote productions to be delivered where there is limited connectivity and can even work over 4G. Low latency monitoring feeds are delivered back to Timeline’s remote production gallery in its Ealing Broadcast Centre. The truck can provide all the benefits of a full remote production where connectivity is limited. Additionally, all of the broadcast equipment is contained within the truck and is remote controlled from the broadcast centre. “Having the equipment onsite also supports robust disaster recovery options if there were any issues with connectivity,” notes Regan.

The OB truck is equipped as standard with six SMPTE camera channels, one super slo-mo camera channel, two RF cameras and two mini cameras, with additional router and mixer I/O for ad-hoc sources. Cable rig times can also be reduced. The OB truck can facilitate a full presentation position with eight microphones, four IFB’s and reverse vision monitoring, all delivered over two camera SMPTEs. The remote production gallery contains full hardware controllers for all operators, providing the tactile control they are used to when working onsite.

However, it is not the same case across Europe. The Italian perspective is focused on larger vans. Buonomo explains: “In a remote production you can think of a small truck for the equipment, but is also necessary to remember that all the equipment need to be in a good working condition (that means air conditions, spare units, etc). So I don’t believe we can use too small a truck for a big remote production. And also you need to accommodate some people inside.”

For more information on our OB Production Services click here or contact us

The original version of this article was published in www.svgeurope.org

OB Production Services 1 Links Broadcast

OB Production Services 2 Links Broadcast

The original version of this blog was first published in www.svgeurope.org by Heather McLean

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