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IP Ubers to Remote Video Production

A costly aspect of sports production is the need to cover so many venues in so many locations. Until very recently, the necessary solution was to create production studios on wheels. Sizes range from vans with modest production systems for schools, colleges and local channels, to massive trucks or trailers housing network broadcast-level equipment and large crews of specialist-operators. Production truck capability could vary from shooting and mixing a three or four camera setup with simple scoreboard graphics, to giant switchers and routers managing feeds from 8 or more HD or even 4K cameras, with instant replay and slow motion, 3D motion graphics, and telestration systems, and more.

The change to IP-based production is giving producers at every level the option to simply send the cameras and IP connection equipment to the venues and leave the production duties to a control room in a single, remote location. This is a classic paradigm shift, saving significant time, money, and effort. “Remote production” is now a thing.

The advantages to remote production include:

  • Fewer people needed at each venue, reducing staff and travel costs
  • Equipment transportation costs are greatly reduced since only cameras and IP connection equipment need to be transported without the need of a specialized vehicle 
  • Setup time is greatly reduced, since cameras connect to IP instead of dedicated baseband cabling that needs to be laid out for each event to connect cameras to production trucks one channel at a time
  • Significant cost savings are realized by eliminating baseband cabling and time needed to deploy cabling
  • One central control room can handle multiple events at once and multiple events on a given day - meaning fewer systems are needed for the volume of production, reducing equipment duplication at substantial savings
  • Needing and paying for a single “A Team” production crew (technical director, production manager, graphics operator, audio engineer, etc.) versus needing and paying for multiple crews - ensuring high production quality and greatly reducing overhead
  • Eliminating the need for multiple specialized production vehicles and equipment duplication gives producers the option to either spend less of the budget or to use the budget on better equipment and people

Medialooks, a broadcast software automation developer, are among vendors leading the charge. In a recent blog post, they note that remote production works at any level and point out that many other vendors poised to enable remote production are NDI® adopters.

Blog writer Andrey Okunev spoke with NewTek’s Dr. Andrew Cross who shared his thoughts:

In our industry it is clear that “IP Video” is one of the big words of the moment. While we might be taking a lot of this for granted it is worth taking a step back and thinking about why there is this interest in the first place. When you look at how video is used today which is predominantly to move it between a camera and a monitor (with a few devices in between) then clearly SDI and HDMI perform quite remarkably well; almost anyone can just plug them in and there is a very good chance that they are going to work. The reason for IP is not because it is easier, it is not because it is better quality (SDI and HDMI are both uncompressed), the true reason is that it is the enabler that allows video to flow freely though every office building in the developed world and out beyond those walls and be accessible to anyone anywhere.


Indeed it is this clear goal that has driven NDI, which is why we have focused on the need to work on existing networks and infrastructure (and offering free tools to interface with SDI and HDMI) instead of simply acting as a replacement for what exists today. I believe that this is one of the reasons that use of NDI has clearly become as widespread as it has, as quickly as it has. While NDI enabled video to move seamlessly over local IP networks, the next step is going to be products like those from Medialooks that allow it to seamlessly jump between local IP networks.

Read the complete blog entry at: Remote Video Production

NewTek’s NDI is a resolution and format independent bi-directional IP technology that allows for transport of video, audio, metadata and communications. The freely available SDK has been downloaded thousands of times, and implemented in hundreds of products that are now in the hands of millions of users worldwide.

A number of organizations, schools and universities are working with NDI-enabled equipment and software to create remote production workflows:

When you do prefer on-site production via a truck, NDI can multiply the production options for everything in the truck:

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