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How remote production can lead to more efficient broadcast operations

Jenny Priestley talks to Haivision about their Stream Sync feature

There seems to be a big shift going on within the live content industry at the moment. More and more, producers are moving towards remote production. The opportunity to produce live content without sending both huge trucks and large amounts of people means that content producers are able to produce more content and make their broadcasts more efficient.

Last year, Haivision released a new feature in their product line aiming to help broadcasters reduce their costs and increase flexibility. Stream Sync has been implemented on Haivision’s Makito X encoders and decoders, which are well-known for generating high-performance with low latency.

Stream Sync is aimed at larger scale operations that have the requirement for more content, as Haivision’s chief marketing officer Peter Maag explains: “It’s really for people who want to dramatically broaden their content contribution into the facility, for example, large sports broadcasters in the States like ESPN.

“They have on-site production at many colleges across the States but they might want to increase the number of colleges that they serve, as well as reduce the cost at the ones they currently serve. By establishing remote production capabilities they can reduce the cost of the current operations and expand the current operations.”

Haivision has also been working with Riot Games, the company behind League of Legends that runs events around the world. “They run all of the production for those events out of Los Angeles,” explains Maag. “They have camera and sound guys that go to the event but their main production team stays at home. They have reduced the amount of on-site people from 200 to 20, and they’ve reduced the set-up time from seven days on site to one day on site. So for broadcasters this is a dramatic inflection point in the cost structure of any on-site production.”

Maag says Stream Sync is very easy to implement. Set-up time in facilities with Makito X encoders and decoders enabled by the Stream Sync feature can be reduced to as little as half an hour. “Riot Games used to require a gigabit connection for all of their streams. Now they can reduce that requirement down to a hundred megabits, giving them locational flexibility where they don’t need to have dedicated circuits placed at the remote venues. So you get a lot more flexibility with this solution as well,” he explains.

So if the solution is using the public internet to deliver the stream back to the production facility, is there not a potential latency issue? “Latency is critical for remote production because it is an interactive experience,” Maag admits. “You need to have minimal latency because as the event is going on you’re relying on all sorts of audio and visual feedback loops. So latency is critical.

“We have a technology that we invented – it comes with our encoders and decoders – called SRT (Secure Reliable Transport) which provides very low latency transport over public internet connections,” he continues. “With remote production, getting the feeds back to the centralised production house in as little time as possible and the recovering from the packet loss on the internet is one of the fundamental challenges. SRT overcomes that fundamental challenge, delivering the absolute lowest possible latency. It means all of the synchronised streams can be interacted with in real time.”

To read Haivision’s white paper offering insight into remote production video streaming technologies, click here.