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How Limitless Broadcast facilitated a ‘world-first’ 5G sustainable remote production

Limitless Broadcast's Claire Wilkie tells TVBEurope about the company's work on the UK's longest drone show, watched by thousands of viewers

Earlier this month, Limitless Broadcast helped bring the UK’s longest drone show to thousands of viewers watching on YouTube and BBC iPlayer.

The event was to mark Coventry’s final month as the UK’s City of Culture.

The nine camera show involved two teams from Limitless, one in Coventry and the other at the company’s MCR in Surrey.

Limitless used a small OB footprint, with redundancy from 4G and Starlink. The event was streamed using their Limitless Live platform, with 16 channels of LiveU were in use via Limitless’ LU800s.

The team used Blackmagic Design URSA Broadcast G2 6K cameras alongside a number of different lenses, including three Canon EMEA UJ86X9.3B box lenses. Six iso 5G powered cameras were in use so viewers could “cut their own show”; as well as one heavy-lift done camera.

Full remote camera control, including racking and tallies was done from the Limitless HQ in Surrey.

The team was invited by drone art company Celestial to provide a 5G sustainable solution for broadcasting their live drone show remotely, Limitless Broadcast founder and managing director Claire Wilkie tells TVBEurope.

“We used 5G specifically as the client wanted to lock in funding related to 5G development,” she adds. “We were invited specifically due to our original and radical approach, can-do attitude to problem-solving, experience in providing a solid broadcast base, experience in handling live camera feeds from remote locations and our tried and tested methods of using 4/5G connectivity on pioneering projects.”

Wilkie says the organisers had not considered or even heard of remote production before the project, but they wanted to work more sustainably than traditional broadcast methods. “We pitched remote production as a sustainable, modern and smart way of working,” she explains.

“They wanted to offer more to viewers and so chose 5G to enable a comprehensive viewer experience, with instantaneous 5G powered isolated camera feeds featured on our Limitless Live player where viewers could cut their own show, live in real-time. This proved to be popular. The client wished to prove to the public that there are more sustainable ways to make events and television. To prove the robustness of the public 5G network.

“We were the first in the UK to pioneer 4G remote production over vast distances, harnessing the public 4G network to send moving camera feeds wirelessly back to our Limitless HQ in Surrey. Because of this, we know how to get the best from bonded tech remotely,” Wilkie continues. “The next move for us was to harness 5G remote production, and our workflow towards this was already in development. 5G allowed more bandwidth to increase the number of camera angles we could transmit and receive with significantly less delay, 5G assisted with things like lower-latency tally lights.”

Wilkie adds that she believes this is the first time the public 5G network has been used in this way as part of remote production, and certainly of a live drone show.