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Using cloud can reduce OB technical infrastructure needs ‘by up to 70 per cent’

Proof of concept to achieve carbon net zero live production was undertaken as part of IBC's Accelerators programme

A proof of concept undertaken as part of IBC’s Accelerators programme has found that for some broadcasters, using cloud production reduces the amount of technical infrastructure required for the gallery production by up to 70 per cent.

The project, comprising six broadcast and production “Champions” led by BBC Sport, BT Sport, Sky Sport, Premier League Productions and international rights holders NBCUniversal and SuperSport, looked at multi-provider cloud technologies, formats and workflows, sharing camera feeds, audio, graphics and human resources to avoid duplication and reduce travel and other energy requirements in the production chain.

The ‘Champions’ worked alongside the English Premier League, IMG/Premier League Productions and albert, to demonstrate that cloud production further reduces the requirements for significant onsite technical facilities as it allows signals to be sent quickly and easily to multiple locations.

The project team deployed bespoke workflows and architectures alongside a traditional outside broadcast production to compare and contrast carbon footprints during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Newcastle on 16th December.

Project technology was provided by Amazon Web Services, Blackbird, Hitomi, Microsoft, M2A Media, Singular.Live and Zixi.

“Improving sustainability has become a number one priority for the media and entertainment production sector,” said Andy Beale, project lead and chief engineer at BT Sport. “The future of our planet depends on a collective effort to become carbon net zero. With this IBC Accelerator project, we wanted to tangibly experiment together to understand the alternatives to traditional OB production in live sport, in order to make carbon metrics more readily available so companies can benchmark what they are doing and help motivate them to do more to reduce their own carbon footprints.”

“Reducing the carbon emissions attributed to the production of our sports programming is of great importance – and a major part of Sky’s ambitions to achieve its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2030,” added Inga Ruehl, executive director, Production Services & Operations at Sky. “The promising results from the trial show that the industry goal of a drastic reduction of emissions through means such as cloud production workflows is very much attainable. If the industry continues to work together towards this goal it can make a huge difference.”

The findings of the PoC to achieve carbon net zero live production is available to watch on IBC Digital.