Remote production has been heralded as a way for broadcasters to respond to audiences’ increasing appetite for content, but what are the other drivers for adoption?

Bts tv studio production

Advances in technology have created new tools for remote production, enabling flexible processes and deployment of live operations.

Remote production promises to facilitate the capture of high quality content, potentially quicker than some traditional methods with cost effective solutions. 

EVS Senior Vice President of Marketing, Nicolas Bourdon told IBC365: “The main demand for remote production is coming from broadcasters and content creators wanting to put in place proof of concept setups for producing some of the biggest sporting events.

“These are typically running in parallel alongside traditional productions and acting as a way for stakeholders to test the new technology in real-world scenarios.”

Supply and demand

The current demand for remote production is expected to grow as the technology is showcased, explained Calrec Audio’s Technical Product Manager, Peter Walker.

He said: “The next 12 months are going to see a wide uptake in remote production with some very high profile events that will be showcased and generate wider interest.

”We’re getting a lot of serious interest from people wanting to deploy it as soon as they can.”

Delivering high quality content and doing so remotely is a concept broadcasters have been steadily developing, employing new technology as they’re faced with less resource and a demand for delivering greater content.

Lawo has adopted a plug and play remote production kit which includes video encapsulation, compression codecs, integrated remote control GUI and sophisticated audio solutions.

”We have to embrace IP technology and the exciting possibilities that remote production can bring” - Nicolas Bourdon

Effectively streamlining production remotely can reduce operational expenditure, enabling a greater range of live events to be covered, including sport, which is a valuable offering for broadcasters.

Bourdon said: “This is because distance workflows are a more viable option for those operating with smaller budgets or limited resources. If you can deploy fewer on-site resources and manage productions from a central production base it’s easier to deliver a better return on investment for smaller-scale productions of niche sports or entertainment events.”

One of the biggest challenges to overcome before wider deployment of remote productions is education, explained Bourdon.

He said: “We have to embrace IP technology and the exciting possibilities that remote productions can bring. Deploying new technology and running live productions will bring with it confidence that equipment will deliver as needed – even when it’s located remotely.”

The IP adoption 

A key driver for remote production are large scale sporting events.

Nevion Vice President Olivier Suard pointed to the upcoming winter Olympics and FIFA World Cup. 

He said: ”These events are very expensive to cover, and make investment in remote production worthwhile. At the same time, IP technology is now making real in-roads into production across the board, where it was previously confined to contribution. The cost of bandwidth is coming down, reducing substantially the cost-barrier to moving to remote production.”

“We’ll see further standardisation of IP – a key enabler of deploying more distance workflows” - Nicolas Bourdon

“In the next 12 months we’ll see further standardisation of IP – a key enabler of deploying more distance workflows. Better interoperability between industry partners and technology vendors will also be seen as more systems working together in remote infrastructures.”

Lawo Director Marketing and Communications, Andreas Hilmer said: “We clearly see distributed remote production as the major workflow approach of the future. Based on a cloud-based main resource pool, central production suites and IP-enabled remote production trucks broadcasters are able to cope with their production challenges.”

Integrating platforms and productions units to simplifying the challenges the broadcast industry faces in deploying remote live productions is fundamental. Developing end-to-end solutions particularly with the transition to IP based production has proven to be cost effective. 

Suard said: ”The move to 4K/UHD is also driving the interest in remote production.

”The cost of upgrading OB vans to handle higher resolutions can be very expensive, and at the same time IP technology is eminently suited to the transport of 4K/UHD signals, which is helping to justify the cost of a move to IP-based remote production.”

Net Insight Strategic Product Manager, Larissa Goerner told IBC365: “Remote production and the next step of distributed production allow broadcasters to fully take the potential of new technologies in the IP environment.”

The adoption of end-to-end solutions for remote creation is a strategic move in the production work flow and high quality deployment of content.

NEP Australia has production hubs in Melbourne and Sydney providing proven, tangible delivery of live remote productions. The facilities will be used by Fox Sports Australia to centrally produce over 500 events each year.

Bourdon explained: “There is so much industry interest in these Australian remote production hubs, demand for this type of solution will increase once they’re up and running and results can be seen for themselves.

“We’ll see more people than ever wanting to replicate this kind of network because it will ultimately let producers deploy live operations that achieve better results faster, while operating at a reduced cost.”

Road mapping the convergence

Walker explained the technical benefits of IP as a solution.

Using a web-app or a broadcast mixer enables an operational workflow the same as if the event was happening in a studio next door.

”We’re collaborating with other broadcast manufacturers and with IP service providers in order to support our clients and to improve workflows for setup and connection configuration. Ultimately this will be very simple plug and play. We’re also working to expand our feature set to make the products more powerful and more flexible,” he said. 

Enabling remote equipment and workflows to be managed transparently based on the existing structure is a primary focus for Nevion. Suard expects a convergence of technologies, decoupling of functionality from the equipment which will make remote production more compelling.

He said: “A vision mixer will consist of software performing the mixing, and be controlled by one or more consoles. The software will be provided running in a central location, and controlled from any location.”   

Future proofing the success of remote production Goerner explained: “Supporting the demand for those new technologies, such as AES-67 WAN transport, SMPTE 2110 and SMPTE 2022-6 standards as well as the needed interfaces for orchestration and control.”

Suard said: ”In live production, especially with premier sports events, failure is not an option. So risks, especially around the long distance transport and hand-over points, need to be reduced to zero through signal protection, especially redundancy and monitoring.”