By Adrian Pennington | InBroadcast | Published 14th April 2020
A review of technologies enabling production companies and broadcasters to deliver high quality content to viewers while optimising costs, resources, and eliminating travel.
Whilst the world grapples with the emergency outbreak of the coronavirus, we are seeing not only how people modify their behavior but will see how businesses must modify theirs. Events being canceled, travel being scaled back and replaced with teleconferencing. Many corporations have sent staff home to work where it is possible to do so.
This is all made possible because we as a society have already have much of the technology to facilitate flexible working. Give your office-based staff a laptop and access to the internet, and they are ready to sit in their home office or at their kitchen table.
“What has changed in the last few weeks is that working remotely is no longer a work-life balance argument, or a nice-to-have, it is now a question of business continuity,” says Jan Weigner, CEO, Cinegy. “The crisis is forcing companies to reevaluate their ways of working and finally act upon it. The technological infrastructure is in place and we have the tools ready to go – from acquisition over production to distribution, all can be handled remotely and / or in the cloud.”
With bases in the UK, mainland Europe, Middle East, Australia and North America, Never.no’s teams are able to service regional customers without the risk of the virus affecting workflows or production needs. Bee-On is its cloud-based audience engagement platform runs on AWS for access anywhere with a web browser and internet connection, “so there is no need for production teams to be managed under one roof,” CEO Scott Davies says.
“Individual projects can be pre-planned and packaged with audience generated content and dynamic visualisations prior to delivery / broadcast of live or pre-recorded content. Viewers continue to watch, more-so during a crisis, so content producers need to continue programming and deliver captivating content, with audience engagement a priority – Bee-On can help deliver this.”
He adds, “We’re seeing a need for packaged end-to-end solutions that utilise cloud-production and seamlessly integrates ‘off-the-shelf’ graphics and compatibility with native broadcast graphics for a wide range of programming, such as news, live events and popular chat shows. Gone are the days where production is managed and delivered from one hub.”
Demand for Quicklink’s video call management system has never been higher, according to CEO Richard Rees. The firm is releasing a completely browser-based cloud supported workflow with automated Panasonic PTZ camera and lighting.
“A journalist could sit at home and interview someone located elsewhere live to air while a colleague edits the video online (in Adobe Premiere) and in realtime,” says CEO Richard Rees. “That edit could be passed to a control room for wider channel distribution. The whole environment is now virtualised. We believe this is the future.”
VSN has added new capabilities for remote interoperability to its VSN NewsConnect web plugin for news production. This were on the cards for a NAB release but recent events have made them more relevant.
VSN NewsConnect, which brings together a number of third party tools required for news production, now enables users to control multiple studios in different locations, even if the systems used in the studios are different.
“What this means is that a journalist can simply send a news item to any studio and NewsConnect will automatically ensure that the delivered content matches the format requirements of the receiving devices,” said Patricia Corral, marketing director. “This remote interoperability is very useful in enabling news to be repurposed to the requirements of local broadcasters without worrying about technical compatibility.”
Pixel Power’s work is currently mainly based around large projects for refurbishment or replacement of playout and production infrastructure; projects with long timescales, so the current viral outbreak isn’t yet causing any major changes in demand.
“Our technology can be virtualized and deployed in data centre or public cloud, with remote access operation from anywhere in the world,” explains James Gilbert, CEO. “This is not something that can be done as an impulse reaction to the current situation - this capability has to be architected and designed into the product from the beginning.”
Once the outbreak subsides, the evolution of remote, decentralised working practices is likely to accelerate. “The industry is already moving towards remote, decentralised working practices because of the ecological and economic benefits,” Gilbert says. “The ability of staff to work from any location is core to that concept and whilst it is an obvious advantage during the current outbreak where staff may be required to, or choose to, work from home, I do not feel the pace of change will be accelerated - there are already enough drivers for it.”
Collaborative workflows with someone sitting next to you or on the opposite side of the world is in the DNA of storage solutions specialist GB Labs.
“We’ve fostered cloud integration for years and therefore, have always offered a remote workflow,” says Dominic Harland, CEO/CTO. “Obviously, there will be many other challenges with this ongoing situation, but GB Labs is confident that accessing content securely and quickly will not be one of them.
He thinks current events will accelerate solutions to enable a faster response to any future crisis. “The next two/three months is not long enough to develop, test and bring to market anything exceptional, but we are definitely looking at developing new products and new solutions. Whether this becomes a real-world advantage that the customer will want to buy after the outbreak subsides, well, that’s a different question.”
Each Bridge Technologies product has transformative potential in the field of remote broadcast and production, but none so more than its Widglets API. This leverages the full value of data collected by its VB440 - video, audio and ancillary - not only for network performance monitoring but also for a multitude of other workflows and applications. Full motion, colour-accurate, ultra-low-latency video, for example, can be made available from any source to any application or user.
“Being browser based, all that is required is a laptop and a network connection,” explains
Tim Langridge Head of Marketing. “Each geographically dispersed user receives feeds from multiple cameras with multiple waveform vectorscopes and streams via a single HTML5 video monitor view. Not only does this result in incredible technical improvements in production and improved decision making, but also logistically frees up immense amounts of room in OB vans or MCRs – making them more efficient, affordable and adaptable.”
Blackbird has seen a significant increase in sales enquiries since the containment phase began. “Enterprises need effective technology solutions to enable their workforces to operate efficiently whilst working at home or remotely,” says CEO, Ian McDonough. “Blackbird is a fully featured video editor available in any browser and can operate at low bandwidth. It's the perfect solution for the majority of live and file-based video production workflows.”
Essentially Blackbird can be used by anyone, any time, anywhere and this flexibility is enormously attractive to enterprises looking to drive massive productivity efficiencies through their operations. It also runs on bandwidth as low as 2Mb/s which is ideal given the pressure in traffic over the network – a situation which has caused Netflix and YouTube to throttle back their bitrates.
“As teams become used to de-centralised video production and enterprises enjoy significant infrastructure savings together with a flexible globally distributed workforce untethered to source content, we anticipate an accelerated adoption of Blackbird,” McDonough adds.
For live sports workflows, there are few production partners more experienced than Gravity Media. In February it wrapped its 2000th remote production, in this case of a Pac-12 Networks’ broadcast of the USC Trojans 65-56 win over the Washington State Cougars.
This impressive number includes ‘At Home’ centralized productions that were undertaken under the Proshow Broadcast (acquired by Gravity Media in July 2018) and Gearhouse Broadcast brand.
The benefits of this remote approach are obvious, with REMIs offering a cost-efficient modern workflow that is operationally flexible and durable. By centralizing the control room, video switching, audio mixing, graphics, replays and show production can all be done ‘At Home’ in the broadcast centre. This means that smaller, more affordable purpose-built mobile units can be used at the venue. Only video and audio acquisition hardware such as engineered cameras, microphones and announcer headsets, as well as comms hardware, a transmission interface and engineering support are required on site.
Company president Michael Harabin, says, “The potential for creating quality programming at an attractive price has never been greater, and we now have over 2000 proof points that showcase its consistent effectiveness and our ability to deliver.”
Sweden’s Intinor specialises in helping companies overcome the challenges of remote production. “As we are currently in lock-down of travel for personnel, the benefits of remote production could be felt all the more keenly,” says Daniel Lundstedt, regional sales manager. “Instead of having to arrange for operators to travel on location, broadcasting companies could instead work with local talent with equipment all that needs to be shipped rather than staff members.”
Intinor is already able to make going live, from anywhere, very easy, without marshalling a small (but expensive) army to make it happen. It’s all down to the “supreme mobility” of its Direkt link remote production pack. With an Intinor Direkt receiver or router in a control room, captured audio and video from a camera or mixer connected to a backpack can be streamed over public internet to a Direkt router and then re-streamed using other protocols, transcoded or outputed to SDI or NDI.
Mobile Viewpoint has a heritage in remote production solutions, especially for live streaming. CEO Michel Bais says the company has proven to reduce costs for production companies by not having to send a wealth of resource to an event.
“As we see companies trying to reduce their carbon footprint, it has emerged that it is not only cost savings that are driving these innovations,” he tells InBroadcast. “In line with this philosophy, we have developed remote cameras that allow sports games to be live streamed but without the need for a camera crew or an onsite production team.”
With the IQ-Sports Producer, an entire field of play can be recorded with a single 4x4K camera, while AI is used to create a virtual zoom of the play by automatically following players and the ball. Games can be live steamed in real time and with different format versions depending whether it is for web streaming, or for higher quality broadcasts requiring HD-SDI workflows, all at a fraction of the cost of an on-site production team.
vPilot is another AI driven solution from Mobile Viewpoint that can be used for remote newsrooms. A combination of cameras using 3D sensors and audio cues means round-table discussions can bet set-up without the need for a camera team or an onsite director. “Both IQ-Sports Producer and vPilot can be managed remotely with cameras that can be semi-permanently installed to create quality and cost-effective programming,” Bais says.
Net Insight’s plug and play solution Nimbra extends the production workflow to reach remote venues anywhere on the globe, with the same ease of operations as for traditional in-house productions. Users include
Nimbra is a high-quality multi-service media transport over IP platform supporting both native video and audio in addition to standard IP/Ethernet. Built-in video processing, low-latency JPEG 2000 and MPEG-4 encoding as well as unique features for equipment control and synchronisation makes it a great choice for remote production. Users include SVT and TV2 Denmark.
“100 percent reliability is key for remote live production and our solution offers mechanisms to assure the content is delivered with perfect quality regardless of network issues,” the company states. “Enterprise customers can use the solution to deliver live video content to support internal communications and working remotely.”
All of Cinegy’s software solutions lend themselves to flexible working practices. “We have long been a proponent of virtualization and IP – and what is the cloud if nothing more than using someone else’s computer, hosted somewhere else? Says Weigner.
“Give your office-based staff a laptop, access to the internet and access to Cinegy software– locally or in the cloud, and they are ready to remotely produce content using Cinegy Desktop, remotely playout content with Cinegy Air; remotely monitor channels with Cinegy Multiviewer. Whether our customer is at home or at another location and needs to set-up a pop-up channel in the cloud, doesn’t matter.
“Our customers who already embraced our workflows are more prepared and ready to deal with the new business practices that are emerging,” he argues. “Being ready for this business process change is markedly harder than being ready for a technology change. In this case, circumstances are dictating that there must be change. The barriers are being lowered and it is time to embrace it.”
Umea, Sweden UK, 25 June 2020: Intinor, Sweden’s leading developer of products and solutions for high-quality video over public internet, today announced that the Festival of German-Language Literature was streamed live using Intinor’s solution for remote production in an unusual way.
The annual festival normally takes place in Klagenfurt, Austria, and culminates in the awarding of the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, one of Germany’s most prestigious awards for literature.
However, this year the prize-giving took place under different circumstances, i.e., from home. Coordinated and streamed by Austria-based Remotion Media Production and Services, Intinor Direkt link encoders were safely established in the homes of 14 authors and jury members scattered throughout Austria, Germany and Switzerland to produce seven live channels routed through to Remotion’s Klagenfurt master control room where a Direkt router rack was placed.
To allow the most robust transmission, Remotion used Intinor’s own protocol “Bifrost Reliable Transport” (BRT™). This protocol provides very strong protection against lost or late packets while simultaneously adding redundancy with network bonding over LAN & 4G.
The program feed was then “pulled back” to each location for confidence monitoring purposes. Intinor's solution for 4-wire talkback was used to provide a professional ‘mix-minus audio’.
Intinor Sales Manager, Europe, Martin Weber, said, “We would like to thank Remotion for their expertise and trust in Intinor to produce this important live streaming event which was flawlessly broadcast on 3sat in Germany, ORF in Austria, and SRF in Switzerland as well as multiple web-streaming platforms."
Umea, Sweden, 01 June 2020 — Intinor Technology, Sweden’s leading developer of products and solutions for high quality video over internet, is working closely with American companies JB&A, a value add distributor specialising in the field of video, broadcast, production & proAV, and NewTek, the leader in IP-based video technology, to connect with the American broadcast industry.
At a time when travel and face to face meetings are restricted, Intinor has been keen to work closely with its regional partners across the globe to find alternative ways to connect with local broadcasting companies, offering webinars and online demonstrations with the opportunity for live Q&A sessions.
This is a particularly important time for Intinor to connect with customers. The ongoing crisis is leading many companies to re-evaluate their production facilities and to consider creating new remote production workflows that not only overcome the current challenges of social distancing but also offer long-term economic and productivity benefits. Intinor’s solutions are known as the “Swedish Army Knife” for an all-IP infrastructure.
Daniel Lundstedt, Marketing Coordinator for Intinor said: “In these challenging times, the broadcast industry and producers are looking for alternative ways to distribute and produce their content. Most broadcasters are used to working with secure connections, using satellite or dedicated fiber, and have been wary of using the public internet due to the risk of packet loss, latency issues on networks etc.
“One of the major challenges in switching from the more traditional workflows to remote production is how to get around the inherent instability of the public internet” Lundstedt continues. “That’s where Intinor comes in because that’s what we do all the time.”
JB&A has been Intinor’s exclusive distributor in the USA for years and the two companies regularly run joint events. The webinar, which ran live on April 14th 2020 and is available to view on YouTube, aimed to educate viewers about REMI production (REMote Integration), REME (REMote Editorial viewing) and to demonstrate how broadcasters can implement these using the solutions that Intinor offers. Nicholas Smith, JB&A’s VP of Technology, hosted the event from Folsom, CA with Daniel Lundstedt representing Intinor from its base in Umea, Sweden.
Moving on from an introductory presentation, the webinar demonstrated the interoperability of Intinor’s Direkt product family, using many different input streams, laptops, mobile phones as well as encoders, as part of the production.
They also demonstrated Intinor’s own transport protocol, Bifrost BRT™, that has forward error correction, adaptive bitrate, ARQ, or resending, and network bonding. Other protocols are also supported, including SRT and many others.
Another American company that Intinor has often partnered with is NewTek. Intinor was due to promote its Direkt router studio alongside NewTek in the NDI® Pavilion at NAB this year as the products from these two companies fit together nicely in a Remote Production Workflow using content from a variety of sources. Since JB&A are also distributors for Newtek, this offers perfect synergy and value add for all three companies involved as well as their clients.
With the cancellation of NAB and numerous other industry shows due to COVID-19, NewTek has created its own TV channel, NewTekTV. NewTekTV aims to keep people up-to-date on technology news, live demos, support and expert advice as well as showing in itself the flexibility of IP-based, software-defined visual storytelling (#SDVS) on a global basis.
In their latest broadcast, focusing on how to keep sports fans engaged when there’s no sports going on, Lundstedt was invited on as a guest speaker to talk about how Intinor is using NDI® to help keep the world connected.
NewTekTV’s host, Richard Evans, was interested to hear about the remote workflows that Intinor offers and how Intinor’s Direkt router studio works with NewTek’s Tricaster to provide a complete solution for remote production.
“The Direkt router studio supports input from different IP streams, such as SRT, RTMP, or Intinor’s own protocol, BRT™ Bifrost, all of which offer ways to handle secure transmission even over poor internet connections” explained Lundstedt. “Content collected via the Direkt router can then be sent via NDI® to NewTek’s Tricasters which provide all the tools necessary for media production. Once the production is complete, this can then be transmitted via NDI® again back to the Direkt router which handles the broadcast of the finalised content, sending to multiple partners if required.”
Further webinars and online demos are planned. Check out Intinor’s Upcoming Events for more details.
Umea, Sweden 21 May 2020 — Intinor Technology, Sweden’s leading developer of products and solutions for high quality video over the internet, will be demonstrating how to do remote production in a series of live webinars with Danish company Skaarhoj, manufacturers of universal broadcast control panels. The aim is to showcase how the remote production tools from both Intinor and Skaarhoj complement each other to give a flexible, secure workflow for live production using a variety of different content sources and locations.
Interest in remote production workflows (or REMI) has been on the increase for some time now already. Even before the current global social distancing requirements created an added incentive for broadcasting companies to seek an alternative to the traditional travel-dependent methods of production, the economic and productivity benefits that REMI offers enables companies to more easily meet the rising demand for live content.
The live webinars in themselves will be remote productions between Denmark and Sweden with PTZ cameras in Intinor’s base in Umea, Sweden, and at another location in Stockholm, Sweden, being remotely controlled by Skaarhoj’s control panels at their headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“Our mission is to ease the use of broadcast hardware for people making live video” says Skaarhoj’s CEO, Founder and Chief Designer, Kasper Skårhøj. “Our universal broadcast controllers give content producers an incredibly flexible hardware platform for their ever changing control needs.”
Skaarhoj is running weekly webinars demonstrating their controllers in action. For the webinar with Intinor, the inputs from a variety of sources will be managed using Intinor’s Direkt router studio. The interoperability Intinor provides is a big advantage to live remote productions where content may be coming in from cameras, laptop and even mobile phones via a variety of different IP streams and protocols.
Daniel Lundstedt, Marketing Coordinator for Intinor, says “The Direkt router studio supports input from different IP streams, such as SRT, RTMP, or Intinor’s own protocol, BRT™ Bifrost, all of which offer ways to handle secure transmission even over poor internet connections.”
“One of the major challenges in switching from the more traditional workflows to remote production is how to get around the inherent instability of the public internet” continues Lundstedt. “That’s where Intinor comes in because that’s what we do all the time.”
Intinor’s own transport protocol, Bifrost BRT™, will be demonstrated during the webinar. This offers forward error correction, adaptive bitrate, ARQ, or resending, and network bonding.
Lundstedt added “We aim to show people how they can save money and time by setting up a remote production workflow and cutting out what becomes unnecessary travel. There are many benefits to a remote workflow and, in these times, it is an essential tool.”
The webinars will run on Tuesday May 26th at various different times to allow for global time preferences: (follow links to sign up)
Further webinars and online demos are planned. Check out Intinor’s Upcoming Events for more details.
NAB 2020, April 19-22, NDI® Central Pavilion, Booth SL4711: Intinor, the leading developer of products and solutions for high quality video over the internet, will attend NAB2020 (Las Vegas Convention Center, 19 – 22 April) to showcase its uniquely powerful solutions to both combine as many as eight individual video feeds, and stream them synchronously across multiple internet paths. A strong supporter of NDI, Intinor will be co-exhibiting with NewTek on booth SL4711.
The Intinor solution creates a coherent video path over the public internet, using broadband (ethernet or Wifi), cellular (3G, 4G LTE or 5G) and Ka-band satellite as required to achieve the necessary bandwidth and resilience. What makes its solution unique is the use of forward error correction and ARQ (re-sending) in Intinor’s own transport protocol BRT™. This gives the transport stream very strong protection against lost packets – causing picture disruptions and freezes – while at the same time minimising latency, particularly important in sports.
“We have tackled head on the major challenge of video over the internet: the risk of lost packets,” said Roland Axelsson, CEO at Intinor. “IP is designed to get the data to the destination at all costs, however long it takes; video needs a complete new picture every 40 milliseconds. At Intinor, we have created BRT™ to virtually eliminate lost packets – and therefore picture and sound disruption – with minimal latency and minimal additional data overhead. The results are remarkable.”
The Intinor solution is primarily software, but the company offers a hardware product, Heimdall, which incorporates eight 3G or 4G modems in a 1U rack cabinet, which along with an Intinor Direkt router can multiplex up to eight camera feeds with associated audio into a single stream, which is then transmitted over multiple bonded networks for delivery to a central production base.
The Direkt series is fully NDI compliant, so sits transparently in an NDI architecture. To create an “all-IP-infrastructure” we are always looking to add more transport protocols to our mix. The latest additions are RTSP-pull and full SRT support.
“We have proven applications of our technology around the world, including with some of the major eSports players,” said Axlesson. “This is an excellent prospect for all media enterprises, from news to sports, looking to reduce its environmental footprint through remote production.”
Intinor products and solutions can be found on the NewTek booth at NAB2020, SL4711. It can also be seen at the pre-NAB event organised by the distributor JB&A, to be held in the Sahara Hotel on Friday and Saturday, 17 – 18 April.
Umea, Sweden, 16 January 2020: Intinor, Sweden’s leading developer of products and solutions for high-quality video over internet, has joined the Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) Alliance.
SRT is an open source video transport protocol that optimizes streaming performance across unpredictable networks, enabling the best quality live video to be transported over even the most questionable networks. The SRT Open Source project, which is spearheaded by the SRT Alliance, is a collaborative community of industry leaders and developers striving to achieve lower latency internet video transport by continuously improving open-source SRT.
As part of its participation in the alliance, Intinor has added support for SRT’s “Listener” delivery mode, soon to be followed by SRT’s “Caller” and “Rendezvous” mode to the entire Intinor Direkt Router range. Intinor has also used the opportunity to add support for NDI® connectivity.
Intinor CEO Roland Axelsson said, “The industry has embraced SRT, which has proven to be a truly collaborative and beneficial way of working together to establish a streaming protocol that mitigates or resolves issues that still surround video transport latency without having to resort to resourcing expensive alternatives.
“We are proud to not only be a member of this cross-industry initiative, but to have an official portal through which to offer our expertise as well to learn from others in the alliance.”
Intinor’s Direkt Router Lite is the world’s smallest streaming router, designed specifically for delivering high quality video over IP networks. However, like any applicable router, even Direkt can encounter obstacles when dealing with extremely flaky networks.
Axelsson adds, “Our Direkt routers not only buffer and redistribute compressed video over IP networks, they also analyse incoming IP streams and redistribute them with no added delay. However, if delays are already part of the stream, it can cause issues upstream. Through membership in SRT, we can collaborate and further develop our existing, proprietary, low latency “Bifrost Reliable Transport” (BRT™) in way that will benefit all of our customers.”
BRT™ uses highly efficient forward error correction that increases the amount of redundant data to make a transmission more robust.
Jointly founded by Wowza Media Systems and video streaming technology leader, Haivision, SRT enables an ever-increasing number of new applications while simultaneously improving the performance of existing ones.