The media and entertainment industry is seeing tremendous progress in the use of cutting-edge methods and technologies, as the events of the past two years have forced changes that many could not have imagined before. New cloud-based approaches are revolutionizing the way live content is produced and delivered.
The pandemic has accelerated trends that were already in motion and opened up new possibilities for media companies capitalizing on the explosion of streaming and direct-to-consumer platforms. The increased use of remote production techniques and cloud-based workflows for live events, especially sports, has ushered in a rapid evolution of live video content creation. We have seen a shift from almost strict adherence to a traditional on-premises production model to using remote methods, now adopting a more flexible and cloud-enabled distributed approach.
Gone are the days when the team above the line had to travel to arenas, stadiums and other locations to produce and provide excellent coverage of an event. The range of production options the cloud provides allows leagues, broadcasters and other rights holders to select the talent and tools that best suit their needs and budget. The shift to a more flexible live production model had been brewing for several years but it was unquestionably accelerated by the pandemic.
Where does the new production model come from?
Before the pandemic, we were already seeing the growing use of remote production – where technical teams over the line are located in fully equipped remote facilities and connected by robust video delivery networks – for almost a decade. Its adoption was massively accelerated as broadcasters and rights holders had to minimize travel and on-site staff to adhere to rules and guidelines aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19. It has now become a standard option for most large-scale live event productions, with at least some if not all elements of the workflow performed remotely.
Over the past five years, the rapid development of cloud-based production tools has provided even more options for a wider range of projects using remote production methods. Media companies are now able to run the entire end-to-end production process in a cloud-based environment, covering everything from IP video contribution to graphic design to low-power communications. latency, cutting and editing to distribution. Available as a flexible on-demand offering, cloud-based production expands the horizons of live content producers, enabling near real-time social media highlights, delivery to streaming services, and the ability to make turn more shoulders before and after the game. programming and secondary streams.
Connect with audiences on all platforms
Still considered by some to be the “new kid on the block”, the robustness and reliability of the cloud has been well proven during the pandemic as Tier 1 sports, information and entertainment organizations have used it to maintain standards despite the limits imposed on them by the crisis. Increasingly, sports leagues and media companies in particular are relying on its flexibility and growing set of features to enhance and expand the types of content they can produce and broadcast.
A good example is an NHL project that used The Switch’s cloud video services platform to produce and broadcast a unique slate of social media programs. Ahead of 21 key games in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, The Switch worked closely with the league to support pregame coverage on Twitter Live. The entire production process was managed in the cloud, with the workflow connecting talent and teams in Long Island, Burbank, New York, Chicago and Brooklyn, allowing them to coordinate the program in real time. The project helped the NHL personalize highly interactive content, including betting odds, for its fans on Twitter, building anticipation ahead of crucial playoff and finals games.
A Match of Made in Heaven Production Tools
The combination of remote and cloud-based production capabilities, augmented by traditional mobile and on-site production when needed, has resulted in the emergence of an exciting new distributed production model. The business benefits of this approach are clear: streamlined production costs; improved operational and resource efficiency; and unprecedented flexibility and scalability. These benefits play an important role in enabling rights holders to go beyond their current approach to production, doing more with less while experimenting with new types of coverage before, during and after live events to create a more immersive consumer experience.
The 2021 Latin Grammys offer another great example of a major event using a distributed production model to go beyond its linear broadcast offering. The Latin Recording Academy broadcast the preliminary ceremony and main awards show live on social media, along with real-time highlights capturing all the anticipation and action around the event – all in addition to provide the broadcast feeds for the main US rights holder, Spanish speaking. Univision network.
The project utilized the full capabilities of the cloud, with dedicated editors and other teams working from The Switch’s production facility in Burbank, 20 Spanish and Portuguese social media operators working from locations remote locations around the world, and connectivity pathways carrying streams between the American Airlines Arena, Univision’s production facility in Miami, and the production center in Burbank. All aspects of the production and delivery workflow were managed in the cloud, including editing, graphic design, cutting, communications and exchanges, and distribution.
All roads lead to a distributed future
Looking ahead to the rich lineup of major live events in 2022, including the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, FIFA World Cup and NHL Winter Classic, broadcasters, leagues and more Rightsholders have the opportunity to capitalize on new creative methods and expand the ways their fans can enjoy and interact with their content.
The reliability, creativity and profitability of remote, cloud and distributed production have been tested during the pandemic and have yielded exceptional results. Media companies, sports organizations and other rights holders have the substantial benefit of creating bespoke workflows that work for every type and size of production. This new production capacity menu has opened up a whole range of opportunities for future live event coverage.
[Editor’s note: This is a contributed article from The Switch. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]
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