How LiveU Has Changed The Way We Work At ITV Daytime


Tim Guilder TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
Download PDF
Download PDF

As my job title suggests, I’m responsible for planning and executing technology projects across ITV’s Daytime, including outside broadcasts, which are central to what we do. We broadcast live for more than six hours every weekday with four shows: Good Morning Britain, This Morning, Lorraine and Loose Women. With a history as one of the main UK terrestrial broadcasters – of course, we have also evolved alongside the industry in terms of viewing options – we have high standards. We constantly generate new ideas to keep audiences engaged and we also need to be responsive to the latest breaking news.

Additionally, I’m responsible for looking at new technologies and deploying and integrating them when required. No two days are the same and it’s quite a wide remit.

Approximately three years ago we began to use LiveU. Why? What did we see as the advantages of cellular bonding? At the time, there was understandably still quite a lot of romanticism about using satellite trucks alongside familiarity with the workflow. For us to develop and share the understanding of how best to use LiveU and to fully embrace the technology took us about six months. But the potential advantages were clear from the start: we could begin to punch above our weight in terms of how and what we could cover. The flexibility, mobility and cost-effectiveness have made us masters of our own destiny.

Central to this was the decision to develop a fleet of hybrid vehicles – hybrid in terms of both powertrain and connectivity (Ka-band and LiveU). We worked closely with Garland Partners, LiveU’s UK partner. Part of this decision was also an environmental one. I sit on the “Green Team” here, meeting once a month, to continue to explore and implement environmentally aware solutions.

Each hybrid vehicle is IP-based and equipped with an auto-pointing Explorer 8100 satellite dish from Cobham that works to open up an internet data path to the on-board LiveU transmission equipment for areas where there is insufficient cellular coverage. Instead of beaming pictures out via satellite alone, the LiveU unit aggregates all available bandwidth and sends pictures back to ITV’s studio via multiple internet paths, where the signals are then reconstructed to present the programme content live and in low delay. Each vehicle is fitted with LiveU’s flagship LU600 HEVC model, with each unit also able to be attached to a camera or carried in a backpack. In reality, the satellite connectivity is mainly used to bring internet connectivity in and to act as the backup solution.

We use multiple additional backpack LU600 HEVC units, beyond those with the vehicles. We have adopted HEVC to be much more efficient with our bandwidth use while ensuring the quality we need with sub-second latency. Upwards of 90 per cent of what we do with LiveU is live, though we are looking at expanding our use of store and forward too.

In addition, we use LiveU’s LU200 units and the recently introduced LU300 with its small form factor and HEVC capabilities. We also use the LiveU smartphone app LU-Smart. We take full advantage of LiveU Central, the web-based, unified management platform. Operators in the gallery can manage the units, look at the connectivity while the shows are on air and ensure optimum image quality. A cameraperson can then simply carry on with being a camera operator and not have to worry about connectivity.

Using cellular bonding isn’t only about replicating what we did with traditional OB units. While it didn’t happen overnight, gradually we began to think differently about what we could achieve. For example, earlier this year, longstanding ITV correspondent Richard Gaisford delivered a live report from a gyrocopter, which was to be used by James Ketchell to attempt to circumnavigate the world, a first. It was incredibly well received as a piece.

We have also taken advantage of LiveU’s special platform enabling us to connect with other LiveU users around the world. We did this for a live piece with Uri Geller, who we covered using a freelancer from Geller’s base in Israel. It worked perfectly and as well as being cost-effective, was also much more environmentally friendly than flying someone to film Uri.

We have also deployed cellular bonding for redundancy too. A key example of this was our coverage around this year’s Oscars. We sent two main presenters and a small team to cover all the star-studded glamour from an LA-based OB unit back to London for a special episode of Good Morning Britain (GMB can be found on ITV, every weekday from 0600 till 0830). With our London studio (Studioworks) in full presenter-led mode ready to receive that Oscars contribution via a traditional uplink/downlink, the investment was already 'protected' to an extent (as opposed to going straight to air with that content from the OB unit). However, any drop out of that coverage would have been highly disruptive to programming and our viewers. It would have been 'Back to the Studio' until we could resume that US feed.

As we have three LiveU receivers (12 ports) onsite in W12, we decided to run an LU300 in HEVC and low-latency (0.8ms) mode as a back-up path of the OB - across the internet and Atlantic to London. This way, if the satellite feed was compromised - by weather i.e. high-winds, rain-fade or a solar flare (yes, it has happened) - then we had that second mechanism, extra protection and diversity, primed and ready, that not even two satellite uplinks could provide.

We are constantly evolving and increasing our use of cellular bonding. In the time that we’ve used LiveU, we’ve seen major strides in their product and service development and we have no doubt that will continue. Cellular bonding is now the de facto newsgathering tool. Beyond the strength of their product and services portfolio, the level of support we have received from Garland and LiveU has been great. This is crucial. It’s brilliant to have the feeling that you are benefitting from leading services and solutions.


Tags: iss138 | liveu | itv | daytime | cobham | explorer 8100 | satellite | lu600 hevc | ka-band | lu300 | garland | Tim Guilder
Contributing Author Tim Guilder

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Download PDF
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • LIVEU Workflow solutions at NAB 2015

    LIVEU Workflow solutions at NAB 2015

  • LiveU: Smart Grip at NAB 2013

    LiveU: Smart Grip at NAB 2013

  • LiveU at IBC 2012

    LiveU at IBC 2012

  • LiveU at NAB 2012

    LiveU at NAB 2012

  • LiveU at IBC2011

    LiveU at IBC2011

  • Garland showcase at BVE 2019

    Garland showcase at BVE 2019

  • Garland at BVE 2017

    Garland at BVE 2017

  • Garland Partners at BVE 2012

    Garland Partners at BVE 2012

  • Telestream Live-U Backpack at BVE 2013

    Telestream Live-U Backpack at BVE 2013

  • Cobham satellite EXPLORER products at IBC 2014

    Cobham satellite EXPLORER products at IBC 2014

  • Cobham: Mini RF Transmitters at NAB 2013

    Cobham: Mini RF Transmitters at NAB 2013

  • Cobham: RF Transmitter at NAB 2013

    Cobham: RF Transmitter at NAB 2013

  • Cobham new receiver at IBC 2014

    Cobham new receiver at IBC 2014

  • Cobham on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Cobham on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Cobham transmitters at IBC 2013

    Cobham transmitters at IBC 2013

  • Cobham at IBC 2012

    Cobham at IBC 2012

  • Inmarsat: Global Xpress and Explorer at NAB 2013

    Inmarsat: Global Xpress and Explorer at NAB 2013

  • Videosys Wireless Transmitters at BVE 2014

    Videosys Wireless Transmitters at BVE 2014

  • VideoSys at BVE North 2012

    VideoSys at BVE North 2012

  • CellSat - the cell and Ku-band IP satellite solution from Dejero at IBC 2017

    CellSat - the cell and Ku-band IP satellite solution from Dejero at IBC 2017

  • HEVC 4k Encoding from Aviwest at NAB 2017

    HEVC 4k Encoding from Aviwest at NAB 2017

  • SIS LIVE ManPak and LoStow at IBC 2014

    SIS LIVE ManPak and LoStow at IBC 2014

  • PacTV Truck at NAB 2014

    PacTV Truck at NAB 2014

  • Inmarsat at NAB 2014

    Inmarsat at NAB 2014

  • SIS LIVEs Martyn Hopkins on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    SIS LIVEs Martyn Hopkins on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • SIS LIVE and their products ManPak and DriveForce at IBC 2013

    SIS LIVE and their products ManPak and DriveForce at IBC 2013

  • SIS LIVE: ManPak and uPack60 at NAB 2013

    SIS LIVE: ManPak and uPack60 at NAB 2013

  • Tariam Tooway stand at BVE 2013

    Tariam Tooway stand at BVE 2013

  • SIS Live at IBC 2012 Part Two

    SIS Live at IBC 2012 Part Two

  • SIS Live at IBC 2012 Part One

    SIS Live at IBC 2012 Part One

  • SIS LIVE at NAB 2012

    SIS LIVE at NAB 2012

  • Haivision at IBC2011

    Haivision at IBC2011

  • SIS LIVE at IBC2011

    SIS LIVE at IBC2011

  • 4k and HEVC with Garland at BVE 2018

    4k and HEVC with Garland at BVE 2018

  • Garland Partners at BVE 2016

    Garland Partners at BVE 2016

  • Teracue IQ Grid and Media Excel shown at BVE 2018

    Teracue IQ Grid and Media Excel shown at BVE 2018


Related Shows
  • KitPlusTV summarise the Broadcast and Pro Video News 29th March 2021

    KitPlusTV summarise the Broadcast and Pro Video News 29th March 2021


Articles
Sennheiser MKE 400 hands on review and test
KitPlus

Sennheiser have just released two products aimed at simplifying audio on the move, the MKE400 shotgun microphone and the XS Lav Mic, in this review we’re looking at the MKE400.

Tags: sennheiser mke400 | sennheiser mke 400 | sennheiser mke 400 quality | best microphones for youtube | mic for youtube videos | sennheiser mke 400 hands on | microphone review | iphone videography | microphones | sound for video | camera microphone | microphone for iphone | microphone for youtube | video microphone | shotgun mics | smartphone microphone | vlogging mic | best microphone for video | shotgun microphone review | mke 400 | sennheiser mke 400 hands on review | sennheiser mke 400 test | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read
A Broadcasters Guide to Microservices
Roger Persson

The word “microservices” has been creeping into the conversation about software-centric systems recently. Is it really a different approach, what does it mean, and what are the advantages?

Tags: nxt edition | microservices | modular software | Roger Persson
Contributing Author Roger Persson Click to read
Streaming Technologies Explained
Bruce Devlin - new

The word streaming can relate to different technologies from different manufacturers in different scenarios and in this short article we are going to take a little tour of what it all means. 

Tags: mr mxf | streaming | hls | dash | cmaf | mpeg | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read
REVIEW - Hollyland MARS 400S PRO Digital Wireless Transmission System
Phil Vinter

Built by Hollyland and costing around £600 the Mars 400S is an easy-to-use wireless video transmitter/receiver system – it will be right up the alley of anyone who, like me, considers an instruction manual to be nothing more than box padding.

Read Phils Full review here, and link to the video review.

Tags: HOLLYLAND | MARS 400 | wireless | tx | rx | Phil Vinter
Contributing Author Phil Vinter Click to read
HOLLYLAND LARK 150 Review
Phil Vinter

The exponential growth of video supercharged a technological revolution that began in the early noughties with the advent of DSLR cameras.
The cinematic-style shallow depth of field image video quality from DSLRs was a revelation, but, back then audio was the big drawback. As demand has grown so the technology has improved and today’s one-man-band small rig set ups can capture pretty good sound into a DSLR style camera.

Phil Vinter reviews the latest release from HOLLYLAND and it's a thumbs up from us.

Tags: HOLLYLAND | radio mic | audio | LARK-150 | CVP | Phil Vinter
Contributing Author Phil Vinter Click to read