OBs are still outside and so are broadcasts


Mike Ransome - new TV-Bay Magazine
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With the advent of new and emerging technologies, and with the one getting the most oxygen at the moment being video over IP, a number of people are asking whether the ability to move control rather further way from an event has, or will, change the nature of OB production.

Well, yes...and no.

OB requirements always depend on what type of broadcast you're talking about. Whether it be sport, news, or live events; the technical requirements are largely a function of size and location. There are myriad variables that determine what is most appropriate for each situation in terms of technology, but the bottom line, is this - there's not currently a lot of change in OB requirements.

That's because, for major events in sport, most broadcasters still want to cover it live and, importantly, on site. Remote production over IP, which many are rightly talking about, has its place and will continue to grow but is, in my view, not quite ready yet for major events.

Notice I said "major" events. Remote production, which is already taking place, is actually an ideal production option for more niche or minority interests. Lots of such special events occur throughout the UK and Europe and I can easily see many of them increasingly being covered on a remote production basis. That approach is contingent on having the right kind of connectivity available, whether satellite or fibre. The availability of suitable fibre-based connectivity is less advanced in some areas than others, but where it is available, it's a highly compelling option.

Although remote production still has issues to be resolved, a lot of people are looking into it with great interest, predominantly as a way of reducing costs while still giving them the leverage to produce the amount of content they need to fill an increasing number of, for example, 24-hour sports channels. However, it's not quite a viable proposition for major events just yet, and here's why.

It will be quite a while before we see, for example, a major sporting event that doesn't have six or seven trucks sitting outside. Although there are obvious advantages to IP-based production, what a lot of people are forgetting is that it could in some cases come at the expense of the feel of a "live" event. Remote production, almost by the term's very definition, suggests a vague notion of detachment. There is subtle, sometimes overt emotion associated with big events and a "feel" that most viewers at home (or on a tablet or mobile these days) miss when it's not there, even if they can't quite put their finger on what's missing. It, in short, "just doesn't feel right".

Presenters, cameramen, directors and crew are professionals, but they're human beings, too. Very few are able to stay utterly detached when they are live, in the moment. It shows through in the production. The excitement, drama - the human element, if you will - at least for major events, can potentially be diminished if produced largely from afar.

Don't misunderstand. Remote production over IP has huge potential for introducing monumental changes, for the better, in terms of providing more ingenious types of coverage at a lower cost. However, from our point of view, the production approach doesn't matter all that much. Whichever avenue you choose, you need cameras, lenses, tripods, pedestals and all the rest. Your method of getting the images and audio captured by those devices back to an OB or studio is entirely up to you and your situation.

But enough of the theorising, back to the technology. We are already seeing significant advances in, and the increased deployment of, RF, in particular more Mesh products to provide what I call "smarter" coverage. By smarter I mean, with a Mesh system you can start at "A" and complete an entire production right through to "Z", as opposed to "A" to "F". Stop. Move some equipment. Then do "F" to "M". Stop. Move equipment again, and so on. New RF products can offer continual coverage and are increasingly being deployed as a technology of choice for OB productions large or small.

The only reservation I have in terms of RF and Mesh products is that the ability to transmit in 4K has yet to emerge. So far, I've not seen any product from any manufacturer that can genuinely deliver ultra-low latency 4K transmission, and I suspect it may still be some way off.

There are other ways to achieve low latency transmission, and new technologies will probably arrive before existing ones can adapt, but the bottom line is that the ability to transmit low-latency 4K has to happen. It's not there yet, but that's not to say it won't be in 12 months' time.

Modern production standards notwithstanding, in recent weeks we've nevertheless embarked on a significant investment in new stock, but much of it is a replenishment and extension of technology that our customers expect us to have on hand and for which demand, if anything, is increasing. However, we are also investing in more HD cameras because we have a huge demand for them, as well as 4K cameras and associated lenses for those who want to take it a step further.

Having said all of the above, it's fair to say there haven't been major tectonic shifts in terms of OB technology requirements in recent years, and that continues to be the case, at least in the near-term. In my view, the reason for this is two-fold, a lack of standardisation, i.e., a number of broadcast and production standards are still being worked out, particularly in terms of UHD and HDR. Although neither are particularly new anymore, both are necessary for high-end production and the relevant standards still need to be agreed and ratified. Standardisation is getting close, it's there but not quite there yet. That leads to delays in manufacturing and, hence, investment and deployment at our end. However, I've no doubt that once those standards are agreed and adopted, a whole new raft of technologies will emerge that could potentially usher in a new age of production, whether onsite or remote. But until then - and it may not be too long - we'll keep a watchful eye.

I anticipate our already busy hire desk will become even busier as broadcasters and production companies leap forward together under a common drive to see UHD and HDR finally come into its own.

We've been around since well before HD was the new black. Those blacks will be much richer on the balance sheet when UHD and HDR become mainstream, and we'll have the kit ready to support any OB with those high standards in mind.


Tags: iss123 | remote production | ob truck | presteigne | ip | Mike Ransome - new
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Yaniv Ben-Soussan -new OTT video consumption is gaining traction in Western Europe, with 55 percent of UK broadband households and 51 percent of homes in France watching TV programming and movies online, according to Parks Associates. OTT subscriptions are especially popular with today's Millennial population, as Parks Associates found that 23 percent of Millennial heads of household in the U.S. are OTT-only households.
Tags: iss123 | ott | cloud | harmonic | pure compression engine | Yaniv Ben-Soussan -new
Submitted by Yaniv Ben-Soussan -new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
What Virtual Dreams Are Made Of
Mike Jacobs - new As you might expect, virtualisation is now a very common topic in terms of the questions we get from customers and partners and it also appears in almost all RFPs that we take part in.
Tags: iss123 | cinegy | nvidia | ip-based broadcast | cloud | Mike Jacobs - new
Submitted by Mike Jacobs - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
OBs are still outside and so are broadcasts
Mike Ransome - new With the advent of new and emerging technologies, and with the one getting the most oxygen at the moment being video over IP, a number of people are asking whether the ability to move control rather further way from an event has, or will, change the nature of OB production.
Tags: iss123 | remote production | ob truck | presteigne | ip | Mike Ransome - new
Submitted by Mike Ransome - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Does the cloud have substance?
Ciaran Doran - new Just at the moment, every customer we talk to wants to move to the cloud. It is not just a techno-buzzword: people are really attracted by it. The idea of getting rid of all hardware and letting someone else worry about keeping machine rooms alive seems like a good plan.
Tags: iss123 | pixel power | cloud | aims | virtualization | Ciaran Doran - new
Submitted by Ciaran Doran - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
5G Streaming - The Rollout
Steve Plunkett - new 5G will bring significant improvements in bandwidth per device, capacity per network and reduced latency per session. These are all very important features for video both today and going forward. The growth of new formats such as UHD, AR, VR and 360 video place much greater demand on the networks that serve consumer devices, so 5G will be essential to accommodate this demand.
Tags: iss123 | vod | 5g | ott | ericsson | virtual reality | vr | 360 | Steve Plunkett - new
Submitted by Steve Plunkett - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
A Software Based Approach to Video Monitoring
Anupama Anantharaman - new Real-time content monitoring is a mission-critical operation for broadcasters, telecom, and satellite operators. Traditionally, service providers have used monitoring systems based on specialized hardware with a dedicated, fixed interface designed to monitor a specific number of video feeds. Yet, bespoke hardware solutions require a substantial amount of manpower, have a higher cost of ownership than software, and are inflexible.
Tags: iss123 | monitoring | virtualization | interra | orion | Anupama Anantharaman - new
Submitted by Anupama Anantharaman - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Swimrun World Championships - LiveU report
Kim Svensson - new Through the open waters and across the islands of the Swedish wilderness, battling the elements in the OTILLO Swimrun World Championship isn't for the faint-hearted. The total distance is 75 kilometres, of which 10 km are open-water swimming and 65 km are trail-running, presenting a huge physical - and doubtless mental - challenge. Taking place in early September, competitors battle along remote islands that form the archipelago to the south east of Stockholm.
Tags: iss123 | liveu | swimrun | blackmagic atem | tvone scaler | Kim Svensson - new
Submitted by Kim Svensson - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Being a Content Creator
Josh Round When I began the Television and Broadcasting course at the University of Portsmouth, I had my mind dead-set on what I wanted to do in the world of television. More than anything, I wanted to work for Children's BBC, ideally as a presenter, and as I come towards the end of my second year, I am still very much in pursuit of this dream.
Tags: iss123 | citv | portsmouth uni | student | Josh Round
Submitted by Josh Round Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Libec HFMP out of the box review
KitPlus Just before we all broke up for Christmas we took delivery of a new 'thing' at KitPlus HQ. Our first reaction was surprise and a little curious as to how it was going to make itself useful. What's the point?
Tags: iss122 | libec | hfmp | monopod | idx | hands free monopod | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The Transistion in Audio Monitoring
Shane Toven As signal chains have become increasingly complex, the challenges involved in managing and monitoring these paths have multiplied exponentially. Over the past few decades, we've migrated from handling a single channel of content using composite video and analog audio pairs, to elaborate multi-channel facilities routing HD video with embedded audio over SDI or in many cases discrete AES pairs. These audio signals are often a mix of 5.1 and stereo programs and in many cases encoded to or decoded from Dolby at some point in the chain.
Tags: iss122 | aes | ebu r128 | atsc a85 | aes67 | Shane Toven
Submitted by Shane Toven Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The now and how of LED Lighting
Tama Berkeljon LED lighting has come a long way from the days when companies like Outsight were ridiculed by major manufacturers at trade shows because, the manufacturers asserted, technology couldn't be entrusted with the requirements of our industry.
Tags: iss122 | led lighting | outsite | cri | tlci | dmx control | Tama Berkeljon
Submitted by Tama Berkeljon Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Not all power is created equal
Jose Flores Battery companies are quickly coming to realize that as new technologies continue to emerge, power solutions cannot be a one-size-fits-all commodity. There is no single battery for every situation, but instead a myriad of choices to accommodate even the most complex requirements. Below are five common videographer or photographer scenarios with the corresponding power option that will best fit the situations' needs
Tags: iss122 | power | battery | core | swx | Jose Flores
Submitted by Jose Flores Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Polecam user review
Phil Vinter When it comes to filming from above, drones have dominated in recent years. But restrictions on where and when they can be used means there is still a demand for traditional style jibs.
Tags: iss122 | polecam | review | Phil Vinter
Submitted by Phil Vinter Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
A transformation in aquisition technology
Malcolm Harland KitPlus spoke with Malcolm Harland of Garland Partners to find out how the requirements and capabilities of acquisition technologies have changed since the early 2000s and what the state of play now is.
Tags: iss122 | garland partners | liveu | lu600 | h.265 | hevc | Malcolm Harland
Submitted by Malcolm Harland Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
How to illuminate a better shot
Chuck Edwards LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology built for the general lighting market is designed to meet very different criteria than the critical lighting requirements for image capture. While LEDs may be a suitable lighting option for some photography and videography, critical applications, such as feature film, production requires users to understand the limitations, capabilities and advantages of the many types of LED technologies and fixtures available on the market today.
Tags: iss122 | led | lighting | cct | rpt | remote phosor technology | Chuck Edwards
Submitted by Chuck Edwards Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine