IT Broadcasting

Kieron Seth#

Author: Kieron Seth#

Published 1st December 2012

Magdoos Media is the archetypal early 21st century broadcaster. The company televises live events for such clients as Codemasters, ArabicGamers, 2K Games and Russell Investment, webstreaming and narrow-casting programmes on behalf of niche markets, from gaming conventions to corporate events.
“Delivery channels vary from public access networks such as Livestream to private video channels.” Says director Tamer Asfahani. “As well as providing contract services, we use the very same technologies for our own websites. Audiences can run into the tens of thousands.”
The workflow employed is a great example of the IT broadcasting, where SDI and WiFi signals meet H.264 and broadband connectivity.
The equipment powering this multi-channel production company is frighteningly accessible. Often shooting indoors with only environmental lighting, Tamer prefers larger sensor cameras - currently 1/2” sensor systems. Signals are fed into a Teradek Cube encoder mounted on top of the camcorder, with video transmitted to a receiving router up-to 50 metres away. Signal switching is handled by Telestream's Wirecast Pro which then sends the live programme to the delivery network for instant distribution to viewers.
For Tamer, the Teradek Cube was the key to unlocking the truly fast and fluid live production he wanted. Before adopting Cube, he had to hard wire cameras into Blackmagic capture devices. “Extremely stable, but completely restrictive when it comes to movement,” explains Tamer. Now operating wireless encoding, this issue is removed. With signals feeding directly into the router and an iPad constantly monitoring the feeds via the free TeraCentral app, the director can view and select the best source in real-time. For archives and possible post production work, the team has both the original full quality files recorded in camera, as well as a copy of the encoded programme as it went out live.
Happily for such a cutting-edge set up, Tamer reports no reliability concerns. The biggest issue is, as always, one of powering mobile cameras that are recording and wirelessly transmitting at the same time. Richard Payne from Teradek's distributor, Holdan, comments: “Power management is always a concern with roaming production crews. The latest x55 Cubes certainly help, by delivering two hours of run time thanks to a replaceable Li-ION battery. Meanwhile, the arrival of Teradek's Brik allows camera operators to attach a high capacity V-mount battery, in addition to the on-board battery pack for extended use.”
With this lightweight IT workflow, crews are freed from wires, the director retains monitoring control and audiences are served with rich, multi-camera programming, beamed live from anywhere with Internet access. Thanks to Cube, there is no excuse.

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