An entire day of workshops dedicated exclusively to Remote Production, otherwise known as Remote Operation, or in its more general meaning as Remote Infrastructure, REMI, or Remote Distributed Production, the one organized by Communication Video Engineering in May.
In the morning, in the presence of a clear representation of the Italian market made up of broadcasters, but also of connectivity, telco and media and TV production companies, Luca Catalano, CVE CEO, alternated on the podium to open and guide the works, and brand speakers represented by CVE Sony / Nevion and TAG, directly involved here.
Sony and its sister company Nevion have described their point of view on Remote Production with a complete suite of products and brought many examples of solutions and installations at various levels from the real world.
In the afternoon the space was dedicated to TAG, another prestigious company also represented by CVE, which explored the topic of the control of similar operating procedures, namely the monitoring of Remote Production, a topic that we will address elsewhere.
In these pages we are reporting some of the general traits discussed in the morning with Sony / Nevion in order to see how CVE suggests addressing, for those who have not yet upgraded yet, the transition to distributed and remote production in the broadcast market.
Italy is slowly aligning
It is correct to underline that for years we have been talking about REMI also in Italy but, taking stock of the situation, we realize that there are many production structures in our territory that have not yet added Remote Production procedures to traditional production structures.
This, even despite the strong push generated by the pandemic and the towing of important pioneers in the media production landscape, such as Euro Media Group Italy.
CVE, thanks to the great experience as a reference in the broadcast market and with a presence of 40 years, has always been characterized by the promotion of innovative solutions, exactly as it is now happening with Remote Production.
Luca Catalano (left in picture) opens the works:
“This sometimes instantaneous and sometimes incremental evolution underscores the importance of making the right decisions every step of the way to prevent problems from developing later.
Choosing the right partner for each project is therefore of fundamental importance.
CVE's thinking coincides with that of Sony / Nevion which is convinced that today's technology has transformed the logistics and economy of production and allows for the distribution of production control, content storage and processing at will - over distant geographic areas.
IP, IT and Cloud technologies are revolutionizing television production workflows, as they have already done with near-live and file production.
Therefore, we start from the concept that this revolution allows us to embrace different production models able to best meet the various business needs in the medium / long term but also short-term production ones, adapting to the technical constraints that will be overcome in the future.
Very hot topics around which the discussion is focused remain: how to define the ecosystem, how to outline its dimensions and how to predict its evolution".
Oscar Garcia, Senior Solution Architect, Nevion, spoke about "The way Sony / Nevion is thinking of RP"
Remote production, or distance distributed, can be approached with different points of view and the presentation offered many traces of pure technique matters.
Among these, he proposed next generation Jpeg-XS compression techniques for external production and contribution.
Sony's implementation of the new low-latency HEVC for 5G is a novelty seen at Nab 2022, where low latency and low bit rate become key to transporting 8 to 16 HD cameras over a contribution network. .
Sony / Nevion: an ecosystem
In addition to several real and practical application models from which to draw inspiration, Sony highlights its experience as a reference in broadcast production solutions and how this integrates with Nevion, in turn a reference in real-time IP networks for media and virtualization.
There are many factors that influence the choice of the production model, in a truly changed landscape.
The contents today have changed, the image quality is higher than in the past, there are new expressive possibilities and new fruition experiences for the viewers.
Remote Production allows us to expand the horizon in favor of great agility and a "pay per use" models.
The business imperatives are: a medium and long-term strategy, the search for new business paths, how to ensure continuity in services and make the right choice of partners and suppliers.
Both Sony and CVE are perfectly capable of handling training, professional consulting services and all customer care, maintenance and support.
Building Blocks and workflows
The solutions proposed by Sony / Nevion consist of functional "building blocks" that cover everything from acquisition to media management, storage, processing and then publication with media transport on streaming channels, providing for adaptation to IP, compression video, security and all IP networking on any type of network.
The workflow today must be fast, it must know how to manage the growing quantity of volume contents and allow for the optimization of human and technical resources.
In terms of TV production, in addition to considerations of the production staff, we can speak of quality, the recurrence of styles and models and simplified logistics.
The technical considerations, from which each speech starts, involve the latency of the signals, the available bandwidth, processing capacity, reliability and security.
Three steps of advanced dimensions
Sony sees Remote Production as consisting of three steps:
- the acquisition, in its wired and 5G forms;
- a central segment involving cloud services
- live production distributed and with an adjacency to be balanced between processing in the cloud and, in part, locally.
Sony / Nevion's vision is to have a manageable production journey anywhere and at any scale based on IP and the cloud that make solutions and services possible.
Video IPath is Nevion's solution that makes all of this possible, orchestrating all production video and controlling the functionality of distribution networks.
IP technology has made it possible to share production resources on different locations, studios, control rooms, data centers, broadcast and processing equipment.
And, more importantly, it can do the same with staff, presenters and production specialists.
The generalized belief that Sony / Nevion underlines is that this concept makes everything more effective and efficient, so as to involve the best production resources, underlining high production values and the “key” differences in the market.
The sharing of resources becomes plausible because the ubiquity of IP and of the "file based" typology is possible in LAN, WAN, 4G / 5G and Internet, so as to allow the geographical fragmentation of the 3 main aspects of production, namely the acquisition with cameras and audio, storage and content processing with graphics, logos, play and recording and, last but not least, control by the production staff.
The almost total disappearance of latency makes these procedures perfect even in live on air.
Luca Catalano underlines:
“What has just been said involves a rethinking of future business structures.
The possibility of physically and geographically separating the production and distribution phases makes it possible the different scenarios that Sony and Nevion technologies implement.
Generally we can talk about 5 models and types: 1) On location, 2) Remote controlled, 3) Centralized, 4) Distributed, 5) Cloud.
Nevion identifies two others, equally valid for studio and remote live production, very versatile ones: 6) Remote Processing and 7) Private Cloud”.
One of the examples quoted by Sony / Nevion is the “dynamic affinity using private clouds” production model that was exemplified with Discovery (Europe).
The IP multimedia network solution for production has radically transformed the workflows for the broadcaster.
The production infrastructure involves two private clouds (in the UK and the Netherlands) that provide storage and processing capabilities for their regional facilities across Europe.
The highly scalable system allows any control room in the various countries to use any resource in one of the clouds, with use and capacity managed automatically.
Nevion calls this concept "dynamic affinity".
In summary, any production area in any location can connect to any hub and manage all available resources.
Freedom of action
It is evident that such operational versatility becomes an absolute freedom to plan a production scheme distributed over several locations, some fixed and others mobile, where a monolithic production scheme is no longer used but the most suitable model can be chosen for the circumstances, which can be exploited when needed: this is truly a distributed production.
Nevion exemplifies by talking about coverage of a sporting event in a stadium that could involve centralized remote production, with live signals transported to central facilities over a WAN, combined with cloud production for record / playback feeds.
Luca Catalano concludes and takes stock: a change of mentality and context
“In practice, we are convinced that there will be no“ universal ”production model.
The television and media production sector, despite still some current static, will have to develop a distributed production infrastructure over time. This will allow to use any combination of the models indicated by Sony / Nevion, according to your dynamic needs.
At CVE, Communication Video Engineering, experts you can trust to transform any television production from static "on location" to distributed and "smart", we can provide the best products in the category, starting with Sony and Nevion who have unique skills and experience, based on delivering hundreds of IP projects around the world.
Of course, moving from traditional “monolithic” production to a fully distributed “super flexible” one, with far too many options available, will be gradual and incremental over time and also requires a certain degree of mentality adaptation.
However, we are convinced that it is essential to think - right from the start - of the broader context of the "Distributed Environment" of tomorrow and make decisions in this direction whenever we put our hand - today - to every single IP project. Such decisions could make the task of "federating", as Sony / Nevion say, all production capacities rather difficult and expensive when the time comes."