In order to achieve greater efficiency and enable the creation of more content, live production is seeing a significant shift towards remote workflows. The demand for remote production has surged amid gathering restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but geographically distributed production workflows offer advantages that benefit production companies even when no such restrictions are in place. This blog will introduce some fundamentals of remote production, its advantages, and an example of how Magewell solutions are used in remote production.
Remote production – sometimes known as Remote Integration (REMI) or ‘at-home’ production – refers to a workflow in which content is captured in real-time at one or more remote locations, but the live production processes such as switching and effects are performed at a separate site such as a centralized studio. This requires the captured feeds to be reliably transported between the remote sites and centralized production facility in near real time, with as little latency as possible.
1. Reduces cost and complexity: Traditional live production workflows required a lot of production hardware, OB trucks, and on-site professional staff. In addition to the obvious equipment and labor costs, this required a lot of logistics including equipment transportation and setup, personnel scheduling, accommodations, and other such arrangements. With the popularity of broadband networks, IP-based remote production can save a lot of time, cost, and complexity by minimizing the amount of expensive equipment required and the size of the production teams needed on-site.
2. Maximizes existing resources: With fewer people deployed on-site, remote production allows professional staff to efficiently work on multiple projects simultaneously in a familiar production environment. This enables them to produce a greater amount of high-quality content. For example, the director at a sporting event site may only work a few hours during game time on any particular day. If the director is in a centralized remote production center, he can direct multiple events.
3. Provides flexible production options: Internet-based remote production allows employees and contract staff to access and participate in real-time production workflows spanning multiple locations from anywhere, even working from home.
The diagram below shows an example of how Magewell SRT solutions are used in remote production workflows to transport live content across the internet. In this workflow, multiple cameras from various locations are connected to Magewell Ultra Encode devices, which create H.264 or H.265 encoded streams for delivery with the low-latency SRT protocol. The SRT streams are transmitted to Magewell Cloud and relayed to Magewell Pro Convert decoders – which convert the streams to HDMI or SDI feeds for use with baseband production equipment – in the production center, where the production team can then create and distribute the finished program.