By Shaun Lim
When Madrid-based Quality was launched in early 2017, one of the key considerations for the international broadcast production company was to find a way to provide high quality content at a price point that traditional workflow proposals were simply not able to offer.
Pablo Reyes, Chief Production Officer & Partner, Quality, explained, “We had to find a way to produce top quality remote productions without passing on the cost of a full crew and outside broadcast (OB) van to our clients.”
The answer was found in a remote IP production model, which Quality says reduces the set-up time and cost by 60% – 75%, when compared to that of a traditional workflow. This has allowed Quality to scale its business from zero to over 50 broadcasters and sports federation customers worldwide, including the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).
At the heart of Quality’s remote IP production ecosystem is the Dejero EnGo transmitter, with about 120 units already deployed across multiple locations in the world. Additionally, several central hubs and OB trucks equipped with Dejero receivers have been built to allow Quality to receive camera feeds from any location and distribute them to anywhere.
Rob Waters, Global Director, Sales, Dejero, told APB+, “With Dejero EnGo, which blends cellular networks from multiple carriers, Quality does not have to rely on laying cables or parking a satellite truck on site to gain the resilient connectivity required to transmit high quality video for a live production.
“They don’t need to bring producers, directors, graphic operators, technicians, or other onsite staff to the venue. The production team now remains at the hub, saving thousands of dollars on hotel bills, airfares, logistics and expenses, let alone the time it takes for a full production crew to travel there and back.”
Reyes further illustrated this point by highlighting the weeks by sea freight it would take to deliver a multi-camera OB truck from Spain to Singapore, without even considering the logistical challenges of customs and insurance. Using their remote production model, Quality needed only to fly out their EnGo transmitters and cameras with their camera operators and talent, and would be ready to roll within 48 hours of landing.
This is helped, in no small measure, by the EnGo’s ease of use, as Reyes described, “You just turn it on and go, no matter how remote or crowded the location may be, because it cleverly finds the most reliable connectivity paths in the background. The EnGo transmits over multiple IP networks to reliably deliver exceptional picture quality with extremely low latency, even in challenging network conditions.
“I believe that no other mobile transmitter on the market can offer the resilience that Dejero’s EnGo does. Having tested similar devices, it’s the only transmitter that can transmit continuously without interruption for 10-12 hours.”
5G to accelerate remote production in Asia-Pacific
The example of Quality embracing remote production is hardly an isolated one, with the need to be cost effective particularly compelling at the height of the pandemic.
Dejero’s Waters added, “Remote workflows became extremely compelling because you can deploy smaller teams and still transmit low latency, high-definition video with an easier setup. You can go live much faster with less people and less cabling infrastructure or simply record video and transfer to your facility later over IP connections.
“We saw more broadcasters embracing remote productions because the pandemic presented the perfect storm in which they could truly experience its benefits — increased productivity, cost reduction, simplified workflows, and environmental responsibility.”
While the disruptive impact of the pandemic is now less keenly felt by broadcasters, Waters expects remote production to accelerate in the Asia-Pacific region, driven by the rollout of 5G networks.
He said, “5G will bring higher bandwidths and lower network latencies to remote productions, which are essential elements, especially when you can have a dedicated bandwidth through network slicing in the future.
“Increasing access to 5G networks will make it easier for Asia-Pacific broadcasters to transmit video and transfer files from locations where they previously had to struggle with coverage and bandwidth.”
For maximum efficiency however, broadcasters also need equipment that is not only 5G compatible but also leverages the full potential of the technology. For instance, adding a 5G modem into the production mix is not enough on its own to truly take advantage of all 5G has to offer.
Waters explained, “Keeping in mind that the current LTE blending solutions easily handle HD video and even 4K at speeds of 60Mbps or even 80 Mbps, the real technology advantage comes from the ability to get the most from each available connection, whether that is in a 5G environment or an LTE one.
“Optimised design across the platform can make the difference between clear video or no video.”
With its Smart Blending Technology approach, Dejero delivers both improved reliability and faster connection speeds, in combination with best-in-class antenna design to drive the most resilient connectivity on the device.
The EnGo3 and EnGo 3x mobile transmitters, launched earlier this year, are equipped with native 5G modems and a completely redesigned RF and antenna architecture designed to optimise signal reception, increase reliability, and support cellular bands that other mobile transmitters are not able to connect to.
Waters continued, “We want our customers to experience the best 5G performance, especially in situations where they rely solely on bonded cellular connections in challenging locations.
“The EnGo 3x will offer 4K UHD video transmission and multi-camera support with up to four fully-synced HD feeds. Customers who buy this transmitter won’t need to pay an additional licence to broadcast in 4K UHD as it’s already included in the base unit.”
He was also quick to point out that, while playing an important role, 5G will not be the only accelerator of remote production workflows. “It’s technology advances like improved network blending, combined with a single transmitter capable of handling multi cameras, which can significantly improve the ease of producing remotely, while also helping to reduce costs and the environmental impact of sending more people on location.”
Get smart, blend and go with the flow … broadcasters in Asia-Pacific can now with 5G rolling out do more with less, saving time, money and the environment!