How 5G Technology Simplified Live Remote Broadcasts During the Pandemic
Find out what was most popular at NAB, see the top applications and tools for live production, and get your questions answered by hosts and tech experts. Moving into the future of broadcast video contribution with solutions including bonded cellular transmitters for remote and at-home video production over 5G networks by VidOvation.
- PRO460, the next evolution of our PRO bonded cellular transmitter series for remote and at-home video production over 5G networks
- RACK400, our latest generation of high-end 4K UHD & Multi-HD encoder, offers outstanding live broadcast quality
- LiveGuest, a new live video calls solution directly integrated with the production system of professional broadcasters that empowers them to interview remote guests
- Makito X4 Series of video encoders and decoders, our real-time quad-HD and 4K video encoding and SRT streaming solutions.
Please download and watch all three parts of or Best of Live Production at NAB Series
Best of Live Production at NAB from Haivision AVIWEST, Part 1 [Recording Download]
Jim Jachetta (00:00):
I think we’ll get started. Good morning, everyone. I’m Jim Jachetta, co-founder and CTO of VidOvation. Thank you for joining us today. Some of you may have been able to come to NAB, some of you may have not been able to travel for various reasons. So the purpose of these three webinars that we’re doing, short little webinars, I’ll try to be short. I have a bad habit of going long, but I’ll try to keep it short as possible, just for those of you that couldn’t make it.
In talking to customers before the show we called customers, texted customers, “Are you coming to the NAB Show?” And there was a common theme that it wasn’t so much fear of COVID or travel restrictions, people were working, people were busy and I’m hoping that’s a good sign that people didn’t have the time to go to the show. They’re like, “I’m rebuilding a control room. I’m rebuilding a studio, I’m on a production for the next six weeks. So I think things are slowly getting back to normal and I hope I’m correct in that assumption.
So for whatever reason, if you couldn’t make it to NAB, my colleague, Rick and I, spent a lot of time in the Aviwest Haivision booth. For those of you that may not have heard the news, our premier bonded cellular partner Aviwest got purchased by a Haivision and the plan is to integrate first mile connectivity over cellular with the SRT and some of the infrastructure video over IP and streaming technology of Haivision. So it’s very exciting. Aviwest, their protocol is called SST similar to SRT, but SST is great to bond the connection to go over an unmanaged network for that first mile, that challenging mile.
So I think it’s a great addition to the Haivision offering the marriage of the two technologies and the two companies together. I had the honor of speaking, I think it’s for the sixth time, on a panel at NAB. The panel committee chose me to speak about how 5G simplify live remote production workflows, how bonded cellular 5G helped during the pandemic. And, actually, the first professional sporting event that came back after the lockdown in May of 2020 was an event that Vidovation and Aviwest made possible, and that’s with the PGA. So let me get into this presentation.
So what I’m going to do today is I’m going to quickly go through my presentation. It’s about at home production, REMI production over the public internet and bonded cellular. I’ll then close with some videos and some slides, and my colleague, Fallon, will hand out some data sheets on some of the new products. But all of this kind of ties into the live production workflow, but particularly over unmanaged network cellular and the public internet.
So going to learn how broadcasters like the PGA are using this technology. We’re going to talk about how 5G is helping. A common question we get is, well, is 5G going to put bonded cellular out of business? I always use the analogy like lanes on the freeway. I grew up in New York. Traffic is a whole nother level here in California. So every time they add another lane to the freeway, the traffic doesn’t get any better. So 5G is going to give us more capacity, but we’re going to use up that pipe so we’re still going to need multiple connections, we’re still going to need bonding.
The big benefit of 5G I see is lowering latency. And with video transmission, the quicker we can transmit the lower latency, that’s important. So let’s dive right into it. Well, one other thing too that we’re going to cover is we particularly are good at the Aviwest technology really differentiates itself for multi camera. And why is that important? Well, if you have multiple cameras over an unmanaged connection such as cellular the public internet, the cameras could get out of sync, they can drift and then you can’t cut a live show if the video and audio are out of sync and the lip-sync is out of sync. So that’s an important topic we’ll discuss.
So when the pandemic struck, I mean, we’ve been promoting the idea of producing an entire show, a multi-camera live event over cellular in the public internet for years. I mean, we did the rider cup years ago, we did some lower level PGA events, fishing tournaments. So I think the common consensus is COVID and the lockdown didn’t invent new technology, it just accelerated things that we already had. Yes, there were some new additions. Nobody knew what Zoom was before COVID. Now everyone, Zoom is a verb, “Let me zoom you, let me zoom you.”
We run our whole business now on Slack, so it’s like, “Let me Slack you for collaboration.” So tools that were already out there now have been put into widespread use. So before the lockdown, we were always promoting the idea of sending less people to the production site, so it enhances graphic with a reduction in staff, saving time, saving money. One of the biggest challenges post COVID now, a lot of people have gotten out of the workforce or have switched industries or have retired, so there’s a shortage of personnel. And doing an at home production where you have less of a footprint on site and your skilled workers are back at the master control, an instant replay operator instead of doing one or two games a week now can do one or two games a day. They could do games in different time zones.
So your knowledge worker, your director, your TD, your video engineer, producers, et cetera, if they don’t have to travel as part of their job, they, can be more productive. They can do more than one event in the same day. They could do an event in New York earlier in the day, and then cover a game in the afternoon in LA. I apologize, some customers of mine, some of these vehicles might be yours. This is just for marketing approach, marketing visual. But really what’s happening is the truck is not being eliminated, truck is being moved. So in the case of the PGA, instead of sending one or two trailers to a PGA event, PGA is bringing these feeds back to their master control in St. Augusta, and they don’t have master control capacity. They don’t have enough production switches.
So the Game Creek or NEP truck instead of going to the venue is going to the studio, it’s in the parking lot. It’s literally in the parking lot at PGA headquarters, so that capacity is just moving and then an operator can stay in the same truck and do multiple events during the day or there’s trucks in parallel doing simultaneous events in different parts of the country, different parts of the world. So maybe the size of trucks are changing, trucks are going to be more IP now, going to need a good internet connection to the truck. Again, it makes sense to have it in a central location. So the trucks are not going away, but maybe they’re just being used in a different capacity.
So back to May of 2020, the local health department were all in lockdown. They decided that 50 people was the magic number to allow on the golf course. And one of the players, his dad is a member of the Seminole Golf Club, and Seminole is not usually on the PGA circuit, it’s a private club. So if this was Pebble Beach, Pebble Beach probably has a level three or the switch has a circuit in there, there’s a fiber coming in there because they do multiple events during a year, so there’s infrastructure. So the only real choice would’ve been satellite, but we wanted to try. The PGA had been using… Our bonded cellular had gotten good results like, “Look, this is the perfect event. Let’s do the whole production via multi-camera bonded cellular.”
And it worked. We were all allowed 50 people that included the golfers, the crew, the officials. Professional golfers had to carry their own bags, the poor guys. They couldn’t have a caddy. There was no quota for caddies. Now in this particular project, it just so happened that we were operating in the same state. Seminole is down in Juno Beach and St. Augustine is in Northern Florida, but some events we do can be 10,000 miles away, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a couple of 100 feet or a couple of 100 yards to tens of thousands of miles away. Some of the fishing tournaments we do, the truck is in town nearby, they set up a stage, they have fans, they have an audience. Some of the on-air talent is on the stage, so there’s nearby fan experience but the bass fishing boats are out on the lake going over cellular, hitting the public internet, and then coming into the truck in town via an internet connection.
So there’s variations of the workflow at home. Your home might be a truck nearby, your home might be your real home. The technology facilitates you working from home. Mike Tirico didn’t feel comfortable traveling to Florida to be one of the on air color commentators for the tournaments so bonded cellular technology was used to loop him into the production. And cellular, as we all know, there is some latency. There’s anywhere from half a second to eight tenths of a second of latency. We’re constantly working on improving that. The newer products from Aviwest can do 300 to 500 milliseconds of latency. So we’re getting very close to fiber connectivity types latency. So here’s a picture of the course.
So there were six live cameras, two in the tee box, two in the fairway two on the greens and they kind of rotated. The two cameras on the tee follow the first group out to the green, and they kind of went in a circle or they went in a loop as another crew came through or another group came through. Then there was some parabolic microphones catching the audio on the course. So there were about eight or nine cameras capturing the same sporting event, and then a couple of dozen microphones all open in the same area. And you can imagine if the video was out of step, or the audio, there was a lip-sync problem or a video gen-lock issue, you couldn’t cut a live show. With live, there’s no opportunity to fix things in post. So this kind of gives a picture of why it’s so important to have everything in perfect sync, perfect gen-lock.
Then this slide shows what is the magic? SST now is going to be merged into SRT in the cloud. Aviwest has a strong cloud solution, Haivision has a strong cloud solution with SRT, I’m sorry. So SST will get it to the cloud or get it to the studio. SRT will be used for distribution between facilities or from the cloud to your facility. So that’s the magic. The SST is what does the bonding. We can use satellite, BGAN or satellite. We could use an internet connection or IP connection. We can use wifi or cellular.
One common question we get asked is what’s that one thing that makes Aviwest work better? Well, one of our bass fishing tournament production companies, they had another vendor’s product, it’s one of the top vendors in a bass boat next to an Aviwest demo set up, and the goal was the unit was set to five megabits. So five megabits per second was the desired video bit rate. The competing product was fluctuating 500 K, maybe a Meg. 500 K maybe 1.2 Meg. The Aviwest field and coder was pinned at five, perfect textbook. So why? What is the magic? Is there some kind of voodoo? Do you have a land connection going through the water underneath the boat? What’s the trick?
We weren’t on site, there’s really no trick, and it’s a lot of little things, starts with better antennas. The cellular device that has the strongest signal wins at the tower. So if you are in a ballpark or a stadium with 80,000 fans all on their phones, if the Aviwest bonded seller comes into the venue, it has a stronger connection to the tower, it’s going to get priority. So better antennas, and then better modems. And what makes a better modem? Better radio, better sensitivity, but it’s the bands. Aviwest uses modems that connect to all the bands globally, every single band.
In older products, two modems would be tweaked for Verizon, two modems would be tweaked for AT&T, two for T-Mobile and then even sprint. Sprint now is part of T-Mobile. So these different flavors of modems only saw the bands for that one carrier. Now because the modems see all the bands, what makes the Aviwest work where other products fail is it sees a band that other product can’t see. And a lot of times these lesser used bands are what saves the day in a crowded venue, or they are the lower frequency bands that go longer distance, go through walls, go through obstructions better.
So that’s part of the special sauce. And then the software, the algorithm, the SST, that’s an important part. Another thing we learned with several customers, we learned the importance of having analog audio inputs. With the PGA, the top trace that read graphic that follows the ball when it goes on its arc through the air, that telemetry is sent to the truck or the production studio via audio channel an analog audio channel. That telemetry, I guess, it sends coordinates of where the ball is on the screen through the telemetry. So that was a big pleasant surprise. And then also they didn’t need a video and better to get audio into the bonded cellular product. For the guys, the operator was just doing parabolic mics.
So the smaller unit with two cellular modems was used for audio only connections, and then the flagship with eight cellular modems was used for the main video feeds. Again, we talked about the need for the frame accurate gen-lock. We’re hoping the show comes back, but this technology made the live PD show possible. Again, same problem. Multiple police cars roll up on an incident, there could be four to six sets of cameras each with their own sets of microphones all open at the same time, it’d be like, “You’re under arrest, you’re under arrest,” or they cut between scenes like, “We already saw that scene, why is it that the camera going backwards?” So the gen-lock and the lip-sync is very, very important.
Another critical thing with PGA was they wanted to shade cameras through link, and some cameras do not like any latency at all when it comes to CCU, RCP or camera control. What the camera and the CCU or camera control unit or the remote control unit or RCP expect is the camera to be in the same studio, to be in the same building, and they’re expecting it on a managed LAN or a short cable in the studio. So we partner with a vendor by the name of CyanView, and they just do camera control, that’s all they do, and they’re really, really good at it. So what they do is they allow the camera to go over longer distances, they allow the camera systems to tolerate latency. So if you’re in studio and it’s a managed connection, the latency is more manageable, maybe 10-20 milliseconds.
You put a little gizmo on the camera called the CIO, it just will do a serial to IP camera conversion to get it over the network to the control room. The RIO is used for remote. The R in RIO I believe stands for remote. So that smooths out latency. So any of you guys and girls out there that have done camera control and you’ve had a problem, a cable breaks, some camera systems when they lose connectivity with the RCP or the CCU, they go berserk. The iris will close, the iris will open. So what CyanView does, the RIO actually mimics the RCP at the camera. So if the connection is interrupted or the latency is a little bit too long, and if it’s longer than the camera would tolerate, the RIO is emulating the RCP to keep the camera calm.
And if the connection is interrupted, the camera’s like, “What’s my Iris setting? What’s my Iris setting?” And the RIO would say, “It’s still 32, it’s still 32.” “What’s my pedestal level?” “It’s still eight, it’s still eight.” So it keeps the camera calm, it maintains a constant connection, and the Rio is just communicating with the RCP for changes. Is the camera operator opening the Iris or closing it, or is it changing the black pedestal, that kind of thing. And one RCP can control multiple cameras.
So the PGA sets the cameras up based on the cloud cover, the exposure that day. They do some live changes, but they usually just set it and kind of forget it unless there’s something drastically wrong. But you could shade in real time across the connection, but there would be 100, 150 millisecond latency in the shading. So you just want to bear in mind, you don’t want to make sudden changes. You don’t want to overshoot it. Well, it’s too dark, slowly bring it up. I don’t know, I’ve done some amateur shading at Saddleback church here. I always shade as if the camera’s live. I just do subtle soft changes in case they cut to the camera, no one sees a sharp transition.
So you see here, the RIO is on the camera side, there is a quarter 20 little mount on the bottom so you could attach it to a hot shoe or an accessory shoe on the camera. PGA really loves it and it works really, really well with the Aviwest technology. It goes through the Aviwest data bridge, data bridge is what they call it, and it sets up a virtual VPN, a secure, bonded cellular connection between the studio and the field and the CyanView camera control goes over that connection.
Aviwest also has rolled out recently return video. It comes out of an HDMI port on all the field encoders, and you can have more than one return video. Now, you can’t have more than one return video going to the same camera, but camera one could have program feed, camera two could have teleprompter. So you could have different flavors, or if you have two different sets of talent in front of two different cameras in the field, you probably might want a different teleprompter for each talent or whatever the case may be. Aviwest also has a multi-viewer function where that could be fed back as one of the returns if somebody wants to see ISOs of all the cameras. It’s common confidence, right, that the cameras are reaching the studio because I see the multi view of all the ISO cameras coming back to me so I know it’s made a round trip for confidence.
Aviwest supports all these different standards, both input and output. Their SreamHub is really apply named calling it your streaming hub, because it’s not just a decoder, it’s not just a receiver, you can take IP video in and out from any vendor. So the top of the list is their proprietary SST, but this is how the Aviwest engineers met the high vision engineers. Aviwest did a really great implementation, robust implementation of S R T in their platform with the help of high vision. And I think when they were done with that project, “Hey, we like working with you guys and we’re French Canadians, and we speak French. Maybe it’s a little bit different accent and you guys are French, French so why don’t we work together?” So I think that’s how the happy marriage came about.
But here’s the cool thing, even before the merger, you could send your SRT feed from your Makito to an Aviwest SreamHub, because we can take SRT in. We can feed SRT out to the cloud, or if we’re working with AWS elemental, they prefer SRT for the egress or for the distribution standard, SRT is one of their approved standards. So SRT is kind of the video over IP common language right now, common format, so it really makes sense. Then I mentioned the SreamHub. Now the SreamHub can be an appliance, it’s just a server running Linux, but we spin it up in the cloud all the time. We can do parallel workflows, stream to the studio, and then hand off things to the cloud with IP outputs, from the SreamHub.
So the SDI outputs could be feeding the more traditional workflow, the IP outputs could be going up to the cloud and working with vMix or Grass Valley AMPP or EasyLive, or SimplyLive, whatever your preferred cloud solution might be. So a lot of things are done in hybrid. Old school/new school workflows in studio, in cloud type workflows. This slide’s a little dated, Aviwest is already doing NDI now for a good 18 months and WebRTC is being used. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with that, that’s the video protocol used in gaming. It’s got pretty good video quality, but it’s very low latency because in gaming when you’re interacting with your teammates, if there’s latency, that’d be very bad. So it’s a low latency yet still pretty good fidelity protocol.
Aviwest has integrated that into their live guest product, which I’ll talk about and SMTE2110 hooks in and out of the SreamHub are coming later this year, so that’s coming soon. Let me see. Oh, this is a good slide. I hope you guys are okay, I know I said this was 20 minutes. I’m probably going to go about 45 if you’re okay with that. If you have to jump off, I’m recording this so you can catch it later. So I’ll tell you a story when we first started working with the PGA, I’ll usually use the PGA as an example, but all of our clients, they would get to a venue and they were like, “This lake has no Verizon,” or, “This golf course has no Verizon, can you send 400 AT&T sims?” And we would package them, send them out. They’d have to pull the Verizon is out, and put the AT&Ts in. Then they go to another venue. “Oh, there’s no T-Mobile.” Because the old modems could only work with Verizon or only one carrier.
Now because Aviwest uses these modems that can pick up any band, now we marry that with e-SIMs and we marry it with SIMs that can work with any carrier. So I use a PGA. They would get to a venue where there was only AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile were not present, there’s a dead spot, not to pick on Verizon or T-Mobile, there’s other venues where there’s no AT&T. So there would only be two SIMs for AT&T in the unit. So try to do the show on two SIMs, two modems. So four or six modems depending upon the product were wasted. That doesn’t happen anymore. You don’t have to change the SIMs anymore. The unit will automatically find alternate carriers that are available. It’ll scan for a better frequency band on any carrier and it’s all automatic. So in that venue where there was only AT&T not having to change SIMs and not only being running on two modems, miraculously, all the modems would connect to AT&T and they would find connectivity on the tower.
So these e-SIMs have been a huge help, gives better reliability, better failover, better redundancy, better bit rate, better throughput. So it’s been really, really helpful for all of our customers. Here’s a slide about the remote interview solution. So again, this is the one that uses the WebRTC technology. So it’s very, very simple. In the Aviwest ecosystem, all that happens is you put the email address of the attendee of the remote worker, the remote analyst, the remote host, whatever, and you send them an email. They click the link and their browser pops up. It uses their webcam. You could have a better camera. If you had an HDMI capture card in your computer, or NDI makes a virtual webcam bridge from NDI to a virtual webcam, so you could have an NDI camera.
So you don’t have to be stuck with a webcam or your little camera in your notebook computer. You could have a better camera nearby assuming the guest has that ability to set up a camera and it’s all automatic like a Zoom meeting. You pick the camera and the remote guest, they don’t need any special software, it’s all done in their browser. So it’s a really, really great, simple workflow. You don’t need to fly a technician to the site. I think people are more, if they can see the person and hear them, I think viewers are typically less concerned about the fidelity of a person, a talking head. We’re not going to run the Super Bowl through this connection with a lot of motion, but for an interview or talking head it’s perfect and works really well. Customers really like it.
And when they go live, they just appear as another input on the SreamHub receiver. So just like another camera coming in the field, it’s like, “Oh, there’s Becky, our commentator.” She’s up. Boom. They work her into the workflow and it works really nicely. So I have some other slides that I want to share with you guys. I’m going to roll some videos now. Here’s my contact. I know a lot of you folks know me, but in case you don’t know who I am. And I see Fallon has chatted you some links to some of the products I talked about. Thank you, Fallon.
Here’s my contact information. I don’t know if you can do a QR code of your screen, you might be able to. This will give you a download of a post show. We post the recordings and I put the presentation online. So you’ll be able to get everything I’ve showed you today. Takes us about a week to produce everything and put it up online, so about a week, you can expect that. So let me close this and I’m going to show you some videos that I think you’ll find interesting. So let me see here.
Let me… Wait, I got to stop sharing. I’m relatively new to using Zoom so pardon me if I fumble a little bit, but I think I know what I’m doing. Now I jinxed it, here we go. So this is some of the new products from Aviwest.
So what you just saw is the new flagship product, it’s called the Pro 460 5G. I think it’s only going to be offered in a 5G variant so it’ll be 5G out of the box.
Hey, Jim, your videos, aren’t playing for us on our end just so you know.
Jim Jachetta (32:30):
Oh, you know what? I didn’t click… Let me do it again then. I’m sorry. I see Tom, yep. Thanks, guys. Let me try that again. I think I know what I did wrong. Wait, wait, wait, I got to share. I didn’t do optimize for video. So yeah, why is that not… No. Okay, I’ll do this a different way. I’m just going to do it kind of an old school way. Let me just share this screen over here. Let me do it a different way. Let’s do this. I’ll just share that screen and optimize. I’ll just play it right here.
Did that work better? I think I may have interrupted it by looking at the chats during it.
That worked great.
Jim Jachetta (34:49):
Oh, it did? Okay, great. Let me just get some of this off my screen. Let me roll another video. Thanks guys for your patience. Let me share.
Yeah. So that was the Pro 460. That’s the camera mount unit. If you have a bigger camera, it goes between the camera and the battery. I believe Aviwest is one of the few vendors that mounts the unit on the camera or there is another system that goes on the camera, but it’s enormous, it’s I want to say four or five inches wide to me. My dad used to make a joke when he worked at NBC it’s like just because you put a handle on the side of a refrigerator, doesn’t make the refrigerator portable. Aviwest is nice, thin, low profile. It goes between the battery and the camera, and then you also saw the Rack4 that’s the Rack mount version.
A lot of the systems out there, if a customer wants to put it in a rack, they put the portable unit on a shelf, but then you have cellular modems inside of a rack, not an elegant solution. So Aviwest really takes the effort to re-engineer the product to make it suitable to go in a truck or in rack, and then having remote antennas outside the vehicle or outside the rack or a portable unit that goes on the camera or if it’s a smaller camera, Aviwest does provide backpacks. Here, let me show you another video. This is a good one about the data bridge. You can meet Aviwest CTO, let me share. And here we go. Here’s the CTO of Aviwest.
Ronan Poullaouec (37:56):
Hello. I am Ronan Poullaouec, chief technology officer at Aviwest. In this clip, I’m pleased to introduce a databridge feature available on our air and post three transmitters and our StreamHub.
This feature offers high speed mobile internet connectivity from everywhere. As an example, it allows you to remotely control any kind of IP-based equipment like PTZ cameras or camera control units. Camera selection and control can be fully managed from the remote studio through a reliable IP channel managed by our SST technology. The data bridge can operate in parallel to the live transmission to increase your personal efficiency and cost savings. The Aviwest databridge allows you to produce multi-camera live events from a centralized control room instead of using onsite production types. A reduced team is required onsite which is key with today’s physical distancing rules.
Jim Jachetta (39:13):
Ronan is the mastermind of all this technology and the databridge, that’s the, that’s the connectivity that PGA uses for camera control in conjunction with the CyanView.
… the networks also used by the live. I mean the cellular network, the satellite, or simply the internet. From the field, the setup is very simple. Our flagship pro three premium encoder transmitter is performing live and is ready to receive a video return by connecting a small display on its HDMI output. No other configuration is required, it’s plug and play.