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Traditional Remote Production
Traditional remote field production requires mobile production trucks to facilitate a multi-camera shoot. In many applications multiple trucks are required for advanced functions such as elaborate graphics overlays, instant replay, special effects and more as shown in figure 1. Connectivity and bandwidth limitations back to the studio or master control has forced broadcasters to produce the entire show on-site with mobile production trucks. Complex mobile productions such as sports require more personnel and hardware to produce.
Figure 1, Multiple Mobile Production Trucks at Sports Event
A mobile production truck may cost millions of dollars as shown in figure 2. They typically use expensive and bulky Triax cabling or expensive SMPTE hybrid fiber-optic cables for camera signal distribution. Many production trucks have switched from Coax and Triax to SMPTE hybrid fiber cabling to cut down on truck weight due to Department of Transportation weight restrictions. The use of SMPTE hybrid fiber-optic cables has helped cut down on truck weights but these cables are more expensive to purchase and maintain when compared to networking category cable.
Expensive and proprietary fiber-optic and HD SDI baseband hardware and infrastructure equipment is required for connectivity. Expensive electro-optical routing switchers are needed to route and distribute the various video, audio and camera control signals.
Figure 2, Multi-million Dollar Mobile Production Truck
IP Remote Production
The Stagebox IP Camera Back offers connectivity over a traditional IP network with off-the-shelf IP hardware. An inexpensive Stagebox IP Camera Back can provide all the camera connectivity such as bidirectional HD SDI video, 16 channels of bidirectional audio, bidirectional analog audio, genlock, timecode, and camera control over an inexpensive category Ethernet cable as shown in figure 3.
Figure 3, Multiple Stagebox’s Connected via a Synchronous IP Network
This is achieved through a synchronous IP network with support for IEEE 1588 precision timing protocol. Every camera connected to the synchronous IP network is automatically genlocked for seamless production switching. Video streams are switched across the network using off-the-shelf IT hardware and infrastructure. No inexpensive and proprietary fiber-optic and HD SDI baseband hardware and equipment is required. An IT switch routes all signals eliminating the need for expensive devices such as electro-optical routing switchers and more.
The Stagebox uses AVCI-100 for video and audio encoding making it compatible with most nonlinear editing systems. This reduces the traditional ingest and transcoding time of minutes or hours down to live or near live. The production and post-production teams can provide edited content for highlights and for the web in as little as 10 minutes behind the live production. Traditionally, the editing process is done after the live shoot. This gives producers more options for the live program feed as well as second screen contributions, online web contributions and more.
The Stagebox technology can drastically cut your live television production costs. The BBC has been using this technology for over a year for all of their remote broadcasts.
The BBC grabs and synchronizes all their video feeds with camera control and distributes them back to a central location for centralized production and camera control. The video engineer can sit back at the master control and adjust the camera iris and paint settings over a low latency IP network connection.
While this may not fully eliminate the need for mobile production, ENG and satellite trucks, it will drastically reduce the size and cost of these vehicles. IP remote production can alleviate the costs associated with fiber-optic and wireless communication systems while giving producers the option to edit on-the-fly with minimal ingest time.