Ken Kerschbaumer (00:00:05):
Hi, everybody. Welcome to today’s At-Home Tech Focus. You know we’re focusing on this episode on live events, and we have four grade experts from four grade companies to discuss what’s going on. Obviously the last eight weeks to 10 weeks, I’ve seen a massive change in the definition of what exactly is At-Home because literally everybody is at home.
Let me introduce our panelists real quickly. We have Matthew Goldman from MediaKind, Jim Jachetta from VidOvation, Josh Liemer from VISTA WorldLink and Dan Maloney from Matrox Video. Josh, you are in the production spotlight with your facilities down in Miami.
So why don’t have you kick things off with a quick little video overview of some of the projects you’ve been working on? So why don’t you get us started with your quick little sizzle wheel?
Christine Ferea (00:01:07):
When she comes at me I’m like, what the hell? What kind of push is that? Then she caught me.
Sean Wheelock (00:01:11):
That’s a huge overhead.
Christine Ferea (00:01:13):
And then… dirty move. Look at that, that’s a DQ.
Speaker 4 (00:01:17):
Welcome everybody to USL eCup, Rocket League edition, teams from the USL Championship and USL League One keeping us company all month long in the inaugural addition to this competition. [Gator 00:01:30] with time running out, scores. El Paso wins game two in an incredible fashion.
Speaker 5 (00:01:40):
Speaker 6 (00:01:40):
I don’t know how often you’ve rewatched any of this or not, but I’ve been saying Brittany that being able to rewatch it from this perspective, you forget about 90% of what happened beyond just the big one.
Speaker 6 (00:01:50):
I don’t know if that’s the same for you or not.
For sure. I think for me personally, now I’m rewatching them all, through a different lens now that I’ve spent almost a whole season on the coaching staff.
Joshua Liemer (00:02:09):
So that video just highlights some of the events that we’ve been doing at Vista Worldlink, that over the past five years transitioned from stereotypically a transmission company into a Remy centralized broadcast facility. Bringing in content via a variety of different transmission methods to produce it in the Remy or at home workflow.
And in today’s world over the past nine, 10 weeks, everyone being at home, we’ve had a figure out creative ways to keep the narrative of our customers out there for their fans and consumers. So the first clip of the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, that customer of ours was getting so much momentum with their live events.
That this pandemic really pulled emergency break on some of that momentum. And they wanted to provide something that was unique and creative. So we put together a virtual hangout, as you can see, they had all of these fighters around the country. And we brought them in utilizing different technology.
And allowed them to explain the experience of them being in the ring. And having that experience of putting that out there for fans. So our executive producer was working from his home in Parkland, Florida. We had a coordinating producer working from her home in Orlando.
And we had the content was being played in, live from the archive from business facility in Fort Lauderdale. And we had the fighters around the country coming in and creating that experience. So utilizing, I always would say, Vista could do it by satellite, fiber, IP, then you would say, okay, we can also do bonded cellular, no problem.
And now we’re like, we could do it via Zoom, we could do it via Skype, Google Hangout, pretty much any way we can get the content. Because I guess right now is we’re all experiencing, having content is better than having no content. Even if the quality may not be on a level that we typically pride ourselves in this industry.
So that was really unique and there’s been a lot of viewership for that. And then one of our customers is the United Soccer League, that we do so much volume on a normal time, and using the word normal is a strange way of talking these days. Just in last year alone, we produced hundreds and hundreds of events for the United Soccer League on both levels of the Championship and League One.
And most of them featured on ESPN+ and various linear ESPN channels. And when this happened again, they’re like, how do we keep our fans, our supporters engaged? What are people doing while they’re at home? They’re playing video games, can we create some hybrid, organic way of entertaining our fans while we’re all dealing with this?
So they created this Rocket League Championship, this eCup, and again we had representatives playing the game all over North America. And we had our announcers, the voice of USL, Mike Watson, Devin [inaudible 00:05:35], Mike being in New York and Devin being in Boca Raton, Florida.
And they were called 64 matches over a 25, 30 day period from… and usually you would say from the luxury of their home and now you say from the safety of their home, right?
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:05:50):
Joshua Liemer (00:05:50):
And that was really early on. We literally were talking to league, the early days of this craziness. And I think we were talking about it on a Friday, and Wednesday we were live on ESPN+ with this. So that was pretty exciting. And then the last clip of the video was, is, content we’ve been doing with Sportsnet, Rogers out of Montreal.
And they’ve been repurposing their historical content of… obviously that was an NBA, that was NBA finals match, but it’s been a variety of different content hockey, baseball. I think a lot of people at Vista were excited about the 2000 NBA Dunk Contest where Vince Carter took that prize as a Toronto Raptor.
And they’ve had their on air personalities, interacting and repurposing historical content. So one of our ideas at Vista was always a one stop shop aspect of At-Home Production. Where we’re doing the production, but we’re also archiving content in real time and creating this repository of assets.
And there’s never been more of a time where having those assets has been so important and being able to repurpose them. And creating interesting ways of having talent interact with that historical content has been so unique. Especially with everyone needing some entertainment and some release from this pandemic. So it’s been interesting and creative of how to create new editorial.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:07:36):
So were there new tools that you had to bring in house? I mean, do you Kiswe or…
Joshua Liemer (00:07:41):
Yeah, so before we started this, we were talking about Sporttell in Miami and working with meeting Kiswe, I think at IBC in 2019. And then having discussions with them, we have used them in variety of ways. The whole Sportsnet project has used our cloud cast platform in a lot of different ways.
Has been great because there’s been the ability of our producers, being able to interact with the talent in a remote situation. Again, from the safety of their homes and not having to always come into the Vista facility to manage that has been key. We’ve had, like our MCR and our NOC at Vista has been operational through this.
So being able to play out content and code content and distribute it, has been going on. But our creative producers and the editorial team have been able to do all this from home. And tools like Kiswe has been fantastic but, there’s times where we’ve had… we’ve done things with some of our corporate customers like pharmaceutical companies.
They still have conferences that doctors around the world need to explain different medication or different breakthroughs and whatnot. And we just had an event with a doctor out of Belgium last week, and some platforms were a little too sophisticated. But they’re like, but we know how to use Zoom because we talk with our grandchildren with Zoom, we use Zoom.
It’s not the most… being someone who has grown up in the transmission world and obviously in the production industry. You get a little bit hesitant with prosumer gear, right? And you’re nervous about it but…
Jim Jachetta (00:09:37):
What’s the codec? What codec are they using? Is it something?
Joshua Liemer (00:09:42):
A hundred percent. I think we’ve always been a little bit hesitant with that type of gear coming into our world. And I think this new world that we’re all navigating, is allowing some acceptance of quality versus just having the content, right? If you have the content so, I take my hat off to my team that they’ve been so ready for any…
I’m asking a producer who’s… like last year produced over a thousand soccer matches. Can you now do a pharmaceutical event, with a doctor out of Belgium? But the attitude is whatever it takes, let’s get back to work. We want to be creative. We want to use the various tools that we’ve created to tell stories.
And if the story right now is, there’s a doctor in Belgium that may have an idea about this vaccine, that would be great, right? Versus producing a virtual watch party for combat sports. Right now we’re excited about all the various opportunities that we have to work and use our craft.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:10:51):
Right. Excellent. Well, Jim, I’m going to tee you up because obviously literally, earlier in the show, Dave Dukes and Greg from PGA TOUR Entertainment, discussed the Charity Skins Tournament couple weeks back. And you guys were involved with that…
Jim Jachetta (00:11:05):
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:11:06):
… [inaudible 00:11:06]. So that was a unique golf show with six cameras. So you have a couple of slides too. So why…
Jim Jachetta (00:11:12):
I do. While I bring up the slides, to Joshua’s point, we’ve done a few rentals, actually quite a few rentals to local production companies lately. Where they’ll take our bonded video transmission unit. It also has a bond that internet capability and, I got to go to Jerry O’Connell’s house.
He’s best known for one of the little kids in the movie Stand By Me. He’s been on the show Billions lately, and his wife is the original blue X-woman on the X-Men. So I got to go to their house and they were so nice. They offered me food. They were so gracious. But the whole premise of the production was to take three cell phones with Zoom, a Mac computer with Zoom using the cameras in the cell phones, using the cameras in the Notebook computers.
And believe it or not, multi-millionaires don’t necessarily have good internet access. So they live somewhere in the hills of Calabasas, and they use one of our AVIWEST field encoders just to do a bond, an internet connection and it works really well. So they could have three group sessions going on, on two phones and a notebook.
So we’re doing Zoom like you said Josh, for school, for work. Now we’re going to watch TV shows with Zoom into it as well. That’s the new normal. So as we had said earlier, we were talking before the call, about this PGA Events. This past Sunday we had Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning playing a little golf.
I believe that production was done in a more traditional manner. I believe NEP did the event on Sunday. Just a smaller crew. They actually use the bigger track. So the operators could be spread out. What we did two Sundays ago was the tailor made charity event. And they wanted to minimize the footprint onsite for that event to less than 50 people.
They wanted to make sure that they were complying to COVID safety, six feet apart. A lot of these golfers they’re like, hey, I haven’t been my own caddy since junior high school. I haven’t caddied since I was a kid. So they had to carry their own bags, they had no caddy with them.
But VidOvation and with some of our partners like AVIWEST, we’ve been doing At-Home Productions very successfully for more than four years now. We’ve done shows like the Live PD show, that’s a multi-camera show. We’re able to do bonded cellular in police cars, going 120 miles an hour.
This technology was meant for a reporter doing an interview on the courthouse steps, camera on a tripod, in a fixed location. So now the technology is branching out doing reality TV, helping with Zoom production similar to what Joshua is doing. And now we did the Ryder Cup recently with Turner Sports.
And now we’re doing a PGA main events. So I don’t know if you guys saw it. It was a great event. I mean, it was great because the players were miced, there was a bunch of parabolic microphones. So they were catching a lot of the audio and, they’re trying to do their golf etiquette while quietly trash talking each other. It was great.
And as you mentioned Josh, that your analysts, your commentators, some are local at the event. Some are in the compound at Seminole Golf Club. Some of them were nearby. Some of them were working at home. So latency and the production workflow has to… bonded cellular, doing At-Home Production with bonded cellular.
We can get the latencies as low as half a second. But for this production, we did it at 1.4 seconds. Just in case there are any bumps in the connection to make sure we didn’t have any dropouts, but I won’t read the slide to you guys. But you can see here for golfers, 28 television crew, 18 officials, the goal was to have no more than 50 people onsite doing the event.
They had two bonded cellular cameras in the tee box. And some of these cameras rotated like they tee off, the cameras would follow. The fairway guys would loop back around. But this was a little fluid, but this was the basic plan. Then two cameras with the bonded cellular units on the fairway and then two cameras on the green.
And the top tracer. That’s the red line where that catches the ball. One of the differentiating features of the AVIWEST technology, is they have analog audio inputs on their bonded cellular units. Usually you can only bring audio in through the camera or through the embedded in the SDI.
So they’re actually able to bring in external audio and I’m not an expert at this, but the top tracer actually sends its telemetry through an audio channel. So that worked out really nicely. So they had a top tracer rig in the tee box on the fairway to track each of the players shots.
Then they had a plane overhead. They use a traditional microwave link from the plane to the ground, but then from the ground they back hold that to master control using bonded cellular. They had two beauty shots. They use the smaller AVIWEST unit, the PRO380 has eight cellular modems, gives you more diversity, better reliability if you’re in a congested area.
They were able to do the beauty shots with two cellular modems using the AIR320. And this was all HEVC. I don’t know, did you see it Ken? That the picture… I might be biased but the pictures looked amazing, had a beautiful day. The weather Sunday for Tiger and Phil’s game wasn’t so great.
Then I mentioned AVIWEST having the analog audio input. So they had commentators on the course with them, with microphones and they would interview the players while they were walking the course. You could see in some of the shots, one of the commentators had the AVIWEST backpack on him, that was feeding his audio back to master control.
And then the players themselves had wireless mics. And then there must have been technicians nearby wearing the AVIWEST transmitter to get that back to master control. So you can see here, oh, then there was the parabolic mic. So all these microphones on the course, there’s crosstalk between the players’ mics, between the parabolic mics, the microphones in the camera.
If there was the slightest bit of lip sync issue video out of gen lock, this wouldn’t have been possible. With a live program, we all know you can’t fix things and post. So how does AVIWEST do this? Similar to others industry standards, this hasn’t been standardized yet, but AVIWEST uses a protocol. They call safe streams transporter, SST.
And that’s the special sauce, that… They do a form of precision timing protocol to keep everything in sync. It helps that the cellular units are locked to a GPS clock reference. So all of them are synchronized with GPS. So that’s a start. But then sending timing information using… it’s not quite PTP, but it’s a similar technique to keep everything framed, accurate, lip synced, and in perfect gen lock.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:20:34):
Perfect. Thank you. Well, Jim that’s great. Now I want to bring in Matthew because obviously Matthew, I think Jim hit on a couple points that you want to discuss from your perspective. So I want to start with a couple of slides as well, and then we’ll get into the conversation.
Matthew Goldman (00:20:47):
Right? So as all of us have discussed before, I mean, there were three main challenges to doing an At-Home Production on this, we have to keep in mind. And those are all touched upon as for… we have to make sure that we maintain the synchronization between audio to video in the various types of data and meditated that we’re sending around.
Because as was just mentioned, there’s crosstalk between different things. You can have multiple cameras at different locations around the venue. And obviously if you’re switching the camera view, you don’t want to have one that’s out of the other. You don’t have want to have the audio get out of sync on that.
And when we’re talking about the At-Home Production of course, this is a nice diagram here. This is a generic diagram that shows the fact that you have the venue with the live feeds. You send them back to studio control, but you also get the comms back from the studio and you have to maintain this.
So you nearly need to keep it under, say a hundred milliseconds or so, otherwise the local talent won’t be able to… they’ll be able to do it because they’re professionals. But it’s difficult to stay in sync when the audio or the video was lagging back on the production that you’re doing at the At-Home facility.
Remote from the venue versus what you have locally. And then of course, you would depending on the particular situation needed to be IP encapsulated video, over the fixed lines, it could be over the internet as we discussed or wireless connections. And it could be over of course satellite links as well.
And then once you get to production facility, then you can send a finished production and send it back to remote on that. So obviously through this, then you have to minimize the end-to-end latency for doing this. And the last thing of course is you need to have the bandwidth.
If it’s a primary facility and you have a lot of bandwidth, then you’re able to do things uncompressed, or perhaps using light compression, such as a JPEG 2000 or the new JPEG [XL 00:22:47], that’s becoming more and more popular. But if you don’t have a lot of bandwidth, you really got to crunch it down and still keep latency low.
Then you really need to use the best and latest grade of the 101 type of compressions or 151 types, such as high efficiency video coding. That was also mentioned before. And in the case of what we’ve been doing with MediaKind, obviously things have changed. But had the Olympics been held, we actually were providing for the OBS, the Olympic Broadcasting Services there.
We had a 48 4K live for UHD contribution feeds, using our AVP 2000. It was HEVC. It’s a very… it’s a small device. It’s a… can do 4K feeds in a single rack unit. And then also of course receive end you need to have a decoding device that, which we have as the RX1. And related to this for instance, discovery was using 40 of these RX1s.
To do various levels of 4K Ultra HD decoding around it. And again, you could use traditional interfaces such as SDI. But I want to point out that in areas of the production that could do it, they were using the newer [inaudible 00:24:13] ST2110 professional media over real time IP transport for doing that.
And as shown diagram here, you can have… it doesn’t matter which one is primary and backup. It depends on the system. But you can have a fiber link, backup the satellite or the satellite link backup the fiber. Because as you know these, as we did [inaudible 00:24:37] all the time amongst us here.
This is a live event, 24 by seven, by 365. There can be no downtime. You have to make sure you have this. And so you look at these combinations of things you have. 24 by seven, by 365, high availability, reliability, low latency, best picture quality and audio quality possible.
As you can tell, we have a lot of demands on what we have to do. And to feed all this, had we had NAB, we had many of these demos that we were going to have at NAB. But we actually had a mock up racetrack, you can come in and play with the cars. They were radio-controlled cars that we had on the track in the booth.
And in there, we had all sorts of cameras monitored around it with live feeds. We also had 360 degree cameras on there. And you could basically feed those back into the production right on site. And we’re able to do this and do onsite encoding as well as decoding in real time in front, to various things with the video monitors for doing that.
We also, at the same time, we’re doing a live in the cloud production of 360 degrees to show people how you can do that. And we had tablets doing ultra HD as well as the monitors themselves. So it’s a pretty comprehensive solution. And the end of show, how you really can do a high quality At-Home Production today.
And also to move beyond, At-Home Production, the ultimate At-Home Production as most of our equipment now has moved from physical purpose-built hardware, to really more cloud native production. So it’s software defined media production, and it’s sitting in the cloud.
If you really take the At-Home concept to the extreme, it’s distributed cloud computing, or where’s At-Home? At-Home could be as particularly in the times of COVID-19, right? At-Home, could be people wearing their bathrobes and slippers. I don’t want to have that vision of Ken doing that but, you all can share the same cloud feeds for doing this.
And really do a high quality production, I’ve been doing that. And you can prove it either as a service or and again, in your own private cloud or whatever for doing that.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:26:52):
Thank you, Matthew. I have very nice bunny slippers by the way, I just want to let you know. Make sure of that. Only the finest. So I want to thank Dan and also for part of the conversation, but Matthew, back to your three points. So this is for all of you and Dan, you’ll be second to chime in on this.
But can you talk about the whole… let’s talk about the bandwidth. Let’s start with that, because obviously right now what’s going on is people are… they’re talents at their home. They don’t have the same amount of bandwidth. So for all of you, what do you see is the challenge right now as far as just the scale of the pushing the envelope if you will of bandwidth?
And really reading the most out of really… I mean, networks where they’re just not a lot of consistency and a lot of pure reliability. I mean, what’s your sense Matthew, as far as what the last eight weeks have meant for just changing some of the conversations around what is acceptable amount of bandwidth?
Matthew Goldman (00:27:42):
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:27:43):
Are we part of the bleeding edge?
Matthew Goldman (00:27:45):
Right. So what we were talking about before… we always are grassing with these issues. And so do you pull on one and something else gets moved along in there? But you want to have the highest possible bandwidth, again at low latency. And if you don’t have those combinations of things, something has to give.
So like you pull on it. If you can get better latency, but you had to give up some bandwidth. So the video quality goes down for a live sport experience. You might just have to do that. I know we all talk about broadcast quality but again, we’re talking about different times now where you just don’t have the bandwidth for a variety of reason.
Or maybe the production staff has to be sheltered at home type of environment for that. So it actually proves out this At-Home, or even the distributed cloud computing model, even better for that. So one of the things you can do about it, if you are planning on using… if you’re unable to use dedicated circuits and you have to use the internet, there are several protocols that are out there to help with that.
One of the most common ones that’s available out there now is called SRT secure, reliable transport. Which not only can help improve the user experience or the video by… it adds a small amount of buffering, but it really is small compared to the round trip time of what you can do.
But in return for that, it’s watchable video because if you completely break it up, you don’t want that either. Now as all of us have said on here earlier here, you might not get the best picture quality you would have on the normal circumstances. But you’ll have definitely quality video enough to enjoy the event.
Sometimes like I said, you have to maybe give a little bit in resolution in order to make up for the latency in the stability of the video for doing that. There’s also of course, the video services forum, new mechanism for open standards in this area, open specifications, which is RIST, Reliable Internet Streaming Transport.
And so these types of facilities that are out there really do improve the facilities when you have to use in more of an open internet type of environment. Where you don’t have the guaranteed quality of service or service level agreements you would have with a dedicated circuits such as fiber or satellite.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:29:56):
Right. So Dan, you’ve been very patient waiting in the background. So do you want to discuss that a little bit and then also show your slides? And then we’ll get into more of a…
Daniel Maloney (00:30:06):
Sure. I mean, agree basically with everything that’s been discussed further. We’re also integrating SRT technology in our encoders and decoders. And it’s proving to be quite a good, solid and interoperable technology as well. Which is a little bit as we start to play with each other and integrate cloud technologies.
We can’t necessarily be the sole source vendors for all the technology out there. And being able to interact with very interesting production technologies that are happening in the cloud, which is also another topic that has been broached yet. But may well be one of the one of the topics that come up as part of our discussion here.
You don’t only necessarily use the cloud to move video anymore. You maybe use it to produce it. And again, having internet friendly links make that possibility. Because dedicated circuits, they are not that many. A few broadcasters have them straight into AWS, but in many circumstances you have whatever your [inaudible 00:31:14] is offering you as a… with quality of service, so, so.
So I will jump in quickly, just give you a couple of minutes about what took us to our journey to remote production technology. You know Matrox has been at this long time, it’s 40 years. And essentially we’ve been doing video processing in all those times. Started with basics of video I/O but make hardware and software, video processing, hardware and software codex.
And let’s say a little bit more recently, last 10 years or so we’ve been looking at IP streaming processing. And we applied it to a number of places, but all of them involving I/O, codex, instinct processing. So we have video walls of feeding streams into video walls for mission critical applications and monitoring KVM extensions.
These aren’t necessarily broadcast, but certainly these all test how we would integrate those technologies into appliances. Like we have here, kind of the Pro AV side of encoding and decoding appliances. We have the enterprise or feeding cloud-based distribution.
And our big core of our component of our business is actually OEM, broadcasting OEM hardware. So both codex, I/O, about 2110 and STIOs as well as a lot of processing. So we’ve taken a lot of that legacy technology, as well as some of the new innovations we’ve put. And we’ve made that… we thought we could really have the broadcast space by creating a set of encoders, that integrate a lot of the best of the technologies we have.
Encoders and decoders for remote production. Basics of it, we want to see what else could we do when we sent SDI from the field back into the studio, we want to see what kind of signals we could send back from the studio into the field. So in a small little package, we’re able to offer some top back functionality, as well as some GPIOs to send tally signals back up the field.
Again, looking for small places where we could use our encoding in I/O and make it applicable to remote production. Now we’ve started remote production with simple technology down this path, simply because we know broadcasters. We’re looking for ways to reduce production costs and increase content output.
And we thought that would be a great way to help them do that if we can create some creative solutions there. But with the advent of COVID, decreasing staff travel would go maybe a long way. It may even overshadow some of the other motivations for really adopting remote production.
So that’s the quick rundown of my slides I wanted to share with you. And ultimately, we are now been trialing, the encoder has been out for a year. We have a lot of OEM customers that have been using that technology as remote I/O into their systems. And in fact [inaudible 00:34:31] did something recently with something called, they’re called, there’s RTV.
Where they had multiple studios feeding into their system into a live virtual set. So trying to synchronize, as we talked about synchronization, very important to synchronize audio, video, keep latencies very low. Because if you… of course, bodies have to be significant, sufficient enough that the [inaudible 00:34:55] could be done well in these virtual studios.
So 4210 bid into virtual sets that is occurring on one location while two other people are interacting from thousand kilometers apart in real time. Very interesting projects, and these are the types of things we want to be able to work on moving forward.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:35:15):
Excellent. So Josh want to bring you back in, because obviously Matthew, Dan and Jim just hit on a bunch of issues that your customers probably deal with. Which is weighing latency versus quality. What is acceptable as far as the minimum threshold, given the current environment?
But obviously things will… we will bounce back and hopefully, three to four months and get it at a higher level of production again. But how have the conversations you’ve had with your clients been with respect to their concerns over things like latency and just sync and that kind of stuff?
Joshua Liemer (00:35:50):
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:35:51):
Joshua Liemer (00:35:51):
Going back to a point that Matthew was saying about bandwidth, bandwidth was always the first question I would always ask. Like how much bandwidth will we have available to us onsite? Right? Let’s start analyzing that. Today, I feel like my first question is how much access will we have onsite first and foremost, right?
So being the sole provider or end user here in this forum, a lot of what I’m dealing with is sometimes like there’s so many great solutions out there. And all… I’m taking so many notes like, oh my God, I can totally use this from Jim. And Dan I have a whole facility of Matrox stuff and Matthew a lot of questions.
Jim Jachetta (00:36:35):
Where do I start?
Joshua Liemer (00:36:36):
But one of the big challenges is like, how sophisticated can I bring this solution into this celebrity’s home, or this talent’s home? Can they run that? Will they let me have a technician? So those are new challenges obviously that I think we’re all dealing within. Jim was saying that they were… he was in two celebrities’ home and they were so gracious and that’s incredible.
And then there’s the challenge of like, oh, well, they’re not going to let anyone in, so we can just use something they’re familiar with, right? So I think that’s something that we’re dealing with in this current climate. But latency from the early days of satellite to where we are today with IP, it’s always a question. It’s how much latency is this.
And I think a lot of the question is, how much can be handled, right? I know there’s always a give and take with latency. And with our customers, they want it to be as real time as possible, right? And if the announcers are onsite, and they’re not at the Vista facility calling off monitor, then it becomes a very big challenge.
And you’re dealing with IP technology, integrating it into the audio, and obviously then sending return so people can see the end product or in some replays and calling that as well. So I think that discussing latency is always going to be part of the narrative. But there are such great solutions out there to minimize that and try to bring it down.
So when we’re doing events, we’re bringing the latency down as much as humanly possible, depending on what type of infrastructure is available to us. If we have huge on compressed fiber pipes, fantastic. And I think we’re all excited about that. If satellite brings a different component because, satellite sometimes is great.
Because you’re somewhat self contained. You roll in a track and pop up audition and you have all this bandwidth, right? But to go into a spacecraft and you’re coming back down and there’s processing, and that creates latency. In this new world of IP, there’s ways to hedge your bet a little bit.
But again, it also, you’re creating a large science project as well. So what’s amazing, and what I’m super excited about is that there’s so many great solutions out there. And really great companies that are allowing us to push that boundary, right? Like a producer can be in one location, the events in another location.
The core production staff is in a facility somewhere else, and the talent is at home, right? That what we’re all going for and making that work, and making it work for the audience. That they have no idea how much sophistication and planning and backup redundancy protocols are going into that. I think that’s what we’re all excited about.
And that’s what makes this, what we do every day, really from the technology side of it so fascinating. That ultimately we’ve got to a place where we can flip a switch, right? And it works. And to the detriment of us, that’s… people are expecting that now, right? And there’s so much work that goes into making that happen.
We were part of the together At-Home Project, and there was so much that went into that concert and that project. And for the most part it was, the people at home watching it, it was really smooth. But there was so much planning and that type of project would typically be months and months of pre-production and coordination and planning.
And it was condensed into such a small window. But it just… in this climate today, everyone is willing to roll their sleeves and work together and collaborate in a much more organic process. And I think that’s exciting for the future of what we all do.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:40:45):
Right. Well, I guess when I was looking at the history of broadcasting, let’s go back. There is always a legacy out of crisis, right? So for example, the Kennedy assassination really began the news era, right? I think news, TV news cast before that for were five to 15 minutes, right? On the evening.
And all of a sudden you got longer newscasts at the end of every night, 9/11 obviously kicked off the ticker, which is still with us. But it was supposed to be maybe a temporary thing. Is there a legacy here? Is there something that’s going to come out of this that is around forever?
I mean, to me, probably the biggest thing is people, all celebrities now will be available to do a quick hit within let’s say a golf tournament. Where you used to say, “About the roll of a track.” Now you’re not going to have to say that anymore. You’re going to say, “You know what? Let’s just do Zoom and we’ll be fine?” Anybody’s thoughts?
Matthew Goldman (00:41:33):
I think you’re correct. I really do believe that this is, as you mentioned, it’s usually causes a significant event to occur somewhere. To fundamentally change how we do things. I mean, I don’t know about you, but like hesitating to shake someone’s hand, right? I mean, that’s a three to 4,000 year old human event that’s been changed at this point in time.
So I think the fact that people are accepting the combination [inaudible 00:42:02], having to have technology out of your home. That can provide the decent enough quality where you can set up talent and have a schedule for things where you can do pop-ins. Pop-up channels, pop-in talent.
To be a producer using some of these conferencing systems that are coming of age. And I think this is also going to spur something we haven’t put a lot of thought into this yet is what, okay. That’s great. So these are pretty simple conferencing things. So now, if we do cloud tools back with these conferencing systems, what’s going to be the integral of this?
What’s the next phase of what these tools will be able to do and really be seamless following? Probably I’m going to guess seamless full production. Like we were mentioning earlier about doing things as it is service production, the cloud, distributed cloud computing.
And I think it will come to these devices, they’ll start doing more and more integration with multiple locations and effects and things like that. To make the production look seamless across multiple locations.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:43:04):
Sure. Well, Matthew, I know that you mentioned the Olympics. I know that hopefully will be next year. I guess that’s how it…
Matthew Goldman (00:43:10):
Hopefully that’s true.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:43:12):
What’s your sense on… how will these technologies because I know that OBS was pushing their boundaries, right? They were going all IP for the first time…
Matthew Goldman (00:43:19):
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:43:21):
… all HDR, all 4K.
Matthew Goldman (00:43:22):
Always as you saw with… MediaKind ourselves are going to be providing for the OBS and companies that were using the OBS feeds. [crosstalk 00:43:33].
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:43:37):
Will life next year be a little bit easier as far as the…
Matthew Goldman (00:43:39):
Well, I mean, that’s what I wanted them to explain was what people don’t realize is that for those of us in the business is, it’s not like you go on the Olympics and the day before you’re playing with the system. The system pretty much gets locked down. You’re not allowed to touch it for three or even more months beforehand with the technology.
So even though you know there are some things that perhaps we could have done better, for instance in 4K, they’re actually going to do some AK, right? In this production as well. Some of the rest of the tools that you take for granted with your HD production, we’re quite there either 4K or an 8K.
So you were mixing production environments for doing that and introducing some issues for that. So there’s a little bit of a sigh of relief so to speak. And what they’ll do is they’ll make those more mature and get them more stable. But at the same time, they are going to squeeze in as much as they can.
And I do believe that you’re going to see an increase in the amount of the production that they were planning to do for the Olympics next year. Based on, the ability to do these remote video conferencing type of… in its basic form on that. They’re going to incorporate them in.
So yes, two things it’s going to allow them to more solidify the advances that they’re always trying to push before. But I think they’re also going to push in doing, these popup celebrity type of things and for lack of a better name for it now. Somebody will come up with a clever name and they’ll have it.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:45:00):
Well, I mean, one of the classic things questions with the Olympics is, their goal is an event is to become smaller and have a smaller footprint. So that more cities could bid for the Olympics. Because obviously it keeps growing and growing then less cities can host it. So it’s always been a challenge to tell broadcasters, to keep people home.
They brought more production people, but at the end of day, they usually brought a lot more people. I think next Olympics…
Matthew Goldman (00:45:23):
But what they’re also doing though, is it allows them… you’re right, in having a major hub city. But as you’ve noticed [inaudible 00:45:31], they have the hub city where they have the major events at. But they start going, hundreds of miles, even more kilometers with these remote venues.
And being able to build upon At-Home Production, to do many more types of remote things and over and combined all the technologies that we’ve talked about today. We’ve talked about traditional satellite and maybe the, of course the Olympics. Always bring in dedicated high bandwidth fiber links.
But now they’re going to tag those in with, the cellular networks are going to bonded cellular. And on top of that, they might be doing some, the 5G is getting more and more released. Maybe there’ll be some introduction to some 5G technologies that are going to be able on this. Particularly the slicing technology that allows them to dedicate particular bandwidth from 5G.
And don’t let… you get a crowded stadium, people talking on the phone, you don’t want that to take away from your production. So you have to have that slicing technology, that 5G has. Which up to now wasn’t considered the primary first start for 5G, but maybe it will be now when they start seeing these different things they can do.
And of course, even any type of internet connection all as we talked about early, even something that might not be that stable. Through the use of things like SRT or RIST and just to get a decent quality watchable video, through and combine that with the higher production. I think you’re going to see a lot more of that.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:46:57):
Sure. Well Jim, why don’t you chime in on the 5Gs? Since I know you guys are [inaudible 00:47:00].
Jim Jachetta (00:47:01):
Yeah. So yes. There was some successful test, AVIWEST did at IBC last year with a company, a research and development entity called thebeat.com, and they were demoing how you could set up with the slicing technique, a certain level of quality of service. The problem is though that the first rollout of 5G will be download.
And we’ll be able to get video in… we’ll be able to get program feeds out to the venue, but to get to contribute to get the content out, we’re going to be running on LTE, or 4G for quite a while. Where I see the big leap in 5G is getting that latency down, to further your point, Matthew.
That the reason why bonded had to be used at the Seminole Club, was they… that was the first time that club’s ever been on TV, right? Right, Ken? I mean, you wrote the story, right?
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:48:13):
Jim Jachetta (00:48:13):
So if you’re not a golfer or you didn’t know someone who belong to that club, I’m a horrible golfer, but it was a big deal though to see behind the curtain at this club. And I doubt that club had a fiber internet connection. Now if they had a fiber optic internet connection, we probably could have gone way more aggressive with a latency, getting the latency lower.
Cellular actually, when things are operating normal, actually has a pretty decent latency about 50 or 60 milliseconds. The problem is, is it’s not constant. You’ll see it spike to three or four seconds. So you have to have multiple connections. If one connection is misbehaving, yes, we need bandwidth but I actually put latency first.
We want constant or predictable low latency particularly with the AVIWEST, because the pictures actually look really good with AVIWEST, even at low bit rate. So to your point Matthew, at Seminole, we couldn’t have done [inaudible 00:49:18]2110. We can’t do that over cellular.
Even the public internet, the pipes are not are typically not big enough or reliable enough or the latency’s not consistent enough. So people say, “Oh, are you worried? Or is AVIWEST worried about 5G eliminating the need for bonding?” 5G is meant for short distances. 5G will not go through building walls very nicely.
But if you’re outdoors on a golfing, at a golf event, yes, that will help if you’re outdoors at a baseball game that will help. But that’s not the whole picture, like our Live PD show, 5G is not going to… unless the cop cars are stopped. But while they’re going down the highway, they won’t even lock to a 5G connection.
So I always use the freeway analogy. Here in Southern California, traffic is horrible. I thought New York was bad. It’s horrible.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:50:24):
It’s great here.
Jim Jachetta (00:50:26):
They’re always adding more lanes. And the second, the new lanes open up, they fill it with cars and the traffic still sucks.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:50:33):
Jim Jachetta (00:50:33):
So we’re going to open up this 5G, that bandwidth is going to get used up right away. They’ll find new uses for it but, as a broadcaster, if we can buy a slice of it, that will certainly help to your point Matthew.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:50:48):
Sure. So Dan, I wanted to bring you in here to take us home if you will. You mentioned production in the cloud, which it seems like, unfortunately not if we were at NAB, which would be wonderful, because obviously this whole crisis wouldn’t be going on. We would have been seeing a lot of people talking about moving their infrastructure into the cloud in Grass Valley, Sony, [Evarts 00:51:08].
It would have been the thing and the theme of the show. Can you talk a little about what do you see as this future of production in the cloud, and then how that dovetails with what’s going on right now with this crisis? And then how this changes the way people are working from home and whether…
What’s the legacy here between traction and cloud? What’s going on right now and the need for less people on site?
Daniel Maloney (00:51:29):
We’ve been streaming to the cloud for its contribution or web contribution for years and the protocols in place at that time, primarily RTMP were suitable. There was no real concern for latency. But there’s a confluence of factors. There’s availability of bandwidth for a lot of venues.
There is suitable bandwidth to send more than just one stream. And then when there’s not on the… then you can go ahead and get some bottom cellular technology that’s available and use that additional bandwidth to be able to send more than just one stream up. So we got a couple goals start to see people doing curation and a variety of other things.
Other than just straight transcoding of media assets for live productions. And then finally, I guess maybe Sony announced something last year, at last NAB, called virtual production. There’s a couple of other guys that they were making basically a Windows based or workstation based software and said, well, why can’t we run this on Amazon instance?
And it really just was hung up probably in around and then COVID hit. So a lot of people are trying to showcase how they would be using their technology that way. So of course you need the edge devices, at the end points to get content up. And make cases, content data. It’s not always.
At first we thought cloud production was mostly going to be for OTT delivery. So you produce, remote at home, bring stuff back into your studio to do your regular online or linear delivery. But it may be your secondary channels over OTT, where you would produce in the cloud and deliver in the cloud.
We’re now just starting to hear is people want to pull those streams back down from the cloud, do additional contribution to it back in studio. So really it’s come a long way and, kudos to all the technologists that are contributing to these amazing developments. Not all of them are even video specialists, just network and cloud compute specialists. We, as the video guys are trying to take advantage of that contribution. And I think there’s been a lot of new… production is actually out there now.
As we all start to tweak our technologies, some creative guys like Joshua starts saying, “Hey, maybe I could find smaller and smaller productions that I could offer, because I got the creative staff to put together a good productions. And now the infrastructure to do it has become very affordable.” So the long tail that niche events may become a much more prevalent moving forward.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:54:17):
Sure. Excellent. Josh, any closing thoughts?
Joshua Liemer (00:54:21):
Yeah, I echo that. I think… I mean internet problem. I think ultimately with all the creativity, it’s just interesting to see how everyone can push these narratives? It’s been exciting to see colleagues and friends and competitors and vendors and partners all coming together, and really be able to deliver some interesting ideas. So I think that it’s amazing.
And I do think Ken to your point, the thing that will come out of this is more access to people. I think that people will be more willing to give their time and do a live hit. I think you’re going to see even this summer with some stuff that we’re working on. Half time interviews will be on utilizing virtual conferencing and stuff like that.
Even I’m going to reference a virtual school again. Last Friday, the assembly had Romero Britto. The artists come in, live from his studio and presented to the kids which was fantastic. And got a live view into their homes. So it’s pretty cool. So I think there will be another step where, some prosumer technology will hold everything that we do at a broadcast funding.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:55:40):
Got you. Matthew, what’s your closing thoughts on this whole move and based on our conversation here and what you just see in the market?
Matthew Goldman (00:55:51):
Well, I think [inaudible 00:55:51] on the line while we just been talking about it. I think we’re going to see more and more usages of At-Home Production. And the At-Home Production is going to continue as we move along the path of software defined media processing.
In the steps of networking had done, five to 10 years ago. It really started to leverage off of cloud native applications. You’re going to see the growth of this and we’re at home is a virtual home, right? And then you’ll have all these different locations. So it really will be distributed cloud computing on this.
And also really offering things as a service model as well. I mean, because we’re moving things a little bit differently and particularly in a new environment from maybe less capex to more opex type of thing. And then the opex area, not committing to something permanently.
But maybe either augmenting or trying out new type of features and functionality. I mentioned before like 360 degree video, and how people really like the concept of trying something new. But they don’t want to invest in it that much. And that’s where we had with our [inaudible 00:56:57] 360 degree solutions had seen some take up last year.
Obviously, we’re going to do more things this spring with it too, with COVID-19 for the kabash on that. We had a lot of 360 degree production in your basketball for instance, had taken off. And there was a lot of consumer interest in it, but the content providers are a little leery about spending a lot of capital expense in that.
And that’s where these new operating models that are enabled through, a cloud computing can bring on that. And the last comment I want to make on this is, this is a really decent topic and as such MediaKind is going to be publishing in the next day or two. So keep an eye on our website for this an application or white paper on At-Home Production. Stating a lot of these challenges for that, so combined take a look, please.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:57:43):
Great. Excellent. Jim, what’s your closing thoughts? [inaudible 00:57:46].
Jim Jachetta (00:57:46):
Yeah, to further your thoughts, Matt and everyone’s thoughts is if there’s anyone listening that, that is, that doubts, is At-Home Production for me. I’m not looking forward to getting on an airplane anytime soon and breathing that recirculated air. I think that that’s a great place.
I mean, we’ve all gone on long business trips and you always come back with that pesky cold that you can’t shake. But back to what you said Matt, opex versus capex, one of the biggest expenses is to a traditional remote production is all the tracks, all the personnel.
All your skilled workers, your skill personnel, your EVS operators, your TD, your director, you got to fly them all onto site. You got to put them in hotels, you have to feed them. Versus all these skilled operators now stay at home, no hotels, no airfare. You’re not obligated to feed them. They eat at home, they sleep at home. And…
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:58:54):
[inaudible 00:58:54]. They still get a lot of per diem.
Matthew Goldman (00:58:56):
They’re going to want that craft table.
Jim Jachetta (00:59:00):
So an operator… so let’s take the golfing match, this Sunday’s game. Those operators got to break down, fly home. They couldn’t do another event in the same day. So where an operator can do maybe one or two events a week, if you’re doing from at home, these operators could do two events a day.
Ken Kerschbaumer (00:59:29):
Jim Jachetta (00:59:30):
Their master control doesn’t sit dark half the time. So an event could happen mid day on the East Coast goes for a few hours, then a late afternoon event. And on the West Coast, the same infrastructure, the same personnel can do these two events. And some of the folks at NEP and Game Creek and some of the other track production folks have…
On our website, we have a picture of a track with a line through it. And it’s just for marketing purposes that’ll get people’s attention. So I tell some of my friends like, I’m trying to make a point that tracks are not going to go away. But maybe there’ll be more of them and they’ll be smaller.
Until we get the latency really, really low over cellular, it’s not possible to really shade a camera on a half a second or a second latency. So you’ll need some operators on site. So I think the cost model, the cost savings makes a lot on… I don’t know if we’re going to do Monday Night Football or the Super Bowl, a full At-Home Production.
But we’ll have more events. Maybe we’ll do more AAA, more high school, more college, people’s homes like you say Josh, people’s homes like we’ve seen here in Hollywood. So I leave you with that. At-Home is doable, and it could save you lots of money.
Ken Kerschbaumer (01:01:18):
Got you. And Dan final thoughts to you? Since you were so patient at the beginning. Closes out.
Daniel Maloney (01:01:24):
Well, I think everything has been said. I’ll just say that I think COVID maybe there’s a silver lining to COVID at least from a personal perspective. All my kids, all the sporting events have been canceled in my area except for golf. And maybe I’ll be able to get up to play golf with [inaudible 01:01:39], there’s nothing else [inaudible 01:01:41].
So that’s the one silver lining to this COVID lockdown. Maybe I’ll make golfers out of my children. Because right now they don’t want to have anything to do with it.
Ken Kerschbaumer (01:01:52):
Awesome. Well, thank you so much, guys. Really appreciate your time this afternoon. Stay safe.
Matthew Goldman (01:01:57):
Thank you Ken.
Daniel Maloney (01:01:57):
Thank you so much Ken.
Jim Jachetta (01:01:58):
Thanks Ken. Thanks everyone. Be safe, guys.
Ken Kerschbaumer (01:02:01):