For years, live and remote content production has stood firm and fixed due to the sheer amount of resource required to produce broadcast quality video content. This has all started to change in practicality due to the connectivity and computing power now available. Due to developments in network connectivity, we can effectively process high quality video and audio in real time, move large numbers of high bitrate video streams from location to location, and production teams can now be split across sites, or even work at home. In response to the pandemic, remote production has now flourished in popularity thanks to its increased feasibility.
This is not to say that remote live production comes without challenges. Costs, crew and connectivity - specifically Bandwidth and Latency - are three of the major considerations associated with producing content remotely. As connectivity has enabled remote production to occur so effectively, it is undoubtedly the most critical limiting factor in a successful remote production system. We take a focus on this and explore the impact of bandwidth and latency on remote production.
No matter what model or type of remote production is chosen by an organisation, it will more often than not be determined by the bandwidth available to a particular site. Bandwidth is a key limiting factor at many sites, and connectivity is now part of the site assessment for outside broadcasts. The very fact that remote production can occur today with such efficiency is because of the bandwidth capabilities now available.
Elements of remote production most affected by bandwidth are, of course, any video aspect. This is due to the higher data rates of video compared to audio and any other control signals, communication and systems. Using uncompressed video in a remote site with multiple cameras feeds will easily require bandwidth capacity from at least 10G to 100G.
This sort of connectivity requirement was historically only available at large, systematically set up and frequently used venues such as sports stadiums or studio sites. Thanks to the rise of Edge networking and direct routes from high capacity network providers, it is now possible to set up high bandwidth connectivity services practically anywhere you need. Not only is it possible, but necessary. As our consumption of on-the-fly content continues to increase, the value of producing it with cost-effective solutions and remote processes is expected.
For those using a Cloud production architecture, direct connectivity to the chosen cloud provider can also be a key enabler. There has been significant growth in such provision, and most major network providers can offer interconnection to major cloud platforms.
In summary, remote production would simply be unattainable without high capacity bandwidth that is both easily scalable, agile and reliable.
The impacts of latency in remote production are extensive, and it can be an issue for both control signals and media streams involved.
As we mentioned above, it is video data that is more problematic than audio when it comes to bandwidth. It is the contrary when it comes to latency. Increased latency can cause more problems with audio than video. Problems can be easily caused for on-screen contributors and crew when there is a higher latency in audio mixing and intercoms.
That is not to say it doesn't impact video, and the effect of latency varies greatly depending on the content being produced. For example, a high-speed bullet train moving at 150mph will make the cutting between shots more problematic when compared to managing feeds of a slow-moving steam train. This points back to the different types of remote production models available and which type may suit the content being produced each time.
There are numerous ways to reduce latency no matter the conditions of a remote production situation. By using a distributed or cloud architecture with suitable choices of data centre or region, it may be achievable to reduce latency by placing critical data processing closer to the acquisition site. Essentially, through edge networking. This is why it is crucial that your network provider not only offers low latency solutions, whilst operating with a huge bandwidth capacity, but it is a well-connected operator that can fulfil these needs by having presence and infrastructure in diverse locations.
Interested in finding out more about connectivity solutions for remote production? 01T specialises in connectivity for content delivery and our team of experts are available for any related questions you may have. Give us a call or fill in the form below.