The pandemic has forced us to rethink the way live broadcasts are delivered across India. News gathering teams have had to shift from bustling news rooms to delivering news bulletins from home and sports broadcasters minimize their on-site crews.
Remote at-home (REMI) production has enabled broadcasters to significantly reduce the size of the teams they send on location and their equipment needs, as well as ensure that they can fully comply with COVID regulations as they have evolved. The technology is in place today to enable broadcasters to wirelessly synchronize multiple live video sources and, as a result, reduce costs by producing multi-camera live events from a centralized studio control room.
Remote at-home production and cloud production workflows have become the new normal for the broadcast industry. Presenters and commentators are becoming adept at delivering a live signal directly from portable field units and an app on their smartphones, without the need for additional technical equipment or streaming skills. Leveraging the bonding technology pioneered by LiveU, these solutions combine the bandwidth of Wi-Fi and cellular to transmit the camera signals in broadcast quality.
Production teams have also had to learn how to edit and produce live broadcasts using a laptop and cloud-based editing tools which not only reduce upfront production costs but also enable teams to be more agile as they take advantage of the scalability afforded by cloud-based solutions.
Innovating fan engagement with the Kolkata Knight Riders
The pandemic has forced broadcasters to find new ways to enrich the at-home viewing experience and nowhere is this need more acute than in sport.
In 2020, the Indian Premier League (IPL) took place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) without spectators. To meet the unique fan engagement challenges presented by this situation, the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), one of the most innovative teams in the IPL, came up with new concepts such as Knight Live – live interviews with players, KKR Fan Cam – live streaming their practice sessions, and provided daily updates, match coverage, and more.
Achint Gupta, head of content, Kolkata Knight Riders, said, “The good thing with Fan Cam was that fans got the opportunity to understand how the practice sessions were going. The LiveU Solo Plus is a video encoder and it allows us to go live simultaneously on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and our own website.”
By the end of the season, KKR had generated a fan following of around 21 million from high quality content that was captured by their camera connected to the LiveU Solo Plus unit.
Remote production keeping us connected
The pandemic has placed restrictions on attendance at weddings, funerals, and religious ceremonies, amongst other events. This has led to a boom in live streaming across India from all sections of society.
The Isha Yoga Center, headquarters for the Isha Foundation, is based in Tamil Nadu and was founded by Indian Yogi, Mystic and Author Sahdguru. Isha’s web streaming team, who were already using LiveU solutions prior to the pandemic, broadcasts various events to millions of people around the globe – the biggest one being the Mahashivratri festival. As the demand’s on Isha’s web streaming team have continued to grow over the years, they increasingly value reliability, ease of use and portability in a live streaming solution.
The team delivered an outdoor live production for the Cauvery Calling initiative, part of Rally for Rivers, on their social media platforms with the help of LiveU Solo units and a few phone-based apps (LiveU Smart) and also broadcast on-the-move with Sadhguru during the motorcycle rally.
Swami Trika, a full-time volunteer in Isha’s web streaming team, said, “We had a LiveU unit hooked up to a camera on a car and followed Sadhguru and the motorcycle rally as it went along. We were pulling the feed into a local server from which we were able to switch between cameras and other recorded videos.”
In this case, both cellular bonding technology, which combines channels from multiple cellular modems to provide a single consistent and reliable connection and LiveU’s LRT (LiveU Reliable Transport) technology were critical to the Isha web streaming team’ success. LiveU’s LRT technology enables reliable, low delay live video streaming allowing customers to broadcast exciting live content in even the most remote locations.
What is on the live broadcast horizon?
IP-based production workflows represent the next frontier in live broadcasting as many in the industry become increasingly aware of the advantages that remote at-home production can bring. Tools such as LiveU’s IP Pipe, enable production teams to control cameras from a remote location.
As we look further into the future, I expect the adoption of IP-based production workflows to steadily increase across India.