Haivision Helps Power Remote Production, Collaboration, and Monitoring for Outside Broadcast Specialist, Cloudbass

Cloudbass is a leading privately owned outside broadcast facilities provider based in the UK. It’s a leader in coverage of live sporting, political, and entertainment events including British Superbike Championship and the British Touring Car Championship with high profile broadcast clients such as Sky and the BBC. With a dedicated 27,000 sq ft facility in central England along with a graphics office based in Pinewood Studios, Cloudbass provides a range of services to the broadcast market, from crew to graphics to full HD Outside Broadcast (OB) facilities and anything in between.

Pandemic Challenges

During the COVID-19 pandemic it became very apparent that to provide its clients with the services they needed, Cloudbass had to explore new ways to monitor and control its outside broadcast trucks. To comply with social distancing regulations and limit the number of people on-site, Cloudbass made the switch to remote workflows for key elements such as remote monitoring, remote production, vision and video mixing, and remote operation of replay systems and graphics. Whether it be football, motorsports, or political panels, all of its events coverage is live so finding a low latency, reliable, high-quality solution was imperative.

Innovative New Workflows

Working closely with its digital video solutions partner, Garland, Cloudbass set about researching potential solutions that would enable new and flexible ways of working. Haivision Makito X4 video encoders were selected as the new workflows required high quality, ultra-low latency transport of video signals using the Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) protocol from OB trucks onsite into the homes of graphics operators and producers, using low bandwidth connections.

Michael Beaumont, Technical Director, Cloudbass explains “Cloudbass is an innovative company and always on the lookout for more efficient ways of working. Using Haivision Makito X4 video encoders has enabled us to provide remote capabilities from all our OB trucks even when limited 4G internet is available. This solution protects us from further COVID outbreaks and local lockdowns and ensures that we reduce the number of people needed on-site to comply with social distancing measures.”

Haivision Makito X4 Video Encoder

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Collaborate and Monitor Anywhere

Developed during lockdown within a month, Cloudbass deployed a new solution allowing it to offer a safe environment for its team to collaborate in near real-time. The Haivision component of the solution includes Makito X4 video encoders in its OB trucks which are connected to an internet router to enable secure reliable transport of broadcast quality to an SRT Gateway which can reroute streams anywhere. The Gateway is hosted in the cloud as a distribution platform to either at home set-top boxes receiving SRT streams or through an origin server to create low latency WebRTC streams for viewing on laptops. With under 500ms of latency, the solution allows teams to work together seamlessly, giving viewers a rich and engaging experience, regardless of where operators are located.

Cloudbass remote workflows

Cloudbass Remote Workflow

Recently Cloudbass successfully provided remote operation of graphics for all 12 rounds of the GT World Challenge America hosted in various venues around the USA, all controlled from home in the UK. In previous years, the meant sending a UK-based graphics operator to each of the events, however this year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Cloudbass needed to find a safer remote solution. Michael shares that “A small kit was sent out to the US, enabling us to bring back low-latency monitoring feeds using the SRT protocol via the Haivision SRT Gateway so that we could view them here in the UK and control the onsite graphics in almost real-time.”

Accelerated Emergency Response Time

Michael explains that this technology has also driven some additional benefits that enable new workflows. “During the British Touring Car Championship, crew in the medical car are using the Haivision Play Pro app to view a low latency feed of the race coverage on an iPad. As soon as an incident occurs, they can quickly identify what happened and where, and are able to assist the race marshals and driver much faster.”

The Future of Remote Production

It’s clear that COVID-19 has accelerated the transition to remote production over IP for broadcasters and it looks like some of these changes won’t necessarily be temporary. As Michael comments “We don’t believe that OB work will ever go back to the way it was pre-COVID. Remote work is set to continue, and we see this as the beginning of a remote journey.”

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