Video Encoding Basics: Remote Production 101

As part of our Video Encoding Basics series, we are exploring some of the important concepts in video streaming for broadcast workflows. In this post, we will be reviewing remote production – something that has seen a definitive spike in popularity in the past few months. More specifically, we will be focused on remote production over IP – what it is, why it is used, and how to implement a remote production solution for your own workflows.

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What is Remote Production?

Remote production, sometimes referred to as the Remote Integration Model (REMI) or at-home production, is a broadcast workflow where content is captured live at a remote location while production is performed at a main studio, or elsewhere. Remote production is typically used for sports or other events, where having a full production suite on-location is not reasonable.

Remote production over IP uses the public internet to stream video and audio feeds from the location to the production studio, which has certainly aided the widespread adoption of remote production. In the past, teams needed to use expensive equipment such as OB (outside broadcast) vans and satellite uplinks to send live video and audio feeds back to the studio. But as more venues have become equipped with broadband connections, more broadcasters have adopted remote production over IP – not only is it much less expensive, but has also been shown to have lower latency than older methods.

What are the Advantages of Remote Production?

There are two main reasons that broadcasters favor remote production over IP: it is efficient, and it is flexible.

Remote production over IP, especially the internet, reduces both the costs and complexity of producing a live broadcast. Broadcasters don’t need to purchase or ship expensive production equipment to remote venues, and your production team can continue to work in their familiar studio.

It is also a flexible solution. As less staff and equipment needs to be moved in order to produce a live broadcast, it opens more options as to what events broadcasters can cover. This is especially important for smaller events and amateur sports, where budgets are significantly smaller. It also enables teams to react to last-minute schedule changes, as reporters, commentators, and camera crews can more easily be sent to the field quickly.

And this flexibility is not only important for teams in the field. As the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed how people around the world work, broadcast has also been affected. Distributed remote production workflows have allowed more staff to work from home, with some reporting the news from their own homes, reducing the number of people in the studio, and keeping teams safe.

How does Remote Production Work?

Please see the workflow diagram below for an example of how a basic remote contribution workflow from a sports venue may look. In this workflow, there are four cameras, each connected to video encoders, sending the video streams over the SRT streaming protocol, through a gateway, to video decoders at the production studio, where the production team can then switch between camera angles and prepare the footage to be distributed to viewers.

Remote Contribution WorkflowThere are of course, several variations of this workflow, depending on what the live video is being used for. But in each workflow, using the right tools will ensure that your video feeds are synchronized, live video will arrive with low latency and high quality, and that your video streams will be secure from unauthorized users.

Want to learn more about remote production and how it can it help to make your broadcast workflows more efficient and flexible? Explore our remote broadcast solutions page, with resources and customer success stories showing the true value of a proper remote production solution.

Understand the Fundamentals of Video Streaming

The Essential Guide to Low Latency Video Streaming is an excellent resource for anyone interested in live video streaming and video encoding.

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