About ETALK and Bell Media

ETALK & Bell Media

ETALK provides viewers with the latest news on movies, music, television, fashion, and more. Canada’s most-watched entertainment news program also celebrates both home grown and international stars and was the first daily Canadian entertainment news program when it launched in 2002.

Bell Media is Canada’s leading media and entertainment company with a portfolio of assets in premium video, audio, out-of-home advertising, and digital. This includes Canada’s most-watched television network, CTV; the largest Canadian-owned video streamer, Crave, with a premium add-on to include STARZ; a powerful suite of specialty channels; the most-trusted news brand, CTV News; Canada’s cross-platform sports leaders, TSN and RDS; leading out-of-home advertising network, Astral; Québec’s fast-growing conventional French-language network, Noovo; the country’s leading radio and podcast app, iHeartRadio Canada; and a range of award-winning original productions, brands, and services. As a content leader and partner in Sphere Media, Montréal’s Grande Studios, and Dome Productions, one of North America’s leading production facilities providers, Bell Media is committed to keeping Canadians entertained and informed. Bell Media also offers best-in-class technology, marketing, and analytics support through Bell Marketing Platform, an omnichannel self-serve platform which includes Bell Analytics, Strategic Audience Management (SAM), and Bell DSP, in addition to advanced advertising solutions, including Linear Addressable TV, Addressable Audio, and ads on Crave. Bell Media is part of BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada’s largest communications company. Learn more at BellMedia.ca. 

“This is a massive show for us, one of our top programs of the year. We used these solutions for the first time, and it saved the whole production. That’s a testament to the product and the onsite Haivision team, helping us when we needed it. I was quite impressed and I’m already planning to use it again.”

David Azoulay
Technical Producer, Bell Media

Onsite Haivision Support Team

The Challenge

SRT over cellular bonding

Photo Credit: Jérémy Guevel, 2024

For coverage of the 2024 edition of “ETALK at the Oscars®”, Bell Media sent a field production team to a villa in the Hollywood Hills along with ETALK on-air talent to cover live red carpet arrivals. A camera crew was also dispatched to Hollywood Boulevard, where the awards ceremony was taking place, and sent live video feeds to Bell Media’s Toronto facility for final production and broadcast.

However, with no time to survey the site ahead of time, David Azoulay, technical producer at Bell Media, was unaware of the cellular connectivity in the area but knew that the transmission options were going to be limited:

“We knew where we were going to be shooting but didn’t know what kind of connectivity would be available. The challenge was producing one of the biggest live shows on our network with no idea of the kind of cell service or upload speeds we would be working with.”

The production was a three-camera shoot with live video that needed to be sent back to the control room in Toronto. The field production team in the villa also required return feeds for immediate playback so on-air talent could discuss celebrity arrivals in real-time.

In preparation, David put together multiple solutions including a set-up with Haivision Rack400 video encoders, Haivision Quad CellLink antennas, and Haivision StreamHub receivers. He had also procured an IP gateway from another vendor, but it did not meet their strict criteria during testing and could not be used for the live production.

“The initial plan was to transmit video using SRT over cellular bonding, along with a gateway product from another vendor,” said David. “Unfortunately, the gateway didn’t work as expected, and we couldn’t use it for production. So, we were in a real jam and needed to find another solution.”

The Solution

Cellular Bonded Broadcast Production

Photo Credit: Jérémy Guevel, 2024

With the show fast approaching, David and his team turned to a cellular bonding solution consisting of three Haivision Rack400 video encoders, Quad CellLink antennas, and a Haivision StreamHub receiver located in Toronto. The Rack400 encoders transmitted camera feeds from the red carpet to the StreamHub receiver located in Bell Media’s Toronto facilities where all the postproduction, including camera switching and overlays, were being handled.

For the return feeds back to the villa, the StreamHub was used to send content back to the Rack400s, so that the on-air talent could comment on what was happening on the red carpet in real-time. Although familiar with Haivision Makito X4 video encoders and decoders, David hadn’t had the chance to use Haivision mobile solutions yet but had the support of the onsite Haivision team.

“I’m very familiar with Haivision encoders and decoders because we used them a lot for remote production during COVID,” said David. “This was the first time I had a chance to use Haivision’s mobile transmitters and the gear worked great, allowing us to stream the event successfully.”

Haivision's Remote Broadcast Solution

Photo Credit: Jérémy Guevel, 2024

The Result

Despite the unpredictable cellular network in the area, the Haivision solution successfully streamed the event with no issues thanks to some of the key features of the Rack400 and StreamHub, its ease-of-use, and how quick it was to set up and get working.

“The reliability and the robustness of the solution were important for us. Also, the genlock feature was a big advantage because everything had to stay synchronized while streaming multiple feeds over the internet. Haivision products work in environments where the network isn’t optimal, like the internet, and we see that on the cellular side as well,” added David. “It’s also quick to set up and it wasn’t long before we were able to verify the signal back to Toronto and we were up and running.”

With this year’s coverage of “ETALK at the Oscars®” a success, David already has plans to leverage Haivision mobile video solutions for future broadcasts.

“This is a massive show for us, one of our top programs of the year. We used these solutions for the first time, and it saved the whole production. That’s a testament to the product and the onsite Haivision team, helping us when we needed it. I was quite impressed and I’m already planning to use it again.”

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