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Best Practices for Streaming in Modern Production Workflows

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Streaming technologies play an integral role in modern production, whether for producing hybrid or virtual events, powering remote workflows, capturing and delivering live feeds of corporate conferences, and beyond. With streaming technologies ubiquitous in today’s market and a wide range of options to choose from, here’s how global production teams are leveraging streaming tools across different scenarios to meet a range of needs.

Simple Thought Productions Streams Rare Flower Blooms

There’s a live stream for nearly everything today from high school sports matches to the International Space Station, to even rare plant blooms like that of the Amorphophallus titanum. Commonly known as the “corpse flower,” the endangered plant takes up to ten years to cultivate in captivity. In blooming, it can grow up to 6 inches a day, and it emits an unforgettable putrid scent. Public interest in watching these rare blooms online has grown in recent years, and botanical gardens and university greenhouses have risen to the occasion with live bloom broadcasts. Simple Thought Productions recently produced a live corpse flower bloom stream on YouTube for Rollins College in Florida using a camera and an AJA HELO H.264 streaming and recording device.

AJA Helo

Rollins College Greenhouse Manager Alan Chryst obtained the college’s first corpse plant seedling in 2004, and its first bloom took place over a decade later. Having successfully streamed the first event, Simple Thought Productions was asked to return ahead of two anticipated April 2022 blooms at the college. Always up for a challenge, Simple Thought Productions Founder Josh Chesarek was thrilled to take on the job. Evolving his approach for the previous stream, he opted to build his workflow for the project with AJA HELO at the core.

“It’s not every day as a video production pro that you’re asked to capture a live feed of a plant that grows upwards of six feet in under a week and unleashes a scent so rancid that it reminds you of roadkill roasting on a hot summer day,” he said. “The environmental conditions also made it a fun challenge. We had to figure out the right gear to withstand incredibly hot, humid, and wet greenhouse conditions, and AJA HELO proved just the right fit.”

Prior to the bloom, Chesarek positioned the camera and HELO within proper view of the corpse flower and encased the gear in a large plastic bag to prevent water damage from damp greenhouse conditions. With the camera connected to HELO over SDI and HELO connected to Ethernet and a power source, Chesarek could easily stop and start the 1080p YouTube live stream remotely.

He shared, “I chose HELO because I’ve used it in production and felt confident it could manage the job. During the previous bloom, we used other encoders, which would go offline randomly, and interrupt the stream, so I’d have to stop what I was doing and drive in to reboot the encoder. This time around we had more than 10,000 viewers tune in without interruption, thanks in large part to HELO.” Even when running 237 consecutive hours in a 90-degree, humid climate, the stream ran smoothly.

KBS Advances Remote Broadcast Transmission

Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), Korea’s largest public broadcaster, delights audiences across the region with a broad range of content, including live coverage of international sporting competitions. As it began preparations to relay a high-profile global sporting event held in Beijing, China, in March 2022, pandemic-era challenges prompted KBS to rethink its traditional production approach. Rather than rely on dispatching local crews and broadcast facilities as it had in the past, KBS leveraged a cloud-based broadcasting system to enable remote production. To bolster monitoring and return signal configuration for the transmission, the company established a workflow comprising an AJA BRIDGE LIVE multi-channel live video solution for remote production, contribution, collaboration, streaming, and delivery.

Previously, KBS leveraged an SRT-equipped workstation or IP equipment to support monitoring and return signal configuration for remote broadcasts. This approach, however, resulted in less than desirable picture and sound quality. In exploring alternatives, bandwidth proved a key consideration for the KBS team, as moving to the cloud would require a stable receivable bandwidth of at least 100Mbps.

Offering encoding and decoding of H.264, H.265, MPEG-2, JPEG-2000, and NDI codecs up to UltraHD 60p, AJA BRIDGE LIVE is able to easily manage the bandwidth required for a live cloud signal. According to Park Kwon-Soon, KBS technical director, broadcast systems, “BRIDGE LIVE provides incredibly stable network bandwidth for our workflow, which is essential in live broadcasting environments. It’s durable and delivers truly exceptional performance, unlike anything we’ve seen before.”

Since introducing BRIDGE LIVE into its workflow, KBS has leveraged the device regularly for its Integrated Broadcast Broadband (IBB) service, as well as domestic and international broadcasts. In addition to operating cable/satellite/IPTV channels through its subsidiaries, KBS plans to use its cloud-based remote solution in broadcasting future landmark sports events.

In reflecting on the new capabilities of KBS’ workflow, Kwon-Soon added, “BRIDGE LIVE gives us more flexibility across the production chain with support for multiple channels of input/output, as well as a wide range of streaming protocols, such as RTMP, HLS, and SRT. We’ve just begun to uncover its potential and can’t wait to continue exploring its broad feature set.”

aja bridge live

Avteamuk Streamlines Hybrid Event A/V Setup

As hybrid event models have become the new norm, live event production companies like AVTEAMUK LTD have navigated a range of new challenges—from adopting new technologies to refining live stream chat moderation strategies and incorporating real-time social media interactions into an event stream. With each hybrid event requiring so many moving parts, fast and simple A/V setup on-site is paramount, which AVTEAMUK deploys AJA’s Thunderbolt-equipped Io 4K Plus audio and video I/O technology to support.

“The pandemic presented a paradigm shift for live events and drastically altered our day-to-day. We had to pivot to support hybrid events, which meant new investments in technology like the AJA Io 4K Plus,” shared AVTEAMUK Founder and Managing Director Matt Thompson. “It’s an incredibly portable I/O solution that allows us to quickly input any SDI sources we need to into our laptops in seconds, which is a huge time and money saver, as venues often charge an overnight hold fee to account for setup time. Io 4K Plus also has such a flexible feature set, which has helped us handle many unexpected client curve balls.”

The AVTEAMUK crew handles nearly every aspect of each hybrid event, from providing the rental equipment to the crew, planning, and logistics. Once they sign a client, the team builds a proposal that outlines risk assessments, project floor plans, method statements, and more, and then determines the best path forward with the client. Io 4K Plus is a staple for most of its hybrid event productions and fits easily into a mobile hybrid trolley that AVTEAMUK designed and built in-house for events. The trolley also includes radio mic receivers and antenna distribution, monitors, streaming tech, fully integrated patch bay, recorders, and other essential gear for managing NDI sources and streaming needs. When the team arrives on-site for a project, they unload the trolley from a truck, roll it into the venue, and can start working after a short setup. AVTEAMUK recently deployed the trolley to produce a hybrid aortic surgery masterclass. As surgeons from Holland physically gathered at the College of Surgeons, the team live-streamed their demonstrations to virtual attendees worldwide. With limited time to set up the A/V workflow in the surgical area, the team was able to hook AJA’s Io 4K Plus into a laptop on-site quickly and easily. Outside of healthcare applications, they have leveraged the AJA-equipped trolley to produce hybrid events for customers across a broad range of industries, including defense, cybersecurity, utilities, education, enterprise, and entertainment.

Thompson concluded, “4K acquisition gives us greater stabilization and more f lexibility in post, so even though we’re streaming in HD, we’re often working with 4K/UltraHD devices. The Io 4K Plus supports these technologies, and provides a reliable, high-quality I/O product. We’re constantly on the lookout for tools like Io 4K Plus that can reduce deployment time on-site without compromising production quality.”

GAHRENS + BATTERMANN Produces Standout Live Events in UltraHD HDR

Technological advancements continue to raise the bar for modern live event experiences, enabling interactive, high-resolution video with rich colors, 3D projection mapping, augmented reality graphics, and more. German full-service event provider GAHRENS + BATTERMANN (G+B) specializes in pushing the boundaries of such technological evolutions to help its clients deliver memorable in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. To do so, the company leverages a host of AJA technologies, including those geared toward UltraHD HDR workf lows. Anticipating future demand for UltraHD HDR event production, G+B began building mobile 12G-SDI UltraHD HDR control rooms in 2019, but demand has just started to take off in recent months as in-person and hybrid events have resumed, alongside continued demand for virtual events.

Last fall, G+B deployed a mobile control room to live stream a press conference from the IAA Exhibition in Munich, Germany— complete with key/fill overlays for lower thirds—for one of Germany’s most well-known automotive brands. The project required a dedicated workflow including a switcher and playback systems, and signal distribution to six large LED screens on the client’s exhibition booth. Considering the nature of the project, audio and video demands, and space restrictions, G+B relied extensively on the equipment in the mobile control room to manage the job.

Pre-wired control racks, a professional production switcher, and high-grade cameras run standard in each unit, with high-quality conversion and signal distribution, analysis, and recording technology pivotal to the design. “No two projects are the same, but conversion is always part of the workflow blueprint,” shared G+B Broadcast Specialist Daniela Böhmer. “This is especially true when working with various HDR standards and camera formats, which is why AJA FS-HDR has been an invaluable part of our mobile fleet; it makes cross conversions and associated LUT processing more straightforward. The entire FS line is amazing in that it provides so much flexibility; whether de-/embedding audio or converting video, we can achieve so many different signals and formats in different ways.”

G+B also uses FS-HDR to up/down/cross convert four channels of 2K/HD across projects and realize 4K 12G-SDI productions for customers who require it. Böhmer added, “UltraHD HDR live event production is still nascent, and many of the productions we work on are realized in HD and SDR. However, every year, advanced formats gain more traction, especially as the industry begins to see their potential. In time, as the cost of equipment comes down and implementation becomes more practical, we anticipate UltraHD HDR to become an industry standard, and having already worked with it, we’re well-positioned for this future reality.”

In addition to using FS-HDR, G+B taps a range of AJA Mini-Converters in its mobile control room to support unexpected conversion needs that arise, such as a client who requests a change that requires audio-embedding, or a key/fill feed for lower-thirds that demands HDMI to SDI signal conversion. “We have to be prepared to address last minute client requests, which is why we built the control rooms to support a variety of signal types and formats,” Böhmer explained. “AJA gear has been helpful in this respect, providing high-performance, reliable, and cost-effective conversion solutions to adapt to changes.”

For image analysis, each mobile control room also includes an AJA HDR Image Analyzer, which allows the production team to view all the important data of the attached video signal in a structured way. When camera matching, the team can seamlessly switch between different settings and views of the waveform representation to get the best possible picture out of the camera. No control room is complete, however, without routing and recording equipment. For this, G+B uses AJA KUMO 3232-12G compact SDI routers and Ki Pro video recorders.

In the coming years, Böhmer expects demand for high-quality content production with video streaming to increase, and is confident that G+B is prepared to handle this future with its mobile UltraHD HDR control rooms.

Looking for More Streaming Resources?

If you’re looking for more insights on upgrading your live stream, visit AJA’s website for additional resources: www.aja.com/solutions/streaming

About AJA Video Systems, Inc.

Since 1993, AJA Video has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions and professional cameras, bringing high-quality, cost-effective products to the professional, broadcast and post-production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com.

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