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CEO Interview: Claudio Lisman, Primestream

Primestream is leading the way in cloud-based production, taking any streaming protocol and turning it into an editable house format so that producers and technicians can run live productions from anywhere.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: I'm speaking today with Claudio Lisman, who is the CEO of Primestream. Claudia, how are you? We're going to talk about the move to IP production today, and how Primestream is helping facilitate that. Now, Primestream of course, most people know as a company that focuses on media asset management, and that's core to what Primestream does, right?

Claudio Lisman: That's correct.

Schumacher-Rasmussen: We'll come back to that in a minute. But you've recently put a heavy emphasis on IP-based production and bonded cellular. Can you talk about the changes in the market that are behind you making that move?

Lisman: At Primestream, we are also known for recording baseline HD and UHD. Well, the time came where I saw that we were beginning to work with streams, protocols that we are using right now [in Zoom] like WebRTC to communicate. And then with the pandemic, we had an acceleration of the need to be able to produce in the cloud. But producing in the cloud with a virtual switcher, without being able to record in formats that can be edited—it makes sense but it does not completely make sense. So I started thinking, "Hey, how about if we can treat a stream as we treat a baseband signal?" And basically what we're doing is like transcoding. We are getting a stream protocol-based signal, and we are converting it in real time, into a workable format.

Schumacher-Rasmussen: And you call this ecosystem that you've created an IP Network Operations Center. What are the components of that IP network operation center?

Lisman: The IP Network Operations Center basically has computers that are recording streams. But then from the origination, you have the sources that could be coming in SRT or WebRTC or RTSP or HLS. Those sources based on one computer, you can record them, you can test them, and then you can manipulate them as you want. So basically the components are one computer. I mean, [with a] computer connected to the web, you can have a full production.

Schumacher-Rasmussen: And as we'll show with a slide here or two in just a minute, that greatly simplifies the workflow doesn't it?

Lisman: Tremendously, because when you need to work with baseband sources, you have to have routing switchers, to monitor streams you need to take the HDMI out of the computer, and so on. Yes. Completely simplified the topology.

Schumacher-Rasmusssen: Now you mentioned SRT earlier. Can you talk about some of the transport protocols that Primestream is able to use in the Network Operations Center, and a little bit about the pros and cons of each?

Lisman: We can do RTMP, HLS, MPEG-DASH, SRT, you name it. If something is out there as a protocol, we can work with it. Advantages: I mean, basically I think that there are two advantages or disadvantages. Compression is compression, better compression is always better. But what I see in protocols such as SRT is the encryption capability, the low latency that goes into milliseconds, or that allows you to produce much better in a web-based environment.

Schumacher-Rasmussen: Right now, in your workflow, you're emphasizing bonded cellular quite a bit. What sort of applications in use cases are you seeing for the workflow that you've put together, particularly using bonded cellular?

Lisman: Well, cellular is taking off. I remember when I started in my professional career, my background is a satellite. And the first antenna I installed was a 13 meter, 39 feet—huge! You can only transport a few channels on those. And we started coming down on size, seven meters, five meters, three meters, 1.9 meter. And I remember times where we needed to move a truck to cover some news, or we needed to align microwave antennas, and if you had something blocking you, you had to do a dual-path and so on. Well, with bonded cellular, all that is simplified. Now you can go on site for an ENG coverage with a small backpack, and you can transmit to anywhere in the world from your cellular device, your multiplexed cellular. So I think the advantages are ease of use, flexibility to move around, and the capability to have multiple sites receiving that signal concurrently.

Schumacher-Rasmussen: Let's close off by talking specifically about the products and services that are part of this network operation center, there's Media IO™, and there's the Xchange Media Cloud™. What exactly are those products, or those services/platforms, and how do they fit together?

Lisman: Media IO basically is a recording a module that allows you to bring in a signal, any stream—or baseband as well, but we're talking about streaming and streaming protocols. Sometimes I think we've move from an RF tuner to an IP tuner. Before, to connect with a signal you had to go to your TV or your satellite receivers set up a frequency or turn the wheel, and now any website is a tuner. You can tune to any website just by writing a URL or an IP on a port. So basically what Media IO does, you place your IP that you're searching, the port that is coming immediately, you'll be viewing the signal, and from there you can start recording it, you can start also editing it because we converted in real time to an editable format. So, that's where Media IO has is place. Xchange is where we administer all of this content, where we place the metadata, where we do sub-clipping, where we resend that content to someone else or publish it to OTT and social.

To find out more, visit Primestream, and watch for the Primestream white paper in the November/December issue of Streaming Media magazine.

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