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How to Succeed with REMI and Cloud Production

CNN's Ben Ratner, LiveU's Mike Savello, and Signiant's Jon Finegold discuss best practices and lessons learned from forays into REMI and cloud production that have yielded successful workflows in this clip from their panel at Streaming Media East 2022.

Learn more about REMI and cloud production at Streaming Media West 2022.

Corey Behnke: Can you discuss a success story you recently had for your company or client that utilized a remote hybrid workflow?

Ben Ratner: So, I don't know if any of you had to deal with this COVID thing, but it caused a couple issues. We couldn't all broadcast from CNN in New York. So, before I got to CNN, my boss built this great workflow with physical computers at people's houses, so they didn't have to go into the office for anything. And then over the course of the last six months, we had a hurricane hit New York and we had a snowstorm hit New York, which knocked out our main system and then our redundant system in two different parts of the state. So we had to take those systems, which were already remote, but not cloud, and we had to shift them to the cloud very quickly. A, so we could just get them up and running without having to acquire new computers or anything; and B, because it was very hard to get new computers because there's also a chip shortage. So we were able to very quickly shift our production from remote on-prem to cloud off-prem very quickly. And those shows never missed a beat.

Jon Finegold: So, lots of interesting stories, but thinking back to the early days of the pandemic one of the stories that I think we're most proud of at Signiant when live sports started to come back there was a tremendous amount of uncertainty and just no one knowing how many people could be on site, and the rules kept changing and they were different in different locations. And of course, when someone would get sick and you'd have to switch people up. So we had a team come together with a variety of media tech partners. Of course, Signiant plays the role of just helping file-based content kind of before, during, and after moving stuff to and from the venue and the truck. And how are they gonna recreate this normal environment with producers shouting and figuring out what's going on when and what what's going on here, and where's this highlight clip and all that kind of stuff?

And so what we did is decided to use Slack as kind of the anchor tool. It's obviously a tool everyone's familiar with for real-time communication and that enabled people to stay in communication. But what we all did as media tech suppliers was integrated our stuff with slack. So not only could you communicate, but you could see exactly what was happening. So we had companies like Telestream and EVS and few different graphics companies and of course Signiant moving the files. And so all the editors and the producers involved could see exactly what was going on as the file was being transferred exactly when it was gonna land--"Okay, this thing's gonna land in 18 seconds. It's gonna be in this location, here's the name, boom, ready to go, bring it on air."

So it was kind of a cool integration that came together in less than 24 hours where everyone was kind of hacking, using modern APIs to bring all these disparate tools together and use Slack as the anchor point. But I think it was kind of foreshadowing in terms of where some of these integrations are headed. But it really enabled this team to have people wherever they were using the tools that they're familiar with and have all the information that they needed at their fingertips.

Mike Savello: So, obviously, we don't do productions ourselves. We're a manufacturer, but but we have a customer called Live Sports LLC. They do a lot of tennis tournaments, so they're associated with the ATP and all the other professional tennis tours and they do more than 40 events a year at any given time. And these events are between seven and 10 days in length. And at any given time they can have two or three events going on simultaneously. There's actually one weekend when they have six of them happening at the same time. And the only way that they would be able to do this would be to actually put their production in the cloud because they need so many virtualized resources, or so many resources in general for the production that they just can't do it in a physical location.

So so they actually built their own VPC on AWS using Amazon's cloud services. They are using Vizrt Vectar. And they're using LiveU's Cloud Connect to get the content into the cloud and to connect to the Viz Vectar solution, Viz Vectar Plus in the cloud. They're using something called the Harrison mix bus for their audio engineering audio mixing in the cloud as well, which I wasn't familiar with, but it's a pretty cool tool from what I understand. And so their graphics person, their switching person, and their audio engineer all happen to be in three different locations on every event. And they can hire one per event, honestly. So they're all spread throughout the country.

And then they're also actually at each tennis tournament; they set up PTZ cameras so they don't even have camera operators on site. And they're controlling all of these remotely through our LiveU technology as well, because we have an IP back channel to our units that allows you to connect PTZ devices to them as well and have full remote. So all their camera operators are also spread throughout the country. So it's a completely virtualized environment, which I think is sort of the farthest limits of what you can do with with REMI in a hybrid workflow today.

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