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Value-Adds of Remote Production

CNN's Ben Ratner, LiveU's Mike Savello, and Signiant's John Finegold discuss the benefits of shifting to remote and cloud video workflows from traditional on-prem production, discussing what they did and why it worked in this clip from Streaming Media East 2022.

In 2019, remote or REMI video production had yet to go mainstream, mostly confined to specific use cases like on-the-scene mobile newsgathering, live sports, and road shows. In these scenarios, live streams and rapid turnarounds from distant locations with limited or one-person crews demanded integrated workflows that enabled live content capture from remote locations to be managed from a central control room. When the global pandemic hit, scattered production crews working in isolation quickly shifted from the exception to the norm. Operations that had always relied exclusively on on-prem production workflows found themselves rethinking and retooling their approach. Succeeding with REMI workflows became the order of the day.

Two years later, remote production is no longer the only game in town, but producers who once pivoted out of necessity are leveraging the agility and cost savings that they derived from this new way of working. They're recognizing the value that these approaches have added to their operations as they move forward in an evolving "new normal."

"A huge value-add is the ability to be nimble and just spin up any services that we need at any point," said CNN Digital Operations Manager Ben Ratner on a recent Streaming Media East panel. "We don't need to spend a lot of money on big systems, big servers, big production suites when we can really just say, 'Hey, I need another video player. Let me just buy that service.' Or, 'I need another cloud computer today for another vMix instance.'"

With the more modular, distributed approach the shift to remote has engendered, he continued, "We could really design exactly what we need as we need it, and maybe boost up that infrastructure down the line. But as far as nimbleness goes, it's been just a godsend."

"Over the course of this time, there have been so many interesting challenges that have come up," said Signiant CMO Jon Finegold. "There's only so much bandwidth going into and out of these facilities, and so you've got these limited resources."

When the NBA and the NHL resumed their 2020 seasons in the "bubble" setting, he recalled, "and they went to those bubble cities where they normally these venues that are set up to do kind of one game a day, all of a sudden the NHL and the NBA were trying to do three or four games at the same venue on the same day. They were trying to get all the pre-recorded content to the venue and get all the content of the game that's just finishing offsite, and they only had a fixed amount of bandwidth. So, really, what came into play there? A big value-add that we provided was accelerating file movement and giving them very granular control over bandwidth was being made available to all these other services that needed to needed to share that big pipe," he continued. "That's always been a pillar for Signiant, but it really became mission-critical in some of these use cases."

"One of the biggest things is access to virtual resources," added LiveU VP of Sales Mike Savello. "Finding all the operators that you need for the various parts of the production process" has always been a challenge in traditional on-prem production. "And I think what has happened over the last couple of years in the forceful push of people into the whole REMI/hybrid model is you've opened up the opportunity now to get access to resources that aren't geographically central. Getting access to distributed resources now makes it much easier to find people that can operate your cameras, operate your graphics, operate everything you need to do. That piece of it has been a real eye-opener for for people. And it's one of the reasons why I think we won't go back to where we were three years ago is because it's just too easy now to find the people that you need at the price you need."

Learn more about remote production at Streaming Media West 2022.

See more highlights from Streaming Media East 2022.

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