Five Reasons Remote Calls and Comments Makes SenseMany words have been written in this space over the past year about why multicamera productions leveraging the cloud and a REMI (remote integration model) production strategy make sense for TV producers, especially as a way to respect social distancing guidance and protect the health of staff.
But there’s more to TV than how cameras are switched, graphics and replays added and audio mixed. In that spirit, this blog will look at why TVU Remote Commentator makes sense for the booth talent, or perhaps for the purposes of this musing that’s better stated as “boothless” talent.
What Is TVU Remote Commentator?
With TVU Remote Commentator, those calling games remain synchronized with one another regardless of where they are as well as with the broadcast feed of game action. Latency is so minimal as not to be noticeable. Announce teams not only hear one another –and not themselves thanks to mix-minus functionality of TVU Remote Commentator—but also see one another in real time via a built-in video link.
Adopting TVU Remote Commentator can dramatically transform this critical piece of the production workflow and in the process offer announcers a variety of benefits.
Five Reason For Remote Commentating
The flexibility afforded by TVU Remote Commentator gives announcers the ability to:
Work More Gigs: Working remotely from home or an office means it is possible for an announcer to work more than one event in a day – a great boost in efficiency for production companies with on-staff announcers.
Looked at another way, freelance announcers suddenly get a 2x or greater productivity boost, meaning they may actually be able to adjust what they charge for their services to the benefit of the producers they work for and ultimately to benefit of their own pocketbooks as they get more gigs.
Work In More Markets: Not having to be on site also opens up the possibility of announcing games that may otherwise never have been available to a given announcer. With TVU Remote Commentator, it’s possible for announcers to work across even national borders, offering commentary in a language other than the native tongue spoken for the primary production
Imagine a Spanish-speaking announcer in Latin America calling an MLB game for distribution to Spanish-speaking markets, or an English-speaking announcer sitting at his desk in Pittsburgh calling a World Cup game played in France for distribution to English-speaking viewers.
Amazingly, TVU Remote Commentator enables announcers all over the world to call the same game in the language of their audiences—all while watching the same live game feed.
Markets can be defined by more than simply geographical borders and languages, however. Working in a new market might mean calling a game outside one’s typical sphere, such as a baseball announcer calling football, or even taking on a fill-in role when a member of the typical announce crew is ill or otherwise unavailable. TVU Remote Commentator opens up those opportunities as well.
Make More Money: With access to more markets and the ability to call more games per day, announcers have the opportunity to increase their earnings.
Further, working remotely rather than traveling to a stadium or arena means travel expenses can be taken out of announcers’ billings. In turn, that will make the services of announcers more affordable to producers and possibly incentivize them to add more color or play-by-play talent and thus create more billable opportunities.
Enhance Lifestyle: Travel to and from sports venues can cut into the valuable time available to devote to family, friends and interests outside of sports.
Reducing or eliminating entirely the need to travel can translate directly to a more fulfilling balance between work and domestic life.
Consider an MLB play-by-play announcer who must call 81 away games a season during a 25-year career. That’s more than 2,000 games –or more than five-and-a-half years on the road just for the game and does not even include travel days nor pre-season games and post-season play.
If TVU Remote Commentator can help an announcer reclaim some of those days, imagine the impact on that person’s life and the lives of those closest to the announcer.
Green The Planet: Similarly, reducing the need to travel to sports venues lessens the environmental impact of announcers who must fly or drive from city to city in pursuit of their careers.
One calculation of CO2 emissions by a Boeing 737-400 passenger jet from CarbonIndependent.org estimates about 115 g of CO2 per passenger km is generated. Multiplied by the number of air kilometers logged per announcer over a career, and the environmental impact of all of the flights required to go from city to city becomes apparent.
The Other Side of the Coin
Similarly, as announcers can change their economic model by factoring out travel expenses from their billing, rightsholders and teams might choose to redirect those dollars to other ways to enhance the viewer experience—perhaps by adding other crew or new technology to bring more sizzle to their productions.
It simply makes sense for sports announcers and producers to begin discussing continued use of TVU Remote Commentator once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed and a degree of normalcy returns to daily life. Not only do announcers have a variety of reasons to continue their play-by-play and color commentary from their home or office, but the broadcast rights-holders and production companies they work with have equally strong incentives to do so.
None of this is to say that TVU Remote Commentator will replace 100% of on-site announcing with remote play calls and color commentary. However, enabling remote commentary offers so many benefits to announcers and broadcasters alike that the number of sports commentators taking advantage of this strategy is likely to remain in its ascendancy for the foreseeable future.