What Is Live Event Production?Flip the channels on any given day of the week, especially on weekends, and you’re going to see some broadcaster somewhere producing a live event.
It could be a live news conference, a live sporting event, a concert, an awards show or any other event happening while you’re watching at home. (Technically, there is a little bit of latency between what occurs on the field or stage and what shows up on your TV screen, but who’s counting?)
The answer to the question, “What is live event production?” might seem a bit obvious. After all, if you watch television, you see it all of the time. However, there’s more to what production of a live event is than the beautiful video and spectacular sound you enjoy on your HDTV or 4K television and home theater system.
There’s the way that it’s made, and that has been undergoing some pretty big changes over the last year or so
How Production Changed
That’s a tall order in a mobile production trailer—even a 53-footer with pull-out sides. After all, it’s not uncommon to find the producers, director, technical director, sound engineer, replay operators, graphics personnel and engineer-in-charge tightly packed into a production trailer covering a typical live event like sports.
While sports production took a hiatus in the early months of the pandemic, broadcasters and the facilities companies they regularly hire for live event production sought alternatives.
One popular approach proved to be a virtualized version of REMI (remote integration model) production. While REMI production is based on transmitting signals from the cameras used to cover a live event to a centralized brick-and-mortar facility where video is switched, audio mixed, replays and graphics added, a virtualized version moves that real-world studio and its production capabilities into the cloud.
Remote Production To The Rescue
Technical directors, replay operators, audio engineers and the rest were able to work in safety, physically separated from each other, on the same show via the cloud. Each simply accessed the virtualized, cloud-resident equivalents of the tools they typically use in a production trailer via their laptop computers and an internet connection.
While protecting the health and safety of crew members during the pandemic is an obvious benefit, cloud-based video production offers many others, including lower cost, greater staffing flexibility, more efficient workflows and an overall boost to productivity.
Virtualizing video production in the cloud, however, was not limited to producing live sporting events. For that matter, it hasn’t been limited to television. Any video producer with a live event to produce –whether for education, government, corporation or other client—can employ this same cloud-based production strategy.
Live Event Production Checklist
TVU Producer from TVU Networks performs each of those functions alone or in combination with third-party partners in the cloud. With TVU Producer, live event producers can assign specific production functions to different individuals. Each controls the content needed to perform a given task, such as multiple camera streams and recorded video source playback accessed by the technical director and audio channels by the sound engineer.
Each part—switched video, audio, graphics and the rest—are then married back together in perfect sync and published online or social media or sent to an encoder for on-air distribution to television viewers.
Intercom and IFB communications to coordinate production staff and talent during the event are also supported in the cloud via TVU Network’s TVU Partyline. The solution additionally supports real-time video contribution and conversational interaction among remote guests regardless of where they are located.
Similarly, TVU Networks’ newly introduced TVU Remote Commentator leverages the cloud to make it possible for play-by-play announcers and color commentators to call live sporting events, synced to game action and each other, in real-time.
Kalis Crossfit Competition
Rather than having the competitors travel to Manila, the Philippines, due to COVID-19, organizers chose to have them contribute video from their smartphones so that they along with judges, volunteers and the audience could see each athlete.
Working with the TVU Networks Philippines team, a solution based on two instances of TVU Partyline and three TVU Transceivers was deployed to capture and broadcast the competition. One instance of Partyline made it possible for on-site judges to interact, collaborate virtually in real time and monitor each remote athlete with broadcast-quality video. The other instance made it possible to display 10 athletes on screen simultaneously during each round of the competition.
Into the Future
The new efficiencies, lower costs and productivity benefits available in the cloud will give video producers ample incentive to rethink how many events they actually need to cover with a full deployment of production personnel and which can be produced equally well in the cloud.
With TVU Networks’ continued development of ways to enhance live production in the cloud, the reasons to make the transition will only grow in number and weight with time.