Broadcasters are looking for more content, at more locations, and with fewer resources.
The dream is the concept of remote production, which offers the ability to capture a broader range of live events, such as sports, news or regional music festivals, and mix them in a remote facility hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Many of these events might be of restricted interest, and may even be broadcast to a narrow audience demographic. They may be regional news events which require a lot of content generation in a short space of time. They may be temporary infrastructures which are required to be highly portable.
This additional content must meet the same high broadcast standards as bigger events, but broadcasters cannot always justify the luxury of a dedicated outside broadcast truck and a team of skilled on-site operators.
This is where remote production technology provides a realistic alternative.
The aim is to produce the program centrally, in a studio-based control room, without the financial outlay of a dedicated on-site team. From an audio point of view this means generating the program sound mix some distance from the venue in a sound control room. This presents the opportunity to improve the quality of monitoring and of sound quality, as well as allowing more efficient utilisation of equipment and personnel.
What are the barriers?
There are three major barriers to effective, reliable and manageable remote broadcasting: speed, control and infrastructure.
1. Speed: The biggest single issue is latency. Broadcast audio workflows rely on quality monitor mixes with zero latency. It’s vital - and it’s very difficult to achieve when your studio is hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
2. Control: Operators need real-time control over mic gains, fader levels and monitor mix levels, especially when they are remote from all the action – it’s not always possible to physically check a connection or fix a mic position.
3. Infrastructure: Transport is always an issue. How are those bi-directional signals going to be transported and still be in sync with the video? And all in real time? And above all, how can all the control protocols required to mix a production remotely be managed as part of the network?
What is the solution?
Calrec’s RP1 Remote Broadcast unit directly addresses all these challenges.
Calrec’s RP1 box provides local DSP to enable the generation of monitor mixes and IFBs with no latency. It gives an operator in a remote studio direct control over channel functions such as mic gains, aux send/monitor mix levels and fader levels. It also provides a mechanism to embed audio into existing backhaul technologies, such as SDI or SMPTE 2022.
And it does all of this in a single 2U box.
Simple, effective, real-time monitoring
The RP1 is a high-end broadcast mixing system in a 2U rackmount box.
The unit contains Calrec’s award-winning FPGA-based Bluefin2 processing, and it is this DSP engine that manages all the IFB routing and remote monitor mix levels at the venue. This makes it simple for remote mix engineers to set up IFB mixes at the venue, and eradicates any delay for remote listeners or presenters. Local DSP processing means there is no latency for commentary or talent monitoring.
DSP and bus configuration can be carried out on-site with Calrec’s web-based configuration tool, which means that all venue infrastructure, routing and monitor feeds can be checked prior to establishing the link with the remote console at base – and more importantly, prior to transmission
This saves time, money and provides total peace of mind.
With all DSP processing for monitor mixes taken care of on-site, the transmission console at base can concentrate purely on the main programme mix.
The RP1 unit can embed all the transmission audio into existing video transport mechanisms, and using an established video transport to embed the audio ensures that there are no synchronisation issues. RP1 seamlessly embeds audio into existing video-transport mechanisms, while its modular I/O backbone accepts any of Calrec’s I/O cards.
This versatility means the RP1 can connect via analogue, AES, MADI, SDI, and the latest AoIP solutions from AES67, Ravenna, Dante, and SMPTE 2022.
On the transmission console, all these remote I/O resources appear like any other local I/O box, so workflows are exactly the same as any other broadcast.
Remote Broadcasting is not new - broadcasters have been developing the concept of remote productions for some time – but the simple connectivity and control offered by Calrec’s RP1 simplifies the challenges that these broadcasters are facing.
RP1 is the first integrated solution to deliver these very exacting and precise requirements, backed with Calrec’s focus on high-quality audio performance and reliability with fully redundant connectivity.
Remote broadcasting using RP1 means fewer resources are needed on site, and controlling audio from a remote console saves money on setup time, crew, logistics, and equipment. It is simple to set up and very easy to use.
In addition, RP1 allows broadcasters to create very low-cost Hydra2 networks for all audio routing requirements. The RP1 unit provides connectivity to any Calrec Hydra2 I/O box, including Calrec’s ultra-compact Fieldbox and H2Hub, providing cost-effective ways to adapt to the requirements of any situation. Such connectivity gives broadcasters access to Hydra2’s inherent management features, such as port protection, alias files, and access rights.
Fundamentally, it also enables broadcasters to cover a greater number of specialised events, such as regional or college sports and smaller entertainment events, at significantly reduced cost, making it possible to maintain an increasingly wide range of content.
For more details download our Beginners Guide to Remote Production here.