Remote production gives broadcasters the ability to capture a wider range of live events, such as regional sports, news or 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 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 require temporary infrastructures which need to be highly portable.
Remote production technology provides a realistic alternative for these events – the production of high quality content with fewer resources.
The barriers to effective remote broadcasting are speed (or latency), control and infrastructure.
1. Speed; the single biggest issue. Broadcast audio workflows rely on effective monitor mixes with no latency. This can be 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.
3. Infrastructure; transport is always an issue. Multiple synced signals need to be moved in real time, and all down the same physical infrastructure. Audio, data and video all need to be considered, as well as multiple control protocols.
Calrec’s RP1 Remote Broadcast unit addresses all these challenges.
RP1 is a broadcast mixing system in a 2U rackmount box, containing Calrec’s award-winning Bluefin2 processing.
Calrec’s RP1 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.
All DSP and bus configuration can be carried out on-site using Assist, Calrec’s web-based configuration tool. Assist makes it simple for on-site engineers to set-up all IFB routing and remote monitor mix levels at the venue.
This enables venue infrastructure, routing and monitor feeds to be tested prior to transmission. Local DSP processing also means there is no latency for commentary or talent monitoring.
With all DSP processing for monitor mixes taken care of on-site, the studio transmission console is able to concentrate purely on the main programme mix.
RP1 can embed all the transmission audio into existing video transport mechanisms, and in doing so ensures that there are no synchronisation issues. Its modular I/O backbone accepts any of Calrec’s I/O cards.
This versatility means RP1 can connect via a range of transports. The studio console mixing the transmission is able to assign these signals where required on the desk, so workflows are exactly the same as any other broadcast. Calrec’s unique True Control system makes it simple to control the RP1 from a control room located many miles away, giving the operator control over RP1’s channels and busses from a Calrec control surface.
In other words, the operator sits behind a console that he is already familiar with and assigns remote channel paths from the RP1 to local faders, just like any other channel.
True Control includes channel path fader levels and cuts, as well as aux send levels and ons, and aux master levels and cuts.
Future development includes VCA linking via the studio console, and control over EQ, dynamics and direct outputs via Calrec Assist.
True Control allows an operator to independently mix all the remote site IFBs and aux buses in addition to the local transmission mix on the studio console.
This is unique to RP1.
In fact, Calrec’s True Control provides the ability to link five independent RP1 units to the same studio-based console – all of which can be controlled from a single console surface.
RP1 is simple to set up and easy to use and 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.
Download our Remote Production Guide here.