Elevating live production with 5G
By Per Lindgren, Co-founder and CTO at Net Insight
Consumers increasingly want viewing experiences that are as good as – or better than – in-person: instant replays, more camera angles, access to highlights, and immaculate quality on any screen. Today, live production has grown to be a vast and complex operation, with broadcasters and production companies balancing increased consumer demand for more content and access to it at any time and from any location with shrinking budgets.
Thanks to 5G, the broadcasting industry gains more flexibility and can streamline workflows. Remote and distributed production of live sports and news will benefit from 5G’s high bandwidth and low latency capabilities. 5G-enabled remote production workflows will become increasingly important in the staging of events of all tiers, from major to smaller events. Fast connectivity is an intriguing alternative for media companies wishing to increase production output while lowering expenses without the logistical problems and costs associated with deploying fixed equipment.
As the 5G rollout accelerates, broadcasters will require a proven end-to-end solution to take advantage of 5G’s potential to alleviate bottlenecks in their live production workflows. There’s no better time to get ready for 5G than now.
Remote production boosts productivity
The live content supply chain has changed, resulting in significant cost reductions and improved overall efficiency. The broadcast industry was able to bounce back despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic by moving away from on-site production practices. 5G will accelerate the trend toward remote and distributed workflows, allowing more sites and events to be integrated into a single high-quality, low-latency production environment.
By having only the necessary technical manpower and hardware equipment on-site, remote production speeds up the shift from CAPEX to OPEX. Scalable workflows are built and paid for just when they’re needed, eliminating costly hardware investments.
5G raises the bar for live production
5G allows for the low-cost capture and distribution of mobile media from anywhere in the world, with high bandwidth, low latency, and high quality of service. This expands the possibilities for events like marathons, golf, cycling, and other long-distance activities that need are challenging when it comes to broadcasting. Once fully implemented, 5G has the potential to become the major networking link between the event site and the centralized production facility.
Until that happens, it can be used as a backup connection to the primary connection, providing a variety of high-quality feeds and removing the inefficient practice of varied routing via fixed connections. Slicing capabilities in 5G networks increase connection reliability by allowing a select group of users or services to reserve a section of the network. This component is critical when live production requires high connectivity and ultra-low latency.
Creating unique and engaging viewing experiences
While 5G is intended to provide users with more cost-effective and agile contribution links, it also has the potential to change and improve the viewing experience. It allows more camera feeds and new and more immersive camera angles to be included in the primary production, whether it’s player or referee cams, 360-degree or AR/VR cams from moving vehicles, or simply connecting broadcast cameras and sensors at event venues. When used in conjunction with remote workflows, it will also allow content owners to distribute more immersive content from events and even allow viewers to choose their own camera angles or players to watch. This means that 5G will have a revolutionary impact on viewing experiences, with gaming and esports being at the heart of transformation.
5G has the potential to change television production and event staging quite dramatically. By connecting cameras to production facilities wirelessly, camera operators will be more mobile and follow the action. 5G can be used by production teams to set up “pop-up” production capabilities that send multiple camera signals back to a central production center. Producers may simply mix video from traditional cameras with video from 5G-enabled smartphones, creating multi-camera experiences and unique perspectives not previously available.
Shaking up the media industry
As 5G grows and gains traction in the market, it has the potential to drastically transform the media industry.
With connectivity becoming better, faster, cheaper, and more readily available, even smaller or niche events can gain more global audiences, opening up new revenue streams for broadcasters. The growing demand for content, alongside the changing consumer viewing patterns, means that having flexible and reliable solutions for live production is critical for long-term success. 5G is a key tool that will open the door to more exciting live production workflows and will deliver viewing experiences that were not possible before.