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major broadcast client wanted a specific mix of feeds. Because we had a centralised production hub, we could work in an agile manner and quickly adapt the feeds to the customer’s own tastes,” explains Dargham. While a well-provisioned remote production network was essential when original plans had to be scrapped, Dargham underlines that remote production is no longer a second-tier fallback. “Remote production is not about cutting corners. This is about high-quality production. For a global sports event coming up this summer, we are working with the top five broadcasters in Europe. Most of them have scrapped their original plans of being at the event’s dedicated broadcast centre, and are now using us to do complete remote production.” Dargham also points to Telstra’s contribution to cricket coverage last year as an indicator of how sophisticated and reliable remote broadcast has become. “Cricket is very serious in India. If there’s a problem with the live broadcast, there will be a revolution,” he jokes. For a series involving six cricket venues around Australia last year, Sony India did an entirely remote production, with no personnel from Sony on-site in Australia. The Sony team provided all commentary and production remotely from India, with disaster recovery delivered to Sony’s offices in Singapore. Dargham has also seen Telstra’s remote production customers asking for more services, rather than cutting back. Telstra ended up providing Sony India with better feeds – using J2K compression instead of H.264 – which were higher quality than any other cricket previously broadcast out of Australia. Remote production must have a plan for disaster recovery as insurance against the unthinkable. For every remote production Telstra works on, it provides an A and B feed, with a layer of sub-protection on each – meaning it would take four major disasters (like a ship unearthing a submerged cable) for the feed to fail completely. “Most of the time, those will be unused. But they are there as an insurance policy to satisfy the rights holders who might be reluctant to embark on a complete remote production,” explains Dargham. “With remote production, you need to have the telco plumbing done right, with the lowest

delay possible. If you don’t get it right, it’s not going to work. But, ultimately, it can have a positive impact on the fans at home, who will have a much better quality of experience.”


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