BEHIND THE SCREENS Vizrt technology – including Viz Vectar Plus cloud switching for audio and video – helped BT Sport broadcast an under-19 football match
from different angles, added slow motion, custom animations and 3D video effects – all using NewTek 3Play and NDI Bridge. “If you’re going to cover college sports, for example, cost becomes imperative,” Vizrt co- founder and senior advisor Petter Ole Jakobsen explains. “Also, the drive to completely automate live productions is super significant. You have companies doing everything automatically, from the cameras in the venue to insertion of graphics purely based on metadata, whether that’s manually entered or derived through AI systems. “It becomes very difficult to think you can do it on-premises, especially around the metadata part, which is moving more towards AI. “Say you have 100 games a week, which is not unheard of in college sports – there’s no way you can do that in a traditional manner. You actually have to do it in the cloud, with cloud-based AI systems. There is a cost associated with AI, but it’s the functionality you basically can’t do in any other way except in a cloud production. “That is just going to continue,” Jakobsen adds. “Of course it’s a logical consequence of the ability IF YOU ARE GOING TO COVER COLLEGE SPORTS, COST BECOMES IMPERATIVE to start small streaming channels rather than, as we used to have to do, start planning one year before you want to launch a new TV or cable channel. Now you can do it low cost very quickly. “It’s also logical, and a good direction: more to work with, more content, more customers, more people needing tools. Now, you can start a sports production and get very good visual results with a small investment. “All producers, live and non-live, struggle nowadays to brand their content on all the many platforms. You can brand your linear broadcast, fine, then along comes TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and what do you do? The results are often terrible! One of the reasons is: there just haven’t been tools to make it easy for you as a producer of content to have great graphics day-to-day on all these various platforms.
entirely in the cloud and chose a variety of Vizrt products to support the broadcast. A typical youth league game broadcast package includes six cameras, a traditional outside broadcast truck, two generators for backup power and a satellite uplink truck, all supported by 25 onsite personnel. Cloud broadcast dramatically reduces the need for people to be onsite or to operate in production rooms – only eight people were required to be at the stadium, while seven others worked 20km away at BT Sport’s Stratford studios with the necessary infrastructure in place. BT Sport’s cloud-based broadcast only needed six wireless cameras connected to backpacks that transmitted signals to the cloud, using either 5G or fixed connectivity. Built on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud infrastructure, the team used two AWS instances, one in Dublin and one in London, to provide additional redundancy during the broadcast. The production team virtualised video and audio using Viz Vectar Plus, a software-based 4K switching solution for cloud productions. In regular sports broadcasts, camera switching is controlled and managed by personnel in trucks outside a stadium, but Viz Vectar Plus allowed the BT Sport team to switch from camera to camera remotely from its Stratford studio. To give its audience the most complete viewing experience, BT Sport showed instant replays
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