Case Study: Making Outside Broadcast an Affordable Reality

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Global-MIX makes savings by working with composite video, although it is also kitted out for Serial Digital Interface (SDI). This brings down the cost of the entire transmission chain. What’s more, the broadcast can also be hosted online so it can be viewed on demand.

Lower overheads per stream enable both large broadcasters and companies serving small interest groups to gain returns. Meanwhile, traditional broadcasters can reach new audiences and keep existing ones that may otherwise be tempted to migrate to new technologies.

Addressing OB Needs
To broadcast the awards ceremony to the standards expected by the trust, Global-MIX meticulously planned the operation from start to finish, taking two trips to the Crescent Theatre in Birmingham where the ceremony was held.

Global-MIX’s chief executive officer, Dominic Robinson, says, “The first trip was to establish the logistics of the broadcast. We needed to look for areas that would be suitable for laying the necessary cables and determine a Line of Sight [LOS] to the broadcasting satellite. Even if we couldn’t get an LOS from the street, a roof mounted transmitter could have been installed. The second trip, two days before the ceremony, allowed the Outside Broadcast unit to be set up.”

The Crescent Theatre’s location in the centre of Britain’s second-biggest city would have made it difficult for a large, traditional OB unit to manoeuvre. But Global-MIX’s compact, fully functional OB vans were able to access the venue with ease. The number of supplier vehicles that needed to be close to the venue was also kept to a minimum, as Global-MIX caters to all OB needs in one van.

Global-MIX’s partner, Camera Support Services Ltd., captured and sent the footage to the Global-MIX satellite OB vehicle. The live feeds from the cameras were encoded using an Inlet Technologies’ Spinnaker 5000, a professional streaming appliance that transfers the camera’s video and audio into an internet-ready data stream, enabling a true broadcast experience over any IP network. Global-MIX then distributed the footage using a 512Kbps Windows Media Video stream, which provided near-DVD-quality picture and sound and is viewable on almost any computer.

The Right Tools
Space is paramount in any OB unit. Ideally, the vehicle should be kitted out with only equipment that is going to be used. To avoid carrying many different encoders in the van, Global-MIX used the Spinnaker 5000 encoder, which enables simultaneous streaming in VC-1, Flash VP6, and H.264 formats from a single appliance. Broadcasters also benefit from the smaller space and power requirements that Spinnakers require, whether placed in OB vehicles or studios.

The Spinnaker 5000 allows near-DVD-quality audio and video to be delivered to almost any IP device and cuts out the need for separate encoders that are dedicated to each format. The encoder also removes the need for a dedicated on-site encoding engineer, reducing the overheads per stream and enabling Global-MIX to broadcast live content—such as sports events, conferences, and concerts—with greater efficiency and less cost to its clients.

Spinnakers affect further efficiencies through their easy management screen, where technicians can access different broadcast settings held on the appliance. The Global-MIX Network Operations Centre can remotely manage the encoder over a transmission link or a separate dedicated management link. This means that parameters for different streaming specifications can be quickly and easily set with little effect on the IP link and minimal impact on carrier capacity.

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