Teradek Encoding Used to Provide Live Coveage of 2018 New Year’s Eve Times Square Events

Seeking shelter from the extreme cold temperatures in New York City on New Year’s Eve, many stayed home and watched the annual ball drop from Times Square on their computers, tablets and cell phones. For the third year in a row the official live stream was produced by New York-based production company Live X, using three wireless camera transmitters from Teradek that roamed the square to capture the festivities as they happened.

The live stream of the Ball Drop (sponsored by the Times Square Alliance) mimicked a traditional broadcast, complete with on-the-spot standup interviews, seamless switching, graphic effects and multi-layered transitions. The high-quality video images—which reached over 2 million views in 6 hours of the program—were produced with Teradek’s latest H.264 AVC encoders/decoders in tandem with a Silvus Technologies StreamCaster transmitter.

Nick Nagurka, Technical Supervisor at Live X, said the most challenging part was completing for mobile frequencies with over a million people in attendance.

“There was no way we were going to get any signal out of there, but we needed to have roaming ENGs if we were going to produce a good show,” explained Nagurka. “That’s why it was so important to have a reliable remote point-to-point transport from our roaming camera to the [on-site] broadcast truck.”

The Live X master control room aboard the on-site production truck, where final editing was performed before video was published online via a dedicated Verizon Fios line.

The Live X master control room aboard the on-site production truck, where final editing was performed before video was published online via a dedicated Verizon Fios line.

The Live X team used three ENG cameras each equipped with a Teradek Cube 655 encoder and a Silvus StreamCaster transmitter feeding a Cube decoder located onboard Live X’s HD production truck. They secured a reliable feed by using an underground fiber circuit to the company’s master control facility in the Hudson Yards section of NYC before final distribution via a dedicated Verizon Fios line. They also had a second Fios line as a backup.

While Live X had its own stage with cameras, the roaming cameras helped capture on-screen host Jonathan Bennett as he interviewed revelers and captured general audience B-roll footage for insertion into the program as needed.

The Silvus StreamCaster is a military-grade variable bitrate transmitter that can transport audio and video at up to 100Mbps to receivers up to eight blocks away. This was paired with Teradek’s Cube 655, a real-time, scalable video encoder for point-to-point video transport. Once the Cube encoded the video into the MPEG-TS (transport stream) format, the StreamCaster transmitted it via a 5.2Ghz link using multiple range extenders back to the broadcast truck. A Cisco switch on the truck received the data and sent it to a Cube decoder, which decoded the video and pushed it to the switcher. The final video was then sent to Live X’s master control room in the Hudson Yards.

Teradek’s Cube features 3G-SDI and HDMI inputs along with a new, high-powered 802.11AC WiFi adapter. The Cube 600 series encodes video at bitrates up to 15 Mbps. When bandwidth is limited, the unit's adaptive bitrate allows Cube to automatically adjust and stream at the highest quality achievable.

Three ENG cameras, each equipped with a Silvus Technologies StreamCaster transmitter and a Teradek Cube encoder roamed Times Square to capture live events.

Three ENG cameras, each equipped with a Silvus Technologies StreamCaster transmitter and a Teradek Cube encoder roamed Times Square to capture live events.

“We’ve never been able to ingest our ENG camera feeds so quickly into the switcher before, and the [Teradek] Cubes were a huge part of it,” said Nagurka. “The efficiency of the encoding and how high-def the video was made it an essential part of delivering the Ball Drop to viewers at home, and helped us produce a successful live show for the Times Square Alliance.”

The official online Ball Drop feed was streamed to several live platforms simultaneously, including Facebook (Times Square, New York Page), Livestream.com, Twitter and Periscope.

You might also like...

Field Report: NewTek Spark Plus 4K

NDI (Network Device Interface) is a free protocol for Video over IP, developed by NewTek. The key word is “free.”

EU-Funded Group Looking To Productize 5G For Broadcast Production And Distribution

For the past year an international group of technology companies, funded by the European Union (EU), has been looking into the use of 5G technology to streamline live and studio production in the hopes of distributing more content to (and…

Low Orbit Satellites - The Space-Age Future Of Live Streaming Video

The launch of new low orbit satellites for global network coverage will have a significant impact on remote live streaming for broadcasters and webcasters. With the likes of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Amazon’s Kuiper, or one of the other ven…

Stand By For NDI 5

NDI Version 5 is loaded with highly anticipated new features and unseen capabilities, because it was announced a month ago and hasn’t been released yet.

Field Report: The day we used the public internet for backhaul on a budget.

Public internet-based remote TV production adds new critical monitoring points to avoid digital cliffs.