News Production Technologies Support Seamless Working From Home

With the pandemic’s alarming numbers now decreasing, news anchors have carefully begun reporting from the studio again, albeit in separate parts of the building and socially distanced. However, the IP-enabled technology and remote workflows developed by equipment vendors across the industry during the worst of it have endured and will for some time. These new tools allow reporters, producers and technicians to work from home by streamlining the process of producing a newscast.

All of the following technology solutions allow news anchors, reporters, or guests to remotely contribute to a production from an isolated location ,  such as a home or a dedicated studio, as if they were sitting in the studio or control room.

Remote Reporting

Dalet has continued to advance its On-the-Go mobile app for smartphones and tablets with a new user interface (UI) that improves how journalists working remotely can collaborate with their newsroom colleagues back at the station. Available from Apple’s App Store and Google Play, Dalet On-the-Go offers advanced content contribution capabilities. Templates let users record media and craft stories quickly by mixing local media together with remote content stored within the Dalet Galaxy five media asset management (MAM) system.

The app makes possible remote assignment management, story development, review and approval, rundowns, planning, status and contact search. It also gives users easy access to the Dalet Galaxy five catalog of video, audio, scripts and news wires. The company’s smart upload features guard against connectivity issues, reconnecting to the upload exactly where it left off when necessary. Teleprompter support for on-the-fly reporting is provided, while tickers, wires and chat messages keep staff connected to information and late-breaking news.

The Dalet On-the-Go mobile app for smartphones and tablets helps journalists working remotely to collaborate with their newsroom colleagues back at the station.

The Dalet On-the-Go mobile app for smartphones and tablets helps journalists working remotely to collaborate with their newsroom colleagues back at the station.

The company has also enhanced its underlying Dalet Galaxy five news production and distribution platform, adding remote editing features, such as cloud-based edit while recording, and support for open-source frameworks to accelerate secure content exchange across multi-site and distributed newsroom operations, the company said.

The new features also benefit users of the Dalet Galaxy xCloud, a dedicated, cloud-hosted system offered as a full SaaS service. It connects securely with existing on-premises systems, supporting advanced workflows for remote editing and news production teams.

Remote Switching

Grass Valley has unveiled the GV K-Frame on AMPP, a SaaS version of the K-Frame switcher engine running on its Agile Media Processing Platform. GV K-Frame on AMPP provides a seamless transition to cloud-based video production while extending the flexibility of existing solutions.

The GV AMPP platform is cloud native and cloud-agnostic, while supporting the secure processing of video/audio in the public cloud on any of the major platforms, in a private, on-premises data center, or in hybrid topologies. This flexibility brings about a significant paradigm shift in live content production, allowing shows to be produced on any engine from any location.

An AMPP-connected K-Frame switcher scales to as many instances as required without upfront buildout and deliver flexible I/O with access to any source.

An AMPP-connected K-Frame switcher scales to as many instances as required without upfront buildout and deliver flexible I/O with access to any source.

AMPP-connected products can scale to as many instances as required without upfront buildout and deliver flexible I/O with access to any source. Users also benefit from highly responsive and frame-accurate cloud-hosted performance, even when connected to a typical residential Internet connection. Grass Valley's patented intelligent timing technology enables near real-time system operations that are instantly responsive, even for those located around the world.

Customers using AMPP-connected solutions are discovering new operational models as shows are securely produced with cameras on location and production personnel wherever they live across the globe. A recent event had cameras in various locations around Europe feeding back to an instance of AMPP located in an Amazon Web Services data center on the east coast of the United States. The TD switching the live show was working from his home in California.

Remote Image Capture

Cameras with Ethernet ports have grown in acceptance significantly, due to their ability to be controlled via an IP connection.

PTZOptics offers several PTZ cameras for at home studios that feature SDI, HDMI, NDI connectivity and multiple IP streaming formats. Once connected to an IP network, broadcasters can choose from professional 3G SDI connected workflows, Ethernet connected NDI workflows, and traditional HDMI workflows—even simultaneously. With the ability to choose from a variety of optical zoom lenses (12X, 20X and 30X versions) video productions can now remotely capture a head and shoulders shot at up to 70 feet (21 meters) away.

PTZOptics NDI cameras support Power, Video/Audio and Control over a single Ethernet cable.

PTZOptics NDI cameras support Power, Video/Audio and Control over a single Ethernet cable.

All PTZOptics NDI cameras support Power, Video/Audio and Control over a single Ethernet cable, simplifying installation and setup for live streaming systems. The compact and easy to install cameras also output broadcast frame rates and NDI (IP) video. In addition, they can be controlled with a PTZOptics IP Joystick controller. Once connected to a network, reporters can control the pan, tilt, and zoom functionality with their Smartphone (iOS or Android) or a desktop computer via free software for Mac and PC.

Remote Graphics Production

Chyron has developed a number of graphics tools to support working from home, enabling staff across a news organization—from the newsroom to the art department, and onward to the control room—to collaborate remotely to bring their shows to air.

CAMIO is Chyron’s MOS-driven graphics template management solution for news organizations. Whether it's a graphic from PRIME CG, a multi-layer video from PRIME Clips, or even a map-based forecast graphic from Chyron Weather - CAMIO converts these assets into reusable, dynamically-editable graphic elements. This makes it easy for producers, journalists, and other editorial staff to access the art department's graphic templates, repurpose them for the story at hand, and add them to the news rundown for automated playout from the control room.

An HTML5 CAMIO Interface allows producers and journalists to build graphics from templates directly within the station’s NRCS from their web browser at home.

An HTML5 CAMIO Interface allows producers and journalists to build graphics from templates directly within the station’s NRCS from their web browser at home.

Whether in the office, on the go, or working from home, news organizations working with newsroom computer system can leverage an HTML5 CAMIO Interface, allowing producers and journalists to build graphics from templates directly within the NRCS from their web browser. CAMIO allows for editing of replaceable or dynamic elements—the text in a lower third, media within the graphic, as well as different color schemes for individual programs.

Chyron’s AXIS World Graphics, a cloud-based platform for on-demand graphics order management, takes this a step further. With AXIS, editorial teams can easily generate graphics with new media elements, maps, and charts. AXIS fully-integrates into the CAMIO/NRCS workflow. Once you create a graphic within Axis, CAMIO uses its render engine to push the content to PRIME Graphics for fulfillment and playout.

Composition that once took hours now takes minutes, allowing your graphic artists to concentrate on more complex design while journalists get exactly the illustrations they need for their stories. And of course, all of this can take place while your team works from home.

Remote Monitoring

Any experienced master control operator or quality control manager will tell you that monitoring hundreds of feeds requires that each individual channel is delivered reliably, on time and to the exact location it was meant to go. When these signals are distributed over the public internet, strict protocols must be followed in order to ensure reliability and quality for every video service it supports.

Understanding this, TAG Video Systems has added Zixi’s network-aware transport protocol to its MCM-9000 audio and video monitoring platform. This gives customers virtually error-free file delivery over the public Internet for live broadcasts across any IP network. Zixi is integrated with the MCM-9000 to let users monitor UHD, HD, SD, radio and ancillary data in a wide variety of compressed formats.

TAG multiviewers support Zixi technology, which allows a technician sitting at home to have access to high-quality feeds on a protected link.

TAG multiviewers support Zixi technology, which allows a technician sitting at home to have access to high-quality feeds on a protected link.

If you are doing remote At Home production and you need to see the multiviewer output at a crew member’s home, the signal can be sent using Zixi. This way the technician sitting at home can have access to high-quality feeds on a protected link. It acts like a private tunnel within the public Internet.

And just like people use it for camera uplinks, TAG leverages Zixi technology to link the MCM-9000’s video outputs, in a separate application, and send that output over the public Internet. In this way the user is not constrained to multicast networks that are lossless. And if you put Zixi between two cloud compute instances, it takes care of the packet loss problem. Therefore, if a user decides that multicast in the cloud is not entirely suitable for their 2110 infrastructure, Zixi offers a way to chain together multiple compute applications and thus ensure reliable stream delivery.

Remote Contribution

After evaluating the market for solutions that would offer the HD broadcast resolution but with less bandwidth and minimal latency, Feature Story News (FSN), an independent broadcast news agency, chose Vitec’s MGW Ace hardware encoder and MGW D265 decoder for its global news team. Ideal for live news broadcasting from the field, point-to-point contribution of HD video, live streaming from sports venues, or disseminating mission-critical military imagery, the MGW Ace is engineered to satisfy today’s demand for pristine real-time video—anywhere, anytime.

The MGW Ace is a portable HEVC (H.265) hardware encoder that takes the benefits of HEVC encoding out of the server room and into the field by integrating a high-quality, low-delay hardware codec into a professional appliance. This reduces operating expenses and extends the reach of video services to remote destinations with bandwidth constraints. With built-in Pro-MPEG forward error correction and Zixi error correction technologies, the solution enabled FSN to deliver secure, error-free video on dedicated and public networks while dramatically reducing bandwidth requirements compared to its legacy H.264 system.

The ACE features a real-time H.265 4:2:0 and 4:2:2 hardware compression chip for streaming broadcast-quality video up to 1080p. Input interfaces include 3G, HD/SD-SDI, HDMI, DVI, and composite. A secondary MPEG-4 H.264 chip provides support for legacy decoders and proxy streaming.

Complementing the MGW Ace is the MGW D265, a high-performance IP decoding appliance with a compact footprint, best-in-class connectivity options, and low-delay processing. MGW D265 uses advanced hardware to deliver a real-time, broadcast-quality picture with the highest quality of service and resilience required in complex IPTV and full-motion-video environments, such as the President’s visit to Cuba. MGW D265 offers all typical video output interfaces, including HD-SDI, SD-SDI, and HDMI. With integrated Zixi receiver technology, it is the ideal decoding complement for the MGW Ace encoder.

Remote Parenting

There are many other examples of technology to help staff work from home, but remember that a reliable Internet connection, and perhaps a private VPN, is key to a reliable workflow… that, and making sure your kids don’t walk into the room when you are working.

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