When the LiveIP Project broadcast the first remote production last month, it was a landmark moment in the IP evolution. The live production of a musical concert in the Belgian capital city Brussels, using IP and open standards throughout the production chain was the world’s first proof of concept of a complete multivendor live production chain that relies exclusively on IP. This event is a clear demonstration of just how far the industry has come in the steady move towards full IP adoption.
The multi-phase LiveIP Project is part of Sandbox+, an international joint platform for collaborative innovation put together by VRT, EBU and iMinds. Many of the industry’s leading technology partners are participating in the project alongside our team at Nevion, including Axon, Dwesam, EVS, Genelec, Grass Valley, Lawo, LSB, Tektronix and Trilogy, We have worked together to provide all of the different elements of the live IP production chain, with Nevion providing the software-defined network linking the elements together. The latest phase of the LiveIP project involving the remote production of the concert, was an extension of the LiveIP full IP local studio set up in August 2015, and in many ways paves the way for broadcasters in the transition towards IP.
Last month’s demo saw the concert venue in Bozar connected to VRT’s studios LiveIP control room by a single, 10 km long fiber optic cable. Alongside the software-defined network infrastructure, which has been used in previous in-studio productions, our role at Nevion included supplying the Flashlink CWDM technology, which allowed all the optical bi-directional IP-streams to be modulated on the single 10 km long optical fiber cable. During the broadcast, approximately 25 Gbit/s of IP data were transported in each direction, enough to connect four IP cameras, 10 microphones, intercom, control signals, camera return signals and even a visual intercom system with the LiveIP control room over at VRT.
This live production was a great success. The set-up at the concert hall required no outside broadcast van, as the equipment could be transported in a van, set up in under one hour, and the actual production took place at the LiveIP control room, a few miles away! The data was transported with no delay in audio or video and demonstrated the seamless manner in which live production can be accomplished using IP.
LiveIP is a perfect working example that epitomizes the capabilities and benefits of using IP in live broadcast.The project has been hailed as the best practical collaboration that brings all of the expertise together, with a ground-breaking system that shows the full capability of interoperability between vendors. What’s vitally important is that the project addresses many concerns cited by broadcasters exploring the move to IP, including performance, reliability, deterministic network behaviour and clean-switching.
We’re very much looking forward to the next ground breaking phase of LiveIP, it’s a really exciting time for the whole industry and now there is a real-life example that can help broadcasters build a plan for their own future operations.