Top REMI Solutions for Live Video Production & Remote Broadcast
REMI solutions have been the staple to catapult broadcasting to new heights through the remote production of live events and the sorts. Here you will what a REMI broadcast is, how live production works using REMI workflows, and the top REMI solutions shaping the future of remote video production.
The REMI production revolution
There’s no denying live video production is undergoing a major revolution. Fueled by the ubiquitous availability of the internet, extremely efficient video compression algorithms, and the operational expense (OpEx) model of the public cloud, this revolution touches every level of video production.
On the high-end of that range are traditional Outside Broadcast (OB) facilities companies—the ones that rent 53-foot, expandable production trailers to broadcasters and other rightsholders for pro sports leagues and major athletic conferences. These facilities companies, in an effort to keep existing clients happy and market their services to a broader list of prospects, are adding services that leverage these developments.
On the other side of the continuum are small churches wishing to extend their reach on social media sites like Facebook and YouTube, mid-sized and small colleges and high schools that want to give fans a way to watch games when they can’t attend and businesses looking to promote products to the public or train distant employees.
In between, large corporations, state and local governments, production houses and other video entrepreneurs are taking full advantage of cloud-based remote production—an approach generally known as REMI.
What is REMI?
REMI production in broadcast means “Remote Integration Model”. REMI is a broadcast workflow that enables live content captured from a remote location to be produced in the main studio or a remote home tv studio. REMI broadcast workflows can be integrated into any traditional broadcast workflow and helps optimize production, save costs, and produce any live event from anywhere.
How does REMI video production work?
From the 50,000-foot perspective, remote production employing the REMI strategy positions multiple cameras at remote venues to capture the sports action, entertainment event, proceedings or church services as they transpire in a way that’s quite similar to how a big-time production company would position cameras if a mobile production studio were being used.
The difference revolves around where the video signals go when they leave these cameras. In a traditional setup, they would move across SDI or SMPTE fiber cable to a camera control unit onsite to “paint” the video signals so they look identical and ultimately to a production switcher in the mobile studio where they are switched, other signals are integrated into the show, and the final output is sent via satellite or private fiber circuit to a broadcaster’s operations center for the turnaround to affiliates and other broadcasters.
REMI, on the other hand, transports each of those camera signals to a central production control center offsite, where the same production workflow is employed. A few years ago, that centralized control room was in a brick-and-mortar building. However, with the rise of the cloud and massive internet availability, those real-world centralized control rooms have been giving way to virtualized equivalents running in the cloud.
These equivalents replicate all of the tools commonly used to produce a live show, including devices like video switchers, audio mixers, video servers, graphics systems, CGs and replay, as software functions running on cloud CPUs and GPUs. With this virtualized REMI model, these functions are accessed by production staff via the internet on their computers.
Those looking to take advantage of this virtualized REMI video production strategy have a number of solutions from which to choose. This blog looks at eight of the leading offerings.
8 REMI Solutions for Remote Production & Video Broadcast
Here are eight of the top REMI solutions available to video producers looking to tap into the power of virtualized remote video production and a bit about them. They include
1. TVU Networks TVU Producer 3.0
Offering a complete solution for any video producer looking to produce live, multi-camera shows in the cloud—by themselves or with a whole crew of production pros—TVU Producer is a favorite for creating and broadcasting sports, entertainment, the arts and other content live via social media sites, websites and CDNs. With the addition of a TVU Receiver, broadcasters, too, can distribute TVU Producer shows live on air.
Running in the cloud, an instance of TVU Producer can switch between up to 12 HD or 4K video sources, ranging from broadcast cameras to smartphones, integrate titles, mix audio sources, roll-in pre-recorded content, add graphics and more.
The TVU One transmitter, TVU Remote Production System (RPS) and smartphones and tablets running the TVU Anywhere app can transmit source video to the cloud where an instance of TVU Producer runs. Each leverages the company’s Inverse Statmux + (IS+) protocol, ensuring secure, low latency streaming of video to the cloud.
Using a familiar Preview-Program switcher paradigm, TVU Producer delivers frame-accurate switching between video sources via an interface screen on the computer plugged into the instance in the cloud or an external control panel, such as Elgato Stream Deck.
With TVU Producer, an unlimited number of remote guests can contribute video from their smartphones or media tablets. Various multiview on-screen presentations are available to bring together multiple remote guests on screen. Show producers can manage hundreds of participants and bring them into productions when they’re needed.
Singular.Live graphics plug into TVU Producer, giving producers a powerful way to add cloud-based graphics overlays live. Graphic URLs from third-party providers are also supported.
The cloud-based solution gives producers advanced audio mixing control. The audio level of individual audio sources can be controlled as can master audio output.
TVU Producer is part of a larger TVU Networks cloud-based ecosystem with support for a variety of production functions, including remote commentators (TVU Remote Commentator), IFB, intercom and guest video contribution (TVU Partyline), channel scheduling and playout (TVU Channel) and broadcast app for remote smartphones and tablets to contribute video to the cloud (TVU Anywhere). Each can work as a standalone or be integrated into the same cloud-based production.
2. LiveU Cloud Connect
The LiveU Cloud Connect platform enables cloud production. It leverages the company’s LiveU Reliable Transport (LRT) protocol to enable high-quality video to be uploaded from the company’s transmitters in the field to the cloud with low latency.
Users can choose to host the LiveU Cloud Connect software on their own virtual private cloud or LiveU’s cloud. With support for NDI, RTMP and SRT decoding in the cloud, LiveU Cloud Connect makes it possible to orchestrate various workflows.
By itself LiveU Cloud Connect does not offer live video production in the cloud. Rather, the solution serves as a cloud platform where users can choose to use any of a variety of cloud-based video production tools, such as Grabyo, Grass Valley’s GV AMPP, Viz Vectar Plus and Easylive.io.
Together, this LiveU platform and these tools enable users to produce multi-camera switched television/video content.
In May, the company announced its acquisition of Easylive.io, a move it said was part of LiveU’s strategy to expand its cloud platform. With the purchase, LiveU acquired the ability to enable remote, collaborative cloud-based live production with support for video switching, audio mixing and the ability to add graphics.
It’s also important to note that LiveU Cloud Connect can also work as a hybrid solution integrated with existing hardware-centric video production workflows—both traditional video hardware, such as a production switcher, and software-based switchers running on computer hardware locally, such as OBS and Telestream Wirecast.
At least for now, Easylive.io still is available via the company’s website. What happens in the future as LiveU integrates the tool remains uncertain, especially whether or not it will maintain its own identity, be integrated into a LiveU offering or both.
At the moment, Easylive.io enables producers to input IP video sources, build shots with multiple layers to add elements like graphics and titles to a base video layer and stream live to multiple social media and CDN destinations with unique streaming settings at the same time.
As a cloud-based video production tool, Easyline.io supports collaborative video production workflows with team members working remotely in a virtual production control room, or it can be run simply by one person.
Up to eight live video inputs are available. Multiple templates are available to make creating multiview layouts simple. Video clips can be recorded on the fly and distributed via social media while a program is live. Easylive.io’s audio mixer allows control of output audio as well as each live source.
Distribution is available via CDN as well as social media sites. Easylive.io enables users to set up multiple streams with different parameters to be sent to different sites at the same time. The easylive.io interface enables users to set up the parameters for each social media account.
4. Grass Valley’s GV AMPP
Grass Valley describes its GV Agile Media Processing Platform (AMPP) as the OS for its GV Media Universe, which is its platform to which multiple vendors offer applications thereby building a broader media ecosystem that spans live production, asset management and playout. Grass Valley hardware also can plug into this ecosystem. Users can tap into GV AMPP workflows in the cloud, on-premise or in a hybrid configuration of both.
Grass Valley’s cloud-based live production component under the GV AMPP umbrella is Live Producer X—a cloud-based production switcher that uses the same microservices as Grass Valley K-Frame and offers many of the same features and capabilities.
The interface uses the familiar multiviewer paradigm with large Preview and Program windows at the top of the interface. Thumbnails with keyframes of all sources populate the portion below.
Executing cuts from Preview to Program is accomplished with a click on the screen, a keyboard shortcut or a remote device to which the interface is mapped.
Like a hardware production switcher, Live Producer X supports multiple keys and can do transitions with layers. Setting this up involves editing the shot in a manner similar to working with a video editor.
Live Producer X supports eight layers per shot. Shots can be grouped together in scenes. A clip player is built-in, and the virtual switcher also supports downstream switcher capabilities to add a bug or titles.
The solution also includes a virtual audio mixer to mix audio sources with control over the output mix as well as the ability to break out the mixer to control specific audio layers.
5. Viz Vectar Plus
Viz Vectar Plus is another REMI solution that leverages the cloud for video production. Beyond the cloud, however, it also can be deployed on-premise on a bare metal server, virtualized in a server room, or a hybrid combination of on-prem and cloud.
Viz Vectar Plus is a software production solution offering large and medium-sized broadcasters an alternative to a traditional production control room for HD and 4K production.
Vizrt, which acquired NewTek and its Network Device Interface (NDI) technology a few years ago, has built Viz Vectar Plus as an NDI-native system, which opens up a variety of new possibilities.
With NDI, the production solution can easily integrate any audio or video source on an IP network. For instance, with NDI Remote any mobile device can be integrated as a live production camera. Vizrt also is leveraging NDI for audio.
Viz Vectar Plus now offers Audio Connect, which uses the Virtual Studio Technology (VST) plug-in framework, to bring any NDI source into any audio application, making it possible to exchange audio seamlessly between Vectar Plus and whatever audio software a user prefers.
The Vizrt software-based production solution supports 44 video and 44 audio channel inputs for switching a show. It offers macro-support, enabling operators to build complex productions, NDI Genlock for consistently timed cameras and alpha channel support. The solution also offers built-in web streaming support and three output channels of HD, UHD or a combination thereof.
Recently, the company has added Live Call Connect which integrates remote guests into a switched show regardless of whether they use Skype, Zoom or some other video conferencing app.
Viz Vectar Plus, which can be controlled by a single operator for small productions or a team assigned to different tasks for larger shows, also allows operators to control the solution from their internet-connected computers anywhere in the world or from a hardware panel in a control room.
6. Grabyo Producer
Grabyo Producer is a cloud-native multi-camera video production system for live video production.
It enables producers to live stream the output of their finished video shows simultaneously to multiple social media sites as well as other online destinations like websites using RTMP (real-time messaging protocol).
The video production system offers familiar tools, such as switching multiple video inputs—including the ability to monitor up to 30 live video feeds, video clipping/VOD playback, replay and slow-motion, multi-party chat support of remote guests who use their smartphones or laptops to contribute video and audio, and an audio mixer.
Grabyo Producer uses the familiar Preview-Program interface motif. Below these windows, the virtual control room displays assets. There, producers can layer elements like text and graphics to create complex video compositions. The tool also supports picture-in-picture (PiP) functionality.
Users can customize the interface to satisfy their tastes and workflow requirements.
To transition between Preview and Program video, producers click on the Take Live button. Cuts, dissolves, fades and wipe transitions are supported as are keyboard shortcuts for a variety of functions.
To create replays, a producer starts by recording live video on the fly to one or several of the tool’s multiple media players. Playing out these VOD clips and changing their replay speed enables slow motion.
Grabyo Producer makes it possible to assign this task to a dedicated replay operator.
VOD clips also can be published to different destinations, such as Twitter and Facebook, as a show is being produced live.
DAZZL is a cloud-based, multi-camera live streaming tool that enables producers to stream via Facebook Live and YouTube as well as other RTMP destinations, including CDNs.
The solution uses the familiar Preview-Program multiviewer layout with thumbnails of sources below.
Video sources range from smartphones running the company’s contribution app and computer video cameras to drone cameras and professional cameras feeding an IP encoder.
The DAZZL smartphone contribution app offers tally functionality to enable shooters to know when their cameras are live as well as two-way communications between those contributing video with the app and the show producer.
A separate DAZZL app enabling tally and two-way communications is available for camera operators using a professional camera and encoder in the field.
With DAZZL, users can produce a wide variety of live content, including sports, news, corporate events and professional broadcasts.
Using the popular Singular third-party HTML graphics and overlay solution, producers can add titles, branding, logos and other graphics to their videos.
As with other cloud-based video production solutions, a DAZZL production is controlled via a computer with an internet connection. DAZZL also supports a touchscreen interface, meaning shows can be controlled and produced using a device like an Apple iPad.
DAZZL also offers an audio mixer to mix video source audio, commentator audio and background music into productions.
8. Tellyo Stream Studio
Tellyo Stream Studio is a cloud-based live video production solution with support for up to 25 video input sources (720p/1080p HD), video switching, 64-input audio mixer, eight M/E (mix/effects) units, live graphics, slow-motion replay, intercom, remote guest functionality and live video streaming to multiple destinations, including social media and websites.
Offering frame-accurate switching between video sources, Tellyo Stream Studio employs the familiar Preview-Program interface layout. Video sources are displayed below these windows.
A multi-user platform, Tellyo Stream Studio enables producers and other production personnel to work remotely.
Its multiviewer offers remote and parallel access to assets in real-time. Users can configure a mosaic view however they wish. On-screen monitoring of stream quality by another user is also supported.
The product’s audio mixer offers control over volume, gain and compression as well as volume normalization, audio-follow-video (AFV), direct mix and mute and pre-fade/post-fade audio.
Tellyo Stream Studio enables contributors in the field to stream video via WebRTC to the virtual switcher. Up to 16 guest contributors are supported, and as many as 40 can be supported on a custom basis.
The production system also enables the creation of instant replays from up to four live sources on the fly. A show’s technical director or a dedicated replay operator can create and control replays depending on the workflow requirements of a given show.
While no one is predicting that mobile production studios and their associated expensive technology will disappear anytime soon, the future course of video production seems set.
REMI solutions increasingly will play a bigger role as broadcasters and producers on the high end seek new, more affordable business models with flexible workflow options while maintaining the utmost video quality, those on the low end dip their toes into video production to stream via social media and the mass of people and institutions somewhere in between look to communicate with the same visual flare they see every day on TV.
The tools presented here offer all of these video producers a path forward, virtualizing the production capabilities once only available from stand-alone pieces of technology.
In the process, they are ushering in a new era in video—not just a time when the rulebook for video production has gone out the window, but one in which the amount of content available to delight and inform the public has never been greater.