Cloud computing isn’t something new. For years now, many successful businesses and service providers have been the cloud to drive efficiencies and opportunities that create greater profits. However, in the world of live production, many organizations are just starting to dip their toes into this new technology space.
Over this turbulent past year, you may have considered the cloud to help mitigate the extreme risk of the COVID-19 pandemic in traditional, confined control room environments. But looking to the future, cloud production technology stands to serve as so much more than a stop-gap measure. There are immense opportunities to reduce expenditure, increase content output, enable greater production versatility, and provide simpler workflows based around your ideal blueprint – not hardware logistics.
In this article, we’ll examine the advantages you stand to see from cloud production with the PRIME Live Platform.
Eliminate Prohibitive Upfront Equipment Costs
Control rooms are expensive. No matter how big or small they are, you have to contend with a minimum cost barrier to entry. Production switchers, CGs, clip servers, audio mixers, and all the ancillary equipment you need to support your specific use case. All this gear going into your rack room and the elaborate hardware interfaces you need to control it all quickly adds up. For small media companies, this can prove cost-prohibitive. For large broadcast networks, creating multiple control rooms to address different-sized productions explodes cost.
Cloud-based platforms make expanding your business and audience far more affordable. With the PRIME Live Platform, you can spin up a control room equivalent combining production switching, graphics, clips, and audio mixing directly in the cloud – to drive new programming in new markets without the big hardware and real-estate costs.
Live Production Resource On-Demand
Cloud-based production platforms offer greater versatility to address your evolving production needs. From a cost perspective, you can avoid spending dollars on idle equipment. An on-demand model makes it possible to leverage state-of-the-art equipment where and when you choose. From a production perspective, there are exciting opportunities that come from being more agile.
Say there’s a special event in the coming year – an election perhaps – that you want to put more production value behind to create a real gala event experience for your viewing audience. You want to drive beautiful motion graphic displays on your set, as well as some dynamic graphs and maps – but your current gear can only fulfill part of your vision. To fill the void, you can turn on a supplementary PRIME Live Platform in the cloud to augment your show with additional PRIME CG channels for pre-show design and live playout on event night. Essentially, you can do away with the traditional rental model and activate the production resource you need on an event-by-event basis.
Lighter Mobile and Remote Productions
The flexibility of the cloud lowers the physical hardware and real-estate demands to fulfill a production. In an OTT/streaming talk show scenario, you might be looking to create something live similar in format to a Twitch Streamer or YouTuber, where you only have talent or talent-plus-one driving the show. With the PRIME Live Platform, you can drive this show with the quality and precision befitting a broadcaster – with newsroom tools, media asset management, broadcast-grade graphics + media, and intuitive production control – with a camera and a laptop that fits in a backpack.
Or in the cast of sports broadcasts, you can make a paradigm shift from trucking all your equipment to each venue you’re covering to producing shows for games across the world from a central cloud-based platform. Instead of sending a dozen fully-loaded trucks to a dozen different games, send what you need to capture your video input and produce it with a single cloud instance that you can spin up and spin down as necessary.
All-in-One Cloud Production
The simplicity extends to the production control side of things for your operators as well. Over the years, Chyron and other manufacturers in this industry have gone to great lengths to integrate different pieces of equipment in a way that makes control as simple as possible. For example, you can send commands from a production switcher to trigger playout on an external graphics system. With the PRIME Live Platform, what’s traditionally separate units talking to each other via control protocols, instead becomes a unified, single production environment.
Because all PRIME Modules sit on top of the common foundation of the PRIME Live Platform, it’s easy to fuse everything into a remotely-accessible, central cloud unit for your productions. A great example of this is the PRIME Switcher interface, which merges full production switcher, graphics, clips, and audio mixer controls into a single window. These aren’t separate applications talking to each other, but a truly unified all-in-one.
Because all of these are software-based modules, there’s more flexibility to link multiple functions together into single, elegant, full-featured control interfaces. For operators, this means you can start to think more about adapting platform control to your use case rather than your use case to a pre-existing product interface.
What’s Your Ideal Cloud Production Workflow?
The application of cloud technology in the world of live production stands to help broadcasters eliminate significant upfront costs, be more agile with production resources, create content with lighter workflows, and simplify control for operators. Keep in mind, just like the transition from analog-to-digital broadcasting, there are plenty of new technical considerations in moving to the cloud – which we’ll be breaking down in future articles.
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