Using a new generation of mobile IP transmitters, Sky News Arabias field reporters now capture and stream live, broadcast-quality video from any location on earth. Dave Mace, Head of Projects and Future Technology for Sky News Arabia, shares more details with BroadcastPro ME An IP video revolution is sweeping the world of remote electronic newsgathering (ENG) […]
Using a new generation of mobile IP transmitters, Sky News Arabias field reporters now capture and stream live, broadcast-quality video from any location on earth. Dave Mace, Head of Projects and Future Technology for Sky News Arabia, shares more details with BroadcastPro ME
An IP video revolution is sweeping the world of remote electronic newsgathering (ENG) and satellite newsgathering (SNG). With competition heating up among news organisations around the world, the ability to deliver live, broadcast-quality video of a breaking story when and where it happens has become paramount to the success of any 24-hour news operation.
Abu Dhabi-based broadcaster Sky News Arabia, which has a forward-thinking technology team and extensive reach across Europe, Africa and the Middle East with an ever-increasing network of OTT and IPTV distributors across the globe, says that adopting IP video transmission solutions right from its launch in 2012 has helped empower its journalists to break stories as they happen, even from the most remote locations in the world.
Long ago, ENG/SNG technicians had limited choices for getting a video feed out of a remote site: satellite or microwave, explains Dave Mace, Head of Projects and Future Technology for Sky News Arabia.
While satellite and microwave technologies may give an operator control over the connection and can offer signal capacity required for high-bit-rate video, they are usually expensive to acquire, staff and maintain, and its not always practical to deploy an ENG or SNG truck especially if the news is breaking in a highly remote and rugged location lacking in accessibility and satellite or network coverage.
More recently, professional IP video acquisition tools have changed the rules for ENG and SNG. Using the latest generation of highly portable and rugged mobile IP transmitters, field reporters are now able to capture and stream live, broadcast-quality video from virtually any location on the planet. Another ENG breakthrough is the emergence of Ka-band and BGAN IP-over-satellite systems that can acquire live HD video at significantly lower cost, with greater portability, than Ku-band SNG terminals.
With the launch of SNA in 2012, we had a prime opportunity to put these new technologies into practice. At the time, we adopted what was then considered the state-of-the-art transmitter, a product that enabled us to drastically extend our newsgathering reach to areas that couldnt be reached by the vehicles, explains Mace.
As time went on and technology progressed, however, the video quality from these systems were not able to meet our standards. Any degradation in bandwidth or satellite coverage and we were unable to sustain a consistent picture, he explains.
After evaluating a number of vendors late last year, SNA chose Dejero to expand its IP transmission capabilities. The Dejero technology met our requirements in several key ways, the most significant being its outstanding picture quality and reliability, explains Mace.
Dejero transmitters offer intelligent bonding capabilities that enable them to manage and bond a range of wireless connections, including 3G/4G/LTE, Wi-Fi, Ethernet and even microwave and satellite. This means were able to deliver optimal picture quality with low latency over multiple IP networks, even in areas with extremely limited bandwidth.
To begin, SNA deployed two LIVE+ mobile transmitters into the field to see how they performed and how engineers and reporters took to them.
The teams instantly loved them, so we began rolling out more units to fixed bureaus in Jeddah and Kuwait City. After the initial success with these previous-generation units, weve now added several new-generation LIVE+ GoBox transmitters by Dejero. Specifically designed for newsgathering teams and video content contributors on the move, the rugged and portable LIVE+ GoBox enables our mobile journalists to broadcast live from virtually anywhere or record HD video for later broadcast.
Reporters can grab a LIVE+ GoBox and head to the scene to capture and transmit live reports, or record up to 40 hours of HD video, and field camera operators can also use the system for DTL positioning and for sending rushes from the field. The LIVE+ GoBox is extremely easy to set up and use, with one-button start-up, automatic input and format detection, and a simple, intuitive interface with confidence monitoring. The built-in intelligence continuously adapts the systems to network conditions for top video quality.
To further extend its field newsgathering capabilities, SNA has also deployed several camera kits outfitted with a Mac laptop and an iPhone running Dejeros mobile contribution software LIVE+ NewsBook and LIVE+ Mobile App.
In concert with a BGAN terminal or one of our SNG flyaway kits, LIVE+ NewsBook turns the Mac into a highly versatile go-anywhere video uplink solution for transmitting live HD or SD video feeds, as well as recorded and edited files, back to the broadcast facility in Abu Dhabi. Also, weve issued iPhones running the LIVE+ Mobile App to every SNA reporter and field engineer, as well as many other employees giving about 40 personnel the ability to use their iPhones built-in cameras and cellular and Wi-Fi connections to instantly transmit live video, explains Mace.
He adds that the NewsBook and Mobile App software applications perfectly illustrate the reach of IP video transmission technology.
In effect, weve created a news force of at least 100 people who can cover stories as they break, at any time and from anywhere the staff members happen to be. For big stories, they can use their phones to go live until the SNG vehicles and additional reporters arrive.
Although there are still other solutions in the SNA environment, Mace explains that more than 40% of the networks field newsgathering is now accomplished with Dejero transmitters. Two recent high-profile stories covered with the GoBox transmitters were the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference (Cop21) and the November terrorist attacks in Paris.
The terrorist attack, in particular, was a rapidly evolving story that required our reporters to be extremely nimble and reach areas that even our smaller trucks equipped with flyaways couldnt access. With the GoBox transmitters, we were able to broadcast critical information live, as it happened, he explains.
Mace calls SNAs IP newsgathering capabilities a point of pride.
They illustrate the organisations commitment to serving a new generation of Arab viewers who expect to receive up-to-the-minute news on a variety of platforms and media outlets. With Dejero, we can go live from virtually anywhere with consistent and reliable HD picture quality thats comparable to traditional SNG equipment, and the software installations have enabled us to drastically expand our reach. These solutions have significantly improved our news operations ability to deliver primary and supplemental live video feeds at excellent cost, efficiency and ease of use.