BaM Award® Winner NDI-5: Produce more, save the planet, adopt remote

BaM Award® Winner NDI-5: Produce more, save the planet, adopt remote

IABM Journal

BaM Award® Winner NDI-5: Produce more, save the planet, adopt remote

Suso Carrillo, Marketing Lead, NDI

Wed 20, 04 2022

One of the key takeaways from the past two years is that as an industry not only do we need to travel less, but we can travel less and still make excellent programming that wows audiences. Traditionally pandemics have few upsides, and Covid-19 has caused more than its fair share of upheaval and misery, but it arrived at an opportune time for those that had already been working hard in the background to implement more remote working throughout the industry.


Save on cost, save on carbon


The sustainability arguments for remote production have been rehearsed and debated for several years. Taking live sports OB as an example. The idea behind remote is that only the essential equipment is transported, the cameras, camera crews, microphones etc. Everything else, the switching equipment, slow motion, graphics and more, stays behind in a production hub. High quality ‘raw’ visual feeds from the stadium are sent via redundant links to the hub, which then switches cameras, adds commentary, and performs all the other myriad functions that used to be done in an OB truck.


It’s quick, it’s lean and crucially it’s cost-effective. And since it became the only way to produce live sports in the era of lockdown restrictions and social distancing, it overcame any residual objections in the industry and became the standard method of production all the way up to Tier 1 events.


We also got to see precisely how beneficial it can be. In the UK, the albert sustainability initiative estimated there was a 66% drop in carbon emissions per hour of OB from May 2020 to April 2021. This, it reckoned was primarily due to a decrease in travel and accommodation emissions, which declined by 78% and 90% respectively. And that figure is only within sports.


We have seen new production models enthusiastically embraced across the industry. From newly distributed and hybrid working environments in post-production to studios which genuinely span across countries and even continents, there is an entire generation of companies that is starting to work in an increasingly sustainable manner.


We’re increasingly giving them the tools to do it too. For example, the latest iteration of NDI®, NDI 5, allows users to connect to any device, in any location, anywhere in the world via innovative new features including NDI Bridge and NDI Remote.


Connecting the world through video, NDI


Since it was launched in 2015, NDI’s ability to make connections to an IP network fast and find a device within a networked infrastructure easily has made it the de facto standard when it comes to constructing IP-based networks at the Local Area Network level. What NDI 5 brings to the table is the ability to extend that around the world and to Wide Area Networks.


NDI Bridge enables the hassle-free establishment of remote production workflows by forming a secure bridge between any NDI network regardless of location. Users can share NDI sources between remote sites, anywhere in the world, using a simple and secure network setup based on 256-bit encryption. This allows live production teams to stay native in NDI end-to-end, reducing complexity, cost, and latency across any distance. NDI Bridge delivers local convenience on a global scale as it handles all the complexity of remote sources, and still works with alpha channel, KVM, PTZs, tally, and much more.


NDI Remote, meanwhile, lets users contribute high-quality live audio and video to live productions simply via a URL distributed by the production team using any internet-connected device. This opens a limitless realm of possibilities for industry professionals by introducing content contributions from across the globe to live productions of any size, and without the need to be trailed around by extra equipment.


Moving toward a more sustainable future


All this combines to mean less need for shipping equipment and the people that run it from location to location around the world. That alone shrinks the carbon footprint enormously and moves the industry on significantly in its journey from carbon neutral to net zero. And there are other sustainable benefits that can be realized as well. By centralizing production, for example, the industry can maximize the uptime of its equipment by using it in multiple productions. A hub can easily produce two football matches in an afternoon and switch over to a live light entertainment show in the early evening. There’s more to come here too.


The move towards virtualization and cloud-native workflows enabled by tools such as NDI Bridge holds the potential to bring footprints down even further alongside sustainable initiatives from the major cloud providers.


There are still challenges to be met. Net zero production is going to involve implementing innovation in many different parts of the production chain, but technologies such as NDI can play a key part in connecting people and equipment securely together wherever they are, making production not only more sustainable but more cost-effective too. And, as an industry, these factors are only going to grow in importance over the coming decade.


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