CP Communications' Virtual Media Center at the New York City Marathon
CP Communications has launched two new tools for live remote production, the Virtual Media Center and FastReturn secure video management platform. Both systems are built on WebRTC – the cloud-based, real-time audio/visual system that Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other videoconferencing platforms use – and have been proven in the field during high-profile events over the past few years, including the Autumn 2021 editions of the TCS New York City Marathon and Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
“People have been struggling with the latency of live video in remote production workflows,” said Kurt Heitmann, CEO of CP Communications. “Announcers can’t be allowed to fall behind the action with play-by-play or analysis. With FastReturn, we use the cloud to deliver streaming return video with ultra-low latency, so you can view your live production from anywhere on any device in real time.”
FastReturn’s base package includes five streams and supports up to 100 users, but can be scaled to accommodate additional sources and larger crews. Users access FastReturn content via a web browser on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops, as well as through Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire Stick digital media players. Content is accessed through a secure client portal, and optional custom user pages and templates are also available.
The platform can ingest H.264 baseline profile RTMP streams, supporting HD resolution and 128kbit stereo audio with bitrates up to 10 MBps with less than 400ms of latency. FastReturn can also launch edge servers around the world that are geographically closer to the production to achieve lower latency and better reliability.
Virtual Media Center Service
Available as an ad hoc service, the Virtual Media Center is a browser-based multi-viewer designed for monitoring, not retransmission, of live video signals. Designed for use by remote journalists, it features a variety of multi-viewer templates, from simple 2-box and 4-box displays to more extensive layouts based on the number of signals being shared. Through a browser-based interface, media personnel can select which video feeds to monitor. All templates deliver video feeds with secure, two-step authentication and less than 400ms of latency.
Red House Streaming CamSTREAM
Beyond event coverage, the Virtual Media Center can also help with multi-camera remote production. For example, a two-day commercial shoot was recently produced across three sound stages in Atlanta. The on-site crew used multiple Red House Streaming (RHS) CamSTREAM systems along with the Virtual Media Center to supply the producers and director in California with real-time, behind-the-scenes views of the production.
“For members of the media who are not able to travel to an event, or for video production crew members who can’t be on site, the Virtual Media Center works as an effective and efficient way to monitor the live action from multiple cameras,” Kurt said.
Developed by CP Communications, RHS CamSTREAM systems are all-in-one video production and streaming systems that can be quickly configured and deployed for live productions. By combining camera acquisition with streaming support over bonded cellular, Ethernet and Wi-Fi networks, the whole procedure becomes very simple and connectivity is assured from nearly any location. Following set-up camera control and call connection management can be managed locally or remotely by CP’s NOC staff. Options are available that include Haivision for low-latency streaming or that connect directly to collaboration tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype and WebEx.
FastReturn is available as a monthly service or can be licensed for specific events. CP can also supply RHS CamSTREAM units and RTMP encoders for rental. cpcomms.com