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EMG UK

Scalable broadcast connectivity on a best-in-class fibre network.

EMG UK wanted to be free to focus on providing top-notch outside broadcast (OB) services, and it needed a trusted partner to manage scalable broadcast connectivity on a best-in-class fibre network.

The challenge

When the pandemic struck in early 2020, the world changed. The broadcasting industry was no exception. Initially there was the unavoidable problem of no live sports events owing to stringent lockdown conditions. But when these began to ease and live sport found its way back onto the national agenda, EMG UK faced a new challenge: broadcasting live events under social distancing protocols.

In an industry that thrives on people working closely together in production environments and facilities located onsite at event venues, social distancing posed a problem. And that’s assuming that the technical crew and production team could safely make their way to the venues anyway. Cast your mind back to the measures that were in place during the opening salvoes of the battle against the coronavirus and you’ll see the situation EMG UK found itself in.

As well as the logistical difficulties of managing production trucks with social distancing in place, broadcasters were also under pressure to televise live events while adhering to the rules. EMG UK and their broadcast partners had to a find a way to achieve this - the answer was remote outside broadcast production.

The solution

Even before the pandemic forced outside broadcast and production companies to reassess their working models, we were already designing solutions that would enable swift and seamless remote production. And as an enthusiastic early adopter of new technology, EMG UK was keen to work with us on revolutionising their live broadcast workflow.

In partnership with EMG UK, we devised options to enable remote production, with the initial priority focusing on the Premier League and Rugby Union. EMG UK’s main driver was the need to reduce the number of production staff at venues - to stick to social distancing rules – while continuing to manage the output from the large number of cameras on-site. We did this by sending all camera outputs across our media network to a remote operation centre, rather than directly into a production truck. But this required swift and immediate action.

To enable this, we played our part in the building of EMG UK’s High Wycombe Remote Operations Centre (ROC), kitting it out with all our essential media networking equipment including encode and decode equipment that, alongside EMG UK’s production equipment, could handle and manage high volumes of simultaneous visions.

In partnership with EMG UK, we devised options to enable remote production, with the initial priority focusing on the Premier League and Rugby Union. EMG UK’s main driver was the need to reduce the number of production staff at venues - to stick to social distancing rules – while continuing to manage the output from the large number of cameras on-site. We did this by sending all camera outputs across our media network to a remote operation centre, rather than directly into a production truck. But this required swift and immediate action.

Another crucial component to the success of the project was the decision to ramp up the existing fibre connectivity from High Wycombe to BT Tower and our second London switching centre, from 1+1 Gbps to 10 + 10 Gbps. Alongside our high bandwidth connectivity at the venues, this enabled transport of all visions to High Wycombe across resilient paths, as well as future-proofing the solution ready for future bandwidth expansion.

Now, as we emerge from the pandemic, EMG UK support multiple concurrent productions from different broadcasters, like BT Sport and the BBC, and support the viewing of content across multiple production galleries simultaneously.

Fast-forward two years and, as EMG UK faces continuous growth in demand for their services, the company becomes our first OB customer connected to Vena, our next generation, smart Broadcast Network. EMG UK’s High Wycombe Remote Operation Centre is now connected via 20 + 20Gbps circuits, giving EMG UK the capability of receiving up to 120 visions using JPEG2000/JPEG XS compression techniques. 

We see Vena as the future of broadcasting, enabling: 

  • high availability and capacity 
  • intelligent re-routing 
  • high-performing data pipes specifically for live video contribution and remote production

The result

We helped: 

  • EMG UK embrace remote production 
  • provide an option to reduce the number of people on-site, improving sustainability and work-life balance of staff 
  • increase productivity and flexibility of services

Our partnership with BT Media & Broadcast has led to the creation of a first-in-class remote production model that’s trusted to deliver some of the most valuable sports and entertainment content in the world

Sean Mulhern, CTO, EMG UK
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About

EMG UK

EMG UK is one of the UK’s leading outside broadcast services companies. Covering everything from Premiership Football to Royal Weddings and Strictly Come Dancing, EMG UK’s cameras, crew, and OB fleet have given us all a ringside seat to some of the country’s most popular live events.

Audiences

Sports Broadcasters, International broadcasters

Regions

UK, Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)

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