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Moving mountains

Posted on Oct 8, 2023 by FEED Staff

Eurovision Sport and Actua Films brought the Ski Mountaineering World Cup to fans worldwide, delivering a multicam remote production with LiveU tech

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With the goal of providing dynamic, high-quality live coverage of the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) World Cup, Eurovision Sport recently tasked Geneva-based production company Actua Films with a multicamera project.

The skiing route in Morgins, Switzerland takes athletes up 600m through the snowy Swiss mountains. Wiring up all the cameras along the track was not feasible, and a wireless transmission solution had to be found.

“We needed a solution that was in-between,” begins Franck Choquard, head of content and servicing at Eurovision Sport. “We invited different vendors to come to the events and review what could be done to achieve a cable-less production – particularly for a mountainous area with limited coverage both in terms of physical internet and 4G.”

Signal on the slopes

With no SAT connection or internet landline available in the mountains, it became clear cellular connectivity would be the best option. Production gear had to be compact and simple to use, so it could be set up quickly anywhere in the field; while camera signals had to reach the control room in high quality with no interruptions. 

Eurovision had successfully worked with LiveU on other sports events, so it was the logical step for Actua Films to turn to LiveU for the ISMF project.

Signals from various cameras, including handheld, drone and PTZ cams, were wirelessly transmitted using LiveU’s portable encoding solutions. While each of the stand-alone cameras on the skiing track were connected to a separate LiveU unit, the LU800 proved its multicam capabilities in the most crucial spot. 

“Using the LU800 to sync back to a remote gallery meant we could minimise the number of people on site, while still maximising the number of video sources from the venue,” Choquard emphasises.

Positioned at the start and finish line, a single LU800 unit delivered three PTZ camera feeds and one drone feed in parallel, with all frames in sync. 

Aggregating multiple SIM connections, LiveU cellular bonding tech ensured a stable uplink connection and enough bandwidth to deliver the live feeds with low delay to the control room. Covering the first mile of the remote production chain, LiveU successfully set the scene for the remote switching and editing. 

Sustainably skiing

By also using the LiveU Matrix cloud-based distribution solution, Eurovision was capable of sharing live feeds with takers globally at the click of a button.

Solutions like LiveU Matrix are one of many within LiveU’s portfolio that facilitate sustainable productions, due to the technology being better for the environment than typical alternatives.

Eurovision eventually broadcast the final PGM feed on linear TV and digital platforms across Europe. In addition, winter sports fans could follow the World Cup run on ISMF TV, the federation’s dedicated OTT platform. 

“It’s not only about technology,” concludes Choquard. “It’s also about understanding the service activity and offering support. We needed support on-site and remotely – which was key for both sustainability and cost. By collaborating closely with LiveU and finding out the proper approach, we benefited from personal and dedicated technical support.” 

Originally published in the Autumn 2023 issue of FEED.

EUROVISION and ActuaFilms Master Multi-Cam Remote Production of International Skiing Event

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