The cancellation of IBC was a great disappointment. We were very much looking forward to showing you the latest developments at Intinor.
Ironically, many of those developments were in direct response to the challenges of producing excellent content under covid restrictions. Remote production has become the order of the day. Intinor has always been a leader in remote production functionality, and our latest efforts have been focused on making it even easier to achieve great things.
Remote production often involves multiple links into a central production area. Each of those links may involve multiple sources, and will probably also need one or more return video feeds. All those links can add up into a significant time lag, which impacts synchronisation and spontaneity – it is hard to have a lively conversation when the latency between the speakers is measured in seconds.
That is why we have added an ultra-low latency mode to our Direkt Link encoders. It is a simple menu selection, and delivers end-to-end latency of less than 500ms. That is a huge boost when designing complex remote production systems. We have also added stream synchronisation, which maintains multiple feeds precisely in sync for seamless switching, wherever that takes place.
We recently supported the Intel Extreme Masters esports championship. The event itself was in Cologne, the studio was in Katowice in Poland, 850km away. Each Intinor Direkt Link encoder accepts four feeds: two were used for eight independent signals, maintained in synchronisation and with ultra-low latency, thanks to our latest software.
Or look at the European Truck Racing circuit. Events all around the continent were produced from a central studio. Video feeds were switched in an Intinor router on site, minimising the bandwidth required so getting the best possible quality from the 100Mb/s link. But all the signals available were sent to the director working from home, in a single ultra-low latency multiviewer feed.
Alongside latency and synchronisation, the other key area we have been working on is interoperability. As remote production has developed, so a number of different signal formats and protocols have appeared.
Intinor’s Bifrost format remains the most rugged, most efficient way to get a signal a long distance over the public internet. Its intrinsic forward error correction makes it most resilient to packet loss, delivering consistently high quality.
But there are other signal formats in common use, whether they are proprietary like NDI or LiveU’s LRT, or open source like SRT and RIST. When setting up a production, you need the flexibility to use the best equipment for the job, not worry about signal formats and compatibility.
That is why the Direkt series accepts multiple formats for input and output, set from simple menus in the web interface. Creating fully interoperable, seamless architectures is simple and reliable.
As well as sports and entertainment production, this is useful for corporate meetings which are increasingly going virtual. A typical large-scale business meeting will have contributors in a number of remote locations, all contributing to a single programme which has to appear professional to maintain corporate standards.
Each of those remote contributors will want to show Powerpoint presentations from their laptops as well as work with one or more PTZ cameras. With an Intinor router and encoder at each remote location, the director can see all the sources via an ultra-low latency multiview and switch remotely, irrespective of the input signal formats. At the same time, the remote contributor will receive return video feeds: a multiview display of all contributors to a group discussion, for example, as well as a programme output.
Connectivity between the remote location and the production centre can be spread over both fixed broadband and multiple cellular links, with each sub-stream synchronised at the master switcher. The load can be automatically balanced across the links for quality and cost.
At the final output, Intinor can also handle delivery to whatever format is required. For a corporate event, this could be to Microsoft Teams, for example.
Remote production is very much here to stay. At Intinor our research efforts have been around minimising the stresses involved by eliminating technical constraints to make the production process as much like the traditional experience as possible.
And if IBC had taken place, that is what we would have been proud to show you. You can see a video of what we had planned for the IBC demonstration below. And we very much hope to be able to see you in person in 2022.