This month saw the UK elections commence. News on the run up, during and post elections have been covered extensively by the world’s press. Even the most northern parts of the UK -The Orkney and subarctic Shetland Islands needed a solution for low latency, high quality live transmissions.

 

Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, was the UK’s most Northerly election count. The seat is a Liberal Democrat stronghold held by Alistair Carmichael MP and was of particular media interest as the last stand for the party in Scotland.

 

Heavy seas and bad weather proved a challenge for the News team getting to the island. However, BNN’s setup included a MacBook Pro running the Quicklink Mac Live 5.9 software encoder. The Eutelsat NewsSpotter Ka network was used for the satellite transmission link. The video/audio was captured using a Sony FS700RH camera, Blackmagic Design TV Studio and Blackmagic Design mini recorder via a thunderbolt cable. Audio Talkback was also available with the Quicklink IFB talkback.

 

Despite the bad weather BNN achieved superb quality footage. BNN’s Bobby Nelson comments on the quality of the software:

“I have compared the quality to previous transmissions and we were not able to differentiate any quality difference between the content that came out of a little island far north of Scotland in the middle of nowhere compared to what is produced daily in the City of Glasgow. The picture and sound quality were excellent.”

The Quicklink Mac Live solution gave BNN the opportunity to transmit live two way audio interviews both to the studio in Glasgow and also the ITV Network studio.

 

The Quicklink Mac Live continues to be used at BNN and is certainly going to be used in future projects said Bobby:

“We’ve used Quicklink over many major events now and it has worked very well for us. It’s a robust piece of software, so we have a lot of faith and that’s why we continue to use it.”

The Quicklink Mac Live offers a new improved codec, improved Inmarsat satellite functionality and customised audio bitrate selection if a higher audio quality is desired. In addition the software also automatically protects the stream over high-loss networks and offers superior quality on low bandwidth networks.

 

The UK general elections of 2015 took place this month in order to elect the 56th Parliament of the United Kingdom. Voting took place in all 650 parliamentary constituencies of the United Kingdom. SNG Broadcast based in Manchester was tasked to transmit high quality, low latency broadcasting of the ongoing live interviews and debates back to TV2 Denmark.

Using the Quicklink 1U Encoder, TV2 Denmark were able to produce for the first time a multi lingual news broadcast both in Danish and English for the UK elections. Spanning over 3 days, constant live broadcasts were transmitted with excellent quality over the Ka Band Network. Paul Bridgeman from SNG Broadcast explains;

“I used SD quality running over a 6MB line, in the adaptive mode to squeeze as much bandwidth as possible. The quality was really good and this would be comparable to any Ku service.”

One of the main valuable features for TV2 Denmark is that the Quicklink 1U Encoder has constant audio return communication (IFB). Paul Bridgeman from SNG Broadcast explains;

“This was very useful for our reporter and she relied on this heavily. The reporter was able to listen to her own language on the news channel over the comms to see what was happening around the UK. This was really valuable because it did not involve her being on the phone constantly to the newsroom and wondering what was going on”

During the 2015 elections SNG Broadcast were able to follow David Milliband and the Labour bus outside the Leeds City Museum, sending live footage back to TV2 Denmark via the satellite truck. On other days there was a permanent setup at Doncaster Racecourse, with a fibre link going to the election stage, which enabled multiple lives to be transmitted all night back to the main TV2 Denmark news channel.

The Quicklink 1U Encoder offers cost effective bonding combined with simplicity and ease of use. With enhanced bonding algorithms the 1U Encoder offers flexibility and resilience. Satellite optimisation and an intuitive adaptive mode on the advanced software ensures that the encoder offers reliability and robust performance by compensating for any satellite degradation.

About Quicklink

The Quicklink 1U Encoder is part of the live hardware broadcast range from Quicklink. Speak to a member of the sales team +44 1792 720880 or email sales@quicklink.tv

Sir Ranulph Fiennes leaving the start line on the third day of the Marathon des Sables -®LizScarffFieldcraftStudiosSir Ranulph Fiennes MDS challenge-2Sir Ranulph Fiennes Sahara 2Marathon des Sables -®LizScarffSir Ranulph Fiennes MDS challenge-4Sir Ranulph Fiennes Sahara 2 Sir Ranulph Fiennes MDS challenge-13Sir Ranulph Fiennes Sahara 2 Sir Ranulph Fiennes MDS challengeSir Ranulph Fiennes Sahara 2-6

The Marathon des Sables – a gruelling, 256km, 6 day race in the south-Moroccan desert – has recently been completed by the British 71 year old, Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Dubbed the ‘the toughest footrace on Earth’ the adventurer had to overcome 50 degree heat, miles of sand dunes, strong winds and back and heart problems in order to complete the challenge. This was all in aid of the charity Marie Curie; who provide care and support to people living with a terminal illness. Fieldcraft Studios took up the task to film live media segments of the race to be broadcast back to the UK. With the blistering heat, sending live media back to base from the remote Sahara whilst maintaining a professional broadcast was always going to be difficult without the right equipment.

Quicklink donated the Mac Live software to Fieldcraft Studios to help send the live broadcasts back to base. Liz Scarff from Fieldcraft Studios reveals why they chose the Quicklink Live:

We needed a reliable, easy to use piece of software that would enable us to produce numerous high-quality live broadcasts for the BBC and other major broadcasters”

The Quicklink Software LNG Mac Live is capable of producing superb picture quality from its Adaptive Mode; which automatically sets the bitrate depending on the bandwidth and Resilient Mode; which allows you to adjust the error correction before broadcast. Ideal for the journalist always on the move and needing the flexibility and ease of use, the Quicklink Mac Live delivers unsurpassed picture quality due to its H.264 codec enhancement when using Thunderbolt.

“We took an SDI 1080 50i output from the Canon C300 into a Black Magic ultra-studio mini recorder via thunderbolt into the Mac Book Pro which was then encoded with the Quicklink Mac Live software.”

Fieldcraft Studios used the Mac Live over the 6 day period in the Sahara. The software produced excellent results according to Liz Scarff,

“We were working in extreme conditions to produce the Live Broadcasts from the Sahara Desert with Sir Ranulph Fiennes and using QuickLink Live made the job easy. It really was a click and connect experience.”

The Quicklink software LNG Mac and Windows Live is available as a free trial from the Quicklink website.

Download the Mac and Windows Live

About Fieldcraft Studios

Fieldcraft Studios are a strategic digital consultancy company comprising of storytelling, social media, PR and technology. Fieldcraft Studios run creative campaigns for their clients that generate media and drive global social conversations. Working with SIr Ranulph Fiennes in the Sahara included producing live broadcasts for BBC Breakfast, producing video and photography content, putting in place media partnerships and creating and running a social media strategy. www.fieldcraftstudios.com

People can still donate to Sir Ranulph’s challenge by visiting www.justgiving.com/ranulph or by texting RUN to 70007 to donate £5 plus a message of support to Sir Ranulph.

For more information on Sir Ranulph’s challenge visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/ranulph

Donate to Marie Curie

Pictures credits to Liz Scarff /FieldcraftStudios

Last year saw fires raged throughout Western Cape and the mountains above Glencairn Heights in Cape Town, which took three fire engines, two helicopters and 25 ground crew to extinguish. The result of these fires around the Cape Peninsula affected surrounding areas forcing residents to evacuate their homes.

As residents were forced to flee the area, broadcasters such as eNCA had the difficult job of reporting and capturing live footage of the disaster. eNCA needed a mobile solution that would allow them to broadcast quality live footage from inaccessible areas such as mountains and moving vehicles.

eNCA used the Quicklink  Backpack – the perfect solution for mobile live video. This was used over a 12-14 day period where they achieved 66 live streams using one backpack producing a very successful result. Overall eNCA transferred in excess of 200GB in data.

Broadcast Deliveries Manager Sean Thomas describes why eNCA chose the Quicklink Backpack: “We chose Quicklink for this particular story because there were a lot of areas that were inaccessible to us so we needed mobility, but the main factor for us was the cost. For us it became the quickest, easiest, deployable solution to get camera crews and reporters to areas where we would not normally be able to go. A lot of the areas were inaccessible for the SNG truck because of the fire.”

The Quicklink Backpack is one of the most advanced compact broadcasting solutions on the market. To help broadcasters produce a quality live stream, Quicklink installed the latest version of the HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) or also known as H.265 codec. This delivered the same video quality as H.264 but using less bandwidth.

The Backpack software also allows users to bond together multiple available networks such as 3G/4G/Wi-Fi, Satellite and ADSL, in order to improve the speed and reliability of the internet network. The software automatically detects and seamlessly adjusts to suit the available network conditions whilst maintaining optimum broadcast quality.

By using the Quicklink Backpack eNCA were able to report on a large area of the fire and were mobile enough to get the story as it broke out. Sean Thomas adds: “Our cameraman were using a Panasonic P2 camera with SDI connected to the Backpack. From initial boot up, it took 5 minutes to send a live stream with embedded audio using the 8 inbuilt high gain cellular modems.”

eNCA’s MCU has already increased their order for more Quicklink Backpacks hoping to deploy them to their other bureaus so they can have live contributions from different parts of the country.

broadcast-pix-logo

If you want to seamlessly integrate calls from any of the 300 million monthly connected Skype users around the world into your live production, Broadcast Pix™ and Quicklink Video Distribution Services Ltd, a leading global provider of IP solutions for video transmission, have made it easy. Today, the companies announced a strategic partnership to offer Quicklink TX, a cost effective Skype TX solution, through Broadcast Pix’s distribution partners.

 

Announced at the 2014 NAB Show, Skype TX software delivers high quality audio and video output specifically designed to connect broadcasters and other media professionals with Skype users around the world. Quicklink was named an official Skype TX hardware partner in September and began shipping its Quicklink TX hardware solution last month.

 

Powered by Skype TX software, the 1U Quicklink TX appliance allows producers and engineers to manage Skype audio and/or video for broadcast without the need to scan convert from a PC. Whether the source is a laptop or desktop, mobile phone or tablet, or even a game console, Quicklink TX performs all scaling and provides frame accurate video to any Flint™, Mica™, or Granite™ integrated production switcher. The Skype call is delivered to the Broadcast Pix production switcher as any other HD video source via HD-SDI with embedded audio.

 

Quicklink TX’s call management allows Skype video calls to be seamlessly integrated into any production without subjecting users to pop-up ads or interference from other nearby calls. Plus, if line quality becomes unacceptable for transmitting live video, the Quicklink TX falls back to a still image while maintaining audio call quality.

 

“We are excited to announce the partnership with Broadcast Pix,” explained Richard Rees, CEO of Quicklink. “The Quicklink TX is an easy to use, simplified broadcast solution that is a great compliment to the Broadcast Pix video production systems.”

 

“Broadcast Pix pioneered delivering cloud-based content to integrated production switchers. Our partnership with Quicklink provides an even easier way to incorporate Skype interviews from around the world into live broadcasts,” said Steve Ellis, CEO of Broadcast Pix. “With the ability to connect Skype individual and multiple calls to our switchers without requiring additional inputs, Quicklink TX and Broadcast Pix deliver an unbeatable solution for live production.”

 

Quicklink TX will be demonstrated at the Broadcast Pix booth (SL5625) during the 2015 NAB Show, which runs April 13-16 in Las Vegas, Nev. For more information about the Quicklink TX, visit http://quicklink.tv/products/quicklinktx.

About Broadcast Pix Founded in 2002, Broadcast Pix is the leader in integrated production switchers with broadcast, corporate, education, government, religious, sports, streaming, and visual radio customers in more than 110 countries. From compact systems with end-to-end integration to large-scale systems for high-end live productions, Broadcast Pix switchers feature Fluent Control, a patented combination of automation technology and performance tools to optimize workflows. Every switcher includes dual-channel CG and clip stores, ClearKey chromakey and virtual sets, file-based macros, external device control, and customizable multi-view. Broadcast Pix also offers ReVue slow motion systems, FX3D real-time 3D graphics, Rapid CG dynamic graphic playout software, VOX visual radio automation software, and patented control options for its switchers. Learn more at www.broadcastpix.com.