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Managing Multiple Cellular Uplinking Units

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The rate of adoption of cellular uplinking technologies has been quite remarkable, says Ronen Artman, VP of Marketing, LiveU.

It seems just yesterday that the only option open to broadcasters to capture high-quality, live news footage was to use satellite-reliant OB units. For truly dynamic live coverage the other recent option has been user-generated content. While both of these still have a major role to play in satisfying audiences' demand for up-to-the minute footage, even in the most extreme circumstances, cellular uplinking is allowing broadcasters and now media companies of all sizes and means to use live, broadcast-quality video.
The volume of units out in the field, while of course deeply satisfying to us, also provides a challenge in terms of how those feeds can be integrated into a broadcast workflow. Secondly, as we've moved from a product to a solutions company, whereby the fundamental cellular bonding technology is now available from smartphone app to flagship multi-modem forms, so the ways the technology can be deployed have changed.
Let's take a look at the management of multiple units out in the field first. LiveU Central, announced last year at IBC2013, is a complete management platform that allows full control and monitoring of the entire ecosystem and content via any browser-supported device.
By bringing live video management into the control room, this provides newsroom operators with comprehensive and intuitive tools for controlling the operation and flow of multiple live feeds from different locations, both nationwide and overseas.
The system includes: LiveU MultiStream, enhanced point-to-multipoint distribution, enabling high-quality live content to be instantly distributed from the field and shared between bureaus and affiliated stations in multiple locations; LiveU Matrix for real-time previews and flexible online management of multiple feeds for live broadcasts and social newsgathering; Geo-Location for each LiveU unit; and Enhanced Remote Control of all LiveU field devices, servers, laptop and smartphone applications, including remotely managing satellite contribution through LiveU's packs and hybrid solution.
But it's not only manufacturers who are innovating, as London-based 3xScreen Media recently proved. 3xScreen Media is a studio that provides live and on-demand online video services for agencies, corporates, events and sports, and has been a long-time LiveU customer. Late last year, it deployed a wide range of LiveU technology to create innovative, live, multi-stream coverage of the Stylist Ford Fiesta 24-Hour Challenge.
The star of the line-up was the live feed from the "doggie-cam", sent using the new LU-Smart App on an iPhone 5S, mounted on the back of the adorable office dog McNulty.
The challenge was to capture and live stream the creation of an issue of Stylist Magazine over a single 24 hour period – something that normally takes a week. To cover the event, Stylist hired production company Cherryduck, whose team then turned to long-term LiveU customer 3xScreen Media to deliver a tailored live production and streaming solution.
Instead of just achieving the seamless delivery of a single, 24-hour continuous live stream, 3xScreen delivered three simultaneous live streams over the 24-hour period. In addition to the unbroken coverage of the Stylist editorial team's office, it set up live camera feeds in a Ford Fiesta to document a road trip to the Cotswolds and on the back of the office dog for the fun 'doggie-cam'.
This solution saw 3xScreen and Cherryduck employ roaming wireless cameras including a steadycam, robotic cameras, GoPros, and for the first time in a 3xScreen live stream, two iPhone 5Ss with the LU-Smart App. While one of these was sending the live "doggie-cam" feed, the second was sent to the award-winning Duck and Waffle restaurant atop the Heron Tower. The stunning footage of the lights of London, captured by the cameraman as he rode the glass elevator to the highest restaurant in the UK, was an impressive display of the LU Smart App's capability. The Ford Fiesta was equipped with a LiveU LU40-S for cellular transmission as two staff from Stylist magazine hit the road, providing regular live crosses during the event. Three overall feeds were sent live via three LiveU LU70 backpack units to the Stylist website via 3xScreen's central London MCR.
Read the article in the online edition of RFV here.

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