LiveU Air Control: Remote Broadcast Orchestration

 

The need for broadcasts to work from anywhere is now the industry standard. We saw the industry adopt different methods of getting talent on-air, and still collaborate with the production crews- generally using consumer-grade video conferencing tools (Zoom, Teams), plus a heap of complex engineering to work properly. While these were great temporary solutions, broadcast-quality was often sacrificed as experts in live video transport over non-guaranteed networks.

 

LiveU Air Control serves as a single collaboration hub for everyone involved in the production, including engineers, editorial, anchors, reporters, announcers, and remote guests. The product acts as an orchestration and transmission tool to get the live feeds into the system while giving crews the ability to manage all the human elements with comm-style talkback and crew-only listen mode.

 

LiveU’s new Air Control platform makes it easier than ever to get your show up and running with the highest quality, reliable live video. Let’s look at what makes this product unique.

 

What is LiveU Air Control?

LiveU Air Control is a new live production orchestration cloud solution that makes it possible for broadcasters to work remotely without compromising quality.

 

Air Control is meant to replace Zoom and other videoconferencing tools, deploying quickly to get guests on air in breaking news situations, providing collaboration between directors and crew for REMI workflows, and allowing producers to participate remotely.

 

The basic equipment required for this to work will include LiveU Flypacks, Video Return Servers, all configured in LiveU Central. Each guest or production crew member can join a show, hosted in Air Control, by simply clicking a link via a web browser or mobile phone app.

 

The Key Components: LiveU Air Control

The LiveU Air Control breaks down into a few key menus, options, and components. Below we take a look at the different interfaces, tabs, and settings that need to be configured within LiveU Air Control.

 

Air Control Configuration Screens

This component consists of User Management, Address Book, and Build a Show setup menus and options. The Configuration screen is broken out into easy-to-use tabs.

  • User Management – The “user” is typically defined as your staff/crew, that are likely already setup inside LiveU Central. Within Air Control, Users can be assigned roles with set permissions. Some permissions include the ability to manage users, shows, video routing, booth access, IFB talk, address book, and a few others.
  • Address Book – The address book contains all your guests that will be coming on-air. Basic contact information is listed here like name, email address, and phone number.

 

Building A Shows

Under the “Shows” tab, users can add and edit information about each show.

  • Show Info – Show info asks for the basics- show name, date/time, duration, pre-show, and post-show windows.
  • Feed – The feeds page is all about video return sources fed by the LiveU Return Server. There are five Multiview layout options, including up to 10 simultaneous video feeds. Some examples of feeds you can display would be program, teleprompter, and other video sources available.
  • Channels – This is a list of LiveU Output channels available. These can be channels available on-prem or in the cloud, outputting SDI, NDI, SRT, RTMP- and LiveU channel you are using today.
  • Users – As mentioned before, Users are your crew. They will be able to join the show through the production dock once a show is started.
  • Participants – The ‘participant’ tab selects which guests you’d like to have joined the show. From this tab, you can send an invite link to participants directly via email through the platform.

 

The Production Dock

This is the single location for production to manage all your in-show elements. In this dock, you can see the guest participants, users/crew, and video return feeds. You can immediately start communicating with your guests prior to them going on air. When you are ready for the guest to go on-air, you can drag and drop that user to the on-air channel. The on-air channel will generate the high-quality LRT feed from the guest’s machine to the LiveU server.

 

Air Control Streaming Client

Once a guest clicks the ‘join’ link, they will be taken to the Air Control Streaming Client via a web browser. In the client, they can see the output of themselves, as well as the return feed. That is it! No installers to run, no settings to tweak.

 

Why We Like LiveU Air Control

Let’s take a look at the top 3 reasons we are recommending productions use LiveU Air Controll.

Zoom Is Not Made for Production

While many productions have been getting by coordinating with talent over Zoom- a true remote orchestration tool has been needed for some time now. On the guest side, the ability to join via a link, without the need to download/update software, is a great start. The ability for the crew to individually talk on a private comm channel with each remote crew and guest, without everyone else on the call listening could be our favorite feature. Having the ability to display layouts

 

LRT – LiveU Reliable Transport

LRT is LiveU’s award-winning video transport protocol. It’s not only a point-to-point, low latency, high resiliency protocol but it was built to accommodate the special properties of cellular and LTE networks. Each remote crew or guest member that is moved to ‘On-Air’ mode will activate a high-quality LRT video feed, providing a better-quality experience for everyone behind the scenes.

 

Future Roadmap

We cannot help but be excited about the future roadmap for this product. Version one of Air Control requires remote guests to join on a separate web browser/mobile app. LiveU has announced the next version will allow IFB from a remote guest’s LiveU Field Unit (LU300, LU600, LU800) to connect directly to Air Control. This removes the need for a separate device entirely and gives talent everything they need within the Field Unit itself.

 

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