By: Edgar Shane, General Manager, Engineering, JVCKENWOOD USA Corp.
Live video production via IP, and specifically over the Internet, is transforming the content consumed by the public, offering producers an array of new workflow options that were unimaginable even a few years ago. There has been a recent influx of video conferencing tools like Zoom, WebEx and others, being used on a daily basis for traditional broadcasts by major TV networks. The ability to "bring in" remote presenters, guest speakers and international contributors are rapidly transforming not only the traditional broadcast market but also the educational, religious, and government production workflows. The presence of live feeds became an integral part of everyday content regardless of distribution, OTA, OTT, or via social media on the web.
The REMI Workflow
Remote Production over the Internet (REMI) offers producers the unique combination of increased creative outreach and the reduced cost. Placing cameras at the venue, with the live feeds sent to the remote studio over the Internet minimizes travel, equipment transport and setup expenses while providing the ability to produce multiple events from a central production facility.
At the same time, moving live video over the Internet presents certain challenges due to the nature of public networks with unpredictable congestion, latency and data loss. Widely used WebRTC, RTMP and UDP/RTP protocols are very sensitive to rapidly changing network conditions, which may cause video interruptions and severe image artifacts. In addition, conventional web conferencing software offers no guarantee of video resolution, frame rate, audio quality or latency throughout the transmission session. On the positive side, increased Internet speeds and availability of fiber connections combined with 5G cellular technology provide a solid foundation for the robust growth of IP-based solutions.
JVC Professional Video, a division of JVCKENWOOD Corporation, has acquired nearly two decades of experience in video-over-IP technology ꟷ from the first in the industry camcorder with built-in streaming encoder introduced in 2002 to the latest CONNECTED CAM series of cameras, encoder/decoder and IP video server solutions.
When moving video over the Internet, the main priority is delivering broadcast-quality images with a guaranteed audio/video performance. The goal is to make video delivered over the Internet look indistinguishable from the uncompressed SDI feed. To overcome the ever-changing Internet speed, congestion and data loss, JVC adopted the Emmy Award-winning Zixi video-over-IP transport and recently, it added the new SRT (Secure Reliable Transport) protocol as well.
Sophisticated error correction algorithms can compensate for up to 30 percent of packet loss while Adaptive Bitrate encoding offers additional resiliency to unexpected upload speed fluctuations. Depending on the selected fixed latency and available bandwidth the combination of FEC (Forward Error Correction) and ARQ (Repeat Request) are deployed. The FEC adds dynamically calculated data to the stream, which compensates for lost packets and the ARQ algorithm instructs the encoder to re-send lost information. Error correction protocols are resolution and codec agnostic and provide reliable HD/4K and H.264/HEVC transmission over the Internet.
CONNECTED CAM and More
JVC's latest CONNECTED CAM series camcorders are designed specifically for REMI applications and offer an excellent price/performance ratio. Everything for a remote feed setup is built into the camera, no outboard encoders/decoders are needed, just an Internet connection. Streaming encoder with Zixi and SRT QoS, return video decoder, IFB and Ethernet/Wi-Fi connectivity combined with the full-featured professional camcorder make JVC’s CONNECTED CAM the ultimate tool for video-over-IP production.
The CONNECTED CAM lineup includes the newest GY-HC500 and GY-HC550 handheld camcorders. Both models offer 1-inch CMOS sensors with HDR and 120p readout with 20x zoom lenses (40x in HD mode), HD/UHD recording to SDXC cards and SSD, and graphic overlay (station "bug," low third, etc.). The cameras also come with a complete "REMI kit" including streaming encoder, IFB and return video decoder on board. Both cameras are also equipped with LAN and the GY-HC550 adds MIMO Wi-Fi connectivity.
The GY-HC900 shoulder-type camcorder is JVC’s flagship camera. Three 2/3" CMOS sensors (B4 mount) with 62dB SNR, HDR, and 16-axis color adjustment offer true "broadcast-grade" contribution image quality. Built-in streaming encoder with Zixi and SRT QoS, return video, IFB, Pool Feed and optional SMPTE Fiber studio adapter put this camcorder on the A-list for REMI sports, ENG, and sStudio applications. The optional plug-in HEVC module - the KA-EN200 adds H.265 4:2:2 10-bit streaming with Zixi and SRT QoS to the GY-HC500/550 and GY-HC900 camcorders.
In the lower price range, JVC offers the GY-HM250 camcorder with the Facebook Live integration and Zixi QoS. Users can log into their Facebook account right from the camera and publish live streams with a single push of the button, no PC or outboard encoder needed. With the ability to embed graphic overlays, single-man productions will look like a “real” TV broadcast. The KY-PZ100 PTZ camera offers most of the mentioned above functionality in a fully autonomous package that can send video to and be controlled from any location in the world over the Internet.
On the studio (receiving) side, JVC offers decoders to receive streaming video and outputs 3G-SDI/HDMI, and a stand-alone encoder for those applications that do not require cameras, Zixi-based IP video servers, and multi-camera SMPTE Fiber CCU/RCUs. The BR-DE900 decoder and BR-EN900 encoder both support H.264/HEVC 4:2:2 10-bit codecs with advanced QoS.
The SRT feeds from remote cameras can be ingested directly into vMix and Tricaster video switchers making REMI workflow simple and cost-efficient. Also, Amazon Web Services (AWS) adopted Zixi protocol for MediaConnect cloud ingest, hence any CONNECTED CAM product can send video directly to AWS’ cloud for processing and distribution
Continued Development and Interoperability
Unlike some other manufacturers who utilize proprietary video transmission protocols that require purchasing all components from the same vendor, JVC REMI solutions implement industry-standard Zixi and SRT protocols for future-proof interoperability with other brands in remote production space. The remote production environment is rapidly changing due to new market requirements and opportunities brought by high-speed Internet connectivity, including wireless 5G cellular and 60 GHz ISM spectrums. JVC continues to develop new products and offers updates to its existing lineup to continue to deliver broadcast-quality video from anywhere to any location in the world over IP.