Cloud production – current reality and future opportunities

It was great to welcome Jef Kethley from LiveSports LLC and Adam Parry from Event Tech Live (ETL) to the Livve virtual studio last Tuesday to explore the topic of cloud production. You can see a short explanation of the concept of cloud production by clicking here.

In short, the goal of cloud production is to move away from a requirement to put all of the production team and equipment together onsite, when many tasks can be done more efficiently by putting the production process into the cloud. Jef’s example was powerful: in 2010, Livesports would use four camera operators and a director to cover one tennis match. Graphics operators and video engineers, plus their equipment would also be onsite to create the final product and handle the transmission. Fast forward to today, and Jef’s cameras now “operate” themselves, with AI tracking players to frame the image, and the director switching between cameras can sit at home while the graphics and video switching engineers equally can work from home. That’s five lots of travel and four roles removed, a much more productive crew and a main production setup which the client can now rent by the hour rather than by the week. Does this mean less work for Jef’s freelance team? Not at all: his clients just now cover 5x the number of courts, and his crew get to work from where they want rather than under the hot, Texan sun! My takeaway: if you are not at the cloud production table, you may end up being on the menu…

Transfer to Adam Parry and his show, ETL, and the read across to business events is clear. Last week Adam ran the highly successful Event Tech Live Show comprising an exhibition floor and four stages. Whereas pre-Covid, these stages may have had a humble locked-off camera streaming to a dusty corner of YouTube, the content from the stages is now critical to ETL’s success – both in giving access to the significant audience unable to attend in person, and in creating content for ETL’s year-round content strategy. But four stages with camera and production facility at each is a lot of kit, a lot of people, a lot of expensive show-floor space and a lot of CO2. Automating that process and moving the bulk of the equipment to the cloud would give enormous potential for efficiencies.

Our own approach at Livve is similar: to create a full production studio in the cloud allowing very lean teams to deliver studio-grade shows with no equipment and minimal training from anywhere in the world. As we approach new global financial headwinds, and are facing into supply shortages in the events sector as a whole, we believe cloud production’s time has come.

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