Recent events have accelerated the shift to a distributed workforce, and one of the many significant lessons learned over the last two years is how effective current technologies are to support and enable remote working on a permanent basis. Within post and broadcast, we have seen different approaches when it comes to a return-to-office strategy vs. embracing and further enabling a work-from-anywhere approach and making that permanent.
Even in cases where there has been a return to the office—for example, in news production—the systems that were put in place during the peak of lockdowns to enable working from home have now become another strong arrow in the quiver for news broadcasters who have expanded field work significantly as a net result. Whereas in other segments, like traditional post, the trend is to continue to build out technologies that will benefit and enable that distributed workforce to do even more from home—or really from anywhere.
Of course, there are many benefits to this approach, whether enabling greater preparedness for when field and remote contribution is crucial or enabling a distributed workforce to be even more collaborative. There are operational, environmental (less traffic, for example), and economic gains that have been the accelerant to an industry shift toward cloud and SaaS (software as a service) workflows.
For employees, the potential for a greater work-life balance and ability to now work and live anywhere alleviates the need to be in close proximity to the organization you are employed by or doing work for. For media companies, the availability and ability to draw from a greater talent pool exists, as geography concerns decrease, and the embrace of cloud workflows and more powerful remote tools become available.
Enabling remote collaboration and review
One of the biggest requests Avid received from our post and broadcast customers was to allow a more collaborate review process to take place—regardless of anyone’s location—given that many media companies have adopted a permanent approach to the distributed workforce. In response, we’re excited to introduce SRT output in Media Composer, which mimics the over-the-shoulder collaborative workflows that used to happen when teams worked together on site. This new solution enables anyone with the appropriate permissions to securely review a sequence at high quality in various iterations from anywhere, using any device at any time.
With the latest Media Composer l Ultimate and Media Composer l Enterprise releases, editors can now initiate an SRT stream of any sequence from their Media Composer timeline and deliver it to others securely—either point to point (person to person), one stream to many viewers, or many streams to many viewers. Editors have full control over the different quality and security levels within the SRT settings in their software.
If an editor is working on a sequence and wants to share with one individual for example, they can stream the sequence using SRT and send to an SRT-enabled decoder (from Haivision or any number of other manufacturers that support SRT as a protocol) or to a free video player, such as VLC or the Haivision Play Pro app, for viewing on a mobile device.
One of the key benefits of this approach is the cost savings—you no longer need an encoder to initiate the SRT stream, as it’s all done in Media Composer. In fact, you can enable SRT streaming end to end with an all-software approach (point to point). Or introduce the Haivision SRT Gateway if you need to send one or more streams to multiple collaborators and reviewers. Having SRT in Media Composer gives you great flexibility in how you employ your over-the-shoulder and review workflows and it’s designed to maximize efficiency while keeping costs low.
What is SRT and how does it work?
If you’ve read this far and are not familiar with what SRT is, SRT stands for Secure Reliable Transport and is an open source protocol designed to deliver video across unmanaged networks, securely and reliably, eliminating packet loss and jitter. SRT is a software solution that can be built into cameras, encoders, and desktop and mobile apps, facilitating the delivery from one person to another, one to many, or many to many over the internet.
Haivision created SRT in 2012 and then open sourced the code a few years later, creating the SRT Alliance. This organization now has over 500 companies participating, which is why it’s possible to design an over-the-shoulder and review network you prefer using free tools like VLC or the Haivision Play Pro app—or incorporate decoders and set-top boxes to unwrap and send video out to a third monitor. This provides a broad set of choices, enabling you to select the SRT-enabled receive points you wish to employ in your OTS setup that best meets the operational and economic needs of your organization.
In order to send SRT from Media Composer to many receive points at the same time, you will need Haivision SRT Gateway. This Gateway replicates the signal coming from Media Composer and also does firewall traversal, eliminating the need to open up UDP ports. Initiating and receiving devices can be put into “caller mode” while the Gateway is in listening mode, allowing for an easy and secure way to deliver content.
There are other ways to configure SRT Gateway to enable different modes to meet different workflows—and even deliver different protocols and bitrates from the gateway, providing more flexibility. SRT Gateway is offered as a hardware device for deployment on premises or as a cloud service offering on Microsoft Azure. If you’re interested in adding the Haivision SRT Gateway, encoders, decoders, and/or set-top boxes to your workflow, they are all available from Avid.
Get super-simple setup and streaming
Setting up the SRT stream from within Media Composer is simple. Through the Open IO in the Media Composer timeline, select “SRT” and then select “Configure.”
From this panel, you can select the quality level (low, medium, or high); set a password for password-protected delivery; enter an IP address; enable caller, listener, or rendezvous mode; and enter a port. Then click the SRT icon to turn on SRT in the timeline and start playing your sequence.
If you want to share one-time access to a stream for free with a client, you can create a QR code here, which can be sent to anyone. Recipients can then use their mobile device to scan the QR code, which will provide direct access to the stream using the free Haivision Play Pro app. Or they can enter the proper IP address and port number provided by the editor or administrator, and the feed will appear in the viewer’s chosen decoder or player. Depending on the viewer’s leverage for access, there are different ways to configure those receive points to view sequences from multiple Media Composer systems.
Regardless of how your company decides to deploy the over-the-shoulder workflow, the variety of options available gives you better flexibility, cost effectiveness, and operational efficiency, enabling secure delivery to any device, anywhere, anytime. Something we consistently hear from our customers is a desire to enable greater collaboration and, therefore, shorten the time to market for a show or project. Not only that, we understand that you’re also interested in lowering your carbon footprint, and our over-the-shoulder solution is one way to cut down on travel while enabling your team to work from anywhere.
Want to learn more?
Check out our “Over the Shoulder” demo and webinar presentation with Haivision here and get more details about this new Media Composer | Ultimate and Enterprise feature here. And be sure to stay tuned for more exciting new things, as we continue to extend capabilities in Media Composer, Avid NEXIS, and other Avid creative tools to foster greater teamwork from anywhere, so you can deliver the high-quality content the market craves—faster and more easily.