A Virtual Media Center, Remote Production Platform Arrive

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CP Communications, known for its products and services for live event productions, has brought to market two new products for those focused on live production needs.


Now available are the Virtual Media Center and FastReturn secure video management platform.

Both products are built around WebRTC – the cloud-based technology used by Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other popular videoconferencing platforms – and have been used at such events as the 2021 editions of the TCS New York City Marathon and Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

“People have been struggling with the latency of live video in remote production workflows,” says Kurt Heitmann, CEO of CP Communications. “Announcers can’t be way behind the action with play-by-play or analysis. With FastReturn, we use the power of the cloud to deliver streaming return video with ultra-low latency, so you can view your live production from anywhere on any device in real time.”

FastReturn’s base package includes five streams and supports up to 100 users, but can be scaled to accommodate additional sources and larger crews. Users access FastReturn content via a web browser on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops, as well as through Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire Stick digital media players. Content is accessed through a secure client portal (optional custom user pages and templates are also available).

The platform can ingest any H.264 baseline profile RTMP stream, supporting HD resolution and 128kbit stereo audio with bitrates up to 10 MBps with less than 400ms of latency. FastReturn can also spin up edge servers around the world that are geographically closer to the production to provide even lower latency and better reliability.

Available as an ad hoc service, the Virtual Media Center is a browser-based multi-viewer designed for monitoring, not retransmission, of live video signals. Designed for use by remote journalists, it features a variety of multi-viewer templates, from simple 2-box and 4-box displays to more extensive layouts based on the number of signals being shared. Through a browser-based interface, media personnel can select which video feeds to monitor. All templates deliver video feeds with secure, two-step authentication and less than 400ms of latency.

Beyond event coverage, the Virtual Media Center can also help with multi-camera remote production. For example, a two-day commercial shoot was recently produced across three sound stages in Atlanta. The on-site crew used multiple Red House Streaming (RHS) CamSTREAM systems along with the Virtual Media Center to provide the California-based producers and director with real-time, behind-the-scenes views of the production. Developed by CP Communications, RHS CamSTREAM systems are all-in-one, cost-efficient video production and streaming solutions that are quick to configure and deploy for any live production.

“For members of the media who are not able to travel to an event, or for video production crew members who can’t be on site, the Virtual Media Center provides an effective and efficient way to monitor the live action from multiple cameras,” Heitmann explained.

FastReturn is available as a monthly service or can be licensed for specific events. CP can also provide RHS CamSTREAM units and RTMP encoders for rental.

— Brian Galante