Using Skype TX, TriCaster, and AJA HELO for real-time remote monitoring and communications.

Anticipating a post-quarantine industry

In the midst of ongoing quarantine measures, we’re definitely being mindful in planning for the recovery period. While it is tricky to anticipate the changes within the video industry after the Movement Control Order (MCO), we wanted to reflect on a recent project pre-MCO as our point of reference.

Finding a solution for remote monitoring and communications

The project was an advertisement shoot at two locations, at an outdoor field and in a soundstage. One of the main challenges in the project was the primary clients were unable to attend the shoot. Since they had travelled from China amidst early concerns over COVID-19, the production team sought a way to work remotely.

There were two main hurdles with remote monitoring i.e. the picture quality and potential latency. Additionally, there’s also the need for a reliable line of communication between the on-site team and remote team. After some brainstorming, we decided that running a conference call session through our TriCaster VMC while using Skype TX (Broadcasting Level Communication Application) as our main communication channel was the best way forward.

Our client’s familiarity with Skype helped ease their technical burden, allowing them to focus on their own production needs. Additionally, routing the calls through Skype TX allowed us to output a 1080p signal while providing a channel for communication. This ability to maintain the on-site QTake’s feed quality over Skype proved instrumental in running the project.

Jacob Operating NewTek TriCaster VMC
Macking Domain staff operating the TriCaster VMC during the field shoot

Our workflow on the field and in the soundstage

Carrot Films Field Workflow

If you refer to our chart, we used Our TriCaster VMC for receiving the main QTake feeds. Through Skype TX, we were able to route different video feeds to all parties as required while maintaining quality. Additionally, we were able to route the remote audio from the Skype TX as a source to output to a designated speaker for the on-site team. Furthermore, we maintained stable internet connection via a 4G dedicated SIM Router, enabling speeds of up to 40Mbps – sufficient for 1080p video.

Carrot Films Soundstage Workflow

For the session at the soundstage, our set-up was a little simpler due to spacial limitations. If you refer to chart above, we used the AJA HELO as our main stream encoder. By using the RTSP streaming protocol as well as utilising our router’s port-forwarding feature, our remote client was able to receive a low-latency stream directly from the QTake feeds via VLC.

AJA HELO Malaysia
AJA HELO Malaysia
NewTek IP Series VMC1
NewTek IP Series VMC1

Behind-the-scenes look at the production

Concluding thoughts

The experience has left us optimistic towards the future of remote workflows. Additionally, we’re pleased to report that all involved in the project were satisfied with the result.

Admittedly, what we just described may be lacking for some, while others might be intimidated by the technicalities. But if there’s anything we’d like for you to take away, is that we’re always keen on finding the best solution for your specific needs. Hence we’d like to invite you to have a conversation with us if you’re looking for your own remote-video setup.