Discovery Inks Multi-Year Deal With Video Call Center
The Video Call Center (VCC) has been contracted by Discovery to provide its patented two-way video call acquisition technologies, management platform, and expert video call production services for use by Discovery’s global networks. The multi-year, multi-network agreement enables Discovery to extend its use of the VCC platform and services to support new, video call enhanced programs across its domestic and international networks. The VCC has already been used for global remotes on TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé franchise and to produce live video-caller content on the Discovery Channel.
“The VCC has repeatedly demonstrated to Discovery that its platform is uniquely capable of delivering reliable, high-quality video remotes that help us make distinctive, cost-effective TV experiences,” says Jhamal Robinson, SVP of Production Management for Discovery Communications. “This new agreement gives Discovery a valuable production tool, providing proven technology and creative opportunities that involve both cast members and the superfans of our shows.”
Most recently under the agreement, VCC provided seven, live, two-way remotes into TLC’s successful 90 Day Fiancé Live program on Sunday, July 8. The most challenging remote was from the apartment of a cast member on the distant outskirts of Nazareth, Israel. Connectivity was limited, and travel was not an option due to security concerns. VCC Call Producers coordinated with the cast member, who originated the live national remote with her smartphone, and without any additional local producer, crew, or transmission help.
TLC has worked with the VCC previously for “Tell All” episodes of 90 Day Fiancé. For example, the VCC enabled long-duration, live contribution from cast members around the world for TLC shows produced by Sharp Entertainment, including 90 Day Fiancé: Epilogue, which required hours-long, broadcast-quality video chats to reunite the cast and their family live from locations in six countries over four continents. The two-way video remotes were connected via the VCC for as long as twelve hours while incurring no incremental origination or transmission costs.
Recent productions for TLC have paired the VCC technology and the VCC team with the production and creative experts at Sharp Entertainment.
“The VCC platform has become an essential component in the production of immersive television experiences for TLC audiences,” says Mike Granowsky, VP of Production for Sharp Entertainment. “Its reliable IP video call technology means hosts and cast members can stay in the moment for an extended period regardless of location, which allows them to really open up without technology distractions getting in the way. With VCC we’re now able to do shows that were impossible in the past due to cost and logistics. It has been a great, collaborative experience and we look forward to what’s next.”
The Video Call Center suite of production technology and services includes:
- Acquisition of callers via Internet video call using apps including FaceTime, WebRTC and Skype, and allowing each caller to use their own preferred device.
- Call producing, quality control and scene optimization to ensure the best possible appearance, lighting and connectivity for cast.
- Proprietary methodology and technology to stabilize consumer video caller applications and keep high quality connections open for long periods of time.
- Low-latency live monitoring to ensure that cast members see each other in real-time to maintain engagement, coupled with audio processing to minimize confusion.
- Isolation of return feeds to enable couples to see each other and react to videos.
- Broadcast-quality ISO recordings of each caller for use in post-production.
- Facilitation of communication between in-studio guests, production personnel and remote callers for direction and management production.
“Discovery continues to break new ground in both the types of programs it creates and in its embrace of new production techniques to make them possible,” says Larry Thaler, CEO for the Video Call Center. “The Video Call Center is thrilled to enter this multi-year partnership with the Discovery networks and their production partners like Sharp Entertainment as we push forward what’s possible when it comes to creating compelling, live television experiences from around the world.”