Quicklink Allows Remote Contributors To Easily Get On-Air
With computer web cams and mobile phones making it easier than ever for interview subjects, reporters, and analysts to have access to a camera and microphone, TV show and digital producers are looking to use those tools to get content on-air. The trick is making that process as easy as possible, and that’s where Quicklink’s browser-based Remote Commentary system could play a role.
“The big shift in remote contribution has been fan engagement within the broadcast, and we specialize in bringing fans and celebrities into the broadcast without [their] having to download software or needing a password,” says Quicklink CEO Richard Rees. “The interview subject receives a link via SMS, Whatsapp, or email, clicks on it, and it opens up a regular browser window, and they are on the air in less than 60 seconds.”
The technology has already found some big believers, including BT Sport, Fox Sports, ESL, Arsenal, NRL, Red Bull Media House, and even 24 Hours of Le Mans. News organizations include the likes of BBC, CNN, and RAI.
Rees says the system was designed from the ground up to overcome the issues of traditional video conferencing. Traditional systems are designed primarily to be ultra-low latency, and that means that, if there is network congestion, picture and audio quality will be sacrificed in the interest of speed.
Another feature is that, once the interview subject is connected, the show producer can take control of the camera settings and automatically adjust the image format and quality.
“Sometimes, the subject may have their settings wrong,” Rees explains. “[But], with remote control, they can become an on-air contributor with zero learning curve. They don’t have to worry about things like audio and video.”
The Quicklink environment maintains quality signals with a latency of around 200 ms. And interview subjects can even be placed into cloud-based waiting rooms, removing the need to have a large hardware ecosystem.
“Clients pay on a per-channel basis and pay a subscription fee every month for unlimited use,” says Rees.
The system can also be used for remote commentary. A commentator can be sent a link, click on it, and see the live stream of the event, and then the audio commentary is sent back and mixed with the video.
Quicklink also has a dedicated hardware device that functions like a full remote crew in a box, complete with integrated camera, lighting, and audio for $6,000.
“The use of artificial intelligence detects the person, sets the shot, and then goes live for a full two-way interview,” says Rees. “You can put any camera into the system as long as it fits, and it even has teleprompter.”