LiveU Powers Multi-Camera Remote Productions of Baseball for Japan’s J SPORTS
Japanese broadcaster J SPORTS, with its production partner Express, has selected LiveU’s multi-camera, remote production solution for all of Yokohama DeNA BayStars’ baseball home games this season. J SPORTS’ OTT service, J SPORTS On Demand, will show over 70 matches where LiveU’s technology will play a key role in enhancing the viewing experience.
“We really wanted to transmit multiple camera signals via mobile networks and, of course, it had to be extremely reliable,” says Kanji Kato, Technical Director, Express. “Originally, we were planning to send multiple camera feeds via Ethernet but demonstrations from LiveU proved to us that our original ambition was completely possible. They showed us the next level of remote production, with reliable tally light and additional audio functionality via the multi-camera LU800, facilitating bi-directional communications between the field staff and control room. We were convinced that LiveU was the production technology partner we needed to help create a successful remote production business.”
2021 is the first year that J SPORTS has offered this live OTT service and it initially planned to use only the clean broadcast feed, adding commentary and graphics. However, working closely with Express, expanding the amount of content and increasing viewer engagement became a priority. Moving to remote production was also a long-held Express and J SPORTS ambition.
“One of the main advantages of remote production is that we don’t have to send a big production crew to the site and it’s the same in terms of equipment,” says Yojiro Tomihisa, Technical Manager, J SPORTS. “This is all done using IP, which was crucial for us. We are looking forward to deploying this very dependable LiveU technology on other productions and increasing the complexity of them. We are ready for the future!”
The on-air clean feed (switched between multiple cameras) is sent from an OB unit at the ground via an LU800 along with two additional feeds – a wide shot of the ground and the score board. Commentary for this service is then added remotely at J SPORTS’ studio, while graphics and audio mixing is carried out by Express at its Tokyo studio, called Avenir-Hub. Additionally, a video return feed with graphics is sent back to the commentors so that they can see the ball, strike and out counts and can check the slow-motion effects.
“The LU800 and its multi-camera capabilities changed the way we looked at this and accelerated our move to remote production,” adds Kato. “Before we deployed this remote production system, we had to manage and arrange schedules for our crew, including travel time. That greatly reduced the time available to both our production crew and management team. LiveU’s remote production solution makes our lives much easier and at the end of the day we can make more, and even better, content.”
“We’re honored to see one of the leading sports broadcasters in Japan, J SPORTS, together with innovative sports production company, Express, select LiveU as their remote production technology partner,” says Yaal Eshel, General Manager, LiveU Asia. “It’s exciting to see they recognize this as the future of broadcasting. We will continue to work closely with them to ensure successful productions and their continued breaking of new ground.”