Sony Pixel Power calrec Sony

NBA Virtual-Reality Broadcasts on Oculus Fueled By Fully Cloud-based Decentralized Workflow

11/05/2021

NBA Virtual-Reality Broadcasts on Oculus Fueled By Fully Cloud-based Decentralized Workflow Through The Switch and AWS, MediaMonks takes live VR sports production into the cloud By Brandon Costa, Director of Digital

Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - 12:56 pm

Print This Story | Subscribe

Story Highlights

In a challenging season of evolving COVID-based protocols, limited fan attendance, and national broadcast partners' taking much of their live game production remote, the NBA has managed to uphold its reputation as one of the nation's most progressive professional sports leagues.

That includes leading the way on NFTs (through NBA Top Shot), sports-betting-based alternative streaming broadcasts, and, yes, even virtual reality.

The NBA has partnered with Facebook to deliver a package of live games in virtual reality on the Oculus platform.

Through its partnership with Facebook, the NBA has delivered a package of 10 VR broadcasts of live games on the Oculus Quest platform, the last of which - between the Toronto Raptors and Dallas Mavericks - will stream Friday evening.

Consumable on Oculus Quest's Venues app, this season's edition of the NBA's live VR experience brings users (and their dynamic avatars) into a suite-like experience to interact with other fans of their choosing while watching a produced, multi-camera live presentation of the game itself.

Yet, although the consumer side of the production has been advanced significantly by pushing the quality of the video to 4K at 60 fps, perhaps the most radical and impactful changes are behind the scenes, where the entire live experience is being produced via a new decentralized model with the crew working from numerous locations around the globe.

The Key First Mile to the Cloud The NBA and Facebook have entrusted international creative digital-production company MediaMonks to produce the live game coverage and assist with marrying it to the Venues app experience within Oculus.

Camera specialist Alan Bucaria sets up one of four cameras used to shoot the VR broadcast. Bucaria is one of just two-three people required at the arena to make the production possible. (Photo Courtesy: MediaMonks)

MediaMonks' team has logged plenty of reps working NBA VR experiences in the past, but, when it became clear that conditions at NBA arenas were going to be quite different this season given careful resumption of play amid the coronavirus pandemic, it was understood that this slate of productions would be the most challenging yet.

Unable to travel staff and have a large technical presence onsite, MediaMonks had to get creative. Like many broadcasters throughout this pandemic, it would need to find a way to produce from home - literally. The agency would assemble a completely decentralized workflow that would allow the entire production to be done in the cloud.

The key to decentralization came in unlocking the connectivity. MediaMonks turned to The Switch for its high-capacity, low-latency first-mile connectivity into every NBA arena. This enabled The Switch to extend a direct peering with AWS via a private Direct Connect which MediaMonks accessed directly from the NBA Venue panel. The ability to funnel 4K video signals over those pipes (The Switch network) out of the arena and into the cloud was the critical element that enabled the entire show.

A chart of the signal workflow behind the NBA VR experience. (Courtesy: MediaMonks)

The signal workflow is relatively straightforward (see image at right). From AWS Direct Connect, the camera signals are fed through nine softwareSRT decoders into TouchDesigner for 3D mapping and custom projection. From there, it runs into Vizrt's Viz Vectar Plus production-switching system controlled by Central Control where the crew can tap in and work from their respective homes to build the final product, which is transmitted to Oculus headsets through AWS Cloudfront.

This workflow sounds terrifying and bizarre, says Lewis Smithingham, MediaMonks' Director of Creative Solutions, but, once it got up and running, it has been one of the more stable shows that we've ever run.

Minimal Onsite Presence At the arena on a game night, the MediaMonks team has to deploy little more than a collection of five cameras and a small, 12 rack unit rolling case housing a collection of Haivision Makito X4 encoders.

The only gear required on-site for the production are five Sony cameras and a 12 RU rolling case of Haivision Makito X4 encoders. Those encoders leverage The Switch's in-venue network to transport the camera feeds to AWS Direct Connect. (Photo Courtesy: MediaMonks)

With the team looking to stick with more-traditional broadcast elements, these games are not produced with some special VR rig, which previous major VR projects across the industry may have used. Instead, these games are shot using Sony FX6 full-frame cinema cameras outfitted with Canon EF 8-15mm fisheye lenses. They are positioned in four spots in the arena: high center court, low center court, and under each basket.

Only two to three crew members are needed onsite: VR Broadcast Engineer in Charge Ken Stiver and Camera Lead/Live Tech Alan Bucaria, supported by Broadcast Engineer Adam Roth, or a local utility. Everyone else involved in the show works on equipment in their own homes.

Says Smithingham, It's liberating as a manager to be able to recruit the talent that I want for this show, [rather] than be restricted to just who can get to the truck.

Bringing in Talent Far and Wide The show is steered by a crew more than 15 people deep, all working from home in locales ranging from Orlando to New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Arkansas, London, Nottingham, Buenos Aires, and S o Paolo.

Among those behind the scenes were Solutions Architect Lead Jason O'Malley, Broadcast and Films Senior Technica
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2021/05/11/nba-virtual-reality-broadcasts-...
See more stories from svg

North America Stories

22/06/2021

Record Broken! WRAL-TV's Wilmoth Helps Al Roker Meet Another Guinness Milestone

They did it! WRAL-TV Weather Executive Aimee Wilmoth took part in Rokerthon o...

22/06/2021

Libero Systems Streamlines Capture of Live Equestrian Races for TJK With AJA Corvid 44

Libero Systems Streamlines Capture of Live Equestrian Races for TJK With AJA Cor...

22/06/2021

Shenzhen Konvision announces new U.S. distributor

Shenzhen Konvision announces new U.S. distributor data-src=https://creativecow.net/wp-content/uploads/avatars/263018/5fa08c562aaf4-bpthumb.jpg data-srcset=h...

21/06/2021

Gray Forms New Sales Unit

ATLANTA-Gray Television has formed a new sales and sponsorship entity called Gray Sports + Entertainment Sales that will represent the company's internal co...

21/06/2021

Univision Makes a Big Steaming Bet

MIAMI-Univision Communications has unveiled ambitious plans for a global streaming service that will unify its existing streaming services and feature the world...

21/06/2021

View TV Group Selects CommScope Manifest Manipulation Software

HICKORY, N.C.-View TV Group has chosen CommScope manifest manipulation software to enhance its broadcast content delivery network solution, CommScope said....

21/06/2021

Report: Top 25 Media Companies Control 2/3rds of Global Ad Market

NEW YORK-As the Biden administration appoints critics of big tech to some senior regulatory posts, GroupM has released new results showing that the share of the...

21/06/2021

Research: 2021 Prime Day Sales Could Beat 2020 Record Set During Pandemic

SEATTLE-In yet another sign that the pandemic bump in online retail is here to stay, eMarketer is predicting that Amazon's Prime Day on June 21 and 22 this ...

21/06/2021

Network Affiliates Push FCC for OTT Must Carry

WASHINGTON, D.C- The National Association of Broadcasters and the network affiliate broadcaster associations are giving the FCC a lot to think about when it com...

21/06/2021

David Folsom Wins NAB Engineering Achievement Award for TV

WASHINGTON, D.C-The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has announced the recipients of the Digital Leadership Award, NAB Engineering Achievement Awards ...

21/06/2021

HBS and Fdration Franaise de Tennis Bring the Score to Deuce for Roland Garros 2021

HBS and F d ration Fran aise de Tennis bring the score to deuce for Roland Garro...

21/06/2021

In the W: Los Angeles Sparks Move Operations to Convention Center Nearby, Turn Back the Clock to 1997

In the W: Los Angeles Sparks Move Operations to Convention Center Nearby, Turn B...

21/06/2021

SVG's In the W Breaks Down Game-Day Operations of WNBA Organizations

SVG's In the W Breaks Down Game-Day Operations of WNBA Organizations By Kristian Hernandez, Associate Editor Monday, June 21, 2021 - 8:19 am Print This...

21/06/2021

NETFLIX DROPS FIRST TEASER TO THE CHESTNUT MAN

Back to All News NETFLIX DROPS FIRST TEASER TO THE CHESTNUT MANPlay Video Play Video Entertainment 21 June 2021 GlobalDenmarkSweden If you find one, he...

21/06/2021

Too Hot To Handle Brazil arrives in July 21 only on Netflix

Back to All News Too Hot To Handle Brazil arrives in July 21 only on Netflix Entertainment 21 June 2021 GlobalBrazil Download poster HERE Download photos ...

21/06/2021

Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners Forms Netflix Film Partnership

Back to All News Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners Forms Netflix Film Partnership Business 21 June 2021 Global Hollywood, Calif. & Universal City, Cal...

21/06/2021

Peter Cooper appointed as Chief Security Officer at Fidesmo

Peter Cooper appointed as Chief Security Officer at Fidesmo data-src=https://creativecow.net/wp-content/uploads/avatars/263018/5fa08c562aaf4-bpthumb.jpg......

21/06/2021

ArtClass Signs Lacey Uhlemeyer for US Representation

ArtClass Signs Lacey Uhlemeyer for US Representation data-src=https://creativecow.net/wp-content/uploads/avatars/263018/5fa08c562aaf4-bpthumb.jpg data-srcse...

21/06/2021

Monomoy Regional High School Students Make the Grade While Preparing for the Future Using Sony's Imaging Solutions

Monomoy Regional High School Students Make the Grade While Preparing for the Fut...

21/06/2021

Legia Warsaw Extends League Title Record with PIERO from Ross

Ottawa, Canada, June 21st 2021 - Legia Warsaw is Poland's most highly decorated football club, having won a record fifteen league titles, nineteen Polish Cu...

21/06/2021

Murder, mystery and more with Amanda Lamb

WRAL-TV Reporter Amanda Lamb recently talked to Kathy Hanrahan on the Out & About Podcast about the second in Lamb's new crime fiction book series: By Kath...

21/06/2021

Primetime Ratings Thursday: Big Tie For Top Spot

It was a four-way tie for the title in Thursday prime, with ABC, Fox, NBC and Univision all putting up a 0.4 in viewers 18-49, per the Nielsen overnights, and a...

19/06/2021

Mid-Side Processing with Artist

This is a companion piece to last week's tip, which described how to implement Splitter functionality in Studio One's Artist version. The Pro version ha...

19/06/2021

RE:Vision Effects takes Multi-Frame Rendering to a new level

RE:Vision Effects takes Multi-Frame Rendering to a new level data-src=https://creativecow.net/wp-content/uploads/avatars/263018/5fa08c562aaf4-bpthumb.jpg......

19/06/2021

AES APEI Webinar to Explore How Design Houses Add Value to Audio Product Development

AES APEI Webinar to Explore How Design Houses Add Value to Audio Product Develop...

19/06/2021

Gray Television Issues Raises of Up to 4% For Nearly All Employees

Gray Television announced Wednesday that nearly all of its employees will be getting a pay increase of between 1.5% and 4% because revenue is rebounding faster ...

19/06/2021

Primetime Ratings Wednesday: MasterChef' Drops But Fox Still Prevails

Fox won the Wednesday ratings derby, with MasterChef leading the way. Fox averaged a 0.5 in viewers 18-49, per the Nielsen overnights, and a 3 share. That barel...

19/06/2021

Gray Television Forms Sports And Entertainment Ad Group

Gray Television said it formed a new advertising and sponsorship unit that will sell advertising in sports and entertainment programming by Gray companies....

19/06/2021

Tom Rogers is Playing New Game With Engine Media

Tom Rogers, the former NBCU Cable head and ex-CEO of TiVo is now executive chairman of Engine Media, which was listed on the Nasdaq market Thursday with the tic...

19/06/2021

Roku Finally Finds an Audience For Quibi's Big-Ticket Shows

People are finally watching the high-priced, talent laden shows produced for Quibi, but they're doing it for free on The Roku Channel, according to Roku....

19/06/2021

Busted Pilot: Fall Schedules Take Shape, In the Heights Hits and Misses, Bosch Preps Farewell

Broadcasting + Cables Kent Gibbons and Michael Malone chat about The CW programm...

19/06/2021

OWN Marks Juneteenth With OWN Your Shine: Juneteenth Artist Showcase'

OWN is observing Juneteenth with a series of profiles highlighting Black artists called OWN Your Shine: Juneteenth Artist Showcase. The campaign began June 14...

19/06/2021

The Moodys' Won't See Another Season on Fox

The Moodys will not return after two seasons on Fox. Season two of the comedy, starring Denis Leary and Elizabeth Perkins, debuted in April....

18/06/2021

Ateme Touts 2x Performance Boost In UHD Encoding With Help Of Latest Intel Xeon Processor

PARIS, DENVER, SINGAPORE and SYDNEY-Ateme today announced it has achieved up to ...

18/06/2021

Pebble, Nevion Announce Product Integration

WEYBRIDGE, U.K. and OSLO, Norway-Pebble and Nevion today announced a new integration between Pebble Control, the company's IP connection management solution...

18/06/2021

Arkansas PBS Taps RFS to Expand Coverage

MERIDEN, Conn.-The Arkansas PBS is working with Radio Frequency Systems (RFS) on a $5.18 million project that will expand its transmissions to the entire state,...

18/06/2021

TAG Launches Support for JPEG XS

TEL AVIV, Israel-TAG Video Systems has announced that it will support JPEG XS, a move that will make it easier for companies to move live production into the cl...

18/06/2021

HPA Awards Issues a Call for Entries

BURBANK, Calif.-Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) has announced that it is now accepting entries for creative categories in the 2021 HPA Awards....

18/06/2021

Atomos Names Estelle McGechie Chief Product Officer

MELBOURNE-Atomos Limited has announced that former Apple Product Manager in professional video applications, Estelle McGechie has joined the company as its chie...

18/06/2021

Streaming News Pioneer Christy Tanner to Exit CBS

NEW YORK-Christy Tanner, the executive vice president and general manager of ViacomCBS, CBS News Digital has announced that she will be leaving CBS News....

18/06/2021

Samsung Electronics, UC Santa Barbara Demo 6G Prototype

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.-As 5G networks are being deployed around the world and seeing rapid consumer uptake, Samsung Electronics and the University of California,...

18/06/2021

Diversity in TV: WWFC Launches Pilot Accelerator For Writers

NEW YORK-The Women's Weekend Film Challenge's (WWFC) has launched a new pilot accelerator program that will allow six to eight emerging TV writers to pi...

18/06/2021

Mediapro Expands U.S. Operations with New Production Center

NEW YORK-Mediapro U.S. has expanded its U.S. operations with the opening of a new Manhattan facility that has 12,600 square feet dedicated to broadcast and medi...

18/06/2021

UHD Spain Delivers First Simultaneous UHD HDR and SDR Broadcasts

BARCELONA-UHD Spain launched simultaneous UHD HDR and SDR broadcasts via satellite, digital terrestrial television (TDT) and the Internet this week in what UHD ...

18/06/2021

Nielsen: Streaming Slightly More Popular than Broadcast

NEW YORK-Nielsen has debuted a new measurement service, The Gauge, that shows streaming accounted for about 26% of total TV viewing in May, slightly more than t...

18/06/2021

TRIBECA FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2021 JURY COMPETITION AND ART AWARD WINNERS

TRIBECA FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2021 JURY COMPETITION AND ART AWARD WINNERS The Novice, Brighton 4th, and Ascension Take Top Honors in U.S. Narrative, International...

18/06/2021

New Line Cinema Joins Forces with Warner ... New Line Cinema Joins Forces w ...

New Line Cinema Joins Forces with Warner Bros. Animation to Sweep Fans Back to Middle-Earth with the Standalone Anime Feature "The Lord of the Rings: The War of...

18/06/2021

WARNERMEDIA EMEA ANNOUNCES NEW LEADERSHIP APPOINTMENTS

WARNERMEDIA EMEA ANNOUNCES NEW LEADERSHIP APPOINTMENTS WarnerMedia Sylvia Rothblum, Pierre Branco and Jamie Friend take up Country Manager roles as part ...

18/06/2021

SVG SportsTech On Demand: Canon's Ryan Snyder and Josh Stoner on New Camera Lenses, Updates to Product Systemization

SVG SportsTech On Demand: Canon's Ryan Snyder and Josh Stoner on New Camera ...