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ESPNU Men’s College Basketball Presents First-Ever All-in-One Production In The Cloud

ESPN employed the “in the cloud” production method that might be employed more often to make presentations more efficient. (ESPN)

Cloud technology was deployed for the television production of the men’s college basketball game featuring Davidson at George Mason that aired on ESPNU on Saturday, Jan.14.

The end of the telecast marked an exciting moment for ESPN and The Walt Disney Company — accomplishing the first ever cloud-based all-in-one live production in the U.S.

Since 2014, ESPN and Disney have explored the path of alternative production models (including REMIs – or remote integration), which bring feeds back to a Disney facility and allow unique efficiencies, scalability in a world of tens of thousands of sporting events, and the opportunity to utilize a single facility to produce multiple events.

REMI productions are now used across more than 15 professional and collegiate sports. The REMI model itself has evolved as well; for example, remote control of hardware that lives on a remote site is referred to as a REMCO.

The technology was first tested on Oct. 2, 2022, during the New York Mets-Atlanta Braves Sunday Night Baseball game as a cloud-based workflow for Super Slo Mo replay and was integrated into the live telecast as of its REMI production.

It marked the first time replays from a Super Slo Mo camera system went through the cloud and made the air as replays during a live event.

Sunday Night Baseball coordinating producer Phil Orlins indicates this successful integration lends itself to further efficiencies within baseball and beyond.

“We’ve already experienced success by using the Cloud to improve our Super Slo Mo workflow on Sunday Night Baseball,” said Orlins. “We are confident these are the first steps to optimizing our quality and efficiency at scale across numerous baseball events in the near future.”

Dan Lannon
(Kelly Backus/ESPN Images)

Before the Jan. 14 Davidson-George Mason basketball game, Dan Lannon, Manager, Production Operations, shared that the next iteration of the REMI utilizes the cloud to produce live events.

Leveraging cloud technology will enable scalability, creativity, and efficiency while providing the audience with an equal or better experience at home. As ESPN and Disney expand their digital and linear content offerings, a cloud-based workflow will help teams more efficiently meet the challenge of industry-leading production quality at scale.

Breaking the Tech Down: With Dan Lannon

Within the Walt Disney Company, Lannon helps to lead the REMI team, an operations team that focuses on remote integration of live events. As part of his role, he has worked to understand where the industry currently is with cloud-based workflows.

The Cloud

Lannon: “The cloud is physical hardware living in a data center, and that hardware can run multiple pieces of software. The team has now taken the concept of cloud-based storage platform efficiency and is applying it to telecasts. Through the cloud workflow, we are taking the camera feeds from on-site and using IP encoding to send those camera feeds to the cloud and to create a production in the cloud environment.

The Future Of the Cloud And Collaboration

Lannon: “The future of cloud workflow at TWDC is to continue to use the technology to advance the tools we give our storytellers, enable more creativity and collaboration, enrich our content, expand our audience, and enhance the experience for our fans.”

Eri Estrada and Amy Ufnowski contributed to this post
Melissa Rawlins produced the video

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