DMC switches RallyX to remote production based on GV AMPP

The tenth anniversary of the Nordic-based motorsport RallyX has been given a remote production shake-up by facilities provider DMC in the form of Grass Valley AMPP. Mats Berggren, COO, DMC Norway calls it “a small revolution and a totally new workflow approach.”

He says, “So far, the biggest limitation for proper remote production has been the need for large bandwidth connectivity to get all the camera signals to your remote centre. With a remote vehicle installed with AMPP servers, it is a totally new ballgame. You can do high-quality TV coverage over a regular internet line as long as there’s enough bandwidth for the PGM output, a multiview feed and some control signals. It is a revolution in a way.”

Previous championships, which run across five weekends in the Spring, have been produced as a conventional outside broadcast. Last year, for example, DMC was sending two larger trucks to venues in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark but have this year gone entirely remote saving considerable cost and Co2 on travel while giving rights holders RallyX greater scope to increase production value.

“Our decision to embrace this remote solution and utilise YouTube for broadcasting reflects our dedication to innovation, sustainability, and inclusivity.”

DMC is no stranger to remote, doing 600-800 productions that way a year in Norway alone ranging from 2-3 cameras mainly for football, ice hockey and handball. It produces a further 2000 remote productions out of Finland each year, mainly covering ice hockey and horse harness racing.

As you’d expect, RallyX does not take place in cities or generally in stadia but typically on circuits “in the middle of nowhere,” says Jens Envall, CTO of DMC Sweden.

Examples include Nysum, one of the most spectacular in the championship, located 40 km south of Aalborg in Denmark and the Tierp Arena two hours from Stockholm and 30 minutes from Scandivania’s oldest university city of Uppsala.

Since RallyX occurs once a year at each venue it’s not cost effective to install permanent broadcast connections.

“We need to rely on existing internet connectivity for these tracks,” explains Envall. “Some of them have good connectivity but others are really poor so we decided our remote set-up would need around 100 Mb/s.”

Earlier this year DMC Production went on air for one of the Netherlands’ largest sports channels from a DMC-built and equipped live, post and playout production centre at Hilversum outside of Amsterdam. The centre is based on GV AMPP giving the team confidence to expand the use of the technology for RallyX live sport production.

The production uses LDX 98 series cameras with Fujinon 14x to 107x lenses, including 3x super slo-mo and a wireless link from Vislink and PTZs. Action is produced in 1080p 50 and distributed to the RallyX YouTube channel.

“One of the biggest challenges with remote is high bandwidth connectivity, especially with venues we do not visit so regularly but with the AMPP approach we can reduce the need for bandwidth tremendously.”

From this year two small vans equipped (pictured below) with two production servers are running AMPP apps for vision mixing, audio mixing, replay, multiview and graphics as well as for processing outgoing RTMP streams to YouTube and monitoring – essentially the entire AMPP ecosystem. It means that the main production crew including the director, chief audio engineer, replay op, vision engineer and graphics operator can now work from DMC’s broadcast centres cutting travel and hotel costs.

This means broadcast centres (plural) since DMC is unusually remote producing from its centres in Norway and Sweden.

“We’re utilising the crew we already have at the broadcast centres,” explains Berggren. “Since we already have vision engineers [shaders] in Oslo working on 800 productions a year, we’re just adding RallyX production on top. The rest of the production including the director and the client who likes to come and supervise production, are based in or near Stockholm. We have the flexibility of going remote across borders and between DMC broadcast hubs.”

It also means that RallyX maintains editorial consistency by using the same director for each race – saving that director the task of flying to each location too.

RallyX is the first on location production for which GV AMPP has been used by DMC but if successful then it might switch more of its productions over. Many of its current remote productions are 1-2 person productions where operators remote control PTZs and studio cameras using a Simplylive or EVS station. It also means a shader at a broadcast centre can work on multiple games.

Currently, RallyX is covered by approximately eight cameras including studio cameras and PTZs. RallyX is exploring the use of onboard cameras and Envall says the number of cameras can be increased thanks to the GV AMPP set-up. “We can set up 8, 16 or 24 cameras using the same bandwidth. It means we can scale up and down without additional investment.”

Adds Berggren, “One of the biggest challenges with remote is high bandwidth connectivity, especially with venues we do not visit so regularly but with the AMPP approach we can reduce the need for bandwidth tremendously. We can still do a 10-camera or larger production using limited bandwidth.”

Instead of having to feed 10 cameras back to the broadcast centre, the signals are processed by the server on-site with the control remote back.

“Now we can retain high-quality coverage with all the camera signals fed straight into the server and send one high-quality output via existing 100Mb/s connectivity.”

Reducing the number of on-site staff also goes some way to achieving RallyX sustainability goals.

As Peter Hellman Strand, head of broadcast and media for the rights holder explained, “This advancement enables us to drastically reduce our on-site presence, aligning with our commitment to an eco-friendly production minimising our environmental impact. Our decision to embrace this remote solution and utilise YouTube for broadcasting reflects our dedication to innovation, sustainability, and inclusivity.”

The 2024 RallyX championship features a race in Germany at Estering and with an expanded lineup of drivers representing Sweden (with 34 drivers), Norway (22), Finland (19), Denmark (17), Estonia (7), Belgium and the Netherlands (4 each), France, Great Britain and Latvia (2 each) as well as one from Germany, Lithuania, Poland and USA.

They compete in various classes over each RallyX weekend including the Supercar class described as a combination of a tank and a dragster. Its cars are manufactured on the basis of ordinary passenger cars but with engines of 600hp and four-wheel drive giving them an acceleration on par with an F1 car.

The regulations for supercar are the same in Rallycross in the European Championships and the World Championships. Several of the cars running in RallyX also participate in World RX and the European Championships.

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