Formula E takes remote production in the cloud to the next level with Mimir

In partnership with Mimir, Roku, Aurora Media and Gravity Media, Formula E has developed a remote production workflow for high-quality motor-racing broadcasts using public internet and cloud-based solutions – including live transmission, proxy-based editing and VOD delivery, simultaneously improving sustainability, speed and quality.

Formula E’s vision was to create thrilling, globally accessible motorsport that was sustainable. By embracing electric vehicles, it aimed to push the boundaries of what’s possible in racing while promoting environmental responsibility. The challenge was to deliver an engaging, high-quality broadcast that matched the excitement of traditional motorsports, to deliver it fast and to deliver it from anywhere in the world – without the carbon footprint.

Formula E partnered with Mimir, Roku, Aurora Media and Gravity Media to realise this vision, each bringing unique expertise and technological advancements to the table.

For seasons 9 and 10, the team took their core value of sustainability to another level by going almost entirely remote for both production and asset workflows. A minimal team on-site works to set up the local end of the production, where Aurora produces a track cut on-site – anywhere in the world – fed back via a global fibre network to Gravity Media’s purpose-built production facility. There, Aurora and Gravity Media master the show. This is a highly complex operation, with elements that have been thought previously impossible, using the public internet.

Read more Broadcast evolution: Formula E technology director Eric Ernst on taking the all-electric motorsport into a new centralised remote production

For the movement of assets and remote editing, Mimir’s end-to-end proxy workflow in the cloud-enabled all work on video files to be done on proxies that are often 50-100x smaller than the hi-res assets. At the same time, they are ingested from anywhere to the cloud. This means that highlights and VOD can be delivered in minutes instead of hours or days. Furthermore, automated workflows were implemented with Mimir to take the final delivery of VOD to platforms from a complex process to clicking a single button, getting content from the edit-suite to the set-top box without user intervention.

Creating a captivating broadcast for the all-electric motorsport came with its unique challenges. The primary technical hurdles included the fact that Formula E cars generate vast amounts of data, from battery status to performance metrics. Integrating this data into the live broadcast required sophisticated data management and visualisation tools.

In addition, Formula E races occur in city centres, presenting logistical challenges for broadcasting. Ensuring stable connectivity and minimal disruption to the urban environment was paramount.

To combat these challenges, an end-to-end cloud-native proxy workflow for video assets was implemented with remote editing capabilities that allow global access to growing file proxies as they are uploaded to the cloud. This led to significant reductions in content delivery times, enabling near-instantaneous VOD content availability.

A scalable cloud backend was utilised to manage the variable demands of race days and off-peak periods, with an infrastructure that supports substantial computing and bandwidth.

The remote production setup led to a carbon footprint reduction of up to 50%, a 40% decrease in freight, space requirements fell be 35%, and on-site personnel by 25%. In addition, cloud-based workflows and proxy editing have reduced the need for physical media transfers, speeding up production, while CPU power can be scaled up and down as needed rather than constantly on hand in a private server park.

Leveraging Roku’s streaming platform, Formula E can reach a global audience with seamless, high-definition broadcasts. Roku’s advanced analytics provide valuable insights into viewer engagement, allowing for real-time content optimisation.

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