Our industry has always been a fast-paced, ever-changing industry. I have been fortunate to play a part in two of its most significant changes, the first being the transition from linear film and television editing to non-linear digital editing. The second was the change from linear production for live television to building the first tapeless broadcast production facility. Both of those changes dramatically impacted our industry by increasing the creative quality of the final product, the turnaround speed of production, and lower costs. I now have the opportunity to have an impact on the current major industry revolution: cloud production services. In March of 2021, the Broadcast Management Group team opened the first cloud control broadcast center built from the ground up. The BMG Cloud Control Center™ workflow is based on centralized technology and decentralized production teams.
What are cloud production services?
Cloud production services involve hosting technology at a central location that can be accessed remotely. This technology operates similarly to data centers, which have been around for many years, offering the same scalability and cost-saving benefits. However, while data centers focus on housing computer servers to provide storage and computing power, the BMG Cloud Control Center™ is specifically designed to support broadcast production. Our center provides a complete ecosystem for broadcast by housing both hardware and software solutions tailored to the industry’s needs.
What led Broadcast Management Group to develop the BMG Cloud Control Center™?
My idea started with what I saw happening with REMI production in the years leading up to COVID. I was looking at what ESPN was doing with REMI production. Their motivation was to lower the number of people they traveled from ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, CT. game locations to reduce travel and truck rental costs. This enabled them to leverage their staff and production facilities. For BMG To fully capitalize on the benefits of the REMI model, we needed to address the challenge of having staff and contractors located in different parts of the country. As a result, we began exploring strategies to decentralize our production teams.
Then COVID happened…
BMG needed to keep an OTT channel we manage for TD Ameritrade on the air. Our conceptual ideas needed to quickly become a reality. At the time, we were building the TD Ameritrade Network a newly expanded broadcast center. We quickly modified our engineering plans to enable that facility to be remote-controlled. We built REMI kits to deploy to our anchors and contributors nationwide. This worked exceptionally well. As a result, the network never missed a beat. During this time, the financial markets were very volatile and having the network gave TD Ameritrade a competitive advantage.
Building a Beta REMI control room for our clients
Building on the success of the TD Ameritrade facility, we built a REMI control room at our Las Vegas office that catered to the production needs of our clients. We produced news, entertainment, and corporate shows, leveraging our unique REMI control room.
The first cloud controlled broadcast center
With the success of our REMI control room and REMI remote kits, we started designing for a much broader concept building our own BMG Cloud Control Center™ where we could centralize technology at the BMG Cloud Control Center™, could deploy REMI trucks and REMI kits to the locations where productions were originating. All would be connected to the BMG Cloud Control Center™. Our model from the ground up was based upon leveraging production teams worldwide, remotely controlling hardware and software switchers, graphic systems, replay systems, audio systems at the BMG Cloud Control Center™.
In the fall of 2020, we started looking for a location to build our BMG Cloud Control Center™. In December 2020, we secured a new building and began building out the space, designing the BMG Cloud Control Center™ technology, and we opened the new BMG Cloud Control Center™ in March 2021. Since opening the BMG Cloud Control Center™, we have rolled out several REMI production trucks and flight packs, connected to several clients-owned production facilities, and built REMI interface kits to leverage other mobile vendors’ non-REMI trucks. BMG has also built a cloud spoke facility at our New York Time Square office and we are currently building another spoke facility at our new Washington DC facility.
The BMG Cloud Control Center™ has been meticulously crafted to scale seamlessly with market demand, with its capacity having doubled since its inception in 2021. With each passing production, we refine our BMG Cloud Control Center™, consistently expanding the size and complexity of the shows we can produce to offer unparalleled services to the marketplace. As a prominent producer of live television, we leverage the full potential of production technology. As a system design integrator, we have fostered excellent relationships with the industry’s leading manufacturers to perfect cloud production.
The applications and advantages for clients to leverage Cloud Control are virtually unlimited. I will share a few applications.
Producing live and live-to-tape news, sports, entertainment, corporate communications, and events.
During the last two years, we have produced all types of broadcasts throughout the United States utilizing the BMG Cloud Control Center™ workflow. We have produced events utilizing cloud control with our own REMI production trucks, our REMI flight packs and 3rd party trucks.
We produced all ten of the January 6th congressional Hearings utilizing this workflow, installing a temporary video village at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C., that included the transmissions between the BMG Cloud Control Center and Washington, D.C. This series had more than 130 million viewers during the ten broadcasts.
For all of these projects, our production teams were dispersed around the United States, enabling us to reduce travel costs while utilizing the best talent for each project.
Client-owned production facilities utilizing Cloud Production Services
Clients seeking to meet their production needs today have various options. They could opt for the traditional approach of building studios, control rooms, post-production rooms, and production workspace on-site. This is a service our integration team has provided our clients for several years. Alternatively, they could capitalize on our flexible and scalable cloud production services. They could establish an on-site studio to accommodate their on-camera talent and seamlessly connect to BMG’s Cloud Control Center™ to leverage our hardware and software production services and staffing on an on-demand basis. This approach significantly reduces initial and ongoing capital expenditures, real-estate space requirements, and staffing costs. With the ability to swiftly spin up and spin down technology and personnel as needed, this option is a more cost-effective solution for many clients.
Another option is to construct the on-site technical facilities and staff you need daily and connect to the BMG Cloud Control Center™ to augment technology and staff as needed. Some services may include content management, disaster recovery, virtual set technology or vacation relief for their full-time staff.
Cloud production services summary
Cloud Production can become your sole solution for all your production needs and disaster recovery operation and/or augment your current in-house facility and staffing. Cloud production is not the future. It is here today and is relevant to any level of television production. If you have more questions about cloud production services, please give us a call.