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WHITEPAPERS

Remote Content Creation in the Age of COVID By Dave Simon, Diversified, Director, Technical Operations The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically disrupted business across all industries, with more than a third of the workforce in the United States working remotely almost overnight. Companies and their employees have had to rapidly adjust their operational models from collaborative office work to remote business via a suite of communications platforms like Zoom, Slack, and Teams. While organizations continue to implement safe social distancing measures in-house, we are seeing efforts to move job functions that were traditionally in-house to remote. As professional sports teams return and adapt to playing in empty stadiums, their respective in-house production and editorial teams are adapting as well. Content creators — many of whom work on high-performance workstations with direct access to shared storage — are now having to retool their operations and formulate new work-from-home scenarios. Some organizations have been equipped to handle this shift while others have had to improvise with cumbersome ‘sneaker-net’ workflows, shuttling media on portable hard drives or transferring files through corporate VPN. Others have adopted screensharing platforms like Teamviewer and VNC to access on-premises systems from secondary computers. These methods, while function, have resulted in fractured workflows with core resources such as shared editorial storage, tape archives, and high-end editorial systems under-utilized or sitting idle. As the pandemic continues, the question becomes how to create content in a traditionally collaborative environment while maintaining the health and safety of individuals without sacrificing the final deliverable. Editors, graphics and visual effects artists, and content loggers are among those whose roles can be shifted offsite today through various forms of remote access. Leveraging display extender technologies like PCoIP-based KVM, virtualizing desktops, and Desktop as a Service all offer viable solutions for decentralizing traditionally onsite operations. Each of these technologies relies on underlying display transport protocols, such as Teradici’s PCoIP, HP’s Remote Graphics Software RGS, and VMWare’s Blast Extreme, among others. Developed to deliver multiple high-resolution display outputs to end points over ethernet, what makes protocols like PCoIP and 86 SPORTSTECHJOURNAL / FALL 2020

RGS unique is the way screen images are refreshed and delivered to the end user. Instead of sending continuous full-frame video refreshes that can add encoding overhead and latency, it works by updating only the pixels that change from moment to moment. Bandwidth and connection requirements will scale anywhere from 15 to 100+ mbps depending on available bandwidth, per screen. Bi-directional audio, USB, and serial data is carried alongside display data as a fully encrypted data stream to deliver a very viable low latency, high-resolution near-realtime user experience. Virtualizing the creative workstation is another option for today’s content creators through the use of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) platforms like VMWare Horizon. VDI has been a standard practice for task-based job functions for decades; you could even consider mainframes from the 1960s and 70s as a primitive form of VDI. Only in recent years has the technology become a viable and acceptable solution for creatives. Unlike the traditional approach of managing physical workstations, VDI enables organizations to provide high-end virtual workstations complete with 3D graphics acceleration, audio support, and multiple displays with access to on-premises resources like shared storage and archive, without the expense and overhead of supporting individual workstations. A VDI infrastructure is based around a hypervisor to provisions, managing the virtual machines and hosted on dense hardware servers or blade servers clustered to provide a pool of available resources. An entire Post department-

Profile for Sports Video Group

Sports Tech Journal — Fall 2020  

Sports Tech Journal — Fall 2020  

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