Powering Extreme E’s remote live production

Extreme E

Multi-cloud distribution platform helps off-road racing series Extreme E store, manage and share assets with multiple global partners.

Imagine a Red Bull air race on the ground. There are certain gates that teams need to pass through but how they get through them is them is down to the skill of male and female drivers on terrain that varies from desert to deforested jungle to deserted glacier.

That’s the premise of all electric rally-style Extreme E, the progressive FIA-backed

SUV racing series which launches next month.

With 30 percent of the planet’s CO2 emissions coming from transport, Extreme E exists to showcase the performance of electric vehicles, and to accelerate their adoption.

As such it needs to marry urgent environmental messaging with as lean a production footprint as possible.  That’s particularly challenging for a live broadcast given that the locations are remote and infrastructure-free.

“We want to shine the spotlight on the climate crisis that we’re facing all over the world through the lens of an adrenaline filled action sport,” explains Dave Adey, head of broadcast and technology for Extreme E. “We’re employing remote production with minimal production staff on site and no spectators at the track, so for us content and fast turnaround is imperative.”

The Production

There are four constituent elements to the Extreme E production designed by production partners Aurora Media Worldwide and North One. All race camera sources including drones and onboards are uplinked from a lightweight TV compound on site. Car telemetry is managed by Barcelona-based Al Kamel Systems with AR and VR overlays from NEP in The Netherlands. Everything is back hauled to the gallery in London for production of live coverage across each race weekend plus highlights shows, a 30-min race preview and 300 VOD films for digital.

Given the scale of production, Extreme E needed a system that would allow them to manage content, including the ability to upload from anywhere into a centralised secure storage location. They also needed to be able to manipulate, search, view and download content; and to give this functionality to its authorised media partners.

“We need to find any of the content instantly so the user interface needs to be intuitive and the metadata schema rich but precise,” Adey says. “Once you find the clip you want to be able to view it with a proxy version online. We then may want to manipulate that content or create clips or transcode to different file formats. The system we chose had to do all of this and more.”

Extreme E chose to use a sports multi-cloud Digital Media Hub (DMH) comprising a cloud-native storage and content distribution platform developed and managed by base with Veritone’s AI-powered asset management system.

After transmission, all live programming and all the rest of the content including VT’s, highlights and digital is uploaded to the DMH for rights holder to search, view and use.

“The DMH provides a dual purpose: to make content easily available to rights holders; and provide a rich suite of assets that rights holders can use to enhance their own content,” explains Adey.

“A key benefit of a cloud-native solution is that the distribution of content is much more cost effective. I don’t have to put up a satellite feed to do a highlights program. Instead, we can create those programs in London, upload them into our content management system and make them immediately accessible via accelerated download for any of our rights owners and media partners around the world.

“It’s also really important that we have very high and very clear, environmental credentials which the multi-cloud sports media solution from Base Media Cloud and Veritone gives us.”

More than 70 broadcasters have bought rights to Extreme E including Discovery, Sky Sports, Fox Sports, BBC, ProSieben Maxx, Disney ESPN and TV Globo. The series launches in April in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and will continue in Senegal, Greenland, Brazil and Tierra del Fuego.