Headquartered in Sydney, Global Advance, one of the most diverse media production services companies in Australia, has changed the way remote production is delivered by creating cost efficiencies and scalability – thanks, in no small part, to Clear-Com technology. Working together with system technology integrator Elevate Broadcast, a Clear-Com partner, the Global Advance team utilizes a Clear-Com communications system comprised of Eclipse® HX Digital Matrix and FreeSpeak II® Digital Wireless Intercom supplemented by the Agent-IC® Mobile App to produce the Australian Professional League’s (APL) A-League men’s and women’s soccer programming for Australian commercial television network “Network 10” and the subscription VOD service, Paramount +.
“When we came into this project, we were looking to take the way remote production and outside broadcast was done even further,” says Dennis Breckenridge, CTO of Global Advance. “We endeavored to drive economies of scale and operational efficiencies, saving our customers significant money, and offering as good if not better levels of coverage than they were used to receiving. It really all comes down to the technology we implement and our ideology of what remote production can be by harnessing 2110 IP connectivity.”
Notably, the system was originally commissioned and produced in Singapore in 2020 during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, allowing Dennis’ team to produce the broadcast fully remotely from nearly 4,000 miles away.
Now, while the system (and production crew) is based out of Sydney, they’re still able to accomplish seamless remote production. The backbone of Global Advance’s system is the Eclipse HX-Delta, a high-density 3RU rackmount frame supporting point-to-point, or one-to-many (party line or conference) communications up to 256 ports. It’s linked with LQ® Series IP Interfaces out to the field for moving and distributing comms signals to and from all the communication points on the network, and incorporates a Dynamic Eclipse Configuration (Dynam-EC™) add-on module, which Andrew Parsons, Communications Manager with Global Advance, says plays a powerful role.
“I use Dynam-EC extensively to actively control all the comms facilities to manage the overall system,” he says. “I was able to architect and manage the communication between all the different venues on any given weekend. It allows a single communications person located in a control room to manage up to 6 APL games in an evening, which is far more efficient than a typical comms management workflow supporting multiple locations.”
“We look at how technology can enable us to re-invent or recreate current more traditional production processes and I see communications as one of the most important elements of a seamless production,” says Dennis. “Since we’re utilizing a 100% 2110 IP facility and connectivity, we chose to use a Clear-Com intercom system with 2110 in and out of our data center so we can directly integrate our comms into the architecture and dramatically reduce our equipment and personnel footprint.”
Comms are all routed and controlled from the Clear-Com system, distributed over IP from that data center out to the comms panels in the control rooms, then over the IP national network directly to the cameras and wireless systems in the field. This solution results in a seamless, continuous flow of communication, servicing multiple games and their various production teams and media operators at multiple locations all at once. There is no need to distribute multiple systems or conversion devices in the field as all equipment directly takes the 2110 signals natively.
Using a DPN – Digital Production Network from Telstra, all the APL game content and media coming from the stadiums travels through the country-wide network over fiber straight to Global Advance’s data center, which serves as their central production hub processing the SMPTE2110 signals with fully remote production systems and providing network connectivity and delivery capabilities. The data center connects to various Telecast control rooms (TCR), located another 15-30 km away, all linked up via fiber and operating seamlessly with replay control, production control, vision control, communications, commentary, studios, and audio control rooms. This type of 3-prong distributed architecture (in-field, processing, and control systems) supports Global Advance with advanced flexibility to relocate its control rooms at any time and provide facilities nationwide, offering a mobile and agile production infrastructure.
Finally, a Freespeak II system delivers ultra-low latency capabilities for all the wireless coverage required by the production crew and team on the field, and the Agent-IC mobile app allows remote team members to connect via their phones and still maintain reliable comms with production and on-field crew.
“Being able to integrate our comms into our IP infrastructure and for example, directly interface with our cameras straight out of our Eclipse-Delta frames has been critical to us,” says Dennis. “It’s removed the traditional method of building complex infrastructure in the field.” He also praises the LQ series for giving them significant flexibility to run on either public or private networks.
“The quality of the Clear-Com system speaks for itself,” he says. “Our setup delivers exceptional system performance and high capacity for expansion to meet our constantly changing production demands. Communication is such a core part of these types of remote applications.” However, the decision to partner with Clear-Com goes beyond ones and zeros, encompassing their unwavering commitment to an exceptional level of support. “Working with the Clear-Com team was more than just a technology decision for Global Advance; it was a relationship decision.”