Some of the world’s most recognizable brands – from major financial institutions to leading technology providers, universities, and medical centers – rely on AVI-SPL VideoLink to deliver broadcast quality video from any lens to any screen™. With our rich legacy of broadcast video, the VideoLink team knows how to transform customers’ communications concepts into powerful enterprise video strategies.
For the last 30 years, the centerpiece of our broadcast video offerings has been the ReadyCam® Studio. The first ReadyCam started as a tool to help put people on live television and was controlled over a dial-up modem. Comparatively, today’s ReadyCam Studio is a multi-purpose executive video broadcast center with a patented cloud-based control system. And it is constantly evolving to meet our clients’ changing needs.
In 2022 we took the ease of use of the single-camera ReadyCam Studio and added ReadyCam MCS, our multi-camera solution with the same cloud-based control system, VLGateway.
But the technology did not develop itself overnight. Our VP of Engineering, Leigh Willis, reflects on the lengthy process to make ReadyCam MCS a reality.
The development process
Our first client inquiry to expand from single-camera to multi-camera studios occurred over five years ago. This request meant tripling the input sources (cameras), dramatically increasing the processing load and the potential for camera synchronization issues.
The initial step was to prototype functionalities through a hardware-based approach. This gave our production and development teams the opportunity to learn the operational challenges of remotely producing multi-camera content. We held mock productions followed by in-depth analyses. These led us to the features that would be necessary to turn the hardware-based prototype into a scalable, software-based solution.
With the new requirements identified, it was up to VideoLink’s software engineers to implement and test them. Leveraging our experience with video encoding and our EnhancedIP video transport, we were able to overcome the technical challenges.
Then came time to build one.
The first ReadyCam MCS
The AVI-SPL VideoLink Baltimore, MD office housed the first ReadyCam MCS installation and remote productions. And it was a success! We were able to control the cameras and DMX lights, send return video, and adjust mic levels, all from our control rooms in Newton, MA and Philadelphia.
What it lacked was a way for all three locations to communicate with each other throughout the production. The final obstacle to implementing a smoothly operating, remotely controlled, multi-camera studio was adding a universal method of communication.
To replicate the feeling of working together in a traditional control room, we added a flexible intercom capability. This addition to the MCS system allows all parties (on-screen talent, technicians, remote producers, etc) to communicate in real time.
After we enabled the intercom capability, we continued to hold mock productions. Following another few months of fruitful testing, we were finally ready to roll out the ReadyCam MCS to clients in January of 2022.
Just a month later, an east coast financial service company became home to our first client system.