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December 18, 2020
Special times require special activities. That is why this year, the European Film Academy decided to honor the nominees for the European Film Awards virtually in several ceremonies, which culminated in the Grand Finale on December 12th. This was made possible by a streaming solution from GlobalM in cooperation with Studio Berlin and MCI.
Every year, the European Film Academy, together with EFA Productions, honors the greatest successes in European cinema. The European Film Awards are awarded in a total of 23 categories including prizes for film, directing and acting. Originally planned in Reykjavik and already canceled in October, the virtual ceremony was broadcasted live from Berlin, where the award ceremony takes place every other year. On behalf of EFA Productions gGmbH and B28 Produktion GmbH, Studio Berlin provided the entire broadcast infrastructure with the corresponding workflow planning and was responsible for the successful production process.
This year, a total of 44 European filmmakers and actors were nominated for the coveted EFA Award. With the decision to hold the gala as a virtual ceremony, the current situation of the corona pandemic was taken into account.
Mike Downey, EFA Chairman: „In this unusual year, this will be an unusual and hopefully extraordinary awards show, one with a different approach that will allow us to pay more attention to the various awards being given. Out of necessity, we decided to use this virtual format and hope to also gain ideas for future EFA formats."
With the experience of the German Film Awards, in which 92 nominees and orators were successfully streamed from their homes into the live gala show with a streaming solution developed by MCI, a solution for the European Film Awards could be developed that fulfills the extended requirements due to the Europe-wide distribution of participants with the help of GlobalM.
The basis for this was the GlobalM Live Video Network – a scalable streaming solution based on a Content Delivery Network (CDN). The CDN is a network of servers in various data centers around the world. A distribution system stores content on different servers within a cloud system. If this content is queried, a Request-Routing-System decides which server will answer this request. Specific values are determined on the basis of which the system assesses which server is best suited to process the request or to forward content. Due to the servers spread around the world, loading times are accelerated and bandwidth utilization is reduced.
With a special smartphone app, the nominees' mobile phones could be used as live streaming devices. Especially due to the nominees spread across Europe, the GlobalM app in connection with the cloud network offered the best possibility to send low-latency video streams to the control of the OB van Ü8 provided by Studio Berlin, even from the most distant regions of Europe.
Ralf Helbing, Head of Broadcast IT at Studio Berlin: „The European Film Awards show the expanded portfolio that Studio Berlin offers together with MCI as a full-service provider. As part of this project, a system design was created to connect the classic OB van control with the new requirements of the Live-Link-Management from GlobalM. As in previous projects, we worked with our partner MCI to provide the necessary know-how for operating, integrating and configuring the streaming connections."
Benefiting from the SRT transmission protocol used for the streams, which was especially developed for low-latency video/audio streaming, the nominees could be streamed in high quality. The SRT protocol contains mechanisms for error correction, which compensate for fluctuations in the transmission. When the connection is established, the higher latency is set on both the sender and receiver side, which creates a permanently stable stream. An integrated error reporting system reduces the loss of data packets. As a result, the SRT technology enables transmission with low, even latency and securely transmits streams in professional broadcast quality over the public Internet. This was evident not least in the high streaming quality.
Fabian Röttcher, Solution Architect at MCI: „Our streaming solution based on vMix systems already ensured stable N-1 switching at the German Film Award and was thus able to convince. By using SRT streams, the signal quality could be significantly improved once more. This time, the challenge at the European Film Awards consisted of the regional distribution of the nominees on the one hand and a simultaneous live streaming to all 44 nominees at the beginning of the show on the other hand."
As a spectacular grand opening of this year's show, all nominees were routed to the broadcast in a parallel live link at the beginning of the gala. Thanks to intensive SRT streaming PoCs in recent months, the MCI team was confident that the vMix systems in conjunction with the GlobalM Live Video Network could successfully master this mammoth task. The bandwidth remained a factor of uncertainty, but at no point did the solution disappoint the team from MCI and GlobalM, thanks to the cloud distribution. All planned live streaming could be carried out successfully.
The new digital ceremony of the European Film Awards was successfully recorded with all nominees thanks to the good teamwork between GlobalM, Studio Berlin and MCI. If you want to follow this somewhat different gala award show, you can find it at: www.europeanfilmawards.eu
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