Table of Contents
What is cloud video production
Cloud based live video production refers to using virtualized video and audio switchers, which allows users to switch and mix different video and audio feeds in order to create a professional live video production. An example of this might be adding in graphic overlays to a live video, or switching to a different camera angle mid-production.
This differs from hardware switchers, which by definition, are physical pieces of equipment or software switchers (such as vMix or OBS, which are locally installed on a machine). Cloud production applications can be accessed from anywhere via an internet connection with a laptop, PC or even some mobile apps.
Comparison of a cloud switcher and hardware switcher (Image credit: Dazzl / Blackmagic Design)
Choosing a cloud production solution
There are a number of different factors to consider when choosing a cloud video production platform, including: number of inputs or video feeds, availability of features such as graphics or overlays, number of output destinations, compatibility with other apps, ease-of-use, support and most importantly, price. But the choice of which to go for will ultimately depend on the size and scale of your production.
It is also worth bearing in mind that some cloud switchers are ‘cloud-native’ and others are not. For example it is possible to run a version of vMix in the cloud by having it locally installed on a server which is accessible to anyone, but for the purposes of this article, we have chosen ‘cloud-native’ apps; these have been built to work specifically within the cloud.
Hardware switchers can also be operated remotely from home or in a studio using IP technology (Image credit: Grassvalley)
Advantages of doing your production in the cloud
With uptake and adoption of IP and cloud-based solutions in general, many broadcasters are now turning to cloud video production as a complementary tool for production.
The main benefit is the flexibility it offers in terms of remote production, with many teams now working off-site or at home. Teams are able to login to the platform from anywhere in the world with just a laptop and internet connection, allowing companies to quickly scale-up or down their production size. As platforms are also often subscription based, this does away with any large up-front investments, which you would see with hardware switchers.
Top cloud video production platforms
We run through the options available on the market today, in no particular order. For a full list, please visit our directory page.
TVU Producer is a complete live video production platform that sits within the wider TVU solution range. There is currently no pricing or packages publicly available, but the platform includes features such as the ability to add up to 12 feeds, capacity to output to all social media platforms in one click and unlimited guest contribution through sister-solution TVU Partyline.
TVU has released a number of cloud-based solutions in recent years and one the main advantages on offer with TVU Producer is its compatibility with other TVU products, such as TVU Anywhere App, TVU Partyline and TVU Remote Commentator.
The platform is completely scalable and will handle any type of event, including sports, with ESPN being a reported user of the platform.
Dazzl has three plans available, Starter, Pro or Pro+, but says they offer plans adapted to each use case. Pricing isn’t available and packages vary on number of output hours, but free trials are offered across all three plans.
Dazzl is used by a number of large broadcasters and media companies including RSI, France Television and Eurovision. As with other solutions on offer, Dazzl provides multi-camera capture, graphical overlays, social media distribution and also a mobile app for guest video and audio contribution.
Grabyo offers two plans: Professional and Enterprise. The Professional package starts at $150 per hour and includes a 7 day free trial. With up to 4 users, 6 production layers and sources and unlimited streaming destinations, Graybo Professional will be suitable for most users looking to create small to medium size productions.
Other features include remote guest and commentary, third party graphics, audio controls and customizable workplaces.
Users who upgrade to the enterprise plan will benefit from unlimited usage hours, 30+ sources and 20+ production layers, as well as other features including remote team synchronization, team workspaces and multi-regional setups.
Easylive.io offers a range of plans including Standard, Silver and Gold, with most plans being billed by the hour with a monthly charge on top. The Standard package starts at 119 EUR per month plus 29 EUR per hour, this includes mixing an unlimited number of sources, remote guest contribution, unlimited projects and users.
In terms of distribution, Easylive offers simulcasting to 10+ destinations and social media native integration, including full Facebook integration.
Standard, Silver and Gold packages are differentiated by their support level, with the full range of features available across the board.
Cloud video production is generally being used for ‘second screen’ or tier two productions currently, with many broadcasters still relying on established technologies. But the advantages of cloud production is clear and will allow for greater flexibility in workflows.
They are also a great alternative for live streaming companies covering events or shows where large on-site hardware equipment isn’t necessarily needed, but many smaller productions will still question the cost effectiveness of cloud production vs using software such as vMix or Wirecast.
Although as the popularity of the cloud grows, costs will inevitably fall, paving the way for exciting opportunities in the world of live production.