BRUSSELS — During the 2012 U.S. presidential election, Belgian national TV and radio broadcaster RTBF sent a team of audio engineers to Chicago, Ill., to manage live coverage from a restaurant in the area and ensure smooth delivery of audio to our main RTBF studio in Brussels.
We were able to configure this unusual location into a mobile studio thanks to Digigram’s V*MOTE, a software-based codec. The software met our requirements for a light and reliable solution, capable of matching the local IT infrastructure constraints and delivering high audio quality.
The main challenge our team faced was to set up a mobile solution that would ensure live coverage, using a public Internet network, without interruption. Sound engineer Miguel Allo worked onsite to set up and manage a studio at the Chicago restaurant — without any specific network infrastructure — to generate a live feed between Chicago and Brussels throughout the election night. The feed consisted of live interviews and commentaries over prerecorded audio.
Although we were facing complex technical conditions, we made the choice to rely on a fully mobile solution that allowed us to ensure the live broadcast and the recording of this worldwide event that matched our high-quality audio standards.
The solution we implemented for our live election coverage centered on Digigram’s V*MOTE audio over IP software solution. We installed Digigram’s Ultra Mobility solution, which provided the on-scene RTBF reporter with the V*MOTE software codec running on a laptop equipped with the Cancun soundcard while the Brussels-based studio used the Iqoya *Call/LE hardware codec.
Relying on a symmetrical RTP protocol, the team used HE-AAC v1 64 kbps codec algorithms for the two-way link between the Chicago studio and the Brussels studio. Everything got up and running perfectly. The audio quality was excellent, and we had the impression that the reporter was located in our studio in Brussels.
Overall, this broadcast operation resulted in almost 12 hours of live content, without any drops from the local network at a time during which the team could have faced some network saturation due to all of the competing reports that night. We particularly appreciated the ease of use of V*MOTE, the ability to deploy a completely mobile solution and the capacity to set-up a simple and cost-saving infrastructure, in terms of both human and technological resources. We were amazed.
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