Upstream Media streams Ice Climbing World Cup with Medialooks' transport

Upstream Media is a video production company from Switzerland, who focus on live streaming and remote production. I spoke with Jan Schäfer, who has organised the first known production deployment of our video transport.

The World Junior Alpine Skiing Championships 2018 in Davos

The first time we spoke, Jan explained he wanted to use our product to solve a very specific problem. The skiing races were to be filmed with 6 cameras directly connected to Jan's studio 160 km away via transmitters by Japanese company Soliton, who make 3G/4G bonded uplink products (similar to those from LiveU or Aviwest). The graphics, however, was to be generated at the location by someone from a different team. Jan wanted to receive the ARGB from the graphics guy in the studio, mix it with the stream produced from the remote cameras and then deliver to Facebook, YouTube and Periscope.

The plan was to use our transport to transmit the ARGB from the mountain to the studio and also to deliver the master stream back to the graphics guy. But they eventually obtained a direct fibre line for the first step and used our product only for backup and to stream the master back to the mountain.

The UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup 2018 in South Korea and Russia

The next occasion to try our product was a little bit different—Upstream Media was contracted to pick up the master stream from South Korea and distribute it to several platforms.
We offered to the sports company, UIAA, to produce all of the event, but they decided to do it with a local company, it is cheaper for them. As they would have to pay for 5 people to travel around the world with a huge package… the heaviest part is not the people as the cost factor, it is the weight of the equipment you need to transfer via the airplane. With UIAA, in each country there's a sports association, and they were responsible to organise the producing team.
Jan's team used our video transport to stream the master from the event to their office in Switzerland, from where they uplinked to Wowza and distributed to Facebook, YouTube and Periscope. My very first question was: why go via Switzerland, why not uplink to Wowza directly from the location?
For safety reason. We have in our office a very stable fiber connection. Facebook, Youtube and other platforms have a connection timeout of several minutes. After this time, the stream in the running event would be stopped. For this reason, we stream first to our office where we can insert messages, video clips or pictures into the stream. We streamed in the case of South Korea also with the Soliton but in low quality as backup. The technician in our office made real-time video snippets which were distributed in high quality to several platforms.
They also inserted banners and played videos from the association 10 minutes before the event—meaning the goal was not only to distribute the event via social channels, but also package it in a proper way.

Jan's team successfully used our product in a similar setup a few weeks later—this time in Kirov, Russia. Only this time they streamed at 20 Mbit/s.
Screenshot taken from the YouTube broadcast.
We run this streaming with a minimum of employee's. We have on the location of each country only one technician who provides the streaming, the recording, the commentary mix and insertion of the graphics.

A laptop running the Receiver at 20 Mbit/s in Switzerland during the Kirov event.
Asus GL502VM laptops were used at each location to host the Publisher and Receiver apps:

  • CPU: Intel® Core™ i7–7700HQ 2.8 GHz
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
Blackmagic's UltraStudio Mini Recorder was used to ingest the SDI stream into the laptop via Thunderbolt on the location and the Mini Monitor was used to play out in the studio.

Here's what Jan told us some time after the events:
We've experienced reliable transmission over 8992 km, and it was faster than the alternatives. The product is very easy to use, keeps a stable connection over hours; and Medialooks provides great support. 1 year ago I would never think about a solution like this one: it is a real alternative to common encoders and it is the next level of NDI.

Andrey Okunev
CEO Medialooks
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