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The UPV is leading a European project that will make new forms of audiovisual production possible, thanks to 5G technology

[ 10/05/2021 ]

Immersive audiovisual content (which, for example, will allow an event to be enjoyed from multiple points of view) and wireless IPTV studios that will offer live performances with hitherto unknown features (including live audio production at music festivals): these are some of the possibilities raised by 5G-Records ­–an H2020 European research project coordinated by the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) and involving 18 partners from 11 countries.

5G will allow wireless technologies to reach an unprecedented connection speed –comparable to current fibre optics. It will also make it possible to exponentially increase the number of connected devices, and for them to share information in real time. Additionally, it will reduce latency (the network response time) to the lowest possible level, reaching levels of milliseconds that are imperceptible.

These features, which are typical of the fifth generation of mobile networks, will be crucial to the digital transformation of many sectors. Thus, the audiovisual production sector, which is currently using several wireless technologies, will be among the first to take advantage of 5G.

"5G-Records brings together leading companies from both the audiovisual sector, such as the BBC, EBU, RAI and Sennheiser, and the 5G sector, such as Ericsson and Nokia. This project is about designing, developing, integrating, validating and demonstrating 5G components for the professional production of multimedia content,' says project coordinator David Gómez Barquero, a professor at the UPV Communications Department and deputy director of research at the UPV's iTEAM institute.

5G-Records is structured around three real-world content production use cases: live audio production, wireless multi-camera studio, and immersive content production –each with a range of 5G enabling technologies and innovative components. Additionally, pilot tests will be carried out for all use cases.

Audio production

The first use case focuses on deploying a 5G private local network for live audio production. "Ultra-low latency, high reliability 5G communications (URLLC) can meet the challenges of professional live audio production, which has very demanding requirements in terms of response time, availability and synchronisation. Furthermore, the integration of audio content production in 5G networks, particularly those based on open source software and general purpose processors, can provide both developers and users with an extensible toolset to simplify workflows, increase flexibility and reduce costs," explains Lola Pérez Guirao, Spectrum Policy & Standards Manager at Sennheiser, and a UPV alumna.

Professional production of multi-camera 5G content

The second use case refers to the professional production of multi-camera 5G content. The main objective in this case is to develop a complete production system that takes advantage of 5G technology and components, and can be used for remote content production as well. "5G can provide a new connectivity experience for seamless and flexible audiovisual content production in wireless studios. Higher reliability, lower latency and the ability to synchronise different devices are crucial features to a 5G wireless production network," says Jordi Joan Giménez, Senior Project Manager at EBU T&I, and a UPV alumnus too.

Sports competitions and music festivals via 5G

The third use case will enable the real-time immersive capture of sporting and cultural events through cameras connected via 5G at a frequency of 26 GHz. It will thus be possible to broadcast content both live and in replays, with different perspectives and shots, so that the director can move the viewpoint of the image freely. "The 5G millimetre band enables bandwidths of up to 400 MHz and speeds in static conditions comparable to fibre optics. With edge computing deployed to ensure low latency, it will be crucial to future immersive multimedia services," explains Pablo Perez, researcher at Nokia Bell Labs.

This project, which began in September 2020 and will end in August 2022, also involves the Valencian company Fivecomm, Telefónica, Nokia and the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, among others.

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