Sony, Deutsche Telekom and Infront Productions lead the race to 5G live production at the 2019 BMW Berlin-Marathon

Creative technology innovator, networking giant and media production leader partner successfully in pioneering 5G-connected camera trial distributed over public mobile network

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How we helped

The Challenge

• Sony, Deutsche Telekom and Infront Productions wanted to do a stress test of 5G mobile network technology in a live production environment 

• The next generation of communications had to be trialled in the real world to be able to understand and anticipate the technical and creative challenges of future production workflows

• The 5G test aimed to provide lower latency and better picture quality over the live stream and explore new ultra-mobile methods to capture every aspect of live events

The Solution

• Substantial network, production and mobile R&D shared between industry leaders ensured a viable production workflow for a real-world trial of 5G broadcasting at the 2019 BMW Berlin-Marathon

• Infront Productions deployed Sony HDC-5500 and PXW-Z280 cameras connected to Sony’s 5G devices, which could transmit specially encoded signals over the Deutsche Telekom 5G mobile network to the OB production unit

• A Sony Xperia 5G device was equipped with the XDCAM Pocket App for capturing multiple aspects of the BMW Berlin-Marathon and also connected to the cloud-based Sony Virtual Production service prototype for 5G streaming. The device was successfully able to verify its potential ability to stream additional coverage to social media

The Outcome

• Footage shot from the 5G-connected cameras was seamlessly integrated into the live production coverage of the race 

• The 5G transmission concept was stress-tested under real-world conditions where it performed favourably compared to 4G-connected cameras, running over a network with increased bandwidth capacity 

• A test case for live 5G production was successfully proved through industry leaders playing to their strengths and working together to develop and refine next generation technology

Sony sets a change of pace for the production landscape

Sony’s mobile, cloud and live production expertise proved to be a winner at the 46th Berlin marathon (BMW Berlin-Marathon), which saw nearly 45,000 participants from 133 countries take part. Working with its partners, Infront Productions and Deutsche Telekom, Sony deployed innovative encoding technology to enable its 5G-connected cameras to stream footage over the public mobile network, in a trial that holds great promise for new methods of live production.

The dark interior of a broadcast control room. Two strip lights brighten the upper field of view. The direction of view is at standing height, slightly right, toward a bank of 6 widescreen monitors, stacked in two rows of three - showing multiple images of a similar blue hue, to read as a pleasant mosaic.

We’ve collaborated with Sony for the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON and the set-up that we are implementing enables flexible resource allocation; in the future, it will allow production operators to work from wherever they want.

Peer Seitz
Head of Production, Infront Productions

An exterior, daylight street scene. View #2. Mid-shot of a man standing at streetside of the Berlin Marathon course, filming the race as it proceeds past him. He stands to the left of the frame, occupying the left side. He faces, right - a smartphone raised in landscape, attached to a portable steadicam device, held in both hands in a gold grip is in centre frame. He wears dark clothing, with a multi-coloured hood. It is raining and the scene has a yellow cast.

5G adoption to pick up speed after time-beating trial

This marathon test proved that more agile and dynamic broadcasting is possible with 5G. The low latency transmission offered by 5G is crucial for sports and live production where delays are unacceptable, while the wider bandwidth delivers less compressed content to the mobile viewer. Sustainable production and lower-tier sports will benefit, as 5G and cloud-based production negates the need for expensive OB resources only deployed by major broadcasters, such as satellite or RF-connected vehicles and infrastructure.

In the end, how the technology is deployed is driven by production workflows. As the core mobile technologies transition from prototypes to ‘everyday’, we can envisage the ability to easily and quickly deploy cameras and cloud production resources which can only enhance creativity and so enjoyment for the viewers.

Mark Grinyer
Live Production Services, Sony Professional Solutions Europe

World-class marathon offers stress test for new technology

Sony’s new HDC-5500 system camera had prime position at the marathon. It featured a prototype low latency encoder to make its broadcast video signal compatible with the Deutsche Telekom 5G network. The signal was streamed to the Infront Productions’ OB unit using Sony’s Xperia 5G device.

Two roving Sony PXW-Z280 4K handheld camcorders contributed video and audio streams to the OB unit, connected to Sony’s 5G devices and utilising a Sony PWS-110RXA stream receiver.

A digital collage of the various images deployed on this page. The back ground scene is a high-level view of a cityscape at some several hundred feet. The horizon passes through the center of the image. Over the background image, a digital collage is constructed of various images rendered into circles and presented in a web of intersecting lines, like a digital spider's web. The overall scene has a blue cast, with a strong yellow centre.
An exterior, daylight street scene. View #1. Mid-shot of a man standing at streetside of the Berlin Marathon course, filming the race as it proceeds past him. He stands to the right of the frame, almost occupying it completely. He faces left, a smartphone raised in landscape orientation held in both hands. He wears a dark hoody ensemble. The scene has a yellow cast.

Captured by the crowd

Social media is of prime importance to event organisers and broadcasters alike, with online fan engagement boosted by exclusive mobile footage. Using the XDCAM Pocket App prototype on Sony’s Xperia 5G device, ‘360-degree’ coverage of the marathon was streamed live to the cloud to be picked up by Sony’s Virtual Production service prototype, where a virtual switcher takes care of professional mixing and distribution to the testing web environment. With 5G, get ready for professional-quality user-generated content at your fingertips.

There is a growing appetite for personalisation in viewing experience. One way of increasing the engagement of viewers is by adapting their high-quality content created on smartphones into the production. At Deutsche Telekom, we want to enable production companies to achieve this by providing the required network capabilities,”

Tiana Trumpa
5G Product Manager at Deutsche Telekom