DIFFERENT TECHNOLOGICAL WORLDS LEARNING TO WORK TOGETHER
Guillaume Allais is the director of Letsee, the digital department of AMP Visual TV. During these unprecedented times and the lockdown, his teams have remained on deck to help with the programmes we provide our customers, and rightly so. More so now than ever, we need to take advantage of our remote broadcasting and production expertise. We have more than 15 years’ worth of research and development and have accumulated experience over the years.
What are you currently involved in ?
AMP Visual TV was asked right from the beginning of the lockdown to continue operating and developing programmes that would accommodate social distancing measures. In addition to Quotidien and 28 Minutes which are produced at our Studios Rive Gauche, we are also working on special “lockdown” programmes. These include Maison Lumni for France Télévision, Affaire Conclue on France 2, the show Tous en Cuisine with Cyril Lignac on M6, C dans l’Air, the Quotidienne for France 5 and Qui Veut Gagner des Millions on TF1. These programmes rely primarily on live links with the hosts and speakers who are working from home. It was necessary, for instance, to deploy innovative solutions within a very short period of time to create multiplexes that require as few people as possible to leave their home to work. Since just relying on Skype was out of the question, we had to find a range of solutions for recording and broadcasting.
For example, on Tous en Cuisine, recordings are done directly from Cyril Lignac’s home using a single cameraperson with remote-controlled broadcast cameras. The signals are compressed and sent via IP or 4G telephony. Skype links are also used to bring viewers on the show from their kitchens. Production takes place remotely in one of our fixed-location studio control rooms or in OB vans allowing us to work remotely. The producer can choose the cameras and even send instructions via the cameraperson’s headset as if they were in the studio. With Letsee, we have implemented a range of broadcasting solutions that we have been using for a long time that rely just as much on satellite as on fibre, IP or 4G. Our Media Center thus acts as the point of contact between these filming locations, telecommunication ground stations, control rooms and television channels.
So, this is a production method you have been using for a long time ?
Yes, this is nothing new to us. It is actually our core business year-round. Now, what is actually new for us at the moment is combining all these digital and broadcasting technologies on a large scale. We are not a tech start-up. Our philosophy has always been to introduce new web-based solutions to broadcasting, provided that they meet the necessary standard of quality. Understanding how to combine technologies from different worlds and how to integrate platforms like Skype from time to time when it is useful for editorial purposes - this is what we do.
So, you combine different solutions ?
That has been at the core of AMP Visual TV’s DNA for the past thirty years. We are not equipment manufacturers; we are not renters; we are assemblers and as a partner service provider, we guarantee high-quality programmes. Simultaneously using fibre, satellite, 4G and IP, remotely combining them, remotely producing the programme, handling post-production and delivering ready-to-air packages - this requires expertise that only comes with many years of experience. With more than 15 years of R&D, streaming experience and a solid project management methodology, we have a unique position in the market.
Do you expect that production methods are going to change for good ?
Yes, definitely. Currently, we are undergoing a rapid change that we have been anticipating and pursuing ourselves for many years. This is not a radical technological breakthrough, but we are entering a new era where different worlds of technologies are learning to work together to broaden the realm of possibilities. We are going to develop new practices and get used to new production methods that are simpler and more flexible, but our standard of quality will always set us apart.