April 22, 2019

Building a Greener Future for Live Content

Many of us who work in the broadcast industry are very aware of the incredible logistical operation that goes on behind the scenes to make sure that live events get delivered to viewers around the world with the highest quality and lowest delay possible.

Over the years, we have worked on events all over the world, and watching companies like Sky get set up on location for F1, for example, is pretty incredible. Not only do they have an enormous amount of equipment to get on site, it all has to be rigged, tested, worked hard for several days, and then almost immediately dismantled and sent to the next location. Considering the punishing F1 schedule and international locations, it is frankly incredible that it goes so well, so often.

This is just one example. There are many more and much bigger ones too. Consider the Olympics, Champions League Final, Superbowl, World Cup - huge events that require enormous numbers of people and huge volumes of hardware being shipped all around the world to service an event that lasts, at most, a few weeks.

But this all comes at a price that is increasingly unpalatable.

Clearly there are huge costs involved in shipping not just hardware, but also all the support staff that go along to setup and use the kit. Those people all need flights, hotels, food and drink, let alone salaries. While the financial cost is staggering, the environmental impact is even costlier.

Graphic from the 2018 Albert Report

A collaborative project named 'albert', facilitated by BAFTA and governed by an industry consortium of broadcasters and independent production companies, has been working since 2011 to address this and raise awareness. In their 2018 annual report they note that one hours' worth of TV content now produces 13.6 tons of carbon dioxide. For context, that's the equivalent of running three homes for a year.

A large percentage of that total comes from powering the equipment needed and transporting both people and equipment to production locations. Last year, the albert study indicates that 150 million kWh of electricity and 7 million liters of diesel in generators were used in television productions, along with 280 million kilometers of air travel. Worryingly, the data shows that the carbon footprint of production generally has doubled over the last 7 years.

The Earth deserves better, and it’s up to all of us to do our part.

Graphic from the 2018 Albert Report

At Singular, we are focused on making our mark on live production without leaving a lasting mark on our planet.

As an entirely cloud-based digital overlay platform, Singular allows operators to work from anywhere without having to travel to be on site. This also means there is no need to buy expensive dedicated hardware - or to ship it around the globe. Singular is operated from a web browser, so without dedicated machinery to power and transport from event to event, using Singular can reduce both the financial and environmental costs of production - good for business and the conscience! Put simply, the more hardware and humans you can leave at home, the better for the planet.

We're helping the Earth where we can, and by using Singular, so can you.

Remote productions using Singular is just one way to limit CO2 emissions. Read more about the albert study and other ways broadcasters can reduce their carbon footprints here and here.

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