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Streaming Live Content from the University of Notre Dame Campus

Case Study

Streaming Live Content from the University of Notre Dame Campus

INTRODUCTION

Each spring, Notre Dame Day inspires and entertains with stories from around the world. This 29-hour live streaming broadcast of on-campus events features interviews, performances, and appearances by celebrity guests. Its primary goal is to inspire and to celebrate everything about the University for alumni, students, family, and friends.

For this event, video engineers use a combination of central encoding and remote setups to send video content from around the Notre Dame campus to viewers across the world. Whether the program feeds are produced in a new on-campus production facility or in remote locations, a key piece of this solution are the video encoders from AWS Elemental. The compact, software-powered appliances are an integral step in the video workflow, encoding and packaging video streams so they are ready for distribution.

AWS Elemental Small Form Factor

CHALLENGE

The University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in many areas of study. On its campus, the Notre Dame Studios team operates the Rex and Alice A. Martin Media Center, opened as a video technology and production resource for the University community. This 18,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility enables video production teams to realize their creative vision for live and recorded storytelling. Notre Dame Studios was tasked to put together a solution to broadcast high-quality video streams directly from central or remote sites around campus. Notre Dame wanted to be able to support any type of event, including academic, faith, student life, and athletics. One of the many events that take place on campus is Notre Dame Day, a marathon broadcast featuring students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, and others who are living out the mission of Notre Dame.

Each of these live events needs to be distributed by Notre Dame Studios to a variety of diverse endpoints including a number of content delivery networks (CDN) and several video services like Facebook, YouTube, CBS Interactive, and the UND.com website. And finally, the live streams have to be easily accessible by the entire Notre Dame global community, no matter where individual viewers are.

All of these requirements meant finding a video encoding solution that was small and portable, with minimal power and cooling requirements, yet also feature-rich. The system would have to be capable of living both in and out of a racked environment, reliably streaming content 24x7, and easily transported and installed in a variety of locations. And, the solution had to be simple, with only power, SDI and Ethernet connectivity for quick setup and startup.

SOLUTION

Enter the AWS Elemental Live small form factor appliances. These systems are the perfect size for placing in rolling kits for transportation to special event locations, and also for rack mounting alongside other video equipment in a video operations hub. AWS Elemental Live software meets Notre Dame Studios’ requirements today with support for 720p high-definition video and the H.264 AVC compression standard, and is ready to meet future requirements with built-in support for 1080p and high-efficiency video coding (HEVC) compression. The power requirements are simple, and no extra cooling is needed. With AWS Elemental small form factor hardware, video production can now move anywhere it needs to go.

BENEFITS

This production workflow offers several key benefits. The first is low operating overhead. The software and hardware combination make it easy for anyone to set up, plug in, and go live with video. With flexibility for using either SDI or Ethernet (IP) video inputs, an AWS Elemental small form factor encoder can be used in almost any situation. The second is great performance, with high video quality in a portable setup. The system can be moved and installed just about anywhere, and delivers the performance and video quality required for an excellent viewer experience. Third, there is a clear and easy path for integration with cloud-based AWS Media Services, because the systems can be used for contribution. Like many institutions, Notre Dame already uses the AWS Cloud to support the University’s broader IT ecosystem, making the path to building video workflows in the cloud even easier. In addition, the AWS Elemental Live software that powers the encoder includes features that enable high-quality channel playout. Graphic overlays can be used to add a professional look-and-feel to video streams, and easy-to-apply motion graphics also create a broadcast channel viewing experience. The system can also mix live content with prerecorded file-based sources to further enhance the live linear channel experience. After processing, the live stream is ready for delivery to viewers around the world.

CONCLUSION

The AWS Elemental small form factor hardware as part of a live encoding workflow is a small but powerful real-time video contribution solution. It is feature-rich, with the capabilities that meet the streaming needs of Notre Dame Studios today, with more features that can be used in the future. It is lightweight and portable, making it well suited to move and install in various locations for special events that happen throughout the year. Whether your content is academic, faith, athletics, or student life on campus, AWS Elemental Live is an ideal choice for on-premises cloud contribution to power video distribution to audiences around the globe.

Are you moving video operations to the cloud? Learn how you can use an AWS Elemental small form factor appliance for cloud ingest and employ AWS Media Services for broadcast-grade video processing and delivery.