'Thomas speelt het hard' x Koalect

Canvas recently announced the new television program ‘Hanne danst’. But do you remember its prequel 'Thomas speelt het hard'? With the help of VRT Sandbox and the startup Koalect, Canvas had reached out to big audience even before the program existed. How did that work, you say? Take a look!

In ‘Thomas speelt het hard’ Thomas Vanderveken gave himself a year to learn how to play the piano concerto by Edvard Grieg. He challenged Flemish musicians to participate in learning an instrument or music piece and display their effort online. The most remarkable musician shared the stage with Thomas at a closing event in December.

But how do you activate an online community? How do you moderate a platform? And how do you keep the users central? That is what the startup Koalect examines with its crowdfunding platform. Canvas and VRT Sandbox challenged the startup to build a platform where musicians can upload their videos and pictures and follow each other’s progress.

Koalect adjusted its platform to the needs of this project. Keeping the users invested for a whole year seemed to be the biggest challenge. But the registrations kept coming in, and after ten months there still was a large group of participants active. The musicians received updates through email marketing, the way Koalect and Canvas created a community.

By using the online crowdsourcing platform, Canvas had reached out to big audience even before the television program 'Thomas speelt het hard' existed. Koalect engaged viewers in the production of the program. Thus, the startup proved that it is possible to create a bottom-up television show with user generated content.

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Get in touch with Koalect on its website or on Twitter!

Media Honeypot and YLE introduce us to the cold north

Media Honeypot and YLE introduce us to the cold north

A visit to Media Honeypot (http://mediahoneypot.com/ ) and YLE, the public broadcaster, brought me to Helsinki.

Media Honeypot started on Wednesday with an opening night. Colleague Judy from BBC was there too and that made the entrance a little easier. I spoke with many people, including the EBU technical committee who went to Helsiki to attend Media Honeypot and for their meeting Friday at YLE. They all turned out to be friendly, interesting people from across Europe. I could not resist and took the opportunity to ask if I could pitch my project to their group that Friday. Check! It was late when we arrived at the hotel again and I could start preparing this unexpected presentation.

Live multicam TV with 5 iPhones and 1 iPad

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From the 22nd to the 26th of January Radio 2 bridged the gap between all Flemish mayors and their residents. The radio network set up a dedicated Facebook project “Burgemeestersmarathon” which entailed live interviews on the Radio 2 Facebook pages, all based upon topics suggested by the residents in question. Media Fast Forward captured this special project at the “Radiohuis” in Leuven.

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280 mayors, 62 hours of Facebook Live

Fien Reekmans, Program Director of Radio 2 Flemish Brabant and Brussels, gives us an introduction to the event “Burgemeestersmarathon”. She explains how all Flemish mayors were interviewed by the regional editors of Radio 2 in the run-up to the municipal elections that will take place in October 2018. In total, 280 mayors answered questions of their residents. The outcome? 62 hours of Facebook live streaming.

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Giving a voice to all those mayors on the radio was unthinkable, because –  let’s face it – that would be extremely boring. For that reason VRT Sandbox came with the solution of live multicam TV.

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Radio reporter becomes video creator

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The main ingredients to make this idea work: 5 iPhones, 1 iPad and a software kit from our Video Snackbar. The Radio 2 reporters used our kit to interview mayors live on Facebook. They were able to choose the images themselves, add the Radio 2 logo and moreover show the mayors’ names on screen. The reporters furthermore selected photos and video clips.

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Thanks to our Video Snackbar the radio reporters temporarily became fulltime video creators. They  fulfilled either the tasks of a Facebook manager, a Director of Cinematography or a Director of Audiography.

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Video Snackbar heeft als missie om dingen innovatief in beeld te brengen. Het project liet de reporters en redacteurs hun officiële taken tijdelijk inruilen voor die van een Facebook manager, beeldregisseur of geluidstechnicus.

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Compact, efficient and simple

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In general the team of Radio 2 lacks capacity to embark on a substantial project as this. However, thanks to the toolkit Video Snackbar created, radio reporters turned into all-round video creators in a compact, efficient and simple way. The editors used only 5 iPhones, 1 iPad, one software kit (and of course a lot of enthusiasm) to interview all Flemish mayors live on Facebook. And they clearly enjoyed it.

Discover their adventures in the newest Media Fast Forward vlog! #mediafastforward

English subtitles are available in CC.

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THIS WAS THE SANDBOX HUB – CYCLE 1

I am thrilled! Today, Thursday February 8th our Sandbox Hub officially starts. If you know that many broadcasters are already working on media innovation, but that their expertise and learnings are not systematically shared, then you will understand why the creation of our Sandbox Hub is a milestone. In doing so, we are building a European network on media innovation, sharing our (innovative) knowledge and giving local startups a stepping stone to scale faster and more efficiently in Europe.
France TV, Swedish Radio and BBC are the first to join our network. We have therefore invited them to a two-day immersion at VRT Sandbox.

After welcoming the invitees, we start with a short introduction about VRT Sandbox and presentations of four of our startup collaborations:

  • Azilpix & Canvas tell us how Azilpix’ multi-camera video capture and production system contributed to the broadcast of “Thomas speelt het hard” on Canvas. Philippe from Azilpix concludes the following “Thanks to VRT Sandbox we’re able to test our system in a real broadcast production in a fail safe environment and that was very valuable for us”. (http://www.azilpix.com/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_wJHUEOiYE&t=4s )
  • Selma.ai & Eén give us more insights on the data driven targetting in newsletters project that they have just started through VRT Sandbox. (https://selma.ai/ )
  • Tinkerlist & Stubru. Tinkerlist is a unified platform for creative television makers and together they explain how Tinkerlist also created added value during Studio Brussels’ “De Warmste week”. (http://tinkerlist.website)
  • SensifAI & our archive department talk about how artificial intelligence can be used for understanding video. (https://www.sensifai.com/ )
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After lunch Dieter, VRT’s Innovation manager, shares (and explains) his 5 VRT Sandbox learnings: no pain no gain, first do then tell, asap? as slow as possible, accelerate > incubate + match & support (that scales).
Karel talks about Video Snackbar and how this project is used to support webvideo makers and next generation media workflows. He also explains why VRT Sandbox encourages intrapreneurship through the example of Renaud Schoonbroodt who created a complete and stable studio environment in one program that you can run on an iPad. It is not only the intention to replace the known radio studio, but also to rethink the workflows. The first tests will take place in summer.
The guests also give a presentation on how they approach innovation as a broadcaster. Frédéric from France TV mentions, among other things, Cognik, specialized in content discovery and personal recommendation (www.cognik.net ) and ToonYou, cartoon series for kids that can be customized online (https://toonyou.com/uk/ ). Linda and Malin from The Swedish Radio talk about their innovative projects and their 3 innovation principles: being everywhere, innovation culture (find new and smarter ways to collaborate together) and smarter packaging (content for every channel). Judy from BBC explains how BBC Taster is a place to launch experiments and get easy feedback and rich data insights. An example is the new format Your story, a personalized story of your life, generated using your Facebook data in combination with BBC News archived content. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/taster/pilots/yourstory ) Also interesting is Glastonbury Shuffle, a smart video playlist of all BBC’s Glastonbury 2015 acts: stick with an act and Shuffle thinks you like it, twist and it knows you don’t. ( https://www.bbc.co.uk/taster/pilots/glastonbury-shuffle )

Tatjana gives the strategic programmes of VRT Innovation R&D: co creation & interaction, personalized content and new content (production) technologies & workflows. A very successful example is the Wall of Moments app. (http://www.wallofmoments.be/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1f7GH0O5m4 )
Before the end of the day Rik from our purchasing department explains why the new law on innovative partnership can be useful for broadcasters willing to work with startups. And Mick, Technology and Operations Director at VRT, tells us why support from the board is necessary when creating your own Sandbox and how we make sure VRT Sandbox experiments don’t disturb the political market.
After these interesting sessions we raise our glasses to our new collaboration and we enjoy lots of delicious Italian food.
The next morning Omar Mohout, the Belgian startup specialist, gives us an overview of the Euopean mediatech ecosystem in Europe. We learn the differences between start-ups and scale-ups, that current hypes as blockchain are overhyped (in mediatech anyway, only 2% of that is happening right now), that universities are not focussing on mediatech at all, and so on. More info on how start-ups can turn ideas into action in Omar’s book: https://www.diekeure.be/nl-be/professional/8066/from-idea-to-product-market-fit

Hans Hoffman, Senior manager Media Technology at EBU tells us more about broadcaster innovation strategies or more concretely disruptive changes in the industries, how to develop innovation strategies across organisations and their impact on skills, teams and the organisation itself. Hans concludes that innovation must create value, it comes from listening to your audiences and that the best innovation team is a combination of topexperts and networkers.
Gregg talks about VR versus broadcasting and gives some examples. Wonen.tv is one of these examples. Wouter from Cousteau explains how they created the low profile webVR platform for our TV channel Eén.
After lunch the Sandbox Hub team sits together for a workshop with Chris, an external facilitator, to determine the further action plan of the Sandbox Hub: what do we communicate, how and where do we do that, how often, what should the outcomes be, and so on.

We end our two-day session with a VRT tour through different studios and of course by taking a look at Brussels from the top of our VRT tower. Despite the fog, it is a nice ending of a successful event.

View our short aftermovie below:

FRANCE TELEVISIONS, SWEDISH RADIO AND BBC FIRST TO JOIN EUROPEAN MEDIA START-UP NETWORK: THE SANDBOX HUB

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On the 8th and 9th of February, broadcasters France Télévisions, Swedish Radio and BBC are visiting the Belgian broadcaster VRT for the kickoff of The Sandbox Hub, part of the European MediaRoad project, which is led by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

The Sandbox Hub aims to build a European network of innovation incubators. Inspired by the VRT Sandbox model of Belgian broadcaster VRT, these broadcasters will either establish their own incubator or they will exchange experiences and expertise with the network.

THE SANDBOX HUB – A EUROPEAN NETWORK FOR STARTUPS IN MEDIA

The Sandbox Hub, led by VRT Sandbox, aims to create a European network of media innovation incubators through which groundbreaking ideas can be tested and scaled. These incubators, or Sandboxes, are hosted by established media organizations, and welcome all applications from entrepreneurs, startups and SMEs with media-related concepts involving technology, journalism, social media and content and can work in collaboration with leading media research institutes and independent producers. Each Sandbox will operate independently, but will be connected across Europe over a platform, on which they can share successful cases for broader implementation.

The Sandbox Hub is based on VRT’s award-winning ‘Sandbox’ and other existing initiatives such as ‘BBC Taster’, which provide entrepreneurs the opportunity to experiment with new ideas, as well as test and scale promising concepts in operational environments.

“As the Flemish public broadcaster, our goal is to remain agile and continuously strengthen our connection with the audience by offering a better service. With the project, we will be able to build a European network and foster a strong and innovative European media industry.”
– VRT Sandbox International project leader Sarah Geeroms

 

“Award-winning initiatives for innovation by EBU Members need to be amplified across Europe. We hope that France Televisions and Swedish Radio are the first of many broadcasting and media organizations to join our network in order to create scale and impact around innovation across Europe.”
– EBU Technology and Innovation Head of Unit on Media Fundamentals and Production technology Dr. Hans Hoffmann

ROAD TO A SUSTAINABLE MEDIA ECOSYSTEM FOR ENTREPRENEURS

The Sandbox Hub was established early on in September as one of the three pillars of the EU-funded MediaRoad project. The project, led by the EBU, involves some of Europe’s most prominent broadcasters, leading media research institutes, and independent producers.

During the two year project lifespan, the consortium will research new opportunities to shape the future of European media industry and seek out new European broadcasters to join their network. More information is available at www.mediaroad.eu.

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France Télévisions was the first official partner to confirm its participation in our Sandbox Hub. By joining the MediaRoad project, it is clear that they’re committed to innovation.

As we will be working closely from 2018, I wonder how our French colleagues are approaching innovation today. So I travelled to Paris for a short two-day immersion at France TV where I meet Frédéric, my Sandbox Hub contact, at the station. After this nice reunion and with the necessary updates over lunch, we start our program in the offices of France TV. You can virtually visit the offices of France TV via this link: http://www.francetelevisions.fr/lab/projets/visite-virtuelle-francetelevisions

The accelerator, a first test
France TV has worked together with startups several times in the past, even though this was not done in a structured way until 2015. Since then, France Télévisions has tried various types of collaborations with start-ups and started in 2017 a first type of accelerator model. All those experiments in France Télévisions pursue the same goals : to adapt its platforms to new technologies and public expectations; to develop digital culture within the company, in
particular by drawing inspiration from start-ups and their methods; and to disseminate innovation everywhere in the company. Frédéric and I discuss the various differences in our models, as well as the learnings that accompany them. I try to challenge the current working method of France TV with startups by asking critical questions and notice that it also helps to look at our own Sandbox differently. At the end of February France TV’s accelerator model will have existed for one year and the first results will be analyzed. I’m already looking forward. When I meet Newsbridge, the first startup selected through France TV’s strong but fast accelerator model, I discuss with them how they found their intake at France TV. Newsbridge started at France TV at the end of October and is in the middle of its 4 months test period. Newsbridge helps you process your media to the right place in no time and this from any device, any format, anywhere. Concretely: Your team’s contributions are automatically sorted; you can cut, edit and publish from any file or stream and use their AI that helps you highlight content. All this lets you ingest, transcode and deliver in real time: https://www.newsbridge.io Because of their very strong presence on the work floor of France TV, they are able to get in touch with the France TV users much more easily and, as a result, tailor new features to their product. At this moment there’s already a real outcome in this collaboration with France TV and it looks strongly as if the technology will be implemented after the end period. It is clear that France TV’s model, whether or not fine-tuned after the evaluation in February, certainly works for them.

Medialab, a merge between information and innovation
I meet Barbara who tells me more about her role within Medialab. She is responsible for:

  • The development and management of a chatbot with personalized push on msn for the France TV info channel.
  • The organization of speed training around Twitter, data analysis, hack-a-tons, …
  • The management and further development of méta-media. méta-media is:

Kati is responsible for France TV lab, a platform that bundles all innovation ideas and projects within France TV and is complementary to that of méta-media. This platform has only been online for a few weeks now, so the intention is to expand it further with user interaction and the focus on various topics. Definitely worth keeping an eye on:http://www.francetelevisions.fr/lab

Experience what you otherwise can’t see
Christophe points out the importance of using new technologies by focussing on specific information needs. He shows me some of Medialab’s very inspiring AR projects:

A 360 immersion
Nathalie, on the other hand, is experimenting with 360 to see to what extent it can contribute to the information services. She also gives two-day internships to employees who want to deepen the topic and inspires these intern stakeholders through newsletters and posts. Nathalie tells me that for instant 360 she recommends to journalists the Samsung gear 2017 camera in combination with the Veer editor application. For larger productions such as Garde Républicaine 360 ( the Republican Guard during their rehearsal escort of the presidential car) she prefers Adobe premiere: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LuLNCilqU8.

This motorcycle experience is shot with Insta360 Studio, a free 360 photo and video editor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv7BWvGMgeI&feature=youtu.be

Those who prefer to fly along with a helicopter flight, can do so via https://www.facebook.com/100014107542677/videos/301503646996551/?id=100014107542677&lst=658110167%3A100014107542677%3A1513844891

The implementation of tested startup technologies
Collaborations with startups have also been set-up in the area of 360 and VR. I learn more about Targo, a 360 ° news organization that is producing news reports exclusively in 360 and VR, immersing viewers in the story. France Télévisions worked with Targo to produce three 360 video contents during the last French Presidential campaign : one about a photographer following Marine Le Pen during her campaign, another about Emmanuel Macron in his headquarters and a last one about the communication strategy of Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. They were published in the VR application dedicated to the election by France Télévisions and were made with the aim of helping the teams to learn more about making 360 videos.

Do you just study keywords and hashtags to get the latest content? Then you miss more than 70% of the visual social media posts, says Nunki. They enable the France TV to gather simultaneous content from various social media channels – 30 minutes faster than the average press and based on the geolocation-. Reporters are able to contact the piece owner directly and – if needed- ask for more content: http://nunki.co/  This can be combined with the Invid plug-in (to detect, authenticate and check the reliability and newsworthy video files and video content spread via social media) to create a more efficient and correct journalism. Medialab tested these technologies, approved them for internal use and ensured that the reporters received the necessary training to get the best out of the different features.

 

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I end my two-day trip with a tour in the information department. I walk through the various studios of France 2 and France 3 and am amazed to see that the France Info TV studio is located on the work floor between and next to the various teams. It has its own charm and appears to work wonderfully. I enjoy the organized Christmas drink of the team and then – with a lot of learnings – say goodbye to France TV and the beautiful Paris. France TV is clearly more innovative than the perception that sometimes prevails in the outside world. One of their strengths is undoubtedly the strong team that I have met, knowing that almost all of them previously worked in the related internal services, which means that they can assess the needs of the internal services as the best and on the other hand provide them with a large internal network. After this interesting trip I am already looking forward to continuing this new collaboration in 2018.

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See you soon, Paris!

 

HAMBURG TRIP – DECEMBER 2017

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As part of MediaRoad, we made contact with NMA. NMA, full Next Media Accelerator, is one of the largest hubs for media innovation in Europe. As the NMA invited us to their half-yearly demo day in Hamburg, we chose to combine our trip with some other potential partners. Due to NMA's strong (inter)national community, we easily got access to the right media organizations.

 ARD

ARD

After arriving in Hamburg we went directly to ARD Aktuel. ARD is a joint venture between the German public regional broadcasters and the German world broadcaster Deutsche Welle.We met the persons responsible for innovation regarding Tagesschau. Tagesschau is the daily news of the ARD broadcasters that is broadcasted on Das Erste. Tagesschau is the largest news broadcast in Germany with more than ten million viewers per night. One of the spearheads of Tagesschau is to reach a younger audience. They told us which innovative initiatives ARD takes to achieve this goal. For example, their app with a new way of video editing reached over five million downloads in a short time. And their integrated chatbot on Facebook and Twitter also connects significantly more people in their twenties to their brand. When we told them about VRT Sandbox they see opportunities to integrate external innovation within their brands.

 NMA's Demoday

NMA's Demoday

Later that day we arrived at NMA's demo day. At this informal event, NMA's graduate startups got the chance to pitch for the NMA community - after a few keynotes. Among the 9 international startups, we could find 23 ° (https://www.23degree.org/), which helps you to easily find reliable data in one place. And Cutnut (https://cutnut.net/) allows interaction story formats, by providing the easiest Story Content Creation platform available. RAWR (https://newsroom.rawr.at/) organizes the world's opinion and makes it universally accessible and useful. We speak to the various startups, ask them more in-depth questions about their product/service and analyze whether they can offer added value for VRT.

The next morning we started at Greenhouse. They help internal (and external) founders to validate ideas, test business models and invent products that inspire people. Their model brought us a lot of insights that can strengthen our own intrapreneurship track.

 Der Spiegel

Der Spiegel

A little later we hurried to Der Spiegel. Der Spiegel is Germany's largest and most influential weekly magazine, including Spiegel TV and Spiegel online. Our contact person in charge of the Tech lab told us that Der Spiegel has a rather classic operation and one of the ways to step out of this is by introducing innovation: discovering new markets, changing technology,... They also showed that through the use of push apps the engagement of their audience increases by 10 to 20%. We discussed the various learnings, the challenges surrounding the intellectual property, experiment with Google Pixel "AR Core" and ended with the intention to see to what extent a collaboration via the Sandbox Hub is possible.

We ended our trip at the NMA, where we exchanged information about each other's business models. NMA runs a six-month program for startups, invests up to € 50k per startup, connects startups to more than 100 mentors and has a gigantic network among German's media and publisher organizations, as well as international partners. Together we concluded that it makes sense to set up a partnership for the future!

After a fruitful trip, we return home. It's obvious, over the past years, Hamburg built an ecosystem of startups, media partners and investors.

New season Loslopend wild & gevogelte in 4K now on VRT NU

New season Loslopend wild & gevogelte in 4k now on VRT NU

Watch the new show in superior 4K quality.

On thursday 21 december 2017 Eén had big news: From today 21 december you can see the new season of Loslopend wild & gevogelte as scoop in 4K via the online video platform VRT NU

Nothing has to be changed at a top cast because this season of Loslopend wild & gevogelte can count on: Tiny Bertels, Eva Binon, Camilia Blereau, Gilda De Bal...

As christmas gift to his viewers, Eén offers from today all episodes of this new season at the same time via VRT.NU. This will be the first time that a VRT-production is offered first on the online platform before it appears on television. The show is available until 20 april 2018.

Besides the new season of Loslopend wild & gevogelte will be introduced in 4K on VRT NU, in collaboration with VRT Sandbox, IBM Cloud Video and Limecraft. 4K is a superior image quality, the resolution is 4 times bigger than the regular HD. This leads to much sharper images and more details. Not only the 4K-version is available on VRT NU, you can also find the HD-version, to make sure everybody can see the program in high resolution.

For who is not so technically, can watch this video which explains how you can see Loslopend wild & gevogelte in 4K quality at VRT.NU

Every week from tuesday the 9the of January the new season from Loslopend wild & gevogelte will be broadcasted on Eén at 21:30u

Loslopend wild & gevogelte scenario – for Hopman: Charlotte Vanhecke, Anke Brouwers en Nele Meirhaeghe. For VRT: Els Vermuyten. Regie - Charlotte Vanhecke en Lars Goeyvaerts.

Looking back at Belgiums 3rd place in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge took place at the beginning of October, and the achieved result for the BELGIAN TEAM has been outstanding.
Not only by the Punch Powertrain Solar Team’s fantastic 3rd place in the Challenger Class, but also by the very successful daily live talk-show that was jointly produced in the absolute middle of nowhere.


As the sun set in Adelaide, Australia, on October 12, the Punch Powertrain Solar Team celebrated its well-deserved third place in the Challenger Class of the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.
Over five days, the carefully crafted Belgian solar car made its way across 3,021 kilometres of Australian outback, negotiating traffic lights and road trains, and enduring challenging temperatures and wind gusts, while successfully harnessing solar power to maintain an impressive average speed of 76.2 km/h throughout the race.
 

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FROM KANGAROOS TO CONNECTIVITY
The single track between Darwin and Adelaide was once only crossed by kangaroos – hardly the audience the Belgian Solar Team was after. However, thanks to an innovative collaboration with VRT Sandbox and its project partners Newtec, Network Innovations, Pacific Live Media and Agoria, this year’s challenge took on a whole new dimension.


For the first time, the Punch Powertrain Solar Team was able to provide daily live updates on their progress of the race straight from the Australian outback.


Each day when the sun went down, the solar powered car was forced to stop and that’s where the Solar team would make camp. A dedicated group inside the team of students would manage the production of the talk-show, set to go live at 19h30 local time or lunch time in Belgium. Through this live daily talk-show, with multicam video and beautiful drone footage shot during the race, the team could share in real-time their adventure with fans on the other side of the world. This live talk-show was completely produced by the students of the Solar team themselves, with no prior TV production experience and broadcasted on Facebook Live, thanks to an Internet over Satellite solution provided by the technological partners in this collaboration.


Internet over SATELLITE FOR THE WIN
The power of Internet over Satellite combined with the use of compact and comprehensive multicam production tools allowed the Punch Powertrain Solar Team to stream updates to the world stage in a way that had not been possible previously. By using Facebook as a medium, this impressive feat of engineering has been revealed to the world in an exciting and engaging way, bringing science, technology, sustainability and co-creation to a whole new group of people on a global level.
 

Solar Camera Crew