ELF Achieves Cloud Live Production in Record Time with Vizrt and AWS

Cloud Solutions
Vizrt helped the European League of Football (ELF) achieve its vision of moving to cloud live production for its 2023 season, in a mere three weeks. Representing 17 teams across nine countries – with more joining each season – the ELF viewership is on track to reach more than half a billion households worldwide through the official ELF Game Pass and popular European TV networks.

To continue this growth, the ELF and their production agency, novel.media, were looking to improve viewer experiences with new features, advanced graphics, and increased video quality. Additionally, they wanted to increase value for sponsors with improved advertising options, while reducing production costs and carbon footprint. Moving their live productions to the cloud would make all this possible.

Realizing that the flexibility of a “best in breed” approach to their required live production tools, combined with the scalability of cloud infrastructure was essential to their continued success, the ELF and novel.media sought the expertise of Vizrt and AWS to support them in their transition to “go cloud”. With just weeks to go before games began, Vizrt and AWS proposed an end-to-end cloud setup powered by the Vizrt Live Production Solution and selected 3rd party tools and all connected by NDI. By choosing cloud, the ELF and novel.media operators have access to high-end live production tools usually out of reach of niche sports broadcasters. Exciting image-based augmented reality graphics and virtual advertising are powered by Viz Arena, with software-based video/audio switching made possible with Viz Vectar Plus. Graphics are rendered in real-time using Viz Engine, and 3Play by Viz Now ensures no moment is missed with unmatched replay and slow-motion. Essential to achieving the tight deadline, Viz Now saved weeks of deployment and setup time by automating the deployments into AWS and provides a simple portal to spin up and delete the live production environments as needed.

Due to Vizrt’s interoperability, it was also possible to integrate additional third-party tools into Viz Now’s automated deployment workflows, including Comprimato Live Transcoder for encoding NDI to SRT for playout, and Tractus Multiviewer for NDI for viewing up to 16 NDI sources at once. 

On the ground, two LiveU LU800 field units convert a total of 8 SDI signals to SRT in 1080p and transmit them over 5G to AWS, where they’re decoded to NDI by virtualized LiveU LU4000 units.

With up to four games being produced concurrently, novel.media operators work in four new control rooms on-site at novel.media premises and access and manage up to six of these cloud live production environments at the click of a button through Viz Now.

Viz Arena was key to achieving the goal of improving the viewer experience and increasing sponsor value and visibility. Controlled by OnAir Graphics operators, Viz Arena uses data generated during the game to add augmented reality (AR) graphics to the main cameras, captivating fans with informative and exciting visuals and the virtual 1st and 10th lines and displaying virtual “cam carpet” ads.

To increase content relevancy for fans, the solution was designed to support multiple signal outputs from Viz Vectar Plus. Depending on the match being played, a graphics-only signal is sent to local broadcasters who insert their own presenters and L-frames, and another signal broadcasts through the ELF OTT channel and uses Spalk Virtual Commentary Studio for commentary in up to seven languages. A standard world feed with graphics, presenters, ambient sound, and multilingual commentary is published to ran.de, while an equivalent signal featuring ELF, Czech, or Polish presenters and virtual sponsor advertising goes out through the ELF Platform and a Czech or Polish broadcaster, depending which team is playing.