Norwegian public broadcaster NRK used LiveU and Radionor equipment for its groundbreaking Slow TV coverage of the annual reindeer migration across the Norwegian wilderness. The combined technologies allowed NRK to deliver more than 150 hours of continuous live programming for broadcast and online streaming from northern Norway.
NRK has been a pioneer of Slow TV, the continuous coverage of one extended event, minute by minute, and wanted to push the Slow TV experience further with this endeavor. Steinar Bjørlykke, head of technology and development, Central Region, NRK, explains, "Slow TV has become quite a phenomenon. While we have broadcast several successful projects, following the reindeer migration live was a whole new challenge."
To bring the reindeer migration live to viewers for Reinflytting: Minutt for Minutt, the broadcaster had to work in regions beyond telecommunications infrastructure and beyond any feasible satellite reach. This communications challenge was compounded by the fact that the weather and timing of the migration are somewhat unpredictable. Then there's the distance—100 kilometers, or about 62 miles—that the crew had to travel to stay with the herd.
NRK worked with Radionor and LiveU on a solution for capturing and transmitting the material. Radionor's technology acts as a complementary communications system where existing telecoms networks are not available. Its microwave-based phased array approach creates a mesh network, meaning the data can flow between all points on the network even as it moves, then out to the wider world using a narrow antenna for long-range communication.
LiveU's flagship LU600 portable transmission technology was used to capture the footage, administered by the LiveU Central cloud-based management platform. LiveU's ability to stream on multiple IP channels was key to the successful use of the equipment.
Atle Sægrov, CEO of Radionor, says of the project, "Most events take place at a predefined place and time. With this, we couldn't know the route in detail and we had to re-route and re-plan both the coverage and position of the wireless repeaters. The production was moving around constantly on snow, where the production 'train' had to move across terrain that wasn't too steep and [where] the snow wasn't too deep."
A mobile Radionor command and control unit, with antenna attached, towed a production room and power generator across the Artic landscape, moving the mesh network alongside the reindeer and sending the signal back to NRK.
Sægrov continues, "We were worried about almost every logistical and technical aspect possible in an extremely challenging and daring expedition into the unknown, but not about the reliability of the LiveU technology. This was a really exciting adventure and one that proves that both our and LiveU's systems allow new ways of thinking" about live production.
"It's hard to think of much more [challenging] terrain and weather, as well as the unpredictability of the reindeer," admits Ronen Artman, vice president of marketing, LiveU. "It's truly special when you see what groundbreaking technologies now allow adventurous broadcasters like NRK to bring to the public."
To read a detailed case study about this project, visit www.creativeplanetnetwork.com/NRKReindeer.