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Live Production Workflows | How Imagen is Powering Live Event Distribution

Date: September 26, 2023


The use of traditional satellite broadcast workflows to deliver live content to broadcasters is changing. In order to satisfy consumer demand for content in multiple channels and devices, we are seeing rights owners adopting a model that combines satellite alongside cloud-IP delivery to distribute live content to linear and connected devices.

Traditional satellite delivery is still the dominant method of distribution for live sports and media content and will remain so for the foreseeable future. But cloud-IP is increasingly being used alongside satellite. Enabling more efficient workflows, lower costs and greater security, cloud-IP gives sports and media businesses the flexibility to create regional world feeds or to capture, clip and use footage from multiple cameras in social or other digital media. For lower tier sports or leagues with less budget, IP delivery straight to online broadcast offers a more costeffective way of reaching fans.

There’s still some debate over the cost of cloud-IP delivery, trust, scalability, and what an ideal workflow should look like. But change is inevitable. As Haivision’s Broadcast Transformation Report 2023 suggests:

“For production workflows to remain dynamic, broadcasters must acknowledge the expansion of new technologies such as 5G, cloud, and IP and adjust their technology mix accordingly. Ultimately, leveraging today’s technology means selecting the building blocks that allow production teams to effectively achieve broadcast objectives through faster, more powerful means.”

In short, sports and media businesses are moving away from the way things have always been done.


As we all know, satellite has been used for decades as the standard distribution methodology for live media and large sporting events. Satellite capacity is typically bought and scheduled way in advance, and the advantage is that it can be downlinked by multiple broadcasters simultaneously. The disadvantage of this approach is that it’s expensive and there’s wastage if the satellite capacity is not used. That said, for large sporting and media events with broad reach, satellite distribution isn’t going away anytime soon.

However, satellite isn’t a cost-efficient way to distribute live content for smaller events that don’t attract broad linear TV coverage. With niche or lower league sports continuing to gain interest from smaller groups of fans who want to watch games or events live, Imagen is being asked by customers to facilitate live IP broadcast distribution for ad hoc or smaller events for a particular broadcaster or OTT channel that can’t be justified with satellite.

There are two parts to the cloud-IP live content capture and distribution process:

  1. Capturing live to file, or media contribution – e.g. bringing live feeds into an archive in real time for logging, storage, clipping or editing.
  2. The onwards distribution of live content over IP to OTT platforms, social media, digital broadcasters and partners.

Traditionally these processes are managed separately, in different systems, and with different workflows. Consequently, sports and media organisations who work with live content can have a challenge both archiving and distributing it in real time.


The ability to live capture and ingest live streams straight into a cloud-based media asset management platform to be stored in the archive in real time is arguably the next big thing in media workflows. Imagen customers now get live capture baked-in as standard with their media asset management platform contracts, because being able to clip, edit and publish from live is now considered a musthave by them.

There are also significant efficiency savings if both contribution and distribution can be managed in one media platform, in the cloud:

  • Increased efficiency using one platform for live feeds and archive content, which can be used and repurposed for highlights and other related content during a live event in near real-time.
  • The ability to ingest multiple camera angles giving content creators the power to clip, edit and highlight or to create localised World Feeds.
  • Reduced manual intervention using automated workflows – set up once and forget.
  • Reduced risk of human error and the misuse of live feeds with secure permissions.
  • Increased security for live streams with watertight access controls.

To appreciate these efficiencies, we need to consider the structure of a traditional broadcast workflow and its various limitations.

In a standard setup, the content captured by live event cameras is piped into an OB truck. This video is edited into the World Feed then encrypted, uplinked via a satellite and downlinked with an encryption key by rights-holding broadcasters. If the world feed is required for OTT streaming, it’s then encoded and distributed out.

However, there’s often an extra step in this process. Live broadcasts often need to be manually uploaded to an archive after an event has finished. As an example, in the past, the media team for a football federation could only upload match footage to its media archive after they returned to their headquarters post-event. This restriction meant that there was a significant lag-time for content to be made available online.

In an IP delivery workflow, the process is different – see Fig.2 above. Again, the process starts with what the live event cameras see. But each camera angle, as well as the World Feed, are ingested directly into a media asset management platform whereupon the World Feed and/or sub feeds can then be sent to broadcasters over IP. Encryption keys can only be accessed by users with the correct permissions – no more emailing sensitive information. Finally, the broadcaster cloud consumes the signal and relays it to the OTT channel or connected device. The content can quickly be added to a CDN and, crucially, can be automatically archived for reuse in real time.

In the football federation example, Imagen helped to architect, test and deploy a flexible, integrated archive that was able to upload ENG files and rushes taken directly from camera recordings at a live event. This not only enabled the federation’s media team to populate their media archive on-site at the tournament, but also in near-real time, rather than waiting weeks or months to do so.


Imagen Live Connect is a secure cloud platform that enables rights owners to manage the creation, distribution, and storage of live and archive content, in real-time in one place. It enables users to:

With Imagen Live Connect, customers can capture live streams from an RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) URL or via SRT (Secure Reliable Transport), an open-source video transport protocol. Schedule one or multiple events and, once the live stream has ended, the finished file is auto-added to the Imagen video library where it can be accessed and repurposed anytime in the future.

Crucially, the Imagen platform can create an archive of multiple camera angles in real-time, providing a single destination for rights holders to collect live feed keys for onward streaming. Powerful Access Controls securely manage access to these keys, while the Imagen Events Service logs who downloads them, meaning security is watertight.

For users with sufficient access levels, the live feed can also be clipped, downloaded or shared via social media. Simply set in and outpoints and then send the video edit to a social media publishing workflow.

This functionality makes it easy to create secondary content around live events instantly, because live and archive content is managed in the same place. It also accelerates speed of production for social media content, enabling teams to clip, package and share, getting content to market first. Being a recognised and reliable source of truth is especially important for maintaining fan engagement.

“While [a] live show is being produced for linear TV or OTT, any number of additional operators can edit and export highlight reels, social media clips, fan reactions, etc. from their internet-connected PC while the game is still going on,” Peter Abecassis, Grass Valley senior product marketing manager told SVG Europe.

Add descriptive metadata to live streams with the Imagen Media Logger, choosing from a range of customisable keywords, emojis, chapters, phrases and participants. Live logging during live broadcasts means that recorded content is indexed with time-based metadata in real time as the live stream plays. Alternatively, import 3rd party live logs from organisations like OPTA and add them to live ingests in real time. This ensures content is ready for use immediately, rather than waiting for the file to be captured beforehand.

Recording and archiving multiple camera feeds at live events in real time generates huge file sizes, which can create storage problems. Live capture of SRT feeds into Imagen Live Connect means that multiple camera angles can be captured at a lower bit rate, reducing the storage requirements and the associated CO2 impact. Specifically, only the World Feed is stored at 220 mbps. Other camera angles are stored at 20 mbps, making them much smaller, reducing costs dramatically yet maintaining broadcast quality.

Imagen Live Connect enables the right people to access the right content at the right time. No more emailing encryption keys. With the Imagen media asset management platform, broadcasters can log in via granular access controls where they can pick up encryption keys for both the satellite downlink and any live over IP streams.

The personalisation and localisation of content is a growing trend, one at odds with the traditional delivery of the one-size-fits-all World Feed that’s uplinked from the editing suite in the OB van at a live event.

With Imagen’s ability to store multiple camera angles, broadcasters can choose what they want to show based on what their audiences want to see. This might be a stronger focus on a particular player or team – e.g. South Korean broadcasters typically want more coverage of Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min. Or a specific camera shot – like an overhead view in a tennis match or an entire IndyCar lap showing the driver’s view.

With Imagen, sports and media teams can keep live and archive together, in one platform, and with a consistent visual experience. Built on an intuitive interface, Live Connect is engineered as part of the Imagen media asset management platform, ensuring that production professionals and non-technical users can navigate its powerful functionality with ease.


The emergence of cutting-edge technologies such as live event capture and IP delivery is revolutionising the sports and media industry by migrating workflows to the cloud. With its Live Connect product enhancement, Imagen is at the forefront of this transformation, offering a secure and efficient solution for managing the creation, distribution, and storage of live and archive content, all in one place.

Addressing the growing need for increased efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and flexibility, Imagen offers a comprehensive solution that simplifies, automates and customises live content production workflows. As the industry challenges the notion of “that’s the way it’s always been done,” the future of live event capture lies in embracing innovative technologies and discovering new ways of working. Discover the power of Imagen Live Connect.

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