Live streaming three cameras from an area without electricity or internet, while recording and providing a constantly updated time-lapse from the event. And of course some campaign hosting and management of the entire campaign delivery was some of the tasks Rackfish was presented with for the “Byggd för att ta skit” (doesn’t translate very well) campaign for Skoda. The campaign by DDB & B-Reel is based around the new Skoda Octavia Scout and emphasises the rugged car’s ability to work in harsh environments. The campaign consists of tv commercials and a site: where the car is exposed to the visitors harsh words about anything and everything. The visitors comments are converted to it’s weight in mud which is blown by a machine onto the car every 15 minutes, shown on a live stream on the site.

Network camera for live streaming

One of the three Axis network cameras at work

Weather proof live stream cameras

The chosen location was to provide a lot of weather – warm and sunny periods, heavy rain and storm. Rackfish provided the camera equipment where we used weather-proof Axis network cameras from which we can pull digital video over the Internet (not requiring any computers or encoding equipment) as well as manage and tweak settings remotely. Electricity is provided on set by a noice insulated generator truck and the last piece – Internet connectivity – is provided by a special 4G / LTE solution.

Streaming via multiple 4G cards

Being able to stream from remote areas is a common request that Rackfish has been experimenting with for many years. Our present solution is a router that bonds up to four 4G sticks with Wifi and ethernet WAN (if available). Bonding means that all available internet connections are tied together, so that we get the capacity of 4 times the 4G capacity. It also means that we can combine different 4G providers for increased availability. The data is split and sent in pieces over the different connections and the re-assembled in our datacenter. If one connection goes down, the others are able to continue service.

Setup of live streamTime lapse from live stream, automatically updated

Another popular request is to provide time lapses from events. This is done in various ways, and usually we can just save high-resolution pictures for later usage. This time we wanted to give the visitors a catch-up. If you enter on day three, all you can see is a car covered by mud. With the time lapse the visitor gets a 7 second recap of the entire event, before moving to the live video stream. This was solved server side by allowing the crew to start and stop recording of video, from which we extracted pictures and calculated how to assemble a 7 second time lapse movie that was made available for streaming. All done server side and with really fast turnaround time. The first timelapse of course contains pictures from only one recording, being quite simliar all of them, but after a while the pictures are gathered from a large amount of recordings in different weather, varying time of day and of course an increasing amount of mud on the car.

live stream over 4G

Part of the idea is to show the car in ever-changing weather conditions. Not so easy to protect computers from those conditions, though.

Campaign hosting, managed hosting for campaigns

Rackfish also provides the hosting of the campaign site with a redundant server from our cluster. The services include management and 24/7 surveillance with technicians being on call to act ultra-fast when any kind of problems arise. With Rackfish being responsible for the entire delivery, ranging from internet connectivity on site, cameras, live stream, transcoding, video-on-demand and web servers, as well as CDN and support regarding video delivery there is ONE company to contact with ONE phone number to call for any hiccups, and there is also one invoice  – no credit card payments or expense reports involved for the entire campaign delivery.