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LiveX and VVCR: Nimble Streamer Powers Cloud Production Innovator

LiveX is a pioneering full service production company that designs, produces, and broadcasts live events for global brand leaders. LiveX is helping to drive a new wave of live production that distributes the workflow for any event using cloud-based tools – and is, in fact, helping to develop and perfect many of those tools in a drive to optimize the scale and effectiveness of their projects. At the technical core of the LiveX live streaming workflows is a key cloud-routing tool called Virtual Video Control Room (VVCR), which is especially oriented towards the needs of demanding, fully-remote production processes. VVCR is itself built around virtual instances of Softvelum’s Nimble Streamer, and the close relationship of Softvelum and LiveX has helped to refine how these companies take full advantage of cloud resources.

Cloud/Remote Production Market Evolution

Although virtual video tools and workflows came to prominence during the years of the pandemic, the development of cloud-based video processing and switching components were incrementally developed over the previous decade. In the professional video marketplace there has been a gradual shift from the use of dedicated hardware and specialist signaling to the deployment of flexible software components and IP-centric protocols. As soon as that transformation was underway, commercial cloud infrastructure offered an increasingly attractive way to deploy and scale these software components.

Over the last few years, the technical and logistical advantage of cloud-based production has become increasingly apparent and, while there is still considerable investment in dedicated control rooms and processing hardware, the leading wave of distributed production is demonstrating how things can and should be done today. Virtual Video Control Room is an example of the tools that power cloud-centric production workflows to create novel, sophisticated video content. LiveX profiles this as the future of live production.

New Year's Eve live streaming workflow with VVCR feat. Nimble Streamer
New Year’s Eve live streaming workflow with VVCR

Today, VVCR is used at the heart of the LiveX production configurations and is offered as an independent software tool for use by other production companies. The culture and economics of working in the cloud favor buy-vs-build use of established technologies – and VVCR adopted that philosophy in its choice of Nimble Streamer as its foundation component.

Nimble Streamer Powers VVCR

The choice of Nimble Streamer to power VVCR underscores the specialist positioning of this product offering in the commercial and professional video world.

As Corey Behnke, Co-Founder and Producer of LiveX, puts it:
During an extensive evaluation of comparable product offerings for the VVCR application, Nimble Streamer demonstrated its advantages in raw power and ease of use. The lightweight processing model and mature feature set highlighted a set of functionality that was all figured out. We identified in Nimble Streamer an offering that was ready to go for applications like VVCR.

In the VVCR application, headline advantages of Nimble Streamer include:

  • A highly effective lightweight implementation framework that underpins high performance functionality in stream processing and bandwidth management.
  • A trusted set of professional video-centric APIs which enabled effective integration and production-centric processing functions to be spun-up and spun-down in a very flexible manner.
  • Reliability and predictability of operation in high-load use cases.
  • A friendly licensing model that is well adapted for large scale, high bandwidth, professional applications.

Overall, Nimble Streamer has a profile optimized for professional integrations and deployments–for both in the cloud and on-prem processing. When used within VVCR, full use is made of core Nimble Streamer functionality including:

  • Comprehensive Input/output protocol support – including SRT, RTMP, NDI, HLS, etc. to synchronize large numbers of remote inputs and generate a full set of monitoring streams.
  • Simple capacity scaling, using API controls to spin up or down AWS instances of Nimble Streamer as processing throughput changes.
  • Powerful stream transcoding and transmuxing to align switching inputs and provide a full range of published stream profiles.
  • High capacity multiview screen configurations, taking full advantage of Softvelum Low Delay Protocol (SLDP) to synchronize sources.
  • Easy digital video recording (DVR), offering straightforward trim & post functions to production teams.
  • Interfacing with vMix, Adobe Premiere, and other cloud switching and editing tools critical to the production team workflow. 

VVCR adds a production oriented skin to the core engineering features, tying related functionality together into macro features such as channel management, and offering a system of user permissioning for roles within the production team.

Workflow in VVCR with production modules

Extensive feedback from successful, long term deployments with LiveX and VVCR use has contributed back to Nimble Streamers broad feature set and readiness for these kinds of applications.

LiveX Production Success

VVCR, using Nimble Streamer, can claim to have been at the heart of ground-breaking successful LiveX projects including:

  • Multiple years bringing the NYC Times Square experience online: A flawless distributed production workflow using up to 26 remote video sources and publishing across all major online platforms.
  • The complex monitoring and switching challenge involved in bringing Call of Duty II to life as a showcase event, with over 1000 gamers and game feeds to manage in a multi-view production environment.
  • Delivering to a truly global audience of anime fans with the Crunchyroll awards, providing translations for up to seven different languages in real time.
Virtual Video Control Room powers New Year’s Eve in Times Square

Across these, and 1000’s of other events in the LiveX portfolio, execution included spin-up of resources as required, a fully distributed workflow, and minimized per-event logistics. Although the video production industry still exhibits a lot of inertia, with extensive past capital investment, companies like LiveX, with technology such as VVCR are demonstrating the logistical simplicity and cost management advantages of cloud-centric production workflows. 

Destinations for New Year’s Eve live streaming from VVCR

Looking to the Future

The power of VVCR will continue to evolve with new production challenges and cloud infrastructure. As part of a very dynamic client/vendor relationship, continued feedback and enhanced functional deployments of Nimble Streamer will help enable these new capabilities of the VVCR tool.

Again, Corey Behnke comments:
At LiveX, we truly believe that, as a team, we are demonstrating the future of live video production in the cloud. With the collaborative development of cloud components like VVCR and Nimble Streamer, we believe the future is bright for broader professional industry adoption of these techniques.

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