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Infront hails Berlin Marathon 5G production landmark

Start of the 2017 BMW Berlin Marathon (by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images For BMW)

The production division of the Infront agency has claimed a first through its role in the successful testing of a 5G-connected camera set-up at Sunday’s Berlin Marathon.

The project, carried out in collaboration with telco Deutsche Telekom and Berlin Marathon organiser SCC, marked the first time such a set-up has been implemented in continental Europe, on a live, public 5G network.

Two 5G-connected cameras were used on the production of the marathon, part of the World Marathon Majors group of elite road races. Located at the half-marathon point and the iconic Nollendorfplatz, the cameras relied on a network with increased bandwidth capacity compared to current 4G-network-connected cameras.

Multiple shots from the 5G-connected cameras were integrated into the live coverage of the race. When implemented on a larger scale, Infront Productions said such a set-up would lead to a more sustainable and streamlined production.

A full 5G-connected camera production apparatus would run exclusively on a cloud-based server system, removing the need for a radio frequency camera set-up, which depends on helicopters or relay planes to transmit signals back to the broadcast compound and OB vans.

Aside from a significant improvement in broadcast operation resources, 5G cameras offer scope to expand the use of remote production, reducing the amount of broadcast personnel required on-site. Infront said that, it would therefore contribute to making sports events more sustainable, while aiding their streaming to the likes of YouTube or Facebook.

Peer Seitz, head of production at Infront Productions, said: “This is a landmark moment in broadcasting and this successful test marks a first step towards providing our partners with a more sustainable and resource optimised broadcast.”

Tiana Trumpa, 5G product manager at Deutsche Telekom, added: “5G will have a massive impact on live broadcasting productions, especially to replace traditional frequency-based camera systems, or when fibre or satellite are not available.

“5G will allow higher quality and lower latency for live streams, and overall, create more flexibility for broadcast operations. At Deutsche Telekom we want to enable production companies to achieve this by providing the required network capabilities.”

Infront Productions has handled production of the Berlin Marathon since 2013 (previously through host broadcast subsidiary HBS).