EXTREME E and NEP: A creative, environmentally focussed broadcast collaboration
Extreme E, the new electric off-road racing series, has enlisted a host of broadcast partners including NEP Group, a leading technical production partner for producers of live sports and entertainment, which will provide the technology, expertise and global network to deliver the most innovative and sustainable broadcast production.
Together, NEP, Aurora Media Worldwide and Extreme E have spent 18 months designing a technical solution that reaches the most remote locations whilst reducing the environmental impact across the entire production.
The innovation and expertise within NEP have brought about a full end-to-end solution which will include, flypack, remote production, crewing, satellite and fibre connectivity, edit, ingest, AR, GFX, display and projection, and specialist cameras including RF.
The system design and build is under the direction of Donald Begg, NEP’s Director of Technology for Major Events, who is overseeing the realisation amid the challenges of both COVID-19 restrictions and the unique requirements of where and how the equipment will be used.
The specialised flypack, designed to survive extreme temperatures and conditions, will be connected back into NEP’s new ‘UHD ready’ centralised Broadcast and Media Centre, which is located at 200 Gray’s Inn Road, London. The production will make use of the centre’s extensive connectivity, remote production galleries, remote replay, Edit and Live Centre monitoring, all currently being built at the London location.
NEP’s Netherlands based team in Hilversum has also developed new AR tools for drone tracking and in-car GFX, along with the innovative use of RF technologies to work around environments where cable runs have to be limited but still need to achieve maximum and resilient coverage from the cars. Avoiding either fixed-wing or helicopter RF solutions to remove some of the environmental impact, the company has achieved a ground-based system of remote IP RF links and clever integration of the coverage systems to maximise the number of feeds.
Combined with advanced drone technology, the AR GFX teams have worked with Extreme E and Aurora to develop live mapping and overlays of the diverse course from the drones providing the viewer with a whole new experience in race time GFX AR overlays.
A significant challenge on this project was to design systems for deployment with limited crew numbers permitted on site. With NEP’s solutions, it has designed workflows and a system to support this smaller-sized team – all crew members are working as one team, supporting each other across disciplines from video to audio to cameras to rigging.
Simon Moorhead, Managing Director of NEP UK Broadcast Services, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with the Aurora team on the Extreme E racing series and having the opportunity to develop an integrated set of solutions to support these unique events. Between designing for COVID restrictions and being mindful of our impact to the environment, we needed to create a workflow that connected limited production crew and equipment on site to remote production hubs while shooting from some of the world’s most remote and difficult locations. All of our teams came together to meet these challenges head on.”
Steve Jenkins, President for NEP UK & Ireland, commented: “It’s fantastic to be working with Aurora and Extreme E on such an exciting programme of events. We all must look at how we can work differently and make real changes to reduce our environmental impact. I am proud of how at NEP we are using expertise, talent and our centralised resources from across the entire global organisation to innovate and deliver for our clients for projects like this and where the use of remote has accelerated through the pandemic.”
And this technology has recently been put to the test at the ex RAF Bentwaters airfield in Ipswich alongside Extreme E’s other broadcast suppliers including Motorsport Communications experts MRTC and Specialist Timing, Telemetry and Networks company, Al Kamel Systems.
Dave Adey, Head of Broadcast & Technology at Extreme E, said: “After spending months working on these innovative broadcast solutions, many of which have never been used before, it has been great to see them all put into action at our recent test. We are travelling to such remote locations with Extreme E, which means there will be no second chance when we get to site, so this test has proved essential, and seeing all the hard work in real life has been very gratifying. We can’t wait to go racing next year and show the world Extreme E through one of the most innovative productions I’ve ever worked on.”
The five-event calendar starts in March 2021 in Saudi Arabia, before moving to Senegal in May, Greenland in August, Brazil in October and Patagonia in December.
To learn more about Extreme E, visit - www.Extreme-E.com.
About Extreme E:
Extreme E is a radical new racing series, which will see electric SUVs competing in extreme environments around the world which have already been damaged or affected by climate and environmental issues. The five-race global voyage highlights the impact of climate change and human interference in some of the world’s most remote locations and promotes the adoption of electric vehicles in the quest for a lower carbon future for the planet.
To minimise local impact, Extreme E races will not be open to spectators, with fans instead invited to follow the action through live TV broadcast, and on social media.
The St. Helena, a former passenger cargo ship, has undergone a multi-million Euro refit to minimise emissions and transform her into Extreme E’s operations hub. The ship will be used to transport the championship’s freight and infrastructure, including vehicles, to the nearest port, minimising Extreme E’s footprint, as well as being used to facilitate scientific research through its on-board laboratory.
Extreme E is also pioneering hydrogen fuel cell technology which will enable its race fleet to be charged using zero emission energy. This innovative solution from AFC Energy uses water and sun to generate hydrogen power. Not only will this process emit no greenhouse emissions, its only by-product will be water, which will be utilised elsewhere on-site.
About Continental Tyres: Founding Partner and Official Tyre Partner
Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent, and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transportation. In 2019, Continental generated sales of €44.5 billion and currently employs more than 230,000 people in 59 countries and markets.
The Tyres business area has 24 production and development locations worldwide. Continental is one of the leading tyre manufacturers with more than 56,000 employees and posted sales of €11.7 billion in 2019 in this business area. Continental ranks among the technology leaders in tyre production and offers a broad product range for passenger cars, commercial and special-purpose vehicles as well as two-wheelers. Through continuous investment in research and development, Continental makes a major contribution to safe, cost-effective and ecologically efficient mobility. The portfolio of the Tyres business area includes services for the tyre trade and fleet applications, as well as digital management systems for tyres.
About CBMM: Founding Supplier
CBMM is the world leading supplier of niobium products and technology. Headquartered in Brazil, with offices and subsidiaries in China, Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States. CBMM offers technical innovation to customers around the globe through a team of over 2,000 highly trained, dedicated professionals providing cutting-edge niobium products and technology to over 300 customers in 50 countries.
Established in 1929, LuisaViaRoma has been an online luxury destination since 1999. In 2019, LuisaViaRoma celebrated the company’s 90th anniversary, as well as the 20th anniversary of its online business.
About Neat Burger: Official Plant-based Partner
Neat Burger is the first of its kind – the planet-friendly, plant-based, full-flavoured game-changer the world has been waiting for. The world’s first plant-based sustainable burger chain, Neat Burger offers a menu that appeals to not only those who follow plant-based diets, but any individuals, meat-eaters included, who want to eat delicious meat-free dishes that are more sustainable, healthier and ethical. The brand is backed by seven-time FIA Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton, in collaboration with hospitality organisation The Cream Group and investors, as well as UNICEF Ambassador and early backer of Beyond Meat Tommaso Chiabra. Neat Burger opened its first site in September 2019, just off Regent Street in London, and is set to open its second dine-in outlet at Camden Market in 2020, with plans for global expansion across Europe, the US and Middle East already in place.