Cloud Audio Forum: COVID-19 Exposes ‘Difficult’ Audio Issues

The Cloud Audio Forum, a webinar presented by Sports Video Group’s DTV Audio Group on Aug. 19, featured a panel of industry experts who spoke on various aspects of the state of audio production in the cloud. Panelist Dave Van Hoy, president of Advanced Systems Group, noted COVID-19 forced many companies to quickly adopt at-home production workflows.

Initially, ASG had to find solutions so some clients could stay in business – because producing something was better than producing nothing. Van Hoy said content creators could continue to face these remote production challenges for the next year due to lingering COVID-19 issues. For some clients, particularly those with limited budgets, the challenge has been finding ways to reproduce the on-prem hardware-based solutions for graphics, external video content sources, and other key production elements with reliable, cloud-based options.

There has been a lot of experiential learning in the field, as manufacturers continue to introduce production solutions – often months before they would normally be made available. Van Hoy said it has been a very interesting process that has illustrated the importance of operator and system redundancy.

Despite some early success, there is still much work to be done. Timing, an essential part of audio production, remains an issue, as many transport mechanisms have not yet been well adapted to work in the cloud. Many webinar panelists also emphasized the importance of hardware-based tools for audio operators, particularly faders. Other major audio challenges that need to be addressed for cloud-based productions are intercoms and latency. “It’s shocking how difficult the audio piece of this has been,” Van Hoy added.