Planning the digital marathon


Ben Darby TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
Never one for New Year's resolutions, I made the 2013 Virgin London Marathon one to finally commit to. So once I'd put in the training and mentally prepared for the greatest marathon on Earth, I started to explore new ways in which I could share my experience with friends, family and the public in a different way.
It's certainly inherent within the nature of my job to look for ways in which I can utilise technology and find a digital solution for unusual or exceptional circumstances. But this wasn't a standard marketing or PR stunt, this was running 26.2 miles, a challenge big enough in itself.
The concept was simple, I'd look to better the Virgin London Marathon's runner tracker system (which is driven by runner chip signals at each mile marker), with a full HQ video stream of my entire marathon run. Covering my challenge from start to finish, through the highs and the lows. It had never been done before and I was certain I had access to the right technology to help me do it.
The technical challenge
The output platform choice was simple – as a streaming sponsor, StreamUK could provide the StreamMP player which had previously been used for marathons but in a slightly different way. The player simply streamed the finish line and enabled participants to find the moment they crossed the line and time-capture-share on social media. The solution in my case was far different – and multi-bitrate streaming and delivery to mobile devices was essential for those tuning into my marathon on different devices, all over the globe.
I was concerned that the hardware would be the trickiest part, as ideally I'd want to carry as little weight as possible. I'd chosen the GoPro black edition for the camera and was speaking with Garland Partners to find the best 4G wireless solution. A month before the race it was clear that the LiveU LU40 with 3x3G modems and 1x4G would work best, as we anticipated that despite the 500,000 extra people in London that day, we wouldn't experience any connection dropout, as the extra 4G channel would support the stream.
The GoPro was fully compatible with the LU40's HDMI output and the unit itself came in at only 1 KG, but this only included one battery. Planning to run the marathon with a PB mile time and complete within 4 hours, I was still 30mins short of the battery life expectancy. So I had two options; either run faster and complete the marathon in a more than respectable time (almost professional) – or carry another battery. By this point Garland Partners were exploring other external power options with LiveU whilst trying to limit the overall weight of my equipment.
The media rights challenge
Becoming so engrossed in the technical challenge ahead, I fully neglected what could potentially be the more difficult obstacle of my digital marathon, which was obtaining the approval and support of my charity (CLIC Sargent) and the Virgin London Marathon organisers. The charity were fully behind the idea and said they'd support it fully, matched by the JustGiving charity donation website, who's technical team were looking to integrate a LIVE and bespoke payment system within the StreamMP player, to enable easy and quick donations as I ran the 26.2 miles.
But the Virgin London Marathon was not as excited - concerned about the LIVE stream conflicting with the BBC's broadcast rights for the event. So unfortunately despite lots of communication with the VLM media department and hours spent revisiting my Media Law study books from University, it became to big a challenge to fulfil within the timeframe available.
However, it didn't stop me exploring the technology in place and what could be possible for the future coverage of the World's greatest marathon. With the relentless momentum of 4G and our desire to become independent UGC pioneers, it's really only a matter of time before public sporting events give in to the flurry of participants taking advantage of the technology available - to share an incredible experience and personal triumph with friends, family and wider digital communities.
Ben finished the 2013 Virgin London Marathon in 4hrs 30mins, raising £1,823.32 for the children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent. If you would like to donate please visit www.justgiving.com/bendarby

Tags: iss077 | virgin london marathon | stream uk | digital marathon | live streaming | stream MP | HQ video stream | coverage | Ben Darby
Contributing Author Ben Darby

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Stream UK on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Stream UK on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • StreamUK at BVE North 2011

    StreamUK at BVE North 2011

  • StreamUK at BVE North 2012

    StreamUK at BVE North 2012

  • Live Streaming Solution from Verizon at NAB 2017

    Live Streaming Solution from Verizon at NAB 2017

  • JVC GY-LS300 prototype at IBC 2014

    JVC GY-LS300 prototype at IBC 2014

  • Telestream Wirecast and Switch at IBC 2014

    Telestream Wirecast and Switch at IBC 2014

  • Telestream Vantage support for DPP at IBC 2014

    Telestream Vantage support for DPP at IBC 2014

  • Telestream Enterprise at NAB 2014

    Telestream Enterprise at NAB 2014

  • Telestream Switch at NAB 2014

    Telestream Switch at NAB 2014

  • JVC GY-HM850 and GY-HM650 at NAB 2014

    JVC GY-HM850 and GY-HM650 at NAB 2014

  • Telestream with Wirecast version five at IBC 2013

    Telestream with Wirecast version five at IBC 2013

  • Telestream with Post Producer at IBC 2013

    Telestream with Post Producer at IBC 2013

  • Yospace: Advert Insertion at NAB 2013

    Yospace: Advert Insertion at NAB 2013

  • LiveU at NAB 2012

    LiveU at NAB 2012

  • Garland Partners at BVE 2012

    Garland Partners at BVE 2012

  • AVIWEST at IBC 2014

    AVIWEST at IBC 2014


Related Shows
  • The KITPLUS Show discussing streaming from ingest through to delivery

    The KITPLUS Show discussing streaming from ingest through to delivery


Articles
Original KVM or KVM over IP
Jochen Bauer Will the technology used in broadcasting solely consist of IP devices? For years, IP has been entering all areas of life. Especially control room applications as they are typically deployed in broadcasting benefit from the IP revolution in many ways. But an “IP-only broadcast world” is not yet here. Nevertheless, the trend clearly moves towards IP transmission, even though a large part of content production still uses traditional transmission paths. And therefore we continue to live in a hybrid world, using both original and IP-based technology. KVM experts Guntermann und Drunck still rely on both original KVM and KVM-over-IP™ to be able to offer their customers the best of both worlds.
Tags: iss139 | kvm | gdsys | guntermann and drunck | kvm-over-ip | Jochen Bauer
Contributing Author Jochen Bauer Click to read or download PDF
Keeping the Show on the Road
Andy McKenzie There is long-established saying in the media business that, if something goes wrong, at least nobody dies. It is almost true unless you happen to be a TV producer suffering a cardiac arrest because your primary video feed has gone blank during a high-budget programme.
Tags: iss139 | service | support | finepoint | maintenance | Andy McKenzie
Contributing Author Andy McKenzie Click to read or download PDF
Why MADI is Still Relevant
Stephen Brownsill While the original idea for MADI was to cater to a very narrow recording studio application, the standard remains a viable go-to multichannel audio technology. Beginning as a standard in 1991, MADI was first introduced to the world as digital production was beginning to come of age. MADI was put together in 1988 by Solid State Logic, AMS-Neve, Sony (DASH) and Mitsubishi (ProDigi) as a way to transport up to 56 channels of digital audio between large-format audio consoles of the day and digital multi-channel tape machines via 75-Ohm coaxial cables. Both tape-based machines have long since disappeared from the equipment landscape.
Tags: iss139 | madi | tsl products | aes10 | aes | dolby atmos | st-2110 | sam-q | Stephen Brownsill
Contributing Author Stephen Brownsill Click to read or download PDF
The Future of Broadcast Connectivity
Jamie Adkin The use of KVM equipment has been essential to meet the evolving needs of the broadcast industry for many years. Over that time, many in the industry have recognised the importance of using IP-enabled KVM to break down technological barriers and enable real-time access to visuals wherever and whenever they’re needed. These components are vital parts in live production environments in particular.
Tags: iss139 | adder | kvm | ip kvm | Jamie Adkin
Contributing Author Jamie Adkin Click to read or download PDF
Keeping Pace with the Content Revolution
Kevin Fitzgerald These are uniquely challenging times for broadcasters and their technical teams. Not only are they having to negotiate the move to IP-based infrastructures and the introduction of new formats and techniques such as 4K and HDR, they are also having to generate more content than ever before to support OTT and web services as well as traditional linear broadcast.
Tags: iss139 | streamstar | streaming | case 800 | ipx | ipx-3g | Kevin Fitzgerald
Contributing Author Kevin Fitzgerald Click to read or download PDF