New live platform helped Fædrelandsvennen’s city fire coverage

A dramatic Kristiansand city fire was comprehensively covered live by Fædrelandsvennen’s online TV services, helped by new equipment from LiveU and Elemental Technologies delivered by Mediability.

When fire broke out in a block of flats in the centre of Kristiansand in late March, the regional newspaper Fædrelandsvennen was able to quickly set up a live outside broadcast from the site.

More from the newspaper’s Kristiansand fire coverage here

It was also easy for Schibsted-colleagues VGTV to use the live video, thanks to a joint technical platform delivered by Mediability.

A key focus area

Live online transmissions have been a key focus area for Fædrelandsvennen for some time

The newspaper used a LiveU LU400 in order to transmit live video from the fire as rapidly as possible back to their headquarters in Henrik Wergelandsgate.

Read more about LiveU LU400 here

LU400 is based on four modems with 4G/3G mobile broadband from Telenor and Telia. Combining several sim cards in this way allows for greater bandwidth which results in higher quality video with low latency.

No live images “unthinkable”

LiveU is now being used for live transmissions by Norway’s largest media companies.

“A media company which does not offer live images is completely unthinkable these days,” says Per Moseid, head of technology for photo and online TV at Fædrelandsvennen.

“You just have to decide which level you want to go for, and we have been spending serious resources on this for several years,”

Held back by old decoder

One of the most important technical elements when working with live online TV is the encoding of the video stream which is sent out over the internet, adapting it to all types of screens and connection speeds.

“Our encoder was getting old. Every time we were going to use it, we had to set it up by entering a range of digits. After a while this became very inefficient,” explains Per Moseid.

The solution was Elemental Live

“When you are reporting from the field, the last thing you want to worry about is fiddling with technology. We wanted an encoder which was simple, reliable and scalable,” says Moseid.

Mediability has been a sparring partner for Fædrelandsvennen during the process of getting a new encoder in place, and the encoder of choice was Elemental Live.

“We have been very lucky to be able to work with Per Moseid and his talented team in order to improve their entire workflow for delivering live online TV,” says Knut Vegard Fosse, Product Manager at Mediability.

A good, serious choice

Knut Vegard Fosse describes Elemental Live as an extremely reliable and versatile platform.

“There’s a reason for why this is being used by the world’s largest broadcasters. Fædrelandsvennen choosing Elemental Live shows that they are serious about bringing the best possible quality live video to their audiences,” says Fosse.

He thinks it is important to choose a solid solution which can be scaled to fit your need at any one time, whether you are a small or major player.

“This is also about being able to always adapt to new standards. Our new media reality with different units with different screen sizes and different internet connections makes this kind of equipment important for the user experience,” says Fosse.

Important considerations for smaller media companies

The new system brings another major advantage: It can easily be set up via a mobile telephone or laptop en route to covering a story.

”For a small media company these things are important,” says Per Moseid at Fædrelandsvennen.

“One person often plays several roles, and has to prepare all the technical equipment for a transmission. Being able to do this in the car on the way to the story is one of those things that really makes a difference.”

Ready when it matters

Fædrelandsvennen also considers a solid, simple and scalable live transmission system to be a crucial part of being ready to cover major, unexpected events.

”We are well used to streaming football matches, handball and elections. We cover what is normally a peaceful corner of Norway, but when something dramatic does happen – like a city fire – it is good to know that we are ready both editorially and technically,” says Moseid.