Unity Cloud - San Diego Crew Classic
Case Study using Unity Cloud
by Dean Brown
Live streaming broadcasts of rowing regattas with feeds to onsite jumbotron and PA announcer audio.
2 Fixed camera operators
1 Boat camera operator
2 Drone Pilots
1 Drone camera/gimbal operator
1 Boat driver
Racing courses are 1.25 miles in length and since they are on the water almost nothing is cabled. It takes a great deal of time and coordination of crew members to construct an ad hoc wireless network to carry video/audio signals that distance for each venue. Quick and easy communication between crew members during this period is crucial.
Weekends typically involve many races with short intervals or even overlapping start times which require tight coordination of the crew to provide coverage. For example, the last event had 124 races over two days with a race starting every 7 minutes and almost no breaks.
Practically each weekend we are at a different course with different geography and setup needs. Traditional radio communication just hasn’t been consistent in addition to being very expensive, bulky, and ineffective.
With two drones in the air piloted by pilots stationed over a mile apart from each other and overlapping flight-paths, it is critical for the broadcast and the safety of the participants that the pilots, drone camera/gimbal operators, and visual observers are able to communicate with consistency.
In certain airspace, especially where FAA authorizations or FAA airspace waivers are necessary, drone operators are required to have communication systems in place.
Unity Cloud has given us the freedom to give up on our ineffective, bulky, and expensive FM radio system for something entirely more useful, flexible, consistent, and cost effective. For the cost of one FM radio transceiver we can license Unity Cloud for an entire broadcast season. In our world, we need communications the moment we show up on site until the last case is loaded at the end of the event and the cloud version allows us that advantage.
We have a core group of crew members with others shuffling in and out for each weekend’s event. Unity Cloud gives us the flexibility to add/remove users for each of these events and new crew. We simply could not operate two drones over shared airspace from long distances without a reliable method of communicating. Our drone pilots and drone camera operators make use of the BLU PTT buttons because drone flying requires both hands and no option for finding a phone in your pocket. This really couldn’t be a better solution.