Last weekend marked the first event for Extreme E, a new all-electric off-road racing series designed to highlight the climate crisis. NEP Group, the leading technical partner for content producers around the globe, worked with Extreme E and host broadcaster Aurora Media Worldwide and North One, to create a cutting-edge, sustainable broadcast solution that brought the first race, in AlUla, Saudi Arabia, into homes in 180 countries around the globe.
Designed to mirror Extreme E’s goals of marrying the latest technology with sustainability and building solutions to meet the rigors of the world’s harshest conditions, NEP’s innovative broadcast services will be used by Aurora and North One at races in Senegal, Greenland, Brazil and Patagonia as the series continues. NEP’s complete end-to-end broadcast package includes a custom IP flypack, remote production solutions, crewing, satellite and fibre connectivity, edit, ingest, Augmented Reality (AR), Graphics, and specialty cameras.
“Extreme E is a truly world-class event that is highlighting one of the most important challenges facing our planet and bringing it to a new audience in a really innovative way. It has been a thrill to see the solution that NEP, Aurora, North One and Extreme E have created come to life,” says Brian Clark, Director of Sales for NEP Major Events. “What we have created is not only at the very cutting edge of technology, but it also delivers from some of the world’s harshest environments – all during COVID. There were certainly a lot of challenges to overcome, but the result is just fantastic.”
Lawrence Duffy, Managing Director, Aurora Media Worldwide says, “It was so rewarding to see all of the team’s hard work, dedication and ingenuity come to life this past weekend. It was such a tremendous partnership between all of us – Extreme E, Aurora, North One and NEP – and it has really paid off. This is exactly what we wanted to achieve: a great marriage of sustainability and cutting-edge technology all coming together to create a really exciting production. We can’t wait for the next race.”
Considering the sustainability goals, COVID restrictions, and challenging remote race locations, reducing the number of staff traveling to site was critical in NEP’s system design. Utilizing a specialty IP flypack, NEP, Aurora and North One were able to connect each race location directly to their new “UHD ready” centralized production facility in London, via satellite. With over 30 different sources available in London, most of the production team is able to handle record, replay, edit, audio mixing, vision mixing and playout without having to travel to location. Additionally, specialty Augmented Reality (AR) and Graphics are handled real time by NEP’s AR / GFX team at their production hub in Hilversum, again reducing the need for travel.
NEP’s team in The Netherlands developed several cutting-edge AR and graphics solutions for the broadcast production provided by Aurora and North One. Combining advanced drone and AR technologies, NEP worked with Extreme E, Aurora and North One to develop a solution for live mapping and overlays of the course that link back to Hilversum and then are made available to the production team in London, producing amazing results and providing viewers with a completely unique experience. They also leverage these AR and drone technologies in tandem with cutting-edge RF solutions to limit cable runs while still providing maximum and reliable coverage from the cars. This helps avoid use of fixed-wing or helicopter solutions, which have a far higher environmental impact.
Extreme E is a radical new racing series, which will see electric SUVscompeting in extreme environments around the world which have already beendamaged or affected by climate and environmental issues. The five-race globalvoyage highlights the impact of climate change and human interference in some ofthe world’s most remote locations and promotes the adoption of electricvehicles in the quest for a lower carbon future for the planet.
To minimise local impact, Extreme E races will not be open tospectators, with fans instead invited to follow the action through live TVbroadcast, and on social media.
The St. Helena, a former passenger cargo ship, has undergone amulti-million Euro refit to minimise emissions and transform her into ExtremeE’s operations hub. The ship will be used to transport the championship’sfreight and infrastructure, including vehicles, to the nearest port, minimisingExtreme E’s footprint, as well as being used to facilitate scientific researchthrough its on-board laboratory.
Extreme E is also pioneering hydrogen fuel cell technology which will enableits race fleet to be charged using zero emission energy. This innovativesolution from AFC Energy uses water and sun to generate hydrogen power. Notonly will this process emit no greenhouse emissions, its only by-product will bewater, which will be utilised elsewhere on-site.
Season 1 Calendar:
Desert X Prix: AlUla, Saudi Arabia
20-21 March 2021
Ocean X Prix: Lac Rose, Senegal
29-30 May 2021
Arctic X Prix: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
28-29 August 2021
Amazon X Prix: Para, Brazil
23-24 October 2021
Glacier X Prix: Patagonia, Argentina
11-12 December 2021