Live via satellite uplink from the McDonalds restaurant in the Mall of Berlin to announce the winners of the McDonalds football escort®
The dream to run together with the national team on the field was fulfilled for some children by McDonalds football escort®. The singer Mark Forster, sports journalist Walter M. Straten from Sport BILD and Philipp Wachholz from McDonalds presented the 17 lucky winners. The half-hour live recording was presented by the TV anchorwoman, Johanna Klum. BMK.TV broadcast the event live via satellite to the Internet, Facebook and in the TV network of the McDonalds restaurants.
But step by step: since the UEFA EURO 2004 ™, there is the McDonalds football escort® in Germany. Since that has McDonalds fulfilled a dream of more than 1500 children: to run on the field in the official jersey, under the cheers of fans and especially by hand with German national players. The application for being an escort child was this year particularly interesting. In order to win the competition, kids sang their favourite football anthem and sent a video of it together with their parents. Regardless of whether it is a part of the national anthem or a refrain of a famous football song – the main point was to convince Mark Forster and get a place in the McDonalds football escort. On May 7, 2016, the winners were presented and broadcast live via satellite to the Internet, Facebook and the TV network of the McDonalds restaurants as part of a live show from the McDonalds restaurant at Potsdamer Platz.
The technical preparations for the live transmission began already months before the actual event when we visited the McDonalds restaurant and tested an optimal position for our IP-SNG transmission van. Particularly in heavily populated areas is a direct visibility towards satellites in the south not guaranteed therefore is the preliminary examination necessary. However, we did not only check a place for the SNG van, but we also tried out a cable connection between the SNG van to the location of the recording.
A live stream on the Internet or Facebook is quite ordinary thing for us. The special challenge in this project, however, was to transfer the live stream from Berlin to the TV network of the McDonalds restaurants and the InStore TV sets. To do this, we had to run several-day live stream durability tests together with the technical service provider, which also included testing and securing of required bandwidths in stores. The preliminary testing was compulsory; after all, nothing should go wrong when, at 2:00 pm, on the 7th of May, 2016, hundreds of InStore TV systems automatically interrupted their current program and switched to the live stream.
On the evening before, a part of the McDonalds restaurant at Postdamer Platz turned into a TV studio. The event technician set up a complete stage set including light, sound and picture mixing technology and laid two 150m long glass fibre cables for a transmission of the audio and video signals from the production switcher to our IP-SNG transmission van. Three Panasonic P2 HD broadcast cameras were scheduled for the recording. Two cameras directly connected via an HD-SDI cable to the production switcher, the third mobile camera via an HD video radio system. A self-evident feature in multi-camera productions is an intercom system, which connects cameramen to the production switcher.
The production day was minutely planned by the responsible agency. The timing schedule for the participating employees of McDonalds, agencies, event technicians, our production company and the security was defined. In short: who should do what and when.
Already one hour before the start of the live transmission were cameras and sound equipment as well as the satellite uplink on standby. A standby graphic was sent to the encoder via an external player and video switcher. The encoded signal was transferred to our Content Delivery Network (CDN) via Eutelsat Ka-Sat satellite over an IP connection with 4 Mbp/s guaranteed bandwidth. Through a backup LTE router, we built an additional network connection, in order to be able to quickly switch over in case of unexpected satellite disturbances. This duplicated Internet structure ensured that we could transfer live stream 100% reliably and without interruption to our CDN.
Already 10 minutes before the start of the live transmission at 2 pm, the first InStore TV systems were switched to the live stream server and we transferred a still graphic with an opening music into the stores. At the same time, the live stream player was included on the Facebook page of McDonalds Germany.
At 2 o’clock, TV supporter Johanna Klum greeted participationg guests, spectators in the McDonalds restaurants across Germany and on Facebook with a “Hello, hello from Berlin”. At this time, all InStore TV systems had already been switched to our live stream. The 17 winners were unveiled in the nearly 30-minute broadcast with the singer Mark Forster, sports journalist Walter M. Straten of Sport BILD and Philipp Wachholz of McDonalds and one of those kids appeared also on the stage.
Thanks to our well-established live team of sound engineer, cameraman and director, we produced and broadcast the complete program in the standard of a professional TV broadcast in HD. The live transmission ended with a last MAZ-player at 2:30 p.m., everything was successfully and reliably implemented with the help of competent partners and thanks to the extensive preparation.