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How Live Remote Production Keeps Sustainability Goals Grounded

Emerging media Emerging media, Experience, Sustainability, VR & Live Video Production 4 min read
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As the effects of the climate crisis become more apparent and time is running out to act, sustainability has become a key focus for brands and consumers alike. Brands are setting up ambitious targets to turn the tide—and we’re no different, holding ourselves to UN Sustainable Development Goals and formalizing our commitment to become net-zero by signing the Climate Pledge in 2021.

Among our foundational environmental, social and governance goals, we aim to become a climate-neutral, environmentally conscious business—and a catalyst for change in our industry, leading by example and helping brands become more sustainable themselves. So while programs like carbon offsets are steps in the right direction, the key to meeting sustainable goals is to design operations that limit carbon emissions to begin with, and our live remote production workstream fits the bill.

Sustainable workstreams shouldn’t be a tradeoff.

Sometimes the road to being green can feel like making a series of concessions, but working sustainably often means working smarter. When reliance on digital grew throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we adapted by designing a remote broadcasting workflow that limited the number of people needed on location. This production pipeline, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its backbone, did more than help us deliver incredible, live digital experiences to people everywhere—like immersing audiences in a VR Post Malone performance that transforms the experience of listening to an album. It also significantly reduced our carbon footprint.

Our live remote production connects teams to broadcasting software, eliminating the need for gas-guzzling broadcasting trucks on location. It also cuts out the need for specialized talent to travel to shoot an event: we’ve reduced our number of on-site broadcast talent by 83%. Adding to those benefits, our primary workload is based out of the AWS Northern Virginia region, which was powered by over 95% renewable in 2021.

Who wouldn’t want to trade lugging around energy-intensive equipment prone to breaking down—be careful not to trip on a wire and shut down the whole show!—for the cloud? This pipeline recently earned us the coveted Sustainability in Leadership award at NAB Show, the leading conference dedicated to the evolution of broadcast.

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Lewis Smithingham, far right, accepts the Sustainability in Leadership award at NAB Show.

Monk Thoughts We're incredibly honored and excited for this award because we believe sustainability can and should drive innovation and creativity throughout the production process.
Headshot of Lewis Smithingham

The benefits extend to talent as well. Gone are the long, grueling hours spent on set. The ability to collaborate remotely broadens our talent pool, ensuring the best person is cast for each job, even if they’re working across the country—or in a different one. Our experiential team has also developed a suite of tools like LiveXP that furthers the connection between audiences and the action beyond the screen.

One key benefit of live remote production is risk mitigation. First, the greatly diminished environmental impact reduces the social risk of a brand missing their pledged environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments. Second, cloud-based tools are also more reliable. Traditional broadcast production teams have only a finite set of equipment that may break down. In the cloud, we can plan for redundancies and quickly spin up a new virtual machine should something happen to an existing one. You can learn more about what live remote production looks like on Amazon’s blog

Let sustainability be the byproduct of innovation.

Sustainability and innovation go hand in hand, and our low carbon, live remote production uniquely enables compelling virtual and hybrid experiences—filling a crucial whitespace in broadcasting as the culture shifts to more immersive and creator-led channels.

“Broadcasting is culture. It’s the vehicle by which culture spreads,” says Smithingham. Increasingly, culture is happening within immersive, interactive spaces like gaming, social feeds and metaverse worlds—behaviors that are challenging broadcasting to adapt. “A core undercurrent across all of this is if something is not interactive to younger generations, it feels broken and it feels disconnected.”

Look at award shows for example. Exclusive and invite-only, viewers must watch the fun from a mediated distance, chattering in backchannels like social media. We flipped the script by partnering with Logitech For Creators to host the first music award show in the metaverse—The Song Breaker Awards—which invited everyone to not only attend but actually become part of the show in Roblox.

What about hybrid experiences? When it comes to sharing an esports experience with audiences around the world, you’d be forgiven for using traditional sports broadcast as a blueprint. But with sports facing a decline in young viewership, it’s clear the formula is worth shaking up. In celebration of Valorant’s first anniversary, we translated the game’s rich lore into a recognizable IRL environment, then pit attendees against livestream viewers in a challenging bout. Viewers could frustrate on-site players by sharing hashtags in the chat that triggered traps—setting a new precedent for gamified broadcast experiences.

Both experiences were designed to connect with consumers in ways that weren’t possible before. If an experience calls for disruptive ways of working, why not use that as a forcing function to move a part of the operations to a low-carbon approach?

Live remote production balances efficiency and sustainability.

By leveraging live remote production, our experiential team can deliver interactive experiences that drive culture and ROI with incredible efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the process. The best part? Those benefits contribute directly to brands’ ESG goals and industry mandates. This is a win-win as we connect with consumers in innovative ways, contribute to carbon reduction goals, and reduce risk along the way.

As consumers increasingly demand sustainability from the brands they engage with, offering environmentally friendly solutions becomes an urgent need. And because sustainability challenges us to accomplish our goals in new or different ways, it can unlock innovative ways of reaching audiences. So, whether it’s a matter of saving the planet or simply saving consumers from boredom in fresh ways, we’re down for the challenge.


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The website has been translated to English with the help of Humans and AI