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BBC livestreaming Edinburgh festival from a laptop

A new BBC scheme produces high-quality live telly without the palaver of a complex outside-broadcast setup.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The cast of "Seagulls" bare their souls at Scotland's Volcano Theatre during the 70th Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images

Broadcasting a big event like the Edinburgh festival on television usually requires lots of cameras, sound rigging and vans full of complicated equipment. But the BBC is doing away with all that in an experimental livestream from the legendary comedy and theatre extravaganza.

The Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Fringe begin today and run throughout August, with an army of comedians, drag queens, poets and performers putting on thousands of shows. It would be impossible to broadcast them all, mainly due to the massive amount of equipment required. So Auntie Beeb's research and development bods have come up with IP Studio, a system that films and broadcasts shows completely over the internet, without having to feed back into a studio. 

The BBC has installed small ultra HD cameras in festival venues that will send live video over the internet to the production team, who can edit, crop and ready the high resolution footage for broadcast, all in real-time. The editing is controlled from an internet browser, which means the editor just pops open their laptop and works anywhere.

The BBC reckons the system, which largely uses open source tools, can be controlled "with just one camera operator, a fixed camera or two, and an editor using a virtual mixing desk".

The IP Studio broadcasts kick off today on the BBC Taster site with Janice Forsyth's show at 2 p.m., followed by live jazz later tonight. Broadcasts will continue through the month.

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