What is cloud production?

Cloud production is virtual production. Instead of relying solely on traditional, ground-based hardware and infrastructure, broadcasters today can produce an increasing amount of content in the cloud, using software-based solutions that enable multiple parties, across multiple locations, to collaborate on the production, distribution and delivery of high-quality content in verticals ranging from sports and live entertainment to corporate and governmental video streams, webinars, live events, and more. While content is captured on the ground through cameras, microphones and other recording technology, the switching, recording, encoding, processing, distribution and delivery of that content can increasingly take place in the cloud. This enables scalability, flexibility and cost-efficiency without compromising content quality. Alpha is a cloud production pioneer. In fact, we helped design the first cloud-based NFL virtual draft pick broadcast and today are recognized industrywide for our expertise in this area.

The advantages of cloud production

The advantages of live cloud production include scalability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Cloud-based platforms give broadcasters access to production resources on any scale. Rather than investing in an infrastructure robust enough to handle the extraordinary demands of, say a bowl game or national political convention, broadcasters can maintain a stable, affordable hardware infrastructure and augment it with virtual resources as needed, paying only the cost of renting those capabilities. Additionally, cloud-based production encompasses a wide range of features and options for customization, which enable producers to realize their precise vision for production. While this technology makes it much easier for broadcasters to do their job, the ultimate benefit is for those who consume the content. You can reach broader audiences and engage them more effectively via cloud production. The result is a more compelling live experience.

Cloud production vs. remote vs. hybrid production

Cloud production takes advantage of cloud-based infrastructure and services to produce, distribute and deliver a live broadcast. Remote production involves producing content from a ground-based infrastructure location other than where the event is taking place. It typically uses technologies such as IP-enabled cameras, remote control systems and high-speed internet to enable collaboration between on-site and remote crews. The entire workflow or a portion of it is managed and produced remotely. Hybrid production involves a mix of virtual cloud- and ground-based technologies. Remote and on-site resources and personnel work in conjunction with one another. Let’s see how they compare in key respects.


Cloud Production

By offering resources on demand, cloud platforms make it easy for production teams to scale up and down. From processing power to storage and bandwidth, necessary resources are available as needed.

Remote Production

Here scalability can be limited based on factors such as production facility capacity and the efficiency of various communication and collaboration tools. Remote production utilizes traditional ground-based infrastructure and cannot expand easily.

Hybrid Production

This approach offers much of the scalability provided by cloud production, but it can be limited by producers’ ability to integrate remote and on-site workflows.


Cloud Production

Advantages include a reduced need for physical infrastructure, the economies of a pay-as-needed model, and lower travel costs for production staff. For producers with limited resources, cloud production can enable affordable, high-quality content. Note, costs can escalate to uncomfortable levels with increased use of cloud resources in bandwidth-heavy applications.

Remote Production

Upfront costs will be an issue. Remote production also involves maintenance and operational expenses which can vary with the complexity and duration of a production and the size of your remote team. Still, you can expect to realize economies vs. setting up an on-site production facility.

Hybrid Production

As it combines elements of cloud and remote production, hybrid production gives producers some control over cost efficiency. At the same time, it can introduce complexity and increase overhead vs. purely cloud or remote-based production.

Collaboration and Accessibility

Cloud Production

With all assets and tools accessible via the internet, cloud production enables real-time collaboration from most anywhere, removing the obstacle of geography from the equation. Accessing and sharing resources is easy.

Remote Production

While enabling collaboration from any location with an internet connection, remote production can require additional setup and management of remote infrastructure and communication tools. Moreover, access to on-site production resources may be limited. You’ll also need strong internet connectivity and reliable communication channels, because without them it will be difficult to maintain smooth collaboration and accessibility.

Hybrid Production

Production teams can take advantage of cloud-based collaboration tools for remote communication and asset management while enjoying access to an on-site production infrastructure. This model also enables a mix of remote and on-site team members using cloud-based platforms, and its flexibility in matching the collaboration approach to specific project requirements is helpful in optimizing accessibility while leveraging on-site resources. But as with any hybrid approach, coordination of remote and on-site workflows is necessary to maximize collaboration and accessibility.

Speed of Deployment

Cloud Production

Infrastructure and services are readily available, and because cloud production platforms typically make use of pre-configured templates and tools, setup and deployment is usually rapid. Moreover, without a need for physical hardware installation or setup, production resources can be scaled up or down quickly as needed.

Remote Production

Speed suffers because you’ll have to set up, test and optimize your remote infrastructure and communication tools to enable collaboration across locations. Typically, some level of coordination with on-site personnel will be needed. It’s important also to note that speed of deployment can vary greatly based on the complexity of your production setup as well as availability of resources.

Hybrid Production

This approach offers flexibility in the deployment of production workflows, which can speed deployment. Still, sitting up and integrating on-site production resources will require time and coordination. For example, you may have to configure both cloud-based collaboration tools and on-site production gear, which can extend your deployment schedule vs. cloud-based approaches. Nevertheless, leveraging cloud-based resources will speed deployment.

Security and Compliance

Cloud Production

To be competitive, cloud production platforms pay close attention to security infrastructure and compliance certifications such as ISO 27001, SOC 2 and GDPR. They may offer features including encryption, access controls, audit trails and data redundancy options. But the effectiveness of security and compliance hinges on implementation of security best practices, data governance policies and user access controls. Consequently, it’s important for broadcast producers to thoroughly vet their cloud providers in regard to security and compliance.

Remote Production

When data and production assets are distributed across locations and accessed remotely, as they are for remote production, there can be security and compliance challenges. To guard against data breaches, unauthorized access, network weaknesses and compliance violations, remote production workflows may require specific security measures such as encryption, VPNs, multi-factor authentication, and other security controls. Note also that remote production is often subject to data privacy laws and regulations, especially in regard to the handling of personally identifiable information or sensitive content.

Hybrid Production

Workflows may leverage cloud-based security and compliance features while incorporating on-site production resources. The integration of cloud-based security controls with on-site equipment and workflows allows for comprehensive security and compliance management across distributed production environments – but often at the cost of greater complexity in coordinating security measures. Consequently, establish clear policies and procedures – such as audits, risk assessments and staff training programs – for managing security and compliance in hybrid production workflows.

Data Management and Analytics

Cloud Production

Expect robust data management from cloud-based production. Most platforms provide centralized storage for assets and files, making it easy to organize and access production data. The platforms may also feature built-in analytics tools for monitoring and analyzing key metrics like production performance and audience engagement. Moreover, cloud-based infrastructure typically offers seamless integration with third-party analytics tools and resources.

Remote Production

The fact that production assets and data may be spread across locations can create difficulties in data management. Consequently, your workflows may require specific efforts to ensure consistent data management practices. Coordination between remote and on-site teams may also be necessary for proper management and analysis of production data. Note, too, that transmission of data between remote and on-site locations can impact latency and introduce bandwidth constraints.

Hybrid Production

As with remote production, hybrid production may require efforts to ensure consistent data management practices, but by combining elements of cloud and remote production, this approach offers valuable flexibility in data management and analytics and can allow for comprehensive analysis and reporting across the production life cycle.

Environmental Impact

Cloud Production

Assessing the environmental impact of cloud production requires taking into account such factors as data center efficiency, energy sources and resource use. Cloud platforms are increasingly being designed for energy efficiency by combining environmentally friendly technologies with practices such as resource pooling and demand-based scaling of infrastructure. Broadcast producers can also reduce the environmental impact of cloud production by optimizing workflows, reducing data transfer and storage requirements, and adopting energy-efficient practices.

Remote Production

Environmental benefits can be realized by reducing the need for travel, but remote production still requires energy consumption for on-premises infrastructure, servers and communication networks. The size of the environmental footprint will depend significantly on resource utilization and energy efficiency.

Hybrid Production

By leveraging cloud-based infrastructure while incorporating remote and on-site production elements, hybrid production can offer significant flexibility in balancing environmental considerations. Here, as with the other models of production, the specifics will be impacted by factors such as the energy sources used to power cloud data centers, the efficiency of remote infrastructure, and overall resource utilization across workflows.

Reliability and Uptime

Cloud Production

Reliability and uptime will be optimized by the redundancy and resilience of a cloud infrastructure. Providers, for example, usually operate multiple data centers across various geographies, which allow for failover and load balancing to enable continuous operation and minimize downtime. In addition, auto-scaling and distributed computing handle fluctuations in workload, while optimizing performance when usage is at its peak. From hardware failures to network outages, cloud infrastructure provides high availability and consistent uptime.

Remote Production

By reducing reliance on physical infrastructure and travel, remote production can be expected to offer enhance reliability and uptime vs. traditional on-site production. In addition, it centralizes production workflows and leverages remote collaboration tools, thereby minimizing the risk of equipment failures, transportation delays and other disruptions. Note that remote workflows may require redundancy and backup measures to ensure continuity in the face of technical failures or network outages.

Hybrid Production

This approach, which combines elements of both cloud and remote production, may leverage cloud-based infrastructure for resilience and scalability while incorporating remote and on-site production elements to reduce downtime. However, effective coordination and management of remote and on-site workflows, along with careful resource allocation and implementation of failover strategies, will be necessary to ensure reliability and uptime in hybrid production.

Customization and Control

Cloud Production

Customization and control are hallmarks of cloud production platforms, allowing users to produce according to their unique requirements. Customization options provide control over tasks such as content creation, editing, encoding, and distribution. Moreover, workflows can be integrated smoothly with third-party tools and services, extending customization and control over functionality.

Remote Production

By giving production teams direct access to remote infrastructure and resources, remote production offers broadcasters flexibility and control to tailor production workflows to specific requirements, production scenarios, and team preferences. Production teams can expect to have full control over the configuration and management of remote infrastructure, equipment and tools. But note: Customization and control in remote production may require specific efforts to set up and management remote infrastructure and coordinate communication and collaboration among team members across locations.

Hybrid Production

Expect a high degree of flexibility in customization and control. Hybrid production workflows can leverage cloud-based tools and services while also incorporating remote and on-site production elements, giving teams the flexibility to customize workflows based on project requirements, preferences and various constraints. As with remote production, however, effective coordination and management of remote and on-site workflows, as well as careful planning of resource allocation and integration strategies, will be required.

Updates and Maintenance

Cloud Production

While updates are rarely handled by the cloud provider, maintenance and replacement of the infrastructure are always handled by the cloud provider, typically with minimal disruption to users. Moreover, cloud platforms often offer service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee uptime and availability.

Remote Production

Updates and maintenance may demand coordination between remote and on-site personnel to ensure infrastructure, equipment, and tools are up-to-date and in proper working order. Updates may be handled by individual users or organizations, and remote teams may need to plan and perform maintenance to minimize disruptions to production. Moreover, to address issues that arise during updates and maintenance tasks, remote production may require additional monitoring and troubleshooting protocols.

Hybrid Production

A combination of centralized management and distributed responsibility may come into play regarding updates and maintenance. Cloud-based platforms can handle centralized maintenance of cloud resources, while updates and maintenance for remote and on-site production elements will typically be handled separately. Consequently, coordination between remote and on-site teams will be necessary.

Cloud Production for Broadcasting and Custom Systems

The benefits of cloud production can impact broadcast systems in various ways, including streamlining workflows, improving scalability, and enhancing efficiency.

  • The scalability and flexibility of cloud production give broadcasters and custom systems the flexibility to adapt to their audiences’ evolving demands and preferences as well as the ability to scale resources up or down based on workload.
  • In addition, cloud production facilitates remote contribution and collaboration to enable remote editing, review, and approval workflows, and to leverage contribution platforms to accept and integrate user-generated content from multiple sources.
  • Cloud-based live streaming and transcoding allow content to be optimized for delivery across devices and platforms, while enabling custom systems to integrate cloud-based streaming to reach broader audiences and incorporate pay-per-view or subscription models into their content.
  • Another advantage of cloud production for broadcast and custom systems involves data analytics and monetization, as cloud production can be used to analyze audience behavior, preferences and engagement, thus helping broadcasters to tailor content recommendations, advertising placements and subscription offerings to individual user preferences.
  • Cloud production also offers built-in disaster recovery and redundancy capabilities to ensure business continuity and data protection. Moreover, it offers a range of tools to enable operational efficiencies and optimize resource utilization.

Cloud Production for Sports

Cloud production can be effective in enhancing sports fan engagement, streamlining operations and optimizing content.

  • As with other markets, Cloud production’s advantages in scalability and flexibility enable sports organizations to optimize resource based on event and audience size as well as content requirements. Moreover, it allows experimentation with new formats, delivery methods and revenue models without significant CapEx investment.
  • For example, worldwide streaming and broadcasting of games, matches and events is enabled and facilitated by cloud production. It’s a powerful tool for production of high-quality live streams with pro-grade graphics, commentary and instant replays.
  • Cloud production is also used by sports organizations to create and distribute on-demand video content, including game highlights, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.
  • Content can be produced and published quicky and economically, keeping fans engaged between games and events, and that content can be shared across device types and platforms.
  • Cloud production facilitates fan engagement and interaction through various channels, including social media, virtual fan zones, contests and giveaways, etc
  • Content can be produced and published quicky and economically, keeping fans engaged between games and events, and that content can be shared across device types and platforms.
  • Cloud production facilitates fan engagement and interaction through various channels, including social media, virtual fan zones, contests and giveaways, etc
  • In addition, cloud production enables sports organizations to monetize content and generate revenue via various channels, including subscription-based services, pay-per-view events, and premium content packages. Moreover, revenue opportunities can be maximized through targeted advertising, sponsorships and partnerships.

    Cloud Production for Esports

    Cloud production is made for a digitally native industry like Esports.

    • It enables Esports organizations to live stream tournaments, matches and events globally. Moreover, the cloud-based streaming platforms deliver high-quality live streams with professional-grade production values, including real-time graphics, commentary and instant replay. The result is more compelling, engaging content.
    • It facilitates remote collaboration and production workflows among Esports teams, broadcasters and production staff, regardless of the locations of the teams and talent.
    • Esports organizations also profit from the scalability and flexibility of cloud production. Beyond operating more efficiently, they can use cloud-based services and platforms to experiment with new formats, delivery methods and revenue models.
    • In addition, cloud production enables Esports organizations to monetize content and generate revenue via various channels, including subscription-based services, pay-per-view events, and premium content packages. It also enables more targeted advertising, sponsorships and partnerships in order to maximize revenue opportunities.

    Cloud Production for Corporate

    Streamlining operations. Improving collaboration. Propelling business growth. These are just a few of the ways cloud production can benefit corporate users.

    • In the area of content creation and marketing, enterprises can use cloud production to produce high-quality marketing content such as videos, podcasts and webinars.
    • Cloud platforms also facilitate remote collaboration and communication among distributed teams via video conferencing, document sharing and project management tools.
    • Product demonstrations and presentations can use cloud production to create virtual product demonstrations, sales presentations, and interactive experiences for customers and prospects.
    • Also important: Cloud production offers enterprises the scalability and flexibility to adapt to changing business needs and marketing conditions. And by sparing them the costs of building full-scale on-premises production facilities, cloud production frees up resources to spend on an enterprise’s more pressing strategic objectives.

    Cloud Production for Casinos

    From improving the guest experience to enhancing operations and creating more effective marketing, cloud production provides new tools and capabilities for casinos to stand out in a competitive marketplace.

    • Consider live-streamed events such as concerts and tournaments. Cloud production can help casinos reach a wider audience, engage customers in real time, and make experiences more immersive for on-site and remote viewers alike.
    • Cloud production can aid in the creation and distribution of promotional content, high-quality videos and interactive content such as virtual tours and demonstration of facility amenities.
    • Training programs, tutorials, and a wide variety of interactive educational content can be created and shared as well.
    • In addition, casinos can leverage cloud-based analytics tools to gain insights into customer attitudes and behavior.

    Live Production

    Alpha provides comprehensive solutions for cloud-based live production. A suite of tools and software applications enable remote collaboration, assure scalability, and produce and transcode live video feeds into formats suitable for streaming across different devices and network conditions. Content delivery networks minimize latency.  Real-time monitoring and analytics tools are also offered, and robust security features preserve data integrity and confidentiality.

    Learn More    

    Post Production

    Cloud-based post-production solutions from Alpha enable broadcasters to edit, process and finish audiovisual content after it has been recorded. Pro-grade editing tools are made accessible, enabling remote collaboration among editors, directors, producers and others. Cloud storage solutions provide secure and scalable content management. Rendering services handle computationally intensive tasks in the cloud, cloud-based post-production platforms facilitate asset sharing and distribution, and security and compliance are prioritized to protect sensitive assets and intellectual property.

    Learn More    

    Cloud Distribution

    Alpha’s cloud distribution solutions deliver high-quality content to audiences through a variety of online platforms, streaming services and digital channels. Users can take advantage of content hosting and management, content delivery networks (CDNs), streaming services, and OTT (Over-the-Top) platforms. The solutions enable content monetization. Cross-platform compatibility enables content to be accessed on different devices and operating systems. Analytics and reporting tools track KPIs. And robust security measures protect against piracy, unauthorized access and content theft.

    Learn More    

    Our cloud production experts bring new excitement to sports and Esports broadcasting. We make the casino experience more immersive, education more effective, and corporate communication more compelling. And along the way, we bring new efficiency and cost-effectiveness to our clients. Learn more about how Alpha cloud production makes our clients’ vision possible in these case studies:

    Cloud production
    technology partners

    The quality of our work reflects the quality of our partnerships. Alpha collaborates with industry leaders across a range of disciplines.

    Vectar video switcher, graphics, replay

    Ross Video
    CPC video switcher, newsroom automation, graphics

    Grass Valley
    AMPP Video Switchers

    SimplyLive Video switchers, graphics, replay

    Gallery Sienna
    Infrastructure, routing multi-viewers, distribution, and conversion

    Waves Audio
    Audio mixing and processing (stereo)

    Solid State Logic
    Audio mixing and processing (stereo and surround)

    Dante Connect
    Synchronized Dante audio between on-prem and Cloud

    Makito SRT contribution and distribution

    SRT contribution and distribution

    SRT contribution and distribution

    AWS Elemental
    Media Connect contribution and distribution

    Video switching, cellular contribution and distribution

    Video switching, cellular contribution and distribution


    What is the difference between traditional and cloud-based production?

    Traditional production uses physical equipment to translate raw content into broadcast content. Using on-site or remote studios and infrastructure, content providers produce video footage and audio on physical servers and media, and the work of post-production editing and processing is done on physical workstations. The hardware and infrastructure are typically owned or leased by the production entity, which is also responsible for maintenance and upgrades. In cloud-based production, most aspects of production are handled by cloud-computing resources and services on a subscription or pay-as-you-need basis, reducing the need for CapEx upfront investment and ongoing maintenance costs while enabling geographically dispersed teams to collaborate remotely.

    How does cloud production enhance content security and compliance?

    Cloud production improves content security and compliance in various ways. Powerful data encryption protects media as it is gathered and distributed and also safeguards stored data. This ensures that content – as well as metadata and other valuable information – remains secure. Cloud platforms also facilitate access control and enable administrators to track user activities, access logs, content edits and alterations to configuration settings. Note also that cloud production providers are often independently audited to gain industry compliance certifications. Another aspect of security is enabled by geographic redundancy, which is an important selling point of many cloud production platforms. There are also features to protect intellectual property and prevent unauthorized duplication, distribution or piracy of content

    What video formats does cloud production support?

    Diverse users have diverse needs, and cloud production platforms accommodate them by supporting a wide array of video formats. Among them are Standard Definition (SD) formats and High Definition (HD) formats. In addition, 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) formats are now supported by many cloud production platforms, as are HDR formats like HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Some cloud production platforms also support RAW formats like REDCODE RAW and Blackmagic RAW. Since cloud production platforms are often codec agnostic, many can accommodate a variety of codecs like AVC (H.264), HEVC (H.265), VP9 and AV1. The platforms often support a variety of streaming formats and interchange formats, too.

    How does live cloud production manage latency and bandwidth issues?

    Real-time streaming over the internet can present latency and bandwidth-management challenges. A number of strategies and techniques are used to address them. For example, content Delivery Networks (CDNs), which distribute content closer to end users, reduce latency. Adaptive Bitrate Streaming (ABR) dynamically adjusts the bitrate and resolution of the video stream, optimizing it for available bandwidth and device capabilities. Low-Latency Streaming Protocols address latency issues related to live cloud production by optimizing the streaming workflow, reducing processing overhead and enabling faster content delivery over the internet. Chunked Streaming can be helping, too. It divides live video streams into manageably sized segments allowing for faster transmission when bandwidth is constrained while facilitating ABR and adaptive playback. At the same time, content preprocessing techniques – like transcoding, compressing and caching – can be used to optimize content delivery. Similarly, Network Optimization and Quality of Service (QoS) Monitoring oversee network performance, detect congestion or packet loss, and adjust streaming parameters dynamically to optimize quality and mitigate latency.

    What are the cost implications of switching to cloud production?

    Costs generally fall under three categories. First, consider upfront costs, including hardware and infrastructure, software licenses and training and education. Then there are operating expenses, such as subscription fees, data storage and bandwidth charges, support and maintenance expenses, and integration and customization budget items. Finally, look at the costs associated with scalability and flexibility. Cloud production platforms typically feature flexible pricing options that accommodate a user’s expected needs. It’s important to monitor how much you use the service, when you use it, and in what manner you use it in order to avoid unexpected charges. Before making the switch from traditional to cloud production, conduct a cost-benefit analysis that incorporates variables like upfront investments, ongoing operational expenses, potential cost savings, productivity gains and the revenue opportunities that are enabled by the cloud. You may find that while cloud production entails higher initial costs and recurring subscription fees compared to the status quo, it offers benefits that will save you money over time. They include scalability, flexibility, enhanced collaboration, and access to technologies and tools that will drive efficiency.