March 1 will forever be known as the day dog filters became the hottest traded equity on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Snapchat, the photo-sharing app that has allowed us all to be goofy without consequence, went public with their stock to some insane numbers (and no, those numbers weren’t filtered in), instantly becoming the talk of the world. While this was going on, our friends over at Cheddar TV aimed to give their viewers a new kind of coverage of the NYSE: live 360 video.
“Everybody knows about the New York Stock Exchange, but nobody really knows how crazy and exciting it is in there. We wanted to put our viewers on the floor so they can get a first-hand experience of it,” said Ryan Gordon, Technical Production Supervisor for Cheddar. “What better way than 360 video?”
Known as the “CNBC for millennials,” Cheddar is a live and on-demand news network that covers topics from finance to tech to anything that interests young people like the billion-dollar ice cream industry. Founded by the ex-President of Buzzfeed and ex-CEO of Dailymail, Jon Steinburg, Cheddar has grown massively since they started just a year ago. With the majority of their viewers falling in the business-savvy millennial-age range, Snap’s IPO was a pretty hot topic for the news channel.
“Snap’s IPO was a huge event especially to our viewers, many of who use Snapchat. So because we have a very strong relationship with the NYSE, we were given unprecedented access to the trading floor.”
Cheddar needed a way to livestream high-quality 360 video. The problem with this project is that they needed a way to stitch the images from the 360 cameras wirelessly to keep the hectic trade floor free of wires. To overcome these challenges, Gordon and his team chose Teradek’s Sphere 360 device.
To get the best visibility of the stock exchange, Cheddar’s technical crew set up their 360 rig in the middle of the trading floor. A Freedom360 Broadcaster mount (designed specifically for multi-GoPro setups) was equipped with 6 GoPro Hero5 cameras and mounted to a 6 ft. monopod. These 6 cameras sent video feeds directly to 2 daisy-chained Teradek Spheres (each Sphere supports up to 4 cameras) via 6 HDMI cables, which compressed the feeds and streamed them to an iPad with the Sphere app.
Here’s the interesting part: due to NYSE trading floor regulations, no one besides traders is allowed to occupy the 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands. This is to prevent outside parties from interfering with the near-instant transactions. To circumvent this, Cheddar’s team used a Ubiquiti Nanostation M365 router broadcasting a wireless signal on the 3.65GHz band from their floor station to a Nanobridge on the Sphere rig. This allowed them to operate without interfering with trades.
The Spheres were connected to the same wireless network as an iPad using the Sphere app, which allowed the Cheddar team to stitch the panoramic image together in real-time. An iPad operator monitored and adjusted the feed from the floor station. After, the Sphere app sent the feed to Teradek’s CORE system, a cloud-based video management platform that offers multi-platform streaming and other features. From CORE, 720p 360º streams were distributed to Cheddar’s Facebook Page and Periscope at 3.5Mbps.
The 360 livestream reached over 82k viewers across the 2 platforms in about 4 hours of live coverage, making it a huge success. But the important part was giving Cheddar’s viewers an unprecedented, immersive experience of the NYSE.
“There’s really no better way to do a completely wireless, live high-quality VR than Teradek’s Sphere. To be able to just plug-and-play with minimal setup time was beyond important. Thanks to Teradek, we were able to do something that had never been done before on the New York Stock Exchange,” said Gordon.
As popularity in 360 video continues to rise ($5.2 billion revenue in 2016) and prices on its production fall, it’s quickly becoming one of the biggest new forms of multimedia. The experience it offers is simply unparalleled by conventional video formats. For Cheddar, it’s all about providing interesting and innovative content to their viewers, 360 being one of them. Teradek is proud to be the only source for wireless 360 monitoring.