Malaysia’s Merdeka Race 2020 streams with AJA

Behind the scenes look at the livestream of Merdeka Race at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia.

For four-wheel motorsports fans in Malaysia, Malaysian National Independence Day signals the start of the local racing season as drivers compete in the annual Merdeka Race at the Sepang International Circuit. Though current circumstances prevented spectators from attending the event in person, the race was livestreamed with the help of AJA.

Enlisting the help of TWMR Productions and Blonde Robot, the parties involved produced and delivered comprehensive coverage of the two-day event via local satellite TV channel Astro Arena, as well as a Facebook Live stream, which was powered by an AJA Helo H.264 streaming, encoding and recording device. The event drew in more than 100,000 viewers.

Azrina Jane Abdullah, territory manager at Blonde Robot, said: “Merdeka only takes place once a year, and this year’s race was especially important, as it marked the first local return of sports since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. With the competition closed to spectators, the event organisers wanted to ensure audiences could tune into every second online, which meant streaming full coverage of the event via Facebook Live, in addition to highlights shared on local channels, and Helo proved a perfect tool for the job.”

For the production, TWMR provided an OB truck outfitted with a host of equipment, including a combination of traditional and RF cameras, which captured HD footage of the event that was then distributed via fibre or RF to a production switcher. Once mixed with graphics overlays and audio, a 1080i output of the produced feed was then sent through AJA Helo and encoded to H.264 at 1080p 25fps and distributed to Facebook Live.

Using Helo’s intuitive web-based user interface, Jane was able to control the device and monitor the feed for the event organisers from a laptop stationed at a safe distance from others on-site. Given limited bandwidth (less than 10 Mb), the footage was then redistributed to other content delivery networks with help from the Restream.io service. In addition to supporting encoding and live streaming for the event, AJA Helo also allowed TWMR and the event organiser MSF (Malaysia Speed Festival) to record the event for archival and on-demand viewing purposes.

Jane concluded: “On a production like this, workflow stability is crucial, and downtime is not an option, which is why we went with Helo. Helo performed solidly, delivering an incredibly low-latency, high quality stream, even with our limited bandwidth allocation, and was so easy to set up, and control from a laptop. It’s a powerful, intuitive and cost-efficient tool for getting any live stream to audiences around the world.”