It used to be that working remotely in the media and entertainment space was a luxury. However, with those working on productions spread all across the world and amid ever-increasing travel challenges that include costs, scheduling, talent availability and virus outbreaks, working remotely has now become a requirement, according to Sohonet CEO Chuck Parker.
One typical “challenge” is “you’re shooting in London, you’re posting in L.A., your visual effects are in Vancouver or your director happens to be in New York because he’s already on his next project,” he said March 4 during the Insights and Analytics breakout session on “Leveling Up: Remote Post Collaboration for Studios” at the Smart Content Summit.
While “things are a little bit different now” in light of the coronavirus, “we used to say travel is unavoidable,” he noted. Now, however, travel “might have to be avoided,” he said.
Today, “it’s pretty ordinary for us to work remotely – from your house, from a Starbucks, from your hotel,” Parker said.
In the U.S. alone, the film and entertainment industry produces an average of 700 films and 500 episodic pieces of content a year and out of the huge budgets allocated for these productions, millions of dollars are spent on travel alone, according to Parker.
From pre-production to wrap, productions continue to straddle borders to take advantage of unique locations, tax-incentives and the global pool of creative talent and facilities available.
The rest of the content supply chain, meanwhile, works hard to ensure content moves between apps while retaining as much metadata as possible.
Sohonet has worked hard to provide an “over the shoulder” experience for your content collaboration that keeps content in its original system (be it Baselight, Resolve, Flame, Avid, Adobe or whatever else), he said. It is also one less metadata step you have to manage, he noted.
If you are home watching football or the Oscars, you notice there is about a 30-second delay and “some of that delay is just the buffering on your phone,” he pointed out. However, “what we’re trying to accomplish with a real-time workflow … is the opposite – you want no buffering,” he told attendees.
“To do that, you need clean networks,” with as little latency as possible, he noted, adding encryption is also needed. However, “the one challenging part of the last 10 years has been you’re using these off-the-shelf devices that you buy” and “no one has built an ecosystem” with security and “a lot of them don’t have any encryption at all,” he told attendees.
Sohonet’s ClearView Pivot, introduced early this year, is a solution for real-time remote editing, color grading, live screening and finishing reviews at full cinema quality, according to Parker. The new solution provides connectivity and collaboration services for productions around the world. ClearView Pivot offers 4K high dynamic range (HDR) with 12-bit color depth and 4:4:4 chroma sampling for full-color quality video streaming with ultra-low latency and is provided over the company’s uncontended private media network, which avoids the extreme compression required due to contention and latency of public Internet connections, according to Sohonet.
The Smart Content Summit was sponsored by TapeArk and Seagate, Whip Media Group, EIDR, BeBanjo, Cinelytic, Frame.io, Sohonet, Spherex and Sony, and produced by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) and the Smart Content Council.