Remote Off-Site Video Assist
Connecting Clients to Their Production During the Covid 19 Pandemic
Like just about every other industry, the COVID-19 pandemic came with many challenges for video production companies from a live-action filming standpoint. After all, production is time where all the departments and personnel gather in a side-by-side collaboration developing the visuals for their project.
On-set protocols had to be reconsidered and reinvented with screening efforts, social distancing mandates, sanitation and even rapid testing. Clients and advertising agencies could no longer travel to their productions because of quarantine, travel restrictions, and risks of infections and contamination.
To put it simply, creative directors and agency personnel were not able to participate in the filming process for their projects like they were accustomed to, and so we developed a solution that would bring them back into the production process in an effective and constructive way.
To say the least, the benefit of ”video village” was eliminated creating a great void in ability to evaluate scenes being filmed, actors’ performances, lighting setups, wardrobe selection, set design, camera work, and overall creative execution.
While there are obvious video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams that enable communication between the filming location directors and creative directors, account executives, and end clients – these options do not provide capability for creatively assessing the production-side of a project.
To overcome this challenge, Geomedia deployed new technology into their live action productions by incorporating a Teradek Cube 755 and the Teradek Node Modem- “a portable, camera-top encoder enabling you to stream live to multiple platforms.”
What exactly does that mean? We created a “virtual video village” by sending the HD-SDI signal coming out of camera into a Teradek Cube 755 that outputs a stable picture that our clients normally experience in a standard “video village” setup. In essence, we streamed full-resolution high-quality 1080P signal to our clients so they could interact with the set and participate in their production from anywhere in the world. The process is hosted by a Remote Transmission Engineer (RTE) – a term we came up for our crew person that hosts this service and transfers information from set to remote clients, much like an “assistant director.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Geomedia has successfully handled remote off-site video assist on dozens of shoots, integrating clients into their productions when they could not physically on-set. Even though there may be a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of coping with COVID-19, we are confident that our way of work will most like likely be changed for the foreseeable future. The remote viewing process offers our clients a great alternative if they choose not to be on-site during filming.
The “days of old” are gone for now, and many of the the methods and protocols that have evolved (like working remotely) make sense from an efficiency and safety standpoint while still maintaining the “on set” experience.
“This was the first live-action shoot we’ve done since COVID happened, and our first ever remote shoot, and we are ALL just so impressed that it went so well… Thank you so much for making this project happen when we couldn’t be in San Antonio for the production. ”
– Katherine Durham, Senior Producer at Revive Health Agency
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