Clearview Flex

Front Street Pictures: The Quest for a True Plug-and-Play Streaming Solution Leads to ClearView Flex

Olivia Broadley
Jan 10, 2024
5 min read

We speak to Front Street Pictures' Director of Post-Production, Sepideh Merchant, about overcoming unreliable streaming challenges, embracing a seamless plug-and-play solution with ClearView Flex for off-line editorial, and becoming among the first Canadian facilities to employ the NDI-enabled version of the technology.

Front Street Pictures in Vancouver has produced and provided production services on a broad catalogue of live-action, scripted content across multiple genres for more than two decades. The company houses a full suite of services including development, legal, budgeting, and scheduling as well as post-production facilities and the management of all aspects of delivery for clients who include Hallmark and Lifetime movies of the week and features for Paramount and Sony Pictures.

Sepideh Merchant, director of Post-Production, joined the company in 2019 and immediately saw a need to improve upon the already established workflow. Coincidentally, this was a few months prior to the global pandemic that would then force companies to take on a more remote-focused process, which lined up perfectly with the direction Front Street was going. 

Hallmark Channel Christmas movie, "An Unexpected Christmas"
Hallmark Channel Christmas movie, "An Unexpected Christmas"

Trial and Error: Finding a Reliable Streaming Solution

“When I arrived, a priority was to upgrade the post-production system from hard drives to more of a networked storage solution. It was imperative, especially when the pandemic hit, that we shift to a more remote-focused solution and find a way for us to all connect to the office from different locations. Through research I found a remote streaming software that we tried out in order to keep collaborating with our production and distribution teams.

However, Front Street found it challenging to find a solution that was simple and reliable enough for the teams to collaborate with each other effectively. 

“The system we were using proved slightly unreliable,” she reports. “Set up time was very lengthy. Producers and creative clients were having more trouble than they needed to set up sessions on their laptop or iPad. The vendor suggested that we purchase additional hardware to help with the workflow, which we did but it didn’t make much of a difference and we often had to call tech support.

“Luckily through word of mouth we learned that Sohonet had a demo of its solution in Vancouver which I attended. I was immediately hooked.”

Securing a box to trial proved to be the answer Front Street was looking for.

clearview flex

ClearView Flex's Plug-and-Play Advantage

“The best thing about ClearView Flex is that it is true plug and play. Clients just need to sign in and away you go.”

The real test occurred during production of a Lifetime movie. They began the project using the existing streaming software and were experiencing familiar trouble with set up and frame delay.

“The best thing about ClearView Flex is that it is true plug and play. Clients just need to sign in and away you go.”

“When we had the opportunity to work with ClearView Flex we did so side by side with the streaming software and immediately saw the benefits. ClearView Flex was ahead by miles. It was so seamless and perfect and a superb experience for our producers.”

Offline Editorial and the NDI Breakthrough

Front Street uses ClearView Flex extensively for off-line editorial (editing and mixing) for much of their in-house productions. More recently, Front Street has become among the first Canadian facilities to employ the NDI-enabled version of the technology.

“We jumped on that when it was released by Sohonet because we run so many productions through here that it made sense for us upgrade and thus enable multiple productions to schedule sessions.

The NDI version means we can run multiple different productions day to day all connected to one box.

“It works beautifully, and we’ve had no issues at all,” she adds.

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