Clearview Flex

Going Remote Opens Pandora’s Box for sound visionaries Formosa

Olivia Broadley
Sep 14, 2021
5 min read

Fans of CBS shows Dynasty and Bull would have been bereft were it not for the smart work of post  

“Whether you are doing picture or audio post, the client has to be able to interact with creative talent otherwise it’s just a totally frustrating experience. Latency was a factor on the technologies we tried to find the best quality. Also lack of a buffering mechanism with other systems results in loss of dropped frames leading to a poor experience for customers.”

Then they tried ClearView Flex.

“The buffering capability that is serviced by Sohonet through ClearView Flex provides a better experience for customers to review and approve material and conduct session notes with our creative talent in real-time environment providing a seamless process.”

Between its various divisions, Formosa Group has multiple ClearView Flex units. In LA alone between Formosa, Picture Shop and Picture Head, Streamland Media companies can draw on at least seventeen boxes as demand dictates.

“The system is very easy to administer, and the service provided by Sohonet is robust whether that’s from a sound stage, a picture suite or offsite. It is really quite simple to setup and operate.”

Formosa uses ClearView principally for dubbing sessions and final playback with Zoom open for interactive communication. 

“We ingest a video signal from the final playback video file into ClearView embedded with audio being mixed on the stage. Client receives a real-time stream via a one-time use key to access their show which is superbly secure.”

“To preserve as close to the audio fidelity of our mix as possible, on recipient end we ideally don’t want them to listen with earbuds or regular laptop speakers. There are too many unknowns and variables to the quality of playback. Initially we had made specific headphone recommendations and over time, as our clients have done more work remotely, everyone has managed to find an environment with which they are comfortable. This could be using professional headphones or streaming ClearView through a home theater setup.”

CBS’ prime time episodic drama Dynasty was renewed for a fourth season in January 2020 and premiered in May 2021 following a post production pipeline that adhered to Covid-19 social distance rules. Similarly, the fourth series of legal drama Bull aired in 2020 with a fifth season now in production. Both dramas are using an audio mixing route reliant on ClearView Flex for client-artist interaction.

The all-round experience has not only proved invaluable as a temporary fix. Remote workflows will be a mainstay of postproduction going forward.

“Our observation is that it is going to be equal and concurrent ratio for in facility/remote workflows,” Shimiaei says.  “Clients are eager to return and enjoy the stage environment as before, yet there are others who may be reluctant to do so or have discovered a new method for their busy schedules.  Many are now more comfortable with the remote viewing experience. For that reason, we still need to have the ability to stream a final product out to our clients whether they are in their office, travelling, or at home.”

“I believe remote has become a natural part of our workflow. Pandora’s Box has been opened and with content platforms launching and production demand ramping up it’s not going to shut. Clients will want flexibility to review material and work with our artists live using ClearView simply because it will save them valuable time getting to the final product.”

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