The outbreak of coronavirus at the end of 2019 impacted the world in ways that are still being felt more than two years later. People all over the world have embraced working remotely – usually from home – although the widespread availability of computers and high-speed broadband connections meant that, for many, the switch was relatively easy.
What wasn’t quite as easy was the ability to work collaboratively, especially when professional video production is involved. For those in the entertainment and media industries – colourists, video editors, sound mixers, directors, producers, and those in VFX and post production – Dropbox folders and ad hoc Zoom calls weren’t good enough for video workflows that required detailed creative reviews and approvals. As a result, specialised video collaboration platforms have gained considerable traction in the media industry.
“I was finishing a commercial on Flame,” remembers Coffee & TV Co Founder and Technical Director Jon Trussler. “I’d move the title a shade to the left and send the client a QuickTime. They’d report back asking for a tweak to the right. Which I’d do, and then send another QuickTime. [It] was like moving through treacle.”
Jens Christensen, Pinewood Studios Director of Post Production, also found it a challenge to adapt to remote workflows. “Where we previously relied on clients attending mixes on-site, we’ve had to adapt to a situation where we are streaming mixes to other facilities or people’s homes… With sound this has been a real challenge, as acoustics and line-ups can vary widely between our mixing theatres and the environment the client is in.”
Of course, video collaboration platforms that enable creative teams to work together remotely aren’t a new invention. But as REDLAB colourist Walt Biljan points out, they haven’t always been up to the task. “We’d trialled remote solutions over the last decade without any real success,” he says. “Everything we tried struggled with latency and communication or poor-quality images and bad compression.”
It’s a sizable list of frustrations, which has increased demand for dedicated video collaboration
platforms designed specifically for high-end video work. Leading solutions, like Sohonet’s
ClearView Flex, aim to redress the balance, delivering a combination of:
1) Ultra-low latency streaming – Creatives need video that plays as smoothly as possible, with a consistent frame rate. This creates a collaborative environment that enables participants to review and discuss video in real-time.
2)High definition, high-bit colour depth – Any good video collaboration platform should support the best quality visuals and colour accuracy, with the flexibility of adapting to variable connection rates.
3)Support for High Dynamic Range – With increasing amounts of media available in HDR, users need a platform that embraces common standards.
4)Scalability – Participants in a virtual creative review should be able to collaborate with as many people as they want, with as little fuss as possible.
5)Top quality audio – It’s not all about the pixels; the system should also support accurate, multi-channel surround sound as standard.
6)Studio-grade security – Much of the material viewed in a review session might be sensitive; so video collaboration software should offer built-in security to ensure that it doesn’t become publicly available, and limits who sees what.
Remote working is now the ‘new normal’, with ongoing challenges balanced by new working opportunities. Some 16% of companies worldwide are now fully 100% remote , while more than 70% have said they’re moving to a hybrid model . It’s a paradigm shift in the way we work, and it’s fortunate that in the digital world of the 21st century, creatives are supported by the tools necessary for this change to happen.
Find out more information about Sohonet’s own video collaboration platform, ClearView Flex.