Solving the Split Unit Challenge with ClearView Flex

Olivia Broadley

Production Services

Remote Collaboration


Clearview Flex

use case

We look at how remote technologies are helping align 1st and 2nd units – minimising the chance for miscommunication and expensive reshoots

As studios continue to take advantage of production tax incentives worldwide, 2nd units often find themselves dispatched to locations far from where principal photography is underway. Whether split by stage wall or continent, ensuring the 2nd unit is shooting and delivering footage that is seamless in continuity, pacing, and style is key. The final result must be in keeping with what the main-unit director and director of photography have envisioned.  

‘Communication is key’ and with constant time and budget challenges, teams are under pressure to get the shots right first time. 2nd units need to keep in constant communication with key stakeholders from the director, the DOP and often the VFX supervisor.  If the weather’s wrong or the camera tilt, focus or focal length is off then the shot will need to be redone.  

Having immediate access to each other’s digital dailies for review has been a key technical advancement — helping distributed teams stay and feel connected to the main unit and vice versa. No more delays in physically transporting photographic assets back and forth whether across continents or across the studio lot, split units need to instantly and efficiently review content, exchange feedback and feel creatively in tune no matter where they are.

The market now offers more remote collaboration tools than ever to bridge the gap between split units – real-time solutions minimising the chance for miscommunication and expensive reshoots. 

How does Sohonet help?

Production teams of all sizes around the world are finding that Sohonet’s real-time, remote review tool, ClearView Flex offers an easy-to-use, economical solution to the split unit challenge. ClearView Flex enables the 2nd unit to share raw footage straight from the camera with the 1st unit, or vice versa, for real-time review that ensures the units maintain a consistent look and feel.  Video is encrypted end-to-end and with studio-grade security built-in so your content is protected at all times.

Adopting ClearView Flex to align the 2nd unit with the 1st unit’s vision ensures secure, real-time collaboration across any distance. It’s a fully managed service with 24/7 global support that works anywhere, anytime, on any device.

How does ClearView Flex work?

The process is simple: connect the camera via SDI or HDMI to the Flexbox on set – it’s as quick as connecting to another monitor. The Flexbox encoder is easy to transport and requires only minimal bandwidth to encode the stream, so it can be moved from location to location.

Next, create a ClearView Flex session and invite up to five users via email. During the session, the main unit can observe the output in real-time, with ultra-low latency, on a mobile device, tablet, laptop or Apple TV and offer instant feedback. The process couldn’t be more convenient for all parties.

ClearView Flex is scalable and customisable to ensure that split units get the performance they need on the sound stage or on location. The system can be scaled to support up to 20 simultaneous viewers. If footage needs to run continuously throughout the shoot users simply turn off the 30-minute link expiration. And 2nd units with little access to Wi-Fi can use options such as Teradek’s Link Pro, a bonded cellular router, for connectivity. The ClearView Flex Go and ClearView Flex Pro pricing tiers guarantee that users get exactly what they need for productions big and small.

Check out Sohonet’s eBook on “The Top 8 M&E Content production trends you should be prepared for in 2020

Olivia Broadley