Ten years ago, the phrases ‘dispersed teams’, ‘working-from-home’ and ‘delocalised workflows’ meant very little. Back then, the norm was to find yourself in an office, at a pre-determined location between the hours of 9am and 5pm; ‘remote work’ as a term may have been saved for outback explorers such as Ranulph Fiennes summiting Everest! But, as societal norms shifted and generational expectations changed about what employees and employers expect of each other, the old workplace began to give way to the flourishing remote work industry. Realities can now be shared across oceans and meetings no longer mean everyone cramming into the main conference room trying to score a seat - there is, in the most basic sense, breathing room.
For London based visual effects company Electric Theatre Collective, this breathing room is key in their ability to offer flexible arrangements for their clients. Working across colour, CGI, 2D, and animation, Electric Theatre Collective’s clients are varied in both their needs and location and remote solutions can solve the issue of distributed teams, last-minute schedule changes and clashing commitments. Clients are able to remotely monitor and view sessions, communicating immediately with the creatives in control of the brief delivery.
ETC are making this dispersed style of work a reality by harnessing remote collaboration tools such as Sohonet ClearView Flex; a real-time review and approval tool that enables teams and their clients to review a live video stream direct from an edit, VFX or colour grading session session, live camera or any other video source, securely and with ultra-low latency, on their mobile device, PC or via Apple TV. And also Teradici, who provide secure high-performance virtual workstations via PCoIP for artists, allowing them to work outside of the office with no sacrifice on performance or security.
“Electric Theatre Collective has really run with the possibilities of using the two together and as such has been able to connect their clients with incredible and in-demand global talent.” - Stephanie White
We spoke with ETC’s Head of Engineering George Cook and their Colour Producer Oliver Whitworth about the ways in which their teams are using these tools to speed up their workflows and the benefits of offering greater flexibility and choice to their clients.
“We use ClearView Flex for a lot of grade sessions,” Oliver explains. “So many directors and DOPs are flying all over the world and it’s difficult to get everyone present and correct at the same time. It’s a very handy tool to use without getting everyone in the ‘same room’, so to speak. As a producer, this can otherwise can be exceptionally difficult.”
Connecting clients with top, sought-after talent that may be based on the other side of the country or world is also a major benefit, as evidenced through ETC’s partnership with extra-UK artists:
“Whilst the majority of our talent is based in our UK head office, we do have an artist who lives in Ghent, Belgium,” Head of Engineering George Cook, describes. “He’s really quite a talent and clients often request him specifically for work. So, we extended a Teradici Flame from our offices to Belgium over a VPN. We then route the Flame’s output into our ClearView Flexbox which can then be shown on the screen our clients use and can see. The ability to multicast and stream up to five people is particularly helpful.”
As for creative teams, artists and talent, the use of remote technology can free up their ability to work more flexibly - both in terms of time and location. The pairing of Terradici and ClearView Flex’s capabilities is an innovative and first-of-its-kind use by Electric Theatre Collective. Whilst keeping the ‘over the shoulder feel’ of ClearView Flex, talent is able to work anywhere at any time - holding remote sessions from de-centralized locations.
“ClearView Flex was designed as a collaborative tool, and using it with Terradici takes it to a new level,” Sohonet’s Customer Success Manager Stephanie White explains. “Electric Theatre Collective has really run with the possibilities of using the two together and as such has been able to connect their clients with incredible and in-demand global talent.”
In terms of client relationships, using ClearView Flex has enabled producers to streamline workflows and more accurately identify the sessions clients need to be engaged with:
“It gives clients so much flexibility. For example, there are projects that only really require the client’s presence once or twice. A week-long project, where the client only needs to be in for the last day, is made much simpler by the use of ClearView Flex. Before, it was about getting on the phone with them and sending links to updates via email. This is a constant stream and instant. I’ve noticed that it makes clients feel much more comfortable with work being done on the project,” ETC’s Colour Producer Oliver explains.
Tools such as ClearView Flex and Teradici are now opening up creative freedoms for clients, brands, teams and talent who are now set to reap the rewards of this shifting workplace culture. Looking to the future, the adoption of remote work, delocalized workflows and increasing unified communication capabilities, will continue to flourish -- the next era, no matter how dispersed it may be, will undoubtedly be a connected and creative one, just look at Electric Theatre Collective!