Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production

Sohonet Shares Off-Set Creative Participation Options for Productions Post-Pandemic

Asset Management, distribution and software
London, UK
Sohonet looks at the post-pandemic production workflow and the tools helping connect remote units and facilitate off-set creative participation
Film, TV and ad production has been forever changed by the recent pandemic. In the coming months, as productions across the world resume, crews will have to adapt to a number of changes, facing stringent new working and safety conditions that will become the new norm for the next 12-18 months. The way forward for the production industry is one that relies on digital collaboration and a lot of careful pre-planning. Sohonet takes a look at key challenges productions will face along the way, and the tools available to help solve them. 

The new working and safety conditions being introduced worldwide will limit the number of people who can be on-set for any production. To stick to critical timelines and budgets, the result will be an increase in parallel filming units and off-lot locations for smaller creative teams. The biggest challenge productions will face is enabling the seamless and secure coordination and collaboration between all sites - whether that’s connecting remote units or facilitating off-set creative participation.

There’s been much discussion about the benefits of both synchronous and asynchronous communication in our newly distributed world.  Synchronous communication provides the instant back-and-forth response needed for creative ideation and to get an idea of your team’s real-time response in the review process. But in many scenarios an offline or asynchronous communication approach can be efficient, allowing everyone involved to get to the work at a time that suits them and is less disruptive to their workflow. This is particularly pertinent in some production use-cases where on-set shooting can not be interrupted. 

Sohonet has synchronous collaboration covered with Clearview Flex, enabling instant real-time review live from set. However, getting the right players together for a live review session can prove challenging - and parallel units and off-sight editorial and VFX only make it more so. To solve this, Sohonet has partnered with Moxion, whose offline review tool Immediates, gives creatives space to review content in their own time.

Connecting Split Units 
With constant time and budget challenges, productions are under pressure to get shots right the first time. If lighting styles, composition and camera settings don’t match across all units it, will be apparent in the final image. To avoid expensive reshoots, split units need to keep in constant communication with key stakeholders from the director, to the DP and often the VFX supervisor to ensure they are delivering footage that’s seamless in continuity, pacing, and style. The more units you have, the bigger this challenge becomes.  

Remote collaboration tools can bridge the gap between all units, with real-time solutions minimising the chance for miscommunication and reshoots. ClearView Flex provides a secure and straightforward solution, enabling remote creatives to view and feedback on footage in real-time, ensuring consistency in the creative vision across units. 

How does it work?
Simply ship a Flexbox to the shooting location, have the DIT connect it to the video assist equipment or loop out via SDI from one of the video village monitors. Then connect it to the internet and invite your creatives from off-set or other units to view footage real-time via their tablet, laptop, phones or via Apple TV. 

Alternatively, using Moxion Immediates, footage is securely streamed moments after capture and available for viewing in Moxion via laptop, iPhone, iPad or Apple TV Apps. When 1st unit takes a break in their shooting schedule they can review 2nd unit footage at a time convenient to them. This causes minimal interruption to their day but does not risk losing a full day of shooting by waiting for traditional dailies footage to come through at the end of the day. 

Enabling off-site creative teams review and input 
In order to comply with social distancing, all non-essential crew will be kept off-site. This very likely means keeping post-production supervisors, audio, VFX and editorial as well as producers and other creative execs off the lot. The absence of the on-site editorial and VFX teams means the director will need to be able to check-in and collaborate with them daily. Unlike the split unit use case, this is less about communicating and aligning creative vision and more about ensuring that what is captured on-set is aligned with what is needed in post. Those on set need to review early assemblies to ensure their vision works and the post teams need to provide feedback on missing shots and coverage.  

With Flex, off-set creatives can provide instant feedback to those on-site and see the changes happen immediately, negating the need to go back and forth later down the line. If they’re unable to participate in a real-time discussion they can utilise Moxion Immediates to review footage in HDR minutes after filming on the same devices as ClearView Flex. On-set creatives can start on mark-ups immediately and give off-set creatives the same near-real-time HDR access to the content. Additionally, editorial and VFX teams can download the high-resolution proxy to begin adding their magic rather than having to wait for it to arrive hours later after a transcoded dailies workflow.