The transition to remote content production cloud workflows can be daunting for producers and content creators. The pandemic has forced many to act out of necessity, bumping forward decisions on technology just to keep production ticking over.
Now production under socially distanced Covid-protocols has settled into a new routine. So much so that the benefits of remote collaborative workflows are clear and present – not just to safeguard everyone’s health but to enhance creative decision making and reduce the bottom line.
Camera-to-cloud (C2C) solutions, in particular, are now essential to keeping remote teams and units aligned and even accelerating the production schedule.
Like many of the remote tools in widespread use, C2C technology itself is not new but there are rogue solutions that have seemingly arrived overnight. Use these at your peril or bank on the most battle-hardened solutions from Sohonet and Moxion.
Leading studios and world-class filmmakers have been relying on high-quality, tried-and-tested C2C solutions from Sohonet and Moxion for years to send footage from cameras to collaborators immediately.
Now both teams have united to combine their tools into the most powerful C2C workflow around.
Hugh Calveley, director and founder of Moxion, explains: “Over the last five years, Moxion has focused on improving the efficiency of productions by dramatically reducing the time it takes for people to access the footage they need to do their jobs – footage coming from set or generated by postproduction.
“Whereas with our system you don’t need to be live to review, Sohonet ClearView Flex is a real-time streaming system that allows people to react with live feedback. The combination of these digital solutions is powerful, seamless and unrivalled.”
Chuck Parker, CEO, Sohonet, says, “The concept of a cloud-based platform which can enable even an iPhone to operate as an editing suite has gained even greater urgency with COVID-19. Camera to cloud can keep remote teams truly connected and in sync whether they’re shooting on a second unit down the road, or sitting in an edit suite thousands of miles away.”
Don’t take our word for it. Both ClearView Flex and Moxion Immediates have been uniquely recognized with a prestigious Lumiere Award bestowed by the Advanced Imaging Society.
Editors, post producers and executive producers have also praised the system in action.
“When we standardized on Moxion as the dailies platform for all STX Entertainment productions, we knew we were getting the best dailies viewing experience,” says Tim Weyers – SVP Post Production, STX Entertainment, ‘Hustlers’, ‘21 Bridges’, ‘Mile 22’. “But we didn’t foresee how extensively Moxion would be used by our executives, our marketing teams and even our Board. It has made our lives so much easier.”
How Sohonet and Moxion C2C workflow combines
Moxion’s C2C solution – instant dailies, known as Immediates – enable you to view the latest footage whenever and wherever it suits you, online or offline.
With Sohonet’s ClearView Flex, you can deliver real-time workflows between on-set stakeholders, off-set creatives and second units.
Together, the solutions enhance creative workflows all the way from pre- to post-production.
“When you put these tools in people’s hands they find the most amazing uses for them,” Calveley says. “During production of Unhinged [the 2020 action feature starring Russell Crowe, directed by Derrick Borte] the director and DP used Immediates to cut the shoot time allocated for a major car chase sequence in half.
“Normally, the crew would have to go back to the video village to get notes then reset the scene. Using Moxion they were able to reference the footage of their run as they were resetting along with notes and slashed the allotted schedule in half.”
Dailies have been the quickest route to on-set creative decision making for decades but it is called dailies for a reason.
“Footage is processed often overnight and returned to set – sometimes you’re waiting 24 hrs,” Parker says. “That’s no longer efficient for the pressures of modern production especially when there is an alternative on tap. The cost of reshoots and additional travel to and from location can easily by 15-20% on the bottom line. Anything that helps reduce the cost of pick-up shots by enabling instant creative decision making is of tremendous value.”
For efficiencies in virtual production, you need to have editorial onset faster. One way to solve this is by having editorial on set but that may not be possible living with COVID, or cost-effective going forward. With C2C tools the editor can be safely screened in an adjacent zone, or in their home office, or on another continent and still participate in the onset workflow.
Let’s illustrate with an example. A director working with the main unit in LA wants to see what the second unit in New York has shot. The second unit camera is attached to video assist QTake which is recording proxy footage of what the camera records in real-time. This footage is sent instantly to the Moxion/Sohonet cloud where it can be viewed in less than 90 seconds on any browser or IoS device including Apple TV by an editor.
The editor – who can be located anywhere – can view the live stream and perform an edit (footage can be transcoded into an Avid friendly DNX format for the editor to drop it into an edit). Then, using Sohonet ClearView Flex, the director can view that edit live on their iPad. They can actually have an over the shoulder editing session advising on the cut there and then as if they were with the editor in the suite.
With the edited footage signed off it can be sent back via the Moxion/Sohonet cloud and directly back to QTake for the second unit director to see the cut in context of what they shot just a few minutes ago.
The whole turnaround time from second unit to edit via review and back to the second unit is less than half an hour helping compress shooting schedules. Now, that is an accelerated workflow.
Calveley says, “C2C will dramatically increase the speed of innovation by slashing wasted time on set. A key part of keeping the art filmmaking fluid and creative is having the ability to receive immediate feedback, to make a decision, refine judgements and to keep going. The value will show on the screen with better pictures and better stories.”
Similar workflows can be applied to any key production head. Art Directors or Executive Producers, for example, unable to get onto set because of limitations in the number of people permitted can review progress remotely. C2C further enables them to work at a location of their choosing, or on the go, maximizing their own time while reducing travel cost.
“Off-set creatives can be in direct contact with those on-site, providing live feedback that negates the need to go back and forth later down the line,” says Parker. “So, your teams can feel connected to life on-set with an over-the-shoulder collaboration experience.
“With Sohonet and Moxion together the creative team can work the way that’s most effective for you. Your creatives and crew can review footage, add mark-ups and make key creative decisions as a team, either in real-time or in your own time.”
Post and production are already intertwined and will become more so post Covid using C2C tools to share and feedback in real-time.
The mantra of ‘fix it in post’ has changed to ‘fix it in pre’ and is changing to ‘fix it in production’,” says Buzz Hayes, Global Lead Entertainment Industry, Google Cloud. “It is imperative that the industry not only find a way to get back to work but a better way to get to work than the position we left it.”