Remote Filming One Year On
Covid-19 forced the production industry to become familiar with remote filming solutions when Covid-19 measures meant international travel restrictions, social distancing and smaller crew sizes on set. Remote filming technology allows clients and collaborators to view live feeds and playback from cameras on set from anywhere in the world. One year on, advertising, unscripted, long format and stills have all integrated the system and it looks set to stay on set long after Covid-19 restrictions end.
Remote Filming was launched prior to the pandemic by established producers Yanina Barry and CTO Alex Seery to provide a more secure and intuitive solution to remote viewing, feedback and review on set for their international clients. Very soon after launching Covid-19 saw demand dramatically increase when the industry embraced it as a mode of survival.
“The fact we are able to give people the tools to carry on shooting has been thrilling,” says Remote Filming co-founder Yanina Barry. “Things have massively changed in the past year: the fear factor has completely gone and everybody knows what remote filming is now. People are more interested in finding the right product for their situation.”
“Remote Filming has some big differences to other providers which has established our reputation as a service provider” explains Barry. Firstly, the system is compatible with any device, including Mac, PC, tablets and phones. The second thing is that there is no need to download an app. “Often client devices are locked, they can't download apps. So the fact that it's easily viewable on all devices is really vital” says Barry. In addition, the system works with or without video playback which has allowed it to transition between the needs of scripted and unscripted productions. Finally, we give 24/7 tech support via phone.
“Crew on the ground find it so easy because they don't have to think about it, integration is seamless,” says Barry, “ and because the lag has been so small, it is such a mobile set up and allows real time communication and cooperation globally, we have seen it being used in extraordinary and unique circumstances.” These vary from being used on Russian arms, on a mountain top in Kenya, tracking around Tokyo for four hours on top of a truck, on a horseback galloping in America, Le Mans track and multicamera global shoots in different cities from Shanghai to Berlin, and Toronto. It has been quite extraordinary.”
Remote technology quickly became integral to production during Covid-19, but as we head towards a post pandemic world will it continue to play such a major role? “I don't think there's going to be any reduction in the demand for remote filming options,” says Barry, "there are too many advantages to having the system on sets that production teams want to keep."
One advantage of remote systems is the insight and control they can provide to larger multi-unit productions. “In long-form, the production teams are always working on the next thing so the fact that they can just now routinely have the cameras up in production offices is going to be a massive advantage. People will be able to continue to be involved with their shoots without the stress of necessarily having to attend and be on set. That's a huge pressure that remote filming alleviates.” In other departments, Remote Filming has seen an uptake in the use of witness cameras as well as glam cams in makeup and costume departments.
The real-time insight it provides with second unit filming is another example of creative control provided by remote solutions. “Directors, editors, VFX supervisors and other members of the production team can drop into a 2nd Unit shoot in real time, allowing far more immediate involvement." explains Barry.
“We’ve also been quite surprised by the demand from stills” says Barry. “The fact that there's no extra piece of kit and that they can stream the stills direct from, from their MacBook has had a huge impact.”
Another practical pressure point that remote filming can alleviate is the demand on unit bases in city centre locations. “The stress for unit bases to be close to the shooting location can be very tough. A remote filming system enables people to be more distanced in suitable venues adjacent or close to the location rather than standing on the street. From that point of view, it's marvellous.”
Continued demand for remote filming technology across all formats has seen Remote Filming to continue to develop its offering as the solution look set to stay. Most recently requests from dramas brought about the launch a multi camera option has meant that viewers have control over which camera to look at over one live stream. Another development has been multifactor security logins, “the point of the MFA is it can't be shared. Only people whose email addresses have been pre-approved can view that link well those emails have to be approved. It's particularly useful if you are shooting with a celebrity for instance. This service is mostly being used for new product launches or for financial institutions, and on certain celebrity shoots,” says Yanina.
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