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Activity Forums Creative Community Conversations How’s business right now? (Also, what and where?) And how are YOU doing?

  • How’s business right now? (Also, what and where?) And how are YOU doing?

  • Tim Wilson

    March 17, 2020 at 8:22 pm

    The news has been so full of “okay, everybody’s working at home” or “everybody SHOULD work at home” that it’s easy to forget that not everyone in the world of video production has been granted this option. This post on Twitter yesterday really jumped out at me. Brit DeLillo is an editor who’s assisted on pictures including Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and Birds of Prey:

    (And yes, that was my edit to her tweet.)

    She brings up a limitation that many of you have mentioned re: remote workflows, that the security needs of your projects won’t allow it.

    And the kicker for the project she’s working on right now:

    Please don’t make this thread about judging her or Warner Bros. I’m just raising it to illustrate that it’s abundantly clear that not everybody’s experience fits into the convenient narrative that we’re all going to stay home and wait this out and that everything will work out fine.

    The additional question is, even for the folks who can work from home, or who have paid leave, what’s waiting on the other side? Vulture (the pop culture site for New York Magazine) spoke to a number of showrunners who are all-but certain that their shows won’t be reconvening to shoot suspended episodes this season. The seasons will end with whatever’s in the can already, which really REALLY raises some questions for SERIES finales that haven’t yet been filmed. Network TV Shows Won’t Be Coming Back This Season

    All of which makes “remote editing” or any kind of work from home entirely beside the point for vast swaths portions of our industry. Not a lot of cinematography happening from home at the moment (although give it time, I guess), and commercial shoots might be slowing down as companies are trying to figure out what the marketplace might look like by the time the spot airs. Live events are obviously off for a while, whether concerts or sports, which is going to have implications for news, promos, and so much more. I don’t think ANYONE has really mapped out just how far this is going to reach into our industry, partly because our industry is so vast.

    As a result, I’m cross-posting this in a variety of forums, covering audio, video, motion graphics, 3D, shooting, editing, and more.

    So whether you’re a freelancer, self-employed, corporate, worship, in EVERY aspect of the creative enterprise — what’s really truly happening with YOU? And how are you feeling about your gig’s ability to weather this storm?

    All perspectives are relevant here, no matter your age, experience, gender, or geography. We’re all just trying to figure this out, so the more voices, the better for everyone.


  • Shane Ross

    March 17, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    Senior Editor on THE CURSE OF OAK ISLAND.

    We are here, and we are working. ALL of post is working, some of production is working, although no travel for interviews or shooting is happening. At least with Oak Island, our shooting wrapped in November, and now it’s all post. But we are here, and continuing to work. No plans for the company to stop post nor some aspects of production. No plans to work from home, as we have so much footage it’s unrealistic to take home (120TB for one show alone, and more on another, and three more shows in post), and setting up a server to do cloud work isn’t a cost the company is ready to make.

    BUT…us being editors, we are social distancing. Walk in, go to edit bay, close door. Contact via email and phone only. We clean our own bays at the end of the day. I’m home, or in my car, or at work. Period.

    Little Frog Post
    Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

  • Michael Gissing

    March 17, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    I’m in the fortunate situation that normal post for me starts with interstate and remote clients posting me a drive with media to do picture and sound post. Living in a tiny country town at the bottom of the world in Tasmania is a decision I made over a decade ago that means I always work remotely from my home. So my business is largely unaffected.

    What will change is that clients mostly won’t be flying in to sit in on grade & mix run throughs. I will be sending files for them to assess remotely. Again this is something I have done in the past for tight time frame deadlines anyway. Decisions my government made to roll out a slow internet will be limiting ongoing factors for me and show how short sighted governments can be.

  • Mark Suszko

    March 18, 2020 at 12:31 am

    Man, whatever they are paying the server jockeys at Netflix and Prime, it ain’t enough! The growth to keep up with the increasing demand for streaming services is today’s gold rush.

    My work these days is largely ENG production, with webinar training production thrown in.

    This week I put up a poster at work; a picture of our remote camera in the Chicago press room, 200 miles from where I wiggle the stick and push a button in a control room in Springfield. The caption: “2020 MVP Nominee”.

    “Kilroy” as I call the robo-cam, took years to get installed. Every time I proposed it, the answer from every single person was: “it will take away our jobs”. I answered that it was a “force multiplier”, enabling our crews to do other, more demanding field work at the same time as we covered press conferences. And that it could cover when a distant field operator took sick or was otherwise unavailable, say, stuck in traffic. Nobody in the shop envisioned what has happened, not even myself, but we’re all very glad the camera is there now. The thing has paid for itself several times over in just the last three weeks, obviating the need to dispatch me and others on a 400-mile, eight-hour round trip to cover a 15-minute spray, or try and hire a local stringer of unknown quality and reliability. We’re doing daily Covid updates to the networks with it, feeding uplinks and Facebook, and a web stream and a number of stations take that feed and turn it around for their own use. “Origato”, Kilroy!

    What happens after? Who knows. I don’t make policy, and I’m not a soothsayer. But I know I can’t edit from home without having a home based RAID to work from. I maybe could get authorized remote access to the office’s archive server to pull down files to then work from locally… but that transfer speed is deadly slow and my home internet is a soda straw. Everything would have to be very tiny proxy files. I could even access the Adobe account from home if it came to it. But the security angle has already been mentioned, never mind others. Also, I’m not excited about doing work stuff on my own home machine. They’d probably need to issue me a laptop to keep things ethical. My luck is that before the curtain came down I had 99 percent of my projects done thru May. My biggest luck is, unlike some friends who will really be hurting soon, I still get paid thru all of this (Unions FTW!) I have no idea how my family’d survive without that.

    I think my shopping list of things of interest for next year’s NAB would include NAS solutions customized for work from home. And fly-packs of quick-setup remote stand-alone PTZ cams with reliable bonded cellular and ethernet to control the cam and get the shots back. I can imagine the fresh Newtek spam hitting my in-box in 3…2..1…:-)

    Long term I think webinars are going to get a bigger focus for my customers as a way to spread information and education without spreading infection. But there are two things to consider there: the tech, certainly, but also improving production value and really using instructional design to a higher level in the planning and execution of this stuff, something I’ve been advocating for years. I look at “training” videos on YouTube and a large number of them are cringe-worthy, not just in production value, but in HOW they try to teach what they are teaching. The tech is the easiest part. There is still work for English Majors here, I’m sure of it.

    On-the-fly captioning needs to improve and get easier and cheaper to do. AI is helping but it’s not fully there yet.

    One other thing: I play in a couple of hobby bands, and all our gigs and even practices have fallen thru for the season so far. The bandmates were all excited by the idea of virtual band practice using Google Hangouts, or even virtual concerts using something like Skype. I had to be the buzzkill and explain how latency and variable levels of service and bandwidth made it impractical for eleven scattered people to jam together in time, without spending a lot of money. I wish there would be an affordable answer to that, because it would help not just our stupid little ukulele band, but have massive applications across many disciplines. Including our productions.

  • Oliver Peters

    March 18, 2020 at 1:37 am

    I work out of a small, multi-seat, creative prod/post shop as the de facto senior editor/colorist. We haven’t had clients drop in to supervise sessions for at least 4 years or more. With the exception of occasional grading review sessions for small indie films, review-and-approval and even distribution has largely been online, mainly through Frame. On-prem reviews are just our own team’s director and producers.

    The facility has about 3/4 PB of NAS storage and a lot of ongoing b-roll footage that we tap into on every project. This means that working from home is only possible on a small handful of jobs.

    The huge downside is that our biggest client is a technology/entertainment development unit within a cruise company. Needless to say, everything we were working on is on pause or being slow-rolled for now. It’s only the editors who are going into the office if there are any projects to finish up or provide deliverables for. Office and support staff are working from home. So only 1 or 2 of us in the office at any given time these days. 1 editor working on a doc project for an indie film client at home.

    We had several international productions on tap, but those have been postponed. So for now, we are all just crossing our fingers that the medical/governmental efforts work and this slowdown is only temporary.

    – Oliver

    Oliver Peters –

  • Graham Quince

    March 18, 2020 at 6:31 am

    I work for Frog Education, an LMS provider (mainly schools) in the (mainly) UK

    Before two weeks ago, our biggest challenge was from “free” services offered by leaving by MS Teams and Google Classroom. My role is to support and advise schools in how to use our product to its fullest. When Covid-19’s impact was becoming clear, we offered up our quiz system with question-bank and video lessons free to any school affected. Loads have jumped on the offer – (still open if you know a struggling school, no obligation, not a sales tactic)

    Two weeks ago the phone stated ringing asking me to recommend web conferencing systems (which we don’t do directly but can integrate with). Trouble with web conf is its hard enough to get 4 people to connect with mics, headsets and bandwidth. Getting 30 kids is near impossible. Those same schools have been calling this week asking for other options. I’ve been involved in creating tools to make it easier to get started, making it so you can teach with no prep.

    Several things have been really rewarding / surprising.

    1) The schools using Frog well, have stepped up their game. The head teachers / principals have issued instructions/ guidance on how all remote lessons should work and what is required. One school has said there has to be homework set which involves a video, resources, task and assessment for every lesson plus homework. Another school that every lesson has to use a noticeboard to share resources (this is apparently the first time the senior leaders in school know what is in each lesson).

    2) Several Trust have approached us because of the Quiz offer and said “no we need more and here’s the order for 20 schools, and we need the see the staff trained by this week”. Normally we spend a month working with a school.

    3) Schools who were cancelling their contract have changed their mind and asked to renew.

    I start remote working from today. I’ve done short bursts of home-based before. Because we’re web-based I can work from anywhere. I will be accessing some files via VPN. We’re using Slack for team comms. The big challenge is our telephone support. We’ve set up a redirect system for phones and schools know to email. One issue we have always had is that schools block a lot of web conf services. I have to cycle through Uber conference, jitsi, whereby etc. as they can’t install Skype or team viewer.

    One tip I have picked up from a school, which is applicable to everyone. Get your network manager to disable auto-force password resets. If your network forces a password change every 6 weeks, you’ll have to visit the site to set a new one! – Free FX for amateur films – FX blog

  • Nuno Santos Lopes

    March 18, 2020 at 6:37 am

    I am a Portuguese DIT that works in Portugal in the called advert “service” market, which at the moment is totally at zero movement.
    Lots of jobs booked for March have been cancelled,
    and all the cinema/commercial shooting industry here in Portugal is stopped, “service” or national market.
    My last job was in 25 of February and since then….zero.
    Now I ask, how can a DIT work from home? If a DIT works on a set….? All this situation sucks!!! I wish you all the best!!! Cheers.


  • Pat Horridge

    March 18, 2020 at 8:05 am

    Remote editing of secure content is possible. I’ve used it before but it’s not ideal.
    You need a fast low latency connection and then the whole NLE is driven over a VPN connection. Twin screens and no local outputs except audio. So no 3rd monitor.
    So it can work.

    Pat Horridge
    Broadcast & Post Consultant, Trainer, Avid Certified Instructor
    Free online Tutorials at VET digital media academy online

  • Tim Wilson

    March 18, 2020 at 8:28 am

    [Pat Horridge] “Remote editing of secure content is possible. I’ve used it before but it’s not ideal.”

    I don’t think the question is whether or not it’s possible. The point is that for upwards of 100TB for a single episode of TV like Shane’s case, it may not practical, and that in Britt’s case, major studios doing blockbuster post don’t care whether it’s possible or practical — it’s just not going to happen, period. Nothing is worth more to them than their IP. I don’t see that changing any time soon.

    Getting more specific to your experience, though Pat, are you setting up companies to do this? Not that you can name names, of course, but you’ve been designing broadcast workflows for over 30 years, so I’m curious. What are people asking for this week, or maybe this month, that weren’t part of the pre-CORVID conversation? How have pressures like social distancing or productions shutting down affected your life as a consultant?

  • Morten Carlsen

    March 18, 2020 at 11:14 am

    Here in Germany Europe everything is closed. Offices like Post Facilities are still open which I think is fine…

    I believe the chances of catching corona are bigger when grocery shopping “Imagine how many articles the guy at the register touches that has been touched by 10000 individuals per day” than catching it at Warner.

    The reason for the lock down is not to prevent ONE from catching corona it is to prevent 1000 catching corona at a time as the isolation rooms in the hospitals aren’t there in sufficient numbers nor are the respiratory machines.

    I am a home office person but my children goes to kinder garten and my wife works in the medical sector so I am in a risk zone as well. That said, I am not more afraid of corona than of a normal Influenza which BTW kills 70.000 people per year in Germany alone


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