Iconik Enables SXSW Festival

Iconik Enables SXSW Festival 2021 to go Fully Virtual

Iconik has been used to securely gather, organize, and quality control all media assets for the return of South by Southwest (SXSW), an annual film, music and technology festival that was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

This year, festival organizers were able to remotely manage and collaboratively review media using iconik, enabling them to successfully move the festival online. Going virtual also meant that SXSW 2021 was more inclusive. With an audience that could participate from anywhere, and with closed captioning added in iconik so that hearing impaired attendees could be fully involved.

To achieve an online-only event for 2021, iconik was used to collate and organize the 80 feature films, 92 short films, 70 music showcases and 541 conference sessions that made up the full showcase of SXSW content. Iconik allowed the SXSW team to utilize workflows that could be easily adopted by those who had never used media management tools before.

Gabe Van Amburgh, Film Exhibition Manager, SXSW commented; “When we explained what iconik would allow us to do, you could sense the team’s relief. The feedback I continued to get was, ‘Wow, this actually works better than anything else we’ve tested for online events.’”

SXSW organizers needed to connect with each other and contributors, to manage media submissions remotely. Most of the team were unfamiliar with media management tools, but were able to tailor the essential iconik features they would need to use. This made it easy to onboard new users, with a simplified workflow that streamlined the quality control process for commenting on and approving content.

Due to the volume of media that had to be processed in the lead-up to the event deadline, SXSW needed to automate workflows wherever possible. The iconik API made it easy to integrate with third-party video transcoders that would process 100s of videos at time, to create various versions with different intros, end cards, and sponsor messages. 

Gabe Van Amburgh, Film Exhibition Manager, SXSW explained; “The real challenge was to collect content for two months and then push it out within two weeks. It was a bottleneck that we could only address by leveraging our systems in the hybrid cloud. The end result was better than if we’d had a whole team manually downloading and editing content. There’s no other product that allows us to gather content, organize it, and quality check it more efficiently than iconik.”

SXSW Partner, Garrett Sergeant, CTO, Simple DCP added; “You never know what will be valuable later. Managing everything in one place keeps the legacy of events in view. Organizers can see the history, find big moments that shaped the event at the time and then became a catalyst for the future.”

The iconik platform is designed to allow users and content creators to securely manage and share their media no matter where it is stored. It enables a collaborative workflow while working from anywhere in the world.

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