As working-from-home (WFH) and flexible working become the new norm, video production teams across countless industries have had to think on their feet, get creative, and adopt new approaches to triumph over ever-emerging obstacles.
“We’ve made incremental changes to almost everybody’s workflow,” Eric Lund, senior manager, post technology at Warner Media Studios explained to IPV. “We’ve made everything better and better, and we’ve discovered new things.”
READ MORE: The Future of Video Production (IPV)
When the pandemic began, Warner Media’s digital services production team seized the opportunity to flex their adaptability. For instance, they were approached about editing a Zoom-based talk show — a challenging project in and of itself, but the team needed to have it on-air in only about five days.
After the production team shot it remotely on their Zoom systems, they sent it over to Warner Media Studios. They cut the show and did the sound design in New York, color corrected and finished it remotely in Atlanta, and then sent it to a finishing editor, who prepped it all for air and got it out under the deadline.
The team also completed digital premieres for three television shows and two movies, as well as a launch for HBO Max. The HBO Max launch included a full-day event and a 25-minute internal video, involving around 40 interviews.
“We ramped up very quickly, and we were able to get essentially everyone back to work. We just said, all right — here is the new reality, let’s do it!” said Jacob Anderson, Manager, Asset Management, Warner Media Studios.
COPA90’s Smart Cloud Move
Sports broadcasters have always drawn heavily upon archive footage — it’s helpful for reels, highlights, and more. But current circumstances have made archive footage all the more important, as teams repurpose it to make new, engaging content for fans. However, many sports broadcasters struggle to organize and provide their remote-working team with easy, speedy access to archive footage.
According to Barry Flanigan, Chief Product Officer of soccer fan site COPA90, it’s vital now more than ever to have the right tools to utilize and deploy the archive more effectively. “That will very definitely continue beyond this crisis. That’s something that we’ve always planned to do with our cloud infrastructure.”
As long ago as 2018, ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia, the team decided to move the majority of their content workflows into the cloud. This made sense — most of COPA90’s ‘human interest’ sports content is evergreen, continuing to resonate even when it’s a few years old.
When lockdown measures hit, this prep-work put the team in a prime position. Much of their footage was already in the cloud, tagged with metadata, enabling easy access. This made it easier for the team to repackage archive content at a time when shooting fresh content wasn’t really possible.
Flanigan says, “I think we made a smart decision early on to move to the cloud, which is now paying dividends at a time like this.”
Perhaps no one knows more about the necessity to prepare for the future of video than traditional broadcasters. To compete with OTT platforms, broadcasters must adapt, stay flexible, and seek new avenues for success. This means increasing and diversifying their long-term outputs.
“These times have allowed us to really step up in a lot of ways and see areas where we’ve become stagnant and areas where we didn’t even know we wanted to expand,” says Michelle Conroy, production manager at NYC facility Crew Cuts.
There’s no doubt that the shift to WFH culture has revolutionized the broadcasting industry. “Before the pandemic I think the industry would have gone through quite a lot of pain in trying to convince people to edit from home,” says Brian Leonard, Head of Engineering, IMG.
However, Leonard notes that thanks to this transition, the door has flung open to welcome new possibilities, such as broadcasters expanding their editing capabilities beyond what was possible in their previous physical spaces: “In theory, where before we had 50 suites on-site, with people working from home, we could go up to 60.”
And very notably, during these times, the broadcasting industry has also seen a shift in the types of content audiences are willing to engage with. Recorded Zoom conversations and cell phone videos have become widely accepted forms of content.
According to Leonard, this trend has also enabled more inclusion and diversity: “We’re talking to single moms who wouldn’t have been able to come into the studio. We’re bringing in a more diverse clientele.”
Of course, for broadcasters looking to capitalize on all of the lucrative trends and possibilities, it’s crucial to build an infrastructure that will stand the test of time.
As Sesame Street editor Memo says, “Our business is lucky that it happened in 2020, when there’s enough of a remote infrastructure that we could actually make it work.”
The common denominator in all these examples is working with a media asset management system, specifically the Curator software from IPV.
Among its attributes is the ability for productions to extend access to media files remotely via the cloud, to automate proxy creation and save on bandwidth, the ability to track assets and to use rich metadata to search content. These aren’t unique to IPV but the case studies of its clients are: “In these ‘unprecedented times’ and beyond, there’s no question that MAM will play a critical role in video production’s long-term future.”
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