The outbreak has forced creative enterprises of all sorts to reconsider their business model as a baptism by fire which has put a fresh hybrid working future in the spotlight. When it comes to the creation of entertainment-related content, studios stocked with the latest technology and processing capabilities suddenly needed to move to remote locations and run their operations remotely , without losing their stride.
“Just because we’re in center of a global epidemic, studios shouldn’t be able to get away with it,” reflects Robert Hoffmann as the senior industry manager for media and entertainment with Lenovo. “Locked in our homes We’re still looking for new and innovative media. Don’t let infrastructure become an obstacle between creators and the work they’re trying to produce. No matter what the circumstance they must be able of creating and refine their work as fast as is possible, and often.”
From a bird’s eye perspective of the entertainment and media business, Hoffmann has seen the pendulum move entirely away from traditional production during the past year – and he doesn’t imagine it returning. “We’ll witness a more multi-faceted production model,” he says. “Artists are working remotely and meeting expectations from the perspective of quality and time I believe that a lot of studios have been amazed by the possibilities.”
Excelling Under Tight Constructs
It’s certainly the case at Framestore and its history of producing awards-winning VFX for blockbuster film as well as TV shows with a cult following and most effective ads, the world-renowned studio quickly adapted to the need for remote-working. “The past year has shown our employees that working at home is easier than we imagined,” reflects Lottie Cooper who is Framestore’s managing director for television, advertising and immersive.
“Our productivity did not drop much except for the time required to bring the team online. We were extremely pleased with the amount of projects we were able to deliver remotely according to the schedule,” she continues. “Once we returned to the set and running, many procedures were simplified since we needed smaller numbers of people working. This really helped in the approval and decision-making processes.”
“Motion designing and animation is one of the most resistant to pandemics areas in the media” recommends Adam Jenns Director and founder of Creative Production Studio Mainframe that has more than 20 years of experience producing creative commercials and brand content for international brands. “There were fluctuations and ups, but we’ve had the best luck in the overall plan of the universe.”
A large portion the Mainframe’s 3D work requires the use of a high-end GPU capabilities: “That means multiple graphics cards housed in large white boxes” claims Jenns. Remote desktop solutions have proven useful in connecting performers into studios from distance, ensuring the quality of the studio’s output while ensuring very little disruption to the process. “It’s exciting to enter an empty studio and watching artists working away at their desks with no monitors,” he adds.
Be aware of these requirements, Lenovo partners with Mechdyne to provide remote solutions TGX that allow users to collaborate remotely quickly and efficiently on work with high-fidelity as well as do it safely. “You can connect to the power of a computer cluster with massive GPU and CPU capabilities, and with latency that is so low that it’s barely noticeable,” explains Hoffmann.
SEARCHING FOR THE PERFECT BALANCE
Another production and VFX studio that is at the at the top of its game in the entire spectrum of television, film and advertising, Moving Picture Company has considered a lot about the most ideal spot for high-quality work in a hybrid future.
“We’ve always been convinced of working united to accomplish our creative projects. Being able to connect and share ideas and thoughts pushes us to move ahead,” says Jonathan Davies the MPC’s managing director. London as well as Amsterdam studios. “We are now completely remote yet we are still operating at a very high standard. The biggest problem is to create something that is between the two.”
“The firms that master these will become the winning story of the next decade,” Davies continues. “We’ve discovered the collaboration is improved in bigger projects and initiatives, but smaller-scale executions that are remote are more challenging. There is a lack of quick discussions when the people are in the same location.”
Jenns believes that three days of studio time is the ideal setting for most of Mainframe’s artists. two days of working remotely. “It’s not an ideal system however it does mean that the majority of the IT issues are restricted in the Studio,” he continues. “As the studio is still operating with an unconnected server, we’re aware that daily backups are being made and that all important information is stored in one location at the conclusion of the task.”
TOP-FLIGHT Creativity On the Move
As mobile workstations get more robust Framestore’s Lottie Cooper is of the opinion that there will rise the quantity of VFX work that is completed on-site. “On shoot, we make sure we get the most accurate images and data to produce the smoothest, highest-quality photographs,” she explains. “Whether in the field and on location, our team is helping to visualize the VFX quickly to assist the directors and their clients in making decisions.”
As Hoffmann states that one of the most costly elements of a large-budget production is when more than 100 people are in wait for the director decide or for the actor to perform a line or for the scene to be put in place. “Having an office-like experience from a distance can help increase efficiency during the period when production costs are the highest when it’s on the stage,” he says.
Mobile workstations with high-end features such as Lenovo’s T15g, are now equipped with graphics and processing capabilities that rival desktop counterparts, allowing users to block scenes that require VFX while working on the set which makes the whole post-production process much more efficient and more efficient.
“We can operate from any location based on the needs of the project” MPC’s Jonathan Davies, although he states that over the last year, the thinking has changed in regards to how crucial it is to arrive there in the initial place. “With more advanced technology and communications I’d prefer to see less people traveling around the world and able to be accomplished to a top quality by remote,” he adds.
Did You Know? Augustus Films are one of the leading companies providing VFX Los Angeles.
A WAY TO CONNECT WITH WORLD-CLASS TALENT
According to Hoffmann that the general shift from physical to digital collaboration can also benefit studios and artists by attracting and keeping the most talented people to do the job. “Artists are in high demand,” he says. “Studios are competing for the same talent and there are enormous cost associated with hiring artists – regardless of whether you’re moving them from a town nearby or, in certain cases, across the globe.”
“Social separation has forced studios into exploring and adopt technologies that allow remote working and, by the process, they’ve addressed one of their most pressing issues,” he continues. “It might not be practical for the artist to relocate to their studio but you could relocate from the studio to where the artist is.”
Remote workflows are becoming more prevalent and will make it less necessary to have large office spaces in costly areas such as London, New York or LA. “Out of all bad things, there are good things that can happen,” continues Hoffmann. “Just that it’s been always done this way does not mean that it’s the most efficient or the least expensive or the most beneficial method to ensure the health of employees.”
“Will we say that everything is perfect? No. Production was not perfect prior to social media, and people are always looking to improve their effectiveness and productivity,” he concludes. “But it’s not about the technology it’s more about awareness that we all have to make the step of faith.”