Post Magazine

May/June 2021

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hen COVID-19 emerged last year, it turned a lot of production and post production processes upside down with its mandated travel restrictions and forced social distancing. Thankfully First Mile Technologies, whose mission is to provide "creative connectivity solutions for the future", was already well positioned to help customers rethink how they move their content and metadata in realtime. Recently, the Encino, CA-based produc- tion company Pitch 5 Productions (www. reached out to us to brainstorm on ways of reinventing and streamlining its production processes on- set in a bid to adhere to social distancing rules. Setting up a 'virtual video village' became the key to allowing creative remote editing collaboration by streaming live video in realtime to an online collab- oration platform. The real power of the virtual video village, built around the First Mile Frame, is making online collaboration possible on any device, with ultra-low latency, from anywhere across the globe. The virtual video village allowed clients to watch camera outputs from separate locations, and it meant the Pitch 5 team could avoid the risks related to a classic video village, where a crowd of creatives usually forms around the monitors. It sig- nificantly reduced the number of people rubbing shoulders and the amount of equipment needed on-location, while pro- viding a quicker route to editing and post. Long before the pandemic shut down the world, First Mile had been pioneer- ing how data is moved from set to post. Traditionally, data is moved on hard drives from set to post, an archaic and physical process that often requires data managers to travel each day after a shoot wraps. First Mile has been push- ing this process to the cloud, helping customers transport live video and large- scale data rapidly and securely using a mix of cellular, fiber and broadband networks with traditional and low-or- bit satellites. This is a game-changing approach, as it allows creatives to work more productively throughout the shoot- ing and editing process. Production companies are now able to send live feeds from set to anywhere they need to go, collaborating in realtime. They can move files — either proxies or full resolution — almost instantly over long distances, whether they are good takes or reference shots, scenes for quick editorial turnaround or critical shots destined for the VFX pipeline. The video village is a bit of an institu- tion, and many production companies were initially reluctant to change their processes. That was until the pandemic reared its head, and suddenly, the ability to power a virtual video village at short notice became an asset. To bring a virtual video village to life for Pitch 5 Productions, First Mile Technologies partnered with connectivity expert Dejero. The exact technical workflow of a virtual video village depends on what locations are involved. Some crews are working with fixed line fiber internet connections and mostly require business continuity support. In more remote, off-grid locations, a camera operator can shoot live footage and send the high-quality video in realtime via a Dejero EnGo mobile transmitter back to a Dejero WayPoint receiver located at base camp some distance away. A Dejero GateWay network aggregation device is a great solution to bring reliable connec- tivity to this base camp. From there, the video, voice or data is directed through the Dejero WayPoint receiver out to monitors, where it can be viewed at base camp and creative direction can be provided back to the set in realtime. Some teams don't use a base camp at all, and instead connect multiple people in different locations worldwide via an online platform, such as First Mile's Web RTC platform. For connectivity on extremely remote sets, where cellular connections are limited, the Dejero CellSat solution, available with the EnGo 260, blends cellular with Ku-band IP satellite to boost bandwidth and reliably transport high-quality live video from virtually anywhere. The key to the success of a virtual video village is the Dejero networking solution that routes data on a packet level across different link technologies from multiple providers. It avoids packet loss, jitter and bandwidth fluctuations that usually occur on a single cellular network or traditional failover solutions. Dejero's 'smart blending technology' intelligently combines multi- ple network connections and dynamically manages fluctuating bandwidth, packet loss and latency differences of individual connections in realtime. For the production of iHeartRadio's At Home Sessions, Pitch 5 was able to con- nect iHeartMedia's director, talent and the creative teams at a brand partner in realtime. The editing process was greatly sped up, as the footage was logged directly from the remote video village, overcoming any of the delays. "Being able to see the content being shot from the camera via the Dejero EnGo mobile transmitter is a game changer," says Pitch 5's Brian Gallagher. "Not having to rely on a wi-fi signal has been really helpful, since the EnGo has its own cell signal. I have not found anything as close to the reliability the EnGo possesses for connectivity and stability when you're working on-set, on a production.'' PIONEERING PRODUCTION & POST IN THE TIME OF COVID BY BRANDON COOPER CEO FIRST MILE TECHNOLOGIES LOS ANGELES & TORONTO HTTPS://FIRSTMILE.TECH REIMAGINING THE TRADITIONAL VIDEO VILLAGE W WORKFLOW 30 POST MAY/JUNE 2021 Pitch 5 connected multiple creatives for IHeartRadio's At Home Sessions.

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