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There are a few options available to enable editing with your director, or if you are assisting your editor, when you’re unable to be in the same room or premises. There are both low and high end options depending on budget constraints.

DEGNZ board member Margot Francis has been editing remotely during the level 4 lockdown and describes the Low end system she uses:

Zoom has a screen sharing feature which we are using. It works mostly pretty well, the director can see my timeline in real time and we can talk etc but there is a lag when we actually want to screen the cut on the director’s end so we do an QT output and upload to them.

We also send bins back and forth – the important thing in editing remotely like this is that the media has to be mirrored – the editor, director, and post house have to have mirrored media. In our case all media has to go first to the post house and then sent to editor/director.

I am also using Chrome Remote Desktop – kind of like Teamviewer so that I can communicate easily with the post house about importing new media. We haven’t checked whether we can also screen remotely.

We have an FTP site for importing avid media – installing software such as Filezilla or PC/Mac or Cyberband.

For me all this takes longer but I’m sure there are other ways to go.

There are some workflow considerations connected to mirroring the media. This upload of April 2020 sets them out clearly – go to point 2. Islands of Media.

And while you’re there, check out point 5. Media in the Cloud: Avid Edit on Demand which is an early background on Avid EOD.

Which takes us to CLOUD BASED, High end solutions:

James Brookes of Department of Post uses a Cloud option:

There are plenty of options. We have a film using Evercast at the moment, check out their video here.

We can also achieve a similar thing through our Light Post setup where we send the NDI stream from Avid to the input of Zoom. That gets you the full frame out of the Avid to a Zoom window.

We also use H265 encoders to send SDI streams to producers’ homes; they connect a stream in VLC and can see the Avid output.

Images & Sound also offer Evercast which they find very reliable, being able to stream full HD. Andrew Ross of I&S says, “It is an all-in-one solution that we have used with some big name productions, including Netflix jobs and a couple of overseas movies that were edited here so it seems to pass the security tests put in place by those companies.”

Images & Sound are also test driving Moxion’s new Realtime feature.

A laptop may still be required for communication where Zoom/Skype is required.

Working from Park Road Post Production, Assistant Editor Scott Milligan is working on Avid Edit on Demand to support his editor in Los Angeles. Scott shared the following:

Below is an interview I did with Avid along with my current remote workmates, about working on Avid Edit On Demand, and gives a rough overview of how it works. This was early on in the project, we have since advanced our workflow, and are now able to automatically sync media and bins between systems.

Scott’s interview is Avid Post Cafe Episode 4 – Global Production.

Avid will set you up with a plan to suit your project. This will be a set cost per month based on the number of virtual machines, TBs of storage, uploading and downloading of data, as well as time logged.

During a conversation with Scott, the following points came up:

With Avid EOD (and Evercast), files are uploaded to the Cloud and are then accessible by as many users you want – no need for drives or big uploads to be shuffling between locations.

Essentially you are remoting into a machine which is connected to a Nexis server, so most ways work the same way as working off a Nexis in a post facility.

As you are remoting to another machine, your local machine doesn’t need to be powerful. Avid EOD will work well off a mac mini.

NDI in Avid can be used to output your video signal via software such as Zoom or Evercast.

Make sure you have good fibre internet. WIFI signal can fluctuate – So it’s better to be wired in. Think of it like a pipeline from Avid EOD to you – anything along that pipeline can cause the information to move slowly.

Depending on your distance to the server you choose, there can be latency issues. For example, using a server in the USA from NZ results in about a four frame delay.

Trying to keep it simple is best – Share cuts to several people at once using software like PIX or Moxion. Work with the director, sharing the video signal via NDI, and talk via audio call. Setup automatic syncing of data using transfer folders via Dropbox, Resilio, or Filecatalyst Hotfolder.

Most of Avid Edit on Demand detail can be found here.

Both Evercast and Avid EOD are high end products and charge accordingly. They can be set up inside 24 hours with no additional hardware.

Scott also recommends the cheap remote desktop app Jump Desktop.

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With the vaccine within sight and just when we thought all we had to worry about was who was going to win the America’s Cup… here we go again.

It’s only through the news, our friends and other sources do we comprehend the horror of what COVID has perpetrated on many parts of the world. Our experience has been minor in comparison. The low numbers of check-ins using the COVID app has highlighted the nonchalance with which many Kiwis have treated the threat. And now here it is amongst us once more.

Fortunately, many productions schooled through our last lockdowns have maintained their vigilance and practices. A visit to Amazon’s Lord of the Rings studio locations highlighted that. Screensafe’s and SIGANZ’s considerable effort, with all the guilds and associations pitching in, means we have the resources and now the experience to provide the safest environment possible for production amidst a pandemic. Let’s hope we don’t have to rely on these for too long.

The fund NZFC and NZ On Air operates for COVID-hit productions has already been used by a large number of projects. How much money is still available has suddenly become a pressing issue. As will the availability of more if we are faced with a longer time in lockdown.

We got away almost unscathed from the Pullman outbreak. This looks much more serious with the UK variant of the virus confirmed in the community cases.

In the meantime, DEGNZ will continue to operate as we did through Levels 2, 3, and 4. We are all working from home, so office hours are essentially the same as usual. Once more we have to adjust our events to cope with the situation. We will be communicating with you about any workshop or event that was already on our calendar and that may be affected.

As always, the guild will be available to our director and editor members with advice or assistance, so do not hesitate to reach out. Hopefully, we will not have to take on a bigger picture role because of a prolonged lockdown period—having done a lot of work already, the screen sector is in a lot better shape than it was the first time around.

As I sit in front of my computer at home listening to the rain falling on a vege garden and property that welcomes it with open arms, and another sunny weekend just gone, I sincerely wish that all is over by midnight Wednesday. I will then be able to look forward to the coming weekend, which will hopefully deliver good surf so that I can try out my new surfboard lying untested in its bag in the carport.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director