2015 trends: One area of production technology which has exploded in 2014 and is set to make further inroads next year is the growing trend towards remote workflows, in all areas of production from television to film and commercials. 

Post companies are certainly reporting an increase in demand for greater flexibility from clients who want to be able to review rushes and be kept abreast of progress on edits wherever they are. Underpinning this development is the availability of more widely available, faster and more reliable connectivity. Plus there are many more systems to choose from, ranging from platforms from major manufacturers such as Avid (Interplay and Interplay Sphere, rebranded as Media Composer Cloud earlier this year) to the availability of specialist web-based logging and previewing systems such as Forscene, used on shows such as Sky’s Got to Dance and Discovery’s Gold Rush. 

Post houses report that producers can really see the benefits of online approvals, online viewing of rushes and reviewing of edits and work in progress. It’s a bit of a no brainer because it’s cheaper, faster and more convenient than sending out bikes with the latest version for review. People can click on a link when they are ready and heads of production like the tracking capabilities which some remote systems offer which tell them who has seen what.

The other big benefit to the producer is that rushes can be logged and rough cuts assembled without setting foot in an expensive edit suite.

The only limitation to the growth of remote workflow technology seems to be where key creative decision making requires a more intimate face-to-face relationship between editor and director. Or where bandwidth limitations make the sending of high resolution files in real time unfeasible.

Another issue is that if high-end displays are needed to review work, then the right kit must be installed at both ends of the link, which needs investment. Because of the requirements for high-end monitoring, you might think that grading and vfx would be one of the last places for remote workflows to take a hold. But you’d be wrong.

The growing international profile of large post and vfx businesses has seen remote workflows beginning to take a hold in grading and vfx. In fact, remote grading workflows are really changing the way in which some of the UK’s best know vfx companies are working.

Many of the UK’s leading post houses now have editing and grading resources spread throughout the world and have invested to make remote grading and vfx workflows a reality.

This means that colourists and vfx designers can collaborate on projects despite being in different countries.

More and more post companies are fitting out rooms in their facilities with the same calibrated high-end displays as are available in their grading suites so that clients can book sessions with colourists anywhere in the world and work with them as though they were in the same room. The benefit for agencies, directors and DPs is that they can handpick the best talent worldwide for the job at hand.

David Wood