Long distance, real-time creative collaboration
Since the very first moving picture and black and white films, to high-resolution digital video, and now with the seismic shift to the cloud, media production technology has undergone quite an evolution, yet film sets remain a bit of a dark place when it comes to connectivity.
Wherever the set location, the freedom to create without limitation relies on implementing a resilient connectivity backbone that can scale to suit a production’s unique needs.
Things happen, life happens, travel conflicts, grueling shoot schedules, tight turnarounds, global pandemics. Just because all decision-makers are not physically able to be on set doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the creative energy that traditional video villages generate. Dejero enables video villages to occur virtually, so you can still have a live presence on set, even if you’re hundreds of miles away. With Dejero, comes the robust connectivity that’s required to connect sets to the cloud. We are talking about uninterrupted, rock-solid connectivity.
With this virtual workflow, DOPs, directors, editors and agencies can provide instantaneous feedback on the creative and technical aspects, including positioning, camera focus, lighting, and costumes to the production team on location.
Despite all the advances in technology in film and media production, many film/production companies are still transporting physical drives from set to post production every day. This process leaves something to be desired in terms of security and bottlenecks the entire post-production process.
Dejero’s Smart Blending Technology enables the rapid transfer of large files from set directly to post-production, eliminating the need to physically transport hard drives. On the security front, not only are you backing-up precious content and safeguarding against the failure or loss of hard drives, but you’re also speeding up the whole process.
Ground-breaking cinematic production vehicle
In 2020, innovative cinematic production and dynamic camera movement company, KALA, worked with integrated connectivity expert First Mile Technologies to install Dejero solutions into its cutting-edge production vehicle. Founded by award-winning Director of Photography Vinit Borrison, KALA finds creative ways to tell gripping stories for its clients in television, film and advertising and has dedicated itself to developing a unique camera car system which drives the action.
“The vehicle is designed to work in whatever environment we find ourselves in,” says Borrison. “It must be able to accept different camera rigs, arms, heads, lights and audio equipment; whatever it needs to capture a specific shot. Inside, we use super-efficient batteries to power everything, and we’ve been able to marry high-level production equipment with more cost-effective tools. Everything is tethered to a Dejero communications system, and we have SDI splitters to feed up to nine separate monitors in the car.”
The vehicle has space for up to four people; someone assigned to the remote-control camera arm, a camera operator controlling the camera and a focus puller to make sure the pictures are pin sharp, as well as the driver who responds to direction as to where the vehicle needs to be.
Most Dangerous Game
Recently, KALA worked on Most Dangerous Game, a TV series, directed by Phil Abraham and starring Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz. It debuted on streaming site Quibi in April 2020, then released on the Roku Channel in May 2021, and found an even wider audience on Amazon Prime as a two-hour feature film in May 2022.
The premise centers around a man who must survive a 24-hour period while being hunted down by ruthless killers, and it required several exhilarating car sequences to be filmed in downtown Toronto.
Coordination between different members of the production team was vital – there can be up to seven or eight people required, each with a very specialized job that needs precise execution, in a timely manner, in order to capture specific moments.
With multiple stakeholders on any one project, reliable communication is key to keep everyone in the loop. In addition to the stunt car and the film car, productions often use a third vehicle where the creative team can see what’s happening on camera in real time to ensure the film car shots have the right dramatic impact.
“Latency is a big challenge with video transmission systems because everyone needs to see the shot when the camera sees it,” says Borrison. “If the monitor is delayed, the car has already moved and the focus has been missed.”
There are also unique logistical issues to consider. Low-latency video transmission has traditionally been short range, so the chase vehicle needs to be close enough to receive line-of-sight transmissions but coordinated enough to stay out of sight. Maintaining formation while avoiding being in the shot takes skill, highly specialized drivers and flawless coordination. One small error can complicate the shoot and add significant costs.
“What is kickass about our Dejero system is that we can have all the stakeholders in one central location and send low-latency video images over the air to almost anywhere. It’s less people to communicate with, less hassle, less time wasted coordinating vehicles – it’s a game changer.”
Too much traffic
Each shoot is as unique as its environment and will often require different solutions, cameras and technologies.
“What works well in some locations doesn’t always work in others,” says Borrison. “Remote transmissions in areas which already have a lot of data traffic can cause big problems, and in a downtown area there can be so much wireless interference comms can be compromised.”
In downtown Toronto, KALA used its EnGo video mobile transmitters to combine multiple IP networks, including cellular and satellite, to guarantee connectivity for real-time, low latency remote connectivity.
Not enough transport
In other locations where network connectivity can be challenging and unreliable, such as the countryside, beaches, mountains, digital image solutions provider for commercials, movies and TV shows, DITBrazil uses Dejero EnGo transmitters and GateWay network aggregation devices, to share live camera feeds from set with remote collaborators dispersed across the country.
Recent DITBrazil projects that implemented this new virtual workflow to streamline production processes include Toyota, Honda, Nubank and Heinz commercials, as well as the stunning music video “Pandeiro Mix Tropical,” produced for Brazilian beer brand Devassa.
“With Dejero as the connectivity backbone, it ensures our customers’ creative teams can collaborate remotely with the production teams on set in real-time to provide efficient direction and feedback, as well as speeding up the post-production process,” says Felipe Delgado, founder of DITBrazil. “Now we have adopted this workflow ‘as the norm’ because it reduces our clients’ resources, time and cost by at least 20 per cent.”
Don’t Rely on a single connection
Whether you’re shooting a music video on a mountain top, or a car chase in downtown Toronto, relying on a single internet connection can bring your film, television, commercial, or live event production to a standstill, disrupting creative energy and costing time and money.
This type of technology is revolutionary for the film, TV and commercial production industry, allowing us to take things to the next level in terms of where filmmakers and their clients can film, at what cost, and the reliability and speeds at which they can transfer video and data over a mix of cellular and satellite.