At Exclaim, we have teams that are constantly producing new projects – from crews that travel the country (and the world) to animators and editors back at Exclaim. COVID-19 has obviously had a massive impact on all of our lives. As we get back to work, the effects of the pandemic present us with some unique video production challenges.
We’ve always thought of video as one of the best ways to connect viewers – allowing them to meet new people and transport them to places they’ve never been. But how do we do it safely and responsibly? It’s time to get creative – but now with masks and plenty of hand sanitizer!
Open for Business
Exclaim is working safely and distantly. We currently have multiple video projects in various states of production. For projects that require only post production (animations, motion graphics and editing), our video teams brought their workstations home and are able to work with zero impact. It’s not the same as being in the same room as each other – but collaboration is actually super easy. We access client assets via our secure VPN and work together via (sometimes marathon) screen sharing sessions. It works better than you might think.
Our teams share project assets using all the platforms. Dropbox is working incredibly well for intense production file syncing. But we’re also using OneDrive, pCloud and Creative Cloud extensively. We use Simian as our client review platform – but we’re also investigating other SaaS options such as Frame.io.
We’ve always worked on a variety of different video projects, from animated explainer videos to location-filmed case studies. Especially at the beginning of this crisis, social distancing has forced us to innovate on how to record new videos remotely, so we’ve added some new types of projects to our portfolio.
Prior to COVID-19 we only had a few projects that required videos be filmed via webcam. Now we’re getting requests for this approach almost daily. Although it is fairly easy to record a web conference via Zoom or WebEx, the quality of these recordings is not always the best.
We’ve been getting the best results via Skype using the Network Device Interface (NDI) option. NDI offers a higher level of video and audio quality than traditional web conferencing. Services like Mimo Live allow us to record the isolated streams for each speaker and edit in post.
It’s also possible to get some great looking video by recording the content locally using your phone. The sensors on many cell phones are incredible. Properly configured, they can record some high quality video. In a case like this, Exclaim will work with the talent to setup the equipment, frame the shot and direct the shoot remotely. Once we get a great take, the talent is able to send us the files and we can do the edit on our workstations.
It is possible to send cameras to talent. Our team ships the camera and walks talent through the filming process. When finished, the footage is then sent back to us (electronically or via FedEx). Mirrorless cameras like the Sony RX100 are easy to use and look great.
Filming at a Distance
Our goal has always been to create a safe and creative environment when filming – and with COVID-19 it’s even more important now. We’re super sensitive to everyone’s safety concerns and preferences and are still able to film during this crisis.
Truth is, we don’t have to be close to each other to shoot video. Interviews can be conducted at a distance and camera teams can film from farther away.
As companies start to define their own workplace rules, Exclaim has developed an additional list of procedures to help protect everyone on set. These rules will continue to evolve as the circumstances of the crisis change:
- Prior to the film date, each crew member will be required to fill out an Exclaim wellness questionnaire.
- Each crew member will take his/her temperature on the morning of the production and text a picture confirmation to the producer. Exclaim producers will also collect temperatures of crew before the production.
- Exclaim is providing each crew member and client with PPE and ample amounts of hand sanitizer. Each crew member will be required to wear and actively change PPE throughout the production.
- All members of the crew are required to practice appropriate distancing.
- Equipment and other materials will be wiped down frequently with alcohol disinfecting wipes.
We know that this has been an incredibly difficult time for everyone and video production seems like a small thing compared to what is going on in the world. As we all get back to work, everyone at Exclaim is determined to make sure our clients get the communication tools they need – safely, responsibly and creatively.