Case Study: The Anatomy Of A Remote Video Production

Since the onset of the pandemic, the production industry has adjusted to smaller crews and additional safety measures. Meanwhile, companies are reluctant to send their employees to locations if it means air travel and close contact is involved.

Below, we outline how we’ve enabled our clients and vendors to adjust to these circumstances and make the production experience safer and more cost-effective for everyone involved. We’ve accomplished this with an interactive, remote production experience.

Background

In early March, we filmed a remote interview in Austin for athenahealth, a leading provider of network-enabled services and mobile applications for medical groups and health systems. 

The production featured a physician in Austin being interviewed by an athenahealth representative. Our production crew consisted of a Director/DP (Tony Stolfa), a Digital Information Technician (Jack Lavey), a Gaffer (Ivan Salazar), and a Sound Engineer (Richard Hamilton).

Challenge

Pre-pandemic, athenahealth would’ve sent a representative to be on set to interview the doctor. But for safety reasons, they wanted to avoid any unnecessary travel and overcrowding on set. 

As a result, we needed to build an interactive remote production setup to seamlessly connect each of these stakeholders to our production location in Austin in real-time:

  1. athenahealth producer in Cambridge, Mass. 

  2. Interviewer in Birmingham, Ala.

  3. Physician (i.e. interview subject) in Austin, Texas.

  4. Observers in Birmingham, Ala. from another athenahealth production partner

Solution

To create this turnkey operation, we needed the communication between all parties to be as intuitive and interactive as possible. We also needed the user experience to be as simple as logging in to a Zoom conference. Once our client, athenahealth, scheduled the Zoom meeting, we brought the magic to them. 

“We were very impressed by 3rd & Lamar Media’s attention to detail and solutions-oriented approach. We don’t have much experience accommodating so many remote parties on a single production and were happy to have 3rd & Lamar Media to guide us with their expertise. Though we had people in three very different locations, it didn’t feel like we were thousands of miles apart.”

-Brittany Flynn, Senior Associate Video Producer, athenahealth

In Austin, we positioned a reference monitor for the physician to see the interviewer on the Zoom, and we brought speakers so that our crew and the doctor could hear feedback and questions from the people joining via Zoom.

We built out five channels of communication (video + audio) so that everyone who joined remotely could interact with each other and our production crew. The interview was filmed on camera at 4k (UHD), but we sent a full HD 1080p signal from the cameras into a video interface. From there, we sent these signals through our broadcast software, which fed into the Zoom conference. 

This setup allowed the participants on the Zoom to toggle between the different camera angles from the interview exactly as it was happening. 

For an added touch, we set up an iPad with a behind-the-scenes view of the production to give the remote observers a chance to see the entire setup from a wider vantage point. 

Results

The flexibility and lines of communication not only helped athenahealth achieve their stated content objectives, but it helped them:

  • Stay safe: Fewer people on set and no travel provided peace of mind.

  • Save money: No travel and a smaller production footprint reduced costs.

  • Save time: Avoiding travel gave back the client a lot of time. 

For our team, a smaller set meant an easier, more efficient workflow and less insurance risk. Ultimately, a happy client made it all worth it.

Need to set up a remote production for your business, brand, or client? Contact us at hello@3rdandlamar.com.

ProductionNick Schenck