In light of recent global events, local filmmaking regulatory authorities have put forth guidelines to ensure that safe practises on set are in place to curb the spread of Covid-19. At electriclimefilms, we are dedicated to adhering to these guidelines strictly, but also going a step further to implement measures that ensure everyone’s safety on our sets in our various markets.
One of those regulations was reducing the total number of personnel on set. To that effect, we employed Live Streaming during shoots for clients and agency partners to view remotely without needing to be physically present.
Along with keeping the number of people on set to a minimum, Live Streaming provided the team with many other benefits - especially useful was the ability to receive instant feedback from clients via the chat function within Zoom. Throughout learning how to set up Live Streaming while shooting, our team worked hard to troubleshoot problems that arose and resolve them as quickly as possible, as time is always of the essence when it comes to film production.
In these uncertain times, Live Streaming may be the safest and most efficient way to ensure accountability to major stakeholders of projects that we embark on. Though we are still fairly new to this technology we are resolved that finding new ways to develop and improve our processes only strengthens our adaptability to the ever changing filmmaking industry.
We spoke with Junior Creative Directors Harry Scott and Venus Oh on the intricacies of setting up and employing a successful Live Streaming system:
What Live Streaming platform and process do you employ on set?
Harry Scott: We use the Blackmagic Desktop Web Presenter to connect to a computer via a USB, which turns our connected camera into essentially a webcam (insert joke about most expensive webcam ever), and then the monitor is attached to our camera wirelessly to stream the feed via Zoom.
How many cameras were used for Live Streaming the shoot?
Venus Oh: We have a 2 camera set up but usually only use our main camera for Live Streaming. Though we only stream the feed from this main camera, when given more time and resources we can get both cameras (or more) up and running for client and other personnel viewing.
After your first time trying this process, what did you decide could be improved upon or maybe didn’t even work?
HS: Initially we were using another system that was first proposed to us but one of the problems we kept facing was a 20-30 second lag between what the camera was seeing and what was seen on Zoom. Our electriclimefilms team in Australia then employed our current system, which we found to be the most efficient and we then proceeded to streamline it across all our offices so that our overall Live Streaming system was smoother and more efficient as a result.
For the Live Feed that is displayed, does it have the ability to replay and then return to live streaming? If so, did you find this was utilized? And was it productive?
VO: It has the ability for playback, which is great and definitely helpful. We can also play back audio from the camera (when using it) so that clients and agencies can listen in real time to what they are watching.
What are the biggest advantages and disadvantages to Live Streaming on film sets?
HS: Advantages are that we can focus on only needing essential crew personnel on set, which streamlines all processes, and keeps our set safe. Disadvantages are that it presents new technical problems, which can bottleneck the shoot.
VO: Yes, it’s always advantageous to make a shoot more efficient and minimal. Disadvantages are that you must have a good wifi connection to use the system in the first place, and there will always be problems such as bad connectivity, or unclear audio due to interference, or low batteries and power. It can be a hassle but it’s worth it.
Is Live Streaming something you would recommend or consider to use going forward, even in the instance a film set does not need to abide by Safe Distancing measures?
HS: Yes for sure! I think it’s great to give other members of the team the chance to look on at the shoot, especially if they may not be able to make it. Or just the ability to look through the camera and to see what the DP/Director sees is amazing (just make sure you keep your feedback to yourself!) You can also use it as an additional monitor if you don't have access to another one on set.
VO: And since film production usually has so many moving parts and aspects, it actually helps keep sets minimal, organised, and more streamlined.