How Ambient Executes Commercial Productions For Remote Producers
Everyone’s tired of talking about or even mentioning the word Covid, right? But when Ambient was shooting Budweiser’s commercial production for their new Backyard BBQ Insurance campaign, CDC guidelines were top of mind.
From the outset, Unreasonable Studios knew that they were going to have to take precautions. And thinning out non-essential people from their team was the first thought. But when it became apparent that the whole group was essential to the success of the shoot, they came up with a better idea.
Produce and direct the commercial remotely via zoom.
Sounds like there might be some limitations, right? Well, there’s another way to stay in the game, and that comes in the form of a video presenter.
The presenter allowed Unreasonable Studios and Budweiser’s agency reps to view everything that A cam was capturing in real time. So they were able to participate, make calls on the spot and essentially direct the commercial from a different state.
That’s pretty awesome that we have those abilities so readily available. If you’re in a similar situation and are curious about the process and what gear AS used, let me enlighten you a little.
First, you need to start with the A camera. Via the SDI or HDMI port, connect a wireless transmitter or hardwire a long SDI/HDMI cable to your camera. From there you would typically tap into a client monitor, but we’ll skip this step for this example.
Next, if you’re hardwiring, you’re going to want connect the other end of the cable coming from A cam or receiver to the presenter’s SDI or HDMI ports in the back of the device. Then connect the presenter to a computer via a USB cable. Once tethered, you’re going to pull up the zoom application and login. After that, navigate to the camera settings and choose the web presenter option. Then the A cam will be presenting.
Next, you’ll need your sound guy to connect a cable from his sound mixer to your computer. He’ll need to send that feed to a headphone mix and provide the 1st AD with a headset. The audio coming from the remote director/producers via zoom will be heard through the headset. It’s recommended you use one that allows the 1st AD to communicate back to the producers.
The gear you’ll need to successfully pull off a remote production isn’t going to be cheap. You’ll likely need to rent some of the gear from your freelancers (Sound Engineer, DP, DIT).
1. Blackmagic Web Presenter
2. SDI or HDMI cable
3. Transmitter and Receiver (if you cannot be tethered)
4. 1/8 inch audio cable (8ft-25ft cable)
5. Audio Mixer
6. Wireless Headset (2-way radio)
7. Computer (Laptop preferred)
This is one option. That’s not to say there isn’t some other process or option available out there that you could utilize for a much lower cost. Use you imagination and do what works. But for this commercial production, we needed to take an extra professional approach.
All in all, we delivered a streamlined remote production that kept the other half of the crew safe and remote without missing a beat. I’d say that’s problem solved and a job well done, take that COVID!