Alan Bell is an award-winning features editor and visual effects creator. Some of his latest projects include Red Sparrow, The Dark Tower and 3 of the Hunger Games releases. Currently he is working as the supervising editor on a project for a group of 3 horror movies.
Alan made a lifestyle change about one and a half years ago and moved from Los Angeles to New Hampshire. He purchased a house there and built a complete editing office in the basement. To achieve his goal of remote editing he required a solution to collaborate with directors wherever they worked from being able to play out of his Avid systems with encrypted content.
In a previous project Alan had used a streaming collaboration system but it used an intense amount of bandwidth and had a long 3 second latency that made it impractical for use in his new surroundings. The high price eliminated it as a cost-effective solution for Alan as an independent professional.
Researching different solutions around 3 years ago, Alan tested Streambox and a software only system. The other system worked reasonably well but could not provide the necessary quality, and it is considerably more expensive. So when it came time to start the current project with the director and edit team in Los Angeles, Streambox was the obvious solution.
As Alan puts it, “Streambox is the key feature of his toolbox for remote editing“ He uses a Streambox Chroma X encoder in his office to stream out to destinations with Streambox Cloud Services for reliable transport. The director can choose to view the material in her office using a NODE 2 compact media player device or her iPad or iPhone. He adjusts the resolution on the Chroma X depending on which device is being used for viewing. Alan appreciates that he is able to send the director as little or as much material as needed for each session. Alan states, “I just turn it on, control the system from my laptop, they start watching, and it all just works”. During the session he can starts and stop the stream as needed for detailed review.
NODE 2 player provides a high quality and reliable viewing experience being connected to the network in the director’s office and is not dependent on the quality of a WiFi network when using a tablet or phone. It is set up for stereo audio, but Alan intends to use 5.1 audio in the future. For future projects where Alan would be working day to day with a director, he would replicate the same set up on both sides. Even though he is using full HD for review in this project, it is important to Alan that Streambox can offer 4K DCI video with 4:4:4 RGB and HDR support along with up to 16 channels of audio. Some of Alan’s work requires the use of a theater environment so it is a big advantage to him that many review theaters operated by companies including Deluxe and Dolby also use Streambox technology.
Alan explains his sales pitch to directors is that he wants to work their project but not have to be on location for months. With Streambox he can work remotely on a day to day basis and be more productive while incurring less cost. Streambox permits him to offer convenience when working on projects that would not be possible otherwise. Alan has become a fan, and exclaims, “I love this product, I love that it is so easy to use!”
Alan believes the real beauty of remote collaboration is that individuals can move beyond the traditional production centers such as Los Angeles, New York, and London and be able to work just as if they were right next to each other. He considers that this kind of collaboration goes beyond just editing to all sorts of creative aspects in life including modeling and design, so there is lots of opportunity for this sort of technology implementation.