By Lenny Mastrandrea
Remote collaboration is not a new concept to our industry. The technology to do so is available to all. A number of software and hardware providers have used the expanded capabilities of robust Internet connections to encourage creative people to connect on projects across great distances, or to allow an artist beginning a project in one location to finish in another.
For us, the service emerged from a concern of clients outside of the New York area: time and budget constraints often precluded a trip to New York for color grading. We needed a solution that met our clients’ needs remotely without sacrificing production value or client experience. Our engineering team did extensive research into existing solutions in order to develop a proprietary technology that would prove as seamless as if the clients were here with us.
Right now the video delay measures little more than a second, even as far as the West Coast. The compression is flawless. The high-definition imagery on our monitors in New York is perfectly recreated at our partner locations. When we set up a new location there are always a few clients who are lukewarm about trying out our remote set-up. The concept, as I’ve mentioned, is not a new one and some people had negative experiences by early or underdeveloped technologies. Fortunately, we’ve paid attention to those industry missteps and circumvented them when developing our remote service. As Mr. Orson Welles once said, on behalf of Paul Masson wine,“We will sell no wine before its time.”
For the formula to work, it has always been integral that we find like-minded companies with which to partner, and look for companies who share our primary characteristics. There are so many talented people in our industry, but it’s that talent combined with pride in their work, dedication and a positive attitude that makes the partnership last. Those we have partnered up with over the last few years have become part of Nice Shoes’ extended family.
Neither geographic differences, sports team preferences or differences of pizza-style have gotten in the way of each artist developing a certain synergy at one or more of our partner locations. I’ve been amazed at how quickly we’ve established common ground with our all of our partners. What remote collaboration has proven is that we really are all the same. It’s really rewarding to find creative people out there that are not only like you, but also like the great people you work with day in and day out.
This instant camaraderie has developed with our newest partner in Austin called Foundation Edit. I had the opportunity to work with Foundation’s founder, Jason Uson, on a project he directed and edited for A Better Chance. He had heard about our other remote partnerships and felt that adding Remote Color to the mix would complement his other services. We worked together well on that project and I think that’ll carry through to our future remote collaborations, too.
What we’ve learned in this and our other remote partnerships is that collaborating with companies that may have once been competitors has benefitted everyone, most of all the client. These processes are really about connecting people — bringing together virtual teams when we don’t have the ability to come together in one place. No matter what the future holds for this technology, the trick is eliminating the feeling of distance and delivering that in-person level of service people crave, remotely.