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Local Access vs. Remote Access
This recommendation and guidance is meant for a wide audience and may not apply to your production. Please reach out to your Netflix representative with any questions.
For Producers, Post Supervisors & Editorial Teams
The purpose of this document is to outline possible methods and considerations for how to proceed if a project needs to continue editorial, but due to health department / local governmental or studio recommendations cannot continue working in their offline editorial facility / original offices, or key talent is not able to come to work.
There are two primary methods (or a hybrid of the two) that may be used on a project doing remote editorial. This document lays out the two primary options and considerations to help choose the most sustainable choice for your productions’ needs.It is important to note: technology alone is not going to ensure the quality of the editorial experience; since these solutions are usually provided as a service, a solutions provider’s ability to support and maintain is a big part of the experience. Before embarking on any of these methods, please reach out to discuss with your Netflix Post Manager. Productions with heightened sensitivity or security concerns should also coordinate with Studio Information Security at email@example.com.
Above all else, Netflix prioritizes the health and safety of our crews, so these are measures to take if health & safety have first been secured.
Local Access vs. Remote Access
There are two models of remote editorial workflows: Local Access and Remote Access. The first step is to determine which model is best suited for your production. Before taking that step, here is an overview of each model.
The machines running the editing application (e.g. “the Avid”) would be physically located with each Editor and Assistant Editor, most likely in their homes, along with external hard drives for the media. Therefore, all machines, media, and project files must be distributed to each editorial crew member where they will be accessed locally.
An important step is transferring the editorial media to each member of the editorial team, especially when including dailies. These transfers would likely be achieved using digital file transfer software (e.g. Aspera) or Content Hub workspaces, to avoid the burdensome logistics of delivering drives daily to each location. Use fast.com to determine your download & upload speed, and then determine how long it would take to download or upload your files.
Another potential challenge may arise if your project requires collaboration between the Editors / Assistant Editors. Since each person would have their own copy of the media, implementation of third party software may be beneficial to keep remote storage volumes synchronized with each other.
You may also find third party software that imitates bin-locking, tracks who is working on what, and offers other collaborative features. The key to success with any of these solutions is to agree on who will support their implementation on your production, and to thoroughly test them on your project.
In this model, the machines running the editing application (e.g. “the Avid”) would be physically located at a facility, directly attached to a single shared storage (e.g. NEXIS), while editors remotely access and control the machines from home. These solutions offer significant efficiencies over the “Local Access” model, but require expertise and infrastructure to support.
For any solution that aims to provide real-time editing across multiple locations, it requires specific hardware and software to be installed and configured. It is essential to thoroughly test these remote control systems with your offline editorial solutions vendor. The success of a Remote Access service is more dependent on the support behind it than the actual technical pieces of the solution.
Some core considerations to determine if a Remote Access workflow is right for you:
- Remote Access workflows are very dependent on reliable connectivity. No internet? You can’t work.
- Remote Access is about simulating the benefits of physically working in the same building as the rest of the editorial team. Editors are ‘logging in’ to the same equipment’ from home. The more collaboration happening amongst editorial stakeholders, the more beneficial a Remote Access solution would be.
Remote Access solutions offer security in the sense that there is only one copy of the editorial media in a secure facility, rather than having the data interspersed across multiple editors’ homes
Choosing the Best Workflow For Your Project
Please review the following core considerations below when preparing your remote editorial workflow.
- Each person has their own physical copy of the media at their location.
- If downloading media, each location needs adequate bandwidth to download the media in the required timeframe.
- Any synchronisation of media or projects across locations must be done manually or using third party file synchronisation software. Consider whose storage must be mirrored with whose.
- Any desire for collaboration features, such as Avid bin locking, must be simulated using third party software.
- Technical support options may be challenging because all equipment is remote from the technicians.
- Highly dependent on reliable connectivity. No internet? You can’t work.
- Once logged into the remote machines, all users use the same shared storage (e.g. NEXIS).
- The more collaboration required across editors and assistants, the more beneficial a Remote Access workflow would be.
- Local monitoring options (such as the number or size of screens) may be limited depending on your vendor’s service.
- Operating system options may be limited depending on your vendor’s service (MacOS vs Windows).
- Technical support for network connections is critical to maintain real-time editing over the network.
Remote Review Sessions
Sharing cut progress with showrunners/directors/producers can be facilitated either ‘asynchronously’ through exports and uploads to tools like PIX, or ‘synchronously’ through tools like Evercast or Streambox.
For either type of review, they will be limited to your upload bandwidth if you are using a “Local Access” model. Connect with the vendor supplying your given review tool to determine minimum required speeds.
In an asynchronous review setup, editorial will have to render and upload cuts locally. If the editorial system is local this relies on the home editing system being robust enough for exports and the editor’s home internet to be robust enough for PIX uploads (e.g., 20 Mbit/s uplink would be fairly robust, 12 Mbit/s uplink would be minimum comfortable for PIX uploads). When using an ‘asynchronous workflow’ it’s important to acknowledge that turnaround times for notes will be slower than having key creatives in the editorial room doing a ‘synchronous’ review.
In a synchronous review setup, at least one person on the editorial team will control and output video from their session, which is live streamed to participants. Essentially, they are set up via hardware on the Avid side (local to the editor with Local Access or at the facility with Remote Access) and then allow the recipient to live stream a full-screen image of the ‘client monitor’. This is often combined with a phone call or video chat with the editor for live, remote collaboration. These solutions work well as a more interactive review solution, for showrunners/directors/producers to watch and respond live to the edit.
We recommend following our Home Studio Security Guidance for remote work.
We are providing this guidance to support you in protecting our content. Most importantly, be safe and please use common sense. Be mindful of your surroundings and take all of the basic steps to keep you and your devices protected. Please ensure any content downloaded to home systems is deleted as soon as the work or reviews are complete.
Additional questions or concerns should be raised to firstname.lastname@example.org and your Netflix Post Manager.