Remote Shooting

When it comes to remote shooting there are different ways of achieving the same thing. Different companies and VT operators will use different pathways and technologies, and the approach would also differ if the director is on set or not.

The principles to aim for are as follows:

  • Remote viewers must firstly see what the camera sees, and in good resolution. This is done by encoding the VT feed and uplinking to a server. (There are different encoding technologies that work well but that have subtle pros and cons.) The uplink should be done with a bonded cellular unit, which is a device with multiple sim cards that gives a faster and more stable connection. A satellite connection can be used in more remote areas.
  • The servers capture the camera feed and stream it to viewers around the world. Again, there are different ways of doing this, for instance a private YouTube livestream link can be used. Critical to success is that the viewers themselves have good internet speed.
  • A backup system is a good idea, and this should be something that uses a different pipeline. There are various ways of doing this too, including for instance sending a lower resolution video feed to viewers through a video conferencing app on a different LTE connection.
  • Remote viewers will also want to be “present” on set, for example to visit the makeup station, approve wardrobe, or communicate with the director or producer. For this, one would have a roaming “god’s eye-view” camera, which again could be as simple as making a video conference call on a tablet. It’s recommended that there’s a dedicated physical “host” on set who acts as the controller of this roaming POV device. And, just like an actual set, it’s best if the remote parties crystallise their comments first on their own private network before feeding back on this pipeline
  • It’s also possible for viewers to have a direct line of radio comms with key crew and role players, and this comes into play especially for remote directors.
  • Viewers can receive these feeds on different devices or place them in different windows on their computers, while solutions also exist to collate the feeds into one platform.
  • Depending on the quality of the connections the lag between the camera and the remote viewers can be anywhere between 2 and 6 seconds. The stream works with a buffer so it’s generally stable and reliable.
  • While the technology is proven and multiple tests have been done, patience will be required for possible gremlins and hiccups. It’s recommended that tests are done with stake-holders beforehand.
  • It’s also a good idea to include the remote system on the tech scout to check on LTE coverage and uplink speeds. The satellite connection is a backup for more remote areas and it’s important to note that it relies on an angled line-of-sight above the horizon.
  • Finally, remote shooting will increase shoot time so schedules would need to be adjusted accordingly.

Remote shooting works for most situations, including remote agencies/clients and even remote directors. Please get in touch if you’d like more information or if you’d like us to tailor a specific solution for you.