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Long distance workflows

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Ian McBain
Long distance workflows
on Jul 18, 2011 at 5:16:05 pm

I work for a production company that uses Avid MC 5 primarily. I will be moving away, across the country, and would like to continue contracting for my current employer.
In the past, we have sent hard drives, via courier, with Avid projects and media to different contractors/post houses/fx houses around the world. This workflow is good and consistent, but with all of the technological advancements lately, has anyone come up with a decent internet file-transfer workflow? We have an FTP site, but if you want to send anything that is around 4 or 5 GB, FTP seems to slow.
Any thoughts on the subject?

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Mark Suszko
Re: Long distance workflows
on Jul 18, 2011 at 6:04:09 pm

Send the data only once. Then you only have to move the much smaller metadata around in near-real-time, inter-actively. This is the idea behind Adobe's recent system.

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Bill Davis
Re: Long distance workflows
on Jul 18, 2011 at 6:20:13 pm

I suspect that "distributed workflow" will be more and more central to the way we work in the future.

I'm personally experiencing a breakdown of the traditional "ad agency" model of business from years back where a single shop had management, research, creatives, production personnel and support staff in the same building - and instead am currently working on more projects that have devolved into ad hoc working groups of specialists separated by long distances but tied together by electronic means.

This parallels what you're describing.

What I'm learning is that simple functions like file naming, checklist maintenance, and peer review have to be done very differently in this new virtual office. There are plenty of tools available, but VERY few standards on HOW it should be done.

We currently have such a "distributed project" in house for a large company. The client is in St. Louis, MO. The lead researcher and art director in San Diego. And my small team in Scottsdale, responaible for building the final video and presentation files.

As Mark indicated, the only real "large file" hassle is making sure that the initial source files are delivered to the shop doing the actual assembly. From that point, we've had no issue getting everyone to do review and approvals using small, compressed versions that are easily web-deliverable.

If you're working on long-form projects it might be more difficult and you might have to "chunk" them up more for delivery - but we work almost exclusively in under 10 minute video chunks and so working virtually isn't a big deal.

Actually, I usually use iPhone encodes for posting - most of the creative team has Macs - but when PC folks are involved, I just output WMV-9 files at 320x240 and those are small enough to email as well.

As mentioned above, the biggest hassle is establishing STANDARDS for file naming, revision tracking, and program structures. If you don't take that seriously up front - it gets VERY messy very fast when multiple shops in multiple states are trying to work with the same files.

Good luck.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner

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