Web Calls

I recently wrote about using live streaming to edit remotely. I talked all about setting up the process, testing what worked and didn’t work. But there’s one thing that I didn’t mention, and that was the politics of the web call.

Since I had been doing low-latency live streaming for clients, I was asked to help out in a production where they needed to stream from a nearby studio to multiple people. The only people in the facility were the crew and the talent. The rest of the players—producers, agency personnel and the clients—were all remote.

At first, this seemed like a simple task: set up a web call and it’s done. But I learned pretty quickly that it wasn’t so simple. While it was true that everyone needed to be on a web call to supervise the shoot, there were many communication channels that needed to be arranged.

For example, the agency personnel included a producer, copywriter, art director, creative director and the account people. They wanted to be able to chat with each other, with the producer on-site, and with the director. But they wanted that conversation to be out of the “earshot” of the client. It’s not that they wanted to trash the client, they just wanted to have conversations so they could make sure they were on the same page as they “guided” the client.

Within the group of agency personnel, the creatives wanted to be free to talk without involving the account people. Then the agency producer wanted to make sure they had a direct line to the producer and director on-site. All this communication could happen (and did happen) back when everyone was on-site. It was simply a matter of walking to different parts of the shoot and having quiet conversations. Or maybe a short text on a phone.

While I didn’t see everything that was used to accomplish all the communications in the new production environment, I know it involved using two different web call apps, chat apps, texting, phone calls and, yes, email. Thankfully, I was just responsible for the live stream from the production camera.