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Flexible working: here to stay?

The pandemic forced the media and broadcast sector to adapt and change like never before. But with yet another so-called new normal looming as people can return to the office, is flexible working here to stay for good? And what have we learned that can help us take advantage of increased flexibility now and in the future?

Mike Laskey

Let’s begin at the beginning, with production. OB trucks are the traditional staple of mobile production, but present plenty of downsides. Expensive, bulky and necessitating obvious logistical costs, they also require every member of the production team to be based in a single place – meaning they’re entirely unsuited to flexible working.

Fortunately, NDI technology offers a much more flexible alternative – and in fact, it’s an alternative that can also reduce your costs, too.


Spinning up productions in the cloud

By moving remote production kit out of OB trucks and into the cloud with an NDI system, you can enjoy ultimate flexibility in location, get a production set up much more easily and benefit from cost savings.

Simply set up a SIENNA ND Processing Engineon a server at your site or hosted on the cloud, then use SRT encoders to gather your footage from remote locations. You can then use native NDI tools to remotely handle and switch the video streams for broadcast – you get total control, from anywhere, on a single network.

NDI also lets you manage footage of different input types from different locations, then output it to multiple streaming formats at the same time, meaning you can deliver to many more platforms with no extra effort.

Best of all, it’s perfect for flexible working. With a remote NDI solution, you can connect to the staff you want, no matter where they are – even if it’s an international production. And as an added bonus, your remote workflow can make it easier to stay up and running through natural disasters, weather disruption, closures or COVID-19 outbreaks.


What about post?

With post-production, you have even more choice and the flexibility to switch up your edit suites so your business can be more adaptable and efficient.

One type of technology that’s become increasingly popular in the media and broadcast sector after years of success in the corporate world is hyperconverged infrastructure, or HCI for short.

HCI harnesses the combined power of a pool of RAM, compute and SSD storage presenting them as virtualised workstations for your editors to work with. The solution from Nutanix, the leaders in HCI, can be particularly advantageous to post rental houses and broadcasters houses wanting to embrace flexible working.

Flexibility is actually the biggest benefit on offer with Nutanix. First, you buy ‘nodes’, each of which contains set amounts of fast storage, RAM, networking and graphics cards. Together, these nodes form a ‘cluster’, from which virtual computers can be created with a remarkable amount of horsepower – and all through a process certified by Avid.

That means you can spin up many more or many fewer virtual workstations than physically exist on a mix-and-match basis, allowing you to always achieve the most efficient number of workstations required. You can change your configuration over time to best suit your flexible workflow, in ways that would be prohibitively expensive with traditional infrastructure. Edit suite not booked? You can just change your cluster’s configuration so you never have any expensive workstations sitting unused.

Perhaps you’re already doing remote editing in the wake of lockdown. But now could be the ideal time to streamline your remote editing setup for the long term, with flexible working seeming set to stay. There is a mass of technology available to make having your editors work from home or elsewhere not just possible, but seamless and productive.

PC over IP solutions like Amulet Hotkey, for example, allow your editors to use all the power of their favourite workstation from the comfort of their own home – even if they’re on a relatively slow domestic broadband connection. Cloud editing solutions like Avid | Edit on Demand, meanwhile, let you rent instances of Media Composer and NEXIS storage on an as-needed basis wherever you need them.

You can also give your clients remote access so they don’t have to come to you to review footage.


Getting flexible

So NDI, Nutanix, remote editing and cloud editing have clear potential for media and broadcast. But where to start in developing your flexible workflow?

It’s true that setting up an NDI system or adopting Nutanix for the first time can be complicated and technical. That’s where we come in. We’ve been running virtualised media workflows since 2015 and specialise in providing IT solutions to the industry, so no-one knows more about real-world flexible production and post.

Our services include consultancy, design, deployment, workflow integration and collaborative environment support.

We’re already working with companies across the media and broadcast sector to help them move further into remote working. Perhaps we could help you, too.


Why us? 

We are the media and broadcast technology specialists, having worked in the creative industries for nearly 30 years. An Apple Authorised Enterprise Reseller and Apple Premium Service Provider, they also hold top accreditations from the likes of Avid and Adobe.


Interested in our broadcast services or support? Get in touch with the team by calling 03332 400 888 or emailing For the latest news, follow us on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

Want to know more?

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