Even as the COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed production activity in much of Hollywood, Vortechs, an independent supplier of post-production technology, is implementing novel solutions to help its clients stay on track with motion picture and television projects. Vortechs-supplied projects, now working remotely, include the upcoming Warner Bros. features Suicide Squad 2 and In the Heights, directed by John Chu and edited by Myron Kerstein.
The company is also supporting editing teams working on films for directors Christopher Nolan and Ridley Scott, as well as the television series Black-ish, Westworld, The Aliens, The Orville and The Angel of Darkness. “Production for many of our shows was finished, or nearly complete, when the shutdown occurred,” says Vortechs principal Jim Longeretta. “We’re helping them hit their delivery targets.”
The company, which supports editing teams based at major studios and independent production companies, has set up systems inside the homes of dozens of editors, and employed remote collaboration and communication tools to provide them with access to data and allow them to share work with clients and other members of their teams.
Longeretta began receiving calls from producers in early March, shortly after government officials advised people to practice social distancing and studios ended much of the work on their lots. “Our producer clients wanted to keep their editors working and the fastest way to do that was to set up systems in their homes,” he says. “We’ve set up systems in extra bedrooms, living rooms…everywhere.”
Technicians copied media files from current projects to secure hard drives so that editors could begin working from home immediately. As a longer term solution, the company connected editors to high-speed virtual private networks so they could remotely and securely access servers in their cutting rooms, collaborate with assistants, and receive assets from visual effects companies and other outside suppliers.
Vortechs’ sister company, Waterman Sound, is also staying busy through the pandemic. It is providing sound mixing services for Amazon’s Them: Covenant and many other shows that normally do their sound work on studio lots. Its ADR operation also remains active, in house and utilizing source connect by remotely-recording voice talent working from around the country for shows including Them: Covenant, Roswell and Lovecraft Country.
While helping its clients stay productive, Vortechs has also taken steps to safeguard the health of its staff. Service techs are provided with masks, gloves and other protective gear. In most instances, its staff are dropping off technology on the doorsteps of editors and walking them through set up procedures through Zoom or Facetime.
“We now conduct staff meetings on Zoom,” says Longeretta. “Our drivers and technicians, who need to work in the field, continue to do so on an as needed basis, and we are making sure they are safe. Our home office is locked down, except when an engineer needs access to ensure our internal systems are functioning properly.”
Longeretta believes that remote technologies will have a lasting impact on Hollywood. “It’s going to change the way people work,” he insists. “Editors, like most people, would like to spend more time with their families. If technology allows them to do more of the work from home, they are going to love it.
Digital Vortechs http://www.digitalvortechs.com