Posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2023
By Mark Foley, Technology Editor, ProductionHUB
As production professionals, we are often expected to make live remote productions just “work” and many of us have been thrown into our fair share of challenging remotes. As we all experienced, the pandemic came along, and we needed to adapt to find new and safer production methods and the gear to do it quickly. The question was how to get remote productions done well. One company, Remote Control Studios (RCS) took on that challenge by developing new, innovative products as a way to approach and execute remote video productions. Of course, we all know by now that remote and virtual production is here to stay, and RCS has found the perfect solution.
Enter Remote Control Studios
Born out of a necessity to get remote productions done, RCS Remote Camera Kits were developed by the founder and president of Remote Control Studios, Bill Davis. Remote Control Studios saw a real need at the beginning of the pandemic to build out a line of easy to set up and operate Remote Camera Kits in different sizes to address a variety of remote production needs.
This new approach is well-thought out and detailed. Coupled with excellent technical support, it ensures a remote production that looks professional while still being easy to execute. Not only will it look great, but it’s also cost effective to check off all your clients’ needs.
Setting up the Remote Control Studios Remote Camera A-Kit
As with any typical production, the first thing I needed to do was to find a place to set up the Remote Camera Kit. Stepping up was the Northern Wake Fire Department, Raleigh North Carolina who provided their conference room.
Thanks to Chief Bart Travis and Battalion Chief Blake Wright for making that happen! But even if you don’t have access to a conference room the small footprint of the kit will allow you to use any studio or office space. Even if you don’t have access to a conference room the small footprint of the kit will allow you to use any studio or office space- even a sturdy kitchen table.
Rolling into the Conference Room I had two road cases that contained the Remote Control Studios Remote Camera Kit-A that I was going to set up. The road cases were safely and precisely packed. (Ps I’ve listed the equipment I used that day below.)
Having come from remote situations too many where we had to guess where to connect everything type of production remotes, the first thing that caught my attention was that everything was labeled. In talking with Bill Davis during our time using the Remote Camera Kit, we both laughed based on our collective experiences at what a great thing labels are when time is of the essence.
Remote Control Studios A-Kit set up was a professional grade set up in two cases. I started by setting up the two LUME CUBE lights with stands, then assembled the proprietary Remote Control Studios prompter screen and placed the supplied SONY 4K 6400 camera. I also ran all the cable pigtails to the SONY 6400 4K camera, connected the RODE Microphone, put a new SD card in the camera and powered everything on including the supplied MacBook Air. I had to remember at one point during the initial set up that the prompter was a little top heavy but once I got it set up that was not an issue. The entire physical set up took roughly about half an hour.
Here is where I think Remote Control Studios Remote Camera Kit and tech support shines. Like I said earlier, the tech set up was straightforward, so if you have a client that is not technically inclined, Remote Control Studios can and will jump online to walk through any troubleshooting on the entire set up process.I wanted to see and hear this process in action so after some real-world connectivity issues, Bill jumped in and took over my MacBook Air from his end, and we ended working through our session without any other issues.
Remote Control Studios also provides remote technical support that can monitor your whole session in real time. We also talked about a recent “shoot” done in Wichita, Kansas where a local production person was brought in by Remote Control Studios to facilitate the set up and then to monitor the session.
I was also impressed with lots of redundancy built into the process. You can record to an SD Card on the Sony 4K 6400 and then Remote Control Studios can record and also edit your session if requested. Bill also stated that he goes to ProductionHUB.com to find qualified people as needed in each geographical market. This allows the client to focus on the presentation while the on-site person remains in the background.
The images were fantastic. Shooting with the Sony 4K 6400 provided that great depth of field for that professional cinematic look. The other important item not to overlook is that when your client is using the system, they sit up and they are looking directly into the prompter at eye level so they can make great eye contact, so it looks nothing like a normal webcam.
I’m not sure I can say it, but it was unlike some other platforms. My session was super impressive. Of course, you really can’t move around too much, but the prompter head/camera and talent can be adjusted.
In talking with Bill, we touched on a lot of topics, but one topic of focus was on the future of Remote Control Studios. “We started out at the beginning of the pandemic in lockdown and as a viable option so that people could really communicate face to face and not look like they were on yet another Zoom.” Remote Control Studios is now looking to continue to grow by offering the Remote Camera Kits for additional work like celebrity interviews and press junkets, expanded corporate work, and other productions that require a high production value and return on the investment of time. Currently Remote Control Studios has Remote Camera Kits stationed in several major cites for rapid deployment and the kits are available through subscriptions along with daily or long term rentals.
Overall, I came away quite impressed with not only the technical capabilities of my Remote Camera Kit from Remote Control Studios, but also the company’s attention to detail. The other part of my interview/session with Bill was his completely down to earth attitude and the comment he made to me about doing right by the customer and this desire to demystify the production process.
Production can be a complicated thing, but I think that Remote Control Studios has hit the mark by identifying a real need, putting good equipment in the hands of good people, along with great technical support and being there for the customer when it matters.
Provided Equipment List A-Kit as tested:
Precision Cut Road Cases RCS Proprietary Prompter and Stand Sony 6400 4K Camera Two Cube Lume lights with stands Apple MacBook Air RODE Mic with stand Cable Assembly Aux Bag of “as needed” adapters and connections If you’re looking for a seamless, professional production experience away from the studio, Remote Control Studios is your solution. Reach out to Remote Control Studios today to discover the future of your own remote productions!
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