The COVID-19 pandemic has changed production workflows forever. The sudden evolution to ‘at home’ or REMI production workflows has opened greater flexibility and possibilities that are truly here to stay.
One of the most significant over-night changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic was the urgent requirement to introduce guests into productions from the confined space and safety of their own homes. With lockdowns, travel restrictions and other safety protocols in place, guests were suddenly unable to physically attend TV studios and in-person events. Guests, expert opinions and celebrity appearances were still an integral part of production workflows and in an uncertain pandemic world, were as important than ever. As a result, broadcasters, production companies, sport organisations and corporates flocked to incorporate remote guests into their content using consumer-level video calling platforms (such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype) and other more professional remote guest solutions such as Quicklink Studio (ST55).
Although remote guest appearances and remote interviews were a large part of TV content pre-pandemic, it was often considered as a novelty and sometimes believed that workflows weren’t quite geared up for this type of content. However, as we have emerged from the pandemic, it has become apparent that remote guest appearances have evolved and now fit into daily workflows with ease. In addition, the advantages and possibilities that remote guest appearances bring are enormous!
So, let’s take a look into the advantages of remote guest appearances, and why these appearances are here to stay…
The cost-effectiveness of remote guest appearances are no secret. Simply put, the cost of guests attending studios can be astronomical when you factor in travel arrangements, allowances and other arrangements. This is even more the case with international guests who must to travel overseas to attend a studio, set, or event. In a post-pandemic world where many organisations are seeing budgets cut, the costs of having guests attend a studio or event are being considered more and more. Of course, incorporating a remote guest appearance completely abolishes the requirement for travelling. Your talent, expert, celebrity or guest simply needs access to a laptop, PC or mobile from wherever they may be. No flights, hotels nor allowance costs – a contribution that doesn’t break the bank!
Also sometimes wrongly forgotten is the carbon impact of guests travelling to studios or events, something imperative to tackle worldwide to avoid irreversible effects. The United States Environmental Protection Agency found that transportation was the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, with light-duty vehicles and aircraft making up almost 70%. Having guests contribute remotely without travelling to a studio completely diminishes the amount of CO2 that organisations contribute to the atmosphere. Many organisations have important net-zero aims with ambitious upcoming deadlines. Remote guest appearances can assist incredibly in meeting these ambitious goals by withdrawing the requirement for guests having to travel into a studio. This is detailed further in a whitepaper released by Quicklink in 2021.
Remote guest appearances also offer huge accessibility advantages. The scheduling, arrangement and logistics of celebrities, experts and other public figures can be difficult for producers and bookers alike. However with the use of remote guest solutions, guests only need to make themselves available for the period of the appearance which can be done with short notice. This turns a potential commitment of days into hours – allowing you to get access to a bigger pool of guests for broader scope of views, perspectives, expertise and diversity.
Imagine a promotion of a movie where a film star schedule is back-to-back in TV and media appearances. For producers this can be a scheduling nightmare to arrange a film star to attend a studio in-person, however with the use of remote guest solutions the film star only needs access to a laptop or mobile from whatever location they are in.
The cost, environmental and accessibility advantages of remote guests are fantastic, but what about the quality of content from remote guests? Isn’t this compromised?
No! Actually, remote guest appearances can allow you to achieve better quality of content. For example, having guests situated at home or in an office space that they feel comfortable and familiar with allows your guest to deliver a better contribution. Think about it, when a guest is not familiar with the bright lights and operation of a studio it is possible to get overwhelmed which has direct effect on the quality of their contribution – often referred to as ‘stage fright’. It’s widely proven that guests or experts feel much more confident with sitting in front of a laptop/PC in their own space and therefore delivers a higher quality content as a result of feeling comfortable and familiar with the space they are in.
Remote guest appearances are sometimes considered as simple head-and-shoulder shots, but this isn’t always the case. We have seen many innovative uses that incorporate remote guests, some that even give the impression they are filmed in a single studio with an interviewer. For example, in 2020 Barack Obama sat down with Oprah Winfrey to discuss his new memoir – the former president in Washington D.C. and Oprah from her home in Santa Barbara, California, brought together with video conferencing platforms and the power of editing.
This isn’t the only innovative use of remote guest appearances however, we have seen many different ways that have been accelerated by the pandemic, including anchors delivering the news and weather forecast from the comfort of their living room.
Remote guest appearances are the new ‘norm’ and seen in everyday content creation. The advantages of remote guests are understandable and for these reasons it is clear that remote guest appearances are here to stay. However, when achieving this type of content, it is critical that a professional solution for introducing remote guests is introduced. Consumer-level video calling platforms, such as Zoom and Teams, do not hit the grade for professional workflows.
Quicklink are the leaders in remote guest contribution, offering award-winning solutions to the world’s leading brands; BBC, Aljazeera, CNN, NBC Universal, Microsoft, S&P Global, and more! Quicklink’s remote guest solutions are designed and built for professional broadcast workflows that provide you with improved quality, control and peace of mind when introducing remote guests.