Virtual Studio in the Cloud, Simplified
Issue: Edition 2 2020

Virtual Studio in the Cloud, Simplified

Lucky Post,a full-service post-production studio in Dallas and Austin, Texas, that combines creative editorial, color, VFX, finish, motion graphics, and sound design, found itself in the unenviable position of many post facilities amid the COVID-19 crisis. It had to find a way to keep its employees working remotely. That's when media systems integrators CineSys-Oceana introduced them to SimpleCloud, a cloud-based platform for digital content focused on animation, architecture, editorial, game development, and visual effects. SimpleCloud provides management and setup of a virtual studio in the cloud, allowing users to be connected to a virtual workstation from anywhere, through any thin client or HTML5-supported browser.

Here, Tim Nagle, senior Flame artist at Lucky Post, discusses his team's experience integrating and using SimpleCloud for remote work.

What initial challenges did you face?

The most obvious is how to give our clients a seamless experience and give the artists the power to collaborate like they did every day prior to this. How are we meant to start or finish a job, and focus on creativity, when we are removed from our infrastructure?

Some of the top requirements we had were collaboration for artists, speed and efficiency with the tools, and making our clients successful while we are all in 16 remote locations.

Did SimpleCloud fit those needs?

We found that SimpleCloud, combined with our Evercast streaming solution, was the most efficient way to move forward with active projects and spin up new projects in a virtual environment. We arrived at this solution with Jason Starne from CineSys-Oceana. We have had a long relationship with CineSys, and we know and trust Jason to jump in and help us find a solution whenever we need one.

We did not try other products prior to SimpleCloud. When we saw its power, scalability, and compatibility with our workflow, it was the clear solution.

What does your workflow look like?

We have four editors, five assistant editors, one graphics designer, two sound designers, one colorist, and two Autodesk Flame artists. With SimpleCloud, we're able to mirror our typical workflow in a remote environment. We utilize shared storage to carry a job from off-line through finish, similar to how we would at our physical studio.

And the results?

This has been an amazing experience. We were able to add some customizations to workstations to leverage Evercast and rely purely on the data center network connection, while the clients logged on to supervise. In these times, you can imagine the stress on the local network nodes with everyone working from home; this solution has mitigated any issues with local upload speeds from artists' homes.

What applications do you use in SimpleCloud?

We are using the Adobe Suite, Maxon's Cinema 4D, along with some customizations we asked for to solve our streaming needs.

How has it worked so far?

This has been amazing for us to be able to serve our clients seamlessly, as if we physically have the infrastructure of our facility.

How was your experience with CineSys?

CineSys-Oceana has been integral to our success in this transition. We rely on them to help solve problems creatively and sustainably.

Do you have any advice for other companies that want to work remotely?

We suggest anyone trying to navigate the challenges of working remotely while giving your clients the same experience, consider SimpleCloud and don't be afraid to customize where needed.