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SmallHD Monitors Help Maintain Bayonet Media’s On-Set Social Distancing

Bayonet Media SmallHD monitors
Utilizing a number of SmallHD monitors on set, Bayonet Media’s production team can monitor the work while maintaining social distance. (Image credit: Bayonet Media)

INDIANAPOLIS—Bayonet Media is an Emmy Award-winning, Midwest-based production company with full production/post capabilities. I have worked with them for the past eight years, producing everything from feature films and branded content to high concept commercials for Jim Beam, Toyota, Walmart, Eli Lilly, Makers Mark, GE and AT&T.

We pride ourselves on creating world-class visuals and realize that takes the highest caliber gear. Long before the pandemic, it was standard for us to go out with an entire crew, marketing agency team, client team and fully equipped Alexa cameras, in addition to aerial and stabilizer rigs. SmallHD and Teradek Bolt wireless video transmitters have long been critical components of our camera package and have grown even more important as we shoot safely during COVID-19. Having individual monitors and remote viewing opportunities allow us to continue bringing brands to life and pushing our creativity forward.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF VIDEO VILLAGE

It’s been a learning curve but we have worked out ways to meet social distancing safety protocols while still respecting the stakeholder’s creative input. We limit the number of people on set to only essential personnel—if you can function off set, that’s safer. In the past, when we shot commercials, we usually had a large number of agency creatives on set. Now, to run a safe set, we limit that to a very small team, sometimes even just one person from the client and marketing agency, with the rest working remotely. We also eliminated the “video village” on set—it was just too tempting for people to gather around a large monitor.

We value everyone’s opinion, which means people need to be virtually connected to what’s being filmed. For viewing we use two workflows: SmallHD monitors with Bolt wireless video transmitters as well as the Serv Pro, which adds the ability to stream the camera, video switcher or DIT cart feed to everyone’s iOS, Mac OS or Android devices on set. We have started implementing its newly updated firmware to enable remote Core (cloud) streaming through the VUER app on client desktops for monitoring off set. This is a game-changer and really shows Teradek’s commitment to its users and products. It’s great to know a product we already had could get better. We are using it on every shoot now.

Gone are the days of peeking over shoulders to see a screen. Now every critical decision maker on set gets individual SmallHD wireless monitors that receive the consistent, zero-delay signal from the Bolt on the camera. The A.D., director and DP each get a SmallHD 703 Bolt 7-inch, 3000-nit bright full-HD monitor with built-in Teradek wireless receiver. Other departments on set and those at home watch on their own iOS devices, thanks to the Serv Pro, so that works out well.

The clients have been very accommodating. On a recent Jim Beam spot, the agency team was really impressed with their individual Focus Bolt 500 RX touchscreen monitors. It’s a nice compact package, feels good in your hands and really shows off the images.

Since COVID-19, every day is longer on set. There’s lots of prep, safety, medics on most shoots, PPE, Purell on C-stands everywhere and social distancing. But things are getting smoother and the wireless SmallHD monitors have been a big part in keeping us shooting.

Kevin Grazioli is EP/head of production for Bayonet Media, as well as a freelance producer. He has produced agency work, episodic TV shows and PBS Emmy-winning documentaries. He can be contacted at kevin@bayonetmedia.com.

For more information, visit www.smallhd.com.