Remote Video Workflow for IGN's Halo Infinite Shoots
By Gavin Pease
After plenty of time allowed to master Halo Infinite's new groundbreaking campaign, it's now a great opportunity to reflect on the stories behind the epic of Master Chief and the Halo Saga. IGN sought to explore how the Halo Game Series has shaped the life of players and fans alike.
Bonnie Burton, now a Senior Producer at Bungie, along with competitive gamer Andy 'Bravo' Dudynsky, are two Halo fanatics local to the Seattle area in the crosshairs for IGN's episodical series: 'How Halo Changed my Life'. Sydnee Goodman was set to interview Bonnie and Andy on their histories with the series, but IGN's trusted production company, ADVNCR, needed a vetted local studio with boots on the ground to make these virtual interviews come to life.
Element 7 jumped at the opportunity to put our remote video workflow to use and tune in for these riveting conversations about all things gaming and Halo.
Video Gone Virtual
Element 7 is well versed in the sense of creating this hybrid virtual production. Although the interviewer and subject are states apart, we can connect them via virtual call for their session. Capturing content for this call locally means we can utilize our cinema cameras as high-end 'webcams', and maintain peak quality we're used to seeing in official interviews like studio lighting, shallow depth of field, 4K Resolution at 60fps for gaming content, and so on. Using our Magewell Adapters, we can convert any HDMI feed to a USB source that is easily compatible with any virtual call platform. We set up two Sony FX6's as our interview cams, and ran audio directly into our A-Camera to tie audio and video together for our output to the call.
The star of our virtual video workflow is Riverside.fm. Element 7 was working on the ground level with this organization in early 2021, and it has since become a crucial platform for our remote video production shoots. Riverside is a virtual call hosting site geared specifically towards video production, and enables us to set up a call between our interviewer and subject for recording.
Unlike Zoom and other similar platforms, Riverside records participants' feeds locally on their computer, and uploads that recording to their server simultaneously. By recording the stream at the source rather than the result that comes through on our end, Riverside preserves quality and provides a safeguard if the connection skips or severs entirely.
Riverside is also capable of hosting bystanders and collaborators who are not recorded, which was perfect for allowing our director -who was also dialing in remotely- to manage the shoot and give input throughout.
Call to Base
The grander challenge of these shoots was to bring our host Sydnee Goodman into the space of our subjects in a way that allowed her to connect with Bonnie and Andy naturally. Given the nature of the 'virtual call' approach to the interview, a primary angle with an off-camera eye line would feel unnatural and disconnected. Our solution was to aim talking directly to camera, but how do we incorporate our host to the equation?
Using our Mobile MagiCue Teleprompter setup, we joined our Riverside call on an iPad as a third party bystander, and isolated Sydnee's video feed. This allowed us to display Sydnee's live feed in front of the camera lens and gave Bonnie and Andy a direct line of sight with her. They could now have an organic 'face to face' conversation with Sydnee, and maintain perfect eye contact with our A-Camera for production.
Over and Out
The sessions went off without a hitch and it was a joy to hear Sydnee talk with Bonnie and Andy about their involvement with the Halo community. It reminded us that behind every press of a button, every pixel and memorable catchphrase, there is a team of devoted developers and content creators who are just as in love with the games as we are.
We love to peel back the curtain and really appreciate the work that goes on behind the scenes. Its why we share these blogs! Needless to say we're looking forward to more shoots like this one at Element 7. Check out the rest of the series and more Halo Infinite Coverage on IGN's Official YouTube Channel.