Hybrid Workflows with Streambox & Avid Media Composer

Hybrid workflows are a hot topic these days. Now that we’re a few years removed from the hectic days of lockdown, many post and editorial workers have embraced the flexibility of a work from home lifestyle, while still making a point to engage in-person when necessary. As a result, many companies are making accommodations to satisfy both workstyles. Take Christy’s Editorial in Burbank, CA, for example.

Founded in 1969 by brothers Dick and Dan Christy, Christy’s Editorial provides equipment, support and solutions for film and television post production, including inhouse editing bays. They generally support around 10 to 15 production companies from small outfits with 3-5 edit bays to huge content producers with 2-300 edit systems. Christy’s is also known for being an Avid rental house, and features both on-prem and remote Avid workflow options.

While they generally cater to offline editorial, the Christy’s team does build online edit bays for a production on a per show basis. Of course, much like the rest of the world, they had to adapt to the changes that came with Covid-19 pandemic.

“Our business model shifted when Covid hit to being almost primarily service, with infrastructure and equipment being secondary,” said JJ Nigro, Vice President at Christy’s.

The Christy’s team empowers me with the knowledge that no matter what I come up against in this zany business, I’m not alone. My confidence as a post executive has reached new heights because of the partnerships I’ve been lucky enough to have formed with JJ, Craig and the entire Christy’s crew. I can’t imagine working in post production without them.

Eric Towler
Director of Post Production

As the post production industry began adjusting to new working conditions, more people started coming to Christy’s for remote work solutions. With much of their clientele now working from home, Christy’s needed to provide them with something that would allow them to host collaborative screenings and review sessions without everyone being in the same room.

In an attempt to produce a viable solution for remote workflows, the Christy’s team developed their own streaming technology. Affectionately dubbed “ChristyCast,” the hardware-based solution streamed from an Avid IO Box and provided the team with the ability to work and collaborate remotely. The technology worked well enough, but it was, unfortunately, not without its drawbacks.

“[ChristyCast] worked great, but it was a pain to just get it set up on specific computers because it wasn't IP based, it was actual hardware based,” said Nigro. “It was exactly what we needed to be…but it was clunky, and it wasn't the long-term solution.”

Christy's also tried using a remote review solution from another vendor, but it didn’t function as expected, and notably used up a lot of the end-user’s bandwidth. With so many clients working remotely, the pressure was on to find something that fulfilled their needs. But when other solutions weren’t stacking up, Streambox provided the right stuff to get the job done!

Streambox introduced the Christy’s team to Spectra, our cutting-edge software encoder that integrates with many popular creative applications. Christy’s had a Streambox Chroma X for 4K finishing clients and were intrigued by the fact that Spectra could literally plugin to an Avid platform and eliminate hassles with hardware and cables.

Spectra provides the user with the ability to produce low latency streams directly from their existing workstations, allowing others to view and collaborate from anywhere with an IP connection. Once Christy’s was able to test out Spectra for Avid Media Composer, they knew they finally found the answer to their problems.

“Streambox is very effective - and especially so for remote color grading sessions - where you need a more accurate representation of the final product,” said Nigro.

Nigro stated that the top selling points of Spectra is that it’s efficient, cost effective, and requires minimal assistance from support for setup. When customers ask for remote streaming solutions, he said he now starts with Streambox.

“When Spectra came along, we realized, okay, that actually fills in the gap. It does what we need it to do,” said Nigro. “It's easy to just set up on at remote client, have it work efficiently, and have the sort of quality of the stream be what we need it to be.”

As for the future, Nigro believes the hybrid workflow is here to stay.

“It's going to be a little bit of both, people are going to work from home when needed and then come in when needed. So, we'll always be hybrid, you know, cats out of the bag on that one.…[where] there used to be ten edit bays in house, now we maybe have four. And for the people who are completely remote, they still have an option to come in and work. I think it'll always kind of be that way.”