ENVY Post Production House Pivots to Hybrid Work Model with Leostream as part of its ENVY Remote Platform
Picture a working environment where people come into town and have a nice coffee and a chat, relax on the sofa and collaborate on an upcoming project. These are some of comforts that describe the studio suites available at ENVY, the UK’s leading post production house for broadcast and advertising which operates out of six locations in London.
The historically in-office business has adapted to a flexible model that enables its client base to fully access 200+ physical workstations remotely. As part of the company’s overall effort to drive operational change, Jai Cave of ENVY and his technical team set out to build ENVY Remote, a platform to support a hybrid workforce.
Developing an Ecosystem for a Hybrid Creative Workforce
Feedback from clients was a major influence backing the decision to create a full-fledged solution for flexible working. “We realized for our business moving forward we needed to offer customers hybrid, remote, and on-site options,” commented Cave. “How do you want to work? Tell us and you can work that way.”
The post production house became fully equipped for remote access at the start of the pandemic. With over 70% of clients expressing interest in hybrid options long-term, the company began building a robust ecosystem to align the demand for flexibility and creative workflows. “We are in a creative industry and I think there’s a lot of people that respect the creative industry’s need to be person in order to be effective,” explained Cave. “But, you don’t necessarily need it every day of the week.”
The company’s propriety platform provides tools to help hybrid and remote creative talent collaborate. It includes a live chat system, storyboarding, file reviewing/sharing, task management, live notes, discussions, shared calendars and live support. An important feature of the overall solution is connecting to powerful editing workstations remotely, which is facilitated by the inclusion of Leostream into the platform. Cave summarized the process as straightforward and seamless. “They just click on the remote edit tab and they are looking at a customized Leostream interface. Once connected, it’s exactly the same machine that they were using in-house or a dedicated remote machine if they don’t need a hybrid option.” This provides a consistent user-experience across the board, which is especially beneficial as creatives transition from working in the office to at home throughout the week.
The Leostream Gateway delivers remote access to users outside of the corporate network, allowing ENVY to isolate workstations from the public internet. The gateway is designed to funnel logins through a secure environment to be authenticated without the use of virtual private networks (VPNs). For Cave, minimizing the need for VPNs made implementing the Leostream Gateway a logical choice. “No one wants to battle with setting up VPN connections on laptops that are owned by studios or whoever else. It’s no fun. For us, ease of use is really important, whilst being completely secure.”
Scaling the Platform with API & Flexible Integrations
With 10-20 projects starting each week, ENVY has built an orchestration system that manages the whole life cycle of projects. This system brings together a variety of systems, software and processes, including Leostream to automate all of the initial provisioning and day to day management. Using the Leostream API, ENVY is able to leverage the power of Leostream alongside other tools within the ecosystem.
By automating the brokering aspect of how users connect to workstations, Leostream reduces the amount of manual intervention needed to kick start projects and on-board users. “Clients don’t want to wait, they want it to be automatic. They want to log in at 8am and get going,” described Cave. This level of convenience is exactly what ENVY is able to deliver at scale and across numerous projects simultaneously.
Given the breadth of technology in place to run the ecosystem and empower hybrid workers, a key initiative for the company was selecting providers that could integrate with others. As a vendor neutral platform, Leostream perfectly met this requirement for its unique ability to support a wide array of display protocols, authentication providers, client devices, operating systems, and hosting platforms.
Remote Access Opens the Talent Pool up to a Global Level
One of the unique benefits of rolling out such a powerful solution is the hiring reach that it provides. Previously, recruiting talent was often constrained to the pool of creatives within close proximity to project locations. Giving clients the capability to hire remote teams has opened up doors and expanded the talent pool they have available.
Cave said projects are making use of talent like never before and sourcing talent from new locations. Not only does the company have users logging in from every corner of the UK, but from all across the globe. “Now people are grabbing editors from Scotland and Bristol. We have people logging in from Turkey, Netherlands, Spain, lots of different places all over the world — and choosing people based on talent, and not where they live.”
With a global workforce, meeting face-to-face is often impractical, placing a higher demand on virtual collaboration tools. To assist with collaboration, ENVY has enabled a screen-sharing feature through an integration between the workstations’ remote display protocol and Leostream. This functionality allows editors to invite other creatives and their producers to a full screen collaborative mode to review projects in real-time together.
From an IT perspective, another advantage of using Leostream to manage a geographically distributed talent base is the comprehensive reporting which gives oversight into who is logging in and when. This is particularly helpful when planning technical maintenance and avoiding peak usage times. With a traditional 9-5 office structure, companies are able to perform maintenance during off hours, but it’s more complex when you have users logging in 24/7. Cave and his IT team pull reports within Leostream to see when machines are powered on and to determine how many users will be impacted at certain times.
What’s Next for ENVY?
The company plans to continue expanding its platform with support from key vendors like Leostream. “Clients have been very clear to us that this is how they want to work going forward,” summarized Cave. The company will be adding new services to the ecosystem and promoting flexible work.
ENVY is an award winning ‘one stop shop’ for full-service post production, offering everything from capture to rushes ingest, storage, offline suites, grade, online, audio, VFX, QC, and deliverables for countless broadcasters around the world.
Its Broadcast division works on Documentaries, Factual, Drama, Comedy and Entertainment with its Advertising division working on Commercials, Design, Branding and Promos.
ENVY offers over 200 suites across 6 buildings in central London.