We were asked by Cospective to create a piece that highlighted cineSync’s compatibility with Wacom – whose tablets are notable for their use of a patented pressure-sensitive stylus – as we joined them at their booth at this year's NAB Conference in Las Vegas.
We spoke to Bournemouth-based Outpost VFX who, using the winning combination of cineSync and Wacom, is proving that physical distance poses no barrier to producing quality work.
The aptly named Outpost VFX lies humbly removed from the clamor of London’s creative core by the southern shores of Bournemouth. Yet the distance from London hasn’t prevented Outpost from contributing to the world’s most prominent Hollywood franchises. The Bournemouth-based thalassophiles have credits on major tentpole releases, stretching from Paul Greengrass’s Jason Bourne to CG dinosaur extravaganza Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Setups like Outpost are possible today thanks to technology. We’re now working and creating in an era in which physical distance poses no barrier to producing quality work. Incredibly fast broadband and remote production tools enable teams like Outpost to work without ever having to share the same physical space. One such tool is Cospective’s cineSync, which Outpost uses in conjunction with Wacom’s pen tablets, to facilitate, augment, and clarify its interactions with creative partners around the world.
The studio’s head of production, Gez Hixson joined Outpost two years after leaving the Soho arm of MPC, where he had grown reliant on cineSync for client review. Taking his experience to the south coast, Hixson was quick to implement the software at Outpost, enabling his team to collaborate across the Atlantic with Jason Bourne VFX supervisor Charlie Noble.
Since incorporating cineSync into the Outpost workflow the software has been used on almost every project – and almost every single day. “We find ourselves in cineSync sessions on nearly every job that comes into the studio. cineSync is vital in receiving that real-time feedback from anywhere in the world,” says Hixson. “You can dial into a shot and creatively collaborate even if you’re on the other side of the globe – or just a few hours outside of London. You don’t get that level of creative involvement from an email.”
"cineSync, especially in conjunction with a Wacom tablet, is a vital part of our workflow. I can’t see a world in which we could do what we do without them both."
Outpost is always ready to boot up cineSync, and grab a Wacom tablet at any time for fast and clear creative discussion. The Wacom plays an incredibly important role in this process. Using a pen and tablet, cineSync users can comment, highlight, circle, draw, sketch, delineate, trace – and more besides – on a frame, making their intentions felt not in words but via pixels on a screen. “Using a Wacom in our cineSync sessions reinforces the bridge we’re building over the physical gap between ourselves and clients,” says Hixton.
Outpost uses Wacom Intuos Pro tablets in their studios as the hardware allows for much more precision. Artists can quickly point out specific detail in frames or quickly sketch out concepts, giving physicality to what previously existed in imagination only. “I couldn’t imagine a situation where we wouldn’t need Wacom tech in our cineSync calls,” says Hixson. “Wacom and cineSync together offer a far more haptic experience and more flexibility in note-taking. It’s an advanced creative process.”
Thanks to the synchronicity of cineSync and Wacom – and the synchronicity this breeds between studio and client – Outpost do not feel like outsiders despite their coastal location. The team remains as fully engaged with their creative collaborators as they would be in London or LA. “cineSync empowers us to work with people all over the world in real time. Without that ability, we’d absolutely be doing our clients a disservice. A big part of what we do at Outpost is to give clients the world over a truly personal level of service. Reviews in a real-time environment are crucial in engendering that approach, and cineSync is part and parcel of the process.”