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Safe video shoot during COVID-19?

How remote platform OpenReel became part of our production toolkit at Marylands Farm Park.


The pandemic created some serious challenges for video production crews, including ours. Let’s face it, it’s hard to do a video shoot when you can’t send a crew out on location or have to ship multiple pieces of heavy equipment, cameras, and lights. Enter OpenReel, a remote video creation platform, which lets you direct, film, script, and collaborate on high-definition video projects from a mobile device or webcam. “We had been playing around with OpenReel even before COVID-19,” says Marc Goodinson, BNO’s Senior Director of Video and Technology, “but the pandemic provided a perfect test case for us to lean into OpenReel hard as a primary production tool.”
Telling the story of Marylands Farm Park in Indiana provided the perfect opportunity to test out OpenReel–and to capture artist, historian, and urban farmer Alison Adams on the historic 10-acre homestead she donated to the New Haven-Adams Township Parks & Recreation Department. As part of a property that comprised the very first farm in New Haven, Marylands plans to show future generations a glimpse of what 1800s farm life was like. The education center, wooded natural trails, and accessible sensory trail will all be within earshot of clucking chickens and guinea fowl while offering an up-close view of sheep, goats, and horses. 
“After some serious R&D, we were doing things remotely we never thought possible,” he says. That includes directing and capturing two-camera shoots with artificial lighting, shotgun, and lav mics, and stabilized b-roll in 4K resolution without AC power or WiFi. 
That’s why OpenReel will remain part of BNO’s production service toolkit even with film crews resuming shoots on location again. “It’s that cool,” says Goodinson.
OpenReel has become increasingly popular in the past two years. According to the company, on average, 121 times more videos have been produced on OpenReel each month of 2021 compared to 2019.
Instead of feeling daunted by the challenges of pandemic production, Goodinson was impressed by OpenReel’s capabilities. The software allows a remote director to control a webcam or mobile device, and film multiple subjects simultaneously on a shoot with separate devices, as well as invite collaborators to participate as stakeholders. Based on the device being used to record, an OpenReel creator can set the focus, adjust the exposure, test the audio levels, and more—all from their desk. The footage is stored on the device and then uploaded automatically to a cloud after the shoot. 
The major appeal of OpenReel lies in its simplicity. A simple box of accessories arrives and lets us start shooting footage right away. OpenReel allows us to accomplish what we do best—tell beautiful stories that flow from one moment to the next.