We chatted with Ben Nelson, Hayden5's Director of Technical Operations, on the role of the Creative Technologist and Hayden5's own custom digital solutions for remote production.
What does the role of a creative technologist entail?
A creative technologist constantly keeps an eye on emerging trends in technology and finds new ways to harness the latest innovations in a creative context. We’re a video agency, so for us that means staying on top of the latest in ultra-low latency streaming, camera robotics, the metaverse, AR/VR, cloud computing, etc., and seeing where we can utilize those technologies to create new solutions for our clients.
Take media delivery, for example. Moving massive media files can be a huge headache. We developed Lightning Delivery, which combines the latest in file transfer technology, cloud transcoding, web technologies, AI transcription, and asset management to make transferring massive media files over the internet a breeze. With Lightning Delivery, media logistics is vastly simplified, allowing our team and clients to focus on creative execution.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
A creative technologist must have a passion for the bleeding edge of technology. I remember being one of the first people in line for the very first iPhone at my local Apple Store in 2007. No one knew at the time how big of an impact it would have. I even remember a handful of tech columnists saying it would amount to nothing. I’m not saying I knew more than they did, just that I HAD to get my hands on one to find out for myself.
I think a creative technologist needs to have somewhat of an obsessive personality when it comes to new technology. That, plus a deep understanding of the creative process, is key to success. Hayden5’s post-production solution, Cloud Cuts, is a product of our obsession with new technologies. Cloud Cuts harnesses the latest in remote desktop, media asset management, and ultra-low latency live streaming technologies, which has allowed us to realize the dream of fully decentralized post-production.
Where do creative solutions intersect with functional design?
For us, creative solutions are centered around user experience. A successful solution is a functional one. I’ve heard that great wedding planners consider the experience of the wedding from everyone’s perspective – what they see, hear, taste, and smell. While we’re not typically concerned with what our clients smell, we do always consider the experience from their perspective.
Drop Kit Ship is a perfect example. Drop Kit Ship is Hayden5’s custom solution that enables our customers to capture high quality content without a full production crew. We had to carefully consider how Drop Kit Ship would be assembled and operated since it is often used by non-video professionals.
What’s the most challenging aspect of the creative technologist role?
Lots of trends in technology burn bright and fast, but ultimately have no lasting impact. The ability to recognize true paradigm shifts early can be essential to developing new creative solutions first. At the start of the pandemic, many companies pivoted to remote work. Hayden5 developed the Drop Kit, which allowed us to continue capturing high quality content in a totally contactless way. While the world has opened up significantly since then, we recognized the value of remote production solutions early and developed Crew+. Crew+ brings together the convenience and efficiencies of remote production, with the high level of control and quality of an on-site production crew.
How do you see the role expanding with the introduction of the metaverse?
The metaverse will have dramatic impacts on our daily lives, changing the way we work, socialize, consume content, and more. Of course, the same was said about the internet in the 90s, and it was true then, too. But no one could have predicted the myriad ways the internet has impacted our world since, but good and bad. The role of a creative technologist will be to imagine the ways in which the metaverse will be used and find ways to harness it to empower creative teams.
Are there any passion projects you’ve worked on that you’d like to share?
Hayden5 will soon be revealing our comprehensive solution for capturing video content within the metaverse. This new solution will enable creatives to realize full-scale production within completely virtual environments, unlocking infinite possibilities that aren’t limited by the realities of IRL production.