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Case study: The backbone of Vaudeville Sound Group’s media asset management

Luke Hatfield, group head of sound at Vaudeville, discusses how the creative sound design and mixing group gains performance, security, and media management advantage with LucidLink

Multi-award-winning Vaudeville Sound Group specialises in creative sound design and mixing for television, streaming platforms, commercials, trailers, and promo spots for broadcast, theatrical and immersive formats. The company works with studios in the UK, USA, and Canada. Their roster includes nominees and recipients of Emmys, BAFTAs, Royal Television Society Awards and more.

A distributed business model

Vaudeville Sound Group was established to operate as a distributed business model from its inception. While maintaining a hub in central London and sister facilities in the US and Canada, Vaudeville leverages the expertise of freelance sound designers and re-recording mixers. Working with a diverse talent pool across time zones allows the company to foster work-life balance and produce high-quality creative outputs.

This flexibility enables Vaudeville to scale up and down as needed based on project demand—allowing them to keep an efficient eye on budgets.

“Part of my job is to find freelance talent and to bring them into the fold,” explains Luke Hatfield, group head of sound, Vaudeville.  “As a talent-led industry, it is vital to fit the right talent to the right project to make sure they feel a part of the team.”

Vaudeville’s ability to work with the best audio talent in the field attracts projects from major broadcast studios and premium production companies, including Disney, Apple+, Hulu, Warner Bros., Discovery, Amazon, BBC, A&E, and Sky. However, their immense growth brought on workflow problems. With talent remotely distributed, media management at scale was becoming a logistical challenge while keeping security paramount.

Media management challenges

Vaudeville relies heavily on efficient media and project management in its workflows. Since files and media assets are in many formats and come from various locations worldwide, it is critical to have an established streamlined process. For example, clients and mixers working on the same sessions using file transfer software like We Transfer or Aspera made managing media projects increasingly challenging.

“Going back a few years, moving projects around the way we were doing it was inefficient. Links could expire if not downloaded in time. It was messy,” says Hatfield.

With so many departments working on the same project, tracking, grouping, and conforming media became a time-consuming frustration.

“It became potentially too easy to duplicate a project or open up an earlier incarnation, which could lead to expensive mistakes,” recalls Hatfield. “That was a risk we couldn’t accept and made it imperative that we find a better way of working.”

Vaudeville needed a system where everyone had access to the latest project file version to ensure that all talent working from different locations could easily collaborate on the same project. This way, each person could work on the project, save and close it, and pass it on to the next person with confidence that they were working on the most up-to-date version. Ideally, this would ensure that each new person assigned to the project would open the correct version of that file. Additionally, they did not want team projects existing on local computers. This created additional security risks. 

“I didn’t think there was anything that could do that,” says Hatfield. “Then we found LucidLink.”

Centralised media and security on lock

Vaudeville’s management tested LucidLink and immediately rolled it out group-wide. 

LucidLink solved the problems the company was experiencing with teams working on the same media in multiple locations. They no longer had to worry about data dispersed among creatives, version control, or data security. Media was no longer fragmented because, with LucidLink, everything is stored in the cloud, and everyone accesses their files from one centralised location.

“It was as if everyone was in the same building working on the same media, even though they are, in fact, miles apart,” adds Hatfield. LucidLink solved another problem too. 

“Because many of our mixers are freelancers, they could quickly move on to another job a few days or even hours after finishing one of ours. If we needed to make a change to a job they were working on, we would have to chase them for the media,” he continues. “Now, with LucidLink, I can access all the media and give it to anyone else to make changes. The flexibility of jumping on projects anytime was suddenly much greater.”

Another huge benefit for Vaudeville was the tightened security of media assets that LucidLink enabled. With large teams of sound designers & mixers working outside the premises, ensuring media was secure at all times was precariously a matter of trust.

“LucidLink gave us peace of mind. Now, all the media is locked, encrypted, and streamed. Nothing is copied locally. Only the assigned person has access, and we have one verifiable copy of the live media,” explains Hatfield.

Vaudeville no longer had to send encrypted drives to homes, log them, track, format them, and back them up. The logistical issues vanished. 

“Customers trust us with their content, and using LucidLink, took away all the worry. With LucidLink, I know that all the data is secure and accounted for, and only the right people that are supposed to have access to it are looking at it.  We control who needs the media and for how long,” says Hatfield. “LucidLink gives you that ‘internal post’ feeling even though people may be five thousand miles apart.”

The backbone of future growth

Today, Vaudeville ensures team members on any project gain access to the media and assets they need via LucidLink. All Vaudeville facilities collaborate in the cloud, with remote freelance talent communicating via Google Workspace and accessing all media, files, and assets in their LucidLink Filespaces. 

“LucidLink is much more than a way of streaming media assets. It’s the backbone of our media asset management. Team members can see each other’s departments and pull scripts, ADR cues, production notes, and video and audio. If one department isn’t supposed to see something, I can change their access,” adds Hatfield.

Having a file structure like LucidLink is much more efficient and secure than sending around email links. Knowing the media is accurate, up-to-date, and safe is crucial.

Vaudeville can process projects faster without sacrificing quality, allowing them better opportunities to produce great work, find more prospective projects, and gain new customers.