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Climate-conscious post production facility Bumblebee takes flight

TVBEurope talks to Zinc Media Group CTO Olly Strous about the company's new solution, and why it wants to work with a supply chain that shares its climate-conscious values

Earlier this autumn, Zinc Media Group announced the launch of Bumblebee, a climate-conscious, work-anywhere post production solution that enables editors and producers to work from anywhere around the UK.

TVBEurope caught up with Zinc’s chief technology officer Olly Strous to find out more about the service and the technology behind it.

Why did Zinc Media decide to develop Bumblebee?

We developed Bumblebee in response to the changing post production market. In a world where more and more editing takes place remotely, we want to build a nationwide collection of physical facilities to empower in person collaboration with remote scalability at its technical core. Being able to attract a wider talent base from a single technical core means you can have multiple editors working at any of our locations or homes. They then seamlessly transition into final post as the media is always where it’s needed.

Why is it called Bumblebee?

As a sustainable post production business we were looking for a name that reflected our values in a fun way. We wanted something that could reflect both our business and our climate, landing on the humble Bumblebee. With wings that on the face are so disproportionate to its body, it shouldn’t be able to fly, yet it does. It achieves the impossible, everyday. A mantra anyone working in post production can relate to.  

How does it work?

Our work anywhere solution allows editors and producers to either join us in one of our facilities or remotely connect to the same shared technical infrastructure. We also have a variety of producer collaboration tools designed to cater to different technical proficiencies and workflows. Having launched with London we’re already well underway scoping our other locations. 

We are also offering a remote upload service taking advantage of our upload hubs located in pre-existing premises run by our parent company Zinc Media. This is already live and allows upload from London, Macclesfield, Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast and is free to all Bumblebee customers.

What technology does it use?

We employ a number of different systems, splitting solutions between both public cloud and private cloud depending on the tool to optimise security, performance and price.

You’ve promised that it will be a climate-conscious solution. How are you able to deliver on those promises?

We are currently undergoing a thorough interrogation of our business to understand how we can best effect change. We’re interrogating our supply chain to only do business with those who share our values whilst also working closely with the production teams using our facilities to assist with real practical steps they can take to lower their carbon impact through technical innovation.

Why have you made that guarantee to customers?

We want to have a positive impact on the world. The conversation around businesses’ impact on our planet is not a new one, but it’s one we decided we didn’t just want to be a part of, we want to be at the forefront of it in our industry. Technology allows us to drive efficiencies and change behaviour far easier than it ever has and it’s through that prism we’re confident we can make an impact.

How important is sustainability to a company like Zinc Media?

Our television labels were all early adopters of the albert scheme and have been signed up to its commitments since its inception and our programming has regularly reflected the risks of our changing climate. Zinc Communicate, the branded content arm of the business, has in fact just launched a sustainable travel series casting a light on tourist destinations designed to minimise their environmental impact. The commitments Bumblebee is making, as the newest member of the Zinc family, reflects the seriousness with which we all take the climate crisis. 

What has the feedback been from people who have used it so far?

We currently have in excess of 60 edits in operation. Our physical London facility is running close to capacity for the next month at least and clients are returning after their first projects which feels like an immediate success so soon after launch. Long may it last.

Do you intend to develop it further in the coming months?

We have ambitious plans to open more nationwide locations and hope to be able to share more soon.