An agency-wide move to the cloud streamlines efficiency and enables global expansion.
CUBE is a UK-based video and animation agency founded in 2016 by James Hakesley, CEO and Creative Director Roy Kimani. The agency has grown from a two-person team into a content and video production powerhouse — employing full-time talent and dozens of freelancers. CUBE helps brands turn complex concepts into successful multi-channel campaigns using the latest insights, technology, and pioneering methods. The agency manages every part of the production, from creative briefs to delivery. Notable work includes large-scale photography, video campaigns, and 3D visualizations. Their client list includes Virgin Media Business, SAP, Hitachi, EY, Crown Paints, and many local government agencies.
“Brands come to us to solve specific business problems,” according to Hakesley. Brands call on CUBE when “They might want to raise brand awareness, increase sales, drive attention to a particular product or event, or channel internal communications. We come up with everything from the strategy to the finished content. We then help them optimize their media on the web, YouTube, social media, commercial broadcasts, and at brand events.”
Hard drives, remote problem
Although CUBE saw much success as a small agency, this momentum brought much growth and speed. The agency’s infrastructure, which included a storage and file exchange system based on hard drives and an asset management system based on Excel, simply didn’t scale. Leadership quickly found that they needed to find a more efficient technology solution to support the demands of their client roster.
Like many agile businesses, the pandemic forced their team to consider a change. “Before COVID-19, we were all working from hard drives in the same office,” Hakesley explains. “We essentially had spreadsheets listing each project on many different hard drives. We were just holding on to the hope that versions would remain up-to-date, and teams could quickly find what they wanted. It was a fairly ad hoc, painful process.”
With headquarters temporarily closed due to COVID-19, the CUBE team quickly had to deal with the many challenges of working from home on large-scale production projects. Simple things like client edits and design iterations became problematic when collaborating from a single hard drive.
“During the pandemic, you couldn’t drive to a colleague’s home and pick up the hard drive. We soon realized there was a bigger problem we needed to address. We needed a major overhaul to ensure our team could work together efficiently.”
A 360-workflow change with LucidLink
Hakesley and Kimani pursued the search for a technology solution that would make smooth remote workflows a reality for their team.
“There were a few solutions around requiring uploading and downloading from the cloud, but I thought that was a waste of time,” says Roy Kimani, Co-founder and Creative Director. “Why would I want to download a file I’ve already uploaded? It just seemed pointless.”
Immediately after starting with LucidLink, CUBE experienced the benefits of working in the cloud. “Our mindsets changed from one focused on our local area and the 10-mile radius we could realistically ship hard drives to – to understanding the global freelance pool we could tap into using LucidLink.” This was a potential the agency previously hadn’t explored in the past.
Changing how the business runs
LucidLink radically improved CUBE’s productivity and remote workflow. As soon as a video is shot and rushes are sent to the cloud via LucidLink, the media is split automatically into high-resolution and proxy versions. CUBE’s editing teams were now able to immediately begin working on a project once it was saved to their Filespace.
“LucidLink changes everything,” says Hakesley. “It allows us to meet very tight deadlines by being able to continue production in different time zones as needed. We can run productions worldwide by employing a local film crew we project manage remotely.”
LucidLink centralizes and secures all media, enabling CUBE to condense its production timelines. Now, the team can plan when material needs to be worked on and scale up quickly by adding new people to their project spaces in LucidLink.
By working in the cloud, CUBE has shortened the time between production, post-production, and billing. Project and sales cycles are leaner than ever, enabling them to onboard the next production sooner.
Using LucidLink, productions are shot and ingested on the same day or overnight. CUBE teams no longer have to fly hard drives back to begin the DIT process. International teams can make last-minute edits and amends outside the UK working house. The producers arrive back at their desks the next morning, ready to review — resulting in savings of days to weeks in a production workflow.
CUBE is charting a path toward continued growth. From its previous roots as a two-person show with just a camera and an iMac, to a full-scale video production agency that is expanding at pace through the growing pains of managing multiple multimedia projects.
“Our ambition is to open up other locations around the world over the next couple of years,” says Hakesley. “That’s possible because we trust in the stability of LucidLink. We now know content is controlled in one centralized platform – that means our teams can integrate far more, people can pick things up wherever they are, and nothing is siloed.”
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