Enabling Remote Working for Comic Relief

With the impact of COVID-19 having a profound effect on tv broadcasting, Comic Relief approached Support Partners to enable remote editing for The Big Night In 2020 and other Comic Relief programming


Comic Relief, the UK charity established in 1985, approached Support Partners in March 2020 following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the lockdown conditions which were laid down on 23rd March, the Comic Relief video production department was unable to access the office and the video production infrastructure.

To combat this, Comic Relief IT shipped the video teams edit workstations to the editors’ homes, so they continued to have access to high-performance workstations. However, there was a major problem whereby teams couldn’t collaborate on projects, share media or perform other day to day tasks which required access to their main edit storage and archive.

Comic Relief swiftly engaged Support Partners to provide options to address these issues, with the key aim of enabling teams to access their storage remotely and securely share and transfer assets. There was a clear deadline for the project – the Comic Relief team needed to collaborate and create content for the one-off fundraising event ‘The Big Night In’, scheduled for Thursday April 23rd 2020.


 Support Partners presented several remote working options, but due to time constraints, it was decided that the best option, and the one that was going to meet Comic Relief’s immediate requirements, was to deploy a bespoke transfer and synchronisation workflow.

At a high level, the solution Support Partners proposed consisted of deploying a remote access tool, a synchronisation engine and the implementation of process automation.

Firstly, a remote access tool was configured to allow designated members of the Comic Relief team to remotely and securely access their on-premise infrastructure, allowing them to manage media and retrieve assets from their cloud-based archive. A series of transfer agents were deployed on each user’s workstation and on the edit storage at Comic Relief HQ, creating a bi-directional transfer and sync network between each agent. This meant that folders, projects and assets could be distributed to an individual or to a team.

To keep things manageable for the editors and media managers, the synchronisation both to and from their on-premise HQ was automated. This means that media managers can simply push a project to any number of in-house or freelance editors with a single mouse click. An event-based sync means that any subsequent changes to the shared assets are replicated and pushed out to the other transfer agents, effectively creating a virtual shared storage platform.

To minimise data transfer, the solution was configured so that only asset alterations are synchronised meaning that when  a change is made to the timeline (clip length, let’s say) then only the changes to the project file will be transferred rather than re-transferring all assets related to the project. This resulted in near real-time reflection of changes to the projects regardless of home-internet speed.

Once the editors have finished working on a project, the media manager can simply remove user access and move the project back into the main edit volume.




Deborah Lasky, Comic Relief

“We approached Support Partners to help get our editors get up and working remotely as we know from years of working with Support Partners that they would guide us to the right solution, and that they would deliver on time. Given the tight deadline, we have been thoroughly impressed with the solution and service from Support Partners.”


This was a project with a firm deadline and many constraints, including the fact that all Comic Relief and Support Partners personnel were working remotely. As a result of Support Partners’ extensive experience of enabling remote video production and their strategic approach, this solution was deployed within an astonishing 5 days and allowed Comic Relief to start collaborating and creating content for ‘The Big Night In’ in good time, as well as continue working on their all-year-round content creation projects for events including Red Nose Day and Sports Relief.

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