Sunil Mudholkar, VP Product, EditShare
The pandemic may have given us a nudge along the way, but the idea of putting all the production and post resources into one location would surely have withered away. The arguments in favour of decentralised, remote working are far too strong.
If you are a video editor then most of the time you are sitting in a quiet room, working through a script to put a programme together which drives the story forward (and hits the running time). There is no difference in creativity and efficiency whether this is done in a suite, in a city centre post house, or in the editor’s spare room.
Obviously, in the post house the editor does not need to make the coffee. But working from home saves commuting into the city, potentially saving a lot in time, money, frustration and carbon footprint.
To look at another example, say you are shooting a staged reality series in some reasonably remote location. Do you have to ship all the post team to the location – and find accommodation and working space for them, and pay for their travel – or do you have the shooting crew on site and the production team back at base? Again, the benefits are obvious.
Or it could be a broadcaster with national and regional newsrooms and bureaux in other countries. Or movie production with directors on location, post in London, animation in the Far East and producers in Hollywood. Or a commercial post house working on international variants of advertising campaigns at facilities around the world.
Right across the content supply chain, it makes sense to put the work where it is most efficiently carried out. To do that, you need an underlying architecture that makes the raw and proxy material available where and when it is needed – which is likely to be in multiple locations.
In turn, that means keeping track of it all. A single point of knowledge of all the material stored in all siles, including at multiple premises and in the cloud. Authorised users can then access all content relevant to their project in a single view, wherever they are working.
In some cases that will demand the full resolution content – colorists need the real material to grade, but only need the finished cut or at least the selected takes. Others, though, can easily work with quality proxies if necessary. The control layer needs to have a degree of intelligence, beyond the usual privileges and access protection that happen in a silo.
It needs to know where the content is, where the user who will need it is, and the means of transferring material between the two. Do you have the bandwidth to move the full resolution file? If it is hosted in the cloud, what are the egress charges and are they justified?
Indeed, if the content is in the cloud, do you need to move it at all? Cloud editing today works seamlessly, with your favourite edit software hosted in AWS with direct access to the material, and the editor working over a desktop emulator like HP Anywhere. The only chargeable egress are the finished deliverables.
Producers, of course, will want to know how projects are proceeding. They can log in from any location – again minimising time, cost and CO2 in travel – and see progress on any device that is convenient. They can add notes, or they can talk to the editor over Zoom.
At EditShare we have tackled all these issues. As part of our FLOW asset management software we have a suite of tools called Multisite, which orchestrates content storage and movement. As its name suggests, it works across multiple locations, whether that is a large-scale storage node in a post house or sports facility, or a small server at an editing suite, the production storage can be on location or the cloud.
The intelligence is housed in the FLOW central system. It can be at any of the existing physical locations, or it can be in the cloud, even if you are not yet using cloud storage. It develops a map of where all the content is stored, who has rightful access to it, and makes it simple for users to browse through, access and use their material. The FLOW central system can also plan ahead, so if it knows where the storage is and where the editor is going to work, it can manage transfers in advance so everything is set up and ready, with the right bin structure. Where content does need to be transferred, modern file acceleration techniques deliver as much as a 60% increase in throughput, either to get it there faster or to get it there with lower bandwidth costs. Administrators can easily setup synchronisation tasks in Automation.
Today’s media world is fiercely competitive. The target is to finish the job and start monetising it as quickly as possible. You must control the budget and at the same time ensure that your key creative staff are seeing the work/life balance that they increasingly demand. The technology exists to make this happen, automatically & invisibly to the end user, leaving everyone free to ensure the final programme is the best it can be.
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