When you’re in a business like EditShare, the start of a new year means the time to think about what is going to be important in the coming 12 months. What are users going to talk about, what capabilities are they going to need, how will they challenge us?
Here is my view: this is going to be the year that hybrid production comes to maturity. Hybrid in the sense that it will be part on location, part remote; part using traditional tools onsite and part in the cloud.
Before I explain why I think it is going to be important, let me just say why 2023 is the year when it is going to happen.
In media, we have a well-established four year cycle, driven by external forces, mainly sport. In 2024 and every four years from then on we have the Olympics (and a US presidential election). In 2026 and every four years we have the Winter Olympics plus the FIFA World Cup. In 2025 we have the European football championships. But in the other year of the four year cycle – like 2023 – we do not have any big events. So we have time to think, to develop sensible plans.
Think about this: there is no one size fits all post production workflow. If you are making a nature documentary you may be accumulating footage over years; but investigative journalism might be shooting almost up to the time of transmission. Movies will allow months for post production; sports broadcasters will want a fresh highlights package every time there is a break in play.
If you are planning a major sports event like the Olympics, or a major location-shot reality show that needs daily coverage, do you want to ship your post production team off to the location – where you will have to build facilities and pay for food and accommodation – or do you want to keep them back at base where they have set up their rooms just as they like them, and they know the quickest route to the best coffee shops?
Fast connectivity has changed everything
There are no right answers to any of these questions. But what has happened is that we have built workflows because, in the past, they were the only way that the technology allowed us to work. Now, thanks to fast connectivity around the world, we can take a step back and decide what is the best way to work on each individual project.
The cloud, of course, is central to all of this. That is not to say that it is compulsory: there will be plenty of workflows where traditional, in-place post is the best solution. The major nature documentary series I talked about earlier is a good example: getting all the content to a post facility for editing and finishing at a considered pace is probably the way to go (although you might want a security archive in AWS S3).
But if you do put all your content in the cloud, then you can access it from anywhere. You can call up processing resources when you need them, for instance for batch creation of proxies, or to do large-scale transcoding.
The real transformative technology, though, is cloud editing. All your media is in the cloud, as is all the metadata. With EditShare FLEX, you can host the edit software – whichever platform is your preference – within the storage network. If the post-production storage network is in the cloud, so too is your edit software. Remote desktop technologies like PC-over-IP (PCoIP) means you have the look and feel of a traditional edit suite, but it is all happening at some distant location.
You can access huge resources without the cost or time of moving large amounts of content. With good, automated proxy generation you can work with even a modest broadband connection.
Cloud editing is not for everyone, or for every project. That is not the point. What it does is open up new avenues and new workflows. You can take a step back and decide what is the best way for you to work on this particular project: what is best for staff welfare, for business economics, and for creative collaboration. Workflows your way.