Technology has the ability to shape the way we work, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. With the introduction of new technology, such as cloud-enabled editorial tools, it can be an opportunity to consider a better way of working.
The Evolution of Video Workflows: From Bespoke Hardware to Cloud Operations
It is worth reminding ourselves that up until maybe 10 years ago, all the equipment we needed for media production depended upon bespoke hardware. You bought a box to do a job, and your workflows were defined by the boxes you owned and how you connected them together. That applied whether you were shooting in the field, in the studio, or in post.
The twin-pronged revolution came when processing power developed to be able to handle video in real time, and when standards were established to share content as data files, replacing SDI (which of course also required bespoke hardware). By opening the option to use standard hardware and open standards, video workflows became more accessible and the ability to process video in software made these workflows more flexible.
Virtualizing Post Tools: The Benefits of Cloud Editing
The next step was to virtualize the software, and build systems on microservices. In simple terms, we have moved from connecting boxes that we happen to have into assembling the precise functionality we need, in precisely the order we need. With the infinite scalability of the cloud, the architecture can flex to do what we want without the requirement for large capital investment.
And that is why we have the opportunity to take a completely fresh approach. We need to decide what it is we are actually trying to achieve, and how best to do it.
Take editing, for example. Online editing has meant a largish room in a post house, with room for clients to sit around. That costs a lot in real estate, and power, and catering, and security, on top of the salary for a top editor and the cost of the equipment.
It is the way we have always done it, because it was the only way we could make it work. But if we are starting with a blank sheet of paper, is it the best way?
Collaborating Remotely: Enhancing Productivity and Saving Time and Money
At EditShare we talk a lot about how post tools, like editing, can be virtualized alongside the storage network and asset management platform. These are the industry standard tools that editors expect: tools from Avid, Adobe, DaVinci and others. With remote desktop access technology such as PCoverIP, the editor will work exactly the way they are used to, whether the processing and storage is in the machine room in the basement or in an AWS data centre hundreds or thousands of kilometres away.
The logical extension of that is that the editor doesn’t have to be in the expensive edit suite in the city centre post house. They can be anywhere which is convenient for them. The idea of editing high-value content on someone’s kitchen table has always been a security nightmare, but with cloud editing the video never leaves the central, controlled environment in the cloud.
But of course an editor rarely works in complete isolation. Producers and clients want to know what is going on, and directors may well want creative input. That is why the expensive edit suites have large couches for all these collaborators. And having everyone in the room may be right for some projects.
But for others, producers, directors and other collaborators will need to understand progress and approve material, without watching the whole process. With cloud-based tools it is easy for remote contributors to securely access proxy versions of rushes and cuts for comment. . If you need real time collaboration, there is no reason why you cannot use Zoom as the communication tool.
That saves time for producers and the rest, who are not sitting around while the dull parts of the job happen. They focus their attention where it matters most. And they save time and money by not travelling to the post house.
Balancing Work and Life: The Importance of Staff Welfare in Cloud Operations
The travel point is becoming increasingly important. Commuting every day, only to sit alone in a darkened room until late into the evening to meet a deadline can be demotivating and sap creativity and productivity. Connecting with people in person undoubtedly improves a quality of life, so it’s a balance of travelling when it counts. With the ability to start work in one location and continue somewhere else helps address work/life balance whilst still keeping to commitments. .
The cloud could, and should, be transformative for video creatives. It should be boosting staff welfare, business economics, and creative collaboration. That is why it is important to draw up a list of what is important to your facility, and fit the technology around it.
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