Storage and transportation has always been a problem for media production professionals. Video and sound files are cumbersomely large. Until recently, common practice was to ship media files around on hard drives or use expensive dedicated distribution mechanisms to move them from one place to another.
That’s an inherently limited system: it constrains the flexibility of production processes in an age where responsiveness and collaboration are essential qualities of successful media production workflows.
Consider the case of a videographer in the field who needs to get her footage back to home base for editing and distribution. She could put it on physical media and have it couriered or mailed to the waiting editors, but a combination of cloud platforms, increased bandwidth, and technological solutions to the problems of transmitting multi-gigabyte files have made this approach obsolete.
The ideal scenario would be to immediately upload footage to a central storage pool where it can be accessed and worked on by editors in collaboration with the videographer, who would be able to add footage and audio files to the repository as required. Once editing is completed, the files would be transcoded into the multiple formats necessary to satisfy a highly differentiated device landscape and then be made available to an international content distribution network.
Just a few years ago that was pie in the sky, but today the pieces are in place to make a cloud-based media workflow practical.
The availability of high bandwidth connections is an important part of the process, but it’s not enough to get us where we want to be — the Internet’s underlying protocols aren’t designed with media files in mind.
Solutions like FileCatalyst make it possible to upload large media files faster than ever before using proprietary transmission and compression technology to overcome the limitations of TCP.
Cloud storage itself has become inexpensive and highly reliable. Files can be uploaded to specialist media asset management platforms like eMAM, developed specifically to meet the needs of media production workflows. While cloud-based video editing tools are still fairly primitive compared their professional desktop equivalents, having data in the cloud makes it accessible to creative workers anywhere in the world for collaborative editing and production.
With mature cloud-based post production platforms like Harmonic Inc., media producers can transcode media to multiple formats without having to worry about the cost of investing in physical infrastructure. And, once videos are made available in the necessary formats, they’re ready to be pushed out to content distribution networks that make the finished product available around the globe with low latencies.
Cloud media production empowers creatives by making highly integrated and collaborative production workflows available with less overhead than ever before.