landscape for film production over the next decade. With two master’s degrees from Berkeley, he was also CTO at Sony from 2009 to 2017 at a time when the company was developing all sorts of innovations around higher-resolution workflows and cloud production, and has been working on security of content delivery since the early days of Blu-ray. But film productions rely on a continuous turnover of specialists, almost none of whom stay involved for the entire duration of the production. As people come and go, keeping everyone educated on cybersecurity protocols is a full-time job. “A problem that is unique to our industry,” notes Stephens, “is that you can divide the workforce into those who work in the studio or with a commissioning broadcaster, and then the vast majority who are hired for a production. That ends up being a bunch of strangers who are brought together at the absolute last minute. It’s complicated by the fact there are many subcontractors, some of them specialised and very small. Some of them are so small, they certainly don’t have any information security skills – and may not even have any IT skills. “The pressures of production, both for live action and animation, are something you don’t necessarily appreciate if you’re working in tech,” Stephens continues. In 2019, MovieLabs published a white paper, ‘The Evolution Of Media Creation’, which laid out a 2030 vision for motion- picture technology in this decade, with cloud and newer, distributed workflows a key component. In the past, digital security was built on a model of a castle surrounded by a moat – or a studio lot surrounded by
BALANCING ACT The M&E industry must ensure security does not come to the detriment of the creative process and free-flowing productions
ransomware or holding certain assets hostage in exchange for a fee. The rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t pay the perpetrator of a ransomware attack, but if you’re being threatened with the release of sensitive information about your studio, or a rough cut of your big summer blockbuster – maybe even George Clooney’s mobile number – it’s a temptation to put up the money rather than risk disaster.
PUT YOUR TRUST IN ZERO TRUST Spencer Stephens is the SVP of
production technology and security at Motion Picture Laboratories (aka MovieLabs), a consortium of the major Hollywood studios establishing the tech
THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE WORKFORCE IS HIRED SPECIFICALLY FOR A PRODUCTION. THAT ENDS UP BEING a bunch of complete strangers BROUGHT TOGETHER at the last minute ”
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