VIRTUAL WORKSTATION GE AR .
six months earlier. C2C is the realisation of concepts Michael Cioni – Frame.io’s global senior vice president of innovation – had been considering since 2011. The system is not a ‘product’ in the conventional sense, but combines several different elements – including 4G LTE and 5G mobile networks, cloud processing and Frame.io’s distribution technology – to create a complete chain, from set or location to the edit suite. HUB AND SPOKE In the last few years, the established names in professional video editing – Avid, Final Cut Pro and Adobe – have been joined by the Blackmagic Design package of post tools, DaVinci Resolve. While originally a colour grading system under Blackmagic’s ownership, Resolve has expanded to include audio, visual effects and edit capabilities. This collaborative approach is now being applied to the cloud, with – according to Simon Hall, senior technical sales specialist for the EMEA region at Blackmagic – an increasing number of productions embracing a hub- and-spoke model. This, he explains, revolves around core facilities with finishing suites and mastering capabilities, working in conjunction with remote sites where the offline edit, primary VFX, audio dubbing and grading are happening. “This is where a collaborative workflow comes into its own,” Hall says. “While a project file sits in the cloud, the media can be stored locally for each machine, with users able to point the project to their local media. All other users can do the same, without any media going offline in the project.” This is a realisation of the cloud utilising a virtual platform that allows users to be anywhere – whether local or international – and not tied down to physical premises, such as the traditional post house located in a major city or town. The likes of Avid and Adobe have had to add cloud connectivity to what was previously the standard model: a desktop editing system with local storage. More recent entrants to the market, notably Blackbird, have the starting point of a purely cloud-native edit and publishing platform. Chief commercial officer Oliver Parker explains that Blackbird’s R&D
“Some customers carried on happily. Others expanded rapidly, with an acceleration towards remote working”
director Stephen Streater, when working on the first version of the technology in 2005, intended to get away from applications running on a CPU – and have all operational functionality in a browser. “We are in the gap between simple web tools and high-end editing systems,” Parker comments. “Historically, our system has been used for logging and offline edits. We still work in those areas, but over the past five years have started to address other parts of the market, including more creative editing in the live production space for news and sport.” With people already using the cloud for some aspects of production and post-production pre-pandemic, Parker says that when the full force of Covid-19 was felt, these users reacted in different ways. “Some of our customers just carried on happily as they had been. Others expanded rapidly, with an acceleration towards remote working. It didn’t change what we were doing, but we were in a position to help customers operate from home – or away from the premises.” INDUSTRY FORESIGHT While the Covid-19 crisis forced staff to work on projects
collaboratively away from facilities – or in other buildings nearby – many equipment suppliers had already been assembling packages to allow it to happen. “The development of virtual graphics processing units [VGPUs], such as the NVIDIA RTX Virtual Workstation and Omniverse, has made global communication easier than ever,” comments Emily Fairclough, brand strategist at IT specialist Scan Computers. “Having elements of production working on the same project – in real time and remotely – creates more efficient and lighter hardware set-ups, meaning less downtime for the team. Many of the leading companies in media and entertainment software – such as Adobe, DaVinci Resolve, Autodesk and Avid – have been developing in tandem with technologies like RTX cores from NVIDIA. We have built our VGPU platform to provide the same, or better, performance from a cloud workstation – which can also be scaled up if demand rises.” The key element in any cloud infrastructure, whether public – Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform – or private, is the data centre. In the years leading up to 2020, post-production facilities had
Did you know?
5G will remove many hurdles when editing high-res content in the cloud
41. OCTOBER 2021
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