Behind the Scenes: Hollywood Adopts the Cloud

The summer blockbuster movie season is upon us. Hundreds of millions of dollars (often spent on a single movie) are invested in the anticipation of earning hundreds of millions more. While moviegoers this summer will be enjoying the fruits of Hollywood and other production studios’ labor, one thing they won’t be seeing is all the behind-the-scenes work that happens pre-release.

And at the core of that work? Technology, such as the seemingly ubiquitous Cloud, is changing media and entertainment (M&E). How are Hollywood, Bollywood, and modern digital companies keeping up in this new age of data abundance, and ensuring no value is left behind on the cutting room floor?

In partnership with theCUBE, we had the opportunity to hear from 27 industry experts to find out. Here’s what we learned.

Faster, Smarter Production

Cloud technology is breaking down geographical barriers, say Shailendra Mathur from Avid and Victoria Nece from Adobe, allowing real-time collaboration for a more cost- and time-efficient production workflow. On the consumer side, access to a wider pool of artists means improved quality and variety of content.

4K and Beyond

Media resolution formats are growing in size and richness, but can traditional infrastructures support them? Richard Welsh of Sundog Media Toolkit says no, Cloud-based models are necessary to support them. These higher resolutions can create immersive experiences for the viewer, like when it came to the recent first-ever 4K feed from space. Sam Blackman from AWS Elemental and NASA Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson shared how this historical event was made possible by the power of Cloud and advanced networking technologies. Check out the incredible feed here.

More Creativity, Better Content

Cloud is allowing an improved experience for creatives, says Laura Williams Argilla from Adobe. Cloud-enabled interconnected tools help keep professionals in their creative space for longer by eliminating the distraction of having to switch back and forth between applications. More creativity fueling content? Yes, please. And with new types of experiences like AR and VR, as shared by Jim Blakley from Intel, traditional storage models no longer cut it. Alan Hoff from Avid predicts that everything in the M&E workflow will be Cloud-based in five years, as more of the industry experiences the scale, reach and productivity that is possible.

Will future movie experiences revolve around virtual reality (VR)?

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There When You Need It

A typical studio production model is to rent camera and lighting equipment for use during “on” times. Similarly, it doesn’t make sense to, nor is there a desire to, own and manage data centers to house digital assets, explains Joshua Kolden from Avalanche. Like camera and lighting, studios want to turn on access to Cloud storage and bandwidth performance during production, and turn it off after. Obvious benefits to leveraging Cloud, says Wendy Aylsworth of Walden Pond, include reduced capital assets, optimized resources and streamlined workflow processes by being able to do more in parallel.

Another area where Cloud rocks is in media distribution. From the content creation side of the house, adventure photographer, filmmaker and G-Team member Lucas Gilman considers Cloud to be an important and powerful tool in his arsenal to quickly and easily share assets. On a larger scale, Cloud allows greater efficiency in the film release part of the workflow, says Richard Welsh. Instead of having to manually ship out 300-400 versions of a film in boxes, you can distribute via the Cloud—slashing the release cycle timeframe from weeks down to days or even hours.

Is Cloud Here to Stay?

Clearly, the media and entertainment industry is benefiting from adopting the Cloud into its workflows. But when your digital assets ARE your IP—as with production studios—there may be heightened concerns about this shift. What are some of the challenges to adopting this new model, and is this the right move for M&E? Share your thoughts below. 

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