It’s not often that I have the opportunity to join all of the “who’s who” of technologists in the post production world in one location, especially those ingrained in Hollywood’s post environment, so attending and presenting at this year’s HPA Tech Retreat was a notable experience.
I stopped by the HPA Tech Retreat, February 15 – 19 in Indian Wells, Calif., to present at the “Your Guide to Next Gen Cloud Workflows” panel discussion with fellow industry thought leaders. While there, I quickly learned why the HPA Retreat is a major draw to many in the industry.
It’s apparent to everyone who attends that the retreat provides the perfect backdrop to discuss the major trends in the industry, innovations on the horizon, and where the industry is headed in the years ahead. Much of this content was covered in the panel discussions and witnessed in the innovation zone, where individuals and companies shared new and innovative technologies, including Avid. This year, a major draw to our stand at the innovation zone was the demo of cloud collaboration for Pro Tools, a major player in enabling artists and musicians to collaborate from wherever they are via cloud workflows.
A dominant theme throughout the retreat was “what role do we all play, as technologists and the makers of technology, in advancing the industry forward.” During my panel discussion, I had the opportunity to address Avid’s position on this theme in relation to next generation cloud workflows and the tools Avid is creating to enable practical production work both on premise via and in the cloud.
Overall, the next generation of cloud workflows for the media community will bring us tools to connect and collaborate like never before. As primary drivers for cloud workflows, the ultimate result from a technical standpoint is a lower cost of infrastructure deployment, especially when using Avid’s MediaCentral | UX platform. This leads to a much more scalable, secure and flexible production environment that enables ease of deployment.
This is true for on premise (or private cloud workflows) and public clouds. With the Avid MediaCentral Platform, we’re working to make our technology stack portable and related to customer needs as we advance cloud workflow technology.
Another key take away of next generation cloud workflows is how they will enable highly collaborative and automated workflows that everyone from a solo aspiring artist to a large studio or broadcast organization can benefit from. Just imagine having technology to automate the sharing of data through a collaboration process on the cloud that will result in synchronizing data from one desktop to another. We’re doing this now at Avid with cloud collaboration for Pro Tools.
Through the MediaCentral Platform, we’re working to give Pro Tools users the ability to expand their current use of our Public Cloud Services to collaborate on projects from anywhere in the world. We’re effectively creating mutual collaboration over the cloud on team projects that all can access in a secure environment. You’ll hear more about cloud collaboration for Pro Tools from Avid this year at NAB 2016.
Moving beyond cloud workflows, a few other common topics arose at the event that in my opinion will play a critical role in the media industry’s future. For quick reference, here’s a breakdown of those topics and what we’re doing at Avid to see them gain traction:
A camera daily process that is highly scalable and automated. Why do this?
A typical dailies process requires transcoding, re-wrapping and metadata insertion for a large volume of camera original material to create proxies and high resolution media. These processes also require asset management and archive services to keep track of the media and versions. There are multiple Avid products and modules such as Avid Media | Director, and Interplay | Media Services that support automated processing and seamless relinking. There are APIs such as AMT and Interplay Web Services that Avid offers under its connectivity toolkit program to enable other products to fit into the workflow. The continued development of the Avid MediaCentral Platform is enabling a highly scalable, portable and resilient architecture for these services and for asset management—whether Avid supplied or 3rd parties.
Secure point-to-point networking, a key area of growth, to transfer media from remote locations back to the facility to complete an end-to-end workflow.
With the Avid platform based products, several remote network-based transfers are core to workflows. Examples include remote transfers under Avid Interplay services, remote streaming, and media delivery using Media Composer | Cloud. As we enhance the platform further, we continue to use the latest technologies for fast and secure transfers over larger distances, including transfers between client and cloud storage locations.
4K/Ultra HD and HDR workflows. They’re hot and they’re here to stay.
Avid provides an end-to-end editing, storage, asset management solution in this area and a resolution independent DNxHR codec that is being standardized as part of SMPTE VC-3. The recently release Media Composer 8.5 version adds native HDR project support for multiple standards such as SMPTE 2084 (PQ), Hybrid Log Gamma and ACES profile amongst others.
The connections we made at the retreat and innovations we shared will undoubtedly make lasting impressions on Hollywood and all those who work in post production. I know the Hollywood post industry will benefit from the MediaCentral Platform and tools within it, which will give them the power to make their customers post production experience more simple and streamlined as ever.