Can clouds help the surge in post?

Posted By Tom Coughlin on May 08, 2013 10:05 am | Permalink
By Tom Coughlin
Coughlin Associates
San Jose

At the 2013 Digital Hollywood Conference (, the moderator in one session indicated that post activity in 2013 is up 40 percent from 2012.  However what appears to be driving this new post demand is production of Internet-based content (e.g. NetFlix sourced video) rather than traditional studios and channels.

If content is made for the Web, then it might make sense to look closer at Web-based tools for video workflows. Since video files are often quite large, digital storage in the cloud will play an important role in Web-based products. We will look at a few of these services that were on display at the 2013 NAB show, including cloud editing and post, cloud-based play-out and cloud-based disaster recovery services for broadcasters.

Web based tools and storage are enabling new capabilities for long range collaborative work which works well for proxy viewing and other lower-resolution download-based services, however the high latency can be an issue for more real-time high resolution, high frame rate work since coast to coast communication latency can be about 100ms.

Prime Focus announced its CLEAR Hybrid Cloud technology platform and diital content services. These services are meant to support multi-platform content production. Prime Focus's CLEAR platform will provide multi-platform content operations, enterprise digitization, mobility, contextual advertising, cloud editing and content analytics.  It is interesting to see "cloud editing" on this list since this requires much faster access to content and potentially higher data rates. It is likely that this approach works best for compressed lower resolution proxy content where the editing is generating an editing decision list (EDL).

Deluxe showcased its cloud-based play-out platform, which they called MediaCloud.  The platform includes select tools for HD video content creation, management and online delivery, as well as additional Deluxe media services that can include archiving.  As a result of working directly on the cloud Deluxe says that it can deliver an exceptionally short time-to-air and significantly lower costs and overhead for their customers.

Front Porch Digital has a cloud-based storage service called LYNX that is being used by broadcasters via Ericsson as a cost-effective disaster play-out recov ery solution providing a redundant capability that can be used if the original content is not available. LYNX can ingest content from tape or as file-based media.  By sharing a standardized recovery platform between multiple customers the individual costs can be significantly reduced.  Note also that Front Porch Digital is integrating Sony's new Optical Disc Archive product into its DIVArchive CSM system (pictured, right).

Remote data center services, including digital storage, are playing an ever more important role in producing content.   We expect that the rise of on-line driven content will make the role of on-line storage even more important. The increase of online driven content will also drive demand for on-line workflow tools. Used together this may make faster time to play-out possible and also provide new tools for disaster recovery and service continuity.

Thomas Coughlin runs the data storage consulting company Coughlin Associates (, which produces the Storage Visions Conference. He is a frequent blogger for Post Magazine.