AWS for M&E Blog
Moving media workflows to the cloud: Your journey, your way
This blog was co-authored by Tom Rosenstein (EditShare / VP Business Development), Raul Vecchione (Sr. Partner S.A. / AWS)
Moving to the cloud is a big decision. Wouldn’t it be great if you could do it gradually, trying it out without having to commit everything to a dramatically different way of working?
We get it that you might have reservations about moving to the cloud. We understand that to some extent it’s a leap of faith. It’s easy for us to say “don’t worry, it will work out fine”. But it’s not so easy for you to say “Sure, let’s do it”.
The cloud brings incredible advantages. We’d like to show you how these benefits can be yours, and to outline the journey for you. And we want to reassure you that as you transition to the cloud, you’re not losing anything, nor are you taking an unmanageable risk.
As we see it, there is a logical and entirely beneficial sequence that makes up the journey to the cloud.
Media backup and archives
The first stage is archive. It’s not a glamorous subject, but do it the right way and there are all sorts of benefits, even with other aspects of your business.
The first of these benefits is cost. Does that surprise you? With any archive, conventional or cloud, cost is largely related to speed of access. For backing up and for long-term storage, you don’t need speed, almost by definition. What you do need is to know that your content is safe and secure. Once that’s achieved, you need the ability to search it and retrieve it. And that’s it.
Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) offers several tiers to accommodate accessibility and cost trade-offs. Amazon S3 provides a variety of resiliency tiers and quick access speeds, while Amazon S3 Glacier tiers are better suited for archives where large libraries need to be cost-effectively stored, and rarely accessed. In either case, AWS offers choice, while EditShare‘s FLOW Media Asset Manager keeps track of your media and makes it available for browsing – and editing – anywhere, any time. This is a process that definitely feels at home in the cloud.
When you choose to place your archive with AWS, whether that’s on Amazon S3 or Amazon S3 Glacier tiers, other significant benefits come built into the package: security, robustness, reliability and scalability. The cost of not using the cloud for these is potentially much higher.
With archiving in the cloud in place, it can become a foundation to make other things easier. Remote proxy editing, for example.
Remote proxy video editing
Proxies are a great enabler. These minuscule but timecode-accurate versions of the original full resolution video files still have more than enough detail to allow editors to work accurately and creatively. Proxy files dramatically reduce bandwidth requirements. They can be generated or stored in the cloud, often, where possible, from already uploaded material – including from your archives. Working with proxies makes remote editing not only viable but a highly efficient way to work.
EditShare EFSv provides the storage platform for the proxy materials and oversees bin-locking, file auditing and other required features for video editing tool sets. FLOW is part of EFSv and provides the media asset management functionality that tracks and manages both the proxy material and the links to the corresponding high-resolution material and allows for collaboration and other MAM functionality. FLOW also offers a native panel for Adobe Premiere Pro and Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve, which allows editors to perform all their work completely within their favorite tools. If proxy editing sounds tricky, FLOW makes sure that it isn’t. By keeping the underlying technology out of the way of the creative process, FLOW makes it easy to manage and configure as needed. Just as it operates in an on-premises environment, when used in the cloud, FLOW inherits an intrinsically stable and flexible environment in which to flourish while providing all the benefits of cloud services such as scale, agility, and accessibility.
Proxy editing is a comfortable fit for a huge range of customer scenarios. It can be used as a rapid response to changing business demands, or as a permanent, more inclusive way of working. By reducing the need to travel, it’s more sustainable too. Proxy editing can also be seen as a stepping stone on the journey when the destination is an editing facility that is entirely in the cloud.
An editing facility in the cloud
So what is an editing facility that is entirely in the cloud?
It really is a complete replacement for Earth-bound hardware. At the core of the cloud facility is a “virtual workstation” – a computer workstation that is a physical server, but housed in an AWS data center. It is every bit as powerful as the ones you’re used to. What’s different is that it runs alongside a virtualized EditShare environment that can be easily and quickly replicated on other machines. Let’s say you hire a freelancer for a week. Instead of buying a workstation for the newcomer – or even keeping one idle in case it’s needed – you simply provision an extra machine on AWS.
The experience of working with virtual workstations is the same as having a computer under your desk. With a suitably low latency, high-bandwidth internet connection, you’ll be able to edit on almost any class of computer, as the heavy lifting is done in the cloud. You can see the user interface for the virtual workstation courtesy of low-latency streaming. Software like Teradici Cloud Access Plus uses the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) workstation’s GPU to encode a low-latency stream of the UI. What you see at your remote location is what would be on the virtual computer’s screen if it had one. Your mouse and keyboard commands are forwarded as part of the communication.
This mode of working offers significant advantages. The video production and post industry rarely maintain a constant flow of work. Often, it’s a roller coaster ride: feast or famine. If you buy enough gear for the good times, it is underused during the quiet periods – and uncomfortably expensive with lease payments and rent for the space it occupies, often in a prime city location.
None of this applies with virtual workstations. Your editing resources are entirely flexible and scalable. Not only does this make your business more viable during those quiet times, but you can bid for much bigger projects, knowing that you can instantly scale to almost any size.
Moving to the cloud is definitely a journey, but thanks to EditShare and AWS, it’s a safe and enjoyable one, with tangible business benefits at the end of it.
EditShare is a AWS Partner for media and entertainment that enables leading creative facilities to efficiently collaborate across offices and remote locations with industry recognized storage and production asset management solutions specialized for media workstations in the cloud. If you would like to learn more about EditShare, and the solutions it offers, please visit https://editshare.com/