AWS Media Blog

How Accedo and AWS enabled the HPA to create, process, and distribute production-quality movies remotely

Authored by Shawn Zeng, Solutions Director in Global Solutions, Accedo, and Raul Vecchione (Amazon Web Services). The content and opinions in this post are those of the third-party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.

 

As media workflows continue to enable remote collaboration, the cloud becomes the natural place to host the media workloads of the future. Amazon Web Services (AWS) collaborated with the Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) and media companies to create remote cloud workflows, including a high-dynamic range (HDR) and over-the-top (OTT) distribution workflow that enabled video streaming and supported emerging technologies and standards that improve the viewing experience. For this specific workflow, AWS collaborated with Accedo, an AWS Advanced Technology Partner, and the HPA to enable a SaaS video service platform.

The HPA is a nonprofit member association dedicated to recognizing, educating, and connecting business with a diverse community in the media and entertainment industry. Every year, the HPA uses its flagship event, HPA Tech Retreat, to bring together the shrewdest minds in the industry to explore the latest innovations aimed at moving the industry forward. This year was no exception, despite being held as a virtual event.

Demonstrating cloud-based filmmaking workflows

The HPA wanted to launch a demo during the event in which filmmakers would be able to very quickly create, process, and distribute production-quality movies, with the entire process from end-to-end taking place remotely. With this project, the HPA wanted to demonstrate what is possible with a cloud-based filmmaking workflow. Film creation has been challenged greatly over this past year, because it has not traditionally been set up for fully remote workflows. This project would involve both getting the right tools in place to enable remote film creation, and a shift in mindset.

Creating video applications can be a complex and lengthy process. Video providers must deliver a good user experience while negotiating a constant deluge of new devices and multiple workflow tools. It usually takes as long as four weeks to build a User Interface (UI) from scratch that is both mobile and web friendly. Once this stage is complete, it typically takes another two weeks to integrate it with a player. The HPA needed to accelerate time to market without sacrificing user experience.

The demo application was built using Accedo One, a SaaS platform for building and growing impactful video services. With Accedo One, video service providers can design and manage a uniquely branded video business across all leading consumer platforms. Providers can get their video service to market fast with a product that reduces the complexities of execution.

Codeless integrations for a seamless experience

Accedo One uses a modern microservice-based software architecture, which allows for functionalities and features to be secured across technology components such as online video platforms and analytics solutions. This means it can easily integrate with other parts of the video ecosystem, to not only launch fast with the planned Minimum Viable Product and also enable a path for adding more solutions.

In this setup, the following technologies were selected to demo a premium video experience – Accedo to leverage its scalable integration layer to showcase them:

  • Bitmovin Encoding, a chunk-based cloud encoding approach that enables content to be delivered at up to 100x real-time, in optimal video quality. Bitmovin optimizes video quality at the lowest bitrates, meaning that the HPA can deliver quality video to viewers while achieving significant bandwidth savings.
  • castLabs PRESTOplay, which can automatically detect and choose the right feed depending on the end user device. It enables the playback of 4K Dolby Vision, HDR-10, and SDR.

Ensuring scalability and flexibility

It was important for the HPA that it could very quickly scale depending on demand. For this workflow to work with film releases, it would be important to know that it could handle those peaks without sacrificing on quality. Accedo One is built on AWS to ensure that customers can grow their video services rapidly and globally.

For this demo, Accedo used Amazon CloudFront, a fast content delivery network (CDN) service that securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to customers globally with low latency, high transfer speeds, all within a developer-friendly environment. Security is naturally an area of concern for any filmmaker, CloudFront offers the most advanced security capabilities, including field level encryption and HTTPS support, seamlessly integrated with AWS Shield, AWS Web Application Firewall and Amazon Route 53 to protect against multiple types of attacks including network and application layer distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

The second aspect was to adapt fast to new requirements, new content, and new demo scenarios. Accedo One offers a customizable UX experience that can be configured to represent the video providers’ brand in a unique way. A cloud application editor brings new levels of ease to content curation and UI management, meaning customers can test and roll out changes to live services without re-submitting them to the app stores.

Six movies, fully produced and packaged in the cloud

Overall, Accedo One allowed all teams to easily collaborate and concentrate on video content production, cloud encoding, and the new player development. With a global presence, Accedo was able to support the project across all time zones to give 24-hour coverage, so that global collaborators could seamlessly test and refine their components, which increased the efficiency of the remote collaboration.

Accedo One provides broadcasters, content owners, and brands with the freedom to build, launch, and scale high-quality video streaming services and offers them an opportunity to manage the complexity of their business in one place. It eliminates inefficiencies through an extensive marketplace of expert vendors that can be easily integrated as a service evolves. The following diagram describes the essential components in Accedo One at a high level and highlights the components that are being used in this project.

 

Accedo One Solution Components

Accedo One Solution Components

 

During the project development, we used Accedo One AppEditor to edit video content and adjust application UI dozens of times per day. All the changes were immediately published to the frontend website for teams to test and discuss. The modular solution enabled us to have an out-of-box running website from day one. Each team could immediately focus on developing and testing their own service on a production environment without worrying about dependencies.

The following diagram describes how the content is processed and delivered to the end users.

 

Content processing and delivery to the end users.

Content processing and delivery to the end users.

 

The demo resulted in the creation of six movies, including a complete cloud workflow from end-to-end. From content capture using Digital Cinema Cameras, down to OTT distribution to the user’s home, all run in the cloud on Amazon Web Services.

This project was an excellent example of collaboration, between both technology vendors and creative professionals, to deliver stunning movies in very short timeframes. It shows what is possible when using a fully cloud-enabled video production and distribution pipeline. You can view the demo here.

Read more about this workflow in our previous post HPA 2021 streams ‘The Found Lederhosen’ content to multiscreen devices in 4K HDR.