Cloud Computing Proves an Asset for Productions on a Budget

Today’s cloud services — including CGI, digital intermediate, asset management and storage — are allowing small productions to realize their big visions with less money. Independent films and live events are more frequently using cloud computing to get the rendering and storage services they need without the high costs of traditional physical infrastructure. Productions can also save money because cloud computing helps speed up the long shooting and filmmaking process.

Cloud companies are similar to a utility in that “customers dial in for the resources they need, and they only pay for it as they use it,” according to Matt Wood of Amazon Web Services. This allows small budget entertainment projects to take full advantage of a wide array of cloud computing services.

“(The cloud) is like having infinite resources, but you don’t have to own them,” said Victor Borachuk, a director who used Elemental Technologies’ cloud services to live-stream over 100 runway shows from Lincoln Center during Fashion Week. “Things that were only available to huge television companies with incredible budgets, you get a box that gives you all that power.”

Academy Award nominated film “American Hustle” utilized cloud computing because of its tight shooting schedule. “The production used Amazon Web Services to run Zync for rendering digital backgrounds and the Shotgun asset management app,” according to Variety.

However, cloud services are not necessarily always the best route. “In a lot of ways, the cloud is like renting or leasing a car,” explained Dustin Encelewski, director, product management for Elemental. “If you buy the car outright, you spend more money up front, but if you continue to use the car, you’re going to spend a lot more money renting or leasing. So it depends on what the use-case is.”