September 16, 2015
The Cinema Content Creation Cloud, or C4, an open-source framework for media production using globally distributed resources, is detailed in a new white paper published today by the Entertainment Technology Center@USC. C4 enables interoperability between humans, organizations, databases, software applications, and networks, and is essential to the globally distributed workflows of media production. The framework, written by Joshua Kolden, is a product of ETC’s Project Cloud, a collaboration between studios and technology companies to address key issues as the entertainment industry migrates production into The Cloud.
C4 addresses the critical problem of accurate data identification when organizing and managing work across vast domains. The C4 ID system provides an unambiguous, universally unique ID for any file or block of data.
Not only is the C4 ID universally unique, it is also universally consistent. This means that given identical files in two different organizations, both organizations would independently agree on the C4 ID, without the need for a central registry or any other shared information. This allows organizations to communicate with others about assets consistently and unambiguously, while managing assets internally in any way they choose.
This can be done without prior agreement or communication of any kind. This ‘agreement without communication’ is an essential feature of C4 IDs and a key differentiator between it and other identification systems.
Other identification systems in use today — such as file names, URIs, UUIDs, UMIDs and others — focus on a different set of problems, and as such, prove inadequate to the task of unambiguous identification of all assets worldwide regardless of origin, ownership, location or storage system. These problems include uniqueness, consistency, usability and security for every single digital asset in the world.
The white paper discusses the features, implementation details, motivations, and ideas behind the C4 ID system. It compares C4 IDs with other popular identification systems, and provides examples of how to use C4 IDs to communicate about files, coordinate workflows, as well as some additional valuable side effects, such as for storage and network optimization.
The complete paper may be downloaded here.