HPA Panel Addresses Post Production’s Move to the Cloud

Is post production dead… or has it just fled to the cloud? That question was posed by HPA President Leon Silverman who moderated a panel on the future of post production at the HPA Tech Retreat yesterday. Post production facilities coping with complicated metadata and new delivery platforms are moving services to the cloud, and panelists from companies including Sony, Premiere Digital, Paramount, Light Iron and others described how they are incorporating cloud services.

Sony deployed its Cloud Media Services a short time ago, said Chief Business Officer John Vickery who noted that, with funding from Sony’s Tokyo office, the Cloud Media Services is a strategic development “to build out an ecosystem for what we’ve already developed.”

“This solves a simple problem we heard every day: I have people working in multiple locations and I need for them to be able to collaborate seamlessly and easily,” Vickery said “We built up a service via Amazon that allows people to upload, share, organize safely and securely.”

Steve Rosenberg, President/COO of Premiere Digital Services, a cloud-based digital asset management, storage and fulfillment company, noted that content owners are having a tough time packaging and distributing older assets for new platforms. “All the players from iTunes to Netflix and Google change what they want pretty regularly,” he said. “Players in the industry want to differentiate themselves so packaging changes regularly.”

Metadata can be a weak point or, as Craig German, EVP Worldwide Technical Operations of Paramount Pictures said, “the bane of our existence.” “We have uncontrolled entry points,” he explained. “You need business rules to correctly identify assets and their relationship. We have a dirty archive and need to clean it. We’re trying to centralize it and have one entry point for data.”

Rather than limiting the point of entry to a database, Light Iron CEO Michael Cioni is doing the opposite: giving every department the ability to input its own data. “We wrote Outpost Profile, a cloud-based database that allows each department to log in exactly what they want,” he said. “One thing we learned early on is that one person cannot possibly gather all the information.”

From his point of view, Vickery believes that the mature cloud is not only secure but will open up new possibilities for collaborative content creation.

“I think you’ll see an explosion of available talent,” he said. “Content will be made available and there’ll be an opportunity to participate in the process. Young producers are sourcing talent from all over the world. The more it can be made available and secure, the number of people who will engage in this process will explode. I see a marketplace where people who want to tell their story can find professionals that will help them do that in ways they’re not imagining today.”

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