The last decade’s “democratization of filmmaking” is a truly wonderful thing. It has enabled more people to create via a lower barrier of entry, resulting in multimedia experiences that would never have seen the light of day several years earlier.
How did it happen? The introduction of file-based workflows together with drastic quality improvements in digital video has revolutionized video production; affordable cameras, equipment, and software mean affordable filmmaking, and the explosion of online video has lead to a huge increase in the video production worldwide. NLEs and other post production software can run adequately on an entry level PC or Mac and can produce video in TV or even cinema quality. Cloud platforms have become commodities and platforms like Frankie, Frame.io and Wipster make web-based collaboration a reality no matter your level of experience.
And yet, despite these exciting innovations, the realities of media management in the production process have not changed much at all.
Part of the problem is the sheer amount of content we produce. With the advent of mainstream 4k and even affordable cameras capturing footage at more than 1,000 megabits per second, the mass of content captured today is beyond anything capable in previous years. Just think of the brand-new Panasonic GH5 moving up it’s in-camera bitrate to 400MBit from the GH4’s 100 or the DJI Inspire 2 capable of recording incredible 4200MBit 5.2 K RAW. Furthermore, with the availability of cheap cameras that enable more perspectives of a shot – GoPro, drones and so on – comes an increase in output.
With that amount of pure data, media management and organization remains a huge challenge—and one that, even in 2017, hasn’t been solved. It somewhat sours the democratization of filmmaking that has us all so excited.
Disk space is a critical resource, especially when using expensive SSD storage for the editing process. For example, three hours of 4K footage shot in ProRes HQ requires roughly one terabyte of disk space. Due to this, filmmakers need to be super efficient with storage—in many cases, being selective with material from longer takes before the edit is necessary if they don’t want to run out of disk space or drive up archive and production costs.
The metadata world, in particular, is still very fragmented, with lots of mutually incompatible standards and no improvement in sight.
So, although the potential for video producers to explore their craft has increased in the past decade, their lives as far as material organization is concerned has not kept pace with those developments. Building a production workflow for a given environment still requires work, experience, tools, and almost always tough trade-offs.
Where does that leave us in 2017?
The last decade’s worth of innovations are far too empowering to be entirely negated by the challenges imposed by diversity and quality, but the challenges are there nevertheless. We need to think about how to overcome them to further empower creativity, enabling even more budding filmmakers to more easily achieve their vision. We need tools that can free the minds of video professionals from the technical nitty-gritty, and turn the focus to the creative process. Judging the attitude in the creative community, that support would be more welcome today than ever.
Robert Krüger, co-creator of
As Co-founder and Product Manager of