The Technology Powering the Cloud: How New Tools are Changing the Way We Work

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

In my previous ProductionHUB column, Remote Production: The World is Your Oyster, I discussed the emerging trend of remote production. Increasingly, we’re seeing post-production companies create infrastructure that spans the globe rather than just the length of a building. 

Editors can contribute from Canada, compositors from Australia, audio technicians from Thailand. Why operate in this way? It might be the desire for reduced costs; the need for lower operating overheads; and/or the ability to leverage ever-improving technology.

That last point stands out. As ever, it’s technology that drives the world of post-production, and in recent years advancements have reached the point where remote working on heavy-data projects is no longer a pipe dream: it’s a reality.

The explosion of high-speed broadband across the world has, in particular, seen many explore the new avenues of working it enables. 

Cospective’s own solutions, cineSync and Frankie, have been created exactly with worldwide collaboration in mind. Via real-time synchronisation, creative companies can view the same content at opposite ends of the globe, ensuring that communication remains unhindered despite the leagues of ocean that separate the users of the software. These tools are joined by the likes of RV, recently acquired by Autodesk, which enables dailies playback viewable from any location across the planet.

Ten years ago, it might have been possible to manage a project with Filemaker Pro, but the enormous quantity of complex VFX shots shared across multiple facilities make dedicated project management software essential. Established players such as Shotgun and ftrack – and new competitors like NIM – leverage the instant access of the cloud, enabling widespread teams to focus their organisational efforts in one place, and ensuring any given person on a project can quickly and easily see what task is next. 

In fact, cloud-based services are fast replacing traditional security models, as the technology matures. Infrastructure behemoths such as Amazon, Microsoft Azure and Google are guiding the way, showing that with the proper controls in place, cloud storage and other services can be just as safe and massively more flexible than traditional on-site storage. 

Google acquisition Zync, meanwhile, has made huge valiant strides towards high-quality rendering in the cloud. Rendering, an integral part of the VFX process – but one that requires a huge investment in time and hardware – can now be reduced to a simple file transfer. Remote workers can upload their projects to the cloud and hit the hay, leaving the rendered outcome to be deposited in a shared folder accessible from anywhere in the world.

And while it may feel obvious to mention them, Google’s Hangout solution and Microsoft’s Skype have truly changed the way we do business. Just think about how many online conference calls you’ve had in the last week, and their impact becomes obvious.

We’re only scratching the surface here. There’s a goldmine of technology that’s currently enabling this new way of working. Through it, a much broader talent pool can be accessed, more flexibility can be introduced into a business model, and scalability becomes a real and affordable proposition.

It’s an exciting time. We can’t wait to continue innovating at Cospective, riding the crest of this wave to see where it takes us next.

About Rory McGregor

Rory McGregor is the CEO of Cospective, the creator of video review and approval solutions cineSync and Frankie. Previously Product Manager of cineSync, he took over as CEO in 2011. Prior to Cospective, Rory worked as an AFI-award winning sound engineer and was Studio Manager at the South Australian Film Corporation.

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