Is Cloud Computing Changing The Film Industry?

Is Cloud Computing Changing The Film Industry?

There are many things people think about when it comes to the film industry: glamour, money, success, movies stars; but IT is probably low on the list. However, it is cloud computing that is causing a revolution in the film
industry.

The film industry has decided to fully embrace cloud computing. This makes sense: the film industry is vast and sprawling, it is not just based in Hollywood, but all over the world. The film industry is more like a global village. Someone in London can share files with someone in Los Angeles at the drop of a hat. You can stream, you can talk to people, you can save vast amounts of money. I asked some of my friends who work in the industry how cloud computing helped them.

John Fox: “I’ve quite often used private FTP servers as a nice go between for dailies and renders for sound engineers, Colour Grading and Compositing/VFX departments including relevant project files, raw footage and exported EDLs. I worked in IT for a number of years and I’ve been lucky enough to work in Broadcasting and Production. I think for the most part security concerns and bandwidth usage are often mitigating factors affecting scalability. For smaller studios a NAS and a dedicated server in addition to various external drives is often adequate.

It’s pretty daunting trying keep several hundred gigs of all your raw footage uploaded unless you have the speed to upload and pull it down in a reasonable time frame. Plenty of free services, but as things scale up you start to see instances of dedicated file servers, VPS and utilisation of VPNs. A lot of broadcasters have one or two dedicated NAS units and often have each company branch linked on a virtual private network. I think really it comes down to good strategy on what’s going to be advantageousness and cost effective. I feel Data wrangling is getting a lot easier as the years progress. The larger studios are often rolling with their own large scale render farms and data centres and often budget for additional infrastructure where necessary”.

Matthew Radway: “I use dropbox with a folder for each project that can then be used to share stuff with the cast and crew really easily”.

Neil Meffan: “Dropbox is good for sharing between people, Google docs is at a pinch but ALWAYS keep a back up somewhere offline too”.

Ewan Richardson: “I use cloud based rendering and transcoding for certain projects. Gives access to large scale rendering without hardware costs”.

Cloud computing is here to stay in the film industry, for every frame of film 24Gb of data is processed. The truth is: what is really pushing the film industry forward and lowering costs is possibly the least glamourous thing of all: the cloud.

By Catherine Balavage

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