John Fox Interview: How Industry Professionals Use The Cloud
Here at Cloud Tweaks it is my job to tell you all about Cloud Computing and the entertainment industry, and how better to do that than to get industry professionals to tell you all about their experience? First up is John Fox. Enjoy!
Tell us about you….
I am a Production Consultant for film and broadcast and I work as a Retail Sales Consultant for specialised electronics, IT, communication and A/V solutions. I often consult with various mobile business professionals including accountants and system engineers. I have a Masters of Screen Production.
What cloud computing services do you currently use?
I use file hosting services such as File HQ, Google Drive and Servage.net, I am looking at using Adobe Creative Cloud and services like REBUS. I use Dropbox at the request of clients, but I’m often using FTP and FTPS (FTP over secure socket layer). Content Management Systems such as Joomla and WordPress are ideal in a cloud scenario when using load balancing servers and redundancy.
What have you used it for?
I use cloud computing as a means of uploading scripts and collaborating on pre-production. I have often used cloud storage for sharing daily renders, project files and rushes and for sharing OMF exports for sound designers and XML references for colour graders. I’ve have also used Joomla at a corporate level for hosting journals and research material.
Is it cost effective?
It can be cost effective for minimal storage, minimal security and minimal bandwidth. As you go up the scale for more space and more services, you can be looking at additional overhead that for a lot individuals and small studios, you may start to question the trade-off. When it’s your equipment, you’re in full control.
Do you think cloud computing will open up filmmaking to people with less money? Does it make it easier?
One of the big concerns is security and bandwidth limitations. There is a need for people to be wary of dealing with companies that are reliant on other intermediaries that can look at client transfers. There is the issue of keeping content hosted in other countries that you have rights to in your own country been inadvertently deleted.
Cloud computing does potentially make the film making process easier.
I love the opportunity to access an abundance of resources and outsource hours of rendering and encoding. The drawback is you need some decent speed to upload and download your data and you may need to consider what will constitute an acceptable timeframe for transfers. You should certainly jump at the opportunity to try free services and trials, like a lot things in life there is benefit in shopping around.
Your requirements will invariably change depending on the circumstances.
What is your favourite thing about cloud computing?
There are wonderful opportunities for collaboration between all your departments locally and internationally and the benefit of additional resources for storage, hosting and rendering.
What do you think the purpose of cloud computing is to the film industry?
It gives the film industry additional infrastructure and resources to consolidate production workflow, to allow for more streamlined collaboration and the opportunity to offset some of the burden of storage and rendering.
What are the positives?
A big positive is that cloud computing is giving us a greater platform in which to collaborate while still having redundant storage. There is the added comfort of having someone else dealing with our data management. A really great aspect of cloud storage is the benefit of not having to worry about additional servers and Network Accessible Storage and the opportunity to utilize a wider community of resources at your disposal.
And the negatives?
One inherent issue is the proposition of having someone else dealing with our confidential data management. Anybody within the hosting organisation can potentially look through your footage and projects indiscriminately. It’s out of your hands when it’s not your infrastructure and when you’re not the primary administrator.
There are various polices and SFOAs to enforce strict protocols and guidelines however these are often subject to change and you may need to be aware of it.
Where do you see the collaboration of cloud computing and the entertainment industry going in the future?
I think we will experience a lot more instances of collaborating across the boundaries between various professionals. It’s a wonderful opportunity for aspiring and existing film makers. We are living in an era that is encompassing numerous turning points in technology and production work-flow. Some data management policies may have to be considered, and while we may enjoy the security and safety of having our data out in the cloud, it won’t always be the intended users that will be able to access it.
By Catherine Balavage