Getting Your Head In The Clouds
The spread of HD capturing has made video production a storage intensive endeavor. The digital revolution is promising mass decentralization in some video production houses. But how will it work?
HD footage can range from 48mb to 153mb per second in readily available cameras like the Canon 7D. A few hours of footage could easily fill a hard-drive, and the reliance by videographers on external hard-drives and USB/fire wire connections has been a frustration for those with high workloads, or those who need to keep archives of their rushes (the raw material from which their finished videos are made).
Cloud storage might not seem a clear-cut solution to storage problems. A year’s subscription for 100gb costs around $139. A 2TB physical hard drive from Hitachi is currently priced at $139.
So, the external hard-drive is the obvious choice? Not quite. The floods in Thailand, where most of the world’s hard-drives are produced, have caused a massive shortfall in production. 15% behind projected demand six months on, we’re seeing the inevitable scarcity and price hike. This is a unique opportunity for cloud suppliers to push their solutions, and they’re doing just that, emphasizing other advantages.
Cloud based storage is on a shared server, which can be accessed through a username and password, much like any number of websites and web-based services.
Imagine a shoot with a short deadline. The usual process would go like this:
Get to the location (by car, train, or plane), set up, shoot, switch memory cards, shoot some more, sack up, get back (by car, train or plane), upload footage to external hard drive, editor arrives, editor downloads from external hard drive, editing begins.
With cloud-based services, videography teams can get right into the middle of this process and speed it up. Footage can begin to be uploaded from the minute after it’s taken, the editor can be waiting in the suite to log in and download it, and begin editing shots together straight after they’re taken, instead of hours or days later as is currently commonplace.
Another development of the cloud is ‘Software as a Service’. You’ve probably tried this already without realizing- it’s Google Docs. Google Docs allows remote collaboration from anywhere in the world, by anyone who is involved with the project.
Editing solutions like WeVideo, MixMoov and the open-source Novacut are already available on cloud, allowing multiple collaborators to edit projects. Cloud-based software means you won’t need a high-end system to run it, as with current edit-suites. A fast, solid internet connection and a portal device is all you’ll need. The cloud-drive runs the software for you. This means offline, online, grading and after effects editors can be polishing the same project simultaneously.
These aren’t yet as powerful as most professional editing suites like FCP or Premiere Pro, but the developers are hard at work.
There’re already a number of good advantages to Cloud-based storage and software for videography, and they’re about to get better. Early adopters will likely be able to utilize the advantages to the fullest, while still keeping one foot in the traditional edit-suite pool as the transition is made.
By Robert Stanton
Robert is a corporate videographer who has produced short promos, animations and documentaries. He has acted in and directed fictional short films, and has worked for the: BBC, Film 4 and independent documentary companies.