Thinking clearly about the cloud


Chris Steel 2 TV-Bay Magazine
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As someone who is constantly trying to build better products, I'm always asking questions and listening to the ones I get asked. For several years now I've asked every broadcaster and media production company I've met what they plan to do about 'the cloud'. I've had replies which range from 'the media must never leave the premises' (imagine in a rising Dalek voice to get an impression of the resolute belief), through to 'we started looking in 2008 and have lots of workflows in the cloud already' (just yesterday). What is interesting is how those answers have changed and how people are now starting to come to us to ask us about the big 'C' at tradeshows. So, here are some of the most common or interesting questions...

What do you mean by 'cloud'?

A really good first question because there are several different ways of interpreting it. My answer to this is, that it really is not about the cloud at all, it is all about how you provision the applications you are going to use to implement your various workflows. Today machine rooms are full of servers with individual manufacturers' logos on and intended to run a particular application. Tomorrow machine rooms will look like data centres and be run and managed in the same way, and that is what I mean by cloud. Once you have your workflows in that type of environment it doesn't matter whether the data centre is next door, or on the other side of the San Andreas Fault (aside from network connectivity).

It will be cheaper, right?

One economic benefit should be that you only pay for what you use. One broadcaster I talked to figured out that they could give up all the cloud servers they use during the day, at night and save themselves huge amounts of money. Others report that they have done the math and cannot make the economics add up - the costs of storing high resolution assets in the cloud are just too high. Right now, just doing the math is going to be tough as pricing models are complex. One of the answers to this will be only bringing back from Glacier (or equivalent) what you need, which is why we are working closely with other manufacturers to provision our cloud based partial media file retrieval technology in the cloud.

I have multiple facilities / artists / locations can you help?

Increasingly this is the most common scenario that customers ask us about. One was a major US sports organisation that wanted to archive from three locations and retrieve partials of anything in the archive to any location. We are working on a POC for a broadcaster on the opposite side of the world with a very similar requirement. Another example is a very large production facility that wants to use talent that it has access to around the world, they call it their 'Artists Anywhere' initiative. The challenge for these workflows is that they are often 'hybrid': with one end firmly on premise and the other in the cloud. In this case we often discuss tools which can help bridge this workflow gap, like our Marquis Medway workflow automation solution.

Network speeds aren't up to it, are they?

I don't know, but what I do know is that lots of production companies are moving some workflows, or some parts of workflows to the cloud already. One facility we work with produces promos for television work. All the original programmes are delivered to them over The Internet, and when they have finished the promos, they are delivered to the playout facility by The Internet. So, in this case the network speed question works in favour of a cloud based workflow. In their case, they will be making selects in the cloud, downloading proxies, editing these together and then relinking to the hi-res in the cloud and delivering from there. Once you have media in a modern data centre the network speeds within it and to other centres are phenomenal.

We have an old archive that is coming the end of its life, can we migrate to the cloud?

Again, this is one that we are hearing with increasing frequency. As the hardware of an on premise archive ages they start to wonder what the best way to secure their archive will be in the future. Their attitude to the economic and network speed issues I've already mentioned tends to be that these issues are transient and will ultimately go away. If you are going to move the archive, that gives you a great opportunity to run the media through a few processes on the way. Whether it is an indexing service for partial file retrieval, QC, or something more esoteric like the newly announced Google Cloud Video Intelligence (if you haven't already, take a look and consider the future of your MAM!). Adding metadata to your media is going to increase its usefulness and therefore its value.

How can I make use of the cloud whilst some of my workflows have to be on premise?

Whether it is existing archives, playout, or live production, there are many reasons why some parts of production and broadcast workflows will remain on premise for the foreseeable future. The reality is that for many facilities they have existing workflows which are almost entirely on premise and in daily use. The change to cloud may be revolutionary, but despite what the vendors of 'complete cloud solutions' would like to believe, the transition is going to have to be painstakingly incremental. Products which can be the bridge, connecting existing on premise workflows to new in cloud ones, will be critical to this transition.

Is the cloud secure?

Interestingly this has slid from the most frequently raised issue, to one of the least. Either people are becoming more used to cloud based services, or they have looked into the issue more deeply and realised that 'security' is not straightforward. To the 'never leave the facility' brigade I like to counter with 'how secure is your archive to flood, fire, theft, mudslide, civil unrest, earthquake, etc'? The point is that if you can host assets securely in the cloud, they can be replicated to multiple sites and protected from all of these issues. Are your physical and network security measures really better than Amazon, Google or IBM's? How would you balance the risk and cost of theft vs irretrievable loss?

And then there is that final question...

Why does my head hurt, my nose bleed, by feet ache and my throat feel like it is on fire?

Welcome to Vegas!


Tags: iss124 | cloud | marquis | archive | network | Chris Steel 2
Submitted by Chris Steel 2 Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
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Submitted by Jess Sutton Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Motor Sports - Some Like it Hot
Gordon Capaccio High performance race cars, their drivers, and teams supported by manufacturers participating in a sport for which the combined, visceral thrills and sensations of burning tires, megadecibel roars, pungent racing fuel and throngs of enthusiasts can be difficult to convey, even on the largest big screen television.
Tags: iss124 | motorsport | 3g wireless | imsa | rolex 24 | domo | dtc | prorxd | diversity rf | Gordon Capaccio
Submitted by Gordon Capaccio Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Modernizing the Cutting Edge
Myles Carter - new Over the last decade, streaming as a medium has seen tremendous growth. Services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video are no longer just post-hoc distributors of broadcast television content, they have become content creators and are producing some of the most well received "television" content of the past few years.
Tags: iss124 | matrox | ip | h.264 | h.265 | streaming | Myles Carter - new
Submitted by Myles Carter - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Navigating Unfamiliar Territory
Vijay Sagar Vinnakota The traditional broadcast model - where TV networks play content on a linear schedule, and viewers tune in on their TV sets - is under siege. Linear TV is not going away anytime soon, but the model is becoming less and less relevant. Thanks to the rise of OTT services, viewers have become accustomed to watching content when and where they want, on just about any device with an internet connection. For that reason, broadcasters must add an OTT component to their offerings.
Tags: iss124 | cloud | amagi | ott | hls | rtmp | mpeg-dash | yupp tv | netflix | amazon prime | sling tv | Vijay Sagar Vinnakota
Submitted by Vijay Sagar Vinnakota Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Why is drone training even an option
Tim Bearder It's fair to say that one of the most disruptive, liberating and inventive technological advances for independent filmmakers in recent years has been the incredible leaps made in the world of Drones.
Tags: iss124 | caa | drone | drone training | drone academy | Tim Bearder
Submitted by Tim Bearder Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Mr MXF does Vegas
Bruce Devlin - new For quarter of a century I have been boarding planes to Las Vegas every April and the thing I look forward to most is the Sunday morning cycle from the Strip up to the top of Red Rock Canyon to look back down upon Vegas. From up there, you get a sense of perspective of how alien the city stuck in the desert really is.
Tags: iss124 | nab | mrmxf | cloud | ptp | imf | ip | Bruce Devlin - new
Submitted by Bruce Devlin - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Designing the correct workflow
Harry Smith Last year I took a year-long placement as a video editing support technician. The role exposed me to the common issues that students run into when editing their projects, and I developed an understanding as to why they might struggle understanding the complexities of video workflow.
Tags: iss124 | portsmouth | tvfutures | ccitv | post production | Harry Smith
Submitted by Harry Smith Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Controlling the Chaos of Remote Uplinks
Roger Franklin For Satellite Broadcasters, consumer needs have never been so varied. Audiences are increasingly accustomed to personalisation in every type of content they consume. They now demand, or rather expect to receive breaking news from a scene, content specific to their regions and access to live sporting events held thousands of miles away.
Tags: iss124 | uplink | satellite broadcast | crystal | Roger Franklin
Submitted by Roger Franklin Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Thinking clearly about the cloud
Chris Steel 2 As someone who is constantly trying to build better products, I'm always asking questions and listening to the ones I get asked. For several years now I've asked every broadcaster and media production company I've met what they plan to do about 'the cloud'
Tags: iss124 | cloud | marquis | archive | network | Chris Steel 2
Submitted by Chris Steel 2 Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Welcome to the world of filming The Island with Bear Grylls
Paul Scurrell How do you make a polished television show worthy of broadcast on Channel 4 when the camera operators are starving, dehydrated and sleep deprived? Most of them also have no previous experience of professional filming and are more concerned with finding their next meal than making sure they've got their cameras switched on ready to record. Welcome to the world of filming The Island with Bear Grylls.
Tags: iss124 | bear grylls | channel 4 | gopro | timecode | sync | Paul Scurrell
Submitted by Paul Scurrell Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The Masters of Dirt - Extreme Production
Rian Bester On 22nd April 2017 Inside the Masters of Dirt, the world's wildest unscripted motocross reality series, will launch exclusively on INSIGHT TV in 4K UHD. Produced by Masters Of Dirt (M.O.D) and XTreme Video, the series follows the adrenaline-addicted crew that produces the popular freestyle motocross arena show of the same name.
Tags: iss124 | insight | masters of dirt | motocross | freestyle | fs700 | sony fs700 | 4k | uhd | Rian Bester
Submitted by Rian Bester Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Is now the time to compromise on investment
Mike Ransome - new It would seem on the face of it that many broadcasters and production companies are trimming spending to the bone, or at least postponing it in anticipation of more lucrative days to come.
Tags: iss124 | investment | presteigne broadcast hire | 4k | eng | Mike Ransome - new
Submitted by Mike Ransome - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Dick brings out his cutting room scales
Dick Hobbs - new At this time of year, in the run-up to NAB, my in-box is even more filled than usual with press releases craving my attention. It is one of the universal truths so unloved by PR people that the sheer weight of numbers threatens to overwhelm.
Tags: iss124 | cutting room | nab | kpmp | dick hobbs | Dick Hobbs - new
Submitted by Dick Hobbs - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
You need wave power if you are going surfing
Tim Bonython Tim Bonython's association with surfing films began in 1978, when armed with a Super-8 camera he set off to Hawaii's infamous North Shore, to capture the big waves and their riders. From that moment he fell in love with the sport, and became obsessed with making it the subject of breathtaking and inspiring films.
Tags: iss124 | surfing | red scarlet weapon | red brick | pag | battery | paglink system | 153wh | Tim Bonython
Submitted by Tim Bonython Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel from Blackmagic Design - Reviewed
Rebecca Goodeve - new Blackmagic's new, more affordable control surface for professionals is probably the most perfect panel I've ever used......
Tags: iss123 | blackmagic design | minipanel | davinci | grading | Rebecca Goodeve - new
Submitted by Rebecca Goodeve - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Mr Cloud, as much about cashflow balance as technology
Bruce Devlin - new It was an ordinary Tuesday, the last day of February 2017. It was getting late in the day and I was online doing my monthly management accounts and was just finishing the data entry for a very long Invoice when refreshing the expenses Tab on my browser showed this delightful picture.
Tags: iss123 | cloud | mrmxf | aws | amazon web services | Bruce Devlin - new
Submitted by Bruce Devlin - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine