Cloud Computing has been with us for almost 20 years, providing a host of benefits for many different use cases. Large, tech-savvy organizations are the primary users, with the general business community slowly coming on board. IDC reports that 18% of all businesses have plans to implement a Cloud Computing solution in the near term.
What is Cloud Computing? Simply put, it allows you to offload data-intensive and processing-intensive computational tasks to a virtual environment in the cloud. Cloud resources can be easily scaled, so you never have to worry about having enough local storage or processing power for a given project.
Cloud Computing is a perfect match for the demanding needs of media professionals. If you are a Post Production Editor, Colorist, or VFX Artist you are probably somewhat familiar with the technology, but may have concerns in two areas that are vitally important to you: real-time collaboration and color-accurate video.
A Cloud Based Editing Scenario
Video technology providers, such as Avid (Media Composer | Cloud Remote), Adobe (Premier) and others are now offering virtual cloud-based applications and workflows. Here is a simple diagram that shows an editing application
In this scenario the Editor connects to the cloud using a standard desktop or laptop computer. The editing application is deployed on a virtual machine in the cloud. It can also connect to a library of assets – video, images, audio files, etc. – that are stored in cloud-based Content ‘buckets’, providing a complete, high performance environment.
Once the edit session is complete the finished clip can be saved and distributed using another cloud service, such as Dropbox.
This works fine for some applications but has some inherent limitations. One such limitation is the lack of color accuracy, given that the video stream coming from the cloud is basically “desktop video” and cannot be used with high quality SDI monitors.
Enhanced Cloud Based Editing Scenario
Streambox media encoders are recognized for their exceptional quality and flexibility, but, up until now, they are available in two forms: a dedicated hardware solution and a software application for Apple, Windows or Android devices . Recognizing the need and the opportunity, Streambox has developed a virtual encoder – Spectra – that runs as a device plug-in in the Cloud. A proof-of-concept version was demonstrated at the recent HPA conference and, based on the enthusiastic response, we think we hit the mark!
Streambox SPECTRA is deployed as a cloud-based virtual machine and integrates with Avid and Adobe virtual editors
Same general scenario as before, except now the Editor is on more familiar ground, with access to a high-grade monitor and color accurate video. Spectra serves as a plug-in for the virtual editor and provides cinematic quality video back to the editor.
Here are a few of the features provided by Spectra:
- 8-bit, 10-bit, 12-bit, HDR
- 4:4:4, 4:2:2, 4:2:0 color spaces
- encryption with zero delay
- HD, 2K, UHD & 4K resolution
- 5.1 AAC or PCM audio
Remote Cloud Based Editing Scenario
Delivering quality that meets the requirements of decision makers is a key issue in many Post Production workflows. Spectra clearly meets the quality need and, further, in conjunction with Streambox Cloud Services, allows anyone, anywhere, to participate in virtual ‘over-the-shoulder’ reviews without the need for special equipment.
Focus on Creativity
Leveraging a fully realized remote workflow allows creatives to focus on their craft, without the distractions and limitations of wrangling with physical infrastructure. Cloud Computing platforms provide cost effective virtual environments that can be accessed from anywhere and scaled to suit almost any application.
The missing piece for Post Production professionals is high quality, real time video monitoring. Streambox has developed an ideal solution with its innovative new Spectra product, which is currently in beta with a VERY large media organization. Once we finalize testing, the first iteration will support Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premier virtual machines. Future support is planned for DaVinci Resolve, Autodesk Flame and FilmLight’s Baselight.
We will be publishing updates as things progress!
If you would like to be notified about updates on the status of Spectra, please complete this form!
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