Adobe, CHESA, LucidLink: How the M&E Industry is Addressing New Challenges
Remote editing is here to stay even after the pandemic ends and the media and entertainment industry is addressing this and other challenges with new technologies and tools, according to Adobe, Chesapeake Systems (CHESA) and LucidLink.
“I think it’s safe to say, post-pandemic, I don’t think anything is going to go back to what we used to consider normal,” Morgan Prygrocki, senior strategic development manager at Adobe, said Nov. 10 during the webinar “Camera to Cloud – Remote Production and Editing.”
The webinar started with a live remote workflow demonstration including speech to text, editing, motion graphics and audio sweetening by CHESA and LucidLink using LucidLink Filespaces to collaborate on media files across the globe.
Panelists went on to discuss industry trends, the latest tools being applied on a global scale, egress, how we define streaming in a remote environment, and some of the issues the industry is running into on review and approval, among other topics.
“People want to be on-set or on-site without physically being on-site,” according to Prygrocki. “People want intuitive UIs and integrated solutions that keep the team focused more on the creative intent rather than being bogged down with some of the logistics and technical execution,” she said, adding: They also want a “flexible and, more importantly, secure way of collaborating remotely during the edit. All of these things are key areas of focus that a lot of clients, both in the Hollywood and M&E space, in addition to news, sports and broadcast, are all looking into pretty heavily.”
But she said: “Perhaps the biggest trend we’ve seen is that there’s a ton of different types of cloud solutions emerging for either streaming, storing, processing or live collaboration and it seems as though we’re almost at an inflection point where, as solution providers, we need to be asking our clients and our users what sort of specific functionality are we really looking for, specifically when we say terms like ‘camera to cloud?’” Are we looking to transmit video files directly from set as they’re recorded or do we just need for them to be accessible to the team after the fact? Particularly with camera to cloud workflows, there’s not yet a one size fits all solution and I think, over the next couple of years, especially with the emergence of 5G and other technologies [and] new hardware solutions, we’re going to see this whole camera to cloud and remote edit solution vary pretty wildly as this whole workflow evolves.”
“A real challenge at this point is maybe hybrid workflows because folks will have on-prem storage and they’ll want to integrate LucidLink into it and often times there’s like a MAM layer as well,” according to Tom Kehn, senior solutions architect at CHESA.
“We’re dealing with kind of how to synchronize like a dataset between a LucidLink cloud space and an on-prem space,” he said.
“So the kind of utopian vision is that you have every file on-prem. If you’re a hybrid shop you have your NAS and everyone works off that and gets the super high-speed access, and then you have your folks that are remote and you should be able to edit on-prem and, if that stuff is syncing properly, between the on-prem and the LucidLink cloud space, you should be able to go home and just fire up your computer and just start picking up where you left off…. That’s what we’re kind of aiming for,” he explained.
The discussion included end user Rodney McMahon, director of post-production at ClickUp, who uses LucidLink in ClickUp’s workflow.
Asked about challenges with remote edit, McMahon recalled: “When I first got to ClickUp,” he was told they had 10 shoots already and “they’re across these different drives, one’s at my house, one’s in the office somewhere, I don’t know where this is” and there are 20 shoots tomorrow and “I need this series cut by” a certain date. There was “a lot put on the plate” and there were only three people to work on it all at the time, he noted.
McMahon spoke to the folks at CHESA, he said, pointing out he didn’t expect to have an on-prem solution anytime soon so he wondered how he could “reverse engineer our storage solution.” He previously had experience with a virtual machine solution that “wasn’t as turnkey” as LucidLink’s solution, he noted. Starting LucidLink is simple, making it especially good for freelancer editors, he told viewers. He was skeptical at first about starting to use new tech but it “wound up working out great,” he added.
Lance Hukill, chief commercial officer at CHESA, moderated the panel discussion.
Dave Leopold, director of strategic development at LucidLink, showed viewers in a demo how easy it is to seamlessly work on a team project in Adobe Premiere Pro with speech-to-text updates, live ingests, motion graphics work, rough-cut, audio sweetening, color grading and other features.
Noting that he came to LucidLink after 20 years as a creative in the M&E sector, he said a lot of his focus in the last few years has been on “finding ways to streamline the creative process and really how can we best use new technology to accelerate things at the speed that we want to create…. Today we’re talking about how can we really use the part of ingesting directly into the cloud to then capitalize on every other aspect that we’re getting from this remote and distributed workflow.”
LucidLink’s technology “transforms storage in the cloud into a local file system,” he said, calling it a “fairly invisible solution” and adding: “Think of it as a USB drive that is infinitely scalable and sharable across the globe with instant access to your files” anywhere you have an Internet connection. “It feels like you’re working off a local drive,” he said, noting it saves time by removing the process of lengthy downloads and lets you start working right away. Days of work are reduced to hours, hours are reduced to minutes and minutes to seconds, he noted.
He added: “In some cases you can even start editing directly from the cloud while the footage is being ingested because creatives should spend their time being creative and really what’s creative about waiting for a download? Nothing.”
The solution also provides “unparalleled security,” he said, explaining that the solution is broken down into three components: LucidLink Client (users mount S3 as a drive and files are streamed on demand), Object Storage (works with any S3-compliant or Azure storage) and LucidLink Service (manages metadata coordination; metadata is encrypted and synchronized across all connected clients). Each user gets their own encryption key and customers have complete control over their files with LucidLink Client, according to the company. As part of the Object Storage process, files are split into multiple objects, providing immediate random read/write access, according to LucidLink.
“LucidLink can run natively on Mac, Windows and Linux, and any application that can use a local file can use a file that’s stored in LucidLink; it’s treated just the same,” Leopold said, adding the system is great for live production and can also help in handling dailies.
LucidLink is offering a 14-day free trial to anybody who wants to try it out, Leopold added.
Additionally, Robb Cadzow, product manager – live capture and playout at Telestream, provided a brief direct ingest to the cloud demo of Lightspeed Live Capture, which his company describes as a scalable and flexible multiple channel capture solution for ingesting high resolution and proxy files for use in production.