As more companies turn to the cloud as a way to streamline workflows and cut costs, every vendor seems to offer some type of cloud solution. The benefits, enabling teams to collaborate across geographies and time zones and making media centrally accessible, can transform workflows.
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But like any big industry shift, innovations are happening as fast as the transition and keeping on top of the considerations while continuing to move forward can be a big challenge for broadcasters and content creators. We’d like to help clarify some of the big issues – to bust a few common myths and help you get to a solution that delivers on all that the cloud promises.
Myth 1: We need to invest in our IT infrastructure and staff to support a move to the cloud
False! The basic premise of working in the cloud is that you can access media and collaborate remotely without having to build out your own IT infrastructure to do so. The cloud vendor maintains the infrastructure and you get the benefit of their continual development, and of scaling and provisioning on demand and without limit. Where the confusion comes from here is that some vendors offer solutions that are essentially ‘private cloud kits’ – hardware and software that enable remote media access on infrastructure that you own and maintain. Your capital investment in a true cloud solution should be minimal; even zero. Look for a solution that is video-centric, not IT-centric and doesn’t require you to hire or train additional IT staff to set up and administer.
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Myth 2: Only big public cloud vendors like Amazon and Microsoft offer the bandwidth required for pro video
Busted! Public cloud solutions like Amazon’s S3 or Microsoft’s Azure are not alone in their ability to deliver the bandwidth you need for cloud-based workflows. There is a new category of ‘vendor cloud’ solutions, where the vendor owns and operates all of the equipment in its own cloud data centres, features and security are purpose-built for professional video, and speeds and capacity can exceed those of public cloud solutions. For example Aframe’s ‘vendor cloud’ is optimised to enable even remote users working on 3G or 4G connections to play back media and make review notes successfully. Also, keep in mind that the big public cloud solution vendors typically charge for uploads and downloads, which can make uploading even a single TV show master super expensive, never mind a day-to-day workflow reliant on them. Public cloud solutions also share their bandwidth across a huge cross-section of industries and customers, including the general cat-video-watching public.
Public cloud solutions also share their bandwidth with the general cat-video-watching public
One more tip – there are also ‘hybrid cloud’ solutions out there, software purpose-built for video file sharing and collaboration that utilise a separate underlying server network that the software vendor does not own/maintain. While these solutions don’t place any IT burden on you, they can optimise speed, features and security only to the level that their underlying platform can support, and you may have multiple points of contact to work through any issues.
Myth 3: We have to work on private servers to keep our media secure
We understand why organisations mandate this – especially if they assume that their assets need to be in the public cloud to enable remote collaboration. But no! You don’t have to forgo the cloud to maintain security. With a ‘vendor cloud’ solution like Aframe, your assets don’t traverse the Internet without being encrypted. Make sure your vendor encrypts uploads and downloads with the AES 128-bit standard for secure connections to every client. That it has layered protections spanning from the hosting platform to the browser using 256-bit SSL encryption to protect your metadata, passwords, and proxies streaming from the cloud. Customer data should be stored redundantly in separate geographic locations at tier 1 data centres that are SSAE 16 compliant and ISO 27001 aware. In the case of Aframe, the cloud solution has passed strict security audits from multiple organisations including the BBC, Fox Sports, Endemol and others, so its users are confident that their media is safe.
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Myth 4: We already have a MAM system. We can use that for remote media access and collaboration
Be careful here. Media asset management (MAM) systems are a foundation component of the video workflow, designed to handle finished media − edited, approved pieces. Trying to make those systems do double-duty as a collaboration system for work in progress clutters them up with raw footage, short shelf-life pieces and other production assets.
your cloud collaboration solution should enable all users to share, organize and work with footage in an open, transparent way
Also, because most MAMs are designed for technical users, they don’t make it easy for non-technical users to find and use content. That’s exactly what you want your cloud collaboration solution to do − enable all users to share, organize and work with footage in an open, transparent way with videos being discoverable throughout the process. You want to be able to file media in controlled project folders, add relevant data right from the start, then move projects into the MAM once they’re finished. And MAM’s don’t typically include transcoding capabilities that let you upload files in any format knowing that they will be homogenised into your house format automatically, as the best cloud video solutions do. In the end, trying to use a MAM for collaborative production won’t streamline your workflow, and could end up torpedoing your MAM.
Let’s break this one down. Dropbox, Hightail and other file hosting sites are an easy, super cheap (or even free) way to make files accessible to remote teams. But they don’t centralise media and notes, enable true collaboration or save you any steps. Most will require additional tools to playback media, ad notes, merge metadata, and export results. Some don’t even handle high-resolution media. Think about how you approach the creation of even one video piece. How much time do you spend uploading, copying and downloading footage? (For a single point of comparison, Aframe’s transfer speeds are 15x faster than FTP.) Naming and grouping selected shots? Transcoding cuts into the different formats your reviewers need? Shipping DVDs and drives? How does the editor receive and keep track of notes? How many versions do you have floating out there during the process? How often do your reviewers have trouble playing back files? After the piece is finished, how easy is it to find and re-use footage from that project?
Those considerations go way beyond posting and retrieving files, of course, but the point is, even when you’re creating a single video project, the time your whole team spends on manual processes adds up. Working with a cloud-based automated solution streamlines all of that, with some companies reporting two weeks of time saved in the edit room per finished piece/episode. That’s significant because you can spend that time doing what matters most… which may be doing more video. In the end, why just get by when you can get more accomplished, faster, while saving everyone involved a lot of hassle?
At Aframe we’re helping broadcasters, promo teams, corporate marketing groups, and video producers across all industries, all over the world, transform their work with cloud-based video collaboration. We believe collaborative teams should never have to wait for media to begin working. We have our ear to the street and will keep busting myths to make the transition a bit easier.