One of the things I like most about the technology industry is that it is characterized by a relentless quest for improvement. There is always something newer, faster and better right around the corner. Never a dull moment. And always the drive to be first and best.
NAB Show New York is right around the corner, October 18–19 at the Javits Center, in one of my favorite US cities, also home to the best bagels in the world.
In the fast-paced entertainment industry, the technology for both creating and consuming content can shift sharply and quickly. Making the right technology choices, at the right time, with well-timed implementation can mean the difference in moving your business forward or wasting a lot of time and budget fixing bad decisions, or worse, losing the business. These three market trends have the power to disrupt your workflow, but by making a few key decisions today you can transition smoothly in 2015, plus prepare for what’s to come in the future. In Pt.1 of the series we look at a technology that's going to be on everyone's mind at NAB 2015: 4K.
4K technically is just a frame size–4096 pixels×2160 lines for cinema or 3840×2160 for consumer–but to achieve the quality that people expect from 4K, you need more than just a high-resolution image. You also need a frame rate of 24 frames per second or greater, and a compression codec that doesn’t degrade the 4K image quality. The dirty little secret is that it’s really hard to stream 4K content at this rate without dropping frames on a shared storage system, so some workflow storage vendors are reverting back to direct attached storage to support their 4K claims. That means that you’ll need to modify your workflow for 4K to download locally for edit instead of accessing directly from shared storage. Say goodbye to the collaborative environment that’s shortened your production cycles to meet the tight deadlines that drive this competitive industry.
Content production had never been a simple process, but the number of moving parts and scale involved has grown to global proportions. Even a low-budget film might shoot in the rainforest in Costa Rica, edit in Vancouver, add visual effects in Korea, color-correct in Toronto, and finish in Hollywood. At the same time, there’s more pressure to transcode and deliver content worldwide on more platforms that ever before. All of this without the added complexity of making and transmitting duplicate copies between remote teams. That’s where cutting edge storage technologies and workflow automation tools head to the cloud with StorNext in the Cloud. StorNext in the Cloud lets you use the same workflows you use today, but now you and your team can work remotely, sharing content stored on Quantum’s Lattus object storage with all the scalability, flexibility and security you need, automatically managed by StorNext Storage Manager. With a StorNext and Lattus cloud-based workflow there’s no need to integrate your workflow into a cloud that’s not built for media. Instead, you can keep using the tools from the broad ecosystem of StorNext solution partners.
The NAB Show in Las Vegas is a super exciting event. Just getting to see massive 4K HD screens and the way in which the broadcasting industry is pushing data storage technology is really awesome and fun. At the show, I was talking to a small post production company about our Scalar LTFS and Scalar library solutions for data storage in their workflow, and the editor’s comment was, “This is perfect. This will let us go tapeless.” I totally did a double-take before realizing that he was talking about analog tape. It’s kind of interesting to realize that in the M&E space, they don’t even think about LTO technology as “tape” – which in the IT world is a word that carries a lot of baggage. Instead, they view it like it should be viewed across the industry – as a really good (the best?) storage medium for long-term storage.