Ahead of the Trends: The Explosion of Media File Transfers
Sohonet CEO Chuck Parker Looks at the Need to Adapt File Transfers to Today’s Productions
Media and entertainment content has dramatically evolved in recent years, due to a couple of key factors. First, with so many streaming outlets and video sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Apple TV Plus, the quantity of content being produced has skyrocketed. At the same time, production media itself has become more data-intensive, moving from 2K to 4K (and higher), as well as having a wider color gamut. Digital cameras have encouraged filmmakers to keep the camera rolling, also resulting in a steep rise in the amount of footage shot.
With all those factors, productions have had to become agile, savvy, and global. They arrange production and post in far-flung locations to take advantage of the best tax benefits. They send labor-intensive tasks such as rotoscoping to countries with expertise and lower costs. They use multiple VFX houses to take advantage of different specialties. It’s more common than ever to find a single production dominated by small teams and individuals remotely collaborating over long geographic distances.
Additionally, the hundreds of additional episodic shows being created by Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and others have encouraged the growth of many, smaller production teams, and the freelancers who serve them. On the positive side, for studios and productions, these small teams and freelancers don’t have the overhead of large VFX or post houses, but they also won’t likely be using enterprise software and they definitely don’t have a large internal IT support team required by those enterprise tools. That can be challenging when it comes to file transfers, which for remote collaboration productions are the life-blood of the workflow. They have to find ways of transferring those files, which is both efficient and meets the approval of the studio and/or production for security.
Smaller teams that may reconfigure for every project and freelancers who jump from production to production simply don’t have the bandwidth of resources to handle this. We’ve seen just about everything when it comes to their solutions for transferring files, from different consumer-level software to sneaker-net combined with physical shipments–and yes, a lot of the smaller companies and freelancers are still packing up hard drives in padded envelopes and taking them to FedEx.
Production and post teams need a better way – and they know it. Be it a small team or a freelancer, these new production entities are looking for ways to transfer their creative media in a secure, fast, and seamless manner. They need a solution that’s easy to use and easy to maintain without requiring IT support.
The exact remedy doesn’t exist right now — that is workflow tools with seamlessly integrated file transfer that can flow to other teams or workflow ecosystems while maintaining security integrity and scaling to the individual freelancer or the large production team. The future of the industry is fewer software and hardware installs and instead leveraging the cloud and harnessing it to solve production and post production file-transfer, storage and collaboration challenges.
The industry solution providers need to continue to evolve to match tomorrow’s media industry labor footprint — comprised of smaller teams with freelancers workings across multiple productions and many geographies.