The post-production process involves so many important aspects from cutting raw film, combining that footage, to adding music, sound effects, and colour grading. And, depending on the size of the project, this process can take anywhere from a few months to even a year!
Storage is a key component that underpins the entire setup of a post-production house, their workflows and infrastructure. Some use portable hard drives or disposable media as a storage solution. And whilst these options are well-established solutions, they are not reliable or secure, especially as you grow and expand.
So what storage options are available?
During the COVID-19 global pandemic, organisations were forced to move to remote working, resulting in a major shift towards cloud storage. Post-production houses were no exception to this transition and as we continue on this journey into the ‘new norm’ of hybrid working, cloud storage still remains a popular choice.
For a small post-production house who’s storage demands can be a bit unpredictable in terms of growth and client requirements, there comes a point when they need to consider migrating to an object storage solution that’s a bit more reliable, secure, and scalable – but which option is best? Public or private cloud?
What is the difference between public cloud and private cloud storage?
Private Cloud storage offers a platform that is highly supported and addresses a given workflow or problem that needs to be solved. It is possible to have private cloud platforms that are dedicated to one organisation or shared by many.
Public cloud is designed for hyper scale with global reach and requires third party expertise to implement and support the desired workflow or outcome.
Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud
If you’re considering a transition to public cloud, there are a few things to keep in mind:
The cost of public cloud in creative workflows is far too unpredictable and those lovely large corporate discounts are not available to everyone, especially if your business is a small or medium-sized one.
For the vast majority of production organisations, predicting future content access patterns is impossible and as such the costs of data access is extremely unpredictable. Ironically, businesses are paying for access to their own content and when it comes to exit planning they are faced with steep, almost prohibitive, charges to move to 3rd party platforms.
If you need access to your archive content you normally need it pretty quickly so having decent, reliable and affordable bandwidth can be an issue. If your content is sat in the coldest of archive tiers then content will be returned to you according to given SLAs and chosen cost structures. Again, unpredictable and unhelpful to production companies.
But wait, that’s your data, isn’t it?
It is our mantra that our customers’ content belongs to them, not us! Yet even today, there are storage vendors-MAM, DAM, and PAM vendors-and also cloud providers out there who force you to always use their tools or protocols to retrieve the content you own!
In the worst cases, they put the data into proprietary formats that ensure you are locked into them for data access and workflows. Your providers’ SLAs are in their best interest, not yours, so be aware! Always read the small print.
If you are going to move content to the cloud, make sure every step of the supply chain adheres to the format rules you set. Data portability is not only important for moving to new platforms but also for using the data you own for multiple purposes. Content archived in one workflow should be available in all other workflows.
It is also important to consider a multi-solution, multi-cloud approach to not only protect against vendor lock-in but also against SPOF (Single Point of Failure), cyber-attack, or any other massive outages. Don’t put all your eggs into one basket.
In many ways, the content and metadata are equally significant. If you can’t find it, then you don’t have it!
When possible, metadata should be transferable throughout the supply chain, maintained in an open format, and accessible via open APIs. Sadly, many content management services hold onto their metadata quite firmly because they view it as their crown jewels. Even if they don’t transfer it when archiving to public cloud platforms, not all of those cloud storage platforms can support or handle more than a few items, so you must use a third-party programme to locate and access your own stuff.
Additionally, data analytics are more crucial than ever, but a lot of the material that is archived is dark media. Dark media is archival content that hasn’t been indexed or categorised, making it impossible to search. The full archive must be accessible to analytics and metadata generating tools in order to make it searchable. Using deep cloud archiving platforms, it is either impossible or prohibitively expensive.
Media Archive Workflows
To make public cloud platforms “affordable,” they have to be generic across all verticals. Many offer a “just another me-too service.” Specialisation needs people and expertise, which costs money. Some of the bigger players have media services they provide themselves, but there is, of course, an associated cost per play, and in the main, third-party applications are needed to make media work in that environment.
The biggest issue, though, is that content producers in post production need access to their entire archive, right now! This wouldn’t be commercially viable (or likely possible) with public cloud alone.
Not forgetting PFR (partial file restore) – this wouldn’t be possible from public cloud! Not ideal for a post production house who needs to sub-clip a section of content.
Whilst public cloud isn’t the most suitable option for everyone, it is for some and it very much comes down to what your needs are and what solution fits best.
That said, if you are looking for a solution that provides predictable commercials with no egress fees, metadata that is searchable, shareable, and protected in non-proprietary formats with built in media workflows then we can help.
MatrixStore Cloud, our media-focused cloud storage platform gives you instant access to your content via intuitive media interfaces and provides predictable commercials with no egress fees.
We don’t lock you in either, your data is stored in its original format in data centres you can access with ease, should you need to. If we move the content to public cloud we move the content and metadata in completely open formats. The content belongs to you, not us!
Matrixstore Cloud can protect a serious amount of metadata that has been manually added, passed via API calls or generated using our MatrixStore Process in Place (PiP). That metadata is searchable, shareable, and protected in non-proprietary formats. Even when moving content to public cloud, we will move the metadata also in an open sidecar file. Your metadata belongs to you, not us!
Your entire archive is at your disposal, with zero penalty for accessing it! MatrixStore Cloud gives you instant and unlimited self-serve access to your content, from anywhere, at all times.
To learn more about MatrixStore Cloud and the benefits it could bring to your organisation then please get in touch for more information – we’d love to hear from you!
About Object Matrix
Object Matrix is the award-winning software company that pioneered object storage and the modernisation of media archives. It exists to enable global collaboration, increase operational efficiencies and empower creativity through deployment of MatrixStore, the on-prem, hybrid and cloud storage platform. Their unified deployment approach ensures content spans on-prem and cloud storage whilst their focus on the media industry gives them a deep understanding of the challenges organisations face when protecting, processing and sharing video content. Customers include: NBC Universal, Warner Bros. Discovery, MSG-N, ATP Media, BT, and the BBC to name but a few!