The pressures of the pandemic have proven that cloud-based video production is a viable solution for challenges that go far beyond the need to socially distance—from quickly scaling to burst capacity to collaborating across a global production. In this customer roundtable, we sit down with three early adopters of cloud-based production to hear their stories and their predictions for the future.
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Avid | Edit On Demand is a fully provisioned and secure virtual editing environment, complete with Media Composer cloud editing and Avid NEXIS cloud storage, that can be deployed and scaled quickly.
- Peter Phok, Producer, Phok Productions
- Steve Regina, Director of Engineering, A+E Networks
- Tim Guilder, Head of Technology, ITV Daytime
- Ray Thompson, Senior Director of Partner and Industry Marketing, Avid (moderator)
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Ray Thompson: I want to introduce our panel formally, and so I want to welcome you all. First and foremost, thank you guys for taking the time to do this today, I really appreciate you guys doing this.
So Peter, why don't we start with you. If you could just introduce yourself and the type of productions you work on, that'd be great.
Peter Phok: Yeah, hi! My name is Peter Phok with Phok Productions. I'm a producer of 15 years, generally in independent features, and currently working on an independent feature that's shooting in New Zealand and with post in Los Angeles with an LA-based editor, which is where Avid Edit On Demand came in very handy for us.F
RT: Awesome, thank you, Peter, for being here today. Steve, why don't you go next?
Steve Regina: I'm Steve Regina, Director of Engineering at A+E Networks. So we're A+E, History, Lifetime, and Lifetime channels. We're currently using Edit On Demand for some in-house-produced shows, and it's been very handy.
RT: Awesome, thanks Steve. And then last but certainly not least, Tim, welcome.
Tim Guilder: Hi, everyone, thank very much. I'm the tech manager of ITV Daytime, my name's Tim Guilder. And we are Avid users, an Avid house, who have been battling with all the restrictions around COVID this past year, but also on the flip side have made a lot of discoveries along the way.
RT: Awesome, thanks, Tim.
So, I want to start with life before the pandemic. When you think about what life was like before the pandemic from a production perspective, can each one of you describe your thoughts and attitudes around things like using either cloud or even remote and distributed workforces, in terms of your thoughts before the pandemic hit? When you thought about, for example, remote workforce, perhaps you were thinking remote as in on-set as opposed to nowadays working from home.
So I guess, Steve, can you start? Can you talk about what life was like pre-pandemic from a production perspective on those two angles?
SR: Oh yeah, sure. Day to day, you know, we had a pretty large Avid—we have a pretty large time Avid footprint. Twenty-five Media Composer rooms, plus a lot of support stations. And we used to run two shifts a day, the day shift and the night shift, editing mostly promo stuff for on-air channels, and then we started to break away and do more in-house productions where we're actually the content creators. So we've been sectioning off parts of those rooms for some productions that we're doing in-house now. And as that started to grow, we started to grow our Avid footprint. But day to day, two shifts, a lot of movement.
RT: And were you guys doing anything with the cloud yet?
SR: Where we see the cloud, or at least our first forays into the cloud, were finished assets, assets acquisitions and distribution to our world partners, our partners around the globe who are taking our content and playing out our content. That's the most easily adaptable, the first part really to move to the cloud.
RT: Gotcha. Peter, how about you? What was life like before the pandemic for you?
PP: Life before the pandemic was more traditional production, obviously. We were always traveling for production, and then editorial media was then prepared—usually the dailies house that we would partner with would prepare editorial media and then get that over physically, and sometimes occasionally over a big pipeline to the editorial facility wherever the editor was stationed.
And then, once the pandemic hit, and there were closures, we had to then quickly shift to the editors working at home. In that situation, these independent films, we don't have a big post-production team. It's generally just a main editor and generally one assistant. On that particular project, we just brought to Avids to their homes, with basically cloned media, and then the assistant editor was basically keeping it in sync as best as possible.
RT: Very cool. Tim, how about you, what was life like pre-pandemic in terms of production for you?
TG: So very traditional, as the other chaps have said as well, end-to-end Avid workflow for us, for seven and a half hours of everyday news and magazine-style programming. So we'd be building our shows on iNews, ingesting them on Airspeeds, editing on Media Composer with the news option, and then playing them out on Airspeeds, all on-prem in West London in Studioworks. Large NEXIS on-prem as well.
I think there was a slight turning of the tide, just before the pandemic, where we were looking into remote access to these systems for people who may have gone home and need to do something over the weekend, dialing into systems. And we'd proven the concept, but we hadn't really used it in too much anger until we suddenly had to, and we were forced to.
So there was a huge kind of turn speed; I think we probably moved five years of progression in one year. And it's been pacey, and we've had an amazing group of support engineers and also users as well, for being patient with some of the requirements that we had to get out to them so that they could work from home in a resilient way, in a productive way, and keep those seven and a half hours, those four shows on air.
And we have managed to get—you know, 75 percent of our editing has stayed off premises, so remote into systems that you see now are still in London, as it stands. But the next iteration of that, or the evolution of that, is certainly to move some of those pieces of equipment into the cloud.
RT: So the pandemic hits, Tim, and you realize everybody's now got to work from home. What was the first thought that went through your mind, and how did you guys pivot quickly to enable folks to do that—basically, keep business continuity?
TG: Yeah, with a large amount of documentation and video tutorials and late-night phone calls.
And it was stressful for a while, but we were fortunate, as I say, to have been looking at it slightly beforehand. I think we know now, if something were to happen again, that we will be certainly more prepared, and it won't be as much of a kind of, a bit of luck, as it was.
But you know, I think it's also exposed the fact that some things aren't as well backed up as they could be in the design. You know, my phone is arguably slightly more backed up than my NEXIS. And that's a bit outrageous really, because there's a lot of content on that NEXIS which has a huge value. My phone has obviously value as well, with family pictures and things, but our content is geographically located in West London with our production teams.
And so we've kind of half-solved the battle, and now we're going through pilots and proof of concepts to finesse what we've learned in the last year.
RT: Very cool. Steve, you know, I've heard from various customers different stories, everything from, "Grab a workstation and some USB drives," to, "How do we basically turn on these remote services that we've heard about, maybe we've toyed with, but never really fully implemented?" How did A+E deal with it?
SR: Business continuity has always been something we've been talking about for a long time—what happens if, what happens if—and we've had some drills over the past few years. About three years ago, we had a fire, and we had to evacuate the building, and then a couple years later, we had an air conditioning mold problem and we had to empty the edit rooms. So the mad scramble was something we were used to.
But when the pandemic hit, immediately everybody in the tech ops department all went, "Let's start parking all these projects on the Interplay and get them on drives, and then we'll send the drives home and we'll deal with renting machines or souping up machines and sending them to the editors."
And we had been playing around with some Teradici stuff, and someone had mentioned HP RGS is a really good solution. Being we're an HP house, we started doing some quick tests with that and we found that it was a viable solution. So my team, the engineering team, mobilized, we grabbed every IT laptop we can get our hands on and loaded RGS, because we had about 50 editors to be able to outfit at home, to be able to remote in.
We did that pivot from "let's park everything and send the media out" to "let's get everybody in a remote access situation." And it worked very well, and it got us moving, and it got the content—with a little bit of a hiccup—but it got us working pretty quickly in the pandemic work from home situation.
RT: How long do you think it took, Steve, to get everybody working at home feeling pretty confident about what they're doing? How long do you think it took?
SR: [joking] It's still going on!
RT: I guess, right?
SR: [laughs] No, it was about a week to a week and a half until we got everything out. We started off small, with some smaller projects. We actually took care of some stuff that had tight deadlines, we took care of that stuff first thing and got them working, then we circled back on some of the marketing stuff and got those guys working. So it was about a couple of weeks until we were, you know, 80 percent, back to 80 percent, 90 percent capacity.
RT: Very cool, very interesting. Peter, how about you? You had talked a little bit about it, but were you mid-project when the pandemic hit? What was the initial scenario you were in when it all happened? And then how did you guys react and how long did it take?
PP: We were probably a few weeks in, near the end of the director's cut on an independent feature film, working in a post facility with a traditional two-Avid setup over NEXIS shared media. And this is based in Los Angeles, California, and so I think we were one of the first to get that stay-at-home order.
So we kind of anticipated and were checking with the facility if they're going to close our access to it, and we started to make efforts into tracking down a vendor to be able to drop an Avid setup, from the table, the chair, the whole works, at each editor's home and hope that they had space to accommodate what we're doing. But our assistant editor, our editor, were all very accommodating. And then the director and the editor had to kind of figure out a solution for them to communicate while they were still working together beyond the director edit period and then into the producer notes. And so it certainly extended our post schedule.
And then we at that point lost the NEXIS, and so we then really had to work off of cloned media, but there wasn't really any new media introduced at that point, other than some music, potentially. And so the assistant editor used some tools, basically trying to keep the project in sync and just constantly be sending the bins back and forth, which they had already kind of been doing. And it worked out, and we were able to see the whole film go through the rest of the post-production process through completion in 2020.
RT: Amazing, amazing. So alright, so now you're in the pandemic, you've set up folks to work from home. How did you learn first about Edit On Demand and what it could do, and then what was your experience with it in general? Steve, why don't you go first?
SR: You know, there's a lot of logistics. Editors, when they got home, are they working on a laptop, screens, it was all that kind of stuff. And then it was expansion: we need more edit rooms, we need more...
The biggest thing that happened was shifts went away. We were no longer AM, PM shifts. All editors working at the same time. So we had to increase our host count. And logistically that gets difficult. You know, I've got racks and racks of HP workstations, and it comes to a point where you just meet capacity.
So in conversations with our Avid sales guy, Media Composer as a service was something that we talked about, and it wasn't ready. And it was sometime in August or September we started getting into some real in-depth conversations with Avid about, where does it stand, where is it at, and when can you try it? And we did a full-blown POC in, I want to say, October. We test-drove it for a couple of weeks.
RT: Very cool. How many folks were part of the test? How many folks took part in the POC?
SR: I think it was about five stations, and we passed it around between maybe a dozen people. Everybody played with it, we loaded some media, started a couple projects, and some editors tried it, some tech ops people tried it, and the feedback was very encouraging.
RT: Tim, how about you? How did you guys first hear about it, and what was your initial experience with it?
TG: Yeah, I mean, very similar in a way. As I say, we kind of we got across the line and we didn't drop any VTs or content by using this remote tool called No Machine—ironically named, because you do need a machine. And the machines were on-prem, everyone's remote into them on their ITV-issued laptops, they've got the extra screens.
And then it was just thinking about the art of the possible, really—how could we evolve this further? Speaking to our contacts at Avid and looking at Edit On Demand with a keen eye and just wanting to have a go.
So we reran a long-form documentary commission that we'd edited and delivered to where we completely de-risked it and just had a little sandbox or sandpit environment to play with, and then quickly had some great lessons from that. For instance, running Teradici as an app on your ITV-issued laptop isn't quite as efficient as if you have some dedicated hardware, and we've been using the 10ZiG thin client boxes, which gives you a bit of extra acceleration, and they kind of iron out some of the bumps that our craft editors would be the first to complain if there was a slight lag or delay.
And it wasn't anything like being in the office, but the reports from that experiment were, "Well, this is actually in some ways faster, when we're rendering and things like that." And it's because that Edit On Demand system is based in the cloud and on systems that are slightly more powerful than what we've got on-prem, and so it wasn't a huge surprise.
The main concern really is around connectivity, people's home broadband. But there are ways to mitigate against that, as I say, dedicated hardware, making sure it's connected on a cable, for instance, some people do miss that one. But once we've looked at that, and people have spoken to their providers, and maybe we can bolster it was some sort of hotspots of MiFi connectivity for those kind of disaster situations, then actually we're finding that you don't need quite as much broadband connectivity as once thought because of those bits of hardware and those measures put in place.
So yeah, we've been really encouraged by that kind of proof of concept, and now taking it on to the next step, which is really expanding that out to an ecosystem that's very similar to what we've got on site. So a whole NEXIS in the cloud, Interplay in the cloud, etc. So it's not just a standalone, it's a mirror of what we have largely on-prem.
RT: Very cool. And what type of productions, Tim, were you guys doing? Is it more like news magazine type shows? What types of shows are you thinking you're going to be doing with Edit On Demand?
TG: We're on air from six o'clock in the morning 'til half past one in the afternoon every day, but there's a label within ITV, we also win long-form documentary commissions as well. And our system was designed around those four shows and those hours of operation.
But I think as Steve was saying, there is that constant expansion of production requirements and we were literally running out of office space, running out of bay space. And the cooling and the power has all been scoped for a requirement, and as a technologist you don't want to be the one that stops people from winning commissions or being creative, you just want to give them every tool they can get, but within the constraints of a physical building.
So we just started to think around, it doesn't necessarily need to be in a bay, perhaps, or it doesn't need to be in an edit suite—where else could it go? Do we need as much tin? And we've just been really blown away by the possibilities.
I think in this coming year, we'll be completely basing some of those commissions away from the on-prem stuff and the day to day, and de-risking any kind of load to be putting on that unnecessarily and completely running that in the cloud, which is really cool.
RT: That's amazing. So Peter, you are doing a film, and while your team is kind of small, can you describe your workflow and what you're doing? And similarly, how did you first learn about Edit On Demand and then what did you do to try it out first and then ultimately use it for a real production?
PP: Yeah, absolutely. So we were in the early stages of pre-production. With the pandemic, production really shut down around the world on the majority of feature films, but we got an opening with production for A24 Films to film a feature in New Zealand, where their COVID response was a lot better, and it allowed for our film to move forward.
So I actually needed to determine how we would approach editorial. Traditionally for shooting there, we would have a local on-prem facility that would be handling dailies. And then not only was it remote as an American production filming in New Zealand, it was also in a remote environment within New Zealand. So it wasn't going to prove to work well to do dailies at a traditional facility, and so we had to kind of figure out also a workflow to manage dailies on set and then not to have any sort of delay.
And the decision was made to work with an LA-based editor as well, and so that's when I started to do my research through Avid and discovered Edit On Demand. And then we more got involved with Avid in figuring out how it works. They set us up with a trial account, which is great, and then our editors came on board.
We didn't have a lot of time prior to production starting. We were really leaning into this with some backup solutions that included a lot of remote desktop jumping, like a jump software, which would be hosted elsewhere, and then our assistant editor out in New Zealand could jump in. So we had some backups but I really kind of leaned into Edit On Demand once I really understood how it worked.
And in the process of playing with the trial, we used some footage, we put it up there, and it wasn't until production started that we really got to figure out all the ins and outs, but it's really allowed us to work across the world. All our data is being hosted out of the West 2 server, and that was something that was a critical decision to reduce any latency between the main editor and where all the footage was going to be stored.
RT: So you have someone in New Zealand uploading content to Edit On Demand, and you have someone in LA ultimately accessing that. You have almost like a chase-the-sun kind of workflow happening, and yet at the same time you have this real big disparity between the people and where everything's located.
PP: Right, that's right.
RT: And that's all working out pretty well?
PP: It's working out pretty well.
I mean, it was about a 30-day production schedule, shooting days. The first few weeks were relatively close to Wellington, where our assistant editor is based at a facility there, and their life is just running as normal as it can be. And then production moved out to a location that is very remote, about two and a half hours away.
So the dailies workflow was an on-set DIT creating a lot and making changes on the fly, and then they would export both dailies media on set at the end of the day, as well as editorial media, and then we selected DNXR 115, I believe we were using. And all that was put onto a hard drive and then traveled physically to the assistant editor who would be at the facility to then receive it and then upload it through FileCatalyst to the NEXIS in the cloud, basically on Edit On Demand. And then from there the main editor in LA could then log in and access that media, and basically we were able to start the editorial as scheduled.
RT: That's great. I mean that's pretty much consistent too with what we've heard from other folks in terms of their experience. They're just using Media Composer as if it was sitting on their desk, and like Tim, you mentioned, it's running on a very powerful VM, so oftentimes it's actually giving you even better performance than maybe what you would have had on a system sitting on your desk that maybe was a couple years old or whatever.
And so that's one of the other benefits of the cloud, of course, it's the equipment that's available is certainly oftentimes ahead of where you might be yourselves as an organization, so that's pretty cool. And then of course bandwidth-wise, it's been also very positive. Everbody's using Teradici clients to access the VM, so it's been very good.
So now, you guys have some exposure to cloud and as-a-service models. That's the other thing we didn't really talk about, the fact that this is an as-a-service model. So above and beyond some of the things, Steve and Tim, you guys mentioned in terms of managing equipment and building out and then basically hitting a limit, the convenience of spinning something up in the cloud, but then of course the convenience of spinning it back down when it's over. Paying only for what you're using is also kind of new, that's sort of a new way to operationally manage a production.
Now that you've had some experience, even if it's limited, how has that changed, if anything, how you're thinking about the future, in terms of being able to burst capacity and add the ability to add these other editors and some of the benefits that maybe you're starting to realize as a net result of the pandemic? Steve, why don't you go first?
SR: One of the things, as we do more in-house productions, what never changes is your end date. As a show's in production, as you get closer to finishing the show and having to deliver it, the big thing is if they feel like they're behind, they start throwing more editors at it. You've worked with four or five editors all along and now all of a sudden, you've got to bring it up to seven or eight editors. It's good to have the ability to just scale up and throw some more VM editors on there and bring people in real quick. That's been a big plus.
The other big plus we found, when working on an on-prem host, the client has to come in through our VPN. And VPNs tend to be very strict with our network. We have a lot of freelancers and people who aren't employees to be VPNing into our network.
So the nice thing about Edit On Demand, that is all up in the Azure, and you're handing out credentials to these people. And so nobody's really coming into your network, they're all working in the Avid environment in the cloud. And it gives the production company a lot more flexibility about bringing editors in for a week or a couple days. The onboarding process is a lot quicker. It really smooths things out.
RT: Awesome, thanks Steve. Tim, how about you? Similar thoughts in terms of how you're thinking now about cloud and burst-ability, spinning up resources like that?
TG: Yeah, I think there was a bit of cloud anxiety around our area. As you know, it's a bit like—I sort of draw a parallel with electric cars. We'll probably go hybrid to start off with, because you still get that kind of cloud anxiety around costs—is someone going to leave something on, and I'm going to log in the next day and see some horrendous bill that I wasn't expecting? So far, touch wood, I've not seen that come in, and so I'm really pleased about that.
One thing it does actually do is it does flag the cost of services. When we were doing this five-year cycle of capex and buying the storage, the production teams wouldn't necessarily have visibility of what that storage cost. So there'd be quite high shooting ratios, things would be loaded up.
When it used to be on a tape, you'd know how many tapes you needed to take to a shoot, you knew how much a tape cost, that tape would go on a shelf, and then someone would say, "Hang on, that's a lot of tapes. You need to clear those out, you need to get those archived." And you'd probably put them on LTO tape. Absolutely, there's still a requirement for some of that, for the deeper archive, but I think we wanted to be a bit more modern in the way we archived our tapes.
We wanted to expose some of these costs, and I think this is an opportunity to do just that and give people a bit of visibility of what a daily running cost or an edit may cost. We were having to find bits of hardware around the business. We were adding bits of RAM here, there, and everywhere, so something that started as a certain tower and a certain spec because we wanted to be on the latest and greatest software, we were having to swap bits out. And so we hopefully don't have to do that anymore.
I think there's a bit of a mindset change around capex moving to opex, but largely people are embracing that. Because you know, five years would turn into six or seven years sometimes, and we'd be really pleading to change things and get extra budget to replace things. Hopefully we won't be in as much of that world anymore.
But just for now, I think there will be hybrid for the time being, so we're not going to throw away anything we've got. I just don't think we'll be expanding in the way we had been, in that trajectory of bolting more physical equipment in place. So yeah—the genie's out of the bottle now, isn't it, so to speak?
And we've got some real lessons around, as Steve said, security. Access to things is definitely of huge, paramount importance. When you come into our premises you use a pass—well, we need to create a virtual version of that, really, without breaking the workflow. So I think that's a big challenge.
And the other big challenge, which we might come to later, it's the over the shoulder stuff. It's that sitting next to each other as a producer and editor relationship and partnership. We've got to evolve the tool set for that really and help them with that challenges, because they aren't geographically sitting in the same room anymore.
RT: Yeah, that's a good point. The over the shoulder thing is definitely a big ask across the board. We have some things happening, you can use Zoom or Teams, if you will, to do that, but we're definitely working on a better solution as it relates specifically to Edit On Demand, so you can get a couple different options in terms of sending the output of the Media Composer to someone sitting at home and have a really full experience in terms of resolution and quality.
So Peter, how about you, in terms of going forward? I know you're right in the middle of it all, but in terms of how you're thinking now, going forward in terms of how you're using the cloud as a source for editing and to burst capacity, maybe even add talent?
Your situation is so cool because you had such a distributed workflow. You've got people in completely different parts of the world collaborating. So could you talk about how that has evolved your thoughts around cloud?
PP: It's really, really impressive what we were able to accomplish with relatively minimal troubleshooting. Any of the issues that we ran into weren't catastrophic by any means, we never lost any data, so we felt good. In fact, during the production we actually shifted to another data center, and Avid did everything internally, and it was seamless. And the support team with Avid has been really incredible.
So going forward, I think about other productions in the future, it really allows us to consider—we're not tied down to where an editor is based. This allows us to work more collaboratively with editors anywhere, basically, and it's not relegated to where production is happening.
Now that we've just gotten through principal photography and we're shifting into the director's cut period on this, we just started with the Zoom feed of the record window. So that's been sort of a shift, now we're just getting adjusted to it. But so far, so good. There's been no latency issues.
I think that's the most important thing for those who aren't familiar with how things have changed. I think the director is aware that the media's been hosted in the cloud but hasn't really experienced it, and any effort that we can do to keep it as traditional as possible in terms of the feeling of it, I think is really helpful. He's used to editing in television, where you're working with the editor in a very, very accelerated pace, and so we're trying to sustain that sort of similar environment.
RT: That's great. The point you made there about now, in terms of talent and editing talent, and not necessarily being restricted to folks who are locally close to your facility—now it's opened up that whole avenue, right?
It's a great point, because editors can now move out of the city if they wanted to. They don't necessarily have to be in Hollywood per se. I think that's going to evolve over time. So certainly some people want to be there, but the folks who maybe aren't big city folks, but who want to be part of the media industry or the film industry, can now pretty much work from home anywhere, as this becomes more and more ubiquitous in terms of where it's available. That's a great point.
I also love the point about security, Tim, that you made. Security's always a big concern, period, no matter what—whether it's security to what you've deployed in the facility or certainly accessing from the cloud. So there's always going to be an ongoing battle, or course.
One of the things we've found is that, as the pandemic wore on, business continuity sort of—I wouldn't say lowered the standard on security, but certainly evolved people's thinking in terms of some of their worries around cloud security. That isn't to say, though, that there isn't a ton of security built into the solution. Of course there is, and we're always going to evolve and make it better.
So that leads me to what would be my last question, which is, as you guys now have had some experience, you've all done real projects in Edit On Demand and in the cloud in general, when you look forward and you see some of the things that are coming technology-wise—5G, for example, being rolled out in a more broad way and giving you more access and bandwidth and maybe even more interactivity ultimately between consumers and even the content rights holders and distributors, and just other trends in terms of more powerful phones and devices—what do you guys see when you start to think about the near and maybe even longer-term future? Any technologies or anything you think will help make the move to either as-a-service and/or cloud-based productions even more appealing? Steve, why don't you start?
SR: The biggest thing our clients have is, "Where's my media?" Peter talked a lot about, how does it get from the shoot to edit as quick as possible? And the biggest hurdle there is the transcode process in there. Also, we've got all the raw stuff that we want to save later to conform later.
But that process, I see a lot of growth around there, especially with 5G networks and some better technologies that are coming in there. I did have a conversation with Avid with some camera-to-cloud workflows. Not quite merged into Edit On Demand yet, but I think it's all converging.
RT: That's a good point. Tim, how about you?
TG: It's been a sort of an industrial revolution, so far, really, and I think there are many other pluses that aren't necessarily obvious straightaway. So I mean, use the Microsoft Azure engine for their AI services while you're up in the cloud. You can get speech-to-text, which is great for logging. You can get emotion, face recognition in there. There's a whole gamut of tools that are available. When we were putting our archive on LTO tape, it was very safe and it was very cost effective, but I think it's time to unlock some of those extra tools that are available in the cloud.
We're working with Avid, we're working with Azure, and we're working with support partners as well, and that's been an eye-opener, and Masstech for the move of our media from onsite up into the cloud. We're lucky that we've got that kind of terra firma of a platform and a team of people who can handle the ingest and then upload on a large pipe.
I think that as connections get better, people might be doing stuff direct from LiveUs and from SRT streams. Currently, we're using SRT instead of an ingest mechanism. We're actually evolving that into a bit of virtual "BOB," as we're calling it, or "breakout box." And we can do over-the-shoulder with the SRT stream. We're landing our studio outputs onto people's laptops, so there's no reason why we can't land, with a bit of MDI stream and conversion to SRT, there's no reason why people can't soon be looking at a timeline on their iPad while they're working on the laptop if they've got the connectivity. So that's really cool.
Sustainability is a massive thing for a lot of businesses at the moment, as you know. ITV is no different there, and we're talking to lots of partners in our supply chain about sustainability, and Microsoft as a partner—it's fantastic, they've invested a billion dollars towards becoming carbon negative. I think this whole piece can play into that new drive for being greener. And it should do. We should be more aware of what we're buying, what we're powering, what we're calling.
So this all opened up from this one tragic situation. We're getting some positive, COVID catalyst, as it were, of change, real change. And so I'm really encouraged by everything we've seen so far. I'm really keen to put more and more bits in the cloud and trial it and then evolve it.
RT: That's great. It's kind of, the sky's the limit. Peter, what do you think, going forward?
PP: I think going forward it's going to give independent editors the opportunity to get more involved in professional projects. I feel like in the independent world there's a lot of DIY filmmakers out there who have their own computer setup, and now this is allowing you to jump in. All you need to do is get your Avid EOD account and install your Teradici client, and then you're able to jump in. You don't need the Avid machine anymore, necessarily.
And so I think there's an access point there. I've been using Avid since, I think, Avid Xpress DV in film school, and I've been tracking it along the way. And so this is a revolution, the access to the NEXIS, which can be very expensive on-prem. Because in the feature world, we don't generally own any of the equipment, the hardware. It's always a facility that we go into, and this is opening that up.
RT: That's amazing. I agree with everything everybody said. I think the sky's the limit here in terms of what's possible going forward.
Tim, I love that you mentioned services, and being able to leverage AI and machine learning going forward. I think a lot of people talk about that, but it's somewhat limited so far in terms of how many folks are really using that in their day-to-day operations with us to do some type of metadata enhancement on their historic library, or even doing projects and doing different aspects of that project in parallel, like transcripting or even editing and creating stringouts and things like that, where you can use the metadata to help create those stringouts and even automate in areas where in the past you had to do all that in parallel, and that added time.
And part of that is because it was hard to get access to the content, the availability of the content was difficult. Now the walls are kind of coming down. And you all mentioned some form of IP, SRT, LiveU, whatever the case may be, sending content as proxies, all that is now becoming very real as well.
So I really appreciate you guys taking the time. Just phenomenal discussion. And of course, us, Avid, talking about these things is one thing, but hearing it from you guys who are living it and doing it every single day is just amazing.