22 Nov 2021

“We put a terrific 24/7, 4K channel on air across the globe in less than six months”

67 Pall Mall is a private member’s club that brings together people who have a passion for wine and fine dining. The club has recently launched 67pallmall.tv, a free channel available to anyone. The channel’s content is created by wine lovers, for wine lovers. Live and on-demand, the channel’s content includes virtual wine tasting and programmes featuring winemakers, experts and industry leaders. To launch the channel, 67 Pall Mall needed a central platform to store, edit and manage the content.

Managing content for the new channel across the globe created numerous challenges. Transferring files from the shoot location to the central London office, a way to manage the content that included an approval system and a custom workflow that enabled assets to be exported from their MAM to a third-party playout system, Veset Nimbus. The editors, production staff, and producers all needed to be able to access the content remotely, with minimal friction, and collaborate seamlessly during the editing process.

base conducted a digital workflow audit to identify the most effective and cost-efficient way to solve these challenges, without compromising on the user experience for the team. Storage was managed first, with a centralised cloud storage solution, erasure coding data across three UK data centres for additional peace of mind. To enable super-fast file transfer in and out of the cloud, base deployed a UDP accelerated transfer service with an easy-to-use branded web interface. With enterprise-grade security, users on-location could upload rushes directly to the base storage platform at Internet line speed, accessible for all 67 Pall Mall approved system users. A customised Iconik Media Library solution was integrated by base which automatically scanned, indexed, and transcoded viewing proxies of the content for users to view.

Several other custom base features were included in the solution, improving the experience for the 67 Pall Mall team. This included metadata tagging with custom fields, Ai-powered automated transcription, and a review and approval feature which allowed time-based commenting by authorised users. Each of these features enhanced the digital workflow and enabled the 67 Pall Mall team to store, collaborate and deliver efficiently.

base created a bespoke integration with 67 Pall Mall’s third-party playout system, Veset Nimbus enabling the 67 Pall Mall team to export an individual file from the Media Library with a custom sidebar XML metadata file and share the asset via the central cloud storage platform, ready for playout to 67pallmall.tv.

base’s team of media and cloud experts provided comprehensive training and onboarding services for all users, to ensure the 67 Pall Mall team could take full advantage of the new bespoke workflow.

There are numerous benefits for 67 Pall Mall working with their new cloud-based digital workflows. Each element of the media management process can be scaled up and down depending on their needs. If content capture and creation increases, so can the storage and file transfer capacity, and the same applies if it were reduced. With content securely stored in the base cloud storage platform, the 67 Pall Mall team can access their content from any location, whenever it is needed. Unlocking a new way of working has enabled the 67 Pall Mall team to bring their members the finest food and wine content directly into their homes.

Richard Melman – “We put a terrific 24/7, 4K channel on air across the globe in less than six months under full lockdown. I have no hesitation in saying that without base this simply wouldn’t have been possible. It has become an essential tool for the whole team and enabled us to review, change and approve edits within hours. Often taking programmes from rough cut to on-air on the same day.”

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23 Jul 2021

Content storage: Accelerating Cloud Migration In Search of Cost-Savings and Efficiencies

The pandemic appears to have provided the necessary impetus for more organisations to invest systematically in cloud-Based content storage.

When it comes to content storage and the cloud, there is plentiful evidence to suggest that the last 18 months have provided a ‘perfect storm’ in which an already present trend has been significantly accelerated. This applies as much to organisations already some distance down that road as to those at a more formative stage of the transition.

Raul Alba, Avid’s director of solutions marketing, points to two virtual events – held 12 mon apart – devised to help Avid keep in touch with its customers during lockdown.

“If we compare the discussions we had in both series of meetings, we have seen a significant change in the mindset,” he says. ths apart – devised to help Avid keep in touch with its customers during lockdown. 

In the most recent meetings, just weeks ago, every single customer we talked to has included clouds in its plans. Not all customers we talked to are at the same stage: some just want to be sure that any vendor they choose to work with has a roadmap to go to the cloud, while others already want to start migrating to the cloud as soon as possible.

Nonetheless, one can infer that the shift in viewpoint has been fairly dramatic in some quarters. 

For me, the most surprising aspect is how things that were seen as completely impossible or nonsense a year ago, today seem to be ‘plan A’ for many organisations,” says Alba.

Tailored solutions

As a leading innovator in the media cloud space, base has been well-placed to track the recent uptick in demand for cloud storage. Pursuing what it terms a ‘tailored cloud solutions’ approach for digital media companies, base provides clients with a central, cloud-Based media hub in which to store all their files and then seamlessly connects to a choice of pre-integrated Software as a Service tools. 

Working with media SaaS partners across multiple clouds – including AWS, Google and IBM Cloud – base can facilitate tasks such as automatic multi-site syncing for large files, accelerated global file transfer, remote Adobe editing, and sophisticated media asset management.

Ben Foakes is founder and managing director of base. He says that the company’s focus on “simplifying and packaging up” cloud storage and services has served it well. 

The way we work is that we don’t charge egress, retrieval or API call fees, and we have done all the network integration and behind-the-scenes work to do with running on multiple clouds. We started the business to simplify the cloud for media, and that continues to be [our primary objective].

Nonetheless, there is always room for improvement, and Foakes reveals that a current focus of development is “a self-service experience that means each client will have an app to access and automatically set up their environments and the way they want to work. It will make the cloud and related services more simplified for the actual users.” 

“There have been a lot of enquiries from companies over the last 18 months who are looking to close down their buildings, get rid of their hard drives and physical equipment, and go across completely to a virtual way of working for their creative teams,” he says. Meanwhile, for the more reticent organisations “who had previously been thinking about the cloud and adopting a more online, collaborative way of working, the pandemic has provided the necessary impetus to move ahead with their plans.”

Financial benefits

For Avid, Raul Alba has a clear sense of why migration of storage to the cloud is accelerating at this point: “The reasons why customers are moving – or considering moving – to the cloud are mostly related to flexibility in their operations, lower TCO [total cost of ownership] when all the factors (real estate, electricity, AC and maintenance) are considered, and the predictability of the financial cost of operations, tied to an Opex financial model.”

With this in mind Avid, continues to evolve a family of solutions that prioritise flexibility and dynamic storage of resources. These include Avid NEXIS | Cloud and Avid NEXIS | EOD, both of which are underpinned by the Avid NEXIS | File System (FS) running on cloud storage. The File System features a storage infrastructure that is managed and automated by intelligent software rather than by the storage hardware, and is virtualised into a single pool of shared resources which are allocated dynamically with the required composition of data services (such as capacity, bandwidth and protection).

Elaborating on AVID | NEXIS Cloud, Alba remarks that this “delivers tiered storage in the cloud, supporting online, nearline and archive storage for real-time media workflows. [Meanwhile] Avid NEXIS virtual storage workspaces allow complete control over the allocation of storage to individuals, teams and projects.”

Apples for apples?

Bob Bolson, director of solutions architecture at Imagine Communications, echoes many of the aforementioned factors behind the current growth in cloud storage, but also indicates that it has taken a while for the market to become more well-defined. 

At the start, he notes, “there was a lot of really expensive online storage as well as [storage solutions] that were almost like the equivalent of tape archives. But since then more tiers of solutions have become available, and that has given customers [more flexibility].

Indeed, at this stage, he points to an interesting “blurring of lines between different types of storage, so for instance a customer might want to dip their toe in the water for a certain service or type of production. It might also be that, in some cases, the price difference [between traditional and cloud storage] is not so dramatic that it immediately becomes [a must-have].

Increasingly, though, he believes that customers are likely to take a holistic approach to determining their storage arrangements. 

For instance, the benefits of cloud might become fully clear “when they drill down into the pricing, and consider the cost of the real-estate, cooling systems and manpower needed to keep [on-premise storage] up and running. They need to have a critical eye and speak with people who can give them the full story; it’s not just apples for apples.” Moreover, it is likely to be the cloud providers who can allow workflows to remain relatively unaltered who stand to benefit the most: “People like continuity, so the more you can make the workflows look and feel like those with which they are already comfortable, the better.”

Enabling content creators to carry on working in familiar ways is also a priority for Aveco, which announced the launch of its new GEMINI Media Asset Management (MAM) solution at the end of June 2021.

Designed for cloud, hybrid-cloud and on-premise use, GEMINI allows users to manage media and AI-enriched metadata, plus timeline annotations describing any frame or segment of an asset. Content assets are under control across all types of storage, including in the cloud, NAS and SAN, and video servers.

Pavel Potuzak, CEO of Aveco, says: “The introduction of the GEMINI MAM brings powerful tools that are easy to use, so people can concentrate on the task at hand, anywhere in the world and on any browser.

In terms of storage strategies, it’s clear that we are in a period of transition that may last several years yet. But with broadcasters wanting to access, process and distribute content more flexibly than ever before, it’s certain that the share of storage provided by the cloud will continue to grow steadily across the M&E industry.

By David Davis

Original link

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24 May 2021

Green Rock closes office to go fully virtual

Post house shuts Soho premises and adopts cloud-based software.

Green Rock post house has closed its physical office in favour of permanent virtual workflows as it embraces lockdown working practices for the long-term.

The 13 year old business, which has worked on post projects including Netflix’s Myths and Monsters (pictured above), has given up the lease on its Goodge Place office which contained six edit suites.

Its 12 staff will continue to work from home full-time, as has been taking place under lockdown, rather than dividing their time between working from home and the office as restrictions lift.

Green Rock founder and chief executive officer Simon Green said the industry is facing “a real wakeup moment” as businesses attempt to introduce flexible working regimes.

“As staff begin to return to offices, there will be a realisation that the solution isn’t flexible working,” he said.

Green Rock, which will make considerable rent-related savings, has invested in developing it’s own virtual edit system, Green Rock Virtual Creative Solutions (VCS), to enable the shift, working closely with base and Adobe.

Green said the model will allow the company to take on more work than was previously possible and help it navigate any future lockdowns more easily. Under lockdown, it was operating a hybrid system under which editors were having to download huge files from the physical edit suites to their desktop computers. However by shutting the suites it is able to fully embrace a virtual tech platform.

“I’m having conversations with bigger broadcasters and other companies on more ambitious projects,” he said. “Working in the cloud means we will have no limits.”

Cloud-based editing will also allow Green Rock to scale up and down more rapidly to react to demand, which Green said is a “huge benefit during the uncertainty of Covid”.

“The pay-as-you-go model gives us ultimate flexibility and scalability,” he added.

Green Rock has begun conversations with an Indian producer about an HBO series as going online-only helps it to win more international business without requiring execs to travel to its office.

Green said that working virtually is no less efficient or effective than face-to-face edits.

“There is a lot more productivity in the early stage as editors can really get their heads down on their own,” he said, adding that in the later stages of an edit, livestreaming video technology allows producers and directors to collaborate seamlessly.

By from Broadcast 

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10 May 2021

Green Rock cements hybrid cloud facility

The pandemic panicked much of the post industry into remote workarounds. Now, as vaccine rollouts bring back some normality, companies are grappling with the long-term structure of work and office life.

“The pandemic has drop kicked the industry 5-10 years into the future,” says Niels Stevens, Snr Solutions Consultant Pro Video and Broadcast Workflows, Adobe. “Some companies already moving in the direction of cloud are setting themselves up for a full cloud-based workflow. Others who have made large investments in hardware are having to segue into a hybrid model as they go towards remote.”

These ideas and the technology underpinning them are explored in a webinar hosted by Broadcast and featuring a live demo of a hybrid cloud workflow connecting sites in London with New York and Los Angeles.

“Our journey to cloud predated the pandemic,” explains Simon Green, founder and CEO of Green Rock, a production and post production agency based in London and LA. “I had my first conversations about a completely virtual post facility over a decade ago. Distributed collaborative post production is no longer a dream. It is now a reality.”

With clients including ITV, NatWest, Netflix and XPRIZE, Green Rock is among the first UK facilities to transition away from bricks and mortar into a completely cloud-based shop.

“For us, cloud infrastructure means less capital investment in on-premise solutions and a more flexible approach to team working,” Green says. “These issues have magnified in recent months as more and more clients have begun requesting a more agile way of working.”

In the webinar, Green explains more of his thinking. “We are always looking to create the future first and get that advantage for us, and our partners. We are therefore looking to move completely out of our Soho facility and to use cloud to connect clients and colleagues with media and creative tools. It frees us up to scale at a global level like we have only imagined.”

“We have major brands and broadcasters keen to work with us because they can see that we are not limited to the physical suites we have on site. We can start to build a facility using cloud resources that enables us to bill and be billed by the hour.”

The demo explained

Green Rock is well on the way to achieving this with technology partner BASE Media Cloud, leveraging an integrated cloud-based platform with SaaS products from Adobe, Bebop and Iconik.

“What we’ve designed together with Green Rock and are rolling out for them will allow their US and UK teams to collaborate remotely via the Iconik cloud MAM,” says Ben Foakes, Founder & Managing Director, BASE Media Cloud. “On prem storage remains for high performance tasks with burst capacity enabled in the cloud.”

“There are no longer big fat PC towers under the desk,” Foakes adds. “It will be an entirely virtual workstation environment enabling Green Rock to re-invent its editing strategy.”

BASE Media Cloud acts as the cloud agnostic storage hub into which media applications such as Iconik, with integrations into the Adobe Creative Cloud suite are plugged. Access to application is by simple login secured with multifactor authentication.  Remote Workstations are powered by BeBop Technology, running on AWS.

“In essence this means your data becomes centralised in the cloud, your workstations run in the cloud but your users can be anywhere in the world,” Foakes says.

The evolution of post

Anecdotally it seems that from VFX boutiques to global broadcasters the industry is coming out of the pandemic seeking a more formalised and long-term strategy.

“At the start of COVID, everyone was in a rush,” Foakes says. “The broadcast and post community moved to nomadic working and had to quickly spin up reactive solutions such as using a Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or running remote desktop or PcoIP sessions. These were temporary solutions because no one really had time to design for it.”

“Now we’re seeing a huge wave of interest in reducing the size of premises but not moving 100 percent to the cloud. It’s about changing the ratio.”

Post production has evolved. From the days of physical film cutting, into tape-to-tape and the transition at the end of the 1980s into nonlinear file-based editing, now things have gone pure digital.

“The virtual hybrid cloud has arrived as part of the eventual move towards full virtual,” Foakes said.

View the webinar including the live demo of virtual hybrid cloud:

DEMO

 

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15 Apr 2021

Building a Modern Sports Media Business

Building a Modern Sports Media Business

Speakers:

Michael Clayton, Head of Sports Media Cloud, BASE Media Cloud

David Candler, Senior Director Customer Solutions, Veritone

Barry Flanigan, Chief Strategy Officer, Aurora Media Worldwide

Discover how award-winning, fast-scaling sports content agency Aurora Media Worldwide has revolutionised content acquisition, production, live and post-produced sports broadcasting for its enviable list of top sports clients around the world. Hear how they have worked alongside the likes of BASE Media Cloud and Veritone to employ a ‘cloud-first’ strategy to content storage, management and distribution to enable business growth, content monetisation and seamless remote working.

 

 

 

 

 

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11 Mar 2021

Earth-i delivers geospatial intelligence at scale with big data storage by BASE Media Cloud

Advances in earth observation satellite technology, big-data analytics and cloud computing are combining to position Earth Observation data as a pivotal source of business and organisational intelligence.

A world leader in the field is Earth-i. The UK-headquartered company uses AI and satellite remote sensing data to provide unique insights in support of strategic decision-making for governments and organisations in the commodity markets, precision-agriculture, construction, and transportation industries.

Our Earth Observation specialists and geo-spatial analysts use high revisit multi-resolution data to provide near real-time transparency of global supply chains by identifying changes in features, objects, and activity anywhere on the Earth’s surface,” explains Gary Crowley, Head of Technology, Earth-i. “The data is multiformat including colour video, infra-red and radar from a range of sources including satellite, aerial and drone and varies in size, volume, and frequency. Data storage and processing are mission-critical to our daily operations.”

With its image analysis and AI workloads in high demand, Earth-i needed a storage and processing solution that could flex and scale with its business.

Our legacy storage solution, which was an on-premises NAS with a cloud back-up service, no longer fitted with the way we operate,” explains Crowley. “It was costing us time and money in maintenance, support and licensing. We needed to consolidate and migrate data from our existing solution to the cloud for cost, speed and security reasons.”

BASE Media Cloud provided the full solution design, build, testing, data migration and ingest setup. An initial 30 Terabytes of large-scale image data were migrated from a variety of on-premises storage and other cloud storage providers to BASE Media Cloud using custom syncing workflows.

This enabled Earth-i to mount its cloud storage with BASE Media Cloud to both local and cloud-based workstations and use it like a local shared storage device.

Crowley says, “BASE Media Cloud made it easy to find the solution that best suited our business and our use cases and were on hand to guide us through every step of the process. They assessed our requirements and came back to us with more than one option which we trialled before making our final decision.”

Instead of having multiple data silos and multiple sites of hardware, BASE Media Cloud manage everything for Earth-i as a cloud service. Data replication, redundancy, up-time and support is all provided through BASE, saving Earth-i the overhead in hardware, hosting, electricity and headcount for support.

The key benefit of our new storage and processing solution is transparency to our operational workflows enabling us to continue to access data through the same processes as before. In addition, it is much more cost effective than before with low storage costs and no maintenance required from our side.

He adds, “Earth-i has made a significant transition to the cloud in preparation for upscaling our processes as our business grows, as we’ll be ready to support the vastly increasing amounts of commercial data available from new satellite constellations that are being launched”.

 

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