As consumers of media and entertainment genres, we are thrilled every time we go to the theatre or log in to our favorite streaming service to be entertained—wowed by the very nature of the production quality and all that it entails. But what of those who actually create the content?
If today’s media and entertainment have become complex, imagine for a moment the production and workflows happening behind the scenes. Every one of the aforementioned production attributes comes with a host of challenges, all of which need to be met to not only satisfy the audience, but also to work within production timelines, budgets, and so on.
With growing file sizes, increased video resolution and high-quality visual effects requiring more storage, and an increased need for higher network and server performance, the stresses placed on post-production environments today are extreme—requiring a never-before-seen degree of parallel access between work groups, not to mention exponential increases in storage capacities to handle the higher volumes of recorded media.
In short, in order to make the business of media and entertainment move at, well, the speed of business, media storage and management solutions can’t be slow, weak, or unreliable—there is just too much at stake.
Imagine for a moment working in one of those crazed, high-stress environments—directors looking over editors’ shoulders giving real-time feedback, adding more and more effects, edits, and other changes. Pair that with overmatched IT systems, including storage, and the result is missed deadlines, client friction, and lost business. In fact, even with maximum uptime, the smallest amount of downtime can cost thousands in lost productivity and missed deadlines that can jeopardize relationships.
So what is at the root cause of all this stress?
The primary challenge in all of this is that unstructured data in a media environment cannot be ingested, encoded/decoded, edited, colour-corrected, and managed properly with typical IT or data-center applications or storage. The amount of data that needs to be managed along with the performance required for a “shared storage” environment virtually precludes standard data-center applications and hardware from being used.
This is where storage becomes a major driving factor in success. Shared storage for post-production must contain all of the materials needed for all active projects at any given time. In many cases, multiple terabytes of data for each project is the norm, paired with the much-needed ability to satisfy the access requirements imposed by popular non-linear editing applications and tools. When the work of an entire organization depends on common infrastructure, the ability to access content and avoid disruptions is critical to business performance and success.
This is again why storage is an essential part of a productive and efficient media workflow. It’s not a question of whether media production companies will need to upgrade these workflows to support the future of media; it’s a question of which companies will be left behind.
The key to success? If knowledge is power, the question becomes, how much power do you need? And that is a tough question to answer. But there is an easy way to get an answer: find out who is working with the right tools and vendors. They will have the insight, expertise, processes, and best practices to quickly understand your current environment.
In all, knowledge can be acquired quickly by surrounding yourself with the right people. The power just happens to be the ultimate byproduct that leads to success.